Category Archives: 4.5 stars

'Manowar' Review - Ship For Brains

The term “manowar” can refer to a lot of very different things. It’s a metal band from New York that at various times held the Spinal Tap-esque title of "World’s Loudest Band". It’s the name of a famous horse in the '20s that is considered by several prestigious organizations as the greatest racehorse that ever lived. And my personal favorite: the Portugeuse Man o’ War, a truly bizarre jellyfish-like sea creature made up of a whole colony of smaller animals with one hell of a painful sting. The original meaning of the phrase comes from British warships from centuries past that had tons of cannons and other murder-y things like that, and it’s this definition that the game Manowar [$1.99] by Lachlan Nuttall uses as a jumping off point for a series of maddeningly clever puzzles...

Deck Builders have really been on the rise in recent years. From the humble beginnings of games like Dominion, now we’ve even got Marvel and Alien deck builders. I’m really partial to this genre myself. Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer [Free] is a game I still log into from time to time and it has never left my phone or iPad. I think the appeal of deck builders comes from having every card you’ll need right in the box. You don’t collect or trade cards and meticulously build your own deck before even playing. You and your friends can play right out of the box with a much smaller financial investment. They’re massively approachable. Anyway, the point is, Deck Builders are my jam, and Splendor [$6.99] is a super tasty mixed berry jam that’s won several awards for being so darn tasty...




'Loot & Legends' for iPad Review - Plenty of Loot Awaits In This Funny and Entertaining Game

A few days ago, I wrote a story about how Collectible Card Games are flourishing on mobile devices, with Hearthstone, of course, leading the way. If you haven't read the article, a new report from SuperData Research stated that the portability and popularity of mobile devices have created an excellent environment for digital CCGs. Why have I started a review of Dropforge Games' Loot & Legends [Free (HD)], which from its screenshots looks like a table-top board game, with a discussion about CCGs? Well, maybe the name of Loot & Legends' PC predecessor might give you a clue: Card Hunter, Blue Manchu's 2013 hit that cleverly put a table-top board game of old and a CCG into a blender and out came a game that cleverly injected a deck-building component into your RPG. Loot & Legends continues that tradition, producing a fun digital table-top experience that has CCG mechanics at its core...

'Hanger World' Review - Not A Used Clothing Store

I was a fan of TouchArcade long before I was a writer here, and one of my favorite of the more recent regular features is Shaun’s Update Mondays posts. The weird thing is, the updates themselves aren’t even why I look forward to it every week. Rather, it’s because I think Shaun’s a funny dude and I just enjoy reading his descriptions of each update. More specifically, I need to know what game he decides to give the coveted Update Mondays Most Spider-Mans Of The Week Award to. Is it going to be Spider-Man Unlimited [Free] again? (I mean, it does get a lot of Spider-Mans.) Or will it be something completely random? Well, I think I may have found a good future candidate. I’m talking about A Small Game’s Hanger World [Free], and it’s packed full of all kinds of Spider-Mans slinging themselves this way and that. As it turns out, it’s also a really, really fun game...

'Shibuya Grandmaster' Review - I Left My Heart In Shibuya

A long time ago, by App Store standards anyway, a unique puzzle game named Shibuya released on iPhone. Said to be inspired by the neon lights and the tall buildings of Tokyo's famous Shibuya district, it also seemed to be following in the footsteps of stylish puzzle games like Lumines and Meteos produced by Q Entertainment. The game got a lot of acclaim and a few updates, but it eventually fell behind the times and was pulled from the App Store. I had kind of thought we'd seen the last of it until I got word from the developer that Shibuya was returning, better than ever. Shibuya Grandmaster [Free] is a well-crafted update to the original, bringing modern features and style to the game while still offering up a strong and unusual twist on falling block puzzles...

'Champion Of The Gods' Review - Destiny's Child

The gamebooks released by publisher Choice Of Games are a bit of a tough sell to the uninitiated. I mean, gamebooks in general are a tough sell, but many of the other gamebook publishers on the App Store put a lot of work into the stuff around the text. Whether it's a plethora of illustrations, a unique visual presentation, added music or sound effects, or even just playing around with the appearance of the virtual pages, considerable effort seems to be spent to try to get people to give the actual meat of the experience, the text, a proper chance. Choice Of Games offers little more than a splash image, generic radio buttons for choices, a couple of splashes of color in the status screen, and black text on white pages. There is no sleight of hand here. It all falls on the plot, the quality of the writing, and the success of the choices presented in creating a compelling personal experience for the player...

'To-Fu Fury' Review - Soy Milk Ninja

There's been a resurgence of games featuring tofu in the past year or so, but not all of them are necessarily worth checking out. Naturally, I gravitated towards a recent release called To-Fu Fury [$1.99], featuring piece of ninja tofu. I mean, when have ninjas ever let me down, right? While you won't be running on rooftops and taking down rival daimyos in epic combat, you will be flinging yourself across the screen and collecting pieces of Chi. It's more of a zen-like ninja experience, and that's completely fine with me, given how great the control scheme is...

It's really tough to describe a game like Agar.io [Free]. It hearkens back to the old age of computing, back when Prodigy and CompuServe allowed users access to games at the cost of an hourly rate. There's something soothing about the experience, and since it's free and gets right into the action in seconds, you may as well try it out...

'Impulse GP' Review - Crotch Rocket

'Impulse GP' Review - Crotch Rocket

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July 28th, 2015 1:00 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $2.99, 4.5 stars, Games, Racing, Reviews, Universal
$2.99 Buy Now

Do you remember what you were doing three and a half years ago? I do. I was posting a thread on the TA forums cursing the gods for not giving us a halfway decent WipEout-like on iOS. It got no replies, probably because it wasn’t that big of a problem in the grand scheme of things. You can read my embarrassingly whiny rant here, if you feel like wanting to punch someone in the mouth. Misguided Gameloft hate and hilariously outdated Fling references aside, I think what Young Nathan was getting at was the frustration of how big the App Store seemed and how few of those apps were actually great. It’s a problem that still persists...

'Warhammer 40K: Deathwatch - Tyranid Invasion' Review - Glorious Space Hunters

Rodeo Games has a niche, and they're getting better and better at satisfying it with each new release. Their last game was a fairly well-received conversion of the classic Warhammer Quest [$4.99] board game, and their newest release is another Warhammer-themed turn-based strategy game. Of course, before all of that, Rodeo Games made their name with their excellent Hunters series of turn-based strategy games, and its from those roots that Warhammer 40K: Deathwatch [$4.99] draws most strongly from. This is basically Hunters 3, albeit with a Warhammer 40K skin. Some might frame that as a negative, but it's been a few years since the last Hunters game. I'm more than willing to entertain a sequel at this point, especially one as high-quality as Deathwatch...

As the mobile market trends further and further away from classic, no frills, pay-up-front gaming in favor of freemium models, games like The Silver Bullet [$1.99] become an ever increasing rarity. I don't really hate freemium, and there are still plenty of places to find that classic gaming experience. But it would still be nice to see more games like this one, from Korean developer KwangSam Kim and Byulbram studio, supported by the masses. Because man this one is a surprising treat, with awesome gameplay across a fairly lengthy campaign...

I don't think I'll ever get tired of samurai-based media. There's a certain elegance to it, especially when it's coupled with images of Japan's serene countryside. In that regard, Samurai Blitz [Free] is basically everything I could ever want out of an endless action experience...

'Avernum 2: Crystal Souls' Review  - The Empire Strikes Back

If you’ve been following along on our RPG Reload Podcasts, you’ll know that we have a soft spot for Spiderweb Software’s excellent old-school RPGs. In addition to dedicating a whole segment to Avernum: Escape from the Pit [$9.99 (HD)]on Episode 2, we’ve also spoke at length to the recent drama regarding Avernum 2: Crystal Souls [$9.99 (HD)]. Released and taken off the market within a day, issues with iOS 8.3 threatened not only its release but also the release of future titles. Thankfully, all that has been resolved and Jeff Vogel’s group has rereleased the second game in the Avernum series on iPad. It’s a big win for RPG fans, as Avernum 2 continues the excellent tradition of old-school RPG goodness with a new adventure deep underground...

'Adventures of Pip' Review - I Came In Like A Rectangle

The majority of games I’ve been playing the past few months have been somewhat shallow affairs. Quick reaction games, simple puzzlers, goat simulators. That’s not to say some of them haven’t been excellent and extremely rewarding experiences, but it’s no shock that iOS games, for the most part, tend to not be terribly deep. Now, before you exclaim “But Nate! What about X or Y?”, just know that I’m not saying there aren’t ANY substantial games on the App Store. I’m just saying that if you pull up the list of recently released games on Appshopper any given hour, you’re gonna be flipping through quite a few pages before you find anything more than random clickers, Ketchapp-style microgames, and some gross casino sims. (Also, don’t call me Nate. Only my friends call me that, and I don’t know any of you weirdos.)..

'Lines the Game' Review - Dot You Forget About Me

'Lines the Game' Review - Dot You Forget About Me

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July 7th, 2015 10:00 AM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $2.99, 4.5 stars, Games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
$2.99 Buy Now

Take a look at the screenshots for Lines the Game [$2.99]. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Pretty lame, right? I mean, it’s a bunch of empty, basic shapes on a white background. I’ve seen sweaters that looked more fun to play. Heck, even the name is painfully uninspired. “Lines”, huh? Oh, and it’s a “Game”? You don’t say. How about I pour myself a glass of warm water and prepare a big ol’ bowl of lettuce, ‘cause “Lines the Game” is here and we need to celebrate this. Well, the joke’s on me (as is often the case), because Gamious’ new game is actually shockingly great. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s my favorite puzzle game at the moment. It’s brilliant, satisfying, supremely relaxing, and--to borrow an amusingly awkward phrase from the literary world--unputdownable. So… what is it?..

'Pixel Dungeon' Review – Simple Name, Legendary Game

Eons ago, a roguelike was created, and lo, all was good. The game was highly praised, and many flocked to bask in it’s simple but difficult glory. This congregation became a community, discussing the game’s many elements and even creating a wiki, raising the lowly game to great new heights. The roguelike grew over time, incorporating new mechanics and levels, but still something was amiss. This game was not to be found in lands of iOS. Thus a prophecy was born, that this game would come to iOS, heralding a great new age of…. Something, something. That’s getting tiresome. Long story short, Pixel Dungeon [$2.99] is here, fools!..

I hold two very strong opinions about the Dragon Quest series, one of which is agreed upon by many, and the other of which is slightly more controversial. First, Dragon Quest is like pie in that there is no bad one. My least favorite is either Dragon Quest 2 [$4.99] or Dragon Quest 8 [$19.99], but I'd still hand over a weekend to replaying both, no questions asked. With that being said, the other thing that I believe is that the series hit its creative peak with Dragon Quest 5 [$9.99]. That's not to say subsequent games didn't sometimes hit some very high notes, as my pie opinion shows. But if there is such thing as a work that a creative mind invests in so completely that they leave a big piece of themselves with said work forever, Dragon Quest 5 would be a huge example. That's an ominous way to begin a review of Dragon Quest 6 [$14.99], I'll admit, but I felt it was important to be upfront about that...

'WonderCat Adventures' Review - Catforming Purrfection

'WonderCat Adventures' Review - Catforming Purrfection

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June 24th, 2015 1:30 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $1.99, 4.5 stars, Games, Platform, Reviews, Universal
$2.99 Buy Now

One of my favorite things about the App Store is how many hidden gems there are that pop up week and week. Sure, there’s a lot more garbage than gold, but that’s what Touch Arcade’s here for: to dip our proverbial pan into Apple Creek and shake it around until we see something shiny. And friends, I may have just struck it rich...

'Her Story' Review - Turns Out FMV Games Just Needed Good Acting and Writing

Her Story [$4.99] is one of the more unique games I have played in recent memory, by far. At its core, you're just browsing a search engine, trying to find the right queries for what you're looking for, but that's pretty much irrelevant. Her Story is a mystery, where you have a mystery involving dozens of segments of police interviews with a woman, where you're trying to piece together the mystery at hand. The game is about putting together the disparate pieces, paying attention to clues to discover the truth of what happened with the woman and her missing husband...

'Radical Rappelling' Review - Rock & Roll

'Radical Rappelling' Review - Rock & Roll

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After a few years of reviewing iOS games at Touch Arcade and elsewhere, I've begun to notice something. You can usually tell how "good" or "bad" a game is by the specificity of your gripes with it. If I'm writing generally about how the controls don't work or the graphics are ugly, the game as a whole probably isn't that great. However, if I'm spending an entire paragraph about how disappointed I am that one level is too hard or too easy, or that there aren't enough pants to buy in the shop, there's a good chance the rest of the game is pretty enjoyable. Why waste time pointing out every little flaw if there are bigger problems to discuss? And conversely, if a game seems to nail everything, what else is there to discuss but the tiny annoyances that don't really amount to much?..

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