Category Archives: 4 stars

'Lara Croft: Relic Run' Review - Temple Fun

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May 29th, 2015 4:30 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in 4 stars, Free, Games, Reviews, Runner, Universal
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Some of you may recall a bit of controversy earlier this year over the fact that Temple Run 2 [Free] (and many similar games) didn’t let you play as a female character unless you paid for the privilege. This was brought to the attention of The Washington Post by a pretty awesome 6th grader who argued that it could be a form of gender discrimination, even if the developers didn’t intend it that way. Luckily, Imangi and several other devs took steps toward fixing the situation, but it’s no secret these types of games (and the industry as a whole) still have a ways to go. Well, stepping into the fray with tiny shorts and guns blazing is Lara Croft with her own take on the behind-the-back-runner formula. You’re welcome, women everywhere...

This review comes with a small caveat: you have to like the rock band Queen even a little bit to appreciate this game. Otherwise, read this review as a commentary on how a "band" iOS game should be made. And now that we are done with that, let's talk about Queen: Play the Game [$2.99], a mobile game released yesterday out of the blue. I'm quite a Queen fan ever since forever; still, I approached this game to see both what it could offer Queen fans but also how it stands as a model for licensed band games. I'm happy to say that I enjoyed playing the game, and as long as content keeps on coming its way (as the developers said it will), Queen: Play the Game will stand as a great "gameficication" of everything Queen...

The Alphadia series represents something of an oddity in prolific RPG publisher Kemco's line-up. For all of the iOS games they put out, roughly one per month for the last few years, there's only one sequel in the bunch that isn't part of the Alphadia series. Alphadia [$3.99], on the other hand, has three sequels, though the links between them are becoming increasingly tenuous as time goes on. Of course, with at least two more Asdivine games released in Japan, that's going to change soon enough, but it's still quite interesting. Are these games particularly popular, or does developer EXE-Create just like the trappings of Alphadia's mythos? That's a question I can't answer, but it's clear that the developer and publisher both give the Alphadia games a bit of special treatment. Alphadia Genesis [$9.99] was the game that debuted EXE-Create's new 3D combat engine, used in a few other titles since. Now that title is getting a follow-up, Alphadia Genesis 2 [$4.99]...

Crazy Kings [Free] is a creatively cartoon-y tower defense adventure which documents one hero’s valiant attempt to rally troops and save the world from the siege of the titular raving royals. Along the way, players will reinforce battlefields ranging from towers and arenas to icebergs and (obviously) run-of-the-mill fields from enemy invaders. In exchange for a successful campaign, the player is rewarded up to three pieces of loot (one for each potential Star earned) with the available prizes being some combination of in-game currency known as Gems, Armor for protecting your main hero or Cards for summoning new units. The completion rewards are displayed right at the beginning of the level as an added incentive to try, try again if at first you don’t succeed. There are also a myriad of other distractions along the way that promise new and exciting rewards on a “give it a try, once (or twice) a day” basis without using up any main-story-progressing energy. But don’t get too crazy, energy in Crazy Kings doesn’t come cheap. Each level, whether first run through or reprise, will cost you ten green bottles and since you only start with 50, that means you could be running out of treasonous activities pretty quickly...

On-screen controls haters, take notice. If you play Sword of Xolan [$0.99], you'll have to rethink many of your arguments, and we all know how people love to hold on to their opinions. Sword of Xolan is a retro platformer that's just come out and is an entertaining action game with lovely art and strong level design whose only downside is a difficulty curve that often doesn't offer the right kind of challenge at the right moment. While this issue doesn't make the game repetitive, it does detract from the challenge and keeps the game from platforming perfection...

Dragon Blaze [Free], by producers Gamevil and Flint, is as fun as it is aesthetically pleasing. It sports a brightly colored world, intricately detailed backdrops, and characters animated with a puppets-on-a-string feel. The game opens with a pretty generic prologue, the extent of which is relatively unnecessary. The gist of the story is that Deathcrown the “King of the living and the dead,” has returned from banishment with an army of dragons, intent on opposing the humans and their ruler, King Gram. The main character is then tasked with unraveling the true story that lays beneath the war between dragons and humans, including the mysterious death of the princess and a royal plot that is darker than first appears...

Heroes and Castles 2 [$1.99] runs into the problem that trying to bring big-scope, console-style games to mobile often have: these games are often well-made and can be fun to play. But sometimes, they're terrible fits for the actual platform. And that's where my issues with Heroes and Castles 2 lie: the game's good, I just came to dread playing it because it isn't a good fit for the mobile platform...

'Viking Remix Madness' Review - To the Beat of a Different Beard

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May 21st, 2015 5:15 PM EDT by Andrew Koziara in 4 stars, Reviews
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Out of all the random cool occupations that people love to pit against each other in hypothetical fights, Vikings are my personal favorite. I like them more than pirates, ninjas, cyborgs, wizards, samurai, zombies, astronauts, and indeed, cavemen. The proclivity of mobile game designers to use Vikings in cute, chibi, horned helmet form despite their historical violence and lack of horned helmets is A-OK in my book. Which brings us to Viking Remix Madness[Free]...

The official iOS release of Kickstarter-funded monster-training RPG- EvoCreo [$0.99] from brand new development company Ilmfinity LLC has finally come to pass. The game features a world that fans of a certain wildly popular Nintendo game will jive with pretty quickly. From its patches of vigorously shaking bushes to the impromptu destruction of random children’s precious pets, EvoCreo might leave you feeling a little nostalgic. ..

Beast Quest [Free] is an action RPG where you explore the fantasy world of Avantia in an attempt to combat a variety of creatures who have been cursed by an evil wizard. Follow Tom, a young warrior tasked with breaking the wizard's curse, and his friends as they slay monsters, collect provisions, hunt for treasure, and navigate a dynamic landscape...

It's hard to imagine a more generic studio name than "Game Dev Team," but their recently-released title Hardboiled [$1.99] is anything but generic. A lot of energy has gone into this one, the game content is rich, compelling and definitely worth a play through. Hardboiled is a turn based, strategy RPG that explicitly mentions the classic Fallout series as inspiration. In Hardboiled, you play as Max, a wanderer in a world ravaged by nuclear war. Armed with makeshift weapons and equipment, your mission is to explore the devastated town in search of items you need to progress in the game...

It's been almost a year and a half since the last volume of Gamebook Adventures, the homegrown series of adventures that kicked things off for prolific gamebook publisher Tin Man Games. The developers at Tin Man have certainly kept busy in that time, adapting several Fighting Fantasy books and a few other treasures like Ryan North's To Be Or Not To Be [$5.99], and while many of those have been great fun, I'm sure I'm not the only one who has been waiting for a return to the world of Orlandes. The tenth volume of Gamebook Adventures, Lords Of Nurroth [$5.99], brings the setting back with style, casting you as a professional liberator of goods who heads out on a routine job and finds a lot more than they bargained for...

Wow. Talk about an iOS dynasty. It's been five long years since Miniclip.com published the port of the original Fragger [$0.99] to the App Store. All this time later, Harold Brenes, the original creator of Fragger is back with a long, long awaited sequel, Fragger 2 [$1.99]. I mean, 5 years? That's ancient history in mobile gaming. Not quite 'cradle of life,' 'dawn of man' ancient, but still pretty darn old. Ancient Greece, maybe. Anyway, was the wait worth it? Did anyone really want this sequel?..

Curling as an influence to a high score game? What? That's what Gameblyr's Into the Circle [Free] promises and delivers on. Curling is an underappreciated sport here in the United States. It's something I always try to catch whenever the Winter Olympics happen, or if ESPN3 has some on. It's surprisingly entertaining! It's better than watching golf on TV. There's not a lot of great curling games out there, so hey, we'll have to settle for curling-inspired ones like this. And Into the Circle winds up being a fun little game, albeit suffering a little bit from pay-to-win syndrome...

'Fatal Fight' Review - Two Finger Hurty Whack

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May 14th, 2015 2:00 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in 4 stars, Action, Free, Games, Reviews, Universal
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One of my favorite things about being a gamer in the indie/mobile/Steam age is how many new genres seem to pop up all the time. You’ve got your twitch games, Minecraft-likes, Hex-likes, Flap-likes. A lot of “-like”s. Of course, there’s a fine line between inspiration and cloning, and the App Store is rife with examples of both. Toghrul Samadov’s Fatal Fight [Free] is clearly inspired by the PC game One Finger Death Punch (which itself was inspired by those stickman flash cartoons that were all the rage a hundred internet years ago). Fatal Fight may not be the first, but it’s still a great example of a pretty kick-ass new genre of quick fix gaming...

One of the oldest names in Japanese video gaming, Namco is a publisher of many talents. Perhaps chief among them throughout its history is its ability to look at what its competitors are doing and make its own, often better version. It reached near-comical levels with SEGA in the 1990s, where SEGA would release a new arcade game, and Namco would chase it with their spin on the concept. This wasn't new behavior for them, either. Like most Japanese developers in the early era of gaming, Namco started popping out Space Invaders clones before the paint had dried on the cabinets of Taito's seminal hit. Namco's Galaxian added colorful graphics and aggressive enemies to the concept, launching a franchise that still pops up here and there, more than 35 years later...

Stop me if you've heard this before -- a new jump-scare horror game is coming out, and it's set in an asylum. As a child of the 90s I've had my fair share of mental ward scares, and Lost Within [$6.99] is no exception. Despite the overdone premise though there is something there, and well crafted touch controls certainly helps its case...

'Anodia 2' Review - Another Brick In The Wall

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May 11th, 2015 4:28 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in 4 stars, Arcade, Free, Games, Reviews, Universal
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It’s interesting how much you can read the history of the App Store in Clueless Little Muffin’s brick breaking Anodia series. Peel back the layers of the original Anodia [$2.99] and you’ll find a three-star rating system, physics-based levels, and a so-called premium price tag. And the visuals--while certainly not bad--do have a slight whiff of “four years ago” to them. Flash forward to now, and Anodia 2 [Free] feels strikingly modern, despite the actual gameplay being almost identical...

When about a month ago I decided to preview Soulspark - Battle Cards [Free], a new F2P real-time card battling game by Copenhagen Creators and Wizkids, I did so because I always look for games by designers who are trying to innovate or, at least, spice up genre conventions. I was very interested in the way SoulSpark's developers wanted to infuse card-battlers - which are usually defined by slow deliberation - with the element of timing and rapid decision-making. I was especially excited about the prospect of a multiplayer component in the game, which the developers have said they are working on for a future update. Now that I've spent more time with the game, I'm still loving the concept behind the game as well as the visuals, but there are some questionable, yet not game-breaking, design choices that detract from the experience as well as some hard paywalls that make SoulSpark more of a free-to-try rather than a free-to-play game...

If you are looking for another insanely hard challenge that will spur you to throw your phone out the window in frustration then I've got the perfect game for you. Bouncy Bits [Free]; is a disturbingly demanding game, clearly inspired by Flappy Bird, Mr Jump and Crossy Road, which feels like Flappy Bird and Minecraft gave birth to a monster, an evil monster that will haunt your dreams...

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