Category Archives: 4 stars

Craft the World - Pocket Edition[$9.99] is a sandbox crafting game from Devokir Entertainment very much in the vein of Terraria[$4.99] and Starbound. The side view perspective works amazingly well and with multiple characters to control, it very much resembles an interactive any colony...

Last year when I reviewed TouchMint's Adventure To Fate [$2.99], I suggested in the review title that if the game were boiled down much more, there wouldn't be anything left. Apparently, the developer took that as a thrown gauntlet, because the follow-up to the game, Adventure To Fate: Battle Arena [Free], manages to trim the concept down even more. Remarkably, it does so without losing any of the things that worked well in the first game, making for a more smartly-paced game all-around. Fans of the original title should be very pleased, while those who felt that it was a bit too grindy might be happy about certain cuts. Don't be alarmed by its free price tag, it's one of those good ones that makes you wonder how the developer plans on making any money...

Satellina [$1.99] tries to apply a minimalist veneer and an arena-survival touch to the speedrun genre, and while its challenges are small in nature, there's fun to be had here. The goal is to move your X avatar around an arena full of green, yellow, and red particles. The green particles are the ones you must collect, with the yellow and red ones killing you, and forcing you to start the level over. However, those yellow particles turn green once all the green ones are collected, and the red ones turn yellow, and so on. The game is structured with 10 different sets of 5 levels, where you must try to beat the set as quickly as possible. As a completion game, it's not much, as everything can be tackled through sheer force of will, so this is primarily for speedrun fanatics. There is a clever progression structure where multiple level paths open up as you complete different level sets...

'WWE Immortals' Review - Wrestling with Déjà Vu

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Injustice [Free] on mobile. I'm also a huge fan of pro wrestling. So when NetherRealm Studios and Warner Bros., the makers of Injustice, announced a partnership with the WWE to create a new mobile brawler, I got all kinds of excited. The thought of taking the Injustice game and simply plugging in a bunch of WWE wrestlers was enticing. And well, that's pretty much just what they did. WWE Immortals [Free] is basically Injustice: WWE Edition, and while that's not a bad thing by any stretch seeing as Injustice is a proven winning formula, it is somewhat disappointing that there's barely anything substantial to differentiate the games from one another. That said, Immortals is a solid foundation to build upon and it should please fans of both Injustice and the WWE...

Now, here's a rare situation. One of the strengths of the gamebook genre is in the sheer variety of situations it covers. Unlike most RPGs, there aren't a lot of expensive assets that need to be built and hopefully reused in future games, since apart from a handful of still pictures, the world is built through text. This frees the writers to tackle any kind of story or setting they want, including superheroes, pirates, horror, fantasy, comedy, and so on. With virtually anything on the table in terms of possibilities, the one type of story we don't see terribly often in gamebooks is a sequel story. Sure, the Fighting Fantasy series had a couple of direct sequels along with some tenuous links between their fantasy stories, most notably in the Sorcery! sub-series, and even the classic Choose Your Own Adventure series had a couple of follow-up books to some of the most popular stories. The Lone Wolf series was notable for allowing you carry your character forward from book to book, though the stories necessarily had to be stand-alone to a great extent...

One of the cooler games in the history of the App Store era of mobile gaming was 1-bit Ninja [$2.99], it being a platformer with a couple of neat twists: you could only move in one direction, generally forward; you could also shift the perspective of the screen to see ahead and to find where obstructions were actually background objects. It was a remarkably clever game, and one that is still fantastic today thanks to its recent update making it work on modern devices. 1-bit Ninja Remix Rush [$1.99] uses many of the same principles as that game, but with a new endless structure, that manages to be a great way to check this out for the first time, or as a way for people familiar with the original to get a fresh experience...

Developer EXE Create seems to have their business all sorted out when it comes to putting together an enjoyable JRPG on a Kemco-sized budget. Even at their worst, we end up with something like Infinite Dunamis [$3.99], a solid effort whose chief offense is in its lack of ambition. More typically, however, an EXE Create release will fall among the best of prolific publisher Kemco's mobile catalog. The developer has a particular strength for characterization, casting their adventures with clashing personalities and a hero that shows actual growth. This work is backed by surprisingly strong localizations, resulting in a story that's fun to play through even if the overall plot isn't all that special. In terms of gameplay, they tend to play it safe most of the time, but unlike their stablemates at Kemco, even if they're not strong at a particular design element, they at least turn in a good enough effort that it doesn't detract from what they do well...

Tap Titans [Free] is the latest game to make me feel ashamed for enjoying it so much. After Bitcoin Billionaire [Free] ruined my life, I figured I was safe from clickers for a while. Then I saw Tap Titans on the App Store, and heard it mentioned in a comment that I was probably enjoying it. I wasn't yet, but that spurred me to check it out. And I'm either really glad I did, or really distraught that apparently my tastes are this shallow that the very semblance of a game is enough to satisfy me...

Platform Panic [Free] is an interesting game because it manages to straddle both sides of an interesting duality regarding retro-style and pixel art games. Pixel art games are always an interesting proposition because there's a sort of confusing duality to them. Part of the appeal of pixel art is based on the limiting nature of retro games, with their low resolutions and limited resources demanding pixel art. So it gets used in part because it's a throwback to the early days of gaming. But it's also a bona-fide art style at this point that can be used in games that really don't have much to do with retro games, but still just use that style. I mean, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP [$2.99 / $4.99] really isn't much like classic games, but it's got distinctive pixel art. ..

I often am asked how we come across some of the games we cover here at TouchArcade. While I can't spill all of our secrets lest Eli end me with a single, swift swipe, I can tell you one of the things we keep an eye on is what the members of the TouchArcade forums catch on to. That's how I first caught notice of a humble little developer by the name of Quantum Sheep, at the time fresh off of releasing a clever endless runner called Air Supply - Infinite [$0.99]. It didn't look like much from the screenshots or description in the App Store, but our forum was absolutely crazy about it, so I gave it an honest go and found it to be a very compelling game, with a wry sense of humor and an enthusiastic appreciation for the 8-bit computing era. Quantum Sheep's next game, Air Supply - SOS [$1.99], took the Jetpac concept and gave it a good old twist, creating a frantic action game in the classic arcade style. SOS's development was fairly lengthy and the developer wasn't shy about discussing it, so I had a good idea early on of what it was and when it was coming...

Mobile gaming certainly isn't hurting for clever puzzle games. Perhaps due to their natural fit with touch controls, puzzle games were one of the earliest genres to flourish on iOS. If you ask the average person to name off the mobile games they know of, chances are many of the entries will be from the puzzle genre. Candy Crush Saga [Free], Angry Birds [$0.99], Cut The Rope [$0.99], and similar fare are to many people the face of mobile gaming. Puzzle platformers, on the other hand, seem to have a rougher go of it. The puzzle part is usually fine, of course, but touchscreen platforming is a hard thing to nail down properly. Volt [$1.99 / $0.99 (HD)] tackles the problem by having you play as a little battery, who can't do much more than flop around on its own. Instead, it can generate beams of electricity to grapple onto various surfaces. It's like Cut The Rope meets Bionic Commando...

Anh Huy Phan has brought one of my favorite genres to iOS. Star Nomad Elite[$3.99] is a trimmed down, stream lined 2d space adventure game. The game notes have a shout out to Elite, Wing Commander, Privateer, Escape Velocity and Freelancer. I was a bit surprised that my favorite 2d space sim, Star Sonata wasn't also mentioned. In any case, I had a lot of expectations going into Star Nomad. It's a fun game from a very small indie outfit that could really take you by surprise. ..

Considering EA’s recent trend of reviving old IPs in a freemium world, it’s safe to say that expectations weren’t high when it was announced that SimCity would return to iOS with a free-to-play model. Yet, SimCity BuildIt [Free] is surprisingly tolerable with impressible visuals and a somewhat fair monetization system. Sure, it’s not the SimCity game that most fans of the series probably want but I think it manages to do the franchise some small justice...

The whole series of events leading up to Marvel Contest Of Champions [Free] is pretty weird if you think about it too much. It's a clear reply to the mobile version of Injustice: God Among Us [Free], whose console version's inception likely sprang out of Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe, which certainly only existed because of Marvel Vs. Capcom. That's Marvel and DC for you, friends. They bite each other's tails so often it's sometimes hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. Well, I just thought that was interesting. Truth be told, I'm glad something like Contest Of Champions came about. While Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 is ideally better than Injustice, trying to play it on a touch screen stripped away a lot of its merits, and the game was removed from the App Store even if you wanted to play it. Injustice, on the other hand, found a winning combination with its collection elements and extremely simplified take on the fighting genre. It only makes sense to have a Marvel version, and that's basically what you get in Contest Of Champions...

You don't win the tutorial mission in BattleLore: Command [$9.99]. I found that kind of interesting, and in a way, it sets the pace for this strategy board game adaptation. While many strategy games like to puff you up with some early victories before pulling out the Customer Service Bat, this one teaches you the basics of how to play in a couple of turns and then almost immediately comes at you virtually as hard as it ever will. It's a real sink or swim situation, but if you've got the wits and patience to see it through, you'll find a game with a very rewarding core that suffers a bit from its overall lack of options...

Tower Of Fortune [$0.99] developer Game Stew is a hard developer for me to get a read on. I mean, I think if you look hard enough you can find a designer's fingerprints all over just about any game, but you don't even have to do that with Game Stew. Their games are instantly recognizable thanks to their consistent, unusual presentation style. If you do choose to look a bit harder, you can see that also carries over to the gameplay, even if some of their games are ostensibly in different genres from each other entirely. It's interesting because even though their games are generally quite unique from almost every angle, once you understand Game Stew's way of doing things, you can reliably count on certain elements being present. Specifically, you're probably going to have quite a few trappings of the roguelike genre. Being predictably off-beat certainly isn't a bad thing. Tim Burton doesn't seem to be suffering for it, at least. The big problem with having that kind of reputation is that you need to keep coming up with ways to keep your audience's thirst for oddity quenched...

Proun+ [$0.99] is a game that probably should have been on iOS a long time ago. It makes too much sense, the tube racing, with its simple controls that are perfect for taps or tilts, its quick races, they all make for the ideal iOS game. That this is a port from PC to iOS just feels like it's something well overdue. Proun+ is a tube-racing game, which I previewed last month. There's some utterly brilliant aspects to this one, but also some things that make me curious about, to see if there's not a way this game could have been structured any better...

'Seabeard' Review - A Whole New (Freemium) World

After many months of coverage, a soft-launch and a hands-on preview, Seabeard [Free] is finally upon us. When a game gets this much coverage and hype, it’s typically hard for it to satisfy all expectations. This seems to be even more true whenever a game relies on freemium mechanism as a way to monetize. After spending a great deal of time within the game, I’m happy to report that I don’t believe Seabeard is a victim of its own hype but I do think that its freemium system will probably alienate some of its potential player base...

'Arcane Quest 2' Review - A Quest For Heroes

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December 1st, 2014 2:30 PM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $1.99, 4 stars, Board, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Role-Playing
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Like any lifelong enthusiast of role-playing games, I've got a few memories that are embarrassing to relate in mixed company. Since we're all friends here, I'll let you in on one of them. In junior high school, or middle school as some of our readers might call it, our class planned a trip to one of the islands in the lake my hometown sits beside. It's kind of a popular beach for those who have the means to reach it, and there are even a couple of food stands and a vague attempt at a boardwalk. Well, everyone was pretty excited about this trip, and when the day arrived, people came with bags packed with swimming gear, water guns, and sports equipment for the park. My tight little group of RPG-loving friends and I had our swimsuits and a couple of Super Soakers. I mean, we weren't totally out there. But instead of bringing a volleyball or anything like that, my good friend had Milton Bradley's HeroQuest board game tucked under his arm. We spent a good portion of the day sitting in the park beside the beach, making our way through a few campaigns...

I like the cut of Not Doppler's jib. Their stable of 2D games are all solidly entertaining games with zippy gameplay. Their most recent game, Earn to Die 2[$1.99], is the first time they have revisited one of their iOS games with an update. From a bird's eye view, this one is really strong, avoiding some of the pitfalls other popular games have stumbled into. Some of the best decisions made are that the follow up game has more content and maybe most importantly, this one was packages as a separate game independent from the first Earn to Die[$0.99]. Once you get a little closer, you'll find there is even more to get excited about...

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