Category Archives: 3 stars

I've learned a few things from MetaHuman Inc. [$3.99], the latest interactive fiction release from Choice Of Games. First, with a little creativity, the ChoiceScript engine that powers these games can be more mechanically versatile than I thought it was capable of being. Next, I'm a terrible CEO. Just plain awful. Finally, I don't especially like being a CEO, and that ended up being a problem for me because being a CEO is more or less what MetaHuman Inc. is all about. At the start of the game, you are appointed the job of running MetaHuman Inc., a shady company that produces human enhancements through a variety of means legal or otherwise. The job starts in January, and you'll see it through to the end of the calendar year, at which point you'll face a final evaluation by the majority shareholders. If you fail to impress them, your death is certain...

Fantastic Plastic Squad [Free] is a game that punched me in the stomach. I’ve rarely felt so excited and then so disappointed in such a short amount of time. Maybe that’s not fair, but let’s start with the good part: The game has one of the strongest first five minutes of any game I’ve played on iOS. It introduces you to these awesome '80s action figures that walk around in a hilariously stiff way (they are plastic, as the game’s name suggests), and you get to use them to shoot aliens around a giant house! I absolutely love games that take place in ordinary places seen from a miniature perspective--probably because of playing with action figures as a child--and this game nails that feeling. The controls are smart and tight, and I could feel myself getting super pumped while playing through the tutorial. I could tell this would be a game I’d be playing for a long time. But I was wrong...




Off-beat simulation game developer Kairosoft has slowed down their iOS releases considerably in the last couple of years. That was probably a wise move, given how many elements each of their games tends to share with the rest. With new games from the developer coming only a few times a year now, it's easier to appreciate each one of them on their own merits, and it hasn't hurt that their recent releases have demonstrated an effort to break out of the reskinning that categorizes most of their work. The Ramen Sensei [$4.99], their latest iOS release, isn't as innovative as it could be, but its tight focus on its unusual subject matter helps it stand out a little. That said, unless you're really into the subject of ramen, this game is still essentially preaching to the Kairosoft choir...

'Rush N Krush' Review - Wacky Races

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December 18th, 2015 10:39 AM EST by Chris Carter in 3 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Racing, Reviews, Universal
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I never could have imagined that the mobile platform would house so many old school arcade experiences. Growing up I'd spend hours pumping quarters into various games, often times logging how much average playtime I'd get out of a single coin, so I could maximize my time at an arcade. I kind of do the same thing now with mobile games, especially if they offer "extra lives" or some form of energy mechanic...

Another day, another Warhammer game. But Pixel Toys' Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade [Free] seemed promising not just because Apple showed it off with 3D Touch, but also because it's a game where you walk around as a giant Imperial Knight and shoot everything in sight with big, explosive weapons and a giant chainsword. What's not to love with that combination? Well, the issue is that this game plays everything big – and that includes the monetization, which tries every trick in the book to get you to pay. This isn't bad, except for a misleading energy system that really sours the experience. And like many free-to-play games, including the social RPGs it apes much of its structure from, it quickly becomes something where if you tire of the cycle the game puts you on, you will fall out of it quickly. The gameplay is brutal fun, but it alone is not enough to keep you going...

Kemco appears to be on a bit of a strategy game kick of late on iOS, with Legend Of Ixtona [$3.99] releasing a few months ago, and now, Legna Tactica [$3.99]. Well, I can appreciate them wanting to change things up a bit here and there. Although I know many of their fans appreciate the regular trickle of traditional JRPGs, there has to be some kind of saturation point. Forty titles in, Kemco might just be finding it. Of course, it's also possible that their stalwart developers simply feel like making something different. Whatever the reason, we've got another strategy RPG in front of us, and I'm sure no one will fall out of their chair when I say that it's very derivative of the classic Tactics Ogre. This genre seems to have trouble shaking off Yasumi Matsuno's influence, and Kemco certainly weren't going to be the ones to do it...

I still remember the wild west of touchscreen development years ago, when people said that platformers would never work. While many classics have been ported by way of MFi controls, a lot of others stuck it to the naysayers with inventive on-screen control methods, or a design philosophy that accommodates accordingly. Count Crunch's Candy Curse [$0.99] is definitely manageable even without the help of an MFi device, but it doesn't really seek to do much more than that...

'Ghost of Memories' Review - Dazzling and Vague

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November 10th, 2015 1:00 PM EST by Chris Carter in $2.99, 3 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews
$2.99 Buy Now

The isometric take on puzzles games isn't new, but Monument Valley did it with such panache, that it started a revolution in the mobile arena. It's such a good premise for a limited amount of screen real estate, as the view allows you to take in gigantic landscapes without getting lost, or wanting for more. Ghost of Memories [$2.99] follows that same principle, but it's  not quite as exciting as its competition...

If there's one thing, above all else, that you should take away from The Doom Beneath [$2.99], it's that you shouldn't run away from bears. Stand your ground, play dead, or fight back even, but if you run away from a bear, there's a strong chance it will give chase and you'll end up falling into a subterranean cavern filled with cultists and Lovecraftian horrors. If the worst happens and you do fall into such a cavern, you should then play dead. It's good rehearsal for what's ahead, I promise...

With the Gamebook Adventures series winding to at least a temporary close, Tin Man has opted to release the last couple of volumes at the same time. I'm not going to fib, I'm a pretty big fan of this series and the fictional world of Orlandes it uses as a setting. From a story-telling standpoint, it's great to have a well-realized setting that players can take so many different perspectives in. On the gameplay side, the Gamebook Adventures gamebooks are usually fairer and more enjoyable than the paper gamebooks that inspired them. They're written knowing the player isn't having to stick a thumb in the pages and keep track of their inventory with a pencil, and they're stronger experiences for it. That we only have these last two volumes to hold us over for the time being makes each of them precious. That's why it kind of breaks my heart that I don't like Songs Of The Mystics [$5.99] more than I do...

Just under a year ago, an enjoyable take-off of the classic board game HeroQuest was released. Called Arcane Quest 2 [Free], it offered up a single-player take on the concept, putting you in control of four different characters as they made their way through dungeons. It introduced a few new elements to make it more than just a copy, while retaining most of the core that made the original board game so much fun to play. The production values weren't the best, and without multiplayer it was missing a key part of the HeroQuest experience, but it nevertheless proved to be a pretty enjoyable turn-based RPG. This year sees a return to the series, not with a follow-up, but rather with a spin-off. Arcane Quest Adventures [Free] uses similar core mechanics to the previous game, but focuses on providing a solo hero adventure. In some ways, it's better than the last game, but in others, it falls well short...

'Oraia Rift' Review - The Good, The Bad, And The Dull

There's a surprisingly competent action-adventure game contained within Oraia Rift [$1.99]. There are lots of abilities to collect, most of which will be used to solve puzzles here and there throughout the game. The puzzles themselves are engaging enough, though fans of games like Legend Of Zelda will find very few new ideas among them. Lots of block-pushing, torch-lighting, switch-pulling, and that sort of thing. There are plenty of enemies to fight, including some bosses, though the combat isn't terribly satisfying on the whole. The world itself is a big, semi-connected maze that will have you backtracking to use keys or new-found abilities to open the way forward. It's a reasonably attractive game, too, particularly considering it's an indie effort. There are a few hours of solid enjoyment to be found here...

There are moments in The Deer God [$9.99] that are so beautiful and feel so right, that I want to give a running, leaping series of high-fives to the developers. Its sense of style is outstanding, making for one of those games where you sometimes just want to stop and take in the view. When you're running free and clear, leaping over chasms without missing a beat, the game just works in a pure way. The steady sound of your hoofbeats, the rise and eventual fall of the sun on each day, the rolling scenery, the zen-like state of tapping to leap over whatever gets in your way, this is when The Deer God is at its utmost. But there's another side to this pretty little game, and it's most unlike a deer: clumsy, ugly, and lacking in gracefulness. This one is a real mixed bag, and while I could see people falling hard for it over its worthier merits, the many issues with the game really drag it down for me...

MoBu - Adventure Begins [$0.99] is a swinging platformer where the player guides MoBu the ape through deadly jungle terrain by tapping and swiping the screen. MoBu is given the power of infinitely stretchy arms, which helps him swing through the trees, around rocky obstacles, and over water and swamps. Because of MoBu's new "power", he gets hungry quite quickly and must collect bananas to keep himself mobile. Should his "banana gauge" run out, MoBu will fall and the level will restart...

Looking past Mobius Of Magic [$2.99] 's lifting of Final Fantasy's mage designs, there's a somewhat creative idea at its core. Battles play out as duels between magic users, and in this game the best offense is a good defense. You can block most incoming attacks by swiping in the direction it's coming from, and in doing so, not only does it nullify most of the damage, but it also charges up your mana so that you can deliver stronger counter-attacks. Thus, battles are enjoyably fast-paced affairs where you need to pay careful attention to your foe and react quickly and precisely. It makes a valiant go of building a game around that interesting mechanic, but it ultimately doesn't quite manage to take things much farther than what you'll see in the earliest combats...

Even as they've racked up a few strong successes in the puzzle genre, I'm sure King has realized they would have to branch out at some point to keep their business healthy. Besides a weird trivia game, Paradise Bay [Free] is the Candy Crush giant's first attempt at something outside of the puzzle genre on mobile platforms. Don't get too excited, however, as they've simply moved from one crowded free-to-play favorite to another. Paradise Bay has you building your own little village in a tropical location, producing goods to sell to other players or trade for various resources. It has the polish we've come to expect from King's recent games, but without any interesting new ideas, it's hard to make a strong case for it even if this is your genre/pay model of choice...

'Doom & Destiny Advanced' Review - An Immature RPG In Every Sense Of The Word

The first monster you fight in Doom & Destiny Advanced [$2.99] is a giant poop. Not long after, your characters complain that something has attacked "(GameString not set)", before they run into expies of Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage en route to rescuing Princess MacGuffin from alternate universe versions of themselves. One of the characters remarks that he's very likely to crap his pants. And then everyone dies. Or something. I don't know. I do know that you soon run into an angry skeleton who laments the loss of his wiener, and a nobleman who disintegrates at the sound of your barbarian's mighty belch. I think you've got the idea by now, friends. Doom & Destiny [$2.99] was a ridiculously over-the-top RPG with surprisingly solid mechanics and an absurd script rendered even more wacky by its... interesting translation. Somehow, its follow-up feels even more extreme in every regard, and I'm not sure if I find it charming or completely idiotic. If the first game was the Bill & Ted of RPGs, this one is the Pauly Shore...

My first ever interaction with golf was on the NES. I remember being fascinated by the concept of hitting a ball across a screen, and although the idea of woods and irons completely eluded me, I was content with whacking away Happy Gilmore style. Over time golf became far less foreign, and though the sport's popularity has waxed and waned over the years, I still have a certain degree of interest in it, at least at a base level. Battle Golf [Free] doesn't really do a whole lot for me though...

Back when I reviewed the third Five Nights At Freddy's game, I foolishly predicted it might be the last. I'm not falling for it this time, Scott Cawthorn, you wily developer. I've already seen you change the wording in the description ever so slightly to call Five Nights At Freddy's 4 the last game in the original story. Freddy will be back, and regrettably, I probably will be, too. Everyone else at TouchArcade Towers seems to think it's hi-lar-i-ous to see me spew out a stream of curses at semi-regular intervals, so the Freddy reviews tend to fall to me. Well, having played the games all quite a bit, I have to admit that my appreciation for the series has grown. It's actually grown to the point that I'm pretty disappointed with some of the decisions made for the iOS port of the latest game...

'Agent Awesome' Review - More like Agent Meh

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August 10th, 2015 11:30 AM EST by Chris Carter in $1.99, 3 stars, Action, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Universal
$1.99 Buy Now

As a general rule, I really dig espionage games. Although stealth is old hat for some, it's a nice change of pace from the action-heavy games I usually play, and as a fan of James Bond and other classic spy franchises, nice little gags and references usually bring a smile to my face. But with Agent Awesome [$1.99], things get a little awkward, with some tacky writing and weird delivery...

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