Category Archives: 4.5 stars

'Captain Cowboy' Review - Digging Up Nostalgia

Growing up, some of my favorite games were adventure titles. Ones you could just get lost in, exploring an uncharted and dangerous world. There was something so unique about those experiences -- where you had no concept of what to expect, and no knowledge of where to go. It helped prepare me for games like King's Field and the Souls series, and I'm always grateful that developers were making games like that, testing the boundaries of the unknown. That's partially why Captain Cowboy [$1.99] is so great, as it captures the essence of so many of those bygone classics while sticking to a tried and true adventure formula...

'Super Phantom Cat' Review - A Purretty Clawsome Catformer Fur iOS

First off, sorry about that headline. I tried to fight the urge and I failed. Second, if you’re bummed that there’s no Super Mario game on the App Store (yet?), then you should drop what you’re doing and grab Veewo’s Super Phantom Cat [$1.99] right meow. It’s a fairly traditional platformer under the surface, borrowing heavily from Nintendo’s resident plumber, but I have to say--that surface is flippin’ gorgeous...

'Momoka: An Interplanetary Adventure' Review - It Ain't Pretty, But It's Great Fun

From the first time I saw it, Momoka [$6.99] always had me a bit on edge. It looked cool, but something about the game's production values always seemed to leave me feeling like this could be a mediocre game. The visuals felt like they were on the wrong side between ugly and intentional low fidelity. Something about the way characters moved and operated left me feeling like this could be what could be succinctly summarized as a janky game. Janky games are frustrating, because they could and should be great, but often get in the way of themselves with things like bugs, poor controls, and ill-advised design decisions. Momoka certainly flirts with jankiness, and has some rough edges that make it not the smoothest experience ever, no. But it's constructed so well, that its flaws stay out of the way of this fantastic Metroidvania platformer...

'Dungelot: Shattered Lands' Review - Chewie, We’re Home

Most people that have seen the new Star Wars movie enjoyed it, but one complaint I’ve seen a lot is that it borrows heavily from the first film, A New Hope. I’ve read that it was intentional, and part of the reason was probably to remind people of how much they loved the original trilogy and help them forget the prequels. And as weird as it may seem, it sort of reminds me of what Red Winter has done with the latest Dungelot sequel, Dungelot: Shattered Lands [$3.99]...

The App Store is pretty much overflowing with games that are trying to capitalize on your nostalgia. It seems like many developers hope that aping familiar art styles and systems will elevate their otherwise amateurish endeavors. There is nothing wrong with making a love letter to a series you enjoyed growing up, don’t get me wrong, but it’s becoming a tired gimmick. Then, a few cool cats from Russia follow the same principle of nostalgia, except like Ivan Drago from Rocky IV, it’s veins are coursing with steroids instead of blood, and you get a game so jam packed with references and tropes that you can’t help but smile. Until the grind kicks in that is. This is Punch Club [$4.99]...

'Dashy Crashy' Review - Full Throttle

'Dashy Crashy' Review - Full Throttle

January 21st, 2016 10:21 AM EDT by Chris Carter in 4.5 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Racing, Reviews, Universal
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While deep, engrossing mobile experiences have been somewhat downplayed by the general public, everyone knows that as far as quick fixes go, the platform is king. Dashy Crashy [Free] is yet another take on the success of Crossy Road, all the way down to its monetization scheme, but it's a perfect example of a stop and go game that's easy to pick up and hard to put down...

'Jetpack Fighter' Review - Swoopin' and Slashin'

January 19th, 2016 12:34 PM EDT by Chris Carter in 4.5 stars, Action, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Universal
Free Buy Now

Hi-Rez Studios seems to be diversifying their portfolio. In addition to bringing back Tribes in 2011, they worked on SMITE, the action-oriented MOBA, and now, a rather un-imposing mobile game. I have to say though, if Jetpack Fighter [Free] is indicative of their future imprint on the platform, bring it on...

'Traffic Rider' Review - Stop Riding Those Brakes, AI

Although plenty of racing games existed before mobile, I feel like the advent of iOS and Android devices spawned a whole new era. While it's generally difficult to craft high quality simulation experiences for PC and console platforms, tons of developers are able to create arcade-like games for mobile, often times to great success. This goes for none other than Traffic Rider [Free], which feels like a fully-fledged racer in its own right...

'Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead' Review - A Learning Curve Like A Sheer Cliff, But Great Rewards Await

There are a lot of roguelike games on iOS, but that's going with the more modern definition of the genre. In the years between the earliest days when roguelikes were pretty easy to get into and their recent explosion in popularity correlated with more approachable or hybridized designs, the roguelike was something a lot more complex. It was like a secret club for the most obsessed type of gamer, offering virtually limitless possibilities and options for those who were willing to do a lot more learning than the average game demanded. That particular brand of roguelike is far more rare on iOS, and it's not hard to see why. A touch interface is a poor substitute for a full keyboard, and games of that sort of complexity are probably not what the majority of mobile gamers are looking for. At the very least, compromises have to be made on the granular nature of the player's actions, because the alternatives are having a keyboard's worth of buttons on the screen or using the software keyboard, and what kind of loon would do either of those?..

'Pocket Mortys' Review - Gotta Sedate 'em All

January 13th, 2016 11:45 AM EDT by Andrew Fretz in 4.5 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, iPod touch games, Reviews
Free Buy Now

Pocket Mortys [Free] got announced last week and I think I literally jumped out of my chair in anticipation of reviewing this game. Now that it's out, it's time to go get it already. Adult Swim Games' most recent offering is really amazing and free to boot so you can try it out right now to see a great Pokemon like game right here on iOS...

'Cut the Rope: Magic' Review - I Smell Swipes and Candy

'Cut the Rope: Magic' Review - I Smell Swipes and Candy

January 4th, 2016 11:00 AM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $0.99, 4.5 stars, Games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
99¢ Buy Now

Angry Birds [Free]. There are cartoons, toys, T-shirts, stuffed animals, and even a movie coming soon starring Bill Hader and Peter Dinklage. And you know what? That’s great! Good for Rovio. They made a fun game that connected with lots of people and licenced the crap out of it. For my money, though, I always thought Cut the Rope [$1.99] was a better fit for all that. Om Nom is just a better character, in my opinion. I mean, just look at the way his face drops when that giant round candy misses his mouth! Angry Birds, on the other hand, are… well, they’re angry. Cool. Of course, there is tons of Cut the Rope merch already out there (and apparently a somewhat smaller movie in the works), but it’s nowhere near as much as those darn Birds. It’s a shame, too, because I’ve always thought Cut the Rope was a slightly better game. And in my opinion, Cut the Rope: Magic [$0.99] is the best one yet...

'Snowboard Party 2' - Downhill Jam

1080 Snowboarding, guys. I spent more time playing that on the Nintendo 64 than any other snowboarding game to date. It came out around the time Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater debuted, and I was basically obsessed with “extreme sports” in video games. Not only was it one of the best-looking and smoothest N64 games of its day, it was also ridiculous amounts of fun. Unfortunately, I missed out on the sequel (never had a Game Cube) and somehow missed the SSX craze as well. In fact, the only other snowboarding game I can recall being super into since then is the recent Alto’s Adventure [$3.99], which belongs to a completely different genre altogether. It’s something I hadn’t really considered, but when I first started playing Ratrod’s Snowboard Party 2 [$1.99], I finally realized how much I missed carving down the slopes in 3D while pulling off crazy tricks...

'Groove Planet' Review - Click Track

'Groove Planet' Review - Click Track

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?

November 30th, 2015 12:30 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $2.99, 4.5 stars, Games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
$2.99 Buy Now

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 [$4.99] 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...

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