Category Archives: 5 stars

'Planescape: Torment' Review - What Can Change the Nature of an App?

Oh. Really? Another one of those old isometric dinosaurs got released on iOS? No. I am sorry, but that's wrong. THE old isometric dinosaur that devours and spits out other isometric dinosaurs is finally out for iOS. Fresh off solid remasters of Baldur's Gate [$9.99], Baldur's Gate II [$9.99], and Icewind Dale [$9.99], Overhaul Games is back with the magnum opus of the CRPG world Planescape: Torment [$9.99], and yes this terrible thunder lizard still has teeth. Much commentary of this recently revamped game is devoted to how the upgrade was handled. As many of you, dear readers, may not be very familiar, I will also be unwrapping my personal experience with the actual content of Torment. Even though I have been an avid gamer through the decades, this was one I did not get the chance to play back in the day (I blame Diablo II, personally). Now given the chance to remedy this grave personal flaw, I present to you my humble take on a giant of the industry. ..

'Death Road to Canada' Review - A Dog, Anime Magical Girl, and A Farting Man Enter a Bar...

I think you could make a strong argument that Rocketcat Games is the greatest developer in the history of mobile games. No studio has quite the collection of masterpieces that they do. Go on and look it up, their worst title is Five Card Quest [$2.99] and even that isn't so bad. Madgarden, meanwhile, has the strongest collection of unreleased titles perhaps out there, but when he releases something, it tends to be great. See their previous collaboration Punch Quest [Free], which is still brilliant and so unlike everything else on the App Store. In fact, that's the problem: these folks make games that are such pinnacles of what they do that nobody else can even come close. So, perhaps you might think Death Road to Canada [$7.99] off the bat seems a bit weird for them to do. After all, it's a zombie survival game. There's a ton of them. But that would be short-sighted: Death Road to Canada is another masterpiece from a partnership that keeps cranking out the hits...




'Card Thief' Review - It Eventually Stole My Heart

Tinytouchtales and artist Mexer reunite to make Card Thief [$1.99], a solitaire card game that is a follow-up to Card Crawl [$2.99]. Instead of being a dungeon crawler, this is about stealth, with a card system. You move your thief card around the board in any direction, dealing with traps, enemies, torches, and items that pop up. Your objective is to clear out cards to get through the deck, eventually picking up the treasure chest that gets on the board, and escaping when you've gotten through the deck. While there's actually an unlimited number of cards, the deck has certain milestones that pop up throughout your session. The thing is that where Card Crawl definitely added in some new elements after launch that added some depth and complexities to the experience, it's a much simpler game than what Card Thief is conceptually. For example, I went back to Card Crawl after a long time not playing (I have too many games on my phone...and iPad), and after a little bit of reacquainting myself, the game made sense. On the other hand, Card Thief off the bat is a more esoteric experience. It has its own rules, and a number of systems and card types that all interact with each other in ways that you probably won't understand right away. In fact, it plays fast and loose with the whole 'cards' concept to begin with. It could have just been a stealth action game without the card concept, I imagine. But the thing I found is that after a few sessions of not knowing what I was doing, the more I played, the more Card Thief clicked with me. And when it clicks, it's an amazing game...

'Hidden Folks' Review - Seek This Game Out

While Game Oven Studios, the collection of maniacs behind Fingle [$1.99 (HD) / Free (HD)], Bam Fu [$0.99 / Free], Bounden [$2.99], and Jelly Reef [$0.99], is no more, developer Adriaan de Jongh is still out there making games. And he's back with another fantastic and unique experience that you have to try. Hidden Folks [$3.99] is a collaboration between him and illustrator Sylvain Tegroeg that takes a very simple concept of being a "Where's Waldo" game. Then it makes everything happen in a monochromatic world, with huge canvases to explore as folks wander around, and you have to find a certain bunch of these folks. It's a simple idea, but the work that the team behind the game has done with the art, sound, and playability, makes this a fantastic experience. ..

'Slayaway Camp' Review - A Killer Puzzler

The first thing that drew my attention to Slayaway Camp [$2.99] was the horror theme. Designed as a pastiche of 1980s horror in all its cheesy glory, combined with a voxel look that allowed for some gory slasher action with a comical feel. And then the game released on Steam first. After some work to make the game acceptable for Apple, we finally have Slayaway Camp on mobile, and what I found wasn't just a game that was over-the-top in gore and humor. I also found a great sliding puzzle game, that also managed to integrate its theme in a masterful way. This is a game that's fun to play and experience the little world it has created...

'Dandy Dungeon' Review - Fine and Dandy

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February 8th, 2017 11:00 AM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in 5 stars, Adventure, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Role-Playing
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At this point in iOS's life, it's getting hard to find a new spin on the whole roguelite genre. Most of the people reading this probably own at least twice as many as they've had time to play. I suppose my job here is to try to convince you that you ought to add Dandy Dungeon [Free] to that pile, because you really should. It's bizarre in all the most likable possible ways, and while its basic mechanics are familiar, the way it presents them is definitely unique. If the general theme of, say, Katamari Damacy appealed to you, this is a game you'll want to check out...

'The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth' Review - Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

At last! The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth [$14.99] has finally released on iOS, and it was well worth the wait. Perhaps the most popular dual-stick shooter roguelike out there, rumors, Apple approvals drama, and a constantly-shifting release date led to this being the white whale for many iOS gamers. As the release date narrowed down to a general range, every day saw one question surely asked: "When's Isaac coming?" Well, thanks to a surprise Tuesday night release on January 10th US time, The Binding of Isaac is finally here, and well worth the wait. The scatological, challenging roguelike dual-stick shooter promises challenging gameplay with mountains of secrets to discover...

'Mini Metro' Review - Train Braining

'Mini Metro' Review - Train Braining

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December 30th, 2016 12:30 PM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $4.99, 5 stars, Arcade, Game Center, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Simulation
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Continuing our year-end mop-up of games we missed out on reviewing at the time of their release for various reasons, the next requested title by our readers was Mini Metro [$4.99]. I've had an interesting relationship with trains over the course of my life. Passenger trains more or less vanished in the part of Canada I'm from when I was relatively young. Like most places in Canada, my town was far too small to merit a local metro system. I mean, we barely had buses. Thus, I didn't end up riding a train of any sort until I was in my twenties, and I picked a wild place to start. Imagine a small-town bumpkin arriving in Tokyo, Japan, and trying to make sense of the colorful spaghetti that is the Tokyo Metro system. After a while, though, I got the hang of it, and I now consider myself to be pretty good at navigating the sometimes seemingly nonsensical connections from place to place in that city...

'Bully: Anniversary Edition' Review - Another Rockstar Classic Heads to Mobile

At this point, a holiday release from Rockstar on the App Store is beginning to become tradition, and I really couldn't be happier. This year's addition to Rockstar's mobile catalog is Bully: Anniversary Edition [$6.99], celebrating the ten year anniversary of the original 2006 launch. Lots of folks in our community suspected that Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories would be the next Rockstar game to hit the App Store, but it turns out that the one and only bigfart12 guessed correctly all the way back in March. Bully always seemed like the "forgotten" Rockstar game, at least amongst my circle of friends. It was released sandwiched in between Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories [$6.99] and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories. I think it was close enough to the GTA formula that anyone interested in Bully likely just gravitated to either title instead. I suppose it also didn't help that literally everyone I know who was even remotely interested in video games was hard and heavy into World of Warcraft at the time either. Anyway, it wasn't until the remastered "Scholarship Edition" was released a few years later that I gave the game a try, and had one of those "Wait, what the. Why didn't I play this when it first came out?" epiphanies that often come with re-releases of games you heard were good but never actually got around to playing. The mobile release is technically a second remaster of the game, as Bully: Anniversary Edition comes with all the tweaks of Scholarship Edition, plus additional graphical effects, higher resolution textures, better lighting, and a new multiplayer mode, effectively making the mobile game the best version yet- At least until it's remastered a third time...

'Super Cat Tales' Review - Don't Paws, Play This Nya-ow

In spite of the seeming limitation of having no physical buttons by default, iOS has a lot of really great platformers. Some of them get by with virtual controls, putting some of the burden on the player to simply get used to them. That's fine, but unless the game is a port from another platform, I'm not sure if it's really the best way to go. I think some of the best platformers on iOS are the ones that avoid the temptation of using virtual buttons and find a way to build a game around a more fitting setup. Sure, you have to sacrifice some of the conventional ways of designing levels and obstacles, but in doing that, many games find something new and interesting...

'Neon Chrome' Review - The Roguelike That's Just Right

I can't get enough of dual-stick shooter roguelikes, but often the time and effort requirement is too much. I'm more of a gaming tourist – I want to enjoy a lot of different experiences in gaming rather than having to decdicate tons of hours to get the joy out of a single game. Thankfully, Neon Chrome [$9.99] from 10tons, adapted for mobile from PC and console, scratches that itch. It's not easy by any stretch of the imagination, and it can be punishing, but it tones down some of the harsher parts of the roguelike-inspired genre to be more accessible up front for players who just want to enjoy a game of this type. This is a game where you can extract genuine rewards from it in the early hours, while still getting long-term challenge and satisfaction. ..

'Yankai's Triangle' Review - A Game with Kaleidoscope Eyes

Yankai's Triangle [$2.99] is weird. It seems to have a never-ending number of stages. Sometimes it looks at you. The colors are subdued one level, then shockingly bright the next. The scoring system is hard to make sense of. Everything is a little grainy. The eyes are watching. You might run into an absurdly difficult level followed by an astonishingly simple one immediately after. Before each level there are some symbols that mean something, but it's hard to say what unless you really watch carefully. Sometimes there are teeth. The game also introduces each and every level with a title card saying the level number followed with "by Kenny Sun". Perhaps the weirdest thing of all is that you're not doing much more than spinning triangles around, trying to match colors to make bigger triangles, and yet it's nearly impossible to put down...

'SteamWorld Heist' Review - Stealing Hearts and Minds Around the Galaxy

Last year, I was asked to participate in voting for some dedicated handheld Game of the Year awards. When it came time to submit my votes for the Nintendo 3DS, my list had many of the expected choices on it. There was Capcom's Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, and Atlus's Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker. But among these franchise games from some of the industry's biggest names, I had also included a download-only title from a relatively small developer. Moreover, I had put it at the top of my list. With exclamation points. And maybe some hearts. That game was SteamWorld Heist [$6.99], an outstanding strategy game from Swedish game studio Image & Form. The game has since released on a number of platforms, and its latest stop is on iOS...

'The Bug Butcher' Review - Squashing Makes Me Feel Good

The Bug Butcher [$3.99] might have been released on PC earlier this year, but it felt like it was built for mobile devices. The horizontal Super Pang style, the limited amount of buttons -- it gels well with the endless approach for many similar mobile games, but The Bug Butcher has a level of sheen that a lot of those games sorely lack. There's also lots of room for colorful character designs, a tight control scheme, and some silly, funny writing that tie it all together. It looks and acts like a cartoon, and you'll uncover more and more layers of depth the more you play, which is the telltale sign of something you'll want to play beyond an initial curious play session. Developer Awfully Nice Studios did a great service porting this over...

'Eggggg – The Platform Puker' Review – Engrossingly Gross

I’m not going to lie. When you first start this game, it might seem a little grody. You might feel a tiny bit nauseated. But that goes away quickly, and what you’re left with is one of my favorite games of this year. It is a solid platformer first and foremost, drawing on several great inspirations, but it’s also outrageously silly and funny entirely through its world, art style, and sound effects. This is a triumphant tale of allergies, cyborg chickens, your mean Aunt Doris, and eggs. This is Eggggg – The Platform Puker [$3.99]...

'Really Bad Chess' Review - Rook No Further

It would be extremely easy to start this review by alluding to the ironic self-deprecation of the title, and affirm how Really Bad Chess [Free] is actually a Really Good Game. However, in truth, the title is not too far off the mark. Compared to the balance, strategic depth, and elegance of the age-old board game, Zach Gage’s most recent release is really bad chess. It is highly likely you will start a game with an abundance of the most powerful pieces versus a far weaker opponent, and it will likely not take as much tactical meticulousness to break down their defence; anyone looking for a chess simulator will undoubtedly be disappointed. However, once preconceptions of similar titles are left behind, Really Bad Chess manages to turn a tiresome, tricky and intimidating game into one perfectly suited for the immediacy of mobile gaming. While it may share similarities in the pieces, and how they can move, to the game it takes its name from, Really Bad Chess is an entirely different beast. Through prioritising unpredictability and offensive play over experience, Zach Gage has crafted an essential puzzle experience for anyone even remotely interested in strategy games on the App Store...

'Dofus Touch' Review - A Great MMO, Now on Mobile

'Dofus Touch' Review - A Great MMO, Now on Mobile

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October 7th, 2016 12:32 PM EDT by Andrew Fretz in 5 stars, Free, Massive Multiplayer (MMO), Reviews
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About a year ago I had a sad realization that mobile MMO isn't really a living genre. For better or worse, mobile game development is most effective when creating innovative and elegant gameplay on a flat, straight forward canvas. Unfortunately not much of that is what you expect to see in an mmo. It should come as no surprise that one of the first jolts of life being thrust into the rotting carcass of the genre is about as close to a straight PC port as you could get. Dofus Touch [Free] is out now for iPhone and iPad and outside of some of the most recent updates this game is a carbon copy of the PC version. ..

'Bullet Hell Monday' Review - Another Manic Monday

Last year, we were treated to a pair of excellent shooters by Japanese indie developer Masayuki Ito. Titled .Decluster [$2.99] and .Decluster Zero [$4.99], these shoot-em-ups combined a unique visual style with tense bullet-hell action. The scoring mechanisms largely surrounded the ability to cancel enemy bullets. The more bullets you canceled, the more points you would earn. This encouraged you to use risky strategies, making for some seriously thrilling close calls. The stage designs and enemy placements in the games were top-notch, too. The .Decluster games were sold as paid games with no IAPs, and that's probably one of the biggest points where Ito's latest shooter, Bullet Hell Monday [Free], diverges from his previous titles...

'The Quest HD' Review - That Old Magic is Still Alive

Redshift's The Quest [$4.99] was originally released for Pocket PCs and Palm devices, but it found new life when the game was ported to iPhones in March of 2009. Its massive size and depth, combined with a seemingly endless parade of new content through regular expansion pack releases, made it one of the best RPGs on the platform, and for many people, the only one they ever needed. Surprisingly, the years have been generally kind to it in most regards, so it still plays as well as it ever did. Only a few respects betrayed the game's age. One of the most obvious points is that it offered no iPad-native version, forcing tablet owners to play it with a less-than-flattering zoom applied to the visuals. As detailed as the graphics in the original port are, they're clearly coming from the pre-retina days of mobile gaming, and while that's not something I mind terribly, it made the game look too old-fashioned for some...

'Reigns' Review - Reign in Blood

The core concept of Reigns [$2.99] on paper seems intriguing enough. It's basically dating service Tinder, with swiping left or right to make decisions, combined with ruling a kingdom. Seems interesting enough, but Nerial and company have managed to imbue Reigns' concept in such a way that each decision feels weighty. As well, there's an intriguing long-term game here, with secrets to discover and an overall goal to reach that gives each session a unique purpose beyond its amusing concept, and elevates the whole experience above an amusing concept...

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