Category Archives: 4 stars

Let me start this review with a spoiler; for me, Sports Interactive's Football Manager Touch 2017 [$19.99] is probably the most complicated (yet still accessible), most replayable, and most entertaining game on the App Store. This is a game that lets you play any team from over 130 leagues across the world, and all those teams have their real-life players in their roster, and each of those players has his real-life stats (as well as those can be put into numbers). And you can play with that team for season after season all the while customizing it in all kinds of ways. I'm constantly amazed at all the little things I discover in this game as I go along, features and details that make playing the game faster while at the same time giving me more ways to interact with my team, my board, my training staff, and pretty much everyone in the world of Football Manager...

It makes perfect sense why publishers would want to milk the legacy of classic games as long as they can. Why wouldn't they? Very often for a lot of these retro releases they've withstood the test of time, being sold to generation upon generation without any sign of stopping. Bandai Namco is the king of that practice, having delivered us hundreds of Pac-Man ports, re-releases, and spinoffs in the past several decades. But what I love more than a port is an original take on a classic formula...




The game of chess may well have been one of the earliest examples of a game being easy to learn but hard to master. Learning how all of the pieces move and putting together a basic strategy towards getting a checkmate isn't that difficult, but the unpredictable nature of human behavior makes chess a game that always has something new to offer. There's almost always a move to make that could be considered the best, but it's only the best if your opponent reacts in the textbook way themselves. A strong chess player needs to study their opponent almost as intently as the board. That said, there's a lot to be said for learning some fundamental strategies, just in case your opponent plays things by the book. As an added bonus, that knowledge will help you if you decide to play Moveless Chess [Free]...

Let's be honest: Kemco's RPG release schedule on mobile has always been pretty absurd. They've only been at this for around five years on smartphones and they're nearing 50 RPGs on iOS in English, and even more than that on Android. That works out to an average of just under one RPG per month for five years running. Now, there's a fair bit of repetition from game to game, particularly if you're just looking at the broad outlines, but I feel they've historically been able to mitigate that issue by keeping a handful of developers on tap. This has helped differentiate the Kemco catalogue, to at least a small extent, and has also ensured that each developer has a bit of a buffer between releases...

Every now and again I like to look through old weekly new game posts to find worthwhile games that may have been overlooked. Especially with the light speed pace of the mobile market. If you like RPG survival games that capture a real sense of struggle with an atmosphere of otherworldly dread, then you’ll probably adore Dead in Bermuda [$4.99] from CCCP and Plug in Digital. The stuff that it does right, it really does right. It’s hilariously (probably realistically) difficult, but it was definitely worth the price of admission, which is way cheaper than an airline ticket to Bermuda and the psychological cost of crashing and having to survive with your wits alone...

There's very little that's more satisfying than an easy to grasp game. If it has shooting elements, great, it probably appeals to the little destroyer in us all. That's precisely why so many have flocked to Downwell [$2.99], as it has that "one more run" type of feel combined with a loveable art style and simple control scheme. It's something that you can just pick up and play, preferably on a convenient device like a smartphone, and just go to town with, for minutes or hours at a time. Spingun [Free] might not be as epic as some of those types of games, but it definitely has that feel...

Let's address it immediately: Treasure Buster [$0.99] is obviously inspired by Mixi's Monster Strike [Free]. Much like this developer's previous game, Slayin [$0.99], this game initially comes off uncomfortably similar to the object of its homage. Luckily, also like Slayin, Treasure Buster ultimately differentiates itself well enough to transcend the copycat label and settle in as an interesting variation on a tried and tested mechanic. In fact, I would say that this game ditches a lot of what makes Monster Strike so much fun, choosing to create its own brand of enjoyment by adding a number of gameplay elements that Monster Strike doesn't have. As usual for a game published by FDG, Treasure Buster also looks and sounds great, fusing a bang-on retro presentation to a very modern gameplay structure...

'Pumped BMX 3' Review - A Successful 360 Spin

StarStarStarStarNone
October 13th, 2016 11:05 AM EST by Shaun Musgrave in $3.99, 4 stars, Arcade, Game Center, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Sports
$3.99 Buy Now

The original Pumped BMX [$1.99] was a fun, surprisingly deep side-scrolling stunt game that combined elements of Tiny Wings [$0.99] and Trials to great success. The sequel, Pumped BMX 2 [$2.99], completely blew the first game out of the water. The highlights included a dramatically-improved presentation, a deeper trick system, and a better set of controls that made pulling off intricate maneuvers much easier. It was such a big step up from the first game that it was hard to see where the series could go in a sequel without completely tearing up the carpet. That seems to have proven true, as Pumped BMX 3 [$3.99] isn't nearly the upgrade that the second game was over the first. There are some significant additions, but nothing that really changes the game in any major way. Whether that's a good thing or not depends on how well you've enjoyed this series until now...

'Banner Saga 2' Review - Dredging up the Past

StarStarStarStarNone
October 7th, 2016 2:39 PM EST by Andrew Fretz in $4.99, 4 stars, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Role-Playing
$4.99 Buy Now

I hope you packed extra consonants and umlauts, because Stoic is back with Banner Saga 2[$4.99]. The epic journey has returned to iOS and with it new gameplay mechanics, new environments and new friends to see die in new and horrible ways. You've probably had enough time to get over the overwhelming depression the first episode was so good at instilling in you, I bet you're ready for round 2! Come and join me by the fire while we still have some rations to share while we look deeper into this enjoyably sad sequel...

It's always interesting to see what kind of games follow when a novel idea hits big. The first wave is usually composed of shameless clones, but after everyone gets those out of their systems, you start to see some interesting, enjoyable twists. Earlier this year, we took a look at Dungeon Tiles [Free], a game that fused some light RPG mechanics into the core mechanics of Threes! [$2.99], adding an extra layer of tension to the swipe 'n' merge gameplay. Stencilsmith [$0.99] takes a broadly similar approach to that game, but also introduces crafting aspects to give you even more to do. The game has been out for a few months already, but it just recently got a great update that made me take a closer look at it. While it's not much to look at and comes off a little rough in places, the added ideas it brings to the table makes for an entertaining twist on a favorite...

While the console and PC versions of 2k Sports’ NBA 2k series typically enjoy some significant improvements year to year, the mobile versions are typically left to iterative improvements. Maybe it’s the lack of multiplayer or the slimmed down MyCareer mode, but each year has typically brought small, but welcome changes. Such is the case again with NBA 2k17 [$7.99], which brings to the mobile series a fresh paint job, new controls, and a streamlined MyCareer mode. For the most part, there’s no doubt the changes are for the better. The real question becomes whether it’s worth the upgrade...

Back in the early 2000s, myself and millions of other gamers and wanna-be musicians alike spent hundreds of hours playing the Guitar Hero series. It dawned on me pretty early on that I was never going to be Thom Yorke or Tom Morello, so I settled with the next best thing - clicking a plastic controller in the shape of a guitar in time to music on a screen. If PewDiePie's Tuber Simulator [Free] is equally indicative of the career of an online video maker, I sympathise somewhat with the Swedish celebrity’s plight - having a job consisting purely of decorating your living space, waiting for items to be delivered, and having to deal with eagle couriers invading your home every couple of minutes does not sound like the dream occupation many envision it to be. In all seriousness, Tuber Simulator is not the next Game Dev Story [$4.99], and nor does it try to be - with some rather simple yet intricate and absorbing gameplay, coupled with PewDiePie’s signature humor and charm that is bound to go down well with his millions of die-hard fans, the game strikes a perfect balance between not taking itself seriously while being intriguing enough to keep interest long after the first cardboard box has been bought...

Marriage is a tricky, tricky act, isn't it? Quite often those joined in holy matrimony don't really fit well together, and even when they do, compromises must abound if there is to be any kind of happiness in their new union. And when the marriage is of two very different people, the challenges are even greater. If you've played Minecraft (either the mobile or the PC version) and any of the Telltale games, then you already know why I started my review of Minecraft: Story Mode [Free] with these metaphors. When Telltale told the world that it would apply its narrative-based formula on Minecraft, the game that's now synonymous with sandbox, many gamers wondered whether Telltale could pull it off and whether Minecraft players would bother with a developer that put their beloved open-world game in a narrative straight-jacket, possibly chopping off any parts that refused to obey the narrative techniques that Telltale has used in its other series...

Did you play Day of the Tentacle [$4.99] and think "I like how this game makes me feel stupid, but would like it better if it was a platformer?" Well, that's Donut Games' Vulture Island [$4.99] in a nutshell. It sends you on the quests of a LucasArts point-and-click adventure game, but with 2D platforming. You will use items in weird ways on other items, trying to solve puzzles that will make you curse yourself and slap your forehead over how obvious the solution seems after the fact. It's all that fun, but as a platforming game, a clever combination that's made for another winner from Donut Games...

When I first played Exploding Kittens on mobile, I was quite happy with the way the physical had turned digital; the subtle additions of animation and sounds here and there really helped bring the game to life, making it even more fun to play than the original. Sushi Go! [$4.99] has followed a similar path in its journey from card to digital with the developer keeping the game's original card art but adding subtle animations that help make the game quite charming and make it feel more like a digital game than a straight port of a card game. Sushi Go! isn't perfect - there's limited interaction with other players (no emotes or anything like that), which detracts from the social aspect of a card game, and the iPad UI doesn't take advantage of the screen as well as it could. Despite these issues, Sushi Go! is a fun, quick card game that might also put a smile on your face every time you play it...

Ever since Tetris was used to deploy tens of millions of Game Boys into households across the world, puzzle games and handheld hardware have had a tight relationship. You'd be hard-pressed to find a handheld launch without a puzzle game of some sort on offer, but virtually none of them have been as important to their hardware's launch than Tetris was for the Game Boy. If you had to find a runner-up, however, the original Lumines on PlayStation Portable would surely be it. On hardware that offered some of the best 3D graphics that you could fit in your pocket, somehow the shining star of the system's early life was a falling-block puzzler. Granted, it was an incredibly stylish falling-block puzzler with an outstanding soundtrack. I don't know many PSP owners who don't have some kind of nostalgia for the game...

Gamebooks based on the works of William Shakespeare are so hot right now. Well, okay, there's really just Ryan North's To Be Or Not To Be [$4.99], Ryan North's Romeo And/Or Juliet, and now this one, but that's enough for me to call it a trend. A delightful, wonderful trend. But lest you think Choice of Games is merely riding the tailcoats of those previous books with A Midsummer Night's Choice [Free], let me assure you that this is an entirely different sort of animal. While North's gamebooks take the familiar situations and characters and give the reader the chance to move the story in wildly different direction, A Midsummer Night's Choice tells an almost entirely original tale, albeit with its fair share of nods to Shakespeare's famous play...

The thing that has made the Square Enix Montreal "GO" series so appealing is that the games have been so subversive, as well as being fun puzzlers. Hitman GO [$4.99] was a particularly absurdist take on Hitman, what with all the stealth kills and assassinations taking place as figures on a game board knocking each other over. Something about distilling the game down to that feels particularly amusing. Lara Croft GO [$4.99] was a bit more in line with the brand, but still felt like a unique take on the series with a Monument Valley [$3.99] esque aesthetic and the lower-polygon-count look, along with the fantasy environments in play. It was still rather fun to play, though. The concern with Deus Ex GO [$1.99] was whether Square Enix Montreal could deliver more fun turn-based puzzling, but what I think we were missing was whether they could cleverly subvert the themes of the Deus Ex series, and that's really missing here...

Finally, Blitz Breaker [$2.99] is home where it belongs. After initially getting released on PC, Reece Kelly's fast-reaction platformer is on mobile. It's always felt like a perfect fit for phones in particular, what with the ability to simply swipe in the cardinal directions to launch your hero that way. Sure, it works perfectly fine from a keyboard, but it was easy to imagine doing all this with a thumb on a touchscreen. Lo and behold, it works beautifully...

Don't skip out on Bulb Boy [$2.99]. This iOS port of the 2015 grotesque-comedy-horror point-and-click adventure game is incredibly charming, when it's not trying to weird you out. It's not very difficult to beat, but it also doesn't overstay its welcome. The premise has you playing as the eponymous Bulb Boy, who finds the house he's staying at with his frail grandfather and flying bulb dog suddenly invaded by monsters, or perhaps some kind of symbiote from outer space. Bulb Boy wakes up, and there's suddenly weird arms coming out of the walls, giant headless chickens, and at least one giant poop monster. No joke. This is a game that's definitely got a flavor for the grotesque, and it's got horror elements to it as well. And the only way to solve the problems here is by collecting items, and using them on objects in the environment, experimenting to figure out what works! Just like any good point-and-click adventure. ..

Copyright 2014, TouchArcade.com, LLC.