Category Archives: 4.5 stars

'Rule with an Iron Fish' Review - Good ol' Fishin' Without IAP Bait

In a sea of ad-based gaming, currencies upon currencies, and premium purchases, it's fun to find a game every so often that abandons that entirely. Sometimes, a game itself is a premium purchase, bestowing everything, from content to opportunities, with reckless abandon. It's a model that isn't exactly popular with each passing year, but one that still exists -- and the developers of Rule with an Iron Fish [$2.99] have executed it wonderfully...

'Lost Frontier' Review – Dang Near Perfect, I Reckon

Mika Mobile. I have a certain fondness and emotional connection to these guys. Back in 2011, I had just started my career as a mobile game critic. Working for a different site, I had the pleasure and privilege of playing and reviewing the Android version of Battleheart [$2.99] as one of my most early pieces of work. We’re talking second week on the job here. I have grown leaps and bounds since then, and so has Mika Mobile, upping the ante to the incredible Battleheart Legacy [$4.99]. Now they’re breaking into a new genre for the studio, and while I would say it isn’t as strong as the Battlehearts, it really is great. This is the weird west turn based strategy, Lost Frontier [$2.99]. Saddle up, folks. This one is a doozy...




'Tormentum – Dark Sorrow' Review – Enthralled by Darkness

The App Store gods have been kind to my weird self this year, first with the gloriously twisted adventure tale of I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream, and now with another point and click adventure that is just wrapped in brutal art within a bleak world and some moral quandaries that leave you thinking.Tormentum – Dark Sorrow [$4.99] is an absolutely gorgeous powerhouse of an adventure game, and it is objectively incredible in many ways, even if it doesn’t appeal to your subjective tastes as hard as it does to mine...

'Pixel Cup Soccer 16' Review - There's Your Fairytale

It's rather telling that the best soccer titles on handheld devices are the simplest. The reductionist approach of games such as New Star Soccer [Free] - where only a few elements of the sport such as scoring goals are focused on - fits mobile gaming so much better, as instead of trying to port a console experience which simply doesn’t fit on the iPhone, they play to the smartphone’s strengths. Pixel Cup Soccer 16 [$2.99] is another fantastic addition to the growing roster of soccer games, and focuses - for better and for worse - on the simplest arcade elements of the beautiful game to provide an extremely fun footballing experience that is easy to pick up, hard to master and even more difficult to put down...

Chances are good that if you know any Japanese RPGs at all, you know Final Fantasy [$7.99]. It's also quite likely you've at least heard of Dragon Quest [$2.99], even if you haven't played it. Chrono Trigger [$9.99] and Secret Of Mana [$7.99] are both quite well-known worldwide, as well. It's not surprising, then, that Square Enix has diligently ported almost every one of those games to mobile over the last several years. With only a few holes remaining among their world-famous titles, however, Square Enix is probably going to have to dig a little deeper in their back catalogue if they want to find new candidates to port. This year we've already seen a lovely remake of Final Fantasy Adventure in the form of Adventures Of Mana [$13.99]. Perhaps it's fitting, then, that the next unexpected selection comes from the other series that started on Nintendo's Game Boy...

'VOEZ' review - Hits All The High Notes

Over the years, Rayark have made a name for themselves in the iOS community for consistently rolling out quality premium games on the App Store. 2015’s Implosion - Never Lose Hope [$9.99] was extremely well received both in our review and on the forums, and left us waiting for what the Taiwanese developers would astound us with next. VOEZ [Free] is, in many ways, a departure - it’s free to play and moves away from the exhilarating action based gameplay of Implosion. However, a return to rhythm games which initially solidified their reputation coupled with excellent production values and fresh spins on a tired and stale genre means Rayark have stuck to the formula which has won them over so many loyal fans...

'Imbroglio' Review - It's Quite The Hoopla

There are two things I know when I fire up a new game from Michael Brough. One, its presentation is probably not going to win any awards. Two, I'm going to have a good time. Brough's got a talent for designing games whose gracefully skate the line between accessibility and depth. 868-HACK [$4.99] is the kind of game that should probably be on everyone's mobile device. I'm sure it isn't, but it ought to be. His latest game is Imbroglio [$3.99], and while it's clearly another spin on the single-screen strategy trappings that comprise many of Brough's offerings, it is a clever one. It has a similar appeal to 868-HACK, but throws in a few interesting twists for your brain to chew on...

'Mazes Of Karradash 2' Review - Go Big Or Go Home

I'm frequently impressed at how quickly some small developers can create a game. It hasn't even been a year since the original Mazes Of Karradash [$0.99] released, and here I am looking at an impressively large-scale sequel. The fundamentals of the game haven't changed much in Mazes Of Karradash 2 [$1.99], but everything is bigger, brighter, and more advanced. Whereas I tended to think of the first game as a lightweight RPG best fit for filling in short gaps of time, the sequel has become something you'll want to settle into a comfy chair to play...

'Leap Day' Review - Jump for Joy

'Leap Day' Review - Jump for Joy

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May 26th, 2016 12:00 PM EDT by Chris Carter in 4.5 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Platform, Reviews, Universal
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I always seem to gravitate towards Nitrome's games. I don't know what it is, but I always pick up their latest game not knowing that it's actually them. And there's a common theme after all these experiences -- I usually come out enjoying myself. With a neat new gimmick, now I can add Leap Day [Free] to that list...

'Mekorama' Review - Mechanical Valley

'Mekorama' Review - Mechanical Valley

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May 26th, 2016 11:00 AM EDT by Chris Carter in 4.5 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
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Isometric puzzle games pretty much have me at hello. There's something about the lovely god-like viewpoint that gives me a sense of wonder, in addition to a strict sense of control, that I really dig. Monument Valley [$3.99] is pretty much the king of the mobile space when it comes to those experiences, yet a number of games have risen to the call and have cemented themselves as worthy adversaries. While Mekorama [Free] isn't as attractive when it comes to its art style (the base game clocks in at just 8MB!), it makes up for it in charm, and a pretty nifty level editor...

'I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream' Review – A Master Class in Psychological Horror

Some of you may remember from previous reviews of mine that I love horror and dark fantasy. Everything from Lovecraftian anti-existentialism to tastefully done psychological horror to torture porn to “2Edgy4U” bull-crap. I find something to enjoy in all of it. I also love simple stories of heroes and hope and overcoming hardships, don’t get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoy the darkest depths and the brightest heights of the human imagination. Well… if any one living author, and any particular story, represents those darkest depths, it’s Harlan Ellison and his story and point and click adventure game, I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream [$3.99]...

'Titan Quest' Review - It's A Win, But At What Cost

Ever since Gameloft's Dungeon Hunter series shifted gears towards a free-to-play model, one of the most frequent requests I've seen come up in the TouchArcade forums has been for a game that could fill the role of a paid substitute for Diablo. Unfortunately, most of the big publishers have little interest in making games like that, and the scope of something like Diablo is just a little beyond the means of most independent developers. We've seen a few attempts, but they usually end up being buggy, feeling incomplete in some regard, or dropping the ball in one of many other ways. Hopes were raised last year when a couple of familiar names from the PC scene were announced for iOS. In the case of one of those names, Torchlight, it was revealed that the game would be modified to fit a free-to-play model, so everything has come to rest on the other: DotEmu's iOS version of Titan Quest [$7.99]...

'The Walking Dead: Michonne' Episode 3 Review -  In the End, Does Her Violence and Killing Leave Space for Her Humanity?

If you've watched The Walking Dead TV show, then you probably know Michonne as the almost-immortal bad-ass with the samurai sword who chops off zombie heads as if her sole purpose is helping the poor creatures depart this world. The Michonne of the TV show has consistently been the most independent and strongest of the survivors, despite a few moments when her traumatic past rises to the surface. Those few moments aside, Michonne's character stands as the glue that often holds the group together, and her sheer will, determination, and head-chopping skills have turned her into possibly the greatest symbol of strength in the face of adversity. Having this Michonne in mind, I was immediately surprised by the way she's portrayed in the first episode of Telltale's three-part miniseries, The Walking Dead: Michonne [$4.99] (sorry, spoilers from here onwards)...

'Pathfinder Adventures' Review - Or How to Make a Card Game Feel More Like an Adventure

Do you like adventuring? Do you enjoy role playing? Do you like cards? Do you like rolling imaginary dice? Then I think you're going to like Pathfinder Adventures [Free (HD)], Obsidian's digital port of the very popular Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. I'm always interested in seeing how games translate to different mediums, and I was curious to see how this physical card game would look like - and play -  on my iPad. I'm glad to say that Obsidian did a great job turning what can be a complicated card game into a great app that though not perfect, definitely delivers a great looking game that's relatively easy to play - at least as easy as the original rules allow it to be...

'INKS.' Review - Paintball Wizard

'INKS.' Review - Paintball Wizard

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There are a few ways you can look at INKS. [$1.99], the latest release from Lumino City [$4.99] developer State Of Play. On the one hand, it's a beautiful piece of interactive art, allowing each player to uniquely paint a design based on how they play. On the other hand, it's probably State Of Play's most conventional game yet, since it's really just pinball at its core. That's a genre which has no shortage of excellent entries on the iOS platform, and when compared on a strictly mechanical basis against them, INKS. is far from the front of the pack. You have to take it as a fusion of both of those things to see it on its best merits, I think. If nothing else, it will teach you more than a few things about how to play pinball, and it does it in quite the artistic fashion...

'Hammer Bomb' Review - A Fabulous Dungeon Crawler

Dungeon crawlers are in my blood. One of the first games I ever played for the NES was Dragon Warrior, also known as the first Dragon Quest. Sure I needed some help to actually beat it, but I eventually learned the concept of grinding out experience so that I was stronger, and the great feeling of conquering my foes with a newer better hero. Oh and the loot -- the fabulous loot -- that works in tandem with your newfound abilities to compound your strength. It's something I'll probably never get tired of. That experience doesn't always translate well to a smaller screen, but somehow, the developers of Hammer Bomb [Free] found a way...

'Chameleon Run' Review - A Change of Color

I've played so many runners in the past 10 years or so I've lost count. Much like my teenage years after I realized that I had played hundreds of platformers in my lifetime, over time, I started to notice that you can't really browse the App Store without seeing a runner front and center. While many groan at the prospect, I relish a new opportunity to check out a new entry, and a brand new way to spend entire days wasting away behind the comfort of a touchscreen...

'Fallen London' Review - An Artfully-Made, Wonderfully-Weird Labyrinth of Stories

I've always found the written word very alluring, which to a great degree explains my career choices and the fact that I'm writing this review right now. Books, and later adventure games and interactive fiction, were my gateways to all kinds of fantastic worlds, and I often judged those books on how well they managed to create a sense of place, how "real" those fake worlds felt to me. So, going in to play Fallen London [Free] (first its browser version and now its iOS version), I was intrigued by the description of the world I was about to inhabit - a "hilarious Victorian-Gothic underworld" version of London - and wondered how big that world would be and how vivid. Well, I soon realized that Fallen London's sense of place is among the best in any game I've played, textual or not, creating the strong impression that the world around me kept on living and breathing even in my absence, a key feature for any sense of realism when encountering absurd, fantastic worlds...

'Yo-Kai Watch Wibble Wobble' Review - Tap, Combine, and Pop

I am absolutely fascinated with Yo-Kai Watch. I've played the localized 3DS game, I watch the television show, and I have several trinkets from the toy line, including the actual titular watch. Having visited Japan for the first time last year I had the good fortune of speaking to residents about what a "Yo-kai" actually is, and how they differ from ghosts or other commonly known spirits. They're mischievous in nature, just like the "gremlins" in western folklore, which sets the perfect tone for a game featuring a crazy red cat that knows kung fu and calls his attacks "Paws of Fury." Yo-Kai Watch Wibble Wobble [Free] is the latest creation in this cross-media venture, and it draws a lot of influence from modern puzzle hits like the Tsum Tsum series in a good way...

'Pixel Machines' Review - If 'Micro Machines' Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It

I really don't think free-to-play is as bad as its vocal haters claim it is, but I totally get that it changes games' structures. Look at something like the soft-launched Micro Machines; if you just wanted a way to play the classic Micro Machines game on your iPhone or iPad, all the games-as-a-service shenanigans might be distasteful. Still, I think you should keep an open mind, but I get it. Change sucks. Thankfully, indie developers who just want to make cool homages to the classics and only charge you once, and small amounts at that, do still exist. Pixel Machines [$0.99] will really strike a chord with Micro Machines fans by being pretty much the same game, but with mobile-friendly and modern features...

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