Category Archives: Ratings

'Hearthstone' League of Explorers Adventure Review - No Monkeying Around, This Adventure Was Spectacular

League of Explorers, the latest Hearthstone [Free]Adventure, came pretty much out of nowhere. Although we knew that something was going to be announced at BlizzCon, we didn't have any details about its theme or the cards it would include. Not only were we surprised with an Adventure that deviated from the typical World of Warcraft lore of previous expansions and adventures, but we got it in our hands the week of the announcement, leaving little time to evaluate the Adventure's 45 cards. It's not that surprising, then, that when the first bunch of cards, and especially Reno Jackson, were released after LoE Wing 1, everyone was amazed by the effect LoE already had on the game. Literally overnight, the meta slowed down and everyone playing Hearthstone, from pros to casuals, felt that the game was fresh and interesting again and out of the rut it had been for months...

Nitrome's Rust Bucket [Free] is a really fun turn-based roguelike, it's just not quite complete yet. Sometimes it's unfair to compare one game to another, but comparing Rust Bucket to Ending [$1.99] is a totally fair comparison because the designer of both games is Aaron Steed, who also worked on Turnament for Nitrome. So, what you're getting is a game that's an evolution and refinement on those games' formulas. Standard turn-based roguelike rules are in play here: you move one square at a time, then all the enemies take their turns, all according to various predictable rules. The challenge comes in when you're trying to survive among several groups of enemies, where one hit kills you. It's tough but fair...




'AirAttack 2' Review - Stunning Shooting

When people claim that gameplay takes precedent above all else, including visual fidelity, I ask, "why not both?" There have been plenty of games that have pushed the envelope in just about every facet imaginable, including the recent Witcher 3 from CD Projekt Red. The same goes for mobile titles, which are pushing boundaries far beyond what I thought was initially capable when the App Store first debuted so many years back. We're starting to see full console experiences on portable devices, and AirAttack 2 [$2.99] is one such game that doesn't even feel like it should be possible given the hardware...

'A Study In Steampunk: Choice By Gaslight' Review - Holmes Plus Steampunk Equals Excellence

As much fun as they can be, at the end of the day, most pieces of interactive fiction have stories that are good for games. That's the nasty little asterisk that reminds the player not to expect too much from the story, that it has sacrificed literary merit in exchange for getting the reader's input at frequent points throughout. It makes sense, if you think about it. Writing a great story is like making a great painting. The words are the strokes on the canvas of the page, and, ideally, each one will be carefully chosen to serve a purpose. Good writing is hard, in other words. An interactive story magnifies that difficulty greatly, as you now have to create hundreds of similar but equally great works based on how the player decides. Then you have to deal with the expectations of the audience, who generally want lots of action and a brisk pace, preferably with elves or aliens. I love the genre, but mostly because of the fusion of choice and narrative. If you handed me the stories on their own, I'd probably be considerably less thrilled with many of my favorite gamebooks...

'Rush N Krush' Review - Wacky Races

StarStarStarNoneNone
December 18th, 2015 10:39 AM EST by Chris Carter in 3 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Racing, Reviews, Universal
Free Buy Now

I never could have imagined that the mobile platform would house so many old school arcade experiences. Growing up I'd spend hours pumping quarters into various games, often times logging how much average playtime I'd get out of a single coin, so I could maximize my time at an arcade. I kind of do the same thing now with mobile games, especially if they offer "extra lives" or some form of energy mechanic...

There's something to be said about striking the cultural zeitgeist at the right time. Power Hover [$2.99] drops right when people are getting into hoverboards, what with the fascination over this being the year that Back to the Future Part 2 took place in, and those little scooter things that are called hoverboards despite not actually hovering. But I guess they have no better name. Point is, hoverboards are blowing up. Literally. And Power Hover is here to be an entertaining game where you race through deserts, on the ocean, and through tubes, on a hoverboard. It's solid if not amazing, but fun for the time you'll sink into it...

'Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories' Review - What a Difference a Decade Makes

Originally released for the PlayStation Portable just a little over a decade ago, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories [$3.99] was the first "real" portable GTA game. Sure, there were GTA games on the Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Color, but those games totally embodied the whole early handheld gaming scene, as they were toned down versions of GTA in every way the game could possibly be toned down and as a result of that really just weren't that great. The top down Grand Theft Auto Advance felt particularly dated, sandwiched in between the launch of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas [$6.99] and Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, which both (obviously) were full-blown 3D titles. Compared to other games in the series, Liberty City Stories was never that memorable to me. Severe ghosting on the screen of my first-generation PSP made the game real hard for me to enjoy playing, and while from a critical perspective it was received incredibly well, I never really got that far into it. Rockstar provided us with an early copy of the iOS port, and it makes me want to send a message back in time to my 2005 self that says, "Hey, deal with the ghosting and load times, this game is great."..

'Snowboard Party 2' - Downhill Jam

1080 Snowboarding, guys. I spent more time playing that on the Nintendo 64 than any other snowboarding game to date. It came out around the time Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater debuted, and I was basically obsessed with “extreme sports” in video games. Not only was it one of the best-looking and smoothest N64 games of its day, it was also ridiculous amounts of fun. Unfortunately, I missed out on the sequel (never had a Game Cube) and somehow missed the SSX craze as well. In fact, the only other snowboarding game I can recall being super into since then is the recent Alto’s Adventure [$2.99], which belongs to a completely different genre altogether. It’s something I hadn’t really considered, but when I first started playing Ratrod’s Snowboard Party 2 [$1.99], I finally realized how much I missed carving down the slopes in 3D while pulling off crazy tricks...

The Gamevice for iPhone, rolling out to retail now, is a device that's both very functional, even showing some improvements on the earlier release of the model for the iPad Mini. It's a great controller, and its folding design makes it extremely portable. But it's held back in part by its high price, and by several functional trade-offs mandated by Apple requirements, not to mention the non-working Handoff functionality. It's a tough sell for the general consumer, but the Gamevice for iPhone is a solid controller if you're in for the $99.99 price, and you know exactly what you're getting...

'Football Manager Touch 2016' Review - Say Goodbye To Your Free Time, Your Job, and Your Life

What do you look for in a game? Is it brief moments of entertainment? Do you like games that keep you busy while you play them and fade from memory the moment you stop? Then Football Manager Touch 2016 [$19.99 (HD)] is definitely not for you. Why so? Because this is a game about investment, a game that hooks you not with its frantic gameplay (since it's anything but frantic) but by getting you involved and invested in your career. The game makes you feel like an integral part of team your managing; you don't play FMT 2016 only when you're looking at your tablet, you're playing it even late at night in a bar when you're thinking which player would work where, or whether that wonderkid will finally turn up on matchday. This is a game that will literally expand to fill much of your free time, even when you aren't actually anywhere near your tablet...

The fundamental conflict surrounding how I feel about roguelike I Wanna Be a Hero [$2.99] is that the game owes a huge debt to Crypt of the Necrodancer, and if you've played that game, then a lot of what this is trying to do makes sense. Of course, Necrodancer isn't on mobile quite yet, so if you're just a mobile gamer, then perhaps you're only used to this. Still, I Wanna Be a Hero does a lot that is interesting and it's not a bad game, but it's definitely lacking...

Rayman is one of those franchises that always lights my face up when I play it. Despite my issues with a few of the older games, the newer generation of titles have been nothing short of amazing, and I'm including both mobile runners in that conversation. Rayman Jungle Run [$2.99] and Rayman Fiesta Run [$2.99] were excellent translations of the formula to the mobile platform, and although they're technically runners, they operate more like a platformer hybrid, and don't sacrifice any of the quality that the series is known for. Rayman Adventures [Free] is more of the same in that regard, with several holdups inherently related to its free-to-play nature...

'BLOCnog' Review - Slip Sliding Away

StarStarStarStarNone
December 11th, 2015 12:00 PM EST by Chris Carter in $1.99, 4 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
99¢ Buy Now

If I ever see a grid-based puzzle game, I jump at the opportunity to play it. Ever since I experienced Chip's Challenge so many years back I became addicted, and there's something so orderly at the concept of solving puzzles in a uniform format. BLOCnog [$0.99] is one such game, but it's conceal beneath a devlishly cute premise, and some very interesting concepts...

'Pyro Jump Rescue' Review - Twirling, Twirling Towards Freedom

StarStarStarStarNone
December 11th, 2015 11:04 AM EST by Nadia Oxford in 3.5 stars, Free, Review, Reviews
Free Buy Now

Pyro Jump Rescue [Free] is interestingly named. It insinuates that the game is about leaping around to save a pyromaniac. That'd be an interesting idea for a mobile game, but it's not what Pyro Jump Rescue is about. Instead, this action / adventure title works off the barrel-blasting mechanics popularized by 1994's classic Donkey Kong Country for the Super Nintendo...

'CineMagic' Review - Match Three: The Movie

StarStarStarStarNone
December 10th, 2015 11:00 AM EST by Nathan Reinauer in 4 stars, Free, Games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
Free Buy Now

In the small town where I grew up, my parents run a little single-screen movie theatre called the Sunset. We spent a few years living in an apartment above it when I was a kid, and my first job was taking tickets at the box office. I still love going there when I visit my parents, even though I don’t always stay to watch the shows (which only play on weekends, of course.) Movie theatres are familiar and comfortable to me, and spending most of my life around one instilled me with a deep love and appreciation of movies and filmmaking in general. The folks at Jamwix seem to feel exactly the same way, and it shows in their latest app, CineMagic [Free]...

As regular readers know, I play a lot of interactive fiction games. Visual novels, gamebooks, text adventures, I enjoy them all just the same. While I'm often pleasantly surprised by the writing or structure of these games, it's quite rare for me to come across something that is different from a gameplay perspective. Veteran gamebook developer Tin Man Games has been full of surprises recently, however, so I suppose I should start expecting things like Choices: And The Sun Went Out [Free]. It's a choice-based adventure with a couple of clever twists, with chief among them being that it's not finished. Okay, that's normally a bad thing to say about a game, but in the case of Choices, it's actually its main hook. Rather than presenting a complete story that players can purchase up-front, Choices instead offers a subscription-based model where new content arrives every week, building on the story bit by bit...

'Code Of Arms' Review - Bar Versus The World

StarStarStarStarNone
December 8th, 2015 11:30 AM EST by Shaun Musgrave in 4 stars, Card, Free, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Strategy
Free Buy Now

In a review of a different game that made use of barcode scanning, I talked about how I've always been enamored of the idea, but rarely found the games attached to the scanning to be of much merit. Well, I've finally found a pretty decent game that integrates barcode scanning. It's called Code Of Arms [Free], and it's basically like a simplified version of Dungelot [$1.99] fused with a card battler. If you enjoyed that game, you'll probably enjoy this one even if the scanning mechanic does nothing for you. Best of all, it's inexplicably free, without even so much as ads to support it...

'Groove Planet' Review - Click Track

'Groove Planet' Review - Click Track

StarStarStarStarStar
December 7th, 2015 12:32 PM EST by Nathan Reinauer in 4.5 stars, Free, Games, Music / Rhythm, Reviews, Time Management, Universal
Free Buy Now

Clearly, Fizzpow and Noodlecake hit on something special with Bitcoin Billionaire [Free]. It certainly wasn’t the first clicker ever, or even the first on the App Store. Still, it seems to easily be one of the more influential of the bunch. Just about every clicker that comes out these days has the same combination of upgrades, investments, random card draws, and opt-in video ads. It’s a great formula, and I’ve sunk an embarrassing number of hours into Billionaire over the last year or so. Still, when I reviewed Muchos Tacos a few months back I quietly decided not to try any more clickers unless one did something new and unexpected. (And sadly, folding tacos instead of tapping just doesn’t do it for me.) In fact, the only reason I downloaded Animoca Brands' Groove Planet [Free] at all was because I didn’t realize it was a clicker. And while it does adhere to the Billionaire formula fairly closely, thankfully it does have one rather novel trick up its record sleeve...

There isn’t very much to say about virtual pets. We’ve all played with one at some point, whether it was a Tamogachi or a Clumsy Ninja [Free], and they all offer pretty much the same experience. They’re usually cute and also usually a bit shallow. So how do you direct someone’s attention to your virtual pet experience? By putting them in charge of one of the most destructive and incomprehensible monsters since before time was time, of course! And by making that elder god as cute as can possibly be, even as he eats his own servants because you forgot to feed him! Here’s the simple but amusing Cthulhu Virtual Pet [Free] from Silvia Sanchez and NeuroCreativa...

'Amazing Loot Grind' Review - Tap to Loot

StarStarStarStarNone
December 3rd, 2015 2:00 PM EST by Chris Carter in 3.5 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Simulation, Universal
Free Buy Now

For a period of one month, Cookie Clicker basically took over my PC. I played it at work, and at home, with two simultaneous instances running at once. The concept of watching numbers go up over time isn't anything new -- it's something PC and old console RPGs have been doing for decades -- but clickers cut out all of the downtime and just let you get to the rewards. It's a fascinating social experiment, but on occasion, it also makes for a fun video game. Amazing Loot Grind [Free] is one such instance, and it's perfect to play for hours or seconds at a time...

Copyright 2014, TouchArcade.com, LLC.