Category Archives: Reviews

'Dragon Quest 5' Review - The RPG Of A Lifetime

Dragon Quest 5 [$14.99] is a rare jewel. This is a game that carried the burden of being a sequel in one of the most successful franchises of all-time. In the pre-merger days, it's safe to say that Enix as a company depended on the performance of Dragon Quest games. It's the very definition of a AAA installment in the middle of a long-running series. Such products are not where we would expect to find the unique voice of the game's creator telling such a small and personal tale. That's just what designer and writer Yuji Horii did, however, and the result is perhaps one of the finest stories ever seen in an RPG. In my opinion, the series was never able to top this installment, but that's fine, because not many games in general have...

Satellina [$1.99] tries to apply a minimalist veneer and an arena-survival touch to the speedrun genre, and while its challenges are small in nature, there's fun to be had here. The goal is to move your X avatar around an arena full of green, yellow, and red particles. The green particles are the ones you must collect, with the yellow and red ones killing you, and forcing you to start the level over. However, those yellow particles turn green once all the green ones are collected, and the red ones turn yellow, and so on. The game is structured with 10 different sets of 5 levels, where you must try to beat the set as quickly as possible. As a completion game, it's not much, as everything can be tackled through sheer force of will, so this is primarily for speedrun fanatics. There is a clever progression structure where multiple level paths open up as you complete different level sets...

'Lowlander' Review - More Highs Than Lows

Of all of the Ultima games you would expect someone to want to make a tribute to, Ultima 2 has got to be near the bottom of the list. Oh, it's no Ultima 9, to be sure, but I've always seen it as the little road bump on the way to Ultima 3 and 4 more fully realizing the concept of the series. It's a familiar story for sequels, I suppose, but by playing things a bit too safely, it had to succeed without the novelty of the original game and all of its faults. It was still a pretty good game in its time, but relative to the series on the whole, I think it's kind of underwhelming. I'm sure a whole list of people might disagree with that, and at least one of the names on the list would be the developer behind Lowlander [$1.99]...

Hexxy Snake [$2.99] is pretty much the Super Hexagon [$2.99] version of Snake, the granddaddy of all mobile games, the game that convinced folks that playing games on a phone was a good idea. This is the Super Hexagon take not just because the game takes place on a hexagonal grid, no: it throws in a number of glowy visual effects to try and spruce things up, while featuring 100 fixed levels to play. It's an interesting game, but one that's just solid at best...

There's no two ways about it, sometimes an RPG fan just gets the urge to play a good, classic CRPG. While iOS offers plenty of options for the gamer who wants to revisit 90s CRPGs or early roguelikes, adventures that recapture the 1980s era of Ultima and the SSI gold box games are a bit harder to come by. Fortunately, we've seen a few developers try to fill the gap in recent times, and one such game is the iPad-only Dungeons Of Chaos [Free (HD) / $1.99 (HD)]. While it doesn't quite have the scope of some of the great games of old, it's certainly got the feeling down pat. For many, that might be a turn-off, but for some of you, and you probably know who you are, you're going to find this one hard to put down until you've finished it...

'Space Marshals' Review - Some People Call Me Maurice

Space Marshals [$4.99] is not the dual-stick shooter you probably were expecting – at least not as a mobile game. This is a slow-burning, tactical shooter, eschewing the typical fast-paced, high-score-obsessed affairs that many dual-stick shooters try to be. Instead, this is about stealth, and using sounds to distract enemies, and trying to avoid wild firefights as much as possible. And it's from a company known for racing games. Yet, Space Marshals does a lot right, including with its reward-based loot system. This is the first episode of a series, and there's plenty to look forward to from this game, though there's a solid amount of game here already...

Tin Man Games has been applying their considerable gamebook know-how to the Fighting Fantasy series for a couple of years now, so far releasing eight of the most popular and noteworthy installments of the franchise. While there are a couple of conspicuous absences remaining, the developer has shown a good eye in its selections thus far. The latest release, Fighting Fantasy: Bloodbones [$5.99], is an interesting choice for a few reasons. This is the first of Tin Man's Fighting Fantasy releases that isn't written by either Ian Livingstone or Steve Jackson, instead being the work of Jonathan Green, one of the writers from the later days of the series. Bloodbones was considered a lost book for several years, as it was initially planned as the 60th entry in the series before publisher Puffin canceled Fighting Fantasy with the 59th book. Like its titular character, death didn't hold it back for long. In 2006, fans could finally put their hands on Bloodbones as the 26th release in the Wizard Books revival of the line...

'Elune Saga' Review - Pretty, Average

StarStarStarNoneNone
Free Buy Now

From a Western point of view, it's easy to forget the fact that the mobile gaming market's most successful territories are in Asia, something that informs the behavior of many developers from the region. Just as base- and city-building games sit at the top of the Western top grossing chart, social RPGs are the chief earners in the East. The amount of money made by games like Puzzle & Dragons [Free], Brave Frontier [Free], and Monster Strike [Free] is absurd. It's little wonder, then, that companies like Korean publisher Gamevil are throwing out pitch after pitch trying to get in on some of the spoils of that phenomenon. They're hardly alone, with even the mighty Square Enix appearing almost desperate in their frequent attempts to score a home run...

Combo Quest [$0.99] is a game that infuriates me and tantalizes me simultaneously. Its concept is pretty clever and fun to play with, walking a constant tightrope act to where you have to not screw up in order to succeed against increasingly-steep odds. But the balance of the game's elements feels out of whack, which I think keeps the game from being great, but causes it to remain endlessly fascinating...

'WWE Immortals' Review - Wrestling with Déjà Vu

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Injustice [Free] on mobile. I'm also a huge fan of pro wrestling. So when NetherRealm Studios and Warner Bros., the makers of Injustice, announced a partnership with the WWE to create a new mobile brawler, I got all kinds of excited. The thought of taking the Injustice game and simply plugging in a bunch of WWE wrestlers was enticing. And well, that's pretty much just what they did. WWE Immortals [Free] is basically Injustice: WWE Edition, and while that's not a bad thing by any stretch seeing as Injustice is a proven winning formula, it is somewhat disappointing that there's barely anything substantial to differentiate the games from one another. That said, Immortals is a solid foundation to build upon and it should please fans of both Injustice and the WWE...

Like plenty of folks from my generation, I absolutely adore The Princess Bride. The combination of colorful characters, witty one-liners and an off-beat fairy tale ending have left a lasting effect on many that have enjoyed the film. Unfortunately, fans hoping for some kind of expansion to the universe will be a disappointed with The Princess Bride - The Official Game [$3.99]. However, there’s just enough fan service in the collection of simplistic mini-games that it’s certainly worth buying for any fan of the film...

Gunslugs 2 [$2.99] is a really sloppy game that revels in that fact. It's fast, you might not be able to tell what's going on all the time, and it just feels unrefined. But the game caters to the fact that it's chaotic, and makes for another great run 'n gun from Orangepixel, the veteran iOS solo developer who keeps putting out solid stuff...

'Hero Emblems' Review - A Heroic Match-3 Adventure

As we mentioned in our Game of the Week post, there’s a certain amount of oversaturation that has hit the Match-3 genre on the App Store. Thus, the launch of Hero Emblems [$2.99] was met with some skepticism that it would be yet another Match-3 with nothing to differentiate itself. Thankfully that’s not the case with this gorgeous puzzler. Impressive strategic implications, beautiful visuals, and great RPG mechanics make this title worth checking out...

Now, here's a rare situation. One of the strengths of the gamebook genre is in the sheer variety of situations it covers. Unlike most RPGs, there aren't a lot of expensive assets that need to be built and hopefully reused in future games, since apart from a handful of still pictures, the world is built through text. This frees the writers to tackle any kind of story or setting they want, including superheroes, pirates, horror, fantasy, comedy, and so on. With virtually anything on the table in terms of possibilities, the one type of story we don't see terribly often in gamebooks is a sequel story. Sure, the Fighting Fantasy series had a couple of direct sequels along with some tenuous links between their fantasy stories, most notably in the Sorcery! sub-series, and even the classic Choose Your Own Adventure series had a couple of follow-up books to some of the most popular stories. The Lone Wolf series was notable for allowing you carry your character forward from book to book, though the stories necessarily had to be stand-alone to a great extent...

In the first half of 2014, the hottest trend in war strategy games was the Eastern front of World War 2. We had entries from Hunted Cow, Shenandoah Studio, and Slitherine, all within a fairly short span of time. Slitherine's title, Frontline: Road To Moscow [$2.99], was a slightly more accessible strategy game than their usual fare, and although it lacked the depth that fans of the genre tend to crave, I enjoyed it well enough. The game had a huge variety of units to play with, took terrain conditions into account, and had just enough below the surface to keep me engaged without crushing me. On top of that, the visual designs of the pieces were excellent, the base game included a generous amount of missions, and while it did release in a bit of an Eastern front boom period, the overall scenario was still quite novel for me. In theory, I should be the perfect target for a follow-up...

Copyright 2014, TouchArcade.com, LLC.