Category Archives: Reviews

If there is one thing an iPad is definitely great for, it’s digital board and card games. Such games can get a little crowded with the user interface. Especially tactics heavy turn based strategy games in the vein of Space Hulk [$4.99 (HD)] and the Hunters [$4.99] series. Hey! Speaking of those titles, I played a lovely little strategy game recently that is basically their illegitimate love child! It’s called Legions of Steel [$9.99 (HD)], and it offers an extremely diverse array of strategic gameplay exclusive on the iPad...

It's been a couple of months since Kemco's last release on iOS, the mediocre strategy-RPG Legend Of Ixtona [$3.99]. That game was developed by WorldWideSoftware and was if nothing else different from Kemco's usual fare. Interestingly enough, their latest game, Tears Revolude [$3.99], is once again developed by WorldWideSoftware and also a bit different from their norm. Fortunately, it pulls off what it's going for a bit better than Ixtona did, but unfortunately, only a little bit. Still, I'm a little impressed at what the developer has set up here from a technical perspective, and I hope it bodes well for the future...




'Galactic Keep' Review - Keeping Me Up All Night

'Galactic Keep' Review - Keeping Me Up All Night

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August 20th, 2015 2:18 AM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $3.99, 5 stars, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Role-Playing
$3.99 Buy Now

For some game developers, it's almost a law that a game has to be fun within a certain number of minutes. That was particularly true back in the arcade days, and I suppose things have come full circle because it seems to be especially true now. I think there's a lot of merit to that philosophy, but like any attempt to make a rule like that, it doesn't fit every game. Galactic Keep [$3.99] is not very fun in the first few minutes, perhaps even in the first twenty. It's confusing, it offers little guidance, and it's just sort of frustrating. A player would probably be forgiven for giving up on the whole thing and jumping to something that offers a smoother and more obvious slice of gratification. Let's be honest, there are plenty of games where if the first few minutes are rough, things don't really pull up. But there are also cases where the confusion clears up, the goals start to become more tangible, and frustration melts into a feeling of pure satisfaction. Galactic Keep is one such case...

'Pac-Man 256' Review - Teaching an Old Pac-Man New Tricks

There are people who ask why retro games keep getting developed and iterated upon. We still have the classics, and they're more readily available than ever, so why do we need more of them? In some cases, it might be better to let some franchises die. This feels like a common complaint against the Sonic series, but I think that's more Sega's development teams not knowing what makes a Sonic game good (and loving bottomless pits too much). But interestingly, it's Pac-Man that's showing how a series can iterate and advance decades after its arrival. Pac-Man Championship Edition DX [$4.99] was a recent fantastic example of how to advance and iterate the yellow dot-muncher's familiar maze-based gameplay. Now, Pac-Man 256 [Free] from Crossy Road [Free] developers Hipster Whale, with the help of 3 Sprockets of Cubemen [$0.99 (HD)] fame and Bandai Namco, shows that you can teach an old Pac-Man new tricks. The developers who advanced the Frogger formula into a definitive mobile experience, have done so again with Pac-Man...

'.Decluster Zero - Bullet Nocturne' Review - Oh, Bullet Hell Yes

It's been almost three years since famed bullet-hell shooter developer Cave released their last in-house iOS game in the genre they became well-known for. At the time of the company's restructuring, I was worried about the future of shoot-em-ups on mobile, and I doubt I was the only one. Luckily for mobile gamers, it turned out to be a non-issue, as we've seen several excellent releases in the genre, some of which have arguably been better than even Cave's offerings. One such game is .Decluster - Into The Bullet Hell [$2.99], an out-of-nowhere release from Japanese indie developer Masayuki Ito. It combined a simple but eye-catching visual style with enjoyable scoring mechanics and exciting enemy patterns to create a thrilling take on a well-worn concept...

Deck Builders have really been on the rise in recent years. From the humble beginnings of games like Dominion, now we’ve even got Marvel and Alien deck builders. I’m really partial to this genre myself. Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer [Free] is a game I still log into from time to time and it has never left my phone or iPad. I think the appeal of deck builders comes from having every card you’ll need right in the box. You don’t collect or trade cards and meticulously build your own deck before even playing. You and your friends can play right out of the box with a much smaller financial investment. They’re massively approachable. Anyway, the point is, Deck Builders are my jam, and Splendor [$6.99] is a super tasty mixed berry jam that’s won several awards for being so darn tasty...

'Loot & Legends' for iPad Review - Plenty of Loot Awaits In This Funny and Entertaining Game

A few days ago, I wrote a story about how Collectible Card Games are flourishing on mobile devices, with Hearthstone, of course, leading the way. If you haven't read the article, a new report from SuperData Research stated that the portability and popularity of mobile devices have created an excellent environment for digital CCGs. Why have I started a review of Dropforge Games' Loot & Legends [Free (HD)], which from its screenshots looks like a table-top board game, with a discussion about CCGs? Well, maybe the name of Loot & Legends' PC predecessor might give you a clue: Card Hunter, Blue Manchu's 2013 hit that cleverly put a table-top board game of old and a CCG into a blender and out came a game that cleverly injected a deck-building component into your RPG. Loot & Legends continues that tradition, producing a fun digital table-top experience that has CCG mechanics at its core...

Even as they've racked up a few strong successes in the puzzle genre, I'm sure King has realized they would have to branch out at some point to keep their business healthy. Besides a weird trivia game, Paradise Bay [Free] is the Candy Crush giant's first attempt at something outside of the puzzle genre on mobile platforms. Don't get too excited, however, as they've simply moved from one crowded free-to-play favorite to another. Paradise Bay has you building your own little village in a tropical location, producing goods to sell to other players or trade for various resources. It has the polish we've come to expect from King's recent games, but without any interesting new ideas, it's hard to make a strong case for it even if this is your genre/pay model of choice...

'This War of Mine' Review - A Perfect War-torn Port

'This War of Mine' Review - A Perfect War-torn Port

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August 17th, 2015 1:00 PM EDT by Eric Ford in $14.99, 5 stars, Action, Adventure, Games, iPad Games, Reviews, Simulation
$14.99 Buy Now

Last year, 11 bit studios wowed the gaming community with its dark and emotionally provocative game, This War of Mine [$14.99 (HD)]. An action-adventurer with a heavy dose of strategy, there was a lot to love and think about as players tried (sometimes in vain) to simply survive the horrors of war. Android and iOS players finally were able to check it out last month, and we’ve been running it through its paces to see if it made the transition to the mobile platform successfully. As you might expect, it passes with flying colors, and is truly a game that deserves to be played by everyone on iOS...

Angel Stone [Free] by Fincon is an aesthetically pleasing, high fantasy adventure game that invites players to join a revolution against grotesque monsters and other such things that go bump in the night. The Angel Stone app is unique in that the same player account can be accessed through iOS, Android, and Facebook simultaneously, although I stuck to the iOS version myself...

'Doom & Destiny Advanced' Review - An Immature RPG In Every Sense Of The Word

The first monster you fight in Doom & Destiny Advanced [$2.99] is a giant poop. Not long after, your characters complain that something has attacked "(GameString not set)", before they run into expies of Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage en route to rescuing Princess MacGuffin from alternate universe versions of themselves. One of the characters remarks that he's very likely to crap his pants. And then everyone dies. Or something. I don't know. I do know that you soon run into an angry skeleton who laments the loss of his wiener, and a nobleman who disintegrates at the sound of your barbarian's mighty belch. I think you've got the idea by now, friends. Doom & Destiny [$2.99] was a ridiculously over-the-top RPG with surprisingly solid mechanics and an absurd script rendered even more wacky by its... interesting translation. Somehow, its follow-up feels even more extreme in every regard, and I'm not sure if I find it charming or completely idiotic. If the first game was the Bill & Ted of RPGs, this one is the Pauly Shore...

My first ever interaction with golf was on the NES. I remember being fascinated by the concept of hitting a ball across a screen, and although the idea of woods and irons completely eluded me, I was content with whacking away Happy Gilmore style. Over time golf became far less foreign, and though the sport's popularity has waxed and waned over the years, I still have a certain degree of interest in it, at least at a base level. Battle Golf [Free] doesn't really do a whole lot for me though...

The Long Siege [$1.99] clicked with me when I first saw it, despite my vocal distaste of match-3 games in general. I feel like the genre is just overplayed. But sometimes, a little bit of familiarity isn't a bad thing, and I actually do enjoy the unique aspects of this one, though it is definitely an imperfect game. This is a match-3 RPG of sorts, though to call it an RPG feels inaccurate. It's a match-3 game with an upgrade system. You fight an enemy army, trying to destroy their base, by summoning 3 types of units, repairing your base with utility tiles when the enemies destroy your unit generation, getting currency by matching specific tile types, and using cannon tiles to attack the enemy. ..

'Engines of Vengeance' Review - Heavy Metal

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August 11th, 2015 4:14 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $0.99, 3.5 stars, Fighting, Games, Reviews, Universal
99¢ Buy Now

I’m not sure what it is about iOS games and metal bands, but they seem to go together well. Take Hail to the King: Deathbat [$4.99], for example. The hack ‘n’ slash gameplay paired pretty perfectly with the music (and personality) of the band Avenged Sevenfold, and we even gave it a pretty favorable review at the time. Another example is… um. Okay, I could only think of one. But there’s just something about the gritty, messy nature of rock & roll that seems to translate well to tiny little taped-together indie games. Wait! Here’s another example: Engines of Vengeance [$0.99] by Serdar Balli. (And just in the nick of time. This review was going nowhere.)..

'Operation Dracula' Review - One, Two, Three Power-Ups, Ahaha

I think I could play shoot 'em ups until the day I die. It was one of the first genres I experienced in arcades outside of fighting games, and to this day, it's by far the genre that I import the most. Ironically, Siberian Strike was one of the very first games I played on an iOS device as well -- it's in my blood. It's good that Operation Dracula [$7.99], in spite of its cheesy presentation, is a solid showing...

'Hanger World' Review - Not A Used Clothing Store

I was a fan of TouchArcade long before I was a writer here, and one of my favorite of the more recent regular features is Shaun’s Update Mondays posts. The weird thing is, the updates themselves aren’t even why I look forward to it every week. Rather, it’s because I think Shaun’s a funny dude and I just enjoy reading his descriptions of each update. More specifically, I need to know what game he decides to give the coveted Update Mondays Most Spider-Mans Of The Week Award to. Is it going to be Spider-Man Unlimited [Free] again? (I mean, it does get a lot of Spider-Mans.) Or will it be something completely random? Well, I think I may have found a good future candidate. I’m talking about A Small Game’s Hanger World [Free], and it’s packed full of all kinds of Spider-Mans slinging themselves this way and that. As it turns out, it’s also a really, really fun game...

Back when I reviewed the third Five Nights At Freddy's game, I foolishly predicted it might be the last. I'm not falling for it this time, Scott Cawthorn, you wily developer. I've already seen you change the wording in the description ever so slightly to call Five Nights At Freddy's 4 the last game in the original story. Freddy will be back, and regrettably, I probably will be, too. Everyone else at TouchArcade Towers seems to think it's hi-lar-i-ous to see me spew out a stream of curses at semi-regular intervals, so the Freddy reviews tend to fall to me. Well, having played the games all quite a bit, I have to admit that my appreciation for the series has grown. It's actually grown to the point that I'm pretty disappointed with some of the decisions made for the iOS port of the latest game...

'Agent Awesome' Review - More like Agent Meh

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August 10th, 2015 11:30 AM EDT by Chris Carter in $1.99, 3 stars, Action, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Universal
$1.99 Buy Now

As a general rule, I really dig espionage games. Although stealth is old hat for some, it's a nice change of pace from the action-heavy games I usually play, and as a fan of James Bond and other classic spy franchises, nice little gags and references usually bring a smile to my face. But with Agent Awesome [$1.99], things get a little awkward, with some tacky writing and weird delivery...

It's often said that there's a fine line between inspiration and imitation. We see both in varying degrees in the hobby of gaming. The former is without question a good thing, but even the latter can be okay depending on how closely it hews to the source. There's one more category that expression doesn't cover, however, and it's something a bit closer to plagiarism. It's a practice that is unfortunately all too familiar to mobile gaming fans in particular, and it's almost universally frowned upon. In these situations, games are basically copied one-to-one, adding nothing to the medium and depriving the original creator of their rightful reward. It's legal, as far as I can tell, particularly if you're wise enough to swap out art assets, but at least as far as I'm concerned, it's not ethically okay nor is it contributing anything positive to gaming on the whole...

'Spider: Rite Of The Shrouded Moon' Review - The Prettiest Parlor That Ever You Did Spy

Sequels seem to come in two different flavors these days. Most commonly, we get yearly installments, enough time to hopefully throw in just enough iteration to make an ever-worn concept feel fresh enough to sell again. Then there are the throwbacks, sequels to long-dormant franchises that somehow have to live up to impossible legends. On iOS, we see more of the former than the latter, and when the latter does show up, it tends to be a horrifying, free-to-play, quick-buck spin on an old gaming franchise whose core audience would prefer anything but. Generally, sequels used to be different, back when the industry could afford the luxury of not lining up all their big-name IPs on each yearly financial statement. Developers used to have time to work on them, time to let the original game settle in its groove, and perhaps most importantly, time to consider and tease out ideas in order to make each installment as strong as possible. Given how young iOS gaming is, it's not something we've gotten much of a taste of, but Tiger Style is prepared to give everyone a heaping helping with Spider: Rite Of The Shrouded Moon...

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