Category Archives: 4.5 stars

'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 [$2.99] 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...

I sat down to play Crobble [Free] this afternoon. An hour passed, and then my battery started dropping... first 20%, then all the way lower than 10%. It wasn’t until I was completely in the red before I figured it was time to put it down and start writing rather than playing. I’m pretty sure if I hadn’t had less than half a battery when I’d started, I’d still be hooked to it...

'Adventure Beaks' Review - A Charming Runner That Will Warm Your Heart

Penguins are one of nature’s most fascinating creatures. In the years that have passed we’ve seen movies such as Happy Feet and Surf’s Up pay homage to nature’s most wonderful aquatic flightless birds, but upon general observation, penguins are known primarily for their gracefulness, elegance and their unusual upright waddling gait. They’re also incredibly badass, and if there’s any game that will demonstrate this, GameResort’s Adventure Beaks [Free] is most certainly the iOS game to capture your hearts...

'Thomas Was Alone' Review - A Heartwarming Tale of Discovery & Friendship

Meet Thomas. He’s a curious rectangle who has continued his journey from platform to platform, and I’m not just talking in-game here. Thomas Was Alone [$5.99] was first released for PC and Mac back in 2012, and with the help of Curve Studios’, both PS3 and PS Vita version were released in early 2013, with brand new exclusive content. It was certainly successful, and created a lot of buzz, and now one year on creator Mike Bithell has teamed up with Bossa Studios to bring this BAFTA winning, bestseller to the App Store for iPad users to get a taste of just what all the fuss is about...

'Botanicula' Review - Nature’s Beauty

'Botanicula' Review - Nature’s Beauty

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May 15th, 2014 10:05 AM EDT by Eric Ford in $4.99, 4.5 stars, Adventure, iPad Games, Puzzle, Reviews
$4.99 Buy Now

In 2012, Amanita Design, developer of Machinarium (another game we absolutely loved) launched Botanicula on the PC, another great point-and-click puzzle that took the gameplay experience to a more natural setting. It’s taken nearly two years to hit iOS, but the wait is finally over for Botanicula [$4.99 (HD)] for iPad. Just as Machinarium benefited from a transition to touch-based controls, Botanicula is another fine example of a great game made better on the iPad...

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