Category Archives: Reviews

I'm still not fully sure what to make of Strange Telephone [$3.99], a surreal adventure game from Japanese indie developer Yuta Yamamoto. I had a chance to speak to the developer several months ago, and he told me that he was inspired by the now-classic Japanese indie game Yume Nikki. Even if he hadn't directly said so, though, the connections are obvious. This is an odd adventure game about a young girl exploring what appears to be a bizarre dimension where nothing really makes much sense. Boiled down to its essence, this is a point and click adventure that throws in both a random component and a limited amount of moves to solve everything. The presentation makes it more than that, but only just...

'Realm Grinder' Review - Grind is Right

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February 21st, 2017 10:09 AM EST by Chris Carter in 3 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Simulation, Universal
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I feel like I've pontificated enough about the clicker genre. It's perfectly suited for mobile devices (where you can leave it dormant and come back to a fortune literally anywhere), and although it has its flaws and isn't for anyone, I'm glad that it exists. So many games have attempted to put their own unique spin on the formula with mixed results though, and that includes Realm Grinder [Free]...




A couple of years ago, publisher 5pb released an English version of the cult Japanese indie horror game Corpse Party [$6.99] on the App Store. While it was plagued with some nasty bugs at launch, it was eventually updated to fix those major problems. The original version of the game, released on the Japanese PC-9801 platform in 1996, used RPG Maker to make a decidedly low-fi survival horror game. When the game's remake, BloodCovered, hit Windows and PSP more than 10 years later, the series finally went international. Its solid success overseas fueled a string of sequels for a variety of platforms, with the latest release being the PlayStation Vita game Corpse Party: Blood Drive [$12.99]. In an odd move, 5pb has opted to skip over all of the games following Corpse Party: BloodCovered to release an English version of Blood Drive on mobile...

One of the things I like about games and books is their unlimited possibilities; the stories we can create in both of those mediums are limited only by our imagination, especially when video games trade fancy visuals for text-based gameplay. Failbetter Games' Fallen London is one of my favorite games precisely for its imaginative and expansive world whose variety I find highly entertaining. Voyageur [$3.99], a piece of "interactive science fiction literature" as its developers call it, is inspired in many ways by Fallen London [Free], and that should come as no surprise since the game was produced in partnership with Failbetter Games. While in Fallen London you explore the streets and stories of an alternate Victorian-era London, in Voyageur you begin a one-way trip towards the center of the galaxy. Since this is a one-way trip, the game adds a roguelike layer to your typical interactive fiction experience, which attempts - thought not that successfully - to promote repeated playthroughs. Is the journey worth it, then? Read on and find out...

'Hidden Folks' Review - Seek This Game Out

While Game Oven Studios, the collection of maniacs behind Fingle [$1.99 (HD) / Free (HD)], Bam Fu [$0.99 / Free], Bounden [$2.99], and Jelly Reef [$0.99], is no more, developer Adriaan de Jongh is still out there making games. And he's back with another fantastic and unique experience that you have to try. Hidden Folks [$3.99] is a collaboration between him and illustrator Sylvain Tegroeg that takes a very simple concept of being a "Where's Waldo" game. Then it makes everything happen in a monochromatic world, with huge canvases to explore as folks wander around, and you have to find a certain bunch of these folks. It's a simple idea, but the work that the team behind the game has done with the art, sound, and playability, makes this a fantastic experience. ..

It took a while, but it feels like the changes in the iOS market over the last few years are finally catching up to Kemco. Releases are more sporadic and increasingly reliant on one obviously overworked developer. Their games are now released in free and premium versions, both of which are typically packed with extra monetization techniques. If that's not bad enough, it feels like monetization techniques are almost the only aspects that these games are changing or improving. I wish I could say Fairy Elements [Free / $4.99] bucks that trend, but that would be fibbing. At its best, this is no better than the average EXE-Create game published by Kemco. At its worst, it feels cheap and hungry. The most notable thing about it is its soundtrack, where Kemco has made the bold move of pulling in someone with some name value...

One of the best games of 2015 was Downwell [$2.99], the roguelike action game of descending down a well with rocket boots. Missileman [$2.99] turns that formula upside down, literally. Here, you play as a fellow riding a rocket upward, trying to blast all the enemies in their way, while countless other missiles become available? Oh, and the game is colorful as opposed to monochrome, so it's trying to flip just about everything. Missileman is a game with some clever ideas, but some issues with playing it keep it from being a masterpiece. Still, it's worth checking out...

'Causality' Review - Destroying Your Brain and The Space-Time Continuum

Is your brain working properly? Are things in the world making too much sense? If you answered yes to these questions, and you desire that your brain be thrown into the washing machine, and then crushed with a hammer, then Causality [$1.99] is the game for you. It's a puzzle game for people who like their games to make sense...kinda, sorta. It's a fun game, but one that will threaten your sense of perception and time...

'Slayaway Camp' Review - A Killer Puzzler

The first thing that drew my attention to Slayaway Camp [$2.99] was the horror theme. Designed as a pastiche of 1980s horror in all its cheesy glory, combined with a voxel look that allowed for some gory slasher action with a comical feel. And then the game released on Steam first. After some work to make the game acceptable for Apple, we finally have Slayaway Camp on mobile, and what I found wasn't just a game that was over-the-top in gore and humor. I also found a great sliding puzzle game, that also managed to integrate its theme in a masterful way. This is a game that's fun to play and experience the little world it has created...

Have you ever had a great idea for a game, and could see no reason why it wouldn't work? Ask anyone who has to turn ideas into reality, it doesn't always work out that way. Ideas that work on paper aren't as viable in real-life. Songs that sound good when you hum them don't have the same feeling when you play them on an instrument. Even for a writer, I've had ideas for articles that didn't work out because the ideas I had in my head didn't quite work out on paper. Now, sometimes these ideas still get pursued to completion. I'm not going to put words in Cobra Mobile's mouth as to Red's Kingdom [$2.99], but it certainly feels like an idea that someone had that was really cool, and I liked it too! Combine sliding puzzles with a Zelda-style adventure with upgrades to collect? Sounds like it has potential! But at least for myself, and in this particular format, it does not work...

Every since we first heard that a game based in the Lords of the Fallen universe would eventually hit iOS, we were curious as to how the Dark Souls-style gameplay would translate onto the mobile platform. When we finally learned that it would be, in essence, an Infinity Blade clone, we were met with even more questions. Would it offer anything to the genre? Can it successfully be a successor to the aging Infinity Blade series? Unfortunately, the answer to both those questions is a definitive ‘No.’ Lords of the Fallen [$9.99] is simply a sub-par clone in a genre that requires perfect execution to be worth playing...

'RPS Saga' Review - Rock, Paper, Snoozer

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February 14th, 2017 10:30 AM EST by Shaun Musgrave in $0.99, 2.5 stars, Arcade, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Role-Playing
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Rock, Paper, Scissors is probably as simple as a game can get while still having some sort of strategy to it. Indeed, its core mechanic works so well that we can see it incorporated into countless other games in the form of elemental strengths and weaknesses, weapon triangles, and so on. It's a simple and useful means of balancing weapons, skills, and magic. You need to use what is most effective against your current enemy while ensuring that you're well-guarded against whatever the enemy throws back at you. The strategy comes from making sure you have your bases covered, enough resources to make use of them, and figuring out how each enemy works. That's great, but it's also not really what Rock, Paper, Scissors is about as a game...

Goodnight Games has made an interesting action game in Malevolent Machines [$1.99]. It's a game with some clever ideas, and a unique art style that looks both a little ugly and yet detailed and stylish in its own way. It's a game with some bugs and issues, but a lot of good ideas at the heart that shine through the experience. It's an experience that may be off-putting to some folks, but its unique charms and quirks wormed its way into my heart as an entertaining and unique action game...

Casual, mobile-friendly golf with a striking visual style is what OK Golf [$2.99] promises. It also offers up a structure and holes that are familiar to golf, but do some things that feel just a bit off from normal golf. And the controls have some issues, too. It adds up to an experience that seems really interesting at first, but over time becomes a bit sour, before a few of its quirks start to grow. Regardless, it's a decidedly imperfect game...

'Xenoraid' Review - The 'Marvel vs. Capcom' of Shmups

I like playing games that may exist in a particular genre, but are willing to defy the conventions of that genre to create something different. That's exactly what 10tons has done with Xenoraid [Free], their entry into the shoot 'em up genre. It does things differently from other games, and maybe you won't like it! Western shmups are already so different from Eastern ones, due to cultural differences. Xenoraid manages to even transcend that difference, and feels like its own unique shoot 'em up. But you might just enjoy what this heterodox title has to bring to the table...

Big Bucket Software is back after their solid 2014 adventure game Space Age [$1.99], returning to their breakout hit The Incident [$0.99] in a sense with Stagehand [$1.99]. Featuring Frank, the protagonist of The Incident, and a retro, pixel-art style, your goal is to keep Frank running along by controlling the platforms underneath him. You drag to keep him running, or to jump from one to another, trying not to obstruct him, as if he gets slowed down, he will get scrolled off the screen and that's the end of Frank. Sorry, buddy. But you do have conveyor belts that will speed Frank along so he can recover some of the gap between him and oblivion. Helpful! It's all a clever concept, and it has the production values you'd expect from Big Bucket. But, this game feels like it's in a place out of time, because it's a $1.99 endless game with little to unlock, where the replay value is in getting high scores. It's a quality game, but it might not have the depth in the modern context of the App Store to make everyone happy...

Felis: Save all the Cats [$3.99] has been on our radar for a very long time. Even with the lengthy delay, I was certainly looking forward to its eventual release because, hey, it’s a platformer about saving cats. If you look simply at the story, thematics and gameplay, I’d almost say it was worth the wait, as well. Unfortunately, significant issues with the controls detract from what could have been a decent entry into the genre...

'Dandy Dungeon' Review - Fine and Dandy

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February 8th, 2017 11:00 AM EST by Shaun Musgrave in 5 stars, Adventure, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Role-Playing
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At this point in iOS's life, it's getting hard to find a new spin on the whole roguelite genre. Most of the people reading this probably own at least twice as many as they've had time to play. I suppose my job here is to try to convince you that you ought to add Dandy Dungeon [Free] to that pile, because you really should. It's bizarre in all the most likable possible ways, and while its basic mechanics are familiar, the way it presents them is definitely unique. If the general theme of, say, Katamari Damacy appealed to you, this is a game you'll want to check out...

'Splitter Critters' Review - Splitting the Difference

'Splitter Critters' Review - Splitting the Difference

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February 7th, 2017 10:00 AM EST by Shaun Musgrave in $2.99, 4.5 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews
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Splitter Critters [$2.99] is a cute Lemmings-style puzzle game with a clever gimmick and a gentle difficulty curve. From the developers behind the intriguing Dark Echo [$1.99], this game sees you trying to help adorable little aliens reach their UFO and escape each stage. They'll move around on their own, with each type exhibiting slightly different behaviors, so you'll have to herd them to where they need to go. Your only means of doing that particular task is by tearing the screen in half with a swipe and moving the pieces to create a path to the goal. As you progress into the later stages, you'll often need to slice the world into pieces a few times to get things where you want them. Since you're limited to three cuts at any given time, the stages aren't meant to get too complicated, making this a pretty enjoyable experience for players of all skill levels...

'Tappy Cat - Musical Kitty Arcade' Review - This Rhythm Game is the Cat’s Meow

Rhythm games and kitties are two of my biggest loves in life. So it should come as no surprise that when Tappy Cat - Musical Kitty Arcade [Free] released recently I hurriedly downloaded it to see how these two things would mesh together. What I didn’t expect was one of the best rhythm games that I’ve played in a long while. With an incredibly tough (but very rewarding) difficulty curve, and an amazing array of cats to unlock, Tappy Cat should be on the radar for any rhythm fan. ..

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