Category Archives: Ratings

Mobile gaming certainly isn't hurting for clever puzzle games. Perhaps due to their natural fit with touch controls, puzzle games were one of the earliest genres to flourish on iOS. If you ask the average person to name off the mobile games they know of, chances are many of the entries will be from the puzzle genre. Candy Crush Saga [Free], Angry Birds [$0.99], Cut The Rope [$2.99], and similar fare are to many people the face of mobile gaming. Puzzle platformers, on the other hand, seem to have a rougher go of it. The puzzle part is usually fine, of course, but touchscreen platforming is a hard thing to nail down properly. Volt [$0.99 / $0.99 (HD)] tackles the problem by having you play as a little battery, who can't do much more than flop around on its own. Instead, it can generate beams of electricity to grapple onto various surfaces. It's like Cut The Rope meets Bionic Commando...

Anh Huy Phan has brought one of my favorite genres to iOS. Star Nomad Elite[$3.99] is a trimmed down, stream lined 2d space adventure game. The game notes have a shout out to Elite, Wing Commander, Privateer, Escape Velocity and Freelancer. I was a bit surprised that my favorite 2d space sim, Star Sonata wasn't also mentioned. In any case, I had a lot of expectations going into Star Nomad. It's a fun game from a very small indie outfit that could really take you by surprise. ..

iOS gamers that are into brawlers may have heard of Reliance Entertainment, makers Real Steel World Robot Boxing [Free] (among a variety of movie tie-in games). Well, the developers are back with Ultimate Robot Fighting [Free], another robot brawler that focuses on the likes of recent free-to-play brawlers such as Injustice and Marvel Contest of Champions. Lacking the star power of those two games, Ultimate Robot Fighting is forced to rely solely on its gameplay and freemium elements. Unfortunately, lackluster controls and simplistic gameplay make this game a bit hard to recommend...

Considering EA’s recent trend of reviving old IPs in a freemium world, it’s safe to say that expectations weren’t high when it was announced that SimCity would return to iOS with a free-to-play model. Yet, SimCity BuildIt [Free] is surprisingly tolerable with impressible visuals and a somewhat fair monetization system. Sure, it’s not the SimCity game that most fans of the series probably want but I think it manages to do the franchise some small justice...

You know, I've had a lot of people ask me why I cover every single one of Kemco's RPG releases. They're a big time sink to play and few people seem all that interested in them until they're on sale for $0.99, at which point people tend to buy them blindly without even knowing or caring about their merits. Sometimes, I even ask myself if it's worth the bother when I could be working on other things. Then, a release like Shelterra The Skyworld [$3.99] comes along and totally clarifies why I started writing about these games in the first place. ..

'Annoying Cab' Review - Just Plain Annoying

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December 22nd, 2014 11:00 AM EST by Chris Carter in 3 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Universal, Word
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I've never really had a bad experience with cab rides. Maybe it's because I don't live in a major city and don't take them every week, but as a general rule, when I do take cabs I have nothing major to complain about. At the very least the driver isn't annoying, which is what the typing trainer Annoying Cab [Free] is all about...

The Kingdom Rush [Free / Free (HD)] series has been one of the most popular tower defense franchises out there, and it's thanks in part to its introduction of action and RTS elements with the summonable reinforcements, and the hero units that can be sent across the battlefield to help take care of any threats. It gives this genre a fresh feel, and not just about sitting back and watching towers annihilate enemy creeps. Now Ironhide Games continues the franchise with Kingdom Rush Origins [$2.99 / $4.99 (HD)], a game that iterates on the formula that previous entries established. It's still a solid game, but it's pretty clear at this point that it's a series just for fans of it, and I failed to find any reason for newcomers to particularly jump in to this entry in particular...

The whole series of events leading up to Marvel Contest Of Champions [Free] is pretty weird if you think about it too much. It's a clear reply to the mobile version of Injustice: God Among Us [Free], whose console version's inception likely sprang out of Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe, which certainly only existed because of Marvel Vs. Capcom. That's Marvel and DC for you, friends. They bite each other's tails so often it's sometimes hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. Well, I just thought that was interesting. Truth be told, I'm glad something like Contest Of Champions came about. While Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 is ideally better than Injustice, trying to play it on a touch screen stripped away a lot of its merits, and the game was removed from the App Store even if you wanted to play it. Injustice, on the other hand, found a winning combination with its collection elements and extremely simplified take on the fighting genre. It only makes sense to have a Marvel version, and that's basically what you get in Contest Of Champions...

I don't think a person needed to be a fortune-teller to see this outcome, but going back to my review of Tomb Raider 1 [$0.99] from last year, I ended it by expressing little hope for a potential port of Tomb Raider 2 [$1.99] fixing the control issues with the first game. It wasn't hard to guess because the problem is neither with the unorthodox and somewhat fussy controls of the Tomb Raider series, nor was it with virtual controls, but rather the marriage of the two that the mobile version offered. There's simply no clear way to map virtual controls to these games in a satisfying way. Tomb Raider 2 only makes that problem clearer with its increased challenge and greater emphasis on pulling off non-stop sequences of moves, particularly in timed situations. It's the kind of situation where I don't feel good about giving it a score, because if you have an MFi controller, this game is an incredible experience at a ridiculously low price, but if you don't, it's just about pointless to buy. Consider the number at the end of this review to be the middle of those two scenarios and apply it to your own situation accordingly...

'Brother in Arms 3: Sons of War' Review - A Freemium Sibling

As we mentioned earlier this month when we posted the teaser trailer, Gameloft’s Brother in Arms 3: Sons of War [Free] has been a long time coming. Announced in June of 2013, we took it for a spin back in E3 2013 and enjoyed the big changes to the series - namely the transition from a traditional shooter to one that was mostly a cover-based on-rails affair. Fast forward nearly a year and a half later and Sons of War is significantly different than when last we played it. For folks hoping for a significant shift in the series direction, Sons of War may disappoint as it goes back to its traditional roots, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing...

You don't win the tutorial mission in BattleLore: Command [$9.99]. I found that kind of interesting, and in a way, it sets the pace for this strategy board game adaptation. While many strategy games like to puff you up with some early victories before pulling out the Customer Service Bat, this one teaches you the basics of how to play in a couple of turns and then almost immediately comes at you virtually as hard as it ever will. It's a real sink or swim situation, but if you've got the wits and patience to see it through, you'll find a game with a very rewarding core that suffers a bit from its overall lack of options...

'Tales from the Borderlands' Review - Less Loot, More Talk

The idea of Tales from the Borderlands [$4.99] was certainly an intriguing one once it was announced. The Borderlands series definitely has a unique feel to it from its setting, dialogue, and characters that can be easily screwed up by a developer not quite in tune with the way the series operates. The good news is that Telltale Games are experts at story, so the idea that they could approach and do justice to this universe while also expanding on it in a way that isn't just a loot-filled first-person shooter is an interesting proposition...

I don't think I'll ever be accused of being stingy with my words, but if I were to wrap this entire review up into a short summary, here it goes. If you enjoyed Record Of Agarest War [$14.99]'s seventy-something hour campaign, spent dozens of hours more to fully complete everything, and still find yourself wanting another full-sized game offering a similar experience, you should buy Record Of Agarest War Zero [$14.99]. That's essentially the only scenario where I can see recommending this latest release from HyperDevBox, because just about everyone else with an interest in the Agarest series ought to be starting with the first game anyway. Agarest Zero tells a new story with new characters, but the underlying gameplay offers virtually little of note over its predecessor and actually streamlines a few things out that I'm not sure needed to be ditched...

Tower Of Fortune [$0.99] developer Game Stew is a hard developer for me to get a read on. I mean, I think if you look hard enough you can find a designer's fingerprints all over just about any game, but you don't even have to do that with Game Stew. Their games are instantly recognizable thanks to their consistent, unusual presentation style. If you do choose to look a bit harder, you can see that also carries over to the gameplay, even if some of their games are ostensibly in different genres from each other entirely. It's interesting because even though their games are generally quite unique from almost every angle, once you understand Game Stew's way of doing things, you can reliably count on certain elements being present. Specifically, you're probably going to have quite a few trappings of the roguelike genre. Being predictably off-beat certainly isn't a bad thing. Tim Burton doesn't seem to be suffering for it, at least. The big problem with having that kind of reputation is that you need to keep coming up with ways to keep your audience's thirst for oddity quenched...

'Papers, Please' for iPad Review - A Must-Play Storytelling Experience

Papers, Please [$7.99 (HD)] is a weird game, as it's incredibly difficult to succinctly describe in a way that makes it sound even vaguely fun. Developer Lucas Pope (Of Helsing's Fire [$0.99] fame!) manages to turn pedantry and tedium into gameplay elements and in the process crafts an experience that will likely be among the most memorable games you've played this year. It's been out on the PC for about a year now, but much like FTL [$9.99 (HD)], it always felt like Papers, Please truly belonged on the iPad...

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