Category Archives: Reviews

King of Thieves [Free] is a game that shows the problems with review scores, because it exists at two diametrically-opposed extremes. On one hand, it's a remarkably cool concept: it takes auto-running trial platformers and puts it into a Clash of Clans [Free] style raiding system. You can design a dungeon, crafting gems to become more powerful, while trying to keep other players from getting your gems by way of making a dungeon too powerful for them to successfully raid. All the while, you're raiding others and playing through the singleplayer campaign, getting more money, upgrading your stats and traps to be better at raiding and to make raids tougher. But it's a game with a particularly annoying energy system that raises questions about its fairness. It's a game that doesn't go down smooth, particularly if you're not a free-to-play fan...

Much as I love it, I have to admit that video pinball is a very, very strange thing. They're sort of like those homemade recipes for Ecto Cooler that you can find around the internet: a shadow of the real thing, an attempt to replicate an incredibly tactile but now nearly-extinct experience. For most people, there haven't been any pinball tables around their locale since Clinton was in office. I wouldn't be shocked if many of our readers have never laid eyes on one in their lifetime. But for those of us who love them, if we can't wrap our fingers around a real machine and build the callouses on the palms of our hands by slamming them into the side of a wooden box to nudge a steel ball a half-centimeter off its course, we'll take what we can get. We'll take the video pinball. Because even though there's an unquestionable component of the game intrinsically tied to physical sensations, the games themselves have strong merit on their gameplay. The lights and sounds pulled us in, but the gameplay is what kept us coming back...

I admit, when I first played Radical [Free] from BeaverTap Games, I was a little disappointed that the team that made the wonderful Mikey games were aiming a bit lower with this game. But really, the more time I spent with it, the more I found that they had made a clever game that lived up to their standards while at a smaller scale in terms of design and visuals. That they made a smaller game like this was interesting enough to me – and I think that in part from the fact that it's made by interesting developers who know how to make a game, the game is well worth checking out...

If you think about it, WayForward Technologies is one of the original indie stars of handheld gaming. They first gained notice when some poor soul who was assigned to reviewing licensed claptrap on the Game Boy was playing some games based on Sabrina: The Animated Series and realized they were decidedly less bad than usual. A couple of years after that, they released their first game based on an original property, Shantae, which ended up being one of those games that sold far fewer copies on release than its eventual demand would call for. The game's charming presentation and ambition to actually make a decent Game Boy Color game won it plenty of fans. Combined with its relative rarity, its high quality gave it a near-legendary status and elevated its developer in the eyes of core handheld gamers...

Man, what is the deal with Sensible Soccer? That game is popular for its top-down soccer play and two-button controls, a formula that I see a lot of other soccer games try to replicate. The latest is Active Soccer 2 [$3.99], a soccer game that I wish would try to break free of the two-button limitations, though I do find the soccer action to be quite entertaining here...

'Dark Echo' Review - Silence Is Golden, And So Is This Game

While I love blockbuster gaming as much as the next person, there's no question that the ever-increasing budgets and thinner margins have made the whole upper-end of the video game business disappointingly conservative from the player's point of view. Iteration is great. It's how games have come as far as they have. Yet, as an exclusive diet, playing it safe can sometimes be a little bland. It's a good thing we've got smaller developers who can afford to take risks on crazy ideas, because without such occasional spices, the hobby would be a lot less interesting. Dark Echo [$1.99] is one of those games that simply couldn't exist under the traditional model, but I'm ecstatic it does...

Ever since it’s unveiling over two years ago, Midnight Star [Free] has had some lofty expectations thrust upon it. One consistent theme we’ve heard since its announcement was a promise for a control scheme reimagined for touch-based input. As the game slowly soft launched we realized that such a reimagining would also come with a free-to-play system for monetization. With its worldwide launch last week, we’ve finally had a chance to check out both its claim for improved controls as well as test out its freemium elements. After some extended time with this first-person shooter from Industrial Toys, I came away impressed with the controls and the amount of content offered, but was left lamenting its free-to-play elements...

'Radiation Island' Review - Get Chased by Katana-Wielding Zombies and Have Fun!

Take the most irrational and demanding mobile gaming fan – you know the kind, the person that only wants paid games and hates in-app purchases and ads in any form – and ask them for a dream wishlist of everything they'd want from a mobile game. What they will describe to you is basically what Radiation Island [$2.99] from Atypical Games delivers on. It's a game that pushes iOS devices to their absolute limits, provides PC-style gameplay on the go with gamepad support, doesn't do much hand-holding, delivers dozens of hours of gameplay, offers online multiplayer, and oh yeah, it's only $2.99 for the entire package. And there's not in-app purchases to be found anywhere in the vicinity of the game, because those are for suckers, right?. Atypical Games decided to make a game for this most vocal and demanding of irrational consumer...

Evoland [$4.99] is an odd experience. It's packed to the brim with genuine enthusiasm for my favorite genre and many great games of that genre and outside of it. Like an experienced stage magician running through his act, it has a brilliant set of tricks that it cleverly lays out one after the other, upping the ante each time to maintain your awe and excitement. At first they come at breakneck speed, not unlike the progress of gaming technology itself. After a half hour or so of this, the designers must have realized that they had to space out their remaining cards so that the game wouldn't be finished too quickly. Things slow down. They ride out the previous trick for a while, perhaps too long. Then, having exhausted their bag of tricks and understanding that even a patient audience can get restless, things come to a swift, sweet finish. Evoland is too short at times and too long at others...

'Pike and Shot' Review - Historical Strategy Hits the Mark

'Pike and Shot' Review - Historical Strategy Hits the Mark

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February 9th, 2015 10:44 AM EST by Andrew Fretz in $19.99, 4.5 stars, iPad Games, Reviews, Strategy
$19.99 Buy Now

Pike and Shot [$19.99 (HD)] is out now on iOS from strategy vets Slitherine. This port of a PC game has made the transition very well. I bet you saw the price tag on this game, but let me be the first to tell you it's worth it. If you are wondering what the balance between quality and quantity is for this title, the balance is that it comes with heaping amounts of both. A host of features, in depth combat, historical narratives and a clean visual style make this an amazingly well rounded premium game...

Kairosoft makes a lot of games. Rather, I suppose they made a lot of games and have been diligently porting them over to smartphones ever since. They're not bad games. If you happened to be trapped in an elevator for a couple of days with one, you might not even notice you didn't hit your floor. That said, they are extremely similar to one another, relying on the same few templates spread across every single job anyone ever had or will have. It wears on you after a few games, especially if you fall into a row of their building simulations. I've often said that any given Kairosoft game is going to be amazing if it's your first and mind-numbing if it's your fifth. The sad thing in all of this is that the template that brought them to the dance, so to speak, is the least-recycled of them all. Game Dev Story [$3.99] put Kairosoft on the international map years ago, and the biggest request everyone has made since is for a sequel. Kairosoft marches to their own beat, though, and that beat apparently dictates that there shall be only one Game Dev Story per Halley's Comet appearance...

In the early months of each year, I like to comb around for anything we might have missed in the rush leading up to the holidays. This extremely intensive effort typically involves heading to the TouchArcade forums and looking for big threads on games we haven't reviewed. Every time I've visited recently, one game keeps surfacing to slap me with its fins: Shark Eaters: Rise Of The Dolphins [$0.99]. While I had originally passed over the game due to its frankly aggravating controls, I saw it received an update that was supposed to address the problem, so I've given it another solid try. While I have to admit it's better than it was, it's still not doing much for me...

'Sneaky Sneaky' Review: Metal Gear Rogue

'Sneaky Sneaky' Review: Metal Gear Rogue

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February 5th, 2015 1:00 PM EST by Chris Carter in $2.99, 4.5 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Strategy, Universal
$2.99 Buy Now

Stealth is one genre that still isn't oversaturated, at least in my own mind. While there have been plenty of stealth games as far back as the NES era, pretty much every title adds in their own signature spin to the formula. Sneaky Sneaky [$2.99] is no different, featuring a tiny little rogue with an adorable pet rat...

There are a lot of issues with Heroes Of Might & Magic 3 HD [$9.99 (HD)], the spiffy remaster of the 1999 classic PC strategy game. The control layout has done little more than map things directly from keyboard and mouse to touch, with not much in the way of explanation of the intricacies, even in the tutorial. There's significant content missing in the form of the two expansions, which will not be coming to this version due to the source code being lost. The map editor found in the original game and the PC version of this HD remaster is not included in the iPad version. The updates are few in number, with just a bit of spit-polish done on the sprites and text to make them look a little less pixelated. These are all good reasons to pass on Heroes Of Might & Magic 3 HD, especially if you have a computer, where you can buy and play the complete version of the game with all expansions included for the same price...

I hate when a game lets me down. Exiles [$4.99] had a cool premise, and was from a developer that has done big, expansive open-world games on iOS before. Yet, this just falls way short of what it promised to be. This is the latest open-world RPG from Crescent Moon, having you deal with a government conspiracy involving a deadly virus, and the eventual fight against a politician riding in a giant mech. The game is mission-driven, but there's a giant, expansive world that you can explore, though there's not a whole lot to actually find beyond what the missions have. At least you can ride in mechs and on sweet air bikes, and shoot the ironically-named Peacebots...

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