Category Archives: 4.5 stars

'Lowlander' Review - More Highs Than Lows

Of all of the Ultima games you would expect someone to want to make a tribute to, Ultima 2 has got to be near the bottom of the list. Oh, it's no Ultima 9, to be sure, but I've always seen it as the little road bump on the way to Ultima 3 and 4 more fully realizing the concept of the series. It's a familiar story for sequels, I suppose, but by playing things a bit too safely, it had to succeed without the novelty of the original game and all of its faults. It was still a pretty good game in its time, but relative to the series on the whole, I think it's kind of underwhelming. I'm sure a whole list of people might disagree with that, and at least one of the names on the list would be the developer behind Lowlander [$1.99]...

'Space Marshals' Review - Some People Call Me Maurice

Space Marshals [$4.99] is not the dual-stick shooter you probably were expecting – at least not as a mobile game. This is a slow-burning, tactical shooter, eschewing the typical fast-paced, high-score-obsessed affairs that many dual-stick shooters try to be. Instead, this is about stealth, and using sounds to distract enemies, and trying to avoid wild firefights as much as possible. And it's from a company known for racing games. Yet, Space Marshals does a lot right, including with its reward-based loot system. This is the first episode of a series, and there's plenty to look forward to from this game, though there's a solid amount of game here already...

'Hero Emblems' Review - A Heroic Match-3 Adventure

As we mentioned in our Game of the Week post, there’s a certain amount of oversaturation that has hit the Match-3 genre on the App Store. Thus, the launch of Hero Emblems [$3.99] was met with some skepticism that it would be yet another Match-3 with nothing to differentiate itself. Thankfully that’s not the case with this gorgeous puzzler. Impressive strategic implications, beautiful visuals, and great RPG mechanics make this title worth checking out...

'Drop Wizard' Review - Here Comes the Drop

I absolutely love Neutronized's pixel art stylings. They added a lot of flair to their previous games Roar Rampage [$0.99] and Lost Yeti [$1.99], though both were darn good games in their own rights. Now they've returned with another pixelly game, and one that pays homage to single-screen arcade classics like Bubble Bobble with Drop Wizard [$1.99]. It's definitely a game that's paying homage to the classics, and feels like it'd be a great fit in an arcade cabinet from 25 years ago or so. But Neutronized don't just rest on their laurels with the retro homage, they actually make a game that's remarkably clever in and of itself...

'Dojo Slash' Review - Tap Ninja Tap

The mobile platform has allowed for quite a bit of experimentation. I've seen callbacks to the NES era, 16-bit, and more 32-bit remakes than you can shake a stick at (I'm looking at you Tomb Raider 1 and 2). But often times developers will put their own dose of charm into a game despite the fact that it doesn't belong in a single era -- and you get that feeling with Dojo Slash [Free] right from the get-go following a faux-DOS intro...

'Gentlemen...Ricochet Mini!' Review - Something to Reflect Upon

Limitations are often a great thing for an artist. Gentlemen...Ricochet Mini! [$0.99] shows that in two different facets. This is a sequel and de-make of Gentlemen...Ricochet! [$0.99] which strips away all the modern trappings of the original physics puzzler, and replaces it with something that could be on the original Game Boy. But this is hardly to the game's detriment, as it winds up improving on the original while not losing anything that made its concept great...

'Tales from the Borderlands' Review - Less Loot, More Talk

The idea of Tales from the Borderlands [$4.99] was certainly an intriguing one once it was announced. The Borderlands series definitely has a unique feel to it from its setting, dialogue, and characters that can be easily screwed up by a developer not quite in tune with the way the series operates. The good news is that Telltale Games are experts at story, so the idea that they could approach and do justice to this universe while also expanding on it in a way that isn't just a loot-filled first-person shooter is an interesting proposition...

'Crystal Siege HD' for iPad Review - Tower Defense Ain't Dead Yet

Certainly, tower defense is a genre where it's difficult to really rock the boat too much, especially since the genre's evolution was accelerated by the fact that it was a great fit for mobile, and everyone and their mother decided to apply their take on the genre. But hey, the games are still pretty fun, and there's still the occasional title with a clever twist on the proceedings. Crystal Siege [$4.99 (HD)] from Carrot Games and FDG Entertainment tries to apply an action-RPG take on tower defense, without drifting too much into the action-RPG side of things, like Dungeon Defenders [$2.99] does. As such, this winds up being a take on the genre that does some great things for itself while not rocking the boat too much...

'Cosmic Crown' Review - It's Good to be King

Cosmic Crown [$1.99] is just an undeniably cool game. It's a roguelike, particularly in the vein of Hoplite [$1.99] where there are occasional upgrades after levels to improve oneself with. But the uncommon twist about the game is that it's entirely one-dimensional, literally. The only movement is forward and backward, with traps, enemies, and slowly-opening doors serving as the things standing between the green protagonist and those sweet cosmic crowns...

'Mr. Particle Man' Review - At Last, One For The Gentlemen

Up-front disclaimer: I hadn't played or even heard of Ms. Particle Man [$1.99], the game this is a sequel to, until about a week ago. It was apparently released in late 2012, so I was probably busy building my deluxe shelter to protect myself from the impending inevitable apocalypse, which appears to be rather late at this point. I wish I had discovered it sooner, but I'm glad I finally did, even more so because I've found it by way of its superb follow-up, Mr. Particle Man [$1.99]. It's an unabashedly old-school experience that manages to make use of a few modern tricks, one of which I've never seen implemented in quite the same way before in an iOS game. Fair warning: Mr. Particle Man is one of those tough as nails games where you'll die, die, and die some more, and it's very possible, likely even, that you'll hit the limits of your own skill before the game is finished. If you're the sort that gets frustrated by games like that, move along with your sanity intact. For the rest of us weirdos who meet such adversity with laughter and an insane need to keep playing, what this game does is going to be a nice, comfortable fit...

'RPG Asdivine Hearts' Review - Credit Where It's Due, This Is Really Good

Well, friends, it was bound to happen sooner or later. A couple of the developers of Kemco's regular RPG releases have been dancing at the knife edge of quality for a while now, and it was only a matter of time before one of them finally lined up all the pieces and created something truly excellent. I always knew it would be you, EXE Create. Asdivine Hearts [$3.99] isn't just Kemco's best RPG release to date, it's one of the better original JRPGs available on mobiles from anyone. It doesn't transcend the genre in any meaningful ways, but every aspect of it not only shows a desire to change things up a bit, but to make sure all of those ideas actually work well together. If you like JRPGs and want something that isn't a port of a classic, this game should definitely be on your short list...

'Talisman' Review - Classic Boardgame gets Universal Update

I've been on a Games Workshop kick lately, and with the relatively recent universalization of Nomad Games' Talisman[$6.99], I couldn't help but scoop it up. This app has some sky high production quality with a full compliment of features including multiple view modes, full musical scoring and future content updates. I have to admit I caught a serious case of nostalgia seeing the old familiar 3-ringed map and some of my favorite classes again. This port is going to amaze and excite even if you haven't experienced the physical version of this classic board game...

'Puzzle to the Center of the Earth' Review - Miner Match-Thirty-Niner

There still aren't enough mining games out there in the world. Despite the resurgence of the genre on the mobile platform and recent mainstream hits like Steamworld Dig, I could probably play a new mining game every week without getting bored. There's something about digging down into the great unknown that fills a void many other titles can't, and Puzzle to the Center of the Earth [Free] manages to keep the core facets of the genre intact, while adding in some unique puzzle elements...

Drift'n'Drive [$1.99] is quite the fun chaotic top-down racing game. I was intrigued by the game when I saw a GIF of it in action with a whopping 32-car field, and it looked like something I had to play. And it lived up to my expectations. It's very much an arcade-like experience. The cars auto-accelerate, and have tires with low grip, making them drift-happy, and providing for a very chaotic game. And the only controls are left and right to steer, with a turbo boost that charges up over time. Helping with the chaos is the fact that the courses are generated randomly in the career mode, so it's about reacting to what might be coming up next and trying to stay on the road. Grass and dirt slow the car down, hitting trees and walls causes damage to the car, and it's possible to lose a wheel, which makes steering more difficult, until both front wheels are gone, and the vehicle is just straight-up wrecked...

'Sleep Attack TD' Review - Just a Microphone Short of a Beck Song

If you think you're all Tower Defense'd out, be prepared for the tables to turn. Ayopa Games have set their sights on a time honored genre that is, to be honest, usually pretty outdated. Sleep Attack TD[$2.99] is their first foray into tower defense. Our forums have been buzzing about this game for good reason. With the bright asthetic Ayopa is known for and some very unique gameplay, Sleep Attack brings some much needed defibrillation to a category of games that seems to be in constant danger of completely flat lining...

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