Category Archives: Ratings

Gamebook developer Cubus Games is only on their third swing at the genre, but they've already become a player worth paying attention to in that sphere. So far they've released the off-beat horror tale The Sinister Fairground [$0.99] and the crazy yet awesome sci-fi story Heavy Metal Thunder [$0.99], both bringing themes and unique writing styles that helped them stand out in an increasingly crowded field. Their newest game, Necklace Of Skulls [$0.99], is an adaptation of a 1993 book by veteran gamebook author Dave Morris, whose name you might recall from inkle's recent take on his book Down Among The Dead Men [$0.99]. It carries on the same strengths as Cubus's earlier releases, with an adventure through an exotic backdrop of Mayan mythology, relayed in captivating fashion by Mr. Morris's usual top-shelf writing...

'Crossy Road' Review - Watch Out for That Train!

What separates the great games from the good games? There's an intangible aspect of making a game feel fun to play that can be difficult to pin down when trying to describe it, and even more difficult for a developer to create. But when a developer nails it down, it's truly sublime. Crossy Road [Free] absolutely nails how a game should feel, which makes it endlessly replayable, and my current go-to pick-up-and-play game...

'Vainglory' Review - Portable MOBA Magic

'Vainglory' Review - Portable MOBA Magic

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November 20th, 2014 11:00 AM EST by Eric Ford in 5 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, iPod touch games, MOBA, Reviews
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While soft-launched for nearly half a year, it really wasn’t until we saw Vainglory [Free / Free (HD)] during Apple’s September event that we’ve been keeping a close eye on it. Super Evil Megacorp’s keynote presentation was more than just a cool demonstration of Metal — it was also a pretty damn cool looking MOBA in its own right. With its recent end of its lengthy soft launch period and subsequent debut in the US Apple Store, we thought we’d take it for a spin and see how it compares to other iOS MOBAs. Suffice to say, I think Vainglory is one of the best genre offerings available and sets the bar in terms of visuals, balance and controls...

Coming into iOS gaming from a background in consoles, dedicated handhelds, and old computers, my first steps into the already-massive catalog were cautious ones. I stuck to familiar brands and the odd breakthrough that had made waves in the traditional media, such as Game Dev Story [$4.99]. One of the first real iOS originals that I fell absolutely in love with was League Of Evil [$1.99], from Ravenous Games. The game will always hold a special place in my heart for hammering it into me that, yes, virtual controls could work marvelously for an action game if they're handled correctly. These guys had their stuff together, I decided, and I began to follow them closely, anxiously awaiting their next big title. By all accounts, that game looked to be Random Heroes [Free], and I bought it pretty much the second it became available...

It's a frequently-visited topic throughout the history of the hobby, but the topic of the length of games (or the lack thereof) has been coming up a lot recently among mobile gaming fans. Faced with a market that that is often frighteningly resistant to handing over more than a few dollars in lump sums, many developers who want to build a traditional game with a beginning and ending, free of IAP consumables and other monetization techniques, are faced with a pretty hard economic reality. The answer to that problem is usually to scope the game's content according to some very meager budgets, leading to some great games that don't take all that long to play through. This was a very hot discussion when it came to Monument Valley [$3.99], and it may well be the same for those who pick up Space Expedition: Classic Adventure [$0.99]...

Viking's Journey: The Road to Valhalla [$0.99], formerly titled Lost Viking, exists in an odd place in that the game is physically fun to play, but the actual game itself winds up being a struggle. It's a puzzle-RPG from the creators of Dungelot [$0.99], with a remarkably slow upgrade system, gameplay that feels like it's stacking the deck against the player in most every way possible to the point that it delivers far less fun than it should...

Being the ever-watchful observer that I am, I've noticed a trend in paid puzzle games of late. Perhaps battling against the effervescent, candy-coated, pastel shine of King's free-to-play offerings, puzzlers from the little guys are turning to the dark side. First, it was Darkin [$0.99], and now, Muertitos [$0.99]. Two games make a trend, right? I'm going to go ahead and call that science. While Darkin gave Dungeon Raid [$1.99] a spin with creatures of the night, Muertitos does something both familiar and unusual with its setup. That little bit of innovation combined with its very stylish presentation is enough to help it rise above the dense crowd, though just barely...

Space Age [$1.99] was a game that intrigued me from the moment I heard of it. The Incident [$0.99] is still a great game (though currently broken on iOS 8!), and last year's Blackbar [$2.99] from Big Bucket's Neven Mrgan was a unique story-driven game that I loved. So them making a new game was well overdue, and I was onboard with the idea of a retro-futuristic adventure game. The game is stated as being inspired by point-and-click adventure games from the 1990s, and certainly that comes through. And Space Age is wonderful when it tries to create a world, populated with interesting characters, that I want to explore and see more of. But sometimes Space Age tries to be an action game, and the experience suffers, because it's just not built to be that...

'Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition' Review - Another Remastered Legend Released for iOS

Beamdog is back. If you aren't excited as a D&D fan you should be. Not just a straight port, Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition[$9.99] is bringing some new toys to the table and I've been geeking out ever since I got my hands on them...

'Cosmic Crown' Review - It's Good to be King

Cosmic Crown [$1.99] is just an undeniably cool game. It's a roguelike, particularly in the vein of Hoplite [$1.99] where there are occasional upgrades after levels to improve oneself with. But the uncommon twist about the game is that it's entirely one-dimensional, literally. The only movement is forward and backward, with traps, enemies, and slowly-opening doors serving as the things standing between the green protagonist and those sweet cosmic crowns...

'1-Bit Hero' Review - Back and Forth

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November 13th, 2014 3:30 PM EST by Carter Dotson in $0.99, 4 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPod touch games, Platform, Prices, Ratings, Reviews
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Auto-running solves a lot of problems for mobile games where virtual d-pads are suboptimal. While generally this is used for endless runners, platformers that use auto-running are an interesting breed to me. Meet 1-Bit Hero [$1.99 / Free]. It's an auto-running platformer that's just a nice little game. It's challenging, but has levels that are short enough that they don't get too frustrating, which strikes a fantastic balance. And it uses auto-running in a good way, that makes it worth playing...

Ah, the spin-off. A truly noble creature, brought into creation typically by a secondary character becoming so popular that it's believed by the powers that be that they can anchor a story of their own. Sometimes, it works out well, as in Frasier, The Jeffersons, and Wario Land. But for each success, there are a handful of failures like Joey, The Ropers, and Shadow The Hedgehog. Deep Silver's attempt to spin out a character iOS gamers have yet to meet leans more towards the latter group than the former, but point and click adventure fans are still likely to find some merit in the whole exercise. Secret Files: Sam Peters [$2.99] is a much shorter, simpler game than Secret Files: Tunguska [$4.99], and its protagonist is considerably more abrasive than that game's duo. That said, there are a couple of good puzzles and, along with occasionally clever bits of dialogue, it just barely manages keep its head above water...

I feel like the last few games I've reviewed have skirted the line between being a game in the functional definition and being just an interactive experience. Cosmic DJ [$1.99] by GL33k and Devolver Digital is perhaps is more accurately described as a gamified music synthesizer than an actual game per se, it passes the sniff test just enough that it's worth talking about here. Actual musicians might find the basicness of composition rather lacking, and people who enjoy playing games to completion might find the lack of resistance toward achieving their goals dissatisfying. But non-musicians who want a clever way to compose music with only minimal musical knowledge, or want to enjoy the goofy-yet-earnest story here, will want to check this out...

'Micro Battles' Review - Share the Wealth

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November 13th, 2014 11:00 AM EST by Chris Carter in 3.5 stars, Action, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Prices, Reviews, Universal
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The advent of touch technology has created a vast number of innovations that weren't really evident upon release.  While many are quick to damn virtual controllers and the like, one of my favorite things about mobile platforms is the sheer lack of physical controls. For certain games that need precision it can be a pain, but for titles that are custom-created for touch controls it's a dream to just pick up and play something. One avenue that I don't think gets enough love is the multiplayer on one device market. There are a decent amount of board games and asynchronous titles out there that support multiple people, but Micro Battles [Free] does a decent job of adding some arcade action into the mix...

'Monument Valley: Forgotten Shores' Review - Take Another Trip To The Valley

As I mentioned back when I reviewed Monument Valley [$3.99], it was bound to be a love it or hate it affair, and I was actually pleasantly surprised to see that most people felt as strongly about the experience as I did. It's a beautiful thing to play with, an artfully-constructed world that you can manipulate and bend around in ways that only a few other games have allowed. It was a gorgeous, pure experience, free of the flashing lights and urging pace that seems to be the general speed of things in this wonderful hobby of ours. It was also very short, with a mere ten levels to its tale, about a third of which were basically tutorial stages. By the time it turned up the gas even a little bit, it was soon finished. As an experience, it's hard to argue with it. As a mechanical game, it was a whole lot of potential with a somewhat wanting level of realizing it. Generally, it was very well-received, with most people left crying for more. So developer Ustwo got working on some more, and after several months of development, they've released an expansion for Monument Valley called Forgotten Shores...

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