Category Archives: Ratings

'Old Man's Journey' Review - Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls

It's been on our radars for about a year, and Old Man's Journey [$4.99] is out now and well worth checking out. This adventure game is the tale of an old man who goes on a journey that touches on his past and is at times a harrowing tale of survival in a world where there just isn't that much transportation infrastructure. I'm joking around, but that is solely to cover up that Old Man's Journey is an emotionally effecting experience that is brief but well worth experiencing...

'To The Moon' Review - When the Moon Hits Your Eye

To The Moon [$2.99] is an experience that depends almost entirely on the way its story unravels, and the exceptional music backing it. Spoiling the story, any bit of it, beyond the premise would be doing any potential player a tremendous disservice. And while I can offer up all kinds of praise for the audio, it's not as though that's easy to convey through text. So what should I write here? Let's start with this: To The Moon is an amazing journey through the memories of a man who has reached the end of his life, and as long as you don't mind the fact that the gameplay doesn't involve much more than walking around and clicking on things, you really ought to play this...




'Miles & Kilo' Review - It's Dog-Gone Great!

The original Kid Tripp [$0.99] was an excellent ode to Westone's classic Wonder Boy and the Adventure Island series that it spawned. The game looked and sounded like a latter day Master System or Game Gear game, and the auto-running platforming was almost pitch-perfect. To this day, I consider it one of the better platformers available on iOS. Well, the kid is back, and this time, he brought his dog. More importantly, however, Miles & Kilo [$2.99] tries to advance the Wonder Boy-style gameplay with new moves, gimmicks, and obstacles that Tom-Tom never had to worry about. The result is a fantastic game with one foot planted firmly in the past and the other in the here and now. If you like platformers, you won't want to miss this one...

Nostalgia can be dangerous. While some of the greatest projects in recent years have drawn from old design philosophies and reintroduced to a new era to some success, strict adherence to outdated concepts can be disastrous. You run the risk of not only limiting your audience to an older generation, but creating a work that's boring and unbending. Clockwork Pixels decided on a mixture of those dueling ideas with Citadel 1986 [$0.99], and mostly came out on top -- as long as you have a soft spot for platformers...

'Spaceplan' Review - Delicious Potatoes

The clicker genre can still surprise and delight, it turns out. Jake Hollands and Devolver Digital have delivered a fantastic narrative clicker in Spaceplan [$2.99] that is well worth checking out even if you're clickered out on clickers. While the core hallmarks of the clicker genre are here with lots of clicking and idle energy generators, with waiting outside the app playing a role in the game. But it also features a unique sci-fi story that reveals over time that has an incremental narrative game influence, and a finite scenario to enjoy. Plus, there's lots of potatoes...

'Ms. Spell' Review - Ms. Fire

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$1.99 Buy Now

There are a ton of roguelikes, roguelites, and roguelike variants on iOS. Collectively, the genre is nearly as prolific on mobile as puzzle games and Kemco RPGs are. While there's always going to be an audience of some size craving more coal for the fire, going beyond that audience takes some clever, out-of-the-box thinking. To an extent, MicRogue [$1.99] had that. Developed by Jason Pickering and published by Crescent Moon, MicRogue offered up a heavily streamlined roguelite experience blended with an interesting chess-inspired twist. Its strong focus on positioning and predicting enemy moves helped it stand out a little bit. Pickering's latest roguelike-inspired game is Ms. Spell [$1.99], and it's unfortunately not quite as interesting...

After playing Principia [$2.99] through a few times, I find myself a little conflicted. This is an odd sort of science simulation game where you take on the role of a historical scientist and try to build your fame and fortune through research and discovery. Rival scientists will try to beat you to the punch or cattily attempt to discredit your work, and you can choose to respond in kind if you like. The game ends when your chosen character reaches the end of his working life, so you've got to try to get in as much as possible by then. It's a messy, ambitious game, and when I think on it, it doesn't really work at all. And yet, there's something compelling about it all. Perhaps it's the thrill of chasing a discovery to its end. Maybe it's the joy of rising to the top while your rivals slide downwards. The game's nerdy enthusiasm for science is also rather infectious. Whatever the case, it's certainly something to try if you're looking for a different kind of simulation game...

One of the more confusing things about analyzing games in modern times is that they can change and improve thanks to the nature of updates and digital distribution. Guns of Mercy [Free] hasn't necessarily seen dramatic overhauls since its initial release, but it's become a much better game, and a free download well worth checking out. This action game has you fending off endless waves of enemies, using a gun that you can aim in a 180 degree circle. One hit kills you, but shields, powerups, and a giant mecha can help you out along the way, as you fight ever more dangerous enemies and giant bosses. You collect coins, and these all go toward upgrades to help you blow up stuff better. It's a turbo-charged shooter, and it's worth the download just to check out, though if you're playing now, you're getting a changed and improved experience than those who first gave it a shot...

'Footy Golf' Review - Kicking the Old Cabbage Around

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April 28th, 2017 11:00 AM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in 4 stars, Arcade, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews
Free Buy Now

The fine folks at Donut Games really know how to put together accessible games with a lot of hidden depth, and Footy Golf [Free] is another excellent example of that. As with many of Donut's titles, you can probably get the gist of what this game is about from its name. You have to kick a ball across a stage into a goal in as few moves as possible, collecting coins and diamonds along the way. Fans of this publisher will probably recognize it as a cousin of the classic Cat Physics [$1.99], but it brings a few tricks of its own to the table, not the least of which being a new pay model. Worry not, however, friends. Footy Golf is as gentle with its monetization as it could possibly be, allowing you enjoy the game with only a minimum of friction. Most importantly, the game itself is challenging and fun...

'Star Cat Adventure' Review - Galactic Psychedelic Kitten

Sometimes it's nice to just relax and play a game with a weird creature at the helm. Maybe Bubsy isn't the best example, but cats are relaxing and stress-reducing creatures by nature, so I naturally gravitate towards projects that feature felines. That's why I opted to take a chance on Star Cat Adventure [Free]. Well, that, and the fact that its titular character looks like a rad '90s mascot...

The silence you hear after successfully unloading an entire volley of cannon fire into a now sinking enemy ship in HeroCraft's latest release, Tempest [$6.99] , is euphoric. The only problem is that a stop in the action is guaranteed to be short lived. The pace and pay off of being a pirate captain may feel highly romanticized in this sea-worthy offering, but I approve. Any time a developer cooks up an ARPG that even seems half-baked, my ears perk up and this time I am really glad they did. This game taps directly into a whole lot of what makes the genre great and does it in a way that is original enough for you to sit up and take notice too...

For serious mobile gamers, the need for a good headset is ever-increasing. There's the streaming community, of course, with various platforms for streaming mobile games out there. Games like Vainglory [Free] work better with the ability to chat with teammates. And if you get games of Modern Combat Versus going, you'll want to chat with folks on Discord while you do so. But the gaming headset market is such an interesting market because it's so ripe for disruption by companies that know how to make good headphones. Popular brands like Razer are far more about branding and style with their headphones than with sound quality. As well, older gamers or those with a more subdued sense of style might not like the loud designs that these use. So, competitors have a blue ocean of opportunity to compete in this market. We've seen the HyperX Cloud, which took a smart path by utilizing a solid OEM headphone and adapting it to have a microphone. And of course, intriguing options exist with external microphones such as the ModMic. Sennheiser is one of the oldest and most respected headphone companies around. They've been making great headphones for decades, and the Sennheiser HD600 family remains a top pick for audiophiles. My Sennheiser HD580, an older model in that family, has an impressive natural sound to it once you give it the proper amplification. But Sennheiser also has made some entries into the consumer range, with their Sennheiser Momentum headphones, and the Sennheiser HD598 family providing consumer-friendly, entry-level audiophile sound at a great entry price. Sennheiser is making bigger steps in the PC gaming headset category, and one of their latest entries is the PC 373D...

'Get Me Outta Here' Review - Don't Have a Cow, Man

The Rossman Bros. have delivered a rather fun arena shooter in Get Me Outta Here [Free]. Starring a middle-aged man (with surprising jumping and rolling skills!) abducted by aliens, and given a limited amount of time to clear them all out with his deadly firepower, what seems like a simple game of run 'n gun action has a surprising amount of depth to it. The heart of the game is you trying to survive the same arena with the same enemies, but interesting strategies that appear over time. Plus, it features a giant weaponized cow boss, and some heavy weaponry to deploy. Who doesn't love that?..

'Trailer Park Boys: Greasy Money' Review: Pushing the Theoretical Limits of Fan Service

Writing about these kind of idle clicker upgrader games is always difficult, as it feels like in mid-2017 everything you'd ever do in one of these has been done, with the main difference being how developers mix up the established mechanics and how they apply the theme of the game. East Side Games has a winner on their hands with Trailer Park Boys: Greasy Money [Free] as it mixes up established mechanics in a way that makes a dumb amount of sense inside of the scope of the Trailer Park Boys universe...

'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. ..

'Sunless Sea' Review - A Brilliant Journey in a Dark, Fascinating World

When I reviewed Falibetter Games' Fallen London some time ago, I talked about how much I enjoyed the dark, twisted, yet also funny world the writers have created; it's not every day you journey through a London realized in an intriguing Victorian Steampunk aesthetic. While that literary RPG was great in terms of content and ideas, the app itself had huge issues that, unfortunately, kept players away. I'm glad to say that Sunless Sea [$9.99 (HD)], Failbetter's sequel of sorts to Fallen London, works pretty much like a charm on an iPad, and that made playing it much more enjoyable than Fallen London simply in terms of it actually working as it should...

For years, Kemco has been nothing if not consistent in their slate of published games. They've been a mobile gamer's one-stop shop for budget JRPGs, largely filtered through the lenses of four separate developers, each one doing as much as they can with as little time and as few fresh assets as possible. To be fair to the company, there's a demand for those kinds of games and not many are rushing to fill it on iOS anymore, with the way things have shifted in the market towards free-to-play social games. But even the most ravenous of niches can hit a saturation point if you push hard enough, and it almost feels like Kemco was intentionally looking for that line. Perhaps they finally found it, as 2017 has seen the publisher branching out in more new directions than they had in the previous four years combined. Yodanji [$2.99] is the latest fruit of those labors, and like its similarly-minded stablemate Djinn Caster [$4.99], it's quite good...

The idea of a team that needs to not only work together on a human level, but literally form a construct that's bigger than themselves is fascinating. The most obvious example is probably Voltron, but even something mechanical like Transformers'  Constructicons had to form Devastator. It's a seemingly timeless concept too as nearly all of these tropes have returned, from the new Voltron Netflix series to the Power Rangers film reboot. Quantum Revenge [$1.99] tries to tap into that wizardry in the form of a twin-stick shooter, but doesn't really hit all of the same notes...

AT Games hates you and wants to launch you into a black hole. That's what my time with Full of Stars [Free] revealed to me. They created an amazingly clever idea, something that takes a simple kind of space chase game as you dodge asteroids and other perils that fly past you. But this is just the core of a larger experience, involving an interactive fiction story that plays into the events of the game, including when you die on a level and try to continue. And then there's a curious long-term metagame as you try to rescue human survivors, and explore more of the war-torn star system you're in. The difficulty, excessive repetition, and ever-present monetization drags the experience down, but not to the point of killing the charm of Full of Stars' genius core idea...

Mobile has perhaps been lacking the great Spelunky-like game that could at least imitate one of the best indie games of all time while being something you can play on the toilet while at work. Orangepixel steps up to the plate with Meganoid 2017 [$2.99], the nebulously-named reboot/sequel to one of the solo developer's earliest works. Where the original Meganoid games, both Meganoid 1 [$1.99] and Meganoid 2 [$1.99], were more challenge platformers, Meganoid 2017 is a procedurally-generated platform that takes a lot of cues from Spelunky. Exploring the Meganoid spaceship, you have nothing but your platforming wits, some explosive charges, and whatever you find as you venture further into the spaceship, taking on a different layout when you die, and you will die a lot. Spelunky 2017 had a rather rapid development time, and while it gets the core gist of the Spelunky formula right, and does some rather cool things, the game suffers from its short development time, leading to a lack of variation in level designs. Also, the game just doesn't have the tight platformer feel necessary for what the demanding difficulty requires to give the player a good shot at succeeding...

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