Category Archives: Reviews

'Fez - Pocket Edition' Review - A Great Game, and an Even Better Reason to Buy an MFi Controller

Originally launched back in April of 2012 on Xbox Live Arcade, Fez is a 2D platformer with puzzle elements that hinge around being able to rotate the game world in 3D space. Since its initial release Fez has been ported to practically every platform under the sun, and in the process has won an absurd amount of awards. Fez is one of those games that it really doesn't matter where you play it, as long as you're playing it somewhere. This morning Fez - Pocket Edition [$4.99] was released on the App Store, providing a fabulous opportunity for fans of Fez to experience this gem on to go, as well as folks who potentially never heard of the game to play it for the very first time...

After digging a little deeper into obscurities for the last couple of releases, SEGA has gone back to one of their tried and true 16-bit franchises for the latest addition to the SEGA Forever line-up. The Streets of Rage series has lain dormant for a very long time now, but in its heyday, it was one of SEGA's most successful action brands. To this day, I still consider Streets of Rage 2 to be one of the very best side-scrolling beat-em-ups ever made. But we're not here to talk about the sequel. Well, not yet anyway. No, today we're looking at the original Streets of Rage [Free], a game that may be lesser than its follow-up but still packs a pretty solid punch. Happily, SEGA has given the game the finest treatment we've seen for a new SEGA Forever release yet...




'Reigns: Her Majesty' Review - This Queen Reigns Supreme

'Reigns: Her Majesty' Review - This Queen Reigns Supreme

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December 7th, 2017 12:10 AM EST by Eli Hodapp in 5 stars, Games, Reviews, Role-Playing
$2.99 Buy Now

The original Reigns [$2.99] was easily among my favorite games released last year, as the whole experience felt like a masterpiece of game design. Via binary options, triggered by swiping right or left as if you were browsing through Tinder profiles, players were invited to rule their kingdoms and attempt to balance the competing powers in the land: The church, the people, the military, and the treasury. With few exceptions, every decision made increased favor with at least one power, while decreasing your standing with others. The trick is, you need to use your intuition to figure out what decision you're going to make to keep everything in check. For example, you might come across a doctor who offers to heal your subjects, and allowing them to do that will increase your favor with the people, while decreasing your standing with the church who frown upon the medical sciences. The rest of the game goes like this until you inevitably meet your demise in many amusing ways, at which point the whole process repeats again, as you're cursed, and return again and again as a new king... Until you figure out how to break the curse, anyway...

'Football Manager Touch 2018' for iPad Review - The Best Just Got Better

Football Manager Touch 2017, Sports Interactive's classic football (soccer for some of you) management game, was one of my top 10 games of the year despite some serious technical issues that led to plenty of crashes. Those issues aside, though, the game was a fantastic and deep sports management game that had no equal on the App Store. Enter Football Manager Touch 2018 [$19.99 (HD)], the latest in the series. FMT 2018 sticks to what made FMT 2017 so great—a more accessible version of the PC version of the game but deeper than the handheld one—and makes little changes that go a long way toward making the game easier to play on a tablet. With an improved UI and the same addictive gameplay, FMT 2018 is another jewel of a game that I will spend too many hours playing...

'Game Dev Tycoon' Review - If You Liked 'Game Dev Story' You'll Love 'Game Dev Tycoon'

In 2012, Greenheart Games released game developer simulator Game Dev Tycoon [$4.99] for PC players. Billed as somewhat of a basic strategy/simulation title, Tycoon earned a strong player following and has been a favorite indie title on PC for quite some time. Five years later and a mobile version of Tycoon is finally on iOS, where it naturally fits and is an awesome addition to the genre...

'GRID Autosport' Review - The Best Racing Game on Mobile by a Mile

My review of Codemasters and Feral Interactive's GRID Autosport [$9.99] can easily be my shortest review ever: if you want the best racing game on mobile by far and one of the prettiest game ever to grace the platform, stop reading and go buy this game right now. Why? It's simple, really. GRID Autosport is a fully premium experience with content that will take you forever to complete, a ton of ways to play, fantastic visuals, and highly customizable controls and difficulty level that will suit every player out there. Feral Interactive has really brought a console-quality game to iOS. The port of the game is almost perfect, but expect your battery to drain faster than the gas tank of a supercar and also the rare frame drops when visuals are turned up (even on an iPhone X). Despite these small issues, GRID Autosport is a fantastic game and one racing fans have been craving for...

One of the remarkable things about the first three games in the Cally's Caves series of action-platformers is in how far they came in a relatively short time. The first game is quite primitive compared to the third, but they released only a couple of years apart. The thing about gains like that is that they rarely scale in a linear fashion. Cally's Caves 3 [Free] was an outstanding accomplishment for an indie game, presenting something that wouldn't have been terribly out of place as a retail release on a dedicated handheld. There's really only so much more Cally's Caves 4 [Free] could realistically be expected to do to top that. True to that, this is more or less another helping of the high-quality action found in Cally's Caves 3. For whatever it lacks in novelty, however, it makes up for by burying you in quantity...

'Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp' Review - Tom Nook Always Gets His

'Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp' Review - Tom Nook Always Gets His

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November 21st, 2017 12:53 PM EST by Eli Hodapp in 4.5 stars, Free, Reviews
Free Buy Now

News first broke in late April of 2016 that an Animal Crossing game would be making its way to the App Store, and after more than a year of speculation and a brief soft launch, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp [Free] launched globally this morning. If you've been paying any attention to what Nintendo has been doing in the mobile arena, what Pocket Camp actually is shouldn't surprise you much. Much like Super Mario Run [Free] and Fire Emblem Heroes [Free], Pocket Camp is a shockingly well done mobile adaptation of Animal Crossing without ever replacing "real" Animal Crossing games such as New Leaf on the 3DS. Similar to previous Nintendo mobile titles, Pocket Camp is severely limited in scope compared to the full-featured games on Nintendo platforms, but still serves as an incredibly fun distraction- And you really can't beat that for the current asking price of free...

'Lineage II: Revolution' Review - A Fascinating Exploration of What Actually Constitutes Gameplay in an MMORPG

When it comes to massive mobile game launches, it seems like Lineage II: Revolution [Free] has rewritten expectations of what a "huge" launch can be. NetMarble has pulled out all the stops when it comes to promoting this game, doing everything from tapping celebrities like Conan O'Brien to advertising the upcoming launch of the game literally everywhere (except TouchArcade, it'd seem). The amount of awareness this has raised is unlike anything I've seen before, and this pre-launch hype was flawlessly quantified by the over 1.5 million people they got to sign up for the game before it was available to download. Even friends of mine who I know don't care at all about mobile gaming knew about it. From a marketing perspective, Lineage II: Revolution is a flawless victory for NetMarble, but is the game any good? It turns out that's a question with a surprisingly complicated answer...

I have to give SEGA some credit. One of the many points where I felt that the initial line-up of SEGA Forever titles was lacking was in the selection; they were all games drawn from SEGA's 16-bit platform, and only two of the games were new to iOS gamers. Subsequent releases have mostly stuck to Genesis games, plus a few updated versions of prior SEGA iOS releases. But the Genesis games in particular that have been selected are certainly eclectic choices that demonstrate an affection for the deeper cuts from SEGA's 16-bit library, and that's pretty cool. It reassures me that in spite of the numerous issues that have plagued SEGA Forever, the project is a work of passion. Because honestly, who else but a SEGA super-fan would choose to release something like ESWAT: City Under Siege [Free] ahead of better-known titles like Streets of Rage 2 or Gunstar Heroes?..

My interest was piqued pretty hard as I was perusing the app store a couple weeks ago, only to see a puzzle game that involved exploring an alien ship and solving the puzzles of its technology and the fate of mankind after encountering them. That premise, for a sci-fi junkie like me, along with those drop dead gorgeous screen shots immediately had my attention. And while I was expecting something more akin to Myst [$4.99], what I received was closer to The Room [$0.99 (HD)] series, but with several areas of puzzles (The Rooms?) and a more cinematic piecemeal mystery story interspersed throughout. And it was pretty darn great. This is Returner 77 [$4.99]...

As far as endless arcade type games go, the first Dragon Hills [$2.99] was a fun and chaotic beast. Featuring a princess in a tower waiting for her prince to rescue her, a prince finds all the gold on a lower floor and just books it. The princess, apparently being great friends with the dragon that ‘imprisoned’ her (I assume as a favor so she could get a man), sets off after this jerk of a prince with blazing fury in her eyes, embodying old sayings about hell’s fury and scorned women. All while riding said dragon, who gets around by burrowing, jumping, and sliding through the hills. Rebel Twins have now returned with a sequel, and it’s more varied, more polished, and much stranger than ever. Welcome back to the hills. It’s Dragon Hills 2 [$2.99]...

I'm probably not saying anything controversial by mentioning that like any other human, I have genre preferences. I obviously enjoy my superhero stories and flights of fantasy, and humor goes a very long way with me. I'm not that big on horror stories, however. Stories about ghosts and the paranormal have to work a little bit harder to get my attention. With that in mind, I wasn't sure how well I was going to take to Heart of the House [$5.99], a recent release from prolific gamebook/interactive fiction publisher Choice of Games. It's a Victorian-era story of the supernatural with a healthy dollop of mystery mixed in. While this isn't my usual cup of tea, the character development and overall high quality of the writing ended up winning me over...

'Million Onion Hotel' Review - Got a Million Onions but a Leek Ain't One of 'Em

When it comes to the noble hobby of video gaming, there are a whole bunch of tried and true concepts to build new products from. Not even one of those concepts involves mashing onions as quickly and strategically as possible in order to make fruits appear that you mash to rack up points while space cows trot across the bottom of the screen and little cartoon characters throw off their clothes and embrace passionately in the starry sky. But thanks to Million Onion Hotel [$3.99], we can finally live the dream, friends. This is a fast-paced yet strategic arcade-puzzle game, and if nothing else, I can say that you probably haven't ever seen anything quite like it before...

'Final Fantasy Dimensions 2' Review - Neither Fish Nor Fowl, but Fun Anyway

Nothing can ever be straightforward when it comes to sequels and Square Enix, can it? Here we have Final Fantasy Dimensions 2 [$14.99], which is not a follow-up to the story or mechanics of Final Fantasy Dimensions [Free]. Instead, it's the sequel to an unrelated Japan-only free-to-play social RPG called Final Fantasy Legends, which was also the title Final Fantasy Dimensions went by in Japan. But it's not really a sequel so much as it is a remake. In fact, it's the second such attempt at remaking that game, but when they remade it the first time they added the number 2 to show how significant said update was. But that didn't seem to go over well either, so now here we are. Final Fantasy Dimensions 2 is a rebuilt premium version of a free-to-play social RPG, and if that sounds like that might be a tough thing to pull off, you're half-right...

The early 1990s were a strange time for video game characters. Side-scrolling platformers were without question the most popular games, to the point that just about every company had to come up with a mascot or three to put in their own spin on the genre. An awful lot of those characters were simple variations on Sonic the Hedgehog, throwing a pair of big googly eyes on some kind of anthropomorphic animal with an attitude in a vain effort to create some sort of familiar look. Licensed characters from other media and even real celebrities were also popular choices for similar reasons. Then there was Chuck D. Head. He's a mummy with his face on his chest, which he stretches out to attack enemies. Sometimes he finds a head with another face on it, and he throws that head like a hefty boomerang as another means of attacking. Chuck is the star of DeCap Attack [Free], a surprisingly high-effort platformer from SEGA and developer Vic Tokai...

L Pop! [Free] is a relatively straightforward puzzle game that, like most puzzle games, is built around one main mechanic. In this case, it's the idea that where you can place your pieces is restricted to within a Chess Knight's move of wherever you placed your last one. It's not a bad hook to build a matching puzzle game around, and I'm not sure I've seen a game that did things in exactly the same way this one does. But while the core mechanic is an interesting one, L Pop! never quite takes off the way it feels like it should...

'Warhammer Quest 2: The End Times' Review: Outstanding Follow Up to One of the Best Tactical Combat Games Ever

What are the best tactical role-playing games for mobile devices? I see that question a lot and, inevitably, somebody mentions Warhammer Quest [$2.99] by Rodeo Games, and rightfully so. Warhammer Quest is without question one of the best turn-based combat games out there and one in which I've invested a huge number of hours in the four-plus years since its release. Rodeo Games is no more, unfortunately, but that didn't stop a sequel from making its way to the App Store. Warhammer Quest 2: The End Times [$4.99] was just released by Perchang, but can it clear the high bar set by its predecessor?..

'Kick Ass Commandos' Review- A Gloriously Gory Homage to Arcade Shooters of the Past

The late 80's and early 90's were times when the more gore and shock-value video games had, the better. One of my favorite games of this time was Total Carnage. My cousin and I would play the crap out of its violent cooperative mode. Total Carnage's gory, action-packed gameplay made us feel like the edgiest kids of all time. I'm a sucker for anything that provides nostalgia (as I have mentioned time and time again) and Kick Ass Commandos [$2.99] gave me a much-desired dose of Total Carnage-like gameplay. It was originally released on Steam back in November of 2016, and now the game has "Schwarzenegger'd" and "Stallone'd" its way onto the App Store...

When it comes to SEGA and their 16-bit library, game re-releases tend to fall into one of three categories. First, there are the games that are always included: Sonic, Golden Axe, Altered Beast, and the like. Then, you've got games that are often included, but not always. Phantasy Star 2, Ecco the Dolphin, and Shinobi 3 are examples of this group. Finally, there are games that SEGA only seems to include if they're being very thorough. Sometimes it's because they're tricky to emulate, other times because of rights issues, and still other times where the reason isn't clear at all. Beyond Oasis [Free] used to be part of this group, but it feels like it's slowly moving into the second category instead. Its presence here relatively early on in the SEGA Forever initiative is a good example of its improving fortunes...

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