Category Archives: Reviews

Shoot-em-ups are an old, old genre. It's not unreasonable to say that they are the oldest genre in video games, actually. They were huge, everyone made one, and then some time later, they were no longer huge. Not long after that, they were nearly extinct. They've enjoyed a minor renaissance in recent years thanks to the opening of more viable channels for lower budget games, but even now, they're nowhere near their former prominance. It's clear that the final blow was dealt by their progeny, the first-person shooter, but even before that, they had taken a heavy tumble. People simply got tired of the same old gameplay and settings. The biggest successes in the post-boom period of the genre try to mix up the themes and settings a bit, so that instead of always being a spaceship or a fighter plane, sometimes you're a gothic lolita witch or a princess riding on the back of a giant bug. It's a small shot of freshness for a genre that, for many, feels stale...

Family Guy is one of those shows you either love or hate. You love its humor, whether it’s offensive or not, with some pretty memorable characters (Greased Up Naked Deaf Guy? C’mon). Or you hate it, think it’s stupid, and can’t understand how a show like that is on the air. Whatever your view, Family Guy is here to stay, and Seth McFarlane is one of the biggest people in the industry at the moment...

The genre our hobby labels as "puzzle games" has got to be one of the broadest categories in entertainment. As such, the variation we see within that genre is massive. Sure, wherever there is success, there will be clones, but outside of naked attempts to imitate something great, it's fairly unlikely for any two random puzzle games to resemble one another, even in broad strokes. I'm not sure if it will prove to be a blessing or a curse for developer Radiangames, but it's certainly a bizarre bit of kismet that their new puzzle game, SideSwype [$1.99], a game about swiping blocks around on a grid, has landed just after the phenomenal Threes! [$1.99], which is also a game about swiping blocks around on a grid. There's absolutely no way this was cobbled together in the brief period of time since the release of Threes!, as it's incredibly polished and well-thought out, so we're left with one of those situations where we have to marvel at how interesting life can be sometimes...

Hurtling endlessly forward, leaping from rooftop to rooftop, avoiding obstacles that will put a quick end to your trek. Collecting coins to upgrade abilities between rounds, completing missions to earn a rank up that adds to your multiplier. Grabbing a collectible item, you're sent soaring up to a bonus area packed full of coins. Maybe this time you'll finally earn enough coins to unlock those pricey new characters, each of whom has a unique trait. Skyline Skaters [Free] isn't going to win any awards for originality...

When Transport Tycoon [$6.99] came out on iOS, I was thrilled. In my review, I stated how happy I would be, and how happy fans of the series might be, if Rollercoaster Tycoon were to come out on iOS...

Donut Games has been around the iOS scene for quite a while now, and while they might not be the first name you think of when it comes to big hits on the platform, they've actually been quite successful with a number of their games. One of their first games, Monkey Flight [$1.99], proved to be a pretty big hit with its combination of gassy monkeys and gameplay somewhat reminiscent of Angry Birds [$0.99], and has enjoyed many updates in the half decade it's been out. Beyond the fact that monkeys are generally a pretty big crowdpleaser and that flinging animals at things is something of a national sport for mobile gamers, Monkey Flight also gave buyers a great value for a reasonable price. There are a ton of levels, and updates only added more, along with new modes of play...

America's pastime. Butt-patting. A League of Their Own? Whatever word, phrase or movie may make you think of baseball, the sport has been played, changed, and even endured a lockout. But one facet has remained the whole time: it's fun to play, less so to watch. R.B.I. Baseball 14 [$4.99] is a modern take on what was a classic NES game almost thirty years ago. The original is known not just for being a fun game, but for being licensed by the MLBPA, which resulted in the first console game to use actual player names. Developed by MLB Advanced Media, this updated version stays faithful to the original...

In my younger years, I would often look through the ads in the back of games magazines, goggle-eyed at all the niche import games and weird pieces of hardware that, living in a very small town, I would never, ever have a chance to find in a local store. Ads were a liittle different back then, which was likely a result of the primitive nature of game graphics, and they had a tendency to, shall we say, oversell the concept in slightly misleading ways. If you had an active imagination, it was all too easy to read one of these ads and conjure up something in your mind that was far more entertaining than the reality. I'm sure we can all rifle off a variety of examples, but for me, one of the worst was the Barcode Battler...

Fans of PC Tower Defense titles may have heard of Prime World: Defenders [$4.99]. Originally released back in mid-2013, this 3D TD title made a splash offering a complete TD experience supplemented with aspects from a few other genres. Nearly a year later, Defenders finally makes its debut on iOS, a platform that should (in theory) fit it perfectly. While iOS TD aficionados will easily see that Defenders was obviously designed for the PC, it’s still a great title for fans of the genre...

Take a gander at the top grossing games on iOS and one game that’s been there for an incredibly long time is Supercell’s Clash of Clans [Free]. Combining freemium elements with base building and combat, Supercell managed to create a compelling system to encourage players to come back (and spend some money). Now, the freemium powerhouse has returned with the worldwide launch of Boom Beach [Free], the spiritual successor to Clash. Offering a similar experience in a different setting with just enough tweaks to make it unique, Boom Beach isn’t going to offer a radically different experience, but that might not be a bad thing in terms of approachability...

Captain America is one of those Avengers that used to have a support role, but lately he has become a headliner thanks to his original movie getting a recently released sequel. That might not be a perfect spot for this rather stiff character that has to rely on his personal history to become interesting, and relevant. Compared to the Hulk, or Wolverine who are characters with an ongoing internal struggle...

There are four types of people in this world: those who love Wipeout, those who love F-Zero, those who love both, and those with bad taste in racing games. When it comes to the battle for the best futuristic racer, it's been a real tug of war between those two franchises for years. F-Zero of course came first, but wasn't followed up on until after Psygnosis's brilliant launch of the Wipeout franchise. Wipeout took the crown in the 32/64-bit era, with F-Zero making a surprising comeback in the following generation with the SEGA-developed F-Zero GX, still one of the finest racing games ever made. Not content to sit on their laurels, the Wipeout team came into the next gen hard with what was one of the best-looking PlayStation 3 games for a very long time, Wipeout HD. Sadly, both franchises appear to be dormant, with Captain Falcon of F-Zero seeing more time Falcon Punching than driving the Blue Falcon, and nary of a whisper of Wipeout after the release of 2048 and the disbanding of Studio Liverpool...

Man, 2014 has already been an absolutely crazy year for roguelikes, and we're not even halfway into it. With the intensely strategic Hoplite, the everything-and-a-bag-of-chips Cardinal Quest 2, the unique sci-fi hybrid Out There, and the iPad port of the grand FTL, you might find yourself wondering how many more high-quality roguelikes you need on your mobile device. That's a valid question, and it's one that hits Quest of Dungeons [$1.99] right in the gut. This is a great, high-quality example of a roguelike, hitting all the expected buttons in the right ways. If you find yourself yearning for another good roguelike, particularly a fairly orthodox one, do yourself a favor, open up the App Store, and throw down your two bucks right now. If, however, you're still right in the middle of Cardinal Quest 2, only taking breaks to play Hoplite, it's sadly a bit hard to come up with reasons why you should add Quest of Dungeons to your cycle...

'Eets Munchies' for iPad Review - Comfort Food

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April 3rd, 2014 6:17 PM EDT by Chris Carter in $2.99, 4 stars, Game Center, Games, iPad Games, Puzzle, Reviews
$2.99 Buy Now

Puzzle games come in all shapes and sizes on the current marketplace. Some of them are more action oriented than others, but often times the most rewarding puzzler is one that lets you really sit and think before acting. In other words, a game that truly tests your wits and mettle in ways that faster-paced titles couldn't, forcing you to really dig deep down and bust out every bit of critical thinking you can muster. Like the classic Incredible Machine series, Eets Munchies [$2.99 (HD)] does just that -- but with an adorable (and sometimes creepy) rabbit mascot...

'Monument Valley' Review - In Which An Uncanny Valley Is Reviewed

In my time playing video games, I've noticed that games tend to break down into two different types, broadly speaking. There are games that lean more on giving you interesting play mechanics and challenging you to master them in order to overcome some sort of challenge, and there are games that lean more on the side of giving you an experience. You get rare cases where the line is straddled fairly evenly, but for the most part, games are going to do one of those things very well and give less attention to the other. Both types have their fans, and many gamers love both, but when a game comes along that strongly favors one type and does it well, you often see confusion from the opposite camp. I say this because even though I expect it to get a lot of well-deserved praise, a lot of people aren't going to like Monument Valley [$3.99] very much. Like last month's Tengami [$4.99], it is intensely focused on delivering an experience, and it does so spectacularly well. Its specific game mechanics have been done already, and done better to boot. The mechanics guys and the experience guys are going to have knife fight over this one...

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