Category Archives: 5 stars

'Sorcery! 3' Review - Live The Mongoose Life In This Amazing Adventure

It's been quite a wait for this third installment in inkle's adaptation of Steve Jackson's Sorcery! series of gamebooks. It's kind of funny now to look back at those who were impatient over the six months between the release of the first two chapters. With just about a year and a half passed since the release of Sorcery! 2 [$4.99], I imagine those people have champed right through the bit by now and have gone to work on biting their own faces off. With how consistently awesome inkle's work has been on this series so far, who can blame them, though? At the same time, I can't get too upset at the developer. We got the absolutely wonderful 80 Days [$4.99] and the pleasant Down Among The Dead Men [$0.99] in the interim, and Android players got to get up to speed on the first two installments of the Sorcery! games. Let's just hope that we don't have to wait quite so long for the final chapter...

'Implosion - Never Lose Hope' Review - Hope Is The Thing With Missiles

Implosion - Never Lose Hope [$9.99] is the latest game from Rayark, the developer behind the wonderful titles Cytus [$1.99] and Deemo [$1.99]. It's an outstanding game, and if you're reading this review because you want to know whether or not you should drop ten US dollars (or your local equivalent thereof) on it, let me cut to the chase for once. Yes, you should. Head over the the App Store, hit the button to purchase it, prepare a cup of your beverage of choice while it downloads, and get ready to settle in for a slick action game with superb production values and seriously well-designed combat. I can't recommend this game enthusiastically enough...




'Football Manager Classic 2015' Review - Creating Amazing Stories in a Sports Management Game

Necessary Disclaimer: Although this review is about the sport US readers call "soccer," I'll be using the term football to be consistent with the game's title...

'Attack the Light - Steven Universe' Review - Power Levels Over 9000

There are pretty much three things that I care about in life: mobile games, baseball, and cartoons. How society decided I was an adult was a tremendous failure on the part of a lot of people, but we've got to live with the consequences. My latest obsession besides games or crying over Texas Rangers players suffering season-ending injuries? It's Steven Universe, created by Rebecca Sugar, who pretty much wrote and storyboarded all the best episodes of Adventure Time before she became the first woman to create a Cartoon Network show. And Steven Universe is amazing. It's gotten better and better as it's passed its first season, it's picking up fans, and it is now the recipient of its own licensed game, in Attack the Light [$2.99]...

'Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions' Review - Witness The Power of This Fully Operational Battle Platformer

Are you ready to stand up against the Empire and join the rebels? Become a galactic hero in Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions [Free]; a full paced action platformer based on the new Star Wars Rebels animated series which is set 5 years before Episode IV of the movie franchise. Blasters, light sabers, mines and vehicles in a side scrolling platform action adventure... there’s finally a Star Wars game on the app store worth savoring...

'Final Fantasy: Record Keeper' Review - My Freemium Fantasy Love Letter

I have to admit, since the travesty that was Final Fantasy: All The Bravest [Free], I lost all hope of seeing a good mobile Final Fantasy game that would not only embrace some of the unique intricacies of the platform but do so in a way that didn’t make the whole experience feel sleazy. Yet, here we are with Final Fantasy: Record Keeper, a collaboration between DeNA and the folks at Square Enix and a title has single handedly restored my faith as to the potential of this franchise and genre on mobile...

'Ryan North's To Be Or Not To Be' Review - All Aboard the Party Boat to England

You probably know the William Shakespeare play Hamlet, or at least you have some form of cultural awareness about it thanks to English classes. You at least know the famous opening line to the character Hamlet's soliloquy, which provides the title of the latest gamebook adaptation from Tin Man Games, To Be Or Not To Be [$5.99]. This is adapted from Ryan North's choose-your-own-adventure novel of the same name from 2013, now available in handy digital form! I'm a fan of Ryan North's work, being a fan of the fantastic long-running webcomic Dinosaur Comics and of his spectacular run on the Adventure Time comic series. He has this particular sense of absurd humor that comes through in everything he makes, he has this distinctive voice, so as soon as I heard that To Be Or Not To Be was a thing that existed, based on a 2013 book of the same name, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. And it was well worth the wait, as this is an absolutely hilarious adventure...

'.Decluster - into the Bullet Hell' Review - Bullet Paradise

One genre that I can't get enough of is shoot 'em ups. I think I'll be taking them to my deathbed. The high-octane action, the emphasis on pinpoint precision, and the constant positive reinforcement of blowing up enemies and getting massively entertaining power-ups is just too great of a force. .Decluster [$1.99] is my latest obsession, and it ticks all the right boxes...

'Flop Rocket' Review - Fly Me to the Moon

It's always a tricky task to make a game that's challenging without being frustrating. It's a fine line between making a game that puts up a stiff resistance while still being something that the player should want to come back to again and again. Thankfully, Flop Rocket [Free] manages to find this balance. This cave-flyer is very difficult, and tasks players with a very difficult objective to strive toward, but that's part of the point: there's an objective...

'Blokshot Revolution' Review - Round And Round We Go

It's been interesting watching the way shooting games have progressed over the years. As one of the first genres in video gaming, the shooting genre has had a lot of interesting twists and turns. From the earliest titles like Space Invaders that offered a single screen and a big set of targets to pick off one at a time, to the advent of scrolling shooters with titles like Namco's Xevious, into a golden age with amazing shooting games being made by just about every prominent company, often with intricate stage designs and power-up systems. This was followed by the near-total death of the genre that coincided with the rise of Cave who, along with developers like Treasure and Psikyo, continued to service the shrinking audience with increasingly intricate and complex games. The once-mighty genre seemed consigned to niche status forever...

'Baldur's Gate 2: Enhanced Edition' Review - One Of The Best CRPGs Ever Is Now On iPhone

Okay, yes, this is a pretty late review of Baldur's Gate 2: Enhanced Edition [$9.99]. The game initially released on iPad about a year ago, and we didn't do a write-up of it for various reasons. There are plenty of reviews of the original Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows Of Amn out there, and given the existence of the first game's Enhanced Edition, we sort of assumed there wasn't much demand for one of our own. With the game's recent update that moves it to being a universal app, we've had a lot of requests from readers for a review of the game. Well, I guess we had that one wrong, but nobody's perfect, right? With that explanation out of the way, let's break down this port of one of the all-time greats of the genre...

'Pinball Arcade: The Addams Family' Review - And Now, This Mamushka Is For You

The developers behind The Pinball Arcade [Free / $0.99], FarSight Studios, are nothing if not extremely passionate about pinball. They've been in the games industry a pretty long time, over 20 years now, but they didn't truly find their niche until the 2004 release of Pinball Hall Of Fame: The Gottlieb Collection on the PlayStation 2. Its initial release was perhaps a little too early to catch the renaissance of video pinball, but it at least did well enough that they followed that up a few years later with The Williams Collection. With Williams tables being a lot more well-known among Americans, that release ended up doing pretty well, earning high praise for its faithfulness to the real machines. While this was all happening, digital storefronts started to become more popular. Soon, retail retro collections were becoming retro themselves, with a la carte offerings proving more popular with fans. It was a natural fit for the type of work FarSight was doing, and so The Pinball Arcade was born...

'Auro: A Monster-Bumping Adventure' Review - It's Auro Good

The first half of 2014 was pretty packed with roguelikes, with games like Wayward Souls [$6.99], Cardinal Quest 2 [Free], and Hoplite [$1.99] all taking their respective stab at the venerable sub-genre. This year has been a little more quiet on that front, with only a few offerings of any note at all. The best of this year's bunch until now has been Lamp And Vamp [$1.99] which, while very fun, was riffing pretty closely on Hoplite. Well, mark it on your calendars, friends, because I think we've got our first fresh hit of 2015 in the genre with Auro [$4.99], the latest game from the developers behind 100 Rogues [$2.99]. This one's been cooking at Dinofarm Games for quite a long time now, but I think it's certainly worth the wait...

'Dark Echo' Review - Silence Is Golden, And So Is This Game

While I love blockbuster gaming as much as the next person, there's no question that the ever-increasing budgets and thinner margins have made the whole upper-end of the video game business disappointingly conservative from the player's point of view. Iteration is great. It's how games have come as far as they have. Yet, as an exclusive diet, playing it safe can sometimes be a little bland. It's a good thing we've got smaller developers who can afford to take risks on crazy ideas, because without such occasional spices, the hobby would be a lot less interesting. Dark Echo [$1.99] is one of those games that simply couldn't exist under the traditional model, but I'm ecstatic it does...

'Radiation Island' Review - Get Chased by Katana-Wielding Zombies and Have Fun!

Take the most irrational and demanding mobile gaming fan – you know the kind, the person that only wants paid games and hates in-app purchases and ads in any form – and ask them for a dream wishlist of everything they'd want from a mobile game. What they will describe to you is basically what Radiation Island [$2.99] from Atypical Games delivers on. It's a game that pushes iOS devices to their absolute limits, provides PC-style gameplay on the go with gamepad support, doesn't do much hand-holding, delivers dozens of hours of gameplay, offers online multiplayer, and oh yeah, it's only $2.99 for the entire package. And there's not in-app purchases to be found anywhere in the vicinity of the game, because those are for suckers, right?. Atypical Games decided to make a game for this most vocal and demanding of irrational consumer...

'Particle Mace' Review - Come and Swing with Me

As a rule, I try not to buy early access games unless I absolutely feel the need to. Particle Mace [$2.99] on desktop was one of those games I stayed away from, but always had in my mind: the concept seemed intriguing, plus it was iOS bound sometime down the road. As such, when I found out that the game was leaving early access and releasing for iOS, I was extremely excited. One, I like seeing games actually leaving early access and becoming finished products, because early access trades on respecting your customer, and delivering on the promise that you're finishing what you started as a developer. Early access can be a really great thing for developers and for players, but when developers use it as an excuse to just make money off of unfinished games, it's saddening. Two, I was excited to actually play the game without compromising my principles. I'm willing to bend them when I feel like it, so I'm perhaps not the person to listen to, but I stick to it more often than not. Well, Particle Mace was well worth the wait. And the developer, Andy Makes Games, was smart in tweaking the game to fit iOS...

'Dragon Quest 5' Review - The RPG Of A Lifetime

Dragon Quest 5 [$14.99] is a rare jewel. This is a game that carried the burden of being a sequel in one of the most successful franchises of all-time. In the pre-merger days, it's safe to say that Enix as a company depended on the performance of Dragon Quest games. It's the very definition of a AAA installment in the middle of a long-running series. Such products are not where we would expect to find the unique voice of the game's creator telling such a small and personal tale. That's just what designer and writer Yuji Horii did, however, and the result is perhaps one of the finest stories ever seen in an RPG. In my opinion, the series was never able to top this installment, but that's fine, because not many games in general have...

'Papers, Please' for iPad Review - A Must-Play Storytelling Experience

Papers, Please [$7.99 (HD)] is a weird game, as it's incredibly difficult to succinctly describe in a way that makes it sound even vaguely fun. Developer Lucas Pope (Of Helsing's Fire [$0.99] fame!) manages to turn pedantry and tedium into gameplay elements and in the process crafts an experience that will likely be among the most memorable games you've played this year. It's been out on the PC for about a year now, but much like FTL [$9.99 (HD)], it always felt like Papers, Please truly belonged on the iPad...

'Bean Dreams' Review - Sweet Dreams Are Made of These

Holy heck, does Bean Dreams [$2.99] knock it out of the park. The first Bean's Quest [$2.99] game from Kumobius was a solid game, with inventive ways to approach platforming on a touchscreen-based device. But after they applied their time-traveling take on Tiny Wings [$0.99 / $2.99 (HD)] with Time Surfer [$0.99], and gave the challenging arcade game genre an artsy twist with Duet [$2.99], now they return to their original game. And it's clear that the studio has picked up on a lot of lessons from the past few years, as Bean Dreams is possibly Kumobius' best game yet, streamlining the original's concept into a tight and concise experience that they can only further build on and make better...

'Dragon Quest 3' Review - The Stuff Of Legends

This is the fifth Dragon Quest game I've reviewed in 2014, and by now I'm sure I've hammered in the significance of this series to the JRPG genre, if nothing else. After starting the year with Dragon Quest 8 [$19.99], one of the more recent and certainly the most technologically advanced installments in the series, we took an odd side path to Dragon Quest 4 [$14.99] before heading back to the beginning of the series. I'm a firm believer that Dragon Quest games are like pie in that there's no bad one, but the first two games require a certain understanding of the context in which they were released to fully enjoy them. They're very much formative works of the genre, and as such have all kinds of prickly bits and loose ends hanging off of them. Dragon Quest 3 [$9.99] is where that proviso can be safely removed...

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