Category Archives: 3 stars

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 EDT 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...

Thanks to the massive success of Rovio's Angry Birds [$0.99] during the formative years of the App Store, physics-based puzzle games are probably one of the more, shall we say, over-represented genres on the App Store. At this point, I'd imagine most people have plenty of them in their purchase histories, and as a result, it takes something really special to make any actual waves in the genre. An initial glance at Earth Vs. Balloons [Free], which in screenshots looks very much like something that's been done again and again on iOS, isn't likely to turn anyone's head. But after seeing the name of the developer, I had to check the game out. This game comes to us from Mangobile, the developer behind the equally plain-on-the-surface Kingturn [Free] strategy games. They're probably never going to win any awards for presentation pizazz, and while the Kingturn games certainly have their twists, they don't get by on innovation as much as they do from immensely solid construction and clever scenario design...

This puzzle/adventure game from Bandai Namco is far from innovative but attaching average game play to a beloved franchise is a sure way to climb the charts. In Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle [Free], you play as an unnamed fighter working to avert the disaster of an "expanding dimensional distortion." Trunks and King Kai direct you on your quest, forwarding the plot and offering battle advice. The story gets a bit convoluted from there, especially when trying to explain why the Z-Fighters are battling each other...

Let me start this review by apologizing for its tardiness. I've been kicking this down the road for weeks, mostly because I've been kicking the game itself down the road for weeks. I've been doing that because playing Always Sometimes Monsters [$4.99] is not fun, or exciting, or even remotely enjoyable for me. A great deal of that is intentional design. Some of it isn't. The terrible mobile UI is likely not meant to be a commentary on anything, for example. Nor are the technical hiccups that occur during many mini-games. Beyond that, however, the game itself is not looking to give you a good time. It's essentially a series of depressing choices between bad options where anyone and everyone is ready to spew out a fortune cookie at you unsolicited. Being an iffy port of a divisive game, it's both easy and hard to review at the same time. Hence, the feet-dragging...

Have you ever had the sudden urge to be a creepy person wandering around in public making people uncomfortable? If so, you are in luck. Magic Cube's Barcode Knight[$0.99] is out and offers you the perfect excuse to wander around and scan random barcodes with your iOS device. Whether you are sneaking around a Walmart or lurking in a McDonalds, you now have an almost semi-plausible excuse for it. ..

UpUp: Frozen Adventure [Free] by developer Sioux is a fresh take on iOS puzzle platformers. The crux of the game is to guide an unnamed hiker safely up the mountain before he freezes to death. There is a health bar in the upper lefthand corner that slowly empties as you get colder and colder. The goal is to balance speed and collection strategies, as there are small yellow gems scattered throughout each level...

'KKRacing' Review - The Kart Racer We Deserve

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June 26th, 2015 11:30 AM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in 3 stars, Free, Games, Racing, Reviews, Universal
Free Buy Now

I have a question: What would you get if you crossed an antelope with a human baby? I have no idea. No one does. One more question: What if you crossed one of those Puzzle & Dragons [Free] style social RPGs with Mario Kart? Hey, I actually have an answer for that! You’d get KKRacing [Free] by Beijing Kaku All-dimensional Media Co. That may sound like an awful combination, but it’s actually pretty good. And loads more fun than a babylope...

Of all the stories I expected to experience this week, a cross between a dating simulation and 21 Jump Street was not especially high on the list, but here we are. Sword Of Asumi [$1.99] is a visual novel with mild dating sim elements that casts you as an undercover assassin trying to root out the source of a terrorist threat at a school. You'll have to pose as a schoolgirl for however long it takes to find the culprit, with your superior keeping an eye on you as one of the teaching staff. I'll be honest: I think that's an absolutely brilliant premise for a game like this. It's a good central plot to build a story around, providing reasons to mingle with as many people as possible in a variety of locations. There are potentially great conflicts if you happen to get close to someone who is involved in the nefarious plot. There's a reason this all worked so well for Fox in the late 1980s...

I rag on Kemco quite a bit sometimes, but I really have to commend them for sticking to their guns even as the whole market has changed around them. Just about every month, we can look forward to getting at least one traditional JRPG, albeit with wildly varying levels of quality between titles. To the best of my knowledge, they are pretty much the last publisher on Earth regularly serving that niche, as even companies like Square Enix are shifting further towards the popular social RPG model that has captured the affections of Japanese gamers. I may not like every game they release, but I greatly appreciate what they're doing. Their latest iOS release in English, Legend Of Ixtona [$3.99], has the publisher taking on a slightly different, but no less traditional, model of RPG. It's an isometric turn-based strategy RPG in the style of Yasumi Matsuno's Tactics series of games, and although it's a bit rough, it's surprisingly decent for a first effort...

King's got their formula down pat by now. First, take a puzzle concept that has shown some success in the past, be it Bejeweled, Peggle [$0.99], Puzzle Bobble, or anything else. If it's not already stage-based, change it so that it is. Then dial up the difficulty gradually, spiking it now and then to tempt players towards buying power-ups. Introduce new levels regularly, new gimmicks almost as often, do the whole thing up in a sharp package, and wait for the money to come in. No one can deny the success they've had at it, to be sure. But apart from Candy Crush Saga [Free]'s follow-up Candy Crush Soda Saga [Free], King's had trouble making their games stick of late. Their major successes, the two Candy Crush games, Farm Heroes Saga [Free], and Pet Rescue Saga [Free], continue to hang on the higher positions of the top grossing charts, but other efforts like Diamond Digger Saga [Free] and Paper Pear Saga [Free] have gone nowhere. My gut tells me there's a pattern here, and that same instinct tells me that King's latest, AlphaBetty Saga [Free], might suffer the same fate...

'Hardest Game Ever 2' Review - Deceptive Titling

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June 3rd, 2015 4:30 PM EDT by Brittney Broder in 3 stars, Arcade, Games, Ratings, Reviews
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To call The Hardest Game Ever 2 (HGE2) the “hardest game ever” is a bit deceptive. Rather, the game hinges on a series of simplistic challenges that range from mindlessly easy to frustratingly difficult. New stages unlock as existing stages are passed with varying degrees of success, which is rated according to a letter-grade system. Getting a higher score will earn you a “S” (for “Star”) and a certain amount of stars are required for unlocking further levels. The difficulty of the game comes from needing to acquire so many S-level rankings, rather than just passing the minigames themselves...

'Shobon Flip' Review - There Has To Be A Twist

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May 29th, 2015 3:30 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $0.99, 3 stars, Games, Pinball, Reviews, Universal
99¢ Buy Now

What is a Shobon? This was the biggest, most pressing question nagging at me while playing Shobon Flip [$0.99] by Masami Kodaira. A brief, incredibly confusing google search informed me that it has something to do with a cat character (who may be suffering from depression) that has appeared in various Mario-like platformers on the internet. Maybe you already knew that, and good for you if you did. The reason I needed to know is that he, she, or it is also the star of this weird little pinball game. The ball is a Shobon, and the background is often filled with a giant naked Shobon flexing his muscles and shaking his pearly white butt around. Readers, welcome to my nightmares...

'Tofu Hunter' Review - Tofu Isn't This Bland

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May 27th, 2015 4:15 PM EDT by Chris Carter in 3 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, Reviews, Shooter, Universal
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Sometimes a parody can be just as shallow as the very thing it attempts to lampoon. Take Tofu Hunter [Free]. It makes every attempt to poke fun at games like Deer Hunter, subbing out living pieces of bean curd for real live woodland creatures. Just like a bad batch of soy milk, it's a little too bitter...

When we say a game is "love it or hate it", we typically mean that some people are going to dig it and other people aren't. Destiny Emerald [$2.99] is "love it or hate it" in a different sense. Sometimes I love the game, and other times I hate it. I can't really decide which one is the overpowering feeling here. I love that it's a fairly straight gameplay homage to the older Legend Of Zelda games, and that unlike most efforts in that vein, it actually delivers a satisfying, lengthy adventure. I love the thematic tip of the hat to Falcom's Legacy Of The Wizard, with a whole family of selectable characters each with their own talents. The visuals are generally appealing, and the dungeon design is solid, if a little uninspired. I hate the unforgiving collision detection. I'm not a fan of the technical issues that end up slowing the game to a standstill or warping my character when the screen scrolls. The game's economy is completely broken, and it has a serious effect on the overall experience...

As a longtime fan of gamebooks and interactive fiction in general, I've enjoyed seeing the genre blossom on iOS, especially within the last few years. What's especially great about it is that it hasn't simply been the work of any one developer. The genre is far stronger for having a variety of voices like inkle, Tin Man Games, Forge Reply, and Cubus Games each doing their own thing. A lot of people who probably haven't picked up a physical gamebook since elementary school are enjoying the feast of choices we have available to us on our mobile devices. Each push of boundaries for the genre seems to widen the audience even more. A lot of the recent hits have focused on playing with the presentation or the freedom to move away from the traditional structure adopted from paper books. The monochrome sketches of Lone Wolf [$0.99] coming to life, the simple yet striking imagery of 80 Days [$4.99], the hilarious Kate Beaton sketches of Hamlet and company in Ryan North's To Be Or Not To Be [$5.99], or even the rocking soundtrack of Heavy Metal Thunder [$4.99] are all signs of a genre that is casting off the limitations of the past and charging into its own unwritten future...

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