Category Archives: 4 stars

Do you ever have a game that just does not click with you? Twofold Inc. [$3.99] is the equivalent of a restaurant where you can admire the work and craftsmanship that went into the product at hand. What you're given is made with care and skill. But understanding and respecting why something is the way it is doesn't mean that you have to like it. You can even understand why others may like it. I respect Twofold Inc. but I didn't have much fun with it...

The East New World [$1.99] is pretty comfortable wearing its inspirations on its sleeve. The enemy designs map pretty closely to those found in Goblin Sword [$1.99]. The button layout is very similar to the one used on Sword Of Xolan [$0.99]. The basic gameplay of all of these games isn't that far removed from Devious Dungeon [$2.99]. That's not to say that The East New World doesn't have a few ideas of its own, but it's similar enough to Goblin Sword in particular that it feels like a reskin at times. You'll need to make your way through preset levels, searching out three crystals and two chests per stage, defeating whatever gets in your way using your sword. Pick up all the coins and gems you find on the way so that you can buy new gear in town between levels. Use your trusty double jump to avoid spikes and other hazards, and make your way to the exit somewhere on the far right-hand side of the stage. Very much a clone, to be sure, but it's at least a good one...




'CombineRobot' Review - Mecha Match Three

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January 29th, 2016 2:00 PM EST by Chris Carter in $0.99, 4 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
99¢ Buy Now

Match-three is one of those genres that will be around forever. Years after we're immersing ourselves in full consumer-grade VR, Match-three will still be rampant on portable devices and wearable tech. It's inevitable. But while many of them stick to the same formula, CombineRobot [$0.99] aims to do something different -- both thematically and mechanically -- and I admire it for that...

Lost In Harmony [$3.99] is the latest game from Yoan Fanise, whose work at Ubisoft included directing Valiant Hearts [Free] and Rayman Raving Rabbids, along with sound design and audio direction on titles such as Beyond Good & Evil, Rabbids Go Home, and Assassin's Creed 3. With that kind of resume, it's perhaps not surprising that Lost In Harmony attempts to be an audio/visual spectacle, a heart-wrenching experience, and a unique hybrid of gameplay styles all at once. It succeeds completely on the first point and reasonably well on the second, but there are some definite issues that crop up with the third point. You can get a lot out of Lost In Harmony, but you're going to have to forgive a few things along the way...

As you could probably tell if you’ve ever seen my forum avatar, I’m a huge Calvin & Hobbes fan. Aside from how funny, intelligent, and surprisingly philosophical the strip could be, one of my favorite aspects was how the titular duo could go anywhere and do anything with just a cardboard box. It could be anything from a transmogrifier to a duplicator to a time machine, and each one led to a sense that anything was possible with a large enough box and an even larger imagination. Sky Chasers [Free] by Lucky Kat Studios attempts to tap into a similarly whimsical feeling, and--for the most part--it pulls it off...

Tower Of Fortune 2 [$0.99] was just about everything you could want in a sequel. It kept the core elements that people enjoyed in Tower Of Fortune [$0.99], but expanded out on them greatly. It felt like the first game, but more. It's a good approach for a first follow-up, but as many developers can attest to, there's only so long you can play it safe before things start to sour. Game Stew seems to be quite aware of that, having taken an extended break away from the main Tower Of Fortune series to work on various other game ideas. Now returning to the Tower Of Fortune series, the developers appear to be eager to apply some of the things they've learned to make a decidedly different sort of sequel...

Of the vast multitude of game types that just work really well on iOS, first person sniper games are definitely high on that list. Coming from AAA franchise names and high budgets along with one person indie developed stick man games, in freemium, premium, and everything in between. This is the story of one of those tiny developers. In fact, you may have played his last game at some point, Tactical Assassin [Free]. Well the ante has been upped, and what he’s put out next is, in my estimation, one of the first must have mobile game of the new year. I give you Lonewolf [Free]...

Interactive fiction, or choose-your-own adventure as we often call it, has been divisive in gamer circles. Some consider it a legitimate form of interactive entertainment while others see it more like a book than a game. When it comes to interactive fiction, I fall firmly on the side of those who see anything that involves player interaction as a game, so this is as far as I'm willing to entertain the game vs not game debate. Still, interactive fiction games come with various levels of interactivity that can often make those games feel either closer to a book or closer to a video game. What Bromoco Games, the developers of Buried [$2.99], set out to do when developing its game was to bring interactive fiction closer to a more "traditional" video game by including numerous photos and also choice indicators reminiscent of Telltale games (for instance, "X will remember that)...

If a buffalo dances in space, does it make a sound?..

Jared Bailey (aka No Can Win) is one of my favorite developers on the App Store. I loved Cubed Rally Racer [$0.99], and was near-obsessed with the follow-up, Cubed Rally Redline [Free]. After that, though, he started focusing on much simpler Ketchapp-style games that weren’t really my cup o’ tea. The last game of his (which I reviewed) was called Super Bounce Back [Free], and it seemed to be a step back in the right direction, with a clever concept that was slightly more involved than the “one-button-quick-reaction” style games he’d been putting out after the Cubed Rally series. And fortunately for me (and you, I suppose), his latest effort Rocket Ski Racing [Free] climbs out of that inverted bell curve even further. Simply put, it’s a blast...

Once upon a time, in the long-ago days before mankind knew how to wield fire, you could count the number of Kemco RPGs on the App Store on one hand. Among those early releases, one of the best games was Fantasy Chronicle [$4.99], among the first iOS releases from developer Hit-Point. Unlike their Kemco stablemate EXE-Create, Hit-Point isn't too big on making sequels to their games, preferring to come up with something a little different each time. It's a little surprising, then, to see Fantasy Chronicle get a sequel after several years. If Justice Chronicles [$4.99] is any indication, I think I'd like to see Hit-Point make sequels more often...

Having grown up with a controller in my hand, I've learned quite a few skills by way of video games, ranging from vocabulary enhancements, to motor skills, and even things like geography. One of the more practical things I picked up though is general sports knowledge. In fact, it's where I first learned golf, with my uncle breaking down the specific function of each club, and when to use them.  But the game of golf never really took for me, and to really get into the sport of it, I needed a bit of persuasion, sometimes of the fantastical variety. Enter Kirby's Dream Course on the SNES, with wonderful gimmicks like ball morphing and leaping over pitfalls and other hazards, and I was in. I never thought that 20 years later, I'd be writing about a similar experience on iOS, but here we are with Frank the Dillo [$0.99]...

'CaRRage' Review - Twisted Mobile

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January 5th, 2016 10:11 AM EST by Chris Carter in 4 stars, Action, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Universal
Free Buy Now

Car combat is one of my favorite subgenres, despite the fact that it flies under the radar in just about every generation. My first taste was probably Rock 'n' Roll Racing on the SNES, before I graduated to the PlayStation platform, with Twisted Metal and Vigilante 8, among others. There's something exhilarating about racing in a fast-paced environment while explosions are happening all over the screen, especially in some of the more flair-heavy games. While CaRRage [Free] isn't as iconic as the aforementioned titles, it's an incredibly fun way to pass the time on your mobile device...

'Grayout' Review - How Do I Word?

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$2.99 Buy Now

Neven Mrgan and James Moore's Grayout [$2.99] is a word game, but in a unique sense that it plays with words in ways you might not necessarily expect. You are Alaine, who is suffering from aphasia, a condition that affects communication, which manifests itself in this game as where you have a whole pile of words to respond to messages from the doctors allegedly treating you. You need to form sentences, and it starts out just from having a bunch of different words that are designed to fool you from their slight differences as to how they play out in the sentence, eventually getting to the point where the words become warped, and you have to piece together sentences going through several layers of aphasia-induced difficulty...

It's often said that in game development, ideas are cheap. What that means is that everyone has ideas for games, but actually bringing an idea to the finish line and creating an honest-to-goodness final product requires a lot of hard work and dedication from people with particular skills. I think it's not so much meant to say that a good idea is worth nothing, just that it's easier to come up with a decent idea than it is to actually make it. Good ideas are still an important part of any great game, and every once in a while, someone has an idea so good that it can carry entire games or series. Such is the case with Scribblenauts, previously seen on iOS in the form of the best hits-style Scribblenauts Remix [$0.99]. The game has plenty of rough edges, but the idea behind it is 100% solid gold. More stunningly, developer 5th Cell was able to largely realize that golden idea, and were richly rewarded for their efforts...

I'm so glad that so many old school conventions are still commonplace in this industry. Tons of retro genres are seeing a resurgence, particularly roguelikes and adventure titles, and a lot of them end up on the mobile platform, bringing the meeting of old and new full circle. Tales of a Viking: Episode One [$0.99] has a few fundamental flaws for sure, but it handles grid-based combat with more grace than a lot of its competitors...

I like roguelikes, don't get me wrong. I like the replayability that comes from their procedurally-generated structure, and I enjoy the challenge. I'm having a ton of fun right now with Rust Bucket [Free] from Nitrome, for example. But sometimes I think there's a value that comes from level design, of having an experience that was deliberately designed by someone. Thus, while Into the Dim [Free] looked like a roguelike, and has some of the hallmarks such as the turn-by-turn basis and the bumping into enemies to attack them, the game's fixed nature helps make it stand out among a sea of roguelike dungeon crawlers...

Nitrome's Rust Bucket [Free] is a really fun turn-based roguelike, it's just not quite complete yet. Sometimes it's unfair to compare one game to another, but comparing Rust Bucket to Ending [$1.99] is a totally fair comparison because the designer of both games is Aaron Steed, who also worked on Turnament for Nitrome. So, what you're getting is a game that's an evolution and refinement on those games' formulas. Standard turn-based roguelike rules are in play here: you move one square at a time, then all the enemies take their turns, all according to various predictable rules. The challenge comes in when you're trying to survive among several groups of enemies, where one hit kills you. It's tough but fair...

There's something to be said about striking the cultural zeitgeist at the right time. Power Hover [$3.99] drops right when people are getting into hoverboards, what with the fascination over this being the year that Back to the Future Part 2 took place in, and those little scooter things that are called hoverboards despite not actually hovering. But I guess they have no better name. Point is, hoverboards are blowing up. Literally. And Power Hover is here to be an entertaining game where you race through deserts, on the ocean, and through tubes, on a hoverboard. It's solid if not amazing, but fun for the time you'll sink into it...

The Gamevice for iPhone, rolling out to retail now, is a device that's both very functional, even showing some improvements on the earlier release of the model for the iPad Mini. It's a great controller, and its folding design makes it extremely portable. But it's held back in part by its high price, and by several functional trade-offs mandated by Apple requirements, not to mention the non-working Handoff functionality. It's a tough sell for the general consumer, but the Gamevice for iPhone is a solid controller if you're in for the $99.99 price, and you know exactly what you're getting...

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