Category Archives: 3.5 stars

'Wormarium Arcade' Review - Pac-Worm

October 8th, 2015 2:07 PM EDT by Chris Carter in 3.5 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
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I still remember the first time I ever played Pac-Man. It was at the arcade, and the concept of a maze-heavy game wracked my brain for hours on end. While most of the games I had played up until that point featured a linear design, like the Super Mario series, the only real comparable title I had played at the time was Dig Dug, which still didn't prepare me for all of those taxing yellow dots. Wormarium Arcade [Free] isn't quite as good of an experience, but it still offers up some of those same thrills...

'Stranded: Mars One' Review - Run Away Home

September 24th, 2015 12:00 PM EDT by Nadia Oxford in 3.5 stars, Free, Reviews
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Fishlabs definitely chose a timely launch window for Stranded: Mars One [Free], so to speak. The game's premise is largely the same as Ridley Scott's upcoming movie The Martian (and the novel it's based on): A little space dude is stranded on the Red Planet, and he needs to get home...

I feel like I've written about this before, but Kemco and their developers have an odd approach to sequels. They're not too big on them, for starters, with only EXE-Create among Kemco's stable of developers doing them with any sort of regularity. Then, when they actually do sequels, there are virtually no links at all to the previous games, save perhaps a single character or location that reoccurs. They'll even completely change the gameplay systems to the point that no one would be able to guess it was a sequel if it weren't labeled as such. It's not something that bothers me much in general, but Asdivine Dios [Free / $7.99] is one case where I would have appreciated a safe sequel. I've made no secret of my opinion that the first game, Asdivine Hearts [$7.99], is the best game in Kemco's iOS line-up, and I was rather excited to hear the series would be continuing...

'Super Bounce Back' Review - A Win for No Can Win or No?

September 22nd, 2015 12:00 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in 3.5 stars, Arcade, Free, Games, Platform, Reviews, Universal
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I generally don’t travel much, so it was a pretty big deal for me when I finally got to visit Maui a few years ago. And you know what? It was incredible. Snorkeling, chicken katsu, sea turtles… it really doesn’t get much better than that. One of my favorite memories of those few short weeks on the island, though, was playing a dumb mobile game with my girlfriend every time we went back to the hotel. It was Cubed Rally Redline [Free], and we were fiercely competitive with it. Ever since that vacation, every time I hear that Jared Bailey has a new game coming out it stirs up happy, sunny memories deep in my brain...

Ravenous Games has been around iOS for a long time. League of Evil [$2.99] was one of the first platformers on the App Store that actually worked, and it quickly became one of my favorite iPhone games. The controls were shockingly responsive (for the time), and speedrunning each level for leaderboard supremacy wasn't just doable, it was actually really fun. Of course, these days there are hundreds of platformers on the App Store and it seems the genre has come a long way since LoE took over my iDevice all those years ago. Unfortunately, though, in a lot of ways Ravenous's own games (which seem to make up about half of all the platformers on iOS) haven't changed with the times...

'Sketch Breaker' Review - Rainbow Breakout

September 17th, 2015 11:21 AM EDT by Chris Carter in 3.5 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
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If there's one genre I used to play as a kid but almost never dip into now, it's brick breakers. I spent hours in the family car playing Breakout on the Game Boy, and if I ever managed to find myself in a bar area waiting for people, I usually picked the brick breaker minigame on those high-tech (at the time) miniature arcade machines. The bar peanuts weren't the only thing salty at that point, because these games are difficulty and unforgiving. Sketch Breaker [Free] is basically the same principle, but with a heap of IAP settings on top...

'Beat da Beat' Review - Dubstep 'em up

September 17th, 2015 10:12 AM EDT by Chris Carter in $0.99, 3.5 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Shooter, Universal
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Another day, another shooter on iOS. The genre is thriving, and I can't get enough of it! This time around, Beat da Beat [$0.99] means business, despite the fact that it suffers from a lack of variety. You know a game is serious when it gives you both an epilepsy warning and a headphone suggestion at the start...

A couple of months back, I reviewed a unique little game called Trappy Tomb [Free], a game that had you running and jumping through a deadly tomb, grabbing treasure and trying to stay alive. Its most interesting feature was what it referred to as 'mingleplayer', where you would see the ghosts of tons of other players running along with you. It not only made score-chasing feel more exciting, it could also clue you into any cleverly hidden secrets someone had uncovered. Of course, there were also lessons to learn about the dangers of herd mentality. The developer of that game is back with his next title, MiniGolf Endless MMO [Free], and though it's in a completely different genre, it retains a similar gimmick...

When I first launched Ace Maverick [$1.99] by Futureworks Studios I was immediately hit in the face with a sharp blast of electric guitar. It was like a Marshall stack violently sneezing into my ears. And while I’d love to take this opening further and use that riff as some kind of metaphor for the game itself, I’m not going to do that. The riff happened, and I just thought you should know about it. Case closed...

PikPok’s latest game Breakneck [Free] had my attention early. It looked like a cross between Race the Sun [$4.99] and Star Wars Episode I: Racer, which is basically one of my favorite Nintendo 64 games crossed with one of my favorite recent iOS games. How could I possibly say no to that? It’s not possible, and I didn’t say no. So here I am, weeks later, finally playing the thing. Was it worth the wait? Well… kinda...

'Tiny Empire' Review - Waging War With Cannons

September 2nd, 2015 6:00 PM EDT by Eric Ford in $2.99, 3.5 stars, Action, Arcade, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
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At first glance, Tiny Empire [Free] by Mother Gaia Studios acts suspiciously like another giant game franchise that resides within the physics-based launching genre. There’s projectile aiming, enemies you want to destroy, and a few twists on the ammunition being tossed. However, beyond the gameplay similarities is decent example of a title taking a genre that has been dominated by a huge developer and creating just enough change that it can stand on its own...

It's pretty difficult to pull off the first part of an intended series of stories. You have make sure you end it with a lot of possbilities in the air, but at the same time, you have to give people a satisying enough standalone plot that they'll want to stick around. It's especially important in games, where the player should feel some sense of accomplishment at the end of each part, particularly when the continuation might be a ways off. Versus - The Lost Ones [$3.99] is the latest release from prolific gamebook publisher Choice Of Games, and it's meant to kick off an on-going series. It's a successful opening in as much as I'm rather interested to see where the story goes from here, but taken as a standalone work, it's a little mixed...

'Zoombinis' Review - Edutainment at its Most Adorable

September 1st, 2015 10:59 AM EDT by Chris Carter in $4.99, 3.5 stars, Games, iPad Games, Puzzle, Reviews
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As a kid, I was pretty big into edutainment games. Any excuse to play video games in school I took, from Number Munchers to Oregon Trail. Some titles were more "entertainment" than "education," but I ran with it anyway -- and in some cases, I taught my fellow classmates how to earn a high score. Good enough, right?  However, in all my childhood I never had a chance to play Zoombinis [$4.99 (HD)]. I'm glad that I changed that recently with its iPad release, even if it hasn't aged all that well...

There have been a lot of weird crossovers throughout the history of entertainment, and only half of them involve Angry Birds.  Remember when Inspector Gadget showed up on the Super Mario Bros. Super Show, or that time when Archie met the Punisher, or when the Harlem Globetrotters helped Scooby-Doo and the gang solve a mystery? If you look at it that way, perhaps Pocket God Vs Desert Ashes [$4.99] isn't that strange after all. Still, a combination of Bolt Creative's Pocket God [$0.99] and Nine Tales Digital's Mecho Wars/Desert Ashes probably wouldn't be the first team-up you would imagine for either franchise, and it certainly begs a question or two. How exactly could they reconcile the former's simple god game mechanics with the latter's Advance Wars-inspired turn-based strategy?..

Do you hate "pay-to-win" free-to-play games? Is the idea of ever spending any chunk of money in a game offensive to the very fiber of your being? Well, you might not like Monsters Ate My Metropolis. [Free] But if you've got a nuanced opinion about free-to-play games, then you might just enjoy Monsters Ate My Metropolis...

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But in the mobile world, developers are often subject to clones -- where games are almost copied wholesale from the original. Having said that, there are occasions where games may start entire subgenres, like in the case of Angry Birds. Yes, almost everyone knows that Crush the Castle (and the numerous tank titles before that) was "first," but at this point Rovio has refined the formula enough to call it its own. Although we're a bit early in the "Crossy Road" genre, Blocky Raider [Free] does a few unique things that allow it to make a name for itself...

It's been a couple of months since Kemco's last release on iOS, the mediocre strategy-RPG Legend Of Ixtona [$3.99]. That game was developed by WorldWideSoftware and was if nothing else different from Kemco's usual fare. Interestingly enough, their latest game, Tears Revolude [$3.99], is once again developed by WorldWideSoftware and also a bit different from their norm. Fortunately, it pulls off what it's going for a bit better than Ixtona did, but unfortunately, only a little bit. Still, I'm a little impressed at what the developer has set up here from a technical perspective, and I hope it bodes well for the future...

'Engines of Vengeance' Review - Heavy Metal

August 11th, 2015 4:14 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $0.99, 3.5 stars, Fighting, Games, Reviews, Universal
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I’m not sure what it is about iOS games and metal bands, but they seem to go together well. Take Hail to the King: Deathbat [$4.99], for example. The hack ‘n’ slash gameplay paired pretty perfectly with the music (and personality) of the band Avenged Sevenfold, and we even gave it a pretty favorable review at the time. Another example is… um. Okay, I could only think of one. But there’s just something about the gritty, messy nature of rock & roll that seems to translate well to tiny little taped-together indie games. Wait! Here’s another example: Engines of Vengeance [$0.99] by Serdar Balli. (And just in the nick of time. This review was going nowhere.)..

'Down the Mountain' Review - Crossy*bert?

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Just make Crossy Road [Free]. It’s easy! All you need to do is take a classic video game from the 80’s, give it a cheerful, vaguely Minecraft-ian art style, load it with cute characters to collect, and park your car in the garage so the driveway is clear for all the dump trucks full of money. Of course, in reality things aren’t quite that easy. I mean, I don’t think anyone is entirely sure why Crossy Road was such a huge success considering the sheer volume of other fun little time wasters there are on the App Store. Why Flappy Bird, for that matter? Why Temple Run [Free]? Why Doodle Jump [$0.99]?..

As a critic, you almost always inevitably face a response to your criticisms somewhere in the neighborhood of ‘Well let’s see you do better!’ As if one must first master an art rather than be a knowledgeable and experienced consumer of it to have valid criticism. You especially see these comments thrown at highly negative critics, probably along with a Molotov cocktail and a screaming honey badger. It’s pretty rare for those critics to reply simply with ‘OK, why not!?’ as Ben ‘Yahtzee’ Croshaw has done with his first ever mobile game, Hatfall [$1.99]...

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