Category Archives: Reviews

'Tap Quest: Gate Keeper' Review - Tappy Meal

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August 3rd, 2015 3:06 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in 4 stars, Arcade, Free, Games, iPhone games, Reviews
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I’m not sure why, but I have a serious weak spot for clickers. I don’t know how many hours of my life have been wasted on mindlessly tapping on the screen, but it’s probably somewhere between 20 and deep shame. When I first opened Bitcoin Billionaire [Free], I thought, “Another of these, huh? Dumb.” And then I woke up a month later scared and confused with about 200 maxed out time machines. So yeah, I have a little bit of a problem...

Games Workshop is no stranger to iOS. You could be forgiven if you thought that they were just cranking out one app after the other with little forethought. Much like the army, however, there is the right way, the wrong way, and the Games Workshop way to make a game. Warhammer: Arcane Magic [$9.99] definitely follows the GW script and if you like some of the other titles they have put out, especially the gold standard Warhammer Quest [$4.99], I think you'll like this one...




'Angry Birds 2' Review - The Best, and Most Free to Play 'Angry Birds' Yet

'Angry Birds 2' Review - The Best, and Most Free to Play 'Angry Birds' Yet

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July 31st, 2015 4:52 PM EDT by Eli Hodapp in 5 stars, Free, Reviews
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The Angry Birds franchise has had a hell of a ride on the App Store. Our involvement started with an email from one of the co-founders of the former-Angry Birds publisher Chillingo on November 26th, 2009 asking if we were interested in an exclusive announcement of their new game. Knowing what a ridiculous worldwide sensation the game has become since then, reading the rest of the email conversation is pretty insane, as we're initially incredibly skeptical of the game and weren't sure if we wanted to agree to posting about Angry Birds without way more information. Fast forward 5 years and 8 months, and such a thing is laughable. While Angry Birds mania has subsided a bit from their hay day of an Angry Bird being featured on nearly every t-shirt sold at Wal-Mart, the series is still going strong and following over three billion downloads across all the Angry Birds games, now seems as good of a time as any to release Angry Birds 2 [Free]...

Last week Armor Games shared their most recent take on the match-3 genre. Battle Orbs [Free] is a game that mixes puzzle mechanics with limited 2D adventure elements along the lines of Puzzle Quest 2 [$2.99], Hero Emblems [$3.99] and the recently reviewed Guardian Sword...

So, you like Hearthstone [Free], right? Who doesn’t! And how about Puzzle & Dragons [Free]? Maybe? Well, what if I told you there’s a game out right now that combines them? That’s right! Not only can you slap opponents down in vicious turn-based card battles, but you can also upgrade your cards and deal with all kinds of extra free-to-play junk on top of it. It’s true! That game is CROOZ's Card King: Dragon Wars [Free], and you’re either going to love it or hate the very idea of its existence. Let’s dive in!..

'Prune' Review - Let it Grow on You

I must admit, Prune [$3.99] snuck up on me though it probably shouldn't have. Made by ex-AAA developers out of Madison, apparently the game had been floating around the midwestern games scene, and I somehow missed it until I got an email about it a couple days ahead of launch. And holy heck, do I wish I had seen this sooner, because Prune is a gorgeous and unique experience...

Thanks to the massive success of Rovio's Angry Birds [$0.99] during the formative years of the App Store, physics-based puzzle games are probably one of the more, shall we say, over-represented genres on the App Store. At this point, I'd imagine most people have plenty of them in their purchase histories, and as a result, it takes something really special to make any actual waves in the genre. An initial glance at Earth Vs. Balloons [Free], which in screenshots looks very much like something that's been done again and again on iOS, isn't likely to turn anyone's head. But after seeing the name of the developer, I had to check the game out. This game comes to us from Mangobile, the developer behind the equally plain-on-the-surface Kingturn [Free] strategy games. They're probably never going to win any awards for presentation pizazz, and while the Kingturn games certainly have their twists, they don't get by on innovation as much as they do from immensely solid construction and clever scenario design...

'Champion Of The Gods' Review - Destiny's Child

The gamebooks released by publisher Choice Of Games are a bit of a tough sell to the uninitiated. I mean, gamebooks in general are a tough sell, but many of the other gamebook publishers on the App Store put a lot of work into the stuff around the text. Whether it's a plethora of illustrations, a unique visual presentation, added music or sound effects, or even just playing around with the appearance of the virtual pages, considerable effort seems to be spent to try to get people to give the actual meat of the experience, the text, a proper chance. Choice Of Games offers little more than a splash image, generic radio buttons for choices, a couple of splashes of color in the status screen, and black text on white pages. There is no sleight of hand here. It all falls on the plot, the quality of the writing, and the success of the choices presented in creating a compelling personal experience for the player...

It’s hard to turn any corner in the app store without bumping into a match three game clad in plate mail, wielding a sword, slinging some spells and grinding experience these days. Block Legend [$1.99], 1000000 [$2.99], Hero Emblems [$3.99], Dungeon Raid [$1.99], and even Puzzle Quest 2 [$2.99] back in the day. It’s hard to stand out in this genre, but shockingly, each of the games I listed is very different from the next, and there is a crazy amount of flexibility and variety in what you’d call a match three RPG. Guardian Sword [$2.99] from Picsoft doesn’t look like much at a glance, but under the surface lies a deep and strategic experience worth checking out...

'To-Fu Fury' Review - Soy Milk Ninja

There's been a resurgence of games featuring tofu in the past year or so, but not all of them are necessarily worth checking out. Naturally, I gravitated towards a recent release called To-Fu Fury [$1.99], featuring piece of ninja tofu. I mean, when have ninjas ever let me down, right? While you won't be running on rooftops and taking down rival daimyos in epic combat, you will be flinging yourself across the screen and collecting pieces of Chi. It's more of a zen-like ninja experience, and that's completely fine with me, given how great the control scheme is...

It's really tough to describe a game like Agar.io [Free]. It hearkens back to the old age of computing, back when Prodigy and CompuServe allowed users access to games at the cost of an hourly rate. There's something soothing about the experience, and since it's free and gets right into the action in seconds, you may as well try it out...

'Impulse GP' Review - Crotch Rocket

'Impulse GP' Review - Crotch Rocket

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July 28th, 2015 1:00 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $2.99, 4.5 stars, Games, Racing, Reviews, Universal
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Do you remember what you were doing three and a half years ago? I do. I was posting a thread on the TA forums cursing the gods for not giving us a halfway decent WipEout-like on iOS. It got no replies, probably because it wasn’t that big of a problem in the grand scheme of things. You can read my embarrassingly whiny rant here, if you feel like wanting to punch someone in the mouth. Misguided Gameloft hate and hilariously outdated Fling references aside, I think what Young Nathan was getting at was the frustration of how big the App Store seemed and how few of those apps were actually great. It’s a problem that still persists...

'Pac-Man Championship Edition DX' Review - If It Ain't Broke, Make it Faster and Add Bombs

Screwing up Pac-Man Championship Edition DX [$4.99] on mobile seemed like it would be difficult. All Namco would have to do is to basically port the game over, maybe make some tweaks to help it work better on mobile with touch controls, as the ludicrous speed of the console and PC version might not work so well with most people using swipes to move. Maybe throw in iCloud and support for both iCade and MFi controllers, and you've got yourself a five-star package. Namco almost did screw this up with a wacky free-to-play version of the game based around levels and energy timers, but thankfully they came to their senses and decided to just drop the game with minimal mobile tweaks on the App Store as a premium game. The world is better for it...

This puzzle/adventure game from Bandai Namco is far from innovative but attaching average game play to a beloved franchise is a sure way to climb the charts. In Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle [Free], you play as an unnamed fighter working to avert the disaster of an "expanding dimensional distortion." Trunks and King Kai direct you on your quest, forwarding the plot and offering battle advice. The story gets a bit convoluted from there, especially when trying to explain why the Z-Fighters are battling each other...

Don't judge a book by its cover, or a game by its title, they say, and in this case, they are correct because even though Wars and Battles: October War 1973 [$6.99 (HD)] might win the award for the most self-evident and slightly uninteresting title ever, the game hiding underneath that title is an interesting strategy game that covers a conflict rarely visited by wargames. ..

'Million Arthur' Review - A Rusty Blade

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July 24th, 2015 12:45 PM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in 2 stars, Card, Free, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Role-Playing
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Although it's a new arrival in most of the world, Million Arthur [Free] is a relatively old game in a very young sub-genre. In Japan, it arrived mere months after the release of Puzzle & Dragons [Free], and while its story and production values made it a cross-media hit in its home country, the gameplay feels it's from another era. The best analogy I can make is to go back to the early days of first-person shooters. Developer id Software had released their breakout hit Wolfenstein 3D [$1.99] through publisher Apogee, but were going it alone for their next title. Apogee created a new game called Blake Stone that was built on Wolf 3D's skeleton, offering greater interactivity and a more open structure. It was a fine evolution of the gameplay established in Wolf 3D. The only problem was, the week after Blake Stone released, id Software released Doom [$4.99], and suddenly the whole tea table was up-ended. Million Arthur is Blake Stone, but for social RPGs, and outside of Japan, it's not releasing in the same window as its assassin, but years later...

'Warhammer 40K: Deathwatch - Tyranid Invasion' Review - Glorious Space Hunters

Rodeo Games has a niche, and they're getting better and better at satisfying it with each new release. Their last game was a fairly well-received conversion of the classic Warhammer Quest [$4.99] board game, and their newest release is another Warhammer-themed turn-based strategy game. Of course, before all of that, Rodeo Games made their name with their excellent Hunters series of turn-based strategy games, and its from those roots that Warhammer 40K: Deathwatch [$4.99] draws most strongly from. This is basically Hunters 3, albeit with a Warhammer 40K skin. Some might frame that as a negative, but it's been a few years since the last Hunters game. I'm more than willing to entertain a sequel at this point, especially one as high-quality as Deathwatch...

TinyBuild's Divide by Sheep [$2.99] is a game that I first saw back at PAX South, and it left an indelible mark on me. This was thanks not just to its cute-yet-macabre theme, but also because its puzzles were clever, and did a lot to add joy to what is otherwise a casual-friendly math puzzler. Not that there's anything wrong with being a casual-friendly game, but it's tough for those games to stand out. I do wonder just how much Divide by Sheep suffers for trying to be a game for gamers, though: it feels like it sits in this odd middle ground between being a game that's a casual-friendly math puzzler, but with a deceptive theme. And I worry too many people will see the sheep and bright colors and maybe pass this fun game over. Though, if you're reading this, you should not, it's fun...

'Down the Mountain' Review - Crossy*bert?

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Just make Crossy Road [Free]. It’s easy! All you need to do is take a classic video game from the 80’s, give it a cheerful, vaguely Minecraft-ian art style, load it with cute characters to collect, and park your car in the garage so the driveway is clear for all the dump trucks full of money. Of course, in reality things aren’t quite that easy. I mean, I don’t think anyone is entirely sure why Crossy Road was such a huge success considering the sheer volume of other fun little time wasters there are on the App Store. Why Flappy Bird, for that matter? Why Temple Run [Free]? Why Doodle Jump [$0.99]?..

'The Mesh' Review - I Believe In Numerals, You Hexy Thing

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July 23rd, 2015 2:45 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $1.99, 4 stars, Games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
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In The Mesh [$1.99] by Creatiu Lab you play as a mad king who believes he rules over an ever-changing land of whole numbers. In the middle of the game board is a white tile which represents the most ideal House, and your goal as ruler is to combine the number tiles to the North and South so they add up to the white one. If you fail, the remaining numbers will revolt and destroy sections of your kingdom, bringing you and your people ever closer to a gruesome demise...

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