Category Archives: Reviews

'Footy Golf' Review - Kicking the Old Cabbage Around

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April 28th, 2017 11:00 AM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in 4 stars, Arcade, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews
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The fine folks at Donut Games really know how to put together accessible games with a lot of hidden depth, and Footy Golf [Free] is another excellent example of that. As with many of Donut's titles, you can probably get the gist of what this game is about from its name. You have to kick a ball across a stage into a goal in as few moves as possible, collecting coins and diamonds along the way. Fans of this publisher will probably recognize it as a cousin of the classic Cat Physics [$1.99], but it brings a few tricks of its own to the table, not the least of which being a new pay model. Worry not, however, friends. Footy Golf is as gentle with its monetization as it could possibly be, allowing you enjoy the game with only a minimum of friction. Most importantly, the game itself is challenging and fun...

'Star Cat Adventure' Review - Galactic Psychedelic Kitten

Sometimes it's nice to just relax and play a game with a weird creature at the helm. Maybe Bubsy isn't the best example, but cats are relaxing and stress-reducing creatures by nature, so I naturally gravitate towards projects that feature felines. That's why I opted to take a chance on Star Cat Adventure [$0.99]. Well, that, and the fact that its titular character looks like a rad '90s mascot...




The silence you hear after successfully unloading an entire volley of cannon fire into a now sinking enemy ship in HeroCraft's latest release, Tempest [$7.99] , is euphoric. The only problem is that a stop in the action is guaranteed to be short lived. The pace and pay off of being a pirate captain may feel highly romanticized in this sea-worthy offering, but I approve. Any time a developer cooks up an ARPG that even seems half-baked, my ears perk up and this time I am really glad they did. This game taps directly into a whole lot of what makes the genre great and does it in a way that is original enough for you to sit up and take notice too...

For serious mobile gamers, the need for a good headset is ever-increasing. There's the streaming community, of course, with various platforms for streaming mobile games out there. Games like Vainglory [Free] work better with the ability to chat with teammates. And if you get games of Modern Combat Versus going, you'll want to chat with folks on Discord while you do so. But the gaming headset market is such an interesting market because it's so ripe for disruption by companies that know how to make good headphones. Popular brands like Razer are far more about branding and style with their headphones than with sound quality. As well, older gamers or those with a more subdued sense of style might not like the loud designs that these use. So, competitors have a blue ocean of opportunity to compete in this market. We've seen the HyperX Cloud, which took a smart path by utilizing a solid OEM headphone and adapting it to have a microphone. And of course, intriguing options exist with external microphones such as the ModMic. Sennheiser is one of the oldest and most respected headphone companies around. They've been making great headphones for decades, and the Sennheiser HD600 family remains a top pick for audiophiles. My Sennheiser HD580, an older model in that family, has an impressive natural sound to it once you give it the proper amplification. But Sennheiser also has made some entries into the consumer range, with their Sennheiser Momentum headphones, and the Sennheiser HD598 family providing consumer-friendly, entry-level audiophile sound at a great entry price. Sennheiser is making bigger steps in the PC gaming headset category, and one of their latest entries is the PC 373D...

'Get Me Outta Here' Review - Don't Have a Cow, Man

The Rossman Bros. have delivered a rather fun arena shooter in Get Me Outta Here [Free]. Starring a middle-aged man (with surprising jumping and rolling skills!) abducted by aliens, and given a limited amount of time to clear them all out with his deadly firepower, what seems like a simple game of run 'n gun action has a surprising amount of depth to it. The heart of the game is you trying to survive the same arena with the same enemies, but interesting strategies that appear over time. Plus, it features a giant weaponized cow boss, and some heavy weaponry to deploy. Who doesn't love that?..

'Trailer Park Boys: Greasy Money' Review: Pushing the Theoretical Limits of Fan Service

Writing about these kind of idle clicker upgrader games is always difficult, as it feels like in mid-2017 everything you'd ever do in one of these has been done, with the main difference being how developers mix up the established mechanics and how they apply the theme of the game. East Side Games has a winner on their hands with Trailer Park Boys: Greasy Money [Free] as it mixes up established mechanics in a way that makes a dumb amount of sense inside of the scope of the Trailer Park Boys universe...

'Planescape: Torment' Review - What Can Change the Nature of an App?

Oh. Really? Another one of those old isometric dinosaurs got released on iOS? No. I am sorry, but that's wrong. THE old isometric dinosaur that devours and spits out other isometric dinosaurs is finally out for iOS. Fresh off solid remasters of Baldur's Gate [$9.99], Baldur's Gate II [$9.99], and Icewind Dale [$9.99], Overhaul Games is back with the magnum opus of the CRPG world Planescape: Torment [$9.99], and yes this terrible thunder lizard still has teeth. Much commentary of this recently revamped game is devoted to how the upgrade was handled. As many of you, dear readers, may not be very familiar, I will also be unwrapping my personal experience with the actual content of Torment. Even though I have been an avid gamer through the decades, this was one I did not get the chance to play back in the day (I blame Diablo II, personally). Now given the chance to remedy this grave personal flaw, I present to you my humble take on a giant of the industry. ..

'Sunless Sea' Review - A Brilliant Journey in a Dark, Fascinating World

When I reviewed Falibetter Games' Fallen London some time ago, I talked about how much I enjoyed the dark, twisted, yet also funny world the writers have created; it's not every day you journey through a London realized in an intriguing Victorian Steampunk aesthetic. While that literary RPG was great in terms of content and ideas, the app itself had huge issues that, unfortunately, kept players away. I'm glad to say that Sunless Sea [$9.99 (HD)], Failbetter's sequel of sorts to Fallen London, works pretty much like a charm on an iPad, and that made playing it much more enjoyable than Fallen London simply in terms of it actually working as it should...

For years, Kemco has been nothing if not consistent in their slate of published games. They've been a mobile gamer's one-stop shop for budget JRPGs, largely filtered through the lenses of four separate developers, each one doing as much as they can with as little time and as few fresh assets as possible. To be fair to the company, there's a demand for those kinds of games and not many are rushing to fill it on iOS anymore, with the way things have shifted in the market towards free-to-play social games. But even the most ravenous of niches can hit a saturation point if you push hard enough, and it almost feels like Kemco was intentionally looking for that line. Perhaps they finally found it, as 2017 has seen the publisher branching out in more new directions than they had in the previous four years combined. Yodanji [$2.99] is the latest fruit of those labors, and like its similarly-minded stablemate Djinn Caster [$4.99], it's quite good...

'Quantum Revenge' Review - Form like Voltron

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April 14th, 2017 4:30 PM EDT by Chris Carter in $2.99, 3.5 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Shooter, Universal
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The idea of a team that needs to not only work together on a human level, but literally form a construct that's bigger than themselves is fascinating. The most obvious example is probably Voltron, but even something mechanical like Transformers'  Constructicons had to form Devastator. It's a seemingly timeless concept too as nearly all of these tropes have returned, from the new Voltron Netflix series to the Power Rangers film reboot. Quantum Revenge [$0.99] tries to tap into that wizardry in the form of a twin-stick shooter, but doesn't really hit all of the same notes...

AT Games hates you and wants to launch you into a black hole. That's what my time with Full of Stars [Free] revealed to me. They created an amazingly clever idea, something that takes a simple kind of space chase game as you dodge asteroids and other perils that fly past you. But this is just the core of a larger experience, involving an interactive fiction story that plays into the events of the game, including when you die on a level and try to continue. And then there's a curious long-term metagame as you try to rescue human survivors, and explore more of the war-torn star system you're in. The difficulty, excessive repetition, and ever-present monetization drags the experience down, but not to the point of killing the charm of Full of Stars' genius core idea...

Mobile has perhaps been lacking the great Spelunky-like game that could at least imitate one of the best indie games of all time while being something you can play on the toilet while at work. Orangepixel steps up to the plate with Meganoid 2017 [$4.99], the nebulously-named reboot/sequel to one of the solo developer's earliest works. Where the original Meganoid games, both Meganoid 1 [$1.99] and Meganoid 2 [$1.99], were more challenge platformers, Meganoid 2017 is a procedurally-generated platform that takes a lot of cues from Spelunky. Exploring the Meganoid spaceship, you have nothing but your platforming wits, some explosive charges, and whatever you find as you venture further into the spaceship, taking on a different layout when you die, and you will die a lot. Spelunky 2017 had a rather rapid development time, and while it gets the core gist of the Spelunky formula right, and does some rather cool things, the game suffers from its short development time, leading to a lack of variation in level designs. Also, the game just doesn't have the tight platformer feel necessary for what the demanding difficulty requires to give the player a good shot at succeeding...

'Ellie & Max' Review - Some Doggone Perspective

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April 5th, 2017 10:23 AM EDT by Chris Carter in $1.99, 4 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews
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I don't know what it is about a companion gimmick that makes me so invested. I mean most of the time you're usually controlling both as a single entity, so it's not like you have much attachment to either side of the equation directly, but the concept of going into something with a partner is inherently less stressful. Take something like Banjo Kazooie (or the more recent Yooka-Laylee), as you're generally controlling the former, and the latter merely acts as a power-up -- just the notion that you're not alone is enough to bring a smile to my face. Ellie & Max [$1.99] isn't quite as iconic of a pairing as the aforementioned mascots, but I got somewhat attached by the time I reached the final curtain call...

Sometimes I see people share negative reviews of Steam games that have massive playtimes on them. They're shared in a context of this being ridiculous, that implies that the person with the negative review doesn't know quite what they want. And the people who share these seeming contradictions are often rather progressive people, sharing a rather ironically regressive view. It's a more complicated question than both parties realize. The negative reviewer perhaps should question whether the journey was worth it. But also, the critic should question just why they think it's hypocritical. Is it possible that people enjoy certain parts of experiences, but other parts become too grating over time? That, if they had the choice to take those hours back, they would have spent them differently knowing the end result? Or were the hours getting to that point worth it, even if the end was sour? This is a philosophical dilemma that deserves greater inquiry. I bring it up because I find myself quite conflicted with MLB Manager 2017 [$4.99]. It's another solid baseball simulator, but as a major baseball nerd, I find myself frustrated by so many of the little things that this game continues to not get right. Yet, I find myself more hooked on this game than perhaps any other that I come across...

'Kami 2' Review - 2 Kami 2 Furious

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March 31st, 2017 10:00 AM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in 3.5 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews
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Say what you will about other aspects of gaming, but one area where mobile games can frequently go toe-to-toe with those on other platforms is in their style. Games like Monument Valley [$3.99], Sword and Sworcery [$3.99], and Prune [$3.99] are as much about taking the player on an audio-visual journey as they are about pushing their gameplay mechanics. 2013 puzzle game Kami [$2.99] might not be as famous as some of those games, but it's certainly done well enough for itself. It has made the jump to multiple platforms and now has a sequel to call its own. Unfortunately, Kami 2 [Free] runs into a lot of the same troubles that puzzle game sequels usually do, and with much of the novelty of its gimmick worn off, its fundamental issues shine through a little too brightly...

'Krosmaga' Review - Fun Cards and Clever Ideas Make for an Entertaining CCG/Tower Defense Blend

"Another CCG?" That's pretty much the reaction I see every time I write about a new mobile CCG, and to a degree I understand why; CCGs seem to be one of the favorite genre of App Store developers. However, not all CCGs play the same or offer the same kind of experience, and Krosmaga [Free], the CCG from developer Ankama, definitely feels different enough from CCGs like Hearthstone [Free] and Shadowverse [Free] to warrant a closer look from those looking for a different kind of CCG. Krosmaga is still all about collecting cards, constructing decks, and playing the right card at the right time as you try to defeat your AI or human opponent, but there are very important differences, which I'll talk about below. There's plenty of fun to be had with Krosmaga and plenty of content to go through, but if you don't like randomness in your card games and are looking for a card game all about skill, I suggest you look elsewhere...

To tell the truth, I've put off playing Versus: The Elite Trials [$3.99] for a while. I didn't particularly enjoy The Hero Project: Redemption Season [$3.99], the last gamebook from author Zachary Sergi, and I was worried that I had completely forgotten where the story left off at the end of Versus: The Lost Ones [$3.99]. That gamebook, which you should definitely play before getting into this one, was something of an information dump. There were too many characters to keep track of, lots of world-building, and a plot that threatened to branch off in some truly confusing directions. With more than a year passing since playing the first chapter of Versus and now, I wasn't confident that I remembered anything from it anymore and wasn't looking forward to having to refresh myself. I kept shuffling The Elite Trials to the back of my to-do list, and now that I've finished it, I feel pretty silly about doing that...

'Death Road to Canada' Review - A Dog, Anime Magical Girl, and A Farting Man Enter a Bar...

I think you could make a strong argument that Rocketcat Games is the greatest developer in the history of mobile games. No studio has quite the collection of masterpieces that they do. Go on and look it up, their worst title is Five Card Quest [$2.99] and even that isn't so bad. Madgarden, meanwhile, has the strongest collection of unreleased titles perhaps out there, but when he releases something, it tends to be great. See their previous collaboration Punch Quest [Free], which is still brilliant and so unlike everything else on the App Store. In fact, that's the problem: these folks make games that are such pinnacles of what they do that nobody else can even come close. So, perhaps you might think Death Road to Canada [$7.99] off the bat seems a bit weird for them to do. After all, it's a zombie survival game. There's a ton of them. But that would be short-sighted: Death Road to Canada is another masterpiece from a partnership that keeps cranking out the hits...

Developer Zach Gage has a knack for putting together simple, accessible games that you can play for hours on end. He's been involved in a number of high-profile iOS games, but one of his earlier hits was the word game SpellTower [$2.99]. That was one of those games that seemed to transcend the usual crowd that played mobile games, appearing on the devices of the most unlikely of people. And why not? Word games play well with a large audience for a variety of reasons, and SpellTower was a very good one. Gage is back at the genre with TypeShift [Free] , but I can't help but feel this is aimed at a very different sort of player. It's an attractive game with an enjoyable primary mechanic, but there are a few things that keep it from reaching the heights of Gage's previous tower...

I'll give this to Capcom, they sure picked an unusual bunch for their latest mobile initiative. Given the original game's importance in Capcom's history, 1942 Mobile [$1.99] made a certain amount of sense. It was their first big hit, and shooters tend to play well with the mobile audience. Ghosts 'n Goblins [$1.99] is certainly a significant game but it wouldn't be my first choice to adapt to touch controls. Capcom disagreed enough that the next game in the series is Ghouls 'n Ghosts Mobile. The meat in that Arthur sandwich, however, might be the oddest choice of the lot. Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando Mobile [$1.99] is a technically-sound port of the game once known outside of Japan simply as Commando. It was a decent hit in its time, and it's certainly an influential game, but it manages to suffer from the negative points of both prior Capcom Mobile ports...

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