Category Archives: Ratings

'Words for Evil' for iPad Review - Blobs Teach Typing

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October 14th, 2014 9:00 AM EDT by Chris Carter in $1.99, 3 stars, Games, iPad Games, Reviews, Word
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Playing Mario Teaches Typing and Typing of the Dead for the first time were magical experiences for me growing up. I had no real interest in word games outside of the occasional Word Munchers binge, but those two titles took my love for the genre to a whole new level. It wasn't because of typing classes or outside practice that I worked my way up to over 80 words-per-minute in High School, it was due to videogames, and I owe them a great deal. Words for Evil [$1.99 (HD)] is a very similar game that attempts to marry typing gameplay with RPG-like elements, with mixed results...

Imagine you're the creator of Dragon Quest [$2.99]. You've successfully streamlined the somewhat impenetrable RPG genre to a point where anyone and everyone can play the game and enjoy it, and now it's time for a sequel. Obviously, people are ready and asking for something a bit bigger and more complex, and simply delivering something in the same scope as the first game isn't going to satisfy them. How far do you walk the concept back to its inspirations, Wizardry, Ultima, and the like? That's a question I suspect Yuji Horii grappled with when coming up with Dragon Quest 2 [$4.99] , and while he wouldn't hit the sweet spot until the next installment, it's undeniable that the sequel to Dragon Quest is a considerably bigger and slightly more sophisticated game...

At this point, some 30 or so RPGs in, I really have to wonder how many people are actually playing all the games Kemco's putting out there. As regular readers know, I really love RPGs, and even I'm starting to feel like we're reaching some kind saturation point with this company. Nevertheless, we must put one foot in front of the other, because the games do at least improve over time, and you never know when something worth getting excited about will come along. Soul Of Deva [$3.99] is not quite that game, but like many other recent Kemco efforts, I feel like we're getting very close. Given that I can make decent claim to having written more words about Kemco mobile RPGs than just about anyone on Earth, a tragic title if ever there was one, I tend to build expectations about their releases before I even start them up. Typically, I base this on the specific developer, and it rarely fails...

'Terra Battle' Review - Final Fantasy's Creator Works His Magic On Social RPGs

Some gamers know Hironobu Sakaguchi's name. Others do not. Just about everyone is familiar with his work, however. He's the creator of the Final Fantasy series of games, the director of Final Fantasy 1 through 5, one of the designers of Chrono Trigger, the producer or executive producer of Final Fantasy 6 through 12, and unfortunately, the director of the feature film Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. In 2003, he resigned from the company built on his efforts to strike out on his own, just before the merger that created Square Enix. His new company, Mistwalker, debuted with a bang, releasing two great RPGs on the Xbox 360, Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey. These titles were backed by Microsoft money, and it was hoped they would give the 360 what it needed to compete in the Japanese market. Unfortunately, they didn't go over quite the way Microsoft had hoped...

‘Skylanders Trap Team’ Review - A Portal Perfect Experience

Earlier this month we offered a hands-on preview of Actvision’s Skylanders Trap Team [Free (HD)]. Ported over by the folks at Vicarious Visions, Trap Team is being billed as the first of the series to not only have a simultaneous launch across console platforms and iOS but to also offer the complete console experience on Apple’s platform. It’s also an absolutely amazing port that feels right at home on iOS and offers an experience with its figurines that is unmatched by anything else currently available on the App Store...

'Pumped BMX 2' Review - I Want To Ride This Bicycle

Side-scrolling games where you ride through a course performing tricks and stunts seem to be all the rage these days, mostly thanks to the sudden popularity the Trials series found several years ago. That rise coincided nicely with the fall of 3D open world trick games like the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series, ensuring that trick-crazy gamers wouldn't go hungry. Unfortunately, Trials took its sweet time coming to mobiles, just arriving in 2014 as Trials Frontier [Free]. One thing I've learned about the App Store is that if you leave a void, someone will fill it, and one of the more fun attempts to do so came in the form of 2012's Pumped BMX [$1.99], from developer Yeah Us. The game was a weird hybrid of Tiny Wings [$0.99] and Trials, focusing mostly on performing stunts on the way to clearing each stage...

'Inferno 2' Review - Great Balls of Fire

Radiangames – perhaps the most prolific creator of dual-stick shooters on the App Store - has made their biggest one yet with their latest release Inferno 2 [$2.99]. Seriously, Inferno 2 is massive: 80 levels full of mazes, tens of thousands of enemies to take down, four different weapons to use, four different missiles (inspired by the special weapons of JoyJoy [$1.99]), a level-up system, and loads of upgrades to use. This game is vast, and it's a great pickup for fans of Radiangames' previous work, or anyone looking for an action game to sink a few hours into...

'Spirits of Spring' Review - A Powerful, Cathartic Experience

Let me begin this review by lighting the "Experience Game" signal, just so that we're starting off with clarity. I've talked before about the distinction between games focused on mechanics and what I usually refer to as experience games, particularly in my review of Monument Valley [$3.99]. As you would probably expect from Minority Media, the developers behind PlayStation 3 game Papo & Yo, their new game fits firmly into the latter category. In Spirits Of Spring [$1.99], the mechanics exist only to serve the experience, so if you're mostly into mastering play mechanics, I guess this review was a short read for you. There are no fail states in this game, it's relatively brief in run-time, and you're never asked to do anything terribly difficult with the few abilities you have at your disposal. Those who enjoy games that focus on delivering an experience, on the other hand, will find something more than worth your time and money. It's a bittersweet exploration of bullying, from both sides of the fence, and though its hand is perhaps a little too heavy at times, I still found it to be a very precious journey...

Czech Games Edition's Galaxy Trucker [$7.99 (HD)] is out on iOS. This board game port has a lot more features than most, and has a solid sense of humor to help you endure the frozen wastes of the void. When I say a lot more features, I mean it. This board game doesn't just have online multiplayer and it doesn't just have AI opponents. Galaxy Trucker features a full on campaign mode on top of all that. This thing is so full-featured, I am certain that many people will pick it up and only realize later that this is based on a board game at all. Galaxy Trucker, the app, has very few things I can nitpick about it. Solid controls, clear visuals, the truckload o' features, and enjoyable gameplay are all on tap. Galaxy Trucker, the board game, does have some bits and pieces I don't enjoy very much, but I still can appreciate this fun, if flawed, game...

I've been even happier than usual with the recent releases from gamebook developer Tin Man Games. They've taken a couple of books that I enjoyed a great deal when I was younger and rather than simply present them faithfully as they typically do, they've shined them up into even better forms. The Complete Sagas Of Fire*Wolf [$9.99] represents a slightly different challenge, however. In my opinion, the original books that this release draws from are deeply flawed in a way none of the other books Tin Man have sourced for their adaptations are. They've made some serious improvements, but in the end, it's probably something that only the hardcore gamebook fans or people with nostalgia for Fire*Wolf ought to look into. Oh, and the asterisk stands for some kind of grunt that we can't make in our language. Basically, his parents were hippies...

Cosmophony [$1.99] is a rhythm-based tunnel shooter that is built to be challenging, with formations of obstacles to avoid throughout five levels, all set to an EDM soundtrack. The rhythm part is loose at best, but changes in the game do go along with changing sound cues. The problem is that the game is built around its challenge being through perfectionism. That, the only way to advance is by completing a very hard level in one life leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and limits what this game can do...

Personally, I'm always satisfied when I see a horror game make good on the sales charts these days. After hearing certain big companies insist that gamers weren't interested in scary games anymore, watching something like Five Nights At Freddy's [$2.99] go big makes me feel good because it affirms that, hey, there are lots of different kinds of people with lots of different kinds of tastes buying and playing games. I wish I liked it more, but those are the breaks, sometimes. ..

Cookie Clicker was one of my favorite games of 2013. Your objective was simple -- make more cookies. At first, you needed to click the screen occasionally to get more cookies. Eventually, you start accumulating them on your own and you don't really even need to click. Slowly but surely it evolves into a giant meta-game of cookie management and borders on a full-on simulation. It's the simplicity that makes it worth playing. Why am I mentioning all of this? Because Poor Gladiator [Free] for iOS has a similar scheme, and is a great way to relax on the go...

Adult Swim has a done a great job with its iOS titles and now, with the help of developer PikPok, they are taking on the Match-3 genre. Adventure Xpress [Free] continues the excellent off-beat motif of most Adult Swim titles with you taking the role of a mail courier in a fantasy setting. Meanwhile the Match-3 gameplay is a bit simplified, but has everything needed to offer an enjoyable experience (even with the freemium elements)...

'Banner Saga' Review - Story Driven Awesomeness

Stoic's June announcement is finally upon us. Banner Saga[$9.99] is now available on and designed for iPhone and iPad. This is one of those games that might just change preconceived notions about what mobile gaming is and isn't. The scope of this project should not be underestimated. Very rarely do we find an adventure with this much substance and depth even on one of those 'real' gaming platforms, but here we are. Unrestricted by cables or keyboards, Nothing is lost in translation from award winning PC title to this amazing iOS gem...

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