Category Archives: 4.5 stars

'Evel Knievel' Review - Too Legit To Quit

'Evel Knievel' Review - Too Legit To Quit

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

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

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...

'AZZL' Review - Razzl Dazzl

'AZZL' Review - Razzl Dazzl

October 1st, 2015 10:41 AM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $2.99, 4.5 stars, Games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
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I’ll admit I was a bit dismissive when I first saw the trailer for Jutiful's AZZL [$2.99]. I mean, sure, it looks really well made and has a neat idea at its core, but… it just seems like a children’s game. Ultimately, though, I couldn’t resist the the promise of a colorful, relaxing puzzler and dove in. But should I review it? Would the intelligent and discerning (and quite good looking) readers of this esteemed mobile review site even be interested in something like this? I think they might be, and I hope you’ll (they’ll?) allow me to spend the next seven paragraphs explaining why...

'Hopiko' Review - Gotta Go Fast

Laser Dog Games' Hopiko [$1.99] is a title I've been dying to see come to fruition since I first saw it and played it. The preview build I got to try had some real promise, but the game has come so far along that it's become this amazing, cohesive, and stylish experience. It's a demanding game, and one with some flaws, but Hopiko is too cool to pass up...

'Cavernaut' Review - The Eagle Has Landed

'Cavernaut' Review - The Eagle Has Landed

September 29th, 2015 10:59 AM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $0.99, 4.5 stars, Arcade, Cave-Flyer, Games, Retro, Reviews, Universal
$1.99 Buy Now

I had several moments while playing EinheitB's Cavernaut [$1.99] where I thought to myself, "This is exactly why I love mobile." It's a game that's probably not going to change the world, but that's okay. It's just a great, tight little experience that could really only exist on this platform...

'Starseed: Origin' Review: Old School Cool

Starseed: Origin [Free] is not a game you play for an original concept or to casually tap with half your attention elsewhere. Starseed is a game you play until it gets too hard and too fast and you blow up and die. ..

'SPL-T' Review - Simogo's Super Simple Secret Stuffed Puzzler

No developer out there is so quick to buck trends and make risky, imaginative, original titles like Simogo. Heck, they don't even have an internally consistent style or handful of genre's they stay with. They've covered puzzle, rhythm, adventure, endless, all with different atmospheres. They're basically allergic to sequels and sameness. The single thread connecting their games is their talent for great, memorable game design. So when you look at SPL-T [$2.99], and I tell you it's the latest amazing game from Simogo, I fully expect you to look confused or laugh in my face...

'Trick Shot' Review - Putter Finger

When a game has been revealed to be developed by one of the artists behind Monument Valley [$3.99], it has quite a lot to live up to. That game is an outstanding puzzler, but I’d wager about half of its appeal is the unique, wonderful visuals. It won a ton of awards and recognition--deservedly so--and I don’t envy artist Jonathan Topf for developing what could be seen as a followup of sorts. Sure, Monument Valley and his first solo outing Trick Shot [$1.99] don’t have much in common, but they are both puzzle games in their own way. And, of course, they’re pretty good lookin'...

'Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadsville' Review - Can I Kill One More Zombie Mom, Please?

Although the tide has subsided a bit, it's still pretty hard not to bump into a few zombies when playing video games or watching TV shows. We are definitely past the zombie wave crest, but those lovely creatures are still dragging their destroyed bodies towards us every opportunity they get. The zombie theme's popularity makes any new game about zombies a "been there-done that" kind of affair. Still, we do occasionally see games that use the zombie theme well, and Sarah Northway's Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadsville [$4.99], a strategy sim game about restoring (or remaking) civilization after the zombie apocalypse, is definitely one of the good ones. Rebuild 3, much like The Walking Dead, cleverly uses zombies as the backdrop to the challenges of rebuilding society after it collapses...

'Blocky Highway' Review - Voxel Vehicles

I've had a new wind when it comes to racing games lately. There's a boon on iOS in terms of MFi compatible games, and gyro controls have come a long way since they were introduced so many years ago. While racing is the perfect subgenre to exploit any energy system, the developers of Blocky Highway [Free] have managed to craft a limitless experience that follows the same generous IAP principle as Crossy Road...

'Lara Croft Go' Review - Spear Beats Gun

I'm so glad that Square Enix has let its Montreal branch go crazy with great ideas for mobile versions of their licenses. Like, Lara Croft Relic Run [Free] isn't the worst idea since Temple Run [Free] exists, but did the world really need it? Instead, Square Enix Montreal has gotten to go wild with clever and whimsical concepts such as Hitman Go [$4.99] and Hitman Sniper [$1.99]. Now, they expand out into the Tomb Raider franchise with Lara Croft Go [$1.99], which takes the Hitman Go formula of being a turn-based board-style game and makes it about solving puzzles and staying alive in the tomb raiding setting. It abandons the board game style of Hitman Go, while keeping similar gameplay. And much like Hitman Go, it winds up doing some really clever things that make it another must-play game...

'Dandy: Or A Brief Glimpse Into the Life of a Candy Alchemist' Review - Sweet Gameplay Wrapped In Tasty Visuals

To explain why I wanted to give Dandy: Or a Brief Glimpse Into the Life of a Candy Alchemist [$3.99] a try once I saw it pop up on the App Store, I first need to talk a bit about the type of shoot 'em ups I enjoy. One of the few genres of games I've never cared much for is bullet-hell shoot 'em ups, those games where you fight a constant hail of fire while trying not to get a headache from all the blinking and flashing. The shoot 'em ups I enjoy are the slower ones, the kind that forces you to study your enemies and devise strategies on the go (like the PC game The Binding of Isaac for instance), and this is precisely the kind of gameplay Dandy offers. ..

'Manowar' Review - Ship For Brains

The term “manowar” can refer to a lot of very different things. It’s a metal band from New York that at various times held the Spinal Tap-esque title of "World’s Loudest Band". It’s the name of a famous horse in the '20s that is considered by several prestigious organizations as the greatest racehorse that ever lived. And my personal favorite: the Portugeuse Man o’ War, a truly bizarre jellyfish-like sea creature made up of a whole colony of smaller animals with one hell of a painful sting. The original meaning of the phrase comes from British warships from centuries past that had tons of cannons and other murder-y things like that, and it’s this definition that the game Manowar [$1.99] by Lachlan Nuttall uses as a jumping off point for a series of maddeningly clever puzzles...

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