Category Archives: 3.5 stars

There are many things you could accuse the Trese Brothers, developers of Star Traders 4X: Empires in Exile [Free / $4.99] of with regards to how they handle their games. You can't ever say that they lack ambition or industriousness, however, and that has never been more apparent than with this latest release. Although most of their past mobile work has been for Android mobile devices, the Trese Brothers have released two games before this on iOS. Their first release, a couple of years ago, was Star Traders RPG [Free / $2.99], a sci-fi themed trading game with an impressive amount of universe lore. Then, several months ago, they released Heroes of Steel RPG [Free / $3.99], an interesting turn-based strategy RPG that again featured an impressive amount of world-building. Both games were in many ways too deep for their own good at times, and both were pretty rough around the edges at release. On the positive side, both have received a mind-boggling amount of updates in response to player feedback...

There are an awful lot of games involving cats on the App Store. Sometimes, their inclusion doesn't even make sense. Like most of the Internet, I love cats, so I'm not going to complain, but there are plenty of people out there who have a slightly more negative appraisal of the feline species, and I can only guess how many games they miss out on as a result. If that describes you, perhaps you've gazed longingly at Cat Physics [$1.99], the popular puzzle game released a few years back by Donut Games, wishing you could enjoy its physics-based puzzles without all that shedding on your freshly-laundered slacks. Well, person with an unusually strong hatred of digital cats, have I got a game for you. It's called Lightlands [Free], and although it has a few new ideas to freshen things up, at its core, it's essentially Cat Physics after TV's Alf has made the scene...

DUNGEONy [$2.99] is a curious game because while it's a turn-based roguelike, and certainly those are not rare, but it's more of a puzzle game set around roguelike mechanics than an actual roguelike...

A 16 bit action platformer come endless runner, Bill Killem [Free] focuses on a movie star hero who’s out to kick some alien butt. When they destroy his movie premiere, he decides to take vengeance in the only way he knows best, guns and hellfire. The game itself is an interesting pixel-driven storyline full of unique twists, and thankfully, despite it’s free-to-play model, doesn’t require any additional spend to really get stuck in. ..

They ventured into outer space, starred in their own cartoon series, and even wrestled with the idea of Go-Kart racing, but now our favorite feathery icons have left their physics puzzling roots behind and nose-dived into an all new medium. Sticking with the all-familiar theme, (involving birds, pigs, and the ever iconic eggs), the feathered flock have found themselves yet again in the midst of an all-out war, and in the form of a cute strategic RPG nonetheless. Angry Birds Epic [Free] is, underneath it all, a game with familiar role-playing mechanics, but a far cry from the norm; there’s no princess to rescue or the customary “chosen one”, nor are their side-quests to unlock or towns to explore. No, Angry Birds Epic is a non-stop consecutive procession of turn-based fights that are selected from a slightly linear (and rather Mario-esque) map. ..

Many of the games in the puzzle genre of video games are evolutions of classic board games, with various alterations made to the rules to simply, complicate, or simply diversify. Of course, this is really just carrying on the work that was happening in physical board games themselves before video games came along and blew a huge chunk out of that market. For example, Reversi, or Othello as it's popularly known, is a simplified version of the ancient Chinese game, Go. The latest game from Synesthetic [$2.99] creator Alex Dantis, Polygon Evolution [Free], is also a variation on Go, simplified in some ways, complicated in others, and like its ancestor, a lot more fun to play against a human than a computer...

In other word games, common letters like vowels are often life-savers. In LEX [$0.99], they're a death trap, part of a fast-paced word game that should appeal to the masochistic...

Pac-Man has worn many hats over the course of his nearly two and a half decade tenure. In addition to his popular top-down maze fashion, he's also starred in a runner, an adventure game, and even full-on 3D action titles. Now, courtesy of the Candy Crush and Puzzles & Dragons craze, he's the star of a Match-3 with heavy RPG elements called Pac-Man Monsters [Free]. And you know what? It's not half bad...

An action physics puzzler that illustrates life in a different form completely, Concolor Games’ Biosis [$0.99] depicts just what happens when everything you ever knew and loved is ripped away from you. Despite its alien-like setting and curious environment, Biosis tells a story that just about everybody can relate to. ..

Pixel Cup Soccer [$0.99 / Free] is, for better or for worse, an arcade sports game using just two buttons, and one that revels in its inaccuracy to the real sport. Those expecting a version of FIFA 14 [Free] but with pixel art will be sorely disappointed. But as an arcade soccer game, it's charming and worth coming back to again and again...

Candy Crush Saga [Free] creator King has a fairly extensive catalog of puzzle games it has developed over the last several years. Their iOS lineup is just a small fraction of what it has released, though it's fairly representative of King's strengths and weaknesses. I think it's fairly safe to say at this point that its games have very broad appeal, with people of both genders, all ages, and many walks of life having a great time playing them. I think it's also pretty well-known that its games are really, really hard, and sometimes it's difficult to tell if things are rigged against you just to sell you IAP or simply just randomly cruel to keep you from flying through the games. I think it's also widely-accepted that many of its games owe a very large debt to existing puzzle games. King's match-3 games, like Candy Crush or Farm Heroes Saga [Free], use familiar mechanics and add a few twists, with the result being at least as original as, say, Dr. Mario is to Tetris [$2.99]...

I love so many things about Uncanny X-Men: Days Of Future Past [$2.99], a new action-platformer from Glitchsoft, the developer behind He-Man: The Most Powerful Game In The Universe. Based not on the recently-released movie but rather on the comic it sources, X-Men is a full-length game, packed with nods fans will love, delivered in complete form for a reasonable price, with no IAP or online connection required. There are multiple playable characters, each with two or more costumes, with more planned as free content to be added later. Each character has their own skills and abilities that can be upgraded as you go along. The stages cover a variety of locales, and the graphics are generally quite nice. There are also tons of secrets to uncover by exploring the stages that reward you with bonus art and some extra experience...

Remember Tom & Jerry? That kid’s cartoon where the little mouse always manages to screw over the tom cat despite all his attempts? Well, that’s not what this game is about, but it certainly has it’s similarities. Axl & Tuna [$0.99] follows the story of a happy-go-lucky robot who is merrily cruising along on his roller-coaster style ride only to be constantly harassed by his virtual nemesis who is attempting to de-rail his enjoyment at every opportunity...

Some games are so beautiful that even before you lay your hands on the controls, you want to love them. Last Inua [$3.99], a haunting adventure that takes place in the snowy arctic, is one of those games. The art design is striking. The wintery vistas provide a feeling of quiet isolation, an aspect that is bolstered by the restrained sound design. At the same time, the main characters are animated so well that you can feel their warmth and affection, and again the sound design backs that feeling up. The basic gameplay hook is well-tested and promising without having been overdone. You control two characters, each with their own set of skills and abilities, and must make use of the right skills in the right situations to see both of them safely to the goal. Think Lost Vikings, minus one viking, and you'll have the general idea, or at least what I think was the intended idea...

It may seem like endless runners are a crowded genre, and in fact, you’d probably be right, but once in a while there comes along one entry that stands apart from the rest of the crowd. Whether Gear Jack: Black Hole [Free] is worthy of that title remains to be seen (and telling you now would spoil the beginning of the review), but the vibrant stylish-looking graphics drew me in almost straight away, so in fact, the outlook is already fairly positive...

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