Category Archives: 4.5 stars

'Groove Planet' Review - Click Track

'Groove Planet' Review - Click Track

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December 7th, 2015 12:32 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in 4.5 stars, Free, Games, Music / Rhythm, Reviews, Time Management, Universal
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Clearly, Fizzpow and Noodlecake hit on something special with Bitcoin Billionaire [Free]. It certainly wasn’t the first clicker ever, or even the first on the App Store. Still, it seems to easily be one of the more influential of the bunch. Just about every clicker that comes out these days has the same combination of upgrades, investments, random card draws, and opt-in video ads. It’s a great formula, and I’ve sunk an embarrassing number of hours into Billionaire over the last year or so. Still, when I reviewed Muchos Tacos a few months back I quietly decided not to try any more clickers unless one did something new and unexpected. (And sadly, folding tacos instead of tapping just doesn’t do it for me.) In fact, the only reason I downloaded Animoca Brands' Groove Planet [Free] at all was because I didn’t realize it was a clicker. And while it does adhere to the Billionaire formula fairly closely, thankfully it does have one rather novel trick up its record sleeve...

I mentioned recently in my review of Baseball Apocalypse [$0.99] that I love impossible games. One of those games comes from developer/publisher Invictus. Now, Invictus puts out a lot of games, very few of which actually interest me, though they seem to have found their footing in the last couple years. There are a handful of gems in their library that really truly shine. I'm talking the supremely elegant Greed Corp [$0.99], the heavy metal monster mash Tap 'n Slash [Free], and the game that I name dropped in said review, Give It Up! [$0.99]. While the original game grew with a handful of updates, a sequel was being made, and that sequel is pretty magnificent. I give you Give It Up! 2 [Free]. (I'd have gone with something like Give It Up Again! but I digress)..




They say that you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Which is exactly why whenever I write reviews, I wear my furry Chewbacca bath robe. You don't get quite as disparate, or quite as wide of a gap, as a lowly beggar literally wearing the face of god and getting godlike power in the process. That's quite the promotion! And it's also the premise of the lovely puzzle platformer and debut App Store game from Bad Seed, The Beggar's Ride [$3.99]...

'Football Manager Mobile 2016' Review - Your Phone Couldn't Ask for a Better Sports Manager Game

When I heard a few years ago that Sports Interactive was planning on bringing Football Manager over on iOS, I was filled with reserved anticipation. Anticipation because the thought of a portable Football Manager was the white whale of many gamers (including me) who had spent hours upon hours on the many PC versions of the game, and reservations because I knew they couldn't really port the whole game on mobile unless the developers seriously pared down the experience. The major issue was the PC game's huge database, which would barely fit on the then top-end devices, and the memory requirements. When the first Football Manager Handheld was released, it was met with the expected response: most players were happy the game was on iOS but were disappointed by the lack of many 'essential' features and by the very small database...

'Digfender' Review - Tunnel of Love

Digfender [Free] is basically a tower defense game combined with a “digging” game (if you couldn’t tell from the title alone). As far as the TD stuff is concerned, it’s all pretty standard. You’ve got waves of different enemies marching toward your base (a castle, in this case), and your job is to stop them by planting various weaponized towers in strategic places that will slow or kill the hordes. The towers themselves are pretty typical, too, with a fire tower, shock tower, freeze tower, and bomb tower, each with branching upgrade paths a la Kingdom Rush [Free]. On top of that, you’ve got several support towers that connect to the weapons to boost things like damage, range, and gold drops...

'Progress To 100' Review - Are We There Yet?

'Progress To 100' Review - Are We There Yet?

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November 30th, 2015 12:30 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $2.99, 4.5 stars, Games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
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It’s no secret that there are some pretty expensive iOS games out there. Thankfully, most of them tend to be free, but there are still a few that are a dollar or even two (twice as much!). Even worse, most of these games only use a couple of my iPad’s features. I mean, if I’m going to break the bank on a game that costs money it had better be utilizing my whole device. (Example: I bought Horizon Chase [Free] earlier this year for three entire dollars and quickly found that it only uses my touchscreen. What about the gyroscope? The microphone? The camera? Eeeeyoo, eeeyooo! Ripoff alert!) Progress to 100 [$2.99] is yet another of these wallet draining “premium” games, but I quickly found that this one is different. As I played through its hundred levels, it slowly began to dawn on me: This game uses everything. Finally!..

'Diabolical' Review - Ridiculously Evil

The flexibility of topics in the interactive fiction genre is one of its greatest strengths. I've said this before, but due to the relatively low production costs of putting words on a page, interactive fiction can take risks that other games dare not. Thankfully, nearly every company releasing gamebooks isn't shy about flexing that privilege. The occasional release even goes for comedy, a fairly hard topic to do well in gaming. Earlier this year, we had the absolutely delightful Ryan North's To Be Or Not To Be [$5.99] from Tin Man Games, and now, from Choice Of Games and author Nick Aires, we have the madcap super-villain simulator, Diabolical [Free]. I'm feeling a little bit spoiled, to be honest...

'Skylanders SuperChargers' Review - A Pretty Fun and Relatively Economical Ride

iOS versions of current console games still pretty scarce, but it’s refreshing to see this trend slowly start to reverse with recent launches of Disney Infinity 3.0, Guitar Hero Live, and Skylanders SuperChargers [Free] on iOS. In the case of SuperChargers, this is the second full launch of a console game with the previous Trap Team [Free (HD)] having made its iOS debut last year...

'Dark Fear' Review - Old School Horror

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November 20th, 2015 10:00 AM EDT by Chris Carter in $2.99, 4.5 stars, Adventure, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Universal
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I have a love-hate relationship with horror films and games. As a rule, I'm in love with older films, which use practical effects to great success, and deliver interesting and suspenseful stories. But as time progressed, CG is often used as a crutch, and horror has become increasingly more about shock or jump scares rather than a normalized sense of fear. It's the same way for games, but Dark Fear [$2.99] manages to bring us back into the 80s in more ways than one...

Wizards and Wagons[$4.99] is out now from Touch Dimensions and it is one of the more active and engaging item shop sim games I have played. Known for more traditional strategy games, Touch Dimensions is stretching their dev skills to reach into the sim genre. Rather than sitting in town and waiting for customers to come to you, W&W mobilizes the store and puts you in the drivers seat. As last week's Touch Arcade Game of the Week, I was not surprised to find dynamic gameplay and an addictive quality that has put some extra rings under my eyes for the last several days from lack of sleep. ..

Sometimes, a game can grab my attention immediately.  Whether it's the presentation or the ironclad mechanics, very few developers are skilled enough to really blow me away out of the gate. Beneath the Lighthouse [Free] was one of those games. I was drawn in by the Fez-like art style, and stayed for the gameplay...

'Evel Knievel' Review - Too Legit To Quit

'Evel Knievel' Review - Too Legit To Quit

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November 10th, 2015 3:30 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $1.99, 4.5 stars, Apple TV, Arcade, Games, Platform, Reviews, Sports, Universal
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Evel Knievel is undoubtedly one of the more ridiculous pieces of American pop culture. I don’t mean ridiculous in a bad way; just that it seems equal parts silly and awesome that someone could make a career out of jumping a motorcycle over increasingly large numbers of crazy things like buses and sharks. That weirdly fascinating balance of absurdity and danger are on full display in Barnstorm Games’ Evel Knievel [$1.99], to the point where I’m not sure how seriously I should be taking any of it...

'Templar Battleforce' Review - A Battleforce To Be Reckoned With

I think we can safely say at this point that if Space Marines are your jam, iOS has been good to you. We've got what feels like at least a half dozen decent-to-excellent officially licensed Warhammer 40K games spanning a variety of genres, to say nothing of the fine selection of games that homage Games Workshop's popular franchise. Well, I think we can add one more to that list, and it's a very fine effort indeed. Templar Battleforce [$9.99] is the latest release from the Trese Brothers, a small development team most well-known for Star Traders [Free], a trading simulation in the vein of Trade Wars and Master Of Orion. Battleforce takes place in the same universe as that game, but it has its sights set on a different genre. Instead of dealing with groups of ships traveling through the galaxy, Battleforce focuses on the Templar Knights, a group of elite warriors whose job is to protect their charges from anything that threatens them. It's a turn-based strategy RPG, a genre with no shortage of quality entries on iOS, but it manages to make quite a mark anyway...

'Guitar Hero Live' Review - Better Than On Consoles?

There are two kinds of musicians in the world: those who like Guitar Hero, and those who don't. Okay, there are probably musicians who are indifferent to the whole phenomenon, but whatever. The point is, as someone who plays a variety of instruments in real life, I have my fair share of musician friends who think rocking out with plastic guitars is stupid. "Why not play real guitar?" they cry, while stroking their hipster beards and drinking PBR. Well, because real guitar isn't a game, and sometimes I just want to play a game. I unashamedly love Guitar Hero, and I was absolutely stoked when I heard there was a new one coming out, and iOS would be getting an un-neutered version. Well, after playing it for several days, I can say that not only is Guitar Hero Live [Free] indeed (nearly) identical to the console versions, but in some ways it actually might be better than the PS4 and Xbox versions. Potentially...

'Super Happy Fun Block' Review - It's Super Fun, And That Makes Me Happy

Even though I should know better by now, I still frequently make judgements from the names of games. An evocative title will catch my attention and get me curious enough to at least give a game a try, while a generic one might leave a game lost in the shuffle. It's especially a problem on a platform with as many on-going releases as iOS. Super Happy Fun Block [$1.99] has a pretty plain name. It's so plain that even after it was recommended to me by someone whose opinion I really respect, I downloaded the game and left it unplayed for a while. When I finally did get around to it, I found a pretty amazing puzzle-platformer with a nice sense of style that few people seem to have noticed. Well, hopefully the old adage about late being better than never has some truth to it, because while the name might be bland, the game is fantastic and more people ought to be playing it...

'FRZ: Free Racing Zero' Review - No Limits, For Real This Time

'FRZ: Free Racing Zero' Review - No Limits, For Real This Time

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October 22nd, 2015 11:30 AM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in 4.5 stars, Free, Games, Racing, Reviews, Universal
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Like many people here, Wednesday nights are one of my favorite times of the week. Most people probably have one or two games they are anticipating, but the reason I look forward to that evening is because of all the games I don’t know are coming. Often, my favorite game turns out to be one I nearly didn’t even download to begin with. Last week, for me, that game was FRZ: Free Racing Zero [Free] by Fingersoft. I didn’t have much confidence in it based on the title and screenshots, but it actually might be one of the best racers I’ve played in several months...

'Monkeyrama' Review - We’re Just Tryin’ To Be Friendly

Shortly before iOS took over my life, one of my favorite games was Boom Blox on the Wii. It was the brainchild of a little known game designer by the name of Steven Spielberg (who also dabbles in film, I’m told), and it was absurdly fun. There’s something about huge explosions and large structures toppling over that delights the eight year old boy in me, and Boom Blox (and especially it’s sequel, Bash Party) took over my free time for countless weeks. Ever since those days I’ve been yearning for something like that on mobile, and while there have been a couple physics-based games that provide a similar feeling (my favorite being Turbo Dismount [Free]), none have quite captured the floaty, block-on-block destruction I’ve craved since 2009. [Dramatic pause.] ...That is, until now...

'Super Sharp' Review - Cutting Edge

'Super Sharp' Review - Cutting Edge

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October 16th, 2015 1:02 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $1.99, 4.5 stars, Games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
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I don’t know about you guys, but my favorite puzzle games are the ones that make me feel like a genius. It’s an extremely delicate balance to achieve, because if the puzzles are too easy, it can feel boring. If they’re too hard, I’m going to feel like an idiot. Somewhere in between those two ends of the spectrum is a sweet spot, and it can be especially tricky to pinpoint since every person is different. Super Sharp [$1.99] hits that sweet spot for me...

'Soda Dungeon' Review - A Light, Fizzy Quest With Some Real Pop

I've lost more than a few weekends to offerings from Armor Games, and Soda Dungeon [Free] certainly didn't break that pattern. While it assuredly leans on the lighter side of the RPG scale, its combination of a compelling upgrade system and quick, yet not entirely brainless, battles make for a pretty good way to kill a few minutes or a few hours as needed. I'm also pleasantly surprised by its generosity. There are no catches in the game that you can't buy your way out of with in-game currency. I'm not sure what the business plan is here, but I'm not a business reviewer, am I?..

One of my favorite games growing up was The Incredible Machine. While the IP has been sadly dragged through the mud in recent years, it was once a work of art, tricking kids everywhere into partaking in what was essentially edutainment. The concept was clear -- simply get an object to its goal while using any number of over-the-top machines.  They were Rube Goldberg machines through and through, and taxed your brain just as often as they put a smile on your face. The Sequence [$0.99] is a bit more muted, but it's the same principle...

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