Category Archives: 4 stars

One of the things I've had to get used to about living in Japan is the existence of a rainy season. As I write this review, we're coming off a solid week of rain. It rains all night, it rains all day, breaking just long enough to convince you to leave your house without an umbrella before recommencing in full swing. It's an annoying part of every year because it's really hard to get things done when it's raining all the time. The positive side of that situation is that sometimes you really can't get anything done, and you are kind of forced to relax inside your house with nothing but time on your hands, a bit of a rarity in adult life. I have no idea if it was the intention of the developer, but Rainblocks [Free], the new puzzle game from Subaku [$1.99] creator Let's Playing, very much feels like a rainy day in some ways...

Card battles and rogue-likes probably aren’t a combination you necessarily think about, but that’s exactly what you get in Dream Quest [$2.99]. It may sound weird, but it actually works very well, with some potentially deep gameplay that keeps you coming back for more. Unfortunately, outside of the battle system there’s a lot to be desired, but Dream Quest still has enough going for it to be worth exploring...

With as many puzzle-platformers as there are on iOS, a title really need to do something to earn some limelight. Crescent Moon Games' Twisty Planets [$0.99] earns its attention in a couple of ways. Its world-turning element is well done and certainly adds a different perspective to the genre. Meanwhile its variety in levels and emphasis on gradual difficulty give players motivation to continue playing. It all leads to a fun platformer worth enjoying...

Ever since Vivid Games announced Godfire: Rise of Prometheus [$0.99] last year, we’ve been keeping a close eye on its development. For good reason too, as Vivid has a reputation for great games (see Real Boxing) and the thought of them creating a title in the same vein as God of War was an exciting prospect. Now that it’s finally here, it’s safe to say that the wait has been mostly worth it. Visually stunning, Godfire suffers from some gameplay monotony but is otherwise a great action-adventure title...

Some puzzle games have such simple mechanics that just about anyone can pick them up and do fairly well without too much effort. Games like these usually rely on something external to the mechanics to add a greater challenge, such as a timer or giving you a penalty for making mistakes. Perfect Paths [$2.99], from Lums [$2.99] developer Hyperbolic Magnetism, is not one of those games. In the broad sense, the rules aren't that hard to understand. You've got a certain number of different colored blocks that each need to be moved to a matching-colored goal. You do this by drawing the paths each block should move, then press the button to execute your plan. If all goes well, you can enjoy watching each block make its way to its final location, all according to your brilliant strategy...

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 [$0.99 / $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 [$0.99] 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...

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