Category Archives: Ratings

'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...

Fox's animation shows have been dominating TV for quite some time now. Family Guy, Futurama, Bob's Burgers, American Dad, and King of the Hill all offer their own specific kind of craziness and humor. It's not surprising, then, that Kongregate decided to develop a card game based on all five shows, and the result is hilarious, as to be expected. Yet not all is rosy in Animation Throwdown: The Quest for Cards [Free]; while you'll laugh at the silly card combos and be entertained for quite a bit with the gameplay, eventually you hit so many timers that you'll quickly regret your investment in the game...




'Antiquia Lost' Review - Goo Girl Gone

StarStarStarStarNone
Free Buy Now

You don't even have to squint for Antiquia Lost [Free / $4.99] to resemble the recent Asdivine games released by Kemco. In terms of its visuals, mechanics, and systems, it's barely changed from EXE-Create's last few games for the prolific RPG publisher. There are a few small twists, most notably that one of the main characters has an unusual method of leveling up, but for the most part, if you've played any of the EXE-Create RPGs that use weapon customization as a core mechanic, you'll know what to expect here. That's not necessarily a bad thing, I suppose, but it's also not a very exciting thing. The most noteworthy part of Antiquia Lost is in how it advances Kemco's IAP monetization techniques, and that's not really the kind of dinner bell most of us want to hear...

Zombie titles really need to innovate more-so than a lot of other types of games these days. The market is just so saturated that the mere notion of "survival" itself just isn't enough, and there at least needs to be an interesting hook involved beyond the solitary concept of continuing to exist. Skyhill [$2.99] does that, even if the magic doesn't last as long as the developers intended it to...

'Steins;Gate' Review - Desperately Seeking a Good Time

There's a certain attraction to time travel stories. Sometimes, they're about comparing the present to the past, particularly by sticking a fish out of their water. Other times, they're used as a way to think about the future and the promise it holds. Most of them really come down to a simple question: what would the present be like if things had gone differently in the past? Ultimately, time travel stories are more often than not morality tales about appreciating what we have and who we are. A warning about greed and how it can leave you with less than you had. A means of dealing with regret and the paralysis it can bring. Well, except for Back to the Future. That one's about making out with a younger version of your hot mom and getting a new truck...

Marriage is a tricky, tricky act, isn't it? Quite often those joined in holy matrimony don't really fit well together, and even when they do, compromises must abound if there is to be any kind of happiness in their new union. And when the marriage is of two very different people, the challenges are even greater. If you've played Minecraft (either the mobile or the PC version) and any of the Telltale games, then you already know why I started my review of Minecraft: Story Mode [Free] with these metaphors. When Telltale told the world that it would apply its narrative-based formula on Minecraft, the game that's now synonymous with sandbox, many gamers wondered whether Telltale could pull it off and whether Minecraft players would bother with a developer that put their beloved open-world game in a narrative straight-jacket, possibly chopping off any parts that refused to obey the narrative techniques that Telltale has used in its other series...

'Ember' Review - Keeping the Old-School RPG Light Burning

When 505 Games and N-Fusion released their old-school inspired RPG Ember [$9.99] last week, there were a few interesting things we noted. First, with a stated longevity of 30+ hours (coupled with no IAP), it’s certainly one of the longest premium RPGs we’ve played in awhile. Second, as a near simultaneous release with the PC version, it’s one of those increasingly rare games where the developer isn’t trying to hide the fact that a mobile version was developed concurrently with the PC version. Both are typically good indicators of a well-made game, and Ember certainly fits the bill. It does an excellent job paying homage to the old-school RPG and its controls make an acceptable transition to touch screen...

Did you play Day of the Tentacle [$4.99] and think "I like how this game makes me feel stupid, but would like it better if it was a platformer?" Well, that's Donut Games' Vulture Island [$4.99] in a nutshell. It sends you on the quests of a LucasArts point-and-click adventure game, but with 2D platforming. You will use items in weird ways on other items, trying to solve puzzles that will make you curse yourself and slap your forehead over how obvious the solution seems after the fact. It's all that fun, but as a platforming game, a clever combination that's made for another winner from Donut Games...

'Solitairica' Review - The Solitaire Roguelike Your Grandma Could Enjoy

Solitaire is quite possibly the most popular video game of all time, thanks to the game's inclusion in Windows in particular. Many a bored office worker, student, and grandparent has sunk hours into this classic card game. Now, with games like Card Crawl [$2.99] bringing modern roguelike influence into card games, it seems only fitting that Solitairica [$3.99] should come into existence, bringing something more closely resembling actual solitaire to the solitaire roguelike subgenre. And it promises to steal countless hours of your time, even if you're not necessarily a card game player...

'Sorcery! 4' Review - The End of an Incredible Journey

It's been over three years since inkle released their adaptation of the first book in the Steve Jackson's Sorcery! series. In a lot of ways, that app redefined what players expected from a mobile version of a gamebook. It would have been a far simpler matter for inkle to do the expected thing and do a straight conversion of the original books. They had the engine for it, and the series is well-regarded enough that it probably would have done fairly well. Instead, the developers decided to make something that a physical book would have a hard time approximating, while at the same time appealing to the fairly large overlap between gamebook readers and tabletop gaming fans. The first game mostly relied on a unique presentation and reworked battle mechanics, but the following two games brought more and more complexity to the table. Sorcery! 3 [$4.99] was so near to a full-on RPG that its roots were hard to spot at times...

When I first played Exploding Kittens on mobile, I was quite happy with the way the physical had turned digital; the subtle additions of animation and sounds here and there really helped bring the game to life, making it even more fun to play than the original. Sushi Go! [$4.99] has followed a similar path in its journey from card to digital with the developer keeping the game's original card art but adding subtle animations that help make the game quite charming and make it feel more like a digital game than a straight port of a card game. Sushi Go! isn't perfect - there's limited interaction with other players (no emotes or anything like that), which detracts from the social aspect of a card game, and the iPad UI doesn't take advantage of the screen as well as it could. Despite these issues, Sushi Go! is a fun, quick card game that might also put a smile on your face every time you play it...

'Magic Mansion' Review - Monochrome Monotony

StarStarStarNoneNone
September 15th, 2016 1:15 PM EST by Chris Carter in 3 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Platform, Reviews, Universal
Free Buy Now

If your game is going to be based on an endless principle, it better have a good hook. I'm not thinking narrowly in terms of unlocks, but a fundamental design philosophy that encourages the player to keep chipping away at their high score. A compelling art style and a responsive control scheme help, as endless games are generally great in quick spurts, and not with long marathon sessions...

By now, we all know what to do if a large meteor is on a course to strike the Earth: throw Ben Affleck, Bruce Willis, and Steve Buscemi in a rocket loaded with a nuclear bomb, point them at the rock, and let the magic happen. They're our planet's ace in the hole. But what should we do if not one meteor is headed for us, but rather five? Ten? One hundred? Even if you throw in Casey, it's not enough Affleckpower to take care of that many flying chunks of absolute destruction. Such is the nightmare scenario considered by Atomic Super Lander [$2.99], the latest action game from Crescent Moon Games and bitWeird Games...

'GunBird 2' Review - Classic Cute 'em Up

StarStarStarStarNone
September 13th, 2016 11:42 AM EST by Chris Carter in 3.5 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Shooter
Free Buy Now

Shoot 'em ups have a rich, long history, perhaps one of the longest in all of gaming. While Pong and Pac-Man were the first for many, Galaga was right in the mix as well, and with the advent of easy to manage digital marketplaces we're seeing a resurgence of some of those classic games right here in the mobile space. Cave pretty much opened the shmup floodgates after some stragglers at the start of the Android and iOS movement, but there's plenty of other competitors vying for attention as well. That includes Psikyo, who developed the Gunbird series way back in 1998 on arcades (and eventually the Dreamcast). And here we are 18 years later with a mobile edition. Flaws and all, it's a pretty fantastic series of events...

'Siralim 2' Review - Have Another Scoop of the Good Stuff

No matter how you slice it, making a sequel to Siralim [Free] was always going to be a tough job. The original game is essentially an overstuffed endless pit of RPG joy, densely packed with enough systems, side content, and additional challenges to keep any genre fan busy for dozens of hours or more. In hindsight, it was almost an impossible achievement. It was developer Thylacine's first stab at the genre, and it was extremely unconventional. Mixing elements of monster-catching, base-building, and roguelikes, it was like someone made a delicious Shin Megami Tensei - Romancing SaGa - Rogue sandwich and somehow pulled that blend off with only a few minor hitches. Excellent post-release support ironed out just about all of the game's issues, leaving one to wonder what exactly a sequel could accomplish...

'Mr. Robot: 1.51exfilitrati0n.ipa' Review - Behind a Believable Hacker's Screen Looking Out

Have you played Lifeline? It came out in 2015 and had a very clever concept: it turned one of the primary purposes of a phone - sending and receiving messages - into a game. The game had you talking to a survivor of a spaceship crash and you couldn't do anything but advise him, all the while trying to keep him alive. At its core, Lifeline was a choose-your-own-adventure game, but its use of "real-time" messaging as the main game mechanic made the game feel more like a real-life communication rather than a spreadsheet of choices and consequences. As much as it tried to imitate real life, though, Lifeline was a bit too stilted, the communication never really tricking you into believing that the person on the other side of the fictional line was a real human being...

'Justice Monsters Five' Review - Justice Denied

StarStarNoneNoneNone
September 2nd, 2016 6:00 PM EST by Shaun Musgrave in 2 stars, Free, iPad Games, iPhone games, Pinball, Reviews, Social RPG
Free Buy Now

You know, I actually had a small shred of hope for Justice Monsters Five [Free]. It looked like a take-off of the enjoyable Monster Strike [Free], had some nice-looking artwork, and its status as a Final Fantasy 15 spin-off, the first playable non-demo anything based on Final Fantasy 15, lulled me into thinking it was going to be of a certain level of quality. Plus, Square Enix has gotten better with their free-to-play efforts of late. They're all quite serviceable if not very exciting or innovative. Unfortunately, I was almost completely wrong about this game. The production values are good for what it is and it's not a broken game or anything like that, but those are both of the nice things I have to say about this shallow, dull affair...

Street Fighter Puzzle Spirits [Free] is actually a couple of years old now, and only just arriving in more countries worldwide. In some ways, it feels its age. It's less refined than the usual spins on Puzzle & Dragons [Free] we see these days, giving it the feeling of something that was slapped together to cash in on a craze before the tide went out again. It initially comes off as crudely simple, but if you give it a little time, that basic simplicity gives way to a very satisfying set of mechanics. Unfortunately, one other way shows the age of this game. While many social RPGs have loosened up a little on the monetization squeeze in recent times, Street Fighter Puzzle Spirits has its boots firmly planted in the past. On your throat. What remains is a fun game that can get frustrating in a hurry if you're not willing to pay up...

Ever since Tetris was used to deploy tens of millions of Game Boys into households across the world, puzzle games and handheld hardware have had a tight relationship. You'd be hard-pressed to find a handheld launch without a puzzle game of some sort on offer, but virtually none of them have been as important to their hardware's launch than Tetris was for the Game Boy. If you had to find a runner-up, however, the original Lumines on PlayStation Portable would surely be it. On hardware that offered some of the best 3D graphics that you could fit in your pocket, somehow the shining star of the system's early life was a falling-block puzzler. Granted, it was an incredibly stylish falling-block puzzler with an outstanding soundtrack. I don't know many PSP owners who don't have some kind of nostalgia for the game...

Gamebooks based on the works of William Shakespeare are so hot right now. Well, okay, there's really just Ryan North's To Be Or Not To Be [$4.99], Ryan North's Romeo And/Or Juliet, and now this one, but that's enough for me to call it a trend. A delightful, wonderful trend. But lest you think Choice of Games is merely riding the tailcoats of those previous books with A Midsummer Night's Choice [Free], let me assure you that this is an entirely different sort of animal. While North's gamebooks take the familiar situations and characters and give the reader the chance to move the story in wildly different direction, A Midsummer Night's Choice tells an almost entirely original tale, albeit with its fair share of nods to Shakespeare's famous play...

Copyright 2014, TouchArcade.com, LLC.