Category Archives: Ratings

Let me start this review with a spoiler; for me, Sports Interactive's Football Manager Touch 2017 [$19.99 (HD)] is probably the most complicated (yet still accessible), most replayable, and most entertaining game on the App Store. This is a game that lets you play any team from over 130 leagues across the world, and all those teams have their real-life players in their roster, and each of those players has his real-life stats (as well as those can be put into numbers). And you can play with that team for season after season all the while customizing it in all kinds of ways. I'm constantly amazed at all the little things I discover in this game as I go along, features and details that make playing the game faster while at the same time giving me more ways to interact with my team, my board, my training staff, and pretty much everyone in the world of Football Manager...

'Demon's Rise 2: Lords of Chaos' Review - And Now, the Other Side of the Coin

More than ever before, a game review these days is often little more than a snapshot of a work in progress. Developers are rarely finished with games just because they've launched, and in certain cases, so much is added after the fact that whatever I thought at a game's release no longer fits terribly well. A fine example of that is Demon's Rise [$7.99], the debut SRPG from developer Wave Light Games. Wave Light worked hard on balancing the game, adding lots of content, and implementing features, taking it far beyond what was in the initial release. In fact, the developer recently updated it again, and will be doing more in the future. It's great, but it also presents something of a challenge when it comes to a follow-up...




'Avadon 3: The Warborn' for iPad Review - A Worthy Conclusion to the Avadon Trilogy

Jeff Vogel's Avernum and Avadon games are some of the best computer RPGs (CRPG) that you can get on iOS. All of them have tons of content with an excellent balance of story-based and open-world options and their respective tales are pretty compelling as well. While Avernum has technically been complete for awhile, Avadon was still a work in process with the final game in the trilogy released on PC earlier this year. Thankfully, Avadon 3: The Warborn [$11.99 (HD)] is finally out on iOS too, completing the Avadon series on the iPad with yet another absolutely amazing CRPG...

'RunGunJumpGun' Review - The Name Says it All

It's interesting to see just how much mobile development has influenced the PC market. More and more we're seeing newer experiences that are formed around the same concept as Jetpack Joyride, whether it's of the endless or linear variety. The types of games prone to that control scheme work with touch, traditional remotes, and a mouse and keyboard. It's universal, and something gamers of all skill levels can pick up and play. It's a shame I only noticed RunGunJumpGun [$2.99] when it hit the mobile arena, because it really deserves the attention...

'Neon Chrome' Review - The Roguelike That's Just Right

I can't get enough of dual-stick shooter roguelikes, but often the time and effort requirement is too much. I'm more of a gaming tourist – I want to enjoy a lot of different experiences in gaming rather than having to decdicate tons of hours to get the joy out of a single game. Thankfully, Neon Chrome [$9.99] from 10tons, adapted for mobile from PC and console, scratches that itch. It's not easy by any stretch of the imagination, and it can be punishing, but it tones down some of the harsher parts of the roguelike-inspired genre to be more accessible up front for players who just want to enjoy a game of this type. This is a game where you can extract genuine rewards from it in the early hours, while still getting long-term challenge and satisfaction. ..

'Yankai's Triangle' Review - A Game with Kaleidoscope Eyes

Yankai's Triangle [$2.99] is weird. It seems to have a never-ending number of stages. Sometimes it looks at you. The colors are subdued one level, then shockingly bright the next. The scoring system is hard to make sense of. Everything is a little grainy. The eyes are watching. You might run into an absurdly difficult level followed by an astonishingly simple one immediately after. Before each level there are some symbols that mean something, but it's hard to say what unless you really watch carefully. Sometimes there are teeth. The game also introduces each and every level with a title card saying the level number followed with "by Kenny Sun". Perhaps the weirdest thing of all is that you're not doing much more than spinning triangles around, trying to match colors to make bigger triangles, and yet it's nearly impossible to put down...

It is exceedingly unlikely that Square Enix will ever make another Final Fantasy Tactics [$13.99 / $15.99 (HD)] game, at least in the traditional sense. I don't say that to be a wet blanket, it's just the way that it is. The series that seemingly introduced so many Western console players to strategy RPGs, a genre which has recently seen a serious boom in popularity worldwide, has apparently rode off into the night with its creator, Yasumi Matsuno. The weak reception to the third game in the series, Final Fantasy Tactics A2, probably didn't help matters, and without Matsuno at Square Enix to champion for it, the publisher looks to have lost interest in the brand. There were a couple of free-to-play browser games that didn't really go anywhere, but I suspect that's not the sort of thing that series fans are looking for anyway. What to do?..

I've been a huge F1 fan for over twenty five years and still watch it religiously. And I've also had the chance to play a couple of the Codemasters' F1 PC games in the past, so I have a pretty good sense of what the developer brings to the racing genre. So, when I heard at the Apple keynote that Codemasters was bringing what looked like a full F1 game to mobile, I was very excited. I love racing games on mobile, and I always thought that a well-made F1 game with the actual license and tracks would be great. Now we finally got F1 2016 [$9.99], and I have to say I'm impressed in some ways and quite disappointed in others. First of all, this game has way more content than I expected it to have in terms of modes and ways to play it. At the same time, half of those modes are marred by incredibly dumb AI opponents. And on top of that, there are numerous bugs and design decisions that make playing the game frustrating at times. When the driving clicks, though, the game is really fun...

It makes perfect sense why publishers would want to milk the legacy of classic games as long as they can. Why wouldn't they? Very often for a lot of these retro releases they've withstood the test of time, being sold to generation upon generation without any sign of stopping. Bandai Namco is the king of that practice, having delivered us hundreds of Pac-Man ports, re-releases, and spinoffs in the past several decades. But what I love more than a port is an original take on a classic formula...

'Mikey Jumps' Review - A Divine Slice of Mike

That Mikey sure gets around. He uses hooks, boots, and even shorts in his previous adventures on iOS. But what if Mikey were to put down his shorts for a minute and just, you know, jump? Alright, all kidding aside, the Mikey games have always been about precise platforming, a gameplay mechanic that usually involves all kinds of jumping. So what is the deal with this new game? Well, I suspect Mikey Jumps [Free] got its name from the fact that you're really only dealing with what would be the jump button in previous games. As it did in those games, it does all sorts of things here, but the key difference between this spin-off and the mainline games it that Mikey automatically runs forward at all times. Your job is to make sure you're hitting that jump button at the right times to keep Mikey (or friends) alive, collect lots of coins, and grab the star at the end of each stage...

'SteamWorld Heist' Review - Stealing Hearts and Minds Around the Galaxy

Last year, I was asked to participate in voting for some dedicated handheld Game of the Year awards. When it came time to submit my votes for the Nintendo 3DS, my list had many of the expected choices on it. There was Capcom's Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, and Atlus's Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker. But among these franchise games from some of the industry's biggest names, I had also included a download-only title from a relatively small developer. Moreover, I had put it at the top of my list. With exclamation points. And maybe some hearts. That game was SteamWorld Heist [$9.99], an outstanding strategy game from Swedish game studio Image & Form. The game has since released on a number of platforms, and its latest stop is on iOS...

Okay, we're at a point now where it's highly unlikely many mobile gamers are itching for another roguelite. It's proven to be a popular genre on mobile, which means everyone, their uncle, and their uncle's cat has released some kind of variation on the time-honored theme. 1-Bit Rogue [Free], from Kan Kikuchi and popular Japanese indie developer Skipmore, is the latest to give it the old college try, and while it's a pretty fun game, I'm not sure it has much to say to anyone looking for something to perk up the genre. It does all the things well that Skipmore usually excels at: the retro-style presentation feels authentic, there are fun unlockables, and it's an easy game to come to grips with. If nothing else, that makes it worth checking out for a game or three...

'The Bug Butcher' Review - Squashing Makes Me Feel Good

The Bug Butcher [$3.99] might have been released on PC earlier this year, but it felt like it was built for mobile devices. The horizontal Super Pang style, the limited amount of buttons -- it gels well with the endless approach for many similar mobile games, but The Bug Butcher has a level of sheen that a lot of those games sorely lack. There's also lots of room for colorful character designs, a tight control scheme, and some silly, funny writing that tie it all together. It looks and acts like a cartoon, and you'll uncover more and more layers of depth the more you play, which is the telltale sign of something you'll want to play beyond an initial curious play session. Developer Awfully Nice Studios did a great service porting this over...

'RETSNOM' Review - Yako S'ti

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I think the first platformer I ever played where you could manipulate gravity was Irem's Metal Storm for the 8-bit NES. It's a side-scrolling action game, a genre that at the time was so flooded that you virtually had to have some kind of gimmick to stand out. You were mostly jumping and shooting, but you also had a handy button that let you flip to the ceiling. That mechanic showed up here and there over the years before the popular VVVVVV [$2.99] used it better than any game had before, at least in my opinion. It makes for clever puzzles, but more importantly, it rewrites the rules of one of gaming's most well-worn genres. So it's not surprising that a lot of games that followed VVVVVV drew that mechanic into their tool sets. Unfortunately, in becoming a trend, flipping gravity has lost a lot of what it can offer a game...

Genre mashups always toe a precarious line between providing players with established systems of play while simultaneously turning them upside down by placing them in new environments. If not done well enough, players are left with a completely foreign experience without any familiar gameplay elements to form a grounding experience. In other words, balance is key. The Lost Shield [$0.99], while a relatively basic example of a genre mashup, nevertheless does a decent job achieving that balance. In fact, if not for some more fundamental issues with the game, I’d have no problem heralding it as a rare unqualified success...

The game of chess may well have been one of the earliest examples of a game being easy to learn but hard to master. Learning how all of the pieces move and putting together a basic strategy towards getting a checkmate isn't that difficult, but the unpredictable nature of human behavior makes chess a game that always has something new to offer. There's almost always a move to make that could be considered the best, but it's only the best if your opponent reacts in the textbook way themselves. A strong chess player needs to study their opponent almost as intently as the board. That said, there's a lot to be said for learning some fundamental strategies, just in case your opponent plays things by the book. As an added bonus, that knowledge will help you if you decide to play Moveless Chess [Free]...

Let's be honest: Kemco's RPG release schedule on mobile has always been pretty absurd. They've only been at this for around five years on smartphones and they're nearing 50 RPGs on iOS in English, and even more than that on Android. That works out to an average of just under one RPG per month for five years running. Now, there's a fair bit of repetition from game to game, particularly if you're just looking at the broad outlines, but I feel they've historically been able to mitigate that issue by keeping a handful of developers on tap. This has helped differentiate the Kemco catalogue, to at least a small extent, and has also ensured that each developer has a bit of a buffer between releases...

'Eggggg – The Platform Puker' Review – Engrossingly Gross

I’m not going to lie. When you first start this game, it might seem a little grody. You might feel a tiny bit nauseated. But that goes away quickly, and what you’re left with is one of my favorite games of this year. It is a solid platformer first and foremost, drawing on several great inspirations, but it’s also outrageously silly and funny entirely through its world, art style, and sound effects. This is a triumphant tale of allergies, cyborg chickens, your mean Aunt Doris, and eggs. This is Eggggg – The Platform Puker [$3.99]...

'Primordia' Review – B'sodding Brilliant

Of all the adventure games I’ve reviewed for this site, this is probably my favorite. The writing is stellar, the voice acting is ace, the style is top notch, and the soundtrack perfectly sets the tone. What is this game upon which I lavish such high praise? It’s an adventure game called Primordia [$4.99]. A very modern adventure game with a very old school feel, where the puzzles are challenging but not because they’re goofy and absurd. Puzzles and interactions serve the story and characters first, in a bleak post-apocalyptic world that is very well built. And the kicker? Nary a human being in site. This is a robot’s world now, though humans still play a pivotal role...

Every now and again I like to look through old weekly new game posts to find worthwhile games that may have been overlooked. Especially with the light speed pace of the mobile market. If you like RPG survival games that capture a real sense of struggle with an atmosphere of otherworldly dread, then you’ll probably adore Dead in Bermuda [$4.99] from CCCP and Plug in Digital. The stuff that it does right, it really does right. It’s hilariously (probably realistically) difficult, but it was definitely worth the price of admission, which is way cheaper than an airline ticket to Bermuda and the psychological cost of crashing and having to survive with your wits alone...

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