Category Archives: Ratings

'Soda Dungeon' Review - A Light, Fizzy Quest With Some Real Pop

I've lost more than a few weekends to offerings from Armor Games, and Soda Dungeon [Free] certainly didn't break that pattern. While it assuredly leans on the lighter side of the RPG scale, its combination of a compelling upgrade system and quick, yet not entirely brainless, battles make for a pretty good way to kill a few minutes or a few hours as needed. I'm also pleasantly surprised by its generosity. There are no catches in the game that you can't buy your way out of with in-game currency. I'm not sure what the business plan is here, but I'm not a business reviewer, am I?..

Like many popular figures, PewDiePie tends to get a mixed reaction. A whole lot of people love him. At least 39,743,403 people, at the time of writing this. A lot of people hate him. I'm sure some will stop by the comments down below. Then, there are people who have no strong feelings either way. Perhaps they've lived in Japan for a long time or something, I don't know. Group A, you already bought PewDiePie: Legend Of The Brofist [$4.99]. I'd bet you like it quite a bit, because there are a lot of jokes and references in the game that I haven't got a hot clue about. That almost certainly means the fanservice is probably off the charts...

'Wormarium Arcade' Review - Pac-Worm

October 8th, 2015 2:07 PM EST by Chris Carter in 3.5 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
Free Buy Now

I still remember the first time I ever played Pac-Man. It was at the arcade, and the concept of a maze-heavy game wracked my brain for hours on end. While most of the games I had played up until that point featured a linear design, like the Super Mario series, the only real comparable title I had played at the time was Dig Dug, which still didn't prepare me for all of those taxing yellow dots. Wormarium Arcade [Free] isn't quite as good of an experience, but it still offers up some of those same thrills...

'Gamebook Adventures 12: Asuria Awakens' Review - A Truly Epic Close

I can't recall if it's been formally announced, but this twelfth installment in Tin Man's long-running Gamebook Adventures series is, at least for now, the last. The series has had ups and downs, but even the weaker installments helped flesh out the fascinating fantasy world of Orlandes, so I'm a little sad to see it going on hiatus. I am, however, ecstatic that it's doing so with Asuria Awakens [$5.99], which is not only the best Gamebook Adventures yet, but also one of the finer traditional-style gamebooks I've ever played. The creative team behind this game seemingly held nothing back, giving us a quest that takes your character from a lowly gofer to a savior. There are a lot of gamebooks that do that, mind you, but you really have to earn it in this one, and it feels great...

'Hocus' Review - They're Illusions, Michael

October 8th, 2015 11:28 AM EST by Nathan Reinauer in $0.99, 4 stars, Games, Maze, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
99¢ Buy Now

When I was a kid my dad taught me how to draw a Penrose triangle, which is regarded as one of the purest example of an impossible object. I drew it on everything, and my poor teachers at the time probably thought my family was part of some secret order or something. I just find the shape kind of fascinating since it forces your brain to reset itself depending on where you’re looking. Also, isn’t it slightly mind blowing that in order to depict an object too complicated to exist in three dimensional space, you have to dumb it down to a flat plane? Maybe “too complicated” isn’t the right way to describe it (indeed, the fact that it’s missing a dimension is precisely what allows the illusion to work), but there’s still something rather enigmatic about impossible shapes. And apparently I’m not the only one who thinks so, since there are quite a few games that use the idea as the basis for mind warping puzzles. Like Hocus [$0.99], for example...

So, I love football manager games, and I've loved playing football games (or soccer for some of you) like FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer since the days of International Superstar Soccer on the Nintendo 64. Add to this my love for CCGs, and you can understand why I had high hopes for FIFA 16 Ultimate Team [Free] since it looked like it combined all three genres in one shiny package. The last FIFA I played on mobile before FIFA 16 UT was FIFA 14, which was the last one to have various other modes (like Quick Match and Season) in addition to the Ultimate Team mode. While I had dabbled a bit in the Ultimate Team mode in FIFA 14, I didn't really bother much because I simply wanted to play football without messing with menus too much. Still, I actually loaded FIFA 16 UT hoping I would find an interesting CCG (which is what the Ultimate Team really is) on top of what has easily been the best football game on iOS...

'Mos Speedrun 2' Review - But Wait, There's More

When it comes to game developers, you should not expect reasonable practicality from them. Their dreams far exceed their ability to deliver. I mean, if you've ever backed a Kickstarter project, you know, because they were at least late on delivering it. And Star Citizen has somehow turned into "The creator of Wing Commander wants to make a new space game" into a multinational crowdfunded AAA nightmare. The point being that when a game developer promises you the moon, you should expect a large rock at best. Except in the case of Mos Speedrun 2 [$0.99], a game made by some real crazy people. It's so crazy, that it's got secret items that only appear on certain days. Secret areas that house difficult-to-collect golden skulls are often more difficult than the actual levels themselves. One of the developers watching me stream the game said that I missed several secrets in one level alone. They somehow managed to jam-pack everything they ever could possibly stick into a speedrun game, and it is absurd...

'Sage's Sky' Review - How Far Can You Fling This Bird, Anyway?

October 6th, 2015 2:57 PM EST by Brittney Broder in 2.5 stars, Review, Reviews
Free Buy Now

Sage's Sky [Free] is a quaint and colorful stamina-driven, "launcher" platformer where you play as a small, gray bird called Sage. The goal is to navigate a linear, minimalist landscape in a quest to improve your stats and out-do your own high scores. The game features a variety of upgrades that allow Sage to fly longer, faster, higher, and more efficiently, which can be bought with coins collected in each run-through. The cost of upgrades is pretty steep, which is a major downfall in the game, but rewards can be supplemented by watching brief, in-games ads. The charming art style and hypnotic mechanics make Sage's Sky worth a try, if you have a bit of patience to spare...

One of my favorite games growing up was The Incredible Machine. While the IP has been sadly dragged through the mud in recent years, it was once a work of art, tricking kids everywhere into partaking in what was essentially edutainment. The concept was clear -- simply get an object to its goal while using any number of over-the-top machines.  They were Rube Goldberg machines through and through, and taxed your brain just as often as they put a smile on your face. The Sequence [$0.99] is a bit more muted, but it's the same principle...

It was four years ago that EA bought Firemint, and many people at the time were worried about the latter studio’s future. Surely this would be the end of the beloved developer who brought us App Store classics like Flight Control and the Real Racing series, right? Surely EA would suck the life out of them and add mountains of IAP and other shenanigans? Well, a few years (and a merger with fellow Aussies Iron Monkey) later we got Need For Speed: Most Wanted [$4.99] and Real Racing 3 [Free], two games that are incredibly well-made and fun. (Admittedly, RR3’s pay model was pretty controversial when it came out, but it still ended up becoming one of my favorite racers on iOS.) And now we have their latest, Need For Speed: No Limits [Free]. It’s the first game I’ve played from Firemonkeys where I can sense many of the EA doomsayers’ predictions coming true. This game is unabashedly, almost aggressively free-to-play, to the point where even the title seems like EA is laughing at us. But… is it fun?..

With the Gamebook Adventures series winding to at least a temporary close, Tin Man has opted to release the last couple of volumes at the same time. I'm not going to fib, I'm a pretty big fan of this series and the fictional world of Orlandes it uses as a setting. From a story-telling standpoint, it's great to have a well-realized setting that players can take so many different perspectives in. On the gameplay side, the Gamebook Adventures gamebooks are usually fairer and more enjoyable than the paper gamebooks that inspired them. They're written knowing the player isn't having to stick a thumb in the pages and keep track of their inventory with a pencil, and they're stronger experiences for it. That we only have these last two volumes to hold us over for the time being makes each of them precious. That's why it kind of breaks my heart that I don't like Songs Of The Mystics [$5.99] more than I do...

'Minecraft - Pocket Edition Version 0.12' Review - You've Come A Long Way, Stevie

In the world of gaming, four years is a long time. In the specific corner of the hobby that is mobile gaming, four years might as well be twenty. It's long enough to turn the greatest of apps into digital dust, to add 1200 levels to Candy Crush Saga [Free], to see a new iPhone model launch and be discontinued, and certainly long enough for a diligent developer to turn around a disappointing launch release. Minecraft - Pocket Edition [$6.99] was a shell of its proper self when it debuted on the App Store back in November 2011, something we made note of in our original review. And while I don't want people to get in the habit of expecting a new review for every game that gets a significant update or two, Minecraft - Pocket Edition has come so far that almost nothing in our original review applies to the game anymore. With the release of a significant new version of the game, now is as good a time as any to revisit it...

'AZZL' Review - Razzl Dazzl

'AZZL' Review - Razzl Dazzl

October 1st, 2015 10:41 AM EST by Nathan Reinauer in $2.99, 4.5 stars, Games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
$2.99 Buy Now

I’ll admit I was a bit dismissive when I first saw the trailer for Jutiful's AZZL [$2.99]. I mean, sure, it looks really well made and has a neat idea at its core, but… it just seems like a children’s game. Ultimately, though, I couldn’t resist the the promise of a colorful, relaxing puzzler and dove in. But should I review it? Would the intelligent and discerning (and quite good looking) readers of this esteemed mobile review site even be interested in something like this? I think they might be, and I hope you’ll (they’ll?) allow me to spend the next seven paragraphs explaining why...

'Land Sliders' Review - It's Pretty Great

The folks at Prettygreat, consisting of a few ex-Halfbrick developers, have launched their first game Land Sliders [Free], and it shows that they still have the spark that led them to help create games like Fruit Ninja [$0.99 / Free] and Jetpack Joyride [Free]. This is a high-score chaser where collecting items across the various levels while avoiding danger is the goal, but the mechanic you play the game with is really quite clever: you slide the game world around like you would scroll through a web page. The natural and fun feeling of these controls, along with all the work put into creating an enjoyable game world, make Land Sliders a fantastic game...

'Hopiko' Review - Gotta Go Fast

Laser Dog Games' Hopiko [$0.99] is a title I've been dying to see come to fruition since I first saw it and played it. The preview build I got to try had some real promise, but the game has come so far along that it's become this amazing, cohesive, and stylish experience. It's a demanding game, and one with some flaws, but Hopiko is too cool to pass up...

Some games do ten things relatively well in an attempt to grab as big an audience as they can; a CCG fighting game with roleplay elements is not unheard of on the App Store. This trend has definitely seen an uptick recently as developers either dip a toe in every possible pool in sight or copy already-successful games such as Clash of Clans. However, you also have games like Raceline CC [Free] which focus on one mechanic and one idea and try to do it as best they can. Raceline CC is all about motorbike drag racing with an emphasis on slip-streaming, and that's pretty much it. However, while the game has one mechanic throughout the whole game, it is done quite well and proves once more that one idea done very well beats many ideas done relatively well, just as long as you actually like that one idea. So, if you like drag racing games with nice visuals, plenty of small variations on a theme (in the form of various tournaments and championships), and you don't mind playing mostly in short bursts, then you'll enjoy Raceline CC...

'Magic Flute by Mozart' Review - One Time At Bandcamp

September 29th, 2015 12:00 PM EST by Nathan Reinauer in $1.99, 4 stars, Games, Music / Rhythm, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
$3.99 Buy Now

I first heard about Mozart's opera The Magic Flute when I was a music major in college. I remember thinking the title was sort of ridiculous, and the plot seemed equally silly. Something about a guy and his bird buddy meeting some witches or something and then rescuing a princess somewhere. And, of course, there's a magical flute. It was hard to take seriously since opera was never my thing, but reading about it on wikipedia all these years later it actually sounds kind of interesting. The main plot is supposed to be kind of light and silly, but underneath there's a subtext about religion, reason, and enlightment. Oh! And there's an iPhone game based on it now. Did I mention that part?..

'Cavernaut' Review - The Eagle Has Landed

'Cavernaut' Review - The Eagle Has Landed

September 29th, 2015 10:59 AM EST by Nathan Reinauer in $0.99, 4.5 stars, Arcade, Cave-Flyer, Games, Retro, Reviews, Universal
$1.99 Buy Now

I had several moments while playing EinheitB's Cavernaut [$1.99] where I thought to myself, "This is exactly why I love mobile." It's a game that's probably not going to change the world, but that's okay. It's just a great, tight little experience that could really only exist on this platform...

'Starseed: Origin' Review: Old School Cool

Starseed: Origin [$1.99] is not a game you play for an original concept or to casually tap with half your attention elsewhere. Starseed is a game you play until it gets too hard and too fast and you blow up and die. ..

One of the things I like about Japanese visual novels as opposed to their Western interactive fiction counterparts is they seemingly habitually go completely off the rails at points. No matter how mundane the premise might be, it's almost an expectation in the genre that the story take a lot of unexpected turns. At least in my experience, it's the strongest quality of a visual novel, since the choices you make tend to be few, far between, and not immediately all that important. The other interesting thing about them is that while there is a true ending, it's typically not possible to find it on your first playthrough. You have to explore multiple routes and sometimes have to piece together the right sequence to see the real ending. This can result in players having to put up with a great deal of overlap, particularly early in the game, as they make their way to each forked path...

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