Category Archives: 4 stars

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 [$5.99] 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...

Kixeye'sVEGA Conflict [Free] has been out for some time on Android and desktop. If you aren't familiar with this Facebook integrated game, think Clash of Clans with space ships and a much more interesting combat system. The IAP is real, The in-game timers are real, but this is still a hot game. What I have been wondering though is how much gameplay is lost in translation to iOS. VEGA is not your typical Facebook game. Sure you have to sit around and wait on timers and micro manage your space town. The town, to me, isn't really where the game takes place. It's kind of more like an extended UI for the best part of the game, the combat. You get to outfit and pilot a fleet of ships with a very simple interface that has some surprising depth and a high level of skill needed to master. ..

Long a staple of the Japanese games industry, romance games have been slowly gaining a bit of a foothold in the west. It seems to have gone hand in hand with the establishment of the visual novel genre outside of Japan, owing to break-out hits like Ace Attorney [Free] and 999 [$4.99]. Like many sub-genres, romance games got their start primarily by targeting men or teenaged boys, offering a wide selection of cute girls with varying personalities for the player to try to woo. Unlike many sub-genres, somewhere along the line publishers got the idea that such games might appeal to the other half of the human race, too. While there are plenty of games for all combinations of gender and orientation in the modern romance game scene, there's no question that the biggest share of the non-explicit market is aimed squarely at women...

I'm generally terrible at roguelikes. What can I say, I'm young and reckless! But I love the genre (and its conventions that inspire other games) because they're highly replayable and demand that I get better at them. When Steam had its recent roguelike sale, I found out that I owned more than half of the games on sale – and bought a few more. So, MicRogue [$1.99] definitely appealed to me, especially as a bite-sized roguelike. And hey, I do love me some pixel art. Thankfully, MicRogue delivers solid, entry-level roguelike gameplay...

Minimalist platformer games have become one of my favorite unlikely genres on mobile devices. Years ago I would have scoffed the idea of running and jumping with precision on a touch-specific control scheme, but at this point, we have MFi controllers and a number of talented developers that make it work regardless. Burn it Down [Free] may not have the former convenience, but it works on multiple levels...

'Hellrider' review - Ducks of Anarchy

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Have you ever wanted to ride a motorcycle through Hell as a duck? Well, Hellrider [Free] is your huckleberry. Accompanied by a slick set of pixelated visuals and an appropriately chiptune soundtrack, Hellrider sees players riding a motorcycle through a hellish landscape, avoiding lava at two sides and a heap of different obstacles. By default you'll start by veering off into one direction, and a simple tap anywhere will change your course. By tapping rapidly you'll stay in place, but eventually you'll need to commit. The animation is very slick on an iPhone 6, and the controls are pretty much instant...

Diego Cathalifaud's mobile roguelike trilogy is concluding with another solid game: Arcane Tower [$2.99]. After the fun Amber Halls [$1.99] and Power Grounds [$0.99] each released last year, a game with similar flat visuals and roguelike gameplay. It's a great way to end the trilogy, bringing another solid game that's great on the go...

When Microsoft announced Halo: Spartan Assault way back in early 2013 as a dual-stick shooter set in the Halo universe that would be exclusive to the Windows platform, no one ever thought that the folks in Redmond would ever sign off on it eventually hitting Apple’s App Store (although we dreamed about it when we checked it out at E3 that year). Yet, here we are with Microsoft pulling a rabbit out of its hat and launching both Halo: Spartan Assault [$5.99] and Halo: Spartan Strike [$5.99] simultaneously on the App Store. As you’ll soon discover, both games play quite similarly to each other, but we’ll focus primarily on Spartan Assault and the gameplay basics in this review and will get into more specifics as well as the differences of Spartan Strike in Part II of our review...

I remember the early days of the App Store, when twin-stick shooters roamed the landscape free and clear. They're a bit more rare now, as the genre got crowded and kind of played itself out. Geometry Wars: Touch [$0.99] remains un-updated for modern devices. At least Radiangames has cornered the market with JoyJoy [$1.99], Inferno 2 [$2.99], and the dual-stick shooter Metroidvania Powerpuff Girls: Defenders of Townsville [$3.99] which unfortunately is no longer for sales. I enjoyed the era of dual-stick shooters, because I liked the variety of games developers made with the conventions! Trigonarium [$1.99] should provide some hope for the masses, needing more dual joysticks to blast enemies from all over the place. If you like frantic shooters and going for high scores, all at a silky-smooth 60 frames per second, Trigonarium is the game for you...

There's something about girls with pet dragons. I think we can all agree on that. But while Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones [$4.99] uses her scaly babies for intimidation, airborne immolation and other miscellaneous conquering duties, the princess in Dragon Hills [$1.99] uses hers strictly for vengeance. Leave the fair maiden alone and she'll not trouble you. But lock her up in a tower and she'll summon forth her fiery steed and hunt you down, wreaking all manner of chaos and destruction in the process...

Some runners are so seamlessly crafted that they don't even feel like runners at all. That's definitely the case with Pie in the Sky [$1.99], partially because of the fact that you are actually flying rather than running, and that it manages to strip most instances of repetition in favor of a more cohesive frame, similar to the old classic Paperboy...

'Corridor Z' Review - Running in the Hall

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April 9th, 2015 4:30 PM EDT by Keith Swiader in 4 stars, Free, iPhone games, Ratings, Reviews, Runner
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There’s certainly no shortage of endless runners on the App Store in 2015. Just as the creation of the match-three puzzler spawned countless spinoffs, the endless runner, popularized by Imangi Studios’ Temple Run [Free] series in 2011, has seen numerous variations from different developers, including the recent Daytona Rush, which added the now-popular three lane mechanic and stock cars, and Touchdown Hero, which added Sega Genesis graphics with top-down gameplay. ..

CivCrafter [Free] is quite the curious little clicker game, and it's not quite the one that you expect. It's a resource management game with raiding-strategy real-time multiplayer, all wrapped up in the veneer of a simplified clicker game. But it has countless things to track and upgrade on your way to becoming the greatest civilization known to humankind. This has to be the pinnacle of the clicker genre and its logical end, right? How do you further deconstruct gaming to its simplest form while also making something this deep?!..

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