Category Archives: 3.5 stars

In space no one can hear you scream, but you can hear a lot of corny camp voice acting. It is hard to explain that an assignment as an astronaut that takes years to even come close to achieving in 2014 are left to complete jackasses in the future. Nevertheless that is what we are stuck with in Beyond Space [$2.99]...

Ninja games! One might say there are not enough of them out there, if one were the sort of person who needed a new ninja game every hour of every day for the rest of one's life. It might seem silly that there are so many games featuring them, but like their equally overplayed colleagues, zombies, it's really just because they (or at least the pop culture image of them) fit video games almost perfectly. While zombies are great for letting a player cut loose on a crowd of human-like figures without any of the messy moral implications, ninjas are great shorthand for a nimble character who could potentially have any tools at his or her disposal. If a ninja pulls out a smoke bomb, we don't question it. If a ninja launches a grappling hook at the ceiling Batman-style, hey, it just works. Wall-jumping is really hard in real life, but if anyone can do it, a ninja can. Plus, they look really cool...

Sports games tend to go in one of a few different directions. Some of them opt for hard realism, trying to capture every nuance of the sport in a very clinical way. The aim here is to try to give the player the exact feeling of playing the sport. Others go the route of Tony Hawk, where it's kind of realistic in some ways, but fantastical in others. These games are cool because you're usually following the rules of the sport, but it makes you feel like you're a superhuman player. Another way to go is to pitch out any pretenses of reality and just go wild. The familiar surface gives something for the players to connect to, but the end result usually feels less like a sports game and more like another genre. Endless Surf [$0.99], the sequel to Bobble Surfer [$0.99] is from the latter school of thought. Looking at screenshots, you would think this was a Tony Hawk-style take on surfing, but it's actually pretty much a straight-forward runner with an interesting skin...

The old-school dungeon crawler can be a cruel mistress. First-person movement, gameplay that basically drops you in the middle of a world and tells you to figure it out - it’s certainly a far cry from the handholding that most RPGs do these days. Coldfire Keep [$4.99], the latest title published by Crescent Moon Games, does a decent job of recreating the basics of the classic genre with a large world that kept me wanting to return, explore, and conquer. However, it left me wanting more in terms of combat and controls...

What do you suppose ran through the mind of your nameless, faceless, Indiana Jones-wannabe adventurer when he desecrated an ancient Egyptian temple and awoke hundreds of bloodthirsty mummies from their eternal slumber? "I should have parked closer to the temple" would be my guess. His predicament is our gain, as Escape from Doom [$1.99] is a rollicking good time...

Stubies [$1.99] is a deceptive little game. When you first start playing, it's simple. A bit too simple, in fact. In this game, little creatures of different colors will come walking in a straight direction from some point off of the map, and you have to point them in the right direction to find another creature of the same color, at which point they'll be cleared off the board and you'll score some points. Each level has a set amount of points as the goal, and once you reach it, your score and time are tallied and it's off to the next stage. The only way you can lose is if too many of the little Stubies wander off an edge. Each one that drops costs you a star, and if you lose all three of your stars, you fail the stage. Another thing you want to avoid is having two Stubies of different colors pushing against each other. After a short time, they'll turn into solid white objects that will deflect anything that tries to walk into them. It doesn't directly cost you stars, but it can complicate things...

I kind of feel bad for this game. Not only did Journey To Kreisia [$3.99] release at almost the same time as Square-Enix's Final Fantasy VI [$15.99] iOS remake, but it's also having to live in the looming shadow of Alphadia Genesis's impending release. Kemco's RPGs aren't terribly high profile at the best of times, and RPG fans clearly have their attention elsewhere right now. I think that's too bad, because while this game isn't an outstanding RPG by any means, it's got a great sense of self-awareness. This aspect, layered on top of its familiar, competent EXE Create backbone, lends the whole adventure a fun feeling that separates it from the herd...

Sometimes, old school gamers just want to kick back and relax with a retro platformer. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it's tough to find a really great control scheme barring a controller option, as precision is often synonymous with the platforming genre. While it may not employ the perfect solution, Foxtrot! [$1.99] does a great job of keeping the old school spirit alive...

Some games just embrace their inner silliness, and they're better for it. In an era of an increased saturation of serious zombie games, I enjoy it when some developers embrace the theme but add their own sense of charm to it. Grandpa and the Zombies [Free] is one such game...

Monster Loves You! [$2.99] is the story of a monster, a story your choices help tell. The first collaboration between Radial Games and Dejobaan Games lets you decide how monsters live their lives: rampaging, caring for each other, or just plain old causing a fuss...

When all else fails, novelty can do a lot for a game. On The Line [$0.99] isn't a very deep or complex game, but it does present an interesting spin on the endless running genre that's bound to appeal to some despite its simple nature. We've seen almost every kind of hero in this genre, from a man in a suit to Garfield, but I think this is the first time we've had an endless game where your finger is the main character. It's not as fully-realized as one might hope, but its unique concept is worth checking out if you're looking for something a little bit off the beaten path...

Like many games bearing the RPG genre tag on the App Store, Elementalist [Free] isn't what you would consider a traditional RPG. There's not much in the way of questing, exploring, or party-building. Instead, the game focuses on the combat, giving you control of a mage who has to cast his or her spells in turn-based battles to take down the monsters threatening the world. The main hook of the game is in the spell-casting itself. Each spell is represented by a symbol, and how well you trace it determines both its power and effects. It's a fun mechanic seen infrequently enough in games that, combined with some decent character building options, makes Elementalist an interesting and enjoyable game, if a little repetitive...

Never has a video-game title more aptly summed up its experience than Marvel Run Jump Smash [$0.99], and it's as fun as it you would assume. Marvel RJS puts you in the spandex-clad bodies of iconic heroes that came blasting out of the mind of Stan Lee like webbing from Petey Parker's web-shooters--but with a twist. You start out as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.--either Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury or, uh, some other person who is not Samuel L. Jackson--and run, jump, and shoot your way through bad guys and obstacles like gouts of flame and electric gates. Along the way, you'll come across hero tokens that bear the likenesses of one of the four superheroes you set to your active team before starting the game...

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly five years since Limbic first launched TowerMadness [$0.99 / $4.99 (HD)] on the App Store. As a 3D open ended tower defense title, it was also one of the first big hits in a TD genre that is now completely saturated. In this day and age, there’s little to be said about TowerMadness 2 [$1.99] that hasn’t already been said through countless other TD titles. True, it’s still an excellent tower defense game and expands upon the original in every fact, however, it doesn’t do much that hasn’t been seen before...

I'm always a bit conflicted when it comes to Kairosoft's games. After making a big splash with Game Dev Story [$4.99], a hit simulation that was both fresh and hard to put down, they started to release more and more of their back catalog. As they did, it became more apparent with each release that Kairosoft weren't actually the innovating type they appeared to be initially. Rather, they had a few different spins on the simulation genre and basically bolted new frames onto them. For example, you wouldn't think car racing and soccer have much in common, but the Kairosoft takes on them were quite similar. In recent years, they've tried to implement deeper mechanics and new ideas into their sims, resulting in titles like Dungeon Village [$3.99] and Epic Astro Story [$3.99], which seems to have reinvigorated interest in their games. Sadly, that effort seems to have tuckered the poor developers out, because they're falling back into their old ways with their recent releases...

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