Category Archives: Reviews

Oftentimes, when we look at a game, we focus on its mechanics and how it fits within the parameters of its genre. Has this first-person shooter managed to get the controls right, is this platformer too bouncy, or is this endless runner just too twitchy? Yet, sometimes what makes a game stand out is not so much its mechanics but, rather, its theme, and Slitherine's Warhammer 40K: Armageddon's [$19.99 (HD)] theme raises what would otherwise be a relatively-traditional Panzer Corps re-skin into a pretty good strategy game in its own right. Slitherine uses its strategy gaming expertise along with the fantastic Games Workshop's Warhammer 40K universe to create a game that's so much more fun to play than any WWII game - and this comes from someone who loves WWII and Vietnam strategy games. In Warhammer 40K: Armageddon, Slitherine delivers a strong wargame that acts as a great introduction to the universe for the uninitiated while also being a treat for the Warhammer 40K faithful. However, as I've mentioned in my review of another Slitherine game, Space Program Manager, while the Play by Email (PBEM) probably works well for multiplayer games on the PC, it doesn't take advantage of what the mobile platform has to offer and even hampers the multiplayer side of the game, which should actually be Warhammer 40K: Armageddon's highlight...

Poor old Sonic The Hedgehog. He's been celebrating his 24th birthday recently, and to commemorate the occasion, SEGA has baked him a moist, delicious cake and topped it with inedible sludge. Sonic Runners [Free] has finally come out of its soft launch, and it's unfortunately still plagued with all of the problems it suffered from right from the very moment it set foot on the Japanese App Store. That this particular mixed bag comes from Sonic Team themselves is hardly surprising when you break down exactly what's wrong and right with it. Is it salvageable? Absolutely. Will it be? I wish I could say...

'Piloteer' Review - Joyride in a Jetpack

'Piloteer' Review - Joyride in a Jetpack

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June 30th, 2015 12:24 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $2.99, 5 stars, Arcade, Games, Reviews, Universal
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I was about five years old when film The Rocketeer hit theatres, so I don’t remember a whole lot about the characters or plot. What I do remember is strapping a pair of 2-liter bottles to my back and zooming around my backyard like a lunatic. I’m almost afraid to re-watch the movie now that I’m older, because I have nothing but good feelings about it currently and I don’t want cold hard reality to tarnish them. That childhood wonder I felt while pretending to fly around in an awesome dieselpunk jetpack was pretty priceless, ya know?..

Terminal Velocity [$2.99] is one of those games I vaguely remember playing from my childhood. It's something my uncle may have brought over once, and ended up leaving in my PC, allowing me to play it for an extended period of time. But even after all that gametime, it sort of went in and out of my memory banks, and after playing it recently on a mobile device, I can see why...

I hold two very strong opinions about the Dragon Quest series, one of which is agreed upon by many, and the other of which is slightly more controversial. First, Dragon Quest is like pie in that there is no bad one. My least favorite is either Dragon Quest 2 [$4.99] or Dragon Quest 8 [$19.99], but I'd still hand over a weekend to replaying both, no questions asked. With that being said, the other thing that I believe is that the series hit its creative peak with Dragon Quest 5 [$14.99]. That's not to say subsequent games didn't sometimes hit some very high notes, as my pie opinion shows. But if there is such thing as a work that a creative mind invests in so completely that they leave a big piece of themselves with said work forever, Dragon Quest 5 would be a huge example. That's an ominous way to begin a review of Dragon Quest 6 [$14.99], I'll admit, but I felt it was important to be upfront about that...

FireWhip [$0.99] is a perfect example of a game that shows that you shouldn't just judge a book by its cover, but if the book is good, having a rad cover sure helps! This is a unique high-score chaser that puts work in to feel like a standout experience. FireWhip delivers exactly what it its title promises, as it has you swinging a whip made of flames, trying to fend off enemies that want to get to you. You have to swing the whip around to make it large and fast enough to hit oncoming enemies, but some of the base enemies are cowards – literally, they're called cowards – and will shy away. The enemies that come at you directly? They have shields, come in large numbers, or attack really quickly. And if you swing your whip too fast, it flames out, and that's not going to be any good for you...

The Harmony series knows what it is and is quite comfortable in its skin. That might be one of its better qualities overall. The games use a basic, simple-to-understand mechanic to set up increasingly devious puzzles, trying to wind you up more and more. While the games work hard to frustrate you in that respect, the most relaxing, gorgeous music plays in the background, making it nearly impossible not to chill out. This odd discord makes for a compelling combination of flavors, and each installment simply drops another few scoops on your plate. Harmony 3 [$2.99] follows the pattern to a tee, which makes this an awfully short review if you've played a game in the series before. Did you like it, and want more? Buy this one, you won't be disappointed. Did you dislike it or become tired of its bag of tricks? Then you won't find anything to grab you here...

The App Store is just feeling so nostalgic these days. First we get a sequel to Fragger [$0.99]in Fragger 2 [$1.99] last month, which I also reviewed, and this month we get a sequel to another IP from 4 years ago. That IP is Drop the Chicken. The original can’t be found on the App Store anymore, but thankfully the original developers at AppinTheBox have brought us a sequel that tops it in every way imaginable, bringing Chuck the Chicken into modern times. Drop the Chicken 2 [$0.99]is the name of the game, and it is anything but lame. No, I don’t know why I felt the need to rhyme just now. Jeez, get off my case about it...

'KKRacing' Review - The Kart Racer We Deserve

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June 26th, 2015 11:30 AM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in 3 stars, Free, Games, Racing, Reviews, Universal
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I have a question: What would you get if you crossed an antelope with a human baby? I have no idea. No one does. One more question: What if you crossed one of those Puzzle & Dragons [Free] style social RPGs with Mario Kart? Hey, I actually have an answer for that! You’d get KKRacing [Free] by Beijing Kaku All-dimensional Media Co. That may sound like an awful combination, but it’s actually pretty good. And loads more fun than a babylope...

There are plenty of things I appreciate about Cartoon Survivor [Free], a new isometric platformer from Australia-based Spunge Games. Most immediately, it has a strong and cohesive visual design, full of bright colors and cute animations. The level designs are clever and packed with secrets to find, some of which may require you to come back with gear you'll earn later in order to get the best time. There are unlockables both of the cosmetic and practical type, giving you something tangible to shoot for as you play through. It also gives you enough levels for free to get a feel for the game before it asks you to pay to unlock the rest, and in an unusual turn, allows you grind up in-game currency and pay that way. You're probably waiting for the other shoe to drop right about now, and it will. But don't worry, it's only a little shoe. A booty, at best...

Of all the stories I expected to experience this week, a cross between a dating simulation and 21 Jump Street was not especially high on the list, but here we are. Sword Of Asumi [$3.99] is a visual novel with mild dating sim elements that casts you as an undercover assassin trying to root out the source of a terrorist threat at a school. You'll have to pose as a schoolgirl for however long it takes to find the culprit, with your superior keeping an eye on you as one of the teaching staff. I'll be honest: I think that's an absolutely brilliant premise for a game like this. It's a good central plot to build a story around, providing reasons to mingle with as many people as possible in a variety of locations. There are potentially great conflicts if you happen to get close to someone who is involved in the nefarious plot. There's a reason this all worked so well for Fox in the late 1980s...

There simply aren't enough heist games out there. I would have played at least three licensed Oceans 11 games, but the deals involved in a potential project like that would be an impossible task. Alas, there are a few indies here and there that fill that gap, including Monaco: What's Yours is Mine, one of my recent favorites. Robbery Bob 2: Double Trouble [$2.99] is no Monaco, but it's a pretty fun little sneak-fest...

Since I’m sure you’re all dying to know, my favorite iOS game of all time is Jet Car Stunts [$1.99] by True Axis. The physics are spot-on, the controls are perfect, and the courses are all insanely fun and challenging. So when I heard about Hondune’s Truck Trials 2 [$3.99] in our forums, I pounced. It seemed like the same sort of thing: behind-the-back driving along three dimensional tracks with a focus on precision and speed. After downloading and playing for a while, I can safely say… it’s not the same. I mean, it’s obvious from the screenshots alone that there aren’t many Stunts or Jets (or Cars, for that matter). But it does have the same basic premise of navigating treacherous terrain as quickly as possible, and it’s pretty fun to boot...

The beauty of mobile and this era of digital distribution is that with small games, we can see how games can become wildly different affairs from the same idea. Sure, this is the same system that leads to rampant cloning, but sometimes you see developers legitimately iterate on the same idea. Take Hue Ball [Free], for instance. It credits Wouter Visser's Gimme Friction Baby as its inspiration. This is the same game that inspired Orbital [$2.99 / Free], a classic App Store puzzle game, that both start from the same idea: you launch balls from a bottom cannon into a playing field, trying to break balls in the playing field to earn points, and to keep balls from landing and expanding below the border line where your cannon sits. What Hue Ball does is to tweak the concept just enough to feel like a very different experience, going from a slow, tactical puzzle game where one mistake can doom you, to a fast-paced high-score chaser that's somewhat forgiving...

'WonderCat Adventures' Review - Catforming Purrfection

'WonderCat Adventures' Review - Catforming Purrfection

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June 24th, 2015 1:30 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $1.99, 4.5 stars, Games, Platform, Reviews, Universal
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One of my favorite things about the App Store is how many hidden gems there are that pop up week and week. Sure, there’s a lot more garbage than gold, but that’s what Touch Arcade’s here for: to dip our proverbial pan into Apple Creek and shake it around until we see something shiny. And friends, I may have just struck it rich...

'Her Story' Review - Turns Out FMV Games Just Needed Good Acting and Writing

Her Story [$4.99] is one of the more unique games I have played in recent memory, by far. At its core, you're just browsing a search engine, trying to find the right queries for what you're looking for, but that's pretty much irrelevant. Her Story is a mystery, where you have a mystery involving dozens of segments of police interviews with a woman, where you're trying to piece together the mystery at hand. The game is about putting together the disparate pieces, paying attention to clues to discover the truth of what happened with the woman and her missing husband...

'Radical Rappelling' Review - Rock & Roll

'Radical Rappelling' Review - Rock & Roll

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After a few years of reviewing iOS games at Touch Arcade and elsewhere, I've begun to notice something. You can usually tell how "good" or "bad" a game is by the specificity of your gripes with it. If I'm writing generally about how the controls don't work or the graphics are ugly, the game as a whole probably isn't that great. However, if I'm spending an entire paragraph about how disappointed I am that one level is too hard or too easy, or that there aren't enough pants to buy in the shop, there's a good chance the rest of the game is pretty enjoyable. Why waste time pointing out every little flaw if there are bigger problems to discuss? And conversely, if a game seems to nail everything, what else is there to discuss but the tiny annoyances that don't really amount to much?..

Scrolling through the App Store screenshots, I can see how one might be led to believe the latest Angry Birds game is just another free-to-play match 3 battler. It appears to have all the trimmings and trappings of the popular (if a bit tired) genre: a grid of colorful tiles, characters to collect, loot to be gained, and--of course--multiple timers and currencies, all dressed up in that familiar Angry Birds style. I see how it looks. But you're wrong. Angry Birds Fight! [Free] is actually a bold exploration of the concept of free will in a deterministic universe...

The more I think about it, the more I see similarities between the Apple Watch and 4x4 Jam HD [$0.99] by Invictus Games. Hear me out: They’re both extremely beautiful, if a little clunky. They’re both undeniably fun to play around with, though a bit frustrating at times. But most importantly, in both cases the developers of these two very different products clearly have some cool ideas, and it’s easy to see them transforming them into something truly special with a little more love and a few more updates. Yes, I just compared a state-of-the-art piece of wearable consumer tech to a mobile game that costs a dollar. Deal with it bro...

I rag on Kemco quite a bit sometimes, but I really have to commend them for sticking to their guns even as the whole market has changed around them. Just about every month, we can look forward to getting at least one traditional JRPG, albeit with wildly varying levels of quality between titles. To the best of my knowledge, they are pretty much the last publisher on Earth regularly serving that niche, as even companies like Square Enix are shifting further towards the popular social RPG model that has captured the affections of Japanese gamers. I may not like every game they release, but I greatly appreciate what they're doing. Their latest iOS release in English, Legend Of Ixtona [$3.99], has the publisher taking on a slightly different, but no less traditional, model of RPG. It's an isometric turn-based strategy RPG in the style of Yasumi Matsuno's Tactics series of games, and although it's a bit rough, it's surprisingly decent for a first effort...

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