Category Archives: 4 stars

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 [Free], 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 [$2.99], 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...

One of the first PC games I ever played was a roguelike called ZZT. It was comprised entirely of ANSI characters, so there were no real "graphics," as everything was text based. The Atari era was very simplistic in a similar way, often utilizing singular color schemes for backgrounds, with very little detail due to the nature of technical limitations at the time. Pixa [$2.99] attempts to recreate said era with a touch-screen interface, and the results are extremely mixed -- mostly dependant on how fondly you remember the old school days...

Cipher Prime Studios has amazed us before with hits such as Fractal, Splice and Pulse, each exploring various avenues related to puzzle and music/rhythm gameplay. With Intake: Be Aggressive [$2.99 (HD)], Cypher takes aim squarely at the arcade/shooter genre and hits the mark beautifully. Frenzied visuals, fast-paced gameplay with the right amount of strategy, and an awesome soundtrack make for an excellent iPad experience that’s well worth picking up...

Crescent Moon Games’ 2-Bit Cowboy [$0.99] doesn’t hide the fact that it’s a total nostalgia trip. With its Gameboy-era visuals and simplified control scheme, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to see if actually running on the classic handheld. Thankfully, the folks over at Cascadia Games do a great job of melding new with the old, as 2-Bit Cowboy does a great job incorporating some more modern gameplay facets with the old-school look and appeal...

The other day, one of the fine members of our forums here at TouchArcade pointed out to me that we hadn't reviewed Blek [$2.99] yet and was wondering what was up with that. Yes, what is up with that? So, with all due apologies that this review is a bit late, I decided to give this game a spin and see if words would come out, and wouldn't you know it, they did. Anyway, there are lots of different ways for a puzzle game to succeed, but for me, the most interesting ones are the games that cause me to think in ways I usually don't. I like games like that because you can clearly feel your skills developing. You start off not really knowing what you're doing and just kind of blindly stabbing around in the dark, then you hit that moment where things click, and from there, you're off to the races. It's a euphoric feeling, and it's one that Blek captures quite well...

The name of this game reminded me of two things, neither of them terribly pleasant. Since they share a name, Plax [$0.99] initially reminded me of a terrible, now-discontinued Canadian mouthwash. Nasty red stuff, felt like you were swishing fire around in your mouth. I don't recommend it. The other thing the name reminded me of was Atari's attempted Tetris [$2.99]-killer, Klax, which was not a very good puzzle game at all. Yes, things looked grim for Plax as I loaded it up, but I'm happy to report that it is neither a foul mouthwash that flays the gums from your teeth, nor is it a dull puzzle game with a neon hand on the cover for some reason. It is, in fact, a pretty neat twitchy score-attack game, a genre that needs a more efficient name if there ever was one...

When I was younger, I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined bite-sized RPGs to work at all, let alone become popular. Of all game genres, the RPG was the one where you had to set aside a pretty good chunk of time on a fairly regular basis to see the games through, and that long-term investment seemed to be an intrinsic part of the appeal. Yet, here we are today, and RPGs that can be enjoyed in two or three minute slices are not only successful and prolific, they actually seem to have taken the majority position in the genre over their more time-intensive forebearers. With the benefit of hindsight, you can kind of see how it happened. Most people love particular aspects of RPGs, with the satisfaction of raising a character from weak to ultra-powerful being one of the more popular elements. At the same time, not everyone enjoys sinking in the copious amount of time and focus that's usually required. Developers found a way to give those people what they wanted while cutting away what they didn't, and it seems to have gone well, especially on mobiles...

It feels like I've played a lot of word games recently, but I never quite seem to get enough of them. So, when the new releases go up each week, if I see the word 'spell' appear in a title, I am on top of it like a game reviewer on a bad metaphor. Generally, regardless of the other mechanics differentiating them, most of these games treat the actual spelling part the way Boggle does. You're presented with a board of letters, and it's up to you to find the best words you can to accomplish whatever goal you're after. Spellpix [$1.99] might look similar at a glance, but it's quite different, and the result is a game that feels like it has far more in common with the developer's prior work, Pathpix [$1.99], than it does with any other word game...

The iOS platform is one of the best platforms for shoot-em-ups of all time. Yes, I'm going there. In previous reviews of shoot-em-ups I've written here, I may have come off a bit harsh, but that's the reason for it. This is a platform where we have excellent versions of classic shooters like Raiden Legacy [$4.99], Blazing Star [$0.99], the R-Type [$1.99] games, and Cave's finest arcade games. We have ports of modern games like Sine Mora [$5.99] and Dariusburst [$10.99], and even a good selection of original titles like Space Invaders Infinity Gene [$4.99], Phoenix HD [Free], Danmaku Unlimited 2 [$4.99], and Dodonpachi Maximum [$11.99]. That's the cream of the crop, but there are plenty of other excellent shooters available for your mobile device. All of these are available for some of the lowest prices we've ever enjoyed shoot-em-ups at. Simply put, this is a buyer's market of epic proportions, and when you can plunk down a few bucks to get R-Type 2 [$1.99] or drop a ten-spot and change to get a Cave shooter, it becomes a lot harder to justify spending time or money on the mediocre...

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