Category Archives: Ratings

Rarely does a game make me question the reason for its very existence. Often times, the objective is clear enough. A game might want to tell a story, to thrill the player and test their reflexes, or even to just make a lot of money by capitalizing on a particular trend. But with Tempo [$3.99], I just cannot for the life of me conceive just why does this game exist? Who thought this game was a valid idea that should exist? It's not a bad idea, but it's the video game equivalent of building a bridge in the middle of a field. Sure, it can be a structurally sound and beautiful bridge, but what exactly was the point of building it in the first place?..

There's an inherent joy in playing around with physics. In life, some of our earliest interactions with the external world involve playing around with physics to get a feel for the rules of reality. Even as fully-grown, educated, theoretically wise adults, we still get the urge to use our coffee spoon to launch the creamer at the person sitting at the table on the other side of the restaurant, just to see if we could. For a long time, games weren't terribly good at recreating satisfying physics along with all the other bits we tend to want in a game. There just wasn't enough computing power, time, or resources in general, and it wasn't a high priority. I maintain to this day that the reason Sonic The Hedgehog hit as powerfully as it did was due more to its solid physics engine than anything else. Any old character can go fast, but Sonic not only made us work for it, but also let us see the consequences of that speed. It wouldn't be until several years later that putting realistic physics into a game became a popular thing to do, but once it did, it broke things wide open...

'Planet Quest' Review - Feel The Heavenly Rhythm

Rhythm video games and weird themes go together like peanut butter and jam. It doesn't seem like a natural combination by any means, but most of the best and most successful games in the genre have sported bizarre or abstract themes. That's probably owing to the genre's big break coming with Sony's Parappa The Rapper, a weird yet impossibly charming game about a cartoon dog trying to impress the love of his life, a sunflower named Sunny, learning how to drive or make a cake by rapping along to his instructors' beats. ..

When I received the Turtle Beach Ear Force i30 Headphones for review, my hope was that they could solve the problem that exists with cheaper Bluetooth headsets that I've used: audio latency that makes them unpleasant to use with games. If anyone could sort it out, why not Turtle Beach, with a $300 headset made specifically for iOS? They are well-known for their gaming headsets, and I have a wired headset that I bought a few years ago that works well for what I need when I need it...

I've reviewed more than 20 RPGs from Kemco since I started at TouchArcade in mid-2013, so I like to think I've got a pretty good handle on what to expect from each game at this point. Oh, the quality varies somewhat unpredictably, but the basic outlines each developer for the publisher employs are well-established by now and all too familiar. Every once in a while, however, one of those games dares to color outside the lines just a little bit, and when that happens, you can usually find Hit-Point's name listed as the developer. Such is the case with Seven Sacred Beasts [$3.99], a strangely experimental title whose chief virtue is that it doesn't just feel like a new story plugged into the same old gameplay. Instead it's the opposite, which might seem like a good thing, but ends up causing some serious problems...

'Garou: Mark of the Wolves' Review - When Butt Fights Dong, We All Win

The latest port of an SNK Neo-Geo fighting game to iOS is one of the best yet. Garou: Mark of the Wolves [$3.99] has a reputation as being one of the last Dreamcast games to release in the US, a late-era Neo Geo game, and as a darn good fighter, the last in the main Fatal Fury series. Now it's on iOS along with other ports done by DotEmu, but this version winds up being one of the best ports yet thanks to the robust features included...

'Alto’s Adventure' Review - Winter Wonderland

'Alto’s Adventure' Review - Winter Wonderland

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February 20th, 2015 2:00 PM EDT by Eric Ford in $1.99, 4.5 stars, Action, Arcade, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Universal
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Ever since we caught wind of the teaser back in September of last year, Alto’s Adventure [$1.99] has been an intriguing title. The biggest question I had was whether the game’s highly stylistic art style would be able to counterbalance a gameplay system that is essentially standard endless snowboarding fare. For me, I think the excellent visual style and soundtrack make for an experience that’s worth experiencing the otherwise basic endless gameplay...

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Swap Heroes [$0.99] was a solid game that combined a strategic quick-play focus with plenty of RPG elements. Swap Heroes 2 [$2.99] does pretty much the same thing - it's the same gameplay, where one hero dying means game over. There are a new set of heroes with new abilities to use, but largely balanced in similar ways. The changes here are structural, and that's not a knock on Swap Heroes 2: it's kind of like when a band releases an album a year after their previous one. It's not a huge jump, but you can often tell where refinements and improvements exist, and Swap Heroes 2 is just a better game...

'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 [$2.99], 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...

Ammo Pigs [$1.99] is a game that figures that it just needs to do one thing and one thing only, and get that right. From Cascadia Games, it's an homage to the DOS era of gaming and its action-platformers. You control a pig with a gun who must shoot his way through a dozen levels full of sentient butcher knives, spikes, walking guns, and various robots out for your bacon. If you played 2-Bit Cowboy [$0.99] you may recall that game had a level-based structure that still had some aspects of open-world games. This game uses a bit more of a compromise in level design, as the levels have open-world elements where you have to backtrack to hit switches, with some hidden things to find. Still, they feel a bit smaller and more straightforward, but not in a bad way, but in a way that feels more focused...

'Daytona Rush' Review - Endless Racing

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February 17th, 2015 3:00 PM EDT by Eric Ford in 4 stars, Free, Games, iPhone games, Racing, Reviews, Universal
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As we’ve state before, it’s a tough gig to be an endless runner on the App Store. Nearly all are simply reskins of the same type of gameplay, requiring standouts to either significantly alter the formula (and risk losing that aspect that makes them so appealing) or offer a novel theme to that counteracts what is other standard gameplay fare. Daytona Rush  [Free] is clearly in the latter category with a pretty novel and well implemented theme of stock car racing. When combined with its (thankful) utter lack of IAP, good leaderboard support and great production values, Daytona Rush may be an endless racer worth trying...

I love the idea of Adventure Time Game Wizard [$4.99] because of the power of its license. Pixel Press Floors [Free] was cool technology, in the way that it let people sketch out levels on paper using a system of glyphs, and then take a photograph to scan them into the game. It's a remarkably cool tech and idea. But really, the greatness of the idea and its reach was somewhat limited by the new intellectual property and the limitations that Pixel Press had in terms of PR and reach on the App Store. Thus enter Cartoon Network. The kids love them some Adventure Time. So, why not combine that license and the Cartoon Network marketing muscle with the latest Pixel Press tech? What is here is not just a competent platformer, but an incredibly powerful creation tool that I think could be really great because of the way that it opens up creation to a young audience in an accessible way...

King of Thieves [Free] is a game that shows the problems with review scores, because it exists at two diametrically-opposed extremes. On one hand, it's a remarkably cool concept: it takes auto-running trial platformers and puts it into a Clash of Clans [Free] style raiding system. You can design a dungeon, crafting gems to become more powerful, while trying to keep other players from getting your gems by way of making a dungeon too powerful for them to successfully raid. All the while, you're raiding others and playing through the singleplayer campaign, getting more money, upgrading your stats and traps to be better at raiding and to make raids tougher. But it's a game with a particularly annoying energy system that raises questions about its fairness. It's a game that doesn't go down smooth, particularly if you're not a free-to-play fan...

Much as I love it, I have to admit that video pinball is a very, very strange thing. They're sort of like those homemade recipes for Ecto Cooler that you can find around the internet: a shadow of the real thing, an attempt to replicate an incredibly tactile but now nearly-extinct experience. For most people, there haven't been any pinball tables around their locale since Clinton was in office. I wouldn't be shocked if many of our readers have never laid eyes on one in their lifetime. But for those of us who love them, if we can't wrap our fingers around a real machine and build the callouses on the palms of our hands by slamming them into the side of a wooden box to nudge a steel ball a half-centimeter off its course, we'll take what we can get. We'll take the video pinball. Because even though there's an unquestionable component of the game intrinsically tied to physical sensations, the games themselves have strong merit on their gameplay. The lights and sounds pulled us in, but the gameplay is what kept us coming back...

I admit, when I first played Radical [Free] from BeaverTap Games, I was a little disappointed that the team that made the wonderful Mikey games were aiming a bit lower with this game. But really, the more time I spent with it, the more I found that they had made a clever game that lived up to their standards while at a smaller scale in terms of design and visuals. That they made a smaller game like this was interesting enough to me – and I think that in part from the fact that it's made by interesting developers who know how to make a game, the game is well worth checking out...

If you think about it, WayForward Technologies is one of the original indie stars of handheld gaming. They first gained notice when some poor soul who was assigned to reviewing licensed claptrap on the Game Boy was playing some games based on Sabrina: The Animated Series and realized they were decidedly less bad than usual. A couple of years after that, they released their first game based on an original property, Shantae, which ended up being one of those games that sold far fewer copies on release than its eventual demand would call for. The game's charming presentation and ambition to actually make a decent Game Boy Color game won it plenty of fans. Combined with its relative rarity, its high quality gave it a near-legendary status and elevated its developer in the eyes of core handheld gamers...

Man, what is the deal with Sensible Soccer? That game is popular for its top-down soccer play and two-button controls, a formula that I see a lot of other soccer games try to replicate. The latest is Active Soccer 2 [$3.99], a soccer game that I wish would try to break free of the two-button limitations, though I do find the soccer action to be quite entertaining here...

'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...

Ever since it’s unveiling over two years ago, Midnight Star [Free] has had some lofty expectations thrust upon it. One consistent theme we’ve heard since its announcement was a promise for a control scheme reimagined for touch-based input. As the game slowly soft launched we realized that such a reimagining would also come with a free-to-play system for monetization. With its worldwide launch last week, we’ve finally had a chance to check out both its claim for improved controls as well as test out its freemium elements. After some extended time with this first-person shooter from Industrial Toys, I came away impressed with the controls and the amount of content offered, but was left lamenting its free-to-play elements...

'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...

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