Category Archives: 4 stars

It's always a bit of a gamble to take direct control of the main character of a game out of the player's hands. When it works, it can force the player to pay attention to things going on outside of the area they're currently focused on, which adds some welcome complexity. When it goes off the rails, it can leave the player feeling incredibly frustrated at losing due to circumstances quite literally out of their control. One genre where it seems to work well, even with somewhat simplistic implementation, is the puzzle genre. Games like Lemmings or the later entries in the Mario Vs. Donkey Kong series show how rewarding it can be to set up a plan and guide it through to its conclusion, even if you aren't directly playing through it. Lost Yeti [$1.99] takes a similar approach, with its titular character having a mind of his own, wraps it all up in retro stylings, with the end result being a pretty good action-puzzler...

It's been more than three years since the generally well-received Ys/Zelda mash-up action RPG Across Age [$3.99] was released on the App Store. It was a surprisingly well-done adventure, developed by frequent Kemco collaborators EXE Create, that used a simple time travel mechanic to make it stand out. Well, we finally have a sequel, and in spite of it being rather a long time coming, it's more refinement than revolution, delivering an experience that's a little bit too familiar in many ways. Still, there's a great time to be had here, especially if you enjoy the genre...

What originally started as a meme on the Something Awful forums, the character of Slender Man has grown far beyond what the original creator probably ever intended. An unnaturally skinny and tall man, with no features, always dressed in black, appears randomly before you, and if you see him, you have precious little time to avoid his grasp and an untimely end...

'Tap & Blast' Review - A Barrel of Fun

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January 20th, 2014 11:07 AM EDT by Chris Carter in 4 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
99¢ Buy Now

One of my favorite aspects of the Donkey Kong Country series had to be the barrel blasting puzzles. There was something so simple about the concept -- just pressing a button in time with rotating and swaying barrels -- that really resonated with me. It was intense, and fairly clever, as there were a host of secrets to be found if you took leaps (blasts?) of faith and ventured into unknown and unseen territory. When I heard there was a mobile game based entirely around this concept, I had to jump on it. Thankfully, Tap & Blast [$0.99] manages to recapture the thrill of blasting all over again...

'Shadow Blade' Review - A Slashin' Good Time

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January 16th, 2014 11:42 AM EDT by Eric Ford in 4 stars, Action, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, iPod touch games, Platform, Reviews
$1.99 Buy Now

Dead Mage’s Shadow Blade [$1.99] has one thing on its mind: fast-paced Ninja action with a healthy dose of platforming. In this regard, it succeeds pretty well in creating a focused experience perfectly suited for iOS devices. True, with its level-based gameplay and three-star system, Shadow Blade doesn’t offer anything particularly innovative, but its attention to streamlined controls and emphasis on level balance still make it a highly enjoyable game worth checking out...

'Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project' Review - The Best Duke Nukem Game Of This Millennium

I'm not sure if there's another character in the games industry that has achieved so much fame with so few noteworthy games to his name as Duke Nukem. I've got a lot of great memories of Duke, like many of you, I'm sure, but they're all pretty well exclusively tied to Duke Nukem 3D [$2.99]. I mean, I had played Duke Nukem 1 or 2 [$0.99] before that came out, but unfortunately for that version of Duke, I played it around the same time as Wolfenstein 3D [$1.99], and it wasn't hard to miss the merits of the choppy 2D action platformer in that light. I think I mentally filed the series under the same category as Jill of the Jungle and went back to shooting Nazis on my father's PC and getting my 2D shooter fix on my SNES and Genesis...

Platformers can be a mixed bag on the mobile platform. Some feature heavy amounts of IAP, wonky virtual d-pads and buttons, and uninspired designs that basically just rip off Mario or some other high profile title. But Sugar Roll [Free] is more unique than meets the eye, featuring an odd looking hero constantly rolling on top of a ball...

In the past week, I played two zombie survival adventure games, which is two more than I played in the last full year. It's not that there aren't tons of great zombie games out there, it's just that as a concept I feel like the game industry has done a pretty good job of exhausting it, so it takes a lot to get me invested in the theme these days. One of the two titles I played was The Walking Dead [Free], a game I'd heard nothing but gushing praise about and felt I needed to check out. Well, I've now seen it all the way through, and yes, that was really something. At the same time I was making my way through that, I was also playing Overlive: Zombie Survival RPG [$2.99], and you would think that with a similar genre and theme, there would be a long shadow there that the game might not be able to shamble out of. Well, Overlive isn't as good as The Walking Dead in a general sense, but it does do a lot of interesting things that make it worth checking out for adventure fans...

Originally released back in 2012, Castle Raid [$0.99] offered an interesting combination of castle defense and castle offense with a simplified RTS control scheme to tie it all together. Now, developer Arcticmill is back with Castle Raid 2 [$2.99], an iterative sequel that preserves the core gameplay while adding some much-needed depth. Challenging but fair, Castle Raid 2 offers all the right ingredients to be worth checking out...

Just recently, an old tradition in gaming was broken for the first time ever. PlayStation hardware was released, and a Ridge Racer title did not accompany it. It's completely understandable, however unfortunate it might be. Ridge Racer just hasn't been putting butts in the seats like it used to in the old days. A lot of that is down to heavy competition in the genre from games offering a staggering amount of content compared to Ridge Racer, along with declining interest in the racing genre in traditional markets. After a disastrous new approach on the Vita, where a barebones version was sold for a discounted, but still high, price with the remaining content sold as IAP or offered as free DLC, it looked like Ridge Racer might finally be headed for the scrapyard...

I'm not even going to try to pretend that I know a lot about beer. This isn't one of those fields where you can fudge it and get away with it. Beer fans seem to be walking encyclopedias of information, and when you get in the habit of actually brewing your own frequently, you've officially hit nuclear physicist levels of knowledge in the topic as near as I can tell. I only drink it, and given my geographical limitations, I don't have access to a large variety. Thankfully, through the power of video game simulation technology, I can finally see what it's like to be a beer connaisseur, and... oh wait, no, I'm still in over my head...

'Ookibloks' Review - Slammin' and Bananas

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December 20th, 2013 1:06 PM EDT by Chris Carter in 4 stars, Action, Free, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
Free Buy Now

While many retro veterans pine for tactile controls for games that would be best suited for precision, the mobile platform can alternatively host creations that gel perfectly with a touch based interface. One such creation is Ookibloks [Free] -- a fast paced platformer that's easy to pick up and play due to perfectly implemented swipe controls...

'Cyro' Review - A Puzzle of Specks and Planks

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December 20th, 2013 10:15 AM EDT by Chris Carter in $1.99, 4 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
$1.99 Buy Now

There's plenty of room for complex puzzle games in the world, but every so often I enjoy sitting down with a great simplistic experience. Sometimes, the most minimal games tend to wrack your brain the most, as they distill a few concepts down into their most basic form, and test your mettle in specific ways. And what could get more simple than guiding a line through a maze?..

If you’ve been following iOS games for a while, then you’ve probably heard of The Shadow Sun at some point or another. Originally announced way back in August 2010, RPG fans were instantly intrigued at the idea of an original, 3D, Western-style RPG. This was especially the case considering developer Ossian Studio’s pedigree of having individuals that worked on games such as Baldur’s Gate II. However, after that announcement the hype machine went silent until this year. Now, over three years later The Shadow Sun [$4.99] finally makes its debut. While it may not necessarily match the hype of a game three years in the making it’s still a worthy addition to a growing library of impressive Western-style RPGs...

While searching for an app that would play some sweet 80s ballads for me to slow dance with my best girl to, I happened to stumble on this little gem. Okay, that's a lie. Air Supply - Infinite [$0.99], which has nothing to do with the Australian soft rock band, came to my attention by way of the awesome members at the TouchArcade forums. It's getting a lot of love there, and not for nothing. While the game looks quite plain at first glance, it's a fairly unique spin on the runner genre, and an excellent addition to the discerning portrait mode gamer's collection...

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