Category Archives: 4.5 stars

'Deep Loot' Review - A Treasure Hauled Up from the Depths of the App Store

If you've played a Monster and Monster game before, you will probably already be familiar with their ability to turn atmospheric chiptune music and simple yet detailed pixel graphics into a great mood driven experience. Autumn Walk [Free] and Winter Walk [Free] live and breathe on this adorable mood they instill. If you think Deep Loot [Free] is going to give you a similar experience, however, you are going to be in for some surprises at what else the game has in store for you...

'80 Days' Review - This Adventure Is More Than Just Hot Air

If it's not enough that developers inkle turned gamebooks on their heads with their wonderfully creative adaptation of Steve Jackson's Sorcery! [$4.99], they're now trying to out-adventure Jules Verne in his own story. 80 Days [$4.99], based on the classic Verne novel Around The World In 80 Days, takes the nearly-perfect premise of the book and uses it as a launching point for one of the most interesting tales I've come across in the interactive fiction genre. This isn't the kind of game that is going to get people to cross lines if they don't like this genre, but if you do, 80 Days is pretty much a must-have thanks to its sharp writing and incredible replay value...

'Modern Combat 5: Blackout' Multiplayer Review - A New Standard in iOS FPS MP

Gameloft’s Modern Combat series, like the Call of Duty’s and Battlefields before it, is usually a tale of two games. On the single player side, an action-packed (and typically short) adventure with a fantastical story typified the experience while multiplayer is a fast-paced endeavor with plenty of fragging accompanied with some sort of progression system. Modern Combat 5: Blackout [$6.99] fits the bill on the single player side (as evidence by our review), but does a great job expanding the series beyond what’s typically been expected on mobile on the multiplayer side. In fact, when it comes to multiplayer FPS titles on iOS, at this point there’s MC5, and there’s everything else...

'Hellraid: The Escape' Review - First Person Puzzling at its Finest

Folks paying attention to the PC scene may have heard of a soon-to-be-released game called Hellraid. From the makers of Techland, it’s a dark fantasy co-op action title placing players in the role of repelling a demonic invasion. However, in its iOS debut, Hellraid: The Escape [$2.99] doesn’t share the action-oriented approach as its PC and console cousin. In fact, the action is eschewed pretty much in its entirety for a first person puzzler. While this change in genre may disappoint some hoping for something with a bad more action, Hellraid: The Escape offers a pretty impressive experience on iOS...

'World of Tanks Blitz' Review - A Fine Addition To Wargaming's Cannon Canon

Although it's recently become something of a household name in gaming circles, Belarus-based developer Wargaming.net has been around for a while now. For the first several years, it focused on strategy games, both turn-based and real-time, and had modest success within that niche. It finally hit the big time with its release of World of Tanks for the PC, a massively multiplayer online action shooter designed with the strategic sensibilities you would expect from a developer with Wargaming's resume. Initially launched in Russia in 2011, it soon spread across the globe, enjoying huge success in virtually every region it released in. It's a rare free-to-play game that manages to pull in casual players and hardcore alike, with its fair economy, approachable gameplay, and surprising depth...

'Desert Fox' Review - Attempt To Do What The Fox Could Not

Erwin Rommel, also known as the Desert Fox, has got to be one of the more interesting figures of World War 2. For starters, he's a well-regarded man in spite of fighting for Nazi Germany in the war, a rare enough achievement for him to gain distinction on alone. He was an incredibly skilled military commander, demonstrating an uncanny level of strategy, especially in the challenging desert climates of North Africa. His conscience was such that his ultimate downfall only came about because he was part of the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, and even after being discovered, he was allowed to die with some dignity, with his family's safety assured. He was beloved by the people of Germany, highly respected by his enemies, and overall quite the military genius. For those reasons, and more, the world has seen fit to give him one of our highest awards: video games based on him and his exploits...

'Sky Force 2014' Review - A Modern Take On The Mobile Shoot-Em-Up

It's sometimes easy to forget how far mobile gaming has come in such a short time. Not even 10 years ago, people playing phone games were using ill-suited keypads to move sluggish characters around simple environments to fill the time while they waited for the bus. Almost none of the big game companies had their eye on the ball, and that left an opportunity for a bunch of smaller guys to get a lot more attention far more easily than they can today. As an example, just look at Sky Force. Originally released in 2004, developed by a four-person team in Poland, Sky Force's enjoyable mix of 1942 enemy patterns and Raiden-like visuals made it a big winner among early mobile gamers. It later enjoyed an enhanced port to other smartphones, with a choice of tilt or touch-based controls and a lot of features that were interesting at the time, like Open Feint. Like all too many games of that vintage, iOS updates eventually left Sky Force behind, sadly...

'Tales of the Adventure Company' Review - A Fine Tale, Indeed

Seeing a remarkable resurgence on the App Store lately, developers seem to have flocked to the rogue-like to try and create the next cool simplified adventure. Tales of the Adventure Company [$1.99] tackles this trend in a different manner, by combining some of those rogue elements with a traditional, tile-based puzzler’s look and feel. It also succeeds at melding these genres to a degree far higher than most games, making it an excellent combination of puzzle and strategic depth...

'Powerpuff Girls: Defenders Of Townsville' Review - Once Again, The Day Is Saved

Every once in a long while, things converge in this hobby in such a way that I almost feel the resulting game was aimed right at me. I'll confess, I was on top of this game as soon as I saw it was The Powerpuff Girls. I can't explain why watching three super-powered kindergarteners beat the crap out of a hyper-intelligent megalomaniacal talking monkey is awesome. I shouldn't need to. Next, I saw that word used to describe it: Metroidvania. That term gets tossed around a lot, and even though most of the games that invoke it rarely deliver, I'll still show up every time, because I miss Metroid and Symphony-style Castlevania games. Finally, as a ridiculously unnecessary coup-de-grace on the whole thing, I saw that it was developed by none other than radiangames, who have a very fine catalog of games on the App Store, including the recent Fluid SE [$1.99] and JoyJoy [$1.99]. They're a developer I trust enough to buy their games as soon as they appear, no questions asked...

'TwoDots' Review - Connecting Dots Is Still A Beautiful Thing

Joining the vast selection of exceptional iOS puzzle games isTwoDots [Free], the follow-up to Dots, one of last years smartest and hugely addictive puzzle games. Similar to the original title, which has racked up over 20 million downloads, the object of TwoDots is to connect dots of matching colors horizontally or vertically, and also like its predecessor, the best way to clear the level is to find squares of corresponding colors out of the game board in front of you...

'OTTTD' Review - Gives a New Meaning to the Term "Guts and Glory"

We checked out SMG Studio’s Over The Top Tower Defense title (OTTTD) last month and were stoked about its unique take on the genre. With an impressive melding of traditional TD and action-RPG elements, all of my expectations as to what it had to offer were happily exceeded. Indeed, OTTTD [$4.99] not only takes tower defense to a gameplay depth rarely seen for the genre, but it does so with ease, making this an awesome and refreshing update to the classic genre...

'Darkin' Review - Dungeon Raid: Breaking Dawn

Often imitated and never truly duplicated, Dungeon Raid [$1.99] is a near-perfect distillation of the puzzle-RPG concept and one of the better puzzle games around. To its credit, even three years after its last update, the game still functions properly on new hardware and updated versions of iOS, which sadly isn't the case for all too many older games. With that said, while it's still perfectly playable, the game is showing a lot of wear and tear from its abandonment. It doesn't fill out the screen on new hardware, the graphics don't take advantage of retina displays, and Open Feint still lingers in its icon and main menu in spite of that service having shuffled off the digital coil. We have to face facts, my friends. Someday, Dungeon Raid is not going to work anymore, and we need to find a replacement...

'Doug Dug.' Review - Grab Your Shovel And Dig In!

For the life of me, I really don't understand why I find digging so much fun. Whether it's digging at the beach, at the park, in the shoe section of Walmart, or in a video game, I really seem to get a lot of enjoyment out of displacing soil. If you think I'm weird, think of all the awesome video games about digging: Dig Dug, Mr. Driller [$4.99], Super Mario Bros. 2, Minecraft [$6.99], and Steamworld Dig, just to name a few highlights. Now, I'll grant you that in some of those games, digging is just a portion of the game, but there are quite a few games that center around the idea. Doug Dug [$1.99], the new game from pixa [$2.99] developers The Electric Toy Company, is all about digging for treasure and the risk versus reward that presents itself from the concept...

'99 Bricks: Wizard Academy' Review - An Excellent Twist On Tetris

Tetris [$0.99] is one awesome game. I personally consider it one of the best games ever made, and certainly one of the closest to pure perfection. While most other games are work-in-progress designs that eventually have to be snipped off, polished up, and released, Tetris's big coming-out releases on Game Boy and NES were essentially flawless realizations of the design's potential. Other than catching up with technology like internet play, what do you really add to Tetris to make it better? Every attempt to change the game in some way has resulted in, at best, a lateral move, and at worst, an absolute disaster. Well, 99 Bricks: Wizard Academy [$2.99] offers a few interesting answers to my question, and while it's probably not a better game, it's a more than worthy side-trip for fans of that classic...

'Dragon Quest VIII' Review - One Of Japan's Most Epic RPGs Gets A Slightly Less Epic Port

The Dragon Quest series has had an odd relationship with western gamers. It's a bonafide cultural icon in its home country of Japan in a way few games have managed to become anywhere. I mean, as I type this review, I can hear the theme being played by a school band at the local elementary school, and that's hardly a rare occurrence. However, it's never quite taken in the west, and it's certainly not for lack of trying. Nintendo gave the first game a massive push, overhauling the graphics, interface, and save system, and featuring it prominently in their magazine Nintendo Power, only to be left with so many unsold cartridges they ended up giving them away with subscriptions. Enix of America quietly translated and released the other three NES games, then disappeared shortly into the 16-bit generation before they could release Dragon Quest 5 and 6. Enix of America then briefly reappeared in the PlayStation 1 era, translating the massive Dragon Quest 7. Unfortunately, that game was about as pretty as the south end of a northbound mule, and it released almost a year after the PlayStation 2 released, so it wasn't exactly a big hit...

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