Category Archives: Ratings

Old genres rarely die, they just often end up evolving into something a bit different. That's certainly the case with beat-em-ups, a genre which reached its height in the 16-bit era only to almost completely vanish in the following generation. That happened for many reasons, including market saturation, the popularity of one-on-one fighters eating the genre's lunch, an overall lack of innovation, and the 3D nature of the gameplay meaning it got precious little boost from the shift into polygons the way other genres did. A few attempts were made to keep the genre going on PlayStation and its contemporaries, but they met with limited success at best. It wouldn't be until the release of the PlayStation 2 that the beat-em-up would find its new footing, thanks to Koei's Dynasty Warriors series. That series spawned many sequels, spin-offs, and imitators, and even today serves as a general template for the genre...

'Don't Starve' Review - A Masterpiece of Horror, Humor, and Hunger

Don't Starve [$4.99 (HD)]. A simple imperative that encapsulates so much about this game; it sets the mood and traces your constant, furious, yet ultimately futile attempts to follow that advice (or is it a command?). Klei Entertainment's Don't Starve is a survival game with a lot in common with Minecraft in terms of gameplay, but at the same time it also manages to draw its own path because of its amazing art style and its uncompromising and challenging design that pushes players into moments of desperation punctuated by brief moments of triumph. Played either with the help of the many dedicated wikis or as blindly as a newborn baby traversing Hell, Don't Starve stands as a memorable, meticulously designed experience with a UI and control scheme that make it a real pleasure to play on the iPad. Just remember, Don't Starve...

As the mobile market trends further and further away from classic, no frills, pay-up-front gaming in favor of freemium models, games like The Silver Bullet [$2.99] become an ever increasing rarity. I don't really hate freemium, and there are still plenty of places to find that classic gaming experience. But it would still be nice to see more games like this one, from Korean developer KwangSam Kim and Byulbram studio, supported by the masses. Because man this one is a surprising treat, with awesome gameplay across a fairly lengthy campaign...

I don't think I'll ever get tired of samurai-based media. There's a certain elegance to it, especially when it's coupled with images of Japan's serene countryside. In that regard, Samurai Blitz [Free] is basically everything I could ever want out of an endless action experience...

Let me start this review by apologizing for its tardiness. I've been kicking this down the road for weeks, mostly because I've been kicking the game itself down the road for weeks. I've been doing that because playing Always Sometimes Monsters [$4.99] is not fun, or exciting, or even remotely enjoyable for me. A great deal of that is intentional design. Some of it isn't. The terrible mobile UI is likely not meant to be a commentary on anything, for example. Nor are the technical hiccups that occur during many mini-games. Beyond that, however, the game itself is not looking to give you a good time. It's essentially a series of depressing choices between bad options where anyone and everyone is ready to spew out a fortune cookie at you unsolicited. Being an iffy port of a divisive game, it's both easy and hard to review at the same time. Hence, the feet-dragging...

Have you ever had the sudden urge to be a creepy person wandering around in public making people uncomfortable? If so, you are in luck. Magic Cube's Barcode Knight[$0.99] is out and offers you the perfect excuse to wander around and scan random barcodes with your iOS device. Whether you are sneaking around a Walmart or lurking in a McDonalds, you now have an almost semi-plausible excuse for it. ..

'Avernum 2: Crystal Souls' Review  - The Empire Strikes Back

If you’ve been following along on our RPG Reload Podcasts, you’ll know that we have a soft spot for Spiderweb Software’s excellent old-school RPGs. In addition to dedicating a whole segment to Avernum: Escape from the Pit [$9.99 (HD)]on Episode 2, we’ve also spoke at length to the recent drama regarding Avernum 2: Crystal Souls [$9.99 (HD)]. Released and taken off the market within a day, issues with iOS 8.3 threatened not only its release but also the release of future titles. Thankfully, all that has been resolved and Jeff Vogel’s group has rereleased the second game in the Avernum series on iPad. It’s a big win for RPG fans, as Avernum 2 continues the excellent tradition of old-school RPG goodness with a new adventure deep underground...

Heroki [$7.99] is a game I desperately wanted to love. It hits a lot of my buttons: it's a stunningly gorgeous game. It's a platformer-type game that's centered around premium experience, and charging a fair price. It is a game I desperately want to do well. I want other big publishers to see that charging reasonable prices for well-made premium experiences is a viable business strategy for mobile games. I want there to be an audience for this. Plus, it's just so well-made, and its protagonist is adorable in the way an older Sega character might be. It does a lot right, and I am invested in this game's success. The problem is that the game is just kind of blah. It isn't bad. It just isn't very memorable. ..

UpUp: Frozen Adventure [Free] by developer Sioux is a fresh take on iOS puzzle platformers. The crux of the game is to guide an unnamed hiker safely up the mountain before he freezes to death. There is a health bar in the upper lefthand corner that slowly empties as you get colder and colder. The goal is to balance speed and collection strategies, as there are small yellow gems scattered throughout each level...

I feel like it's pretty hard for a letter game to distinguish itself at this point in the App Store's life. Much like any long-in-the-tooth genre, new entries are starting to feel far more similar to each other than different. AlphaBear [Free], the latest from Triple Town [Free] developer Spry Fox, looks into the developer's past for inspiration. Panda Poet is a web game that has you making words to create bigger and more numerous pandas than your opponent. It's kind of a word game crossed with Othello, and if I may put on my day job hat for a second here, it's been invaluable as an English study tool for some of the kids I teach. Though it works fine in mobile browsers, it's not available as a native mobile app, and you really do need two human players to get the most out of it. In short, there's room to grow the concept, and that's sort of what AlphaBear does...

'Adventures of Pip' Review - I Came In Like A Rectangle

The majority of games I’ve been playing the past few months have been somewhat shallow affairs. Quick reaction games, simple puzzlers, goat simulators. That’s not to say some of them haven’t been excellent and extremely rewarding experiences, but it’s no shock that iOS games, for the most part, tend to not be terribly deep. Now, before you exclaim “But Nate! What about X or Y?”, just know that I’m not saying there aren’t ANY substantial games on the App Store. I’m just saying that if you pull up the list of recently released games on Appshopper any given hour, you’re gonna be flipping through quite a few pages before you find anything more than random clickers, Ketchapp-style microgames, and some gross casino sims. (Also, don’t call me Nate. Only my friends call me that, and I don’t know any of you weirdos.)..

Imagine an MMO RPG where you venture through fantastic worlds with great environment variety, fun enemies, and an entertaining story. I know, this description fits most good MMOs, so now imagine that in this MMO you get to play as one of over a hundred different characters, each with his or her own skills, special moves and powers, and you've got the new LEGO game, Funcom's LEGO Minifigures Online (LMO) [$4.99], the iOS version of the original computer game. The game offers a variety of fun worlds and environments, one included with the game and four more as IAPs, an incredible amount of ridiculous characters to play as, and the usual LEGO gameplay fare of fighting, smashing, and building...

It's tough to really tell what's interesting these days on the App Store, but something the other day caught my eye with Downhill Riders [Free]'s app icon -- a kid in a shopping cart going downhill, bringing back fond memories of watching Jackass with friends. It's not quite everything I had hoped for, but most runner enthusiasts will want to give it a shot...

Shooting Stars [$0.99] is the kind of game that hits very high heights: it has an enjoyable premise, lots of bullet-dodging shoot 'em up action, roguelike elements, plenty of flashiness, and laser cats. It should be amazing. But as you play, those elements show themselves to have flaws: a game with very shallow humor, a flawed daily run mode, and imbalanced weapons. Shooting Stars is fun, but it's remarkably flawed, too...

'Dinofour' Review - Craig, Stop Eating Crayons

StarStarStarStarNone
July 8th, 2015 8:04 PM EDT by Brittney Broder in 4 stars, Action, Adventure, Platform, Puzzle, Ratings, Retro, Reviews
$1.99 Buy Now

Dinofour [$1.99] is a charming retro-inspired puzzle platformer where the goal is to guide four dinosaurs to their egg at the end of the level. Each of the four dinosaurs has a different color and power to assist you on your quest: red breathes fire, green can move boulders, blue can fly, and purple can manipulate gravity to walk on the ceiling. The game was created by the new indie developer Craigeatscrayons and is the first launch of the Melbourne-based company. As far as first projects go, Dinofour set the bar high with playful yet challenging level design, interesting mechanics, and a vast amount of available content, including 3 worlds, over 70 levels, and secret areas and collectibles...

I don't know about everyone else, but for my money, the best part of using a tomb-raiding setting for a story is when the main character has to escape from a collapsing death-trap. I'm not sure why ancient civilizations would rig things to collapse in such a precise and deadly manner, or how annoying it must have been when they were setting it up and Bob accidentally tripped the whole thing just before the last piece was set, but watching someone try to outrace a series of perfectly-timed traps lest they be buried in the very location they sought to loot never gets old. With the rise of Indiana Jones happening almost in step with the booming popularity of early home gaming, it's not surprising we've seen many interactive takes on the concept. When it's done well, it's just as exhilarating to play as it is to watch. Trappy Tomb [Free] is a relatively simple game that focuses exactly on that kind of escape sequence, and while it has some issues, a few clever ideas help smooth things over...

Is a high level of difficulty a necessary part of a roguelike? It's something I've been thinking about a bit as I've played Alchemic Dungeons [$2.99], the latest from Rogue Ninja [$2.99] developer Q-Cumber Factory. Most genres don't factor challenge into their definitions, but I suppose the roguelike genre isn't like most others. For decades, roguelikes acted something like the horror B-movie of the games industry. There was always a very strong cult following, but outside of certain limited successes in Japan, those outside the circle rarely gave the games much attention. In recent years, things have changed, however, and that has forced a somewhat insular community to reassess exactly what it is that they get out of games using the roguelike descriptor. Alchemic Dungeons checks off all the boxes as a Japanese-style roguelike, but its main gameplay hook gives it a certain fairness that isn't typically present in this genre...

'The Executive' Review - Like a Boss

Riverman Media's latest game The Executive [$4.99] is a masterpiece. The new game from the creators of Pizza vs. Skeletons [$4.99 / Free] is brilliantly absurd and absurdly brilliant. Riverman has combined a touchscreen-friendly brawler with an idle clicker, all set in an absurd universe full of things like wolves wearing Guy Fieri shirts, and featuring a distinctive art and animation style. It's an amazing game, and you need to play it...

'Lines the Game' Review - Dot You Forget About Me

'Lines the Game' Review - Dot You Forget About Me

StarStarStarStarStar
July 7th, 2015 10:00 AM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $2.99, 4.5 stars, Games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
$2.99 Buy Now

Take a look at the screenshots for Lines the Game [$2.99]. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Pretty lame, right? I mean, it’s a bunch of empty, basic shapes on a white background. I’ve seen sweaters that looked more fun to play. Heck, even the name is painfully uninspired. “Lines”, huh? Oh, and it’s a “Game”? You don’t say. How about I pour myself a glass of warm water and prepare a big ol’ bowl of lettuce, ‘cause “Lines the Game” is here and we need to celebrate this. Well, the joke’s on me (as is often the case), because Gamious’ new game is actually shockingly great. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s my favorite puzzle game at the moment. It’s brilliant, satisfying, supremely relaxing, and--to borrow an amusingly awkward phrase from the literary world--unputdownable. So… what is it?..

For those that dig on swine, bacon seems to have such a magical allure that people will put it on the craziest things just to enjoy it. Bacon’s mysterious power even translates to the video game world, where even a rooster will do everything within its power to save the world’s bacon supply from being abducted by aliens. If the thought of such a ridiculous premise appeals to you, you’ll enjoy The Abduction of Bacon at Dawn, the Chronicles of a Brave Rooster [$2.99]. It not only hits the mark in terms of theme but it’s a fun little platformer in its own right as well...

Copyright 2014, TouchArcade.com, LLC.