Category Archives: 4 stars

Three years ago, iOS gamers were treated to Great Little War Game [$1.99] from Rubicon Development. It was perhaps one of the more truthful titles seen in gaming, and it was a big hit with us here at TouchArcade. Two years ago, the game got an immense sequel in Great Big War Game [$2.99], which added just about anything fans of the first game could have asked for, including online multiplayer. After that, things went quiet for the series, and it seemed like Rubicon had moved on to other things, like last year's Combat Monsters [Free]. They haven't been shy about discussing the somewhat sluggish performance of that last game in the marketplace, and I wouldn't be surprised if that blow informed Great Little War Game 2 [$2.99] right from its very existence on. That said, I don't really care how or why we got another game in the series. As a pretty big fan of both of the previous games, I'm just happy to see the series back...

Fluid SE [$1.99] from Radiangames is perhaps the most hardcore of all of their releases on iOS. Granted, many of the dual-stick shooters like JoyJoy [$1.99] are very much games for core gamers, the ones who like intense action and watching things go boom, versus, say, SideSwype [$1.99] and its puzzle-y-ness. But no, Fluid SE is for the person who wants to repeat a challenge again and again, trying to shave fractions of a second off of their best times...

Certainly, Rival Knights [Free] has a formula that invites skepticism. It's free-to-play from Gameloft, a company not exactly known for making "free" games. And it's a jousting game that uses simplistic mechanics to play the game with. But it's about the sum of its parts and not just the individual elements: everything comes together fabulously in Rival Knights...

Nobody tell Noodlecake Games that they're doing this whole flaplike thing wrong. With Flappy Golf [Free] having creatively reimagined Super Stickman Golf [$2.99] into a platformer with flapping, now Noodlecake has made Jupiter Jump [Free], an endless runner where bouncing off of the ground to get through hoops while avoiding mines is the key. It could have been a simple game that was moderately entertaining, but no: Noodlecake went and made a deeper flaplike that's incredibly rewarding...

Even on devices that survive and thrive using non-conventional control methods, tilt controls are somewhat controversial among players. Some people find them a bit hard to control or inaccurate, while others are unsurprisingly using their mobile devices outside of their homes and don't want to draw attention to themselves. Those in favor of tilting usually point to the more natural feeling it sometimes offers, along with delegating fewer actions to on-screen buttons or sticks. Usually, developers who want to use the tilt feature do their best to accommodate everyone, but sometimes a game comes along where the tilt controls are inseparable from the game itself. A great example of this is the excellent Tilt To Live [$2.99], a game that typically appeals even to people who aren't big fans of motion controls. Even in the case of that game, some people just aren't convinced...

When it comes to tower defense, I personally think it can be a tough task for developers to balance new concepts with established elements that give a TD game that familiar, comfortable feeling. Armor Games' Demons vs. Fairyland [Free / $2.99 (HD)] does a good job with that balance. While its small unique features probably don’t do much in terms of innovation, I think it does enough overall to be included in any TD fan’s game library...

You can file this one in the "better late than never" folder with Blek [$0.99]. A Dark Room [$1.99] released several months back, but due to a horrific accident in the TouchArcade break room involving the microwave oven and a can of non-dairy powdered cream, it fell between the cracks. Well, I stuck a piece of chewing gum to the end of a stick and pulled this interesting little game out of that crack. I also found my keys. I'm glad for both, since not only can I get back into my home, I also got to enjoy a really unusual and entertaining adventure. It's one of those games that you finish and want to talk about almost immediately, and so, here we are...

If you're a fan of strategy games, then the name Slitherine needs no introductions. If you're not, all you really need to know about these guys is that they have been around the block a few times when it comes to this genre. They've made a board game, a bunch of computer games, quite a few iPad games, and only a few iPhone games, almost all dealing with the subject of war. Now, when it comes to strategy war games, certain wars are covered more often than others, but one of the cool things about Slitherine is that they've dabbled in a lot of unconventional settings, as seen for example in Da Vinci's Art Of War [$4.99 (HD)] on iPad. I like a game based around Napoleon, Rome, or World War 2 as much as the next guy, but it's nice to get outside the box now and then, you know?..

I'm sure, like me, you've seen many RPGs market themselves as having 100 hour quests or something outrageous like that, only to find that unless you delve into side-content, it's less than half that in almost every case. Record of Agarest War [$14.99], the latest port from HyperDevbox, makes a similar claim, but they're not shoveling manure. Though I finished my first, and I might add quite rushed, pass through the game under the 100 hour mark, it wasn't that far off, and I think it's entirely believable the average player will eclipse the century hour mark before seeing the ending. Add in the side content, and you're probably looking at 130-150 hours, if not more. If you're determined to get your dollar's worth out of a game on sheer length, you'll be hard-pressed to beat Agarest. Of course, a game running that long can be a double-edged sword, and that's definitely the case here, but I'll come back to that later in the review...

In the current era of gaming, the phrase "Roguelike" can often be overused. It seems like any game featuring any number of elements from the genre such as permadeath and randomized situations warrant the moniker, but after the rise of major games like The Binding of Isaac and Spelunky, it's just easier to use the phrase to describe any number of elements from the age-old genre and move on. With that in mind, Power Grounds [$0.99] is kind of sort of a roguelike -- kind of...

I'm not going to try to put one over on you guys. I wasn't exactly excited when Kemco's latest, Band of Monsters [$3.99], popped up on the App Store, since it hit right about five minutes after Agarest War [$14.99] and five minutes before Final Fantasy Agito dropped. I'd say I have an appreciation for Kemco's fare that exceeds many people's, but there's such a thing as too many RPGs at one time. Starting the game up, I was at least relieved to see it was from developer Hit-Point, whose system-based focus usually results in something interesting, if not extremely iterative...

You can't help but be won over by some games on pure charm, and Aliens Drive Me Crazy [$1.99] certainly did that for me. I play a lot of games, so it's pretty rare for a game to give me the sort of reaction where I wonder what the heck is going on, the whole time with a smile on my face. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the opening cut-scene, which shows aliens abducting gangsters, turning into clones of them, then going on a rampage as our hero watches from his window. He takes to his car to settle some business, and the game begins...

Well, it's not often I find myself having to write a second review, but here we are. A few months back, the hotly-anticipated sequel to Dungelot, surprisingly named Dungelot 2 [Free], was released on the App Store. While retaining the same basic gameplay as the original title, the sequel was quite different in a lot of ways, many of them owing to the new free-to-play structure. It was still pretty fun, but, as I said in an alternate timeline review, in most ways it represented a step back from the original game. It was also rife with bugs, including people losing out on purchased IAPs, which is basically a worst-case scenario. So, in a move that has very little precedent, developer Red Winter Software pulled the game from the App Store to rework it extensively and fix up the known issues. At last, it's seemingly ready to go again, so let's have a look and see how Dungelot 2-2 has turned out...

Developer Radiangames has released a few cool puzzle games recently, but it's been a while since Radiangames last visited the shooting genre on iOS. Since their twin-stick shooters are among the best available on the App Store, it's a more than welcome return. Of course, JoyJoy [$1.99] represents a return in more than one way, since it's actually a revamped version of one of the developer's oldest games. You would think that would put the game in a hard position, launching among its successors and all, but it does enough to differentiate itself to make it worth owning for any fan of the genre...

I tend to think that gamers are probably better than the average person at coordinating their left and right hands, thanks to years of hard training on concepts like making Mario jump and move to the right at the same time, which is something my mother may not ever grasp. Well, after playing dEXTRIS [Free] for a while, I find myself rethinking just how well ol' lefty and righty play together, even after all this time as partners. Although the title of this game first made me think of Tetris [$0.99], this game is actually another one of those short, super-hard, reflex-based challenges that have become so prolific since Terry Cavanagh's Super Hexagon [$2.99] released a couple of years back. I should stress, having played quite a few of these, dEXTRIS is actually a fairly distant cousin, mostly evoking similar feelings as you play rather than actually spinning off from Hexagon's gameplay like many others...

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