Category Archives: 4.5 stars

'Shin Megami Tensei' Review - A Genuinely Classic RPG Gets Its English Debut

We've reached a point in gaming where, at least when it comes to major franchises, there are very few great JRPGs that haven't been eventually released in English. There are no lost Final Fantasy mainline games, all the holes in Dragon Quest have been filled, and even less famous series such as Ys and Monster World have had previously skipped over installments finally brought to English gamers. There are still a few significant gaps, though, and for me personally, none more significant than the missing games in the Shin Megami Tensei series. This is a franchise that, largely through the popularity of spin-off series Persona, has never been so relevant in the west as it is now. Sure enough, missing games connected to the franchise have made it over, one-by-one, with the entire Persona series now available in English and even the cursed Soul Hackers finally finding its way overseas, but we're still missing the games that started the whole ball of wax...

'Mines of Mars' Review - Diamond in the Rough

We’ve been keeping tabs on Crescent Moon Games’ Mines of Mars [$4.99] since we first caught wind of it nearly a year ago. Now, after over a year of development, we’ve finally got our hands on WickyWare’s mining adventure. The wait may have been long, but it’s well worth it as Mines of Mars is an excellent adventure that does a great job melding open-world exploration with a cohesive quest-driven story...

‘Avadon 2: The Corruption’ Review - A Worthy Return To The Black Fortress

It’s been quite some time since iOS users have explored the world of Spiderweb Software’s Avadon [$9.99 (HD)]. After the release of the original adventure in 2011, the classic RPG developer has spent the last few years introducing iPad owners to its original Avernum series. Now, fans of the series get the opportunity to return to the Black Fortress in Avadon 2: The Corruption [$9.99 (HD)]. Continuing the impressively high standard of previous Spiderweb RPGs on iOS, Avadon 2 is another fine addition to iPad RPGs and a must-own...

'Eliss Infinity' Review - Splitting Planets Like Atoms

Many of you may not remember the iOS marketplace in 2009, but when it was released, Eliss was a dominant authority in the puzzle arena. Now it's back five years later in the form of Eliss Infinity [$2.99], and the good news is, it's better than ever. Somehow, Infinity manages to balance both puzzle and action elements to near perfection...

'Word Mage' Review - The Hyperactive Member Of The Word Game Family

The word game is one of those genres that's basically always active on iOS, with new entries released at a fairly regular pace. That said, recently, there seems to be a higher amount than usual of excellent new games twisting RPG mechanics into the genre. They're two great tastes that taste great together, I suppose. What's interesting to me is how games coming from the same basic angle of "word game plus RPG" can have such different results. If we consider the recent Spell Quest [Free] to be the Dragon Quest of word RPGs, with its slow, deliberate pace and focus on carefully-planned strategy, then Word Mage [$0.99] is the Ys of the genre, moving at a blazing pace and demanding quick reactions to enemies that become increasingly dedicated to finishing you off...

'Second Chance Heroes' Review - Zombies Ate My World Leaders

What if Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and the arcade classic Gauntlet were mixed together into one zombie slaying romp? The concept alone would probably win over a decent amount of fans hungry for another old school hack and slash, but fortunately, Second Chance Heroes [$0.99] does a whole lot of things right to help move it out of a niche category and more into the forefront. Most notably, it's free-to-play -- the good kind...

'Rocket Robo' Review - An Adorable Intergalactic Adventure

It's not often that a title will offer up an endearing setup that's just as impressive as the gameplay, but that's just what Rocket Robo [$0.99] does. As a tiny little robot in space whose sole purpose is to keep "the Tinker" company, it's your job to recover all of the stars in the galaxy, and bring joy back to your maker. Thankfully, it plays as well, too...

'Only One' Review - Here We Are, Born To Be Kings

If you like hacking away at something using a sharpened piece of metal with a handle, you are probably a very happy camper with your mobile device. Perhaps you even think you have all the slice 'n' dice games a person could ever want. I'd like to humbly offer at least one more example for all the up and coming sword-fighters out there, however. Only One [Free] is a pretty fresh take on a genre almost as old as the medium, and it does so without any fancy motion controls or specular lighting. Pick up your sword and get ready for a serious test of your skills, because you are the Only One who can survive. Well, you and, I guess, all the other people who play the game and get good enough at it to win. Probably the Only One Thousand?..

'R-Type II' Review - Don't Bydo More Than You Can Chew

Seeing the Irem logo come up when starting a game still makes me a little sad. We've seen a lot of important game companies go softly into the night, but somehow, seeing Irem give up game development to focus on pachinko machines hurts a little bit more than the usual. At the time they made the decision, it stung all the more because it resulted in virtually all of their games being pulled from digital services, including the original R-Type, one of the true classics of its genre. As a bit of a silver lining, though, Irem seems to be agreeable about licensing their older games out, and R-Type has slowly been making a return. Last summer saw DotEmu's enhanced re-release of R-Type [$0.99] for iOS, which offered the original game with a few new options. It's a great version of a game that's been ported to just about every piece of hardware imaginable, as long as you can't imagine an NES...

'SuperPro Snowboarding' Review - If You Like Tony Hawk, This Is A Snow-Brainer

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, back on the original PlayStation, was something of a revelation for me as a gamer. See, up until that point, I generally avoided games whose themes I had little interest in. If I didn't like watching or playing football, why would I like Madden? If I didn't like 7up, surely Cool Spot would not appeal to me. So, having little interest in skateboarding, I paid little attention to THPS until a friend pretty much forced me to try it. It quickly became one of my favorite games, and I became an avid fan of the series until it tragically asphyxiated itself with a giant skateboard accessory. All that, without knowing anything about skateboarding other than that I was really lousy at it. After that, I started to be considerably more open-minded about what I played, and that's never a bad thing...

'Final Fantasy VI' Review - Pure Magic(ite)

For a lot of gamers growing up in the 90s (myself included), Final Fantasy VI was the pinnacle of the “golden age” of 16-bit RPG. An epic, world-changing story, real character development, a killer soundtrack — FFVI featured all these and more wrapped up in a package that simply hadn’t been experienced at that time. Check out any gaming forum online and you’ll inevitably find a thread discussing the old-school RPGs of all time with FF VI squarely in the running...

'Spell Quest: Grimm's Journey' Review - Q-U-E-S-T, Done!

One of the more surprising things that the rise of social and casual games has revealed is just how much everyone loves spelling. Where were all of these people when I was looking for Scrabble players? Or was it the fact that I insist on playing the game in the buff to maximize the flow of my chakra? Oh well. Wherever they were at that time, they came out later in full force, and now there are mountains of word games. At first there were mostly knock-offs of Scrabble or Boggle, but as in any competitive genre, everyone started looking for their own spin, leading to some incredibly imaginative variations. Spell Quest: Grimm's Journey [Free] isn't treading on completely new ground, certainly owing a debt to the classic Bookworm Adventures, but thanks to a few good twists and an extremely polished presentation, it more than carves a place for itself...

'Battle Supremacy' Review - Blast From the Past

Any iOS gamer worth their salt has probably heard of the Sky Gamblers series. Developer Atypical Games (makers of Cold War [$4.99] and Storm Raiders [$4.99]) has already demonstrated a penchant for good air combat titles and with their recently released Battle Supremacy [$4.99], Atypical has taken the fight to the ground with a World War II-era tank combat system. It’s a pretty good transition to the ground war and makes for a visually impressive, enjoyable action-packed game...

'Rhythm Thief & The Paris Caper Review' - Phantom R Strikes Again

Rhythm Thief & The Emperor's Treasure was one of my favorite games of 2012. Released for the Nintendo 3DS, it was a rhythm game that transcended the genre in many ways, with a charming cast and a hypnotic, jazzy soundtrack. Here we are in 2014, and Sega has mysteriously released an iOS version of the same game, titled Rhythm Thief & the Paris Caper [$9.99]. It's not exactly the same, but rather an abridged take with some iOS-centric goodies...

'Super Splatform' Review - A Super Platformer With Plenty Of Splat

As readers of this site know well, there are a lot of games that get lost in the shuffle on the App Store. With tens of thousands of new apps every year, it's like sifting through a haystack the size of a barn in search of a handful of needles trying to find all the good games. There are lots of ways to get a heads-up on many of these titles, and one resource that has always served me well is our very own forum. Super Splatform [$0.99], from P1XL, the developers of RPG Quest Minimae [$1.99] and 4NR [$0.99], is one of those games that bounced right by me initially. It has a very unassuming look to it, as I suppose is the norm for this developer. The game's central gimmick carries it far, however, and the increasingly devilish level designs bring it all the way home. You will curse this game out, you will wail in despair at every last minute fumble, and you will go back for more every time...

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