Category Archives: 3 stars

When Nintendo released the Game Boy in 1989 with Tetris packed right in the box, that's when I feel mobile gaming really hit the mainstream. Sure, there were handheld gaming systems before it, like Nintendo's own Game & Watch devices among others, but back when the '90s were just on the horizon everybody and their brother/sister/aunt/uncle/grandpa/dog/parakeet were playing some Tetris on the Game Boy...

Gun and Mighty Rabbit Studios’ latest iOS turn-based tactical-strategy game - Breach & Clear [$3.99] - could be so much more than what it is, and promises to be, when... it’s actually finished. With loads of content dangling in your face, locked-aside with a note that simply reads "coming soon," Breach & Clear quickly dipped into the depths of disappointment with me the more I played of it...

Eternal Descent: Heavy Metal Heroes [$2.99] was an instabuy for yours truly. Heavy Metal, using guitars as weapons, and Joe Satriani? What could be more suited to a middle-aged metal-head gamer like myself?..

Walking along a grassy forest floor among silhouetted trees shooting interminably upward, each step rumbling in his ear, the Boy accidentally steps on a wolf trap. His head pops into the air, followed by a comet’s tail of black blood, as his body goes limp, and the trap pries itself open with a creak. It’d be funny if it weren’t so arresting, but that’s Limbo [$4.99]...

One of the coolest things about the rise of independent games combined with a global digital market is that we are seeing more and more games developed in countries we don't typically associate with games. We've all played our fair share of games from Japan, the USA, the UK, France, and Canada, but now almost every country is joining the fray, with some interesting results. Moscow Dash [$0.99], from Russian publisher Star Computers Trading, is a fine example...

Now this was a heck of a surprise when I jumped on to the forums the other day and saw that Colin McRae Rally [$2.99] was available on iOS. I rubbed my eyes and stared at the screen, thinking that the information was too good to be true and that someone must have spiked my cereal but no, it was right there, App Store link and all...

In a genre that's incredibly crowded, Picaro Games' Attack of the Spooklings [$0.99 / Free] had to get a lot right just to earn some attention. True, a quickie action game requires good, simplistic gameplay and decent presentation, but supplemental aspects such as secondary goals are a must to stand out. Spooklings mostly hits the former, but it pretty much ignores the latter, making it a title that may be overlooked simply because it doesn't offer enough...

Top down racers are a dime a dozen. Whether you've played Supercars on Amiga or Super Off-Road on the Commodore 64, the genre is hardly new, and for the most part is full of mediocrity, especially in the iOS world. There are the odd gems like Reckless Racing 2 [$0.99] but for every shiny jewel there is an equally unpolished turd. Enter GP Retro [Free / Free], a pixelated top-down racing game from Small Thing...

Take a look at that cute icon, check out those colorful screenshots, listen to that whimsical music. What kind of game would you expect Whirl the Squirrel [$0.99] to be? Unless you answered a punch in the face with brass knuckles, I'm afraid you don't win the kewpie doll. What, one of you did? Go away, kid, you're bothering me. Anyway, back to what I was saying. This game represents one of the more jarring mismatches of theme and difficulty I've come across in quite some time, and while that's not necessarily a bad thing, Whirl the Squirrel goes perhaps a little too far...

After a little bit of confusion, Contra: Evolution [$0.99 / $2.99 (HD)] is finally available on the App Store for all the world to play. This is an official remake of the original NES Contra game (as opposed to the arcade original), developed by Konami's Shanghai studio and published by CocoaChina. This isn't a straight port or simple graphically enhanced version, however. Some changes have been made to try to make it more of a modern game, and the results are unfortunate...

After releasing Runaway: A Twist of Fate on the app store in two parts, distributor Bulkypix has seen fit to step back in time and release Runaway: A Road Adventure [$4.99], the first of the series, only this time a single download. I'm not quite sure why they decided to mess with the space-time continuum in releasing the games in this backwards way, but at least you can now start from the beginning...

Eek! Bugs! Everyone hates them. Flies. Ants. Mosquitos. Nature’s way of pestering you for no reason whatsoever. Outside, sure, that’s fine, we’re in their turf. But you know what’s annoying? When they come inside where you live, causing your dog to jump like crazy trying to catch them, and generally being a nuisance...

Who doesn’t like planting crops and a little cross-pollination? It’s the kind of relaxing fun that got thousands hooked on Farmville, until those Facebook alerts got unbearable. Bloom Box [$0.99 / Free] is the new plant-based puzzle game from Nexxstudio. If you plant your seeds in the right sequence, you can set off a chain reaction that brings your tiny garden to life. It’s an intricate setup for a game that isn’t as complex as it wants to be. ..

"Wow". That's pretty much what I said when I saw the screenshots and the dodgy icon for Reckless Hero [Free] over in the forums. I'm a bit of a sucker for eye candy and from those few glimpses of polished pixels, I was sold. Off I headed to the app store, where I was met again by quite possibly the strangest choice for an icon that I have ever seen in an iOS game. You see, Reckless Hero is an endless driving game in which the goal is to avoid burnt out wrecks, whilst turning as many zombies as possible into red mist. Why the developer decided that a grinning cartoon guy, giving the thumbs up, made for an appropriate icon choice, I'll never know. It certainly doesn't represent the game and I fear a load of people are going to overlook this otherwise solid title...

While the JRPG genre is mostly famous through the works of Square-Enix, Atlus, Namco, and Falcom, one little publisher keeps plugging away at the genre on iOS. RPG Covenant of Solitude [$7.99] is the latest effort from Kemco, and as usual, it's a bit of a mixed bag with more than a few carelessly cut corners. With so many of these games just from Kemco itself, it's sometimes hard to figure out how any particular one stands out...

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