Category Archives: Reviews

Boshi [$0.99] is one of those games that focuses on delivering a simple but unique core gameplay concept, with little room for frills or extras. It's the kind of game that wouldn't have been out of place in the earlier eras of gaming. It's actually kind of similar to Pac-Man [$6.99] in a lot of ways. You play as a lumberjack, and your goal in each stage is to cut down all of the large trees. Each tree will come down with five good swings of your axe. Wherever it's possible, you'll want to do this without attracting any nearby wolves, who are alerted by your proximity and the sound of your chopping, and will chase you down and kill you if they catch you. Each stage has a set layout, so the trees, rivers, bridges, and so on will be the same each time you tackle a level. The wolves wander around in set patterns, though obviously if you get in a chase with them, they'll end up in different places before wandering back to their original area...

Publisher Bulkypix isn't making a lot of noise about it, but Dream Revenant [$1.99] is actually the sequel to 2011's dream:scape [$0.99], albeit more mechanically than in terms of story. The set-up is quite similar, with you taking the role of a man on the verge of death, exploring his own dreams to sort through memories of his past to uncover certain truths. As with the first game, you'll do this by wandering around a decent-sized 3D landscape, stumbling on revelations, picking up items, and using them to navigate extremely simple obstacles. To the developer's credit, they've picked up on a lot of the major criticisms of the first game, but three years is a very long time in the world of gaming, and particularly so in the context of the relatively young iOS market. The result is like something you might see in the games, a response to a ghostly voice of the past...

Chillingo has been pretty quiet lately but they are back in action, publishing PlayFlame's physics simulation style game, Zombie High Dive [Free]. PlayFlame's debut game mixes the launch trajectory component of Angry Birds [$0.99] and the wind resistance air rotation physics of Bouncy! Trampoline [Free]. We can't draw too much from the history of the developer, but the publisher is one of the most prolific in the business. For better or worse, the game brings what you would expect from EA owned Chillingo: Full facebook integration, highly stylized art, music and sound work, with hopefully some intriguing gameplay...

Space Colors [$0.99] makes a simple bet: that blowing stuff up in space, amongst a rainbow colorful explosions, is its own reward. That just doing that, with only cursory guidance as to what to do next, is enough to make for a fun game. While perhaps the meta-game of missions and perfromance is somewhat lacking, there's a lot of enjoyment to be had from just playing the game itself...

'Dragon Quest IV' Review - But Thou Must Play This!

Dragon Quest IV [$14.99] is one of my favorite games in the entire Dragon Quest series. That also makes it one of my favorite RPGs, and by extension, one of my favorite games. Every time I run through this game, I find myself impressed that a game of this vintage hasn't lost even a bit of its shine. Dragon Quest IV does many interesting things, some of which are rare even today. As a result, while a lot of elements of this game are going to feel familiar to RPG fans, there's still nothing else quite like it, even with nearly 25 years of road behind it. So, you know clearly now where I stand concerning this game, but that's not much use to you without telling you why I think so highly of this game...

'Astro Duel' for iPad Review - A Fabulous Single Device Local Multiplayer Arcade Game

With pixelated, triangular ships thrusting around an asteroid-studded starfield and issuing forth crunchy 8-bit sounds, the trappings of Astro Duel [$2.99 (HD)] would allow it to blend seamlessly into any eighties-era arcade. Yet, Astro Duel is timely, for it taps into the quiet renaissance currently unfolding in the mileu of razor-sharp in-person competition waged across a single screen. Whether sitting cheek-by-jowl around a Warlords machine, or in a tangle of controller cables strewn from a console running Bomberman or in front of a desktop PC running the latest indie sensation on Steam (if you're curious, try out Nidhogg, Samurai Gunn or Crawl), there is a particular intensity to testing your reflexes and tactics against those of your friends with no barriers between you...

'Micromon' Review - All It Needs Is A Micromon Rap

Pokemon clones are by no means a new thing. With as much success as Nintendo's monster-catching RPG has enjoyed, clones are simply an expected part of doing business. They're not even a new thing for iOS. I've reviewed both Hunter Island [$0.99] and Band of Monsters [Free] in the last year, to say nothing of the many Puzzle & Dragons [Free]-inspired games released that borrow liberally from Pokemon. That said, with all of the clones, homages, parodies, and more that I've played over the years, none have skated quite so closely to Pokemon's game design as Micromon [$0.99]. There's little pretense about what they're doing here, with cheeky references all over the place and gameplay that is certainly the spitting image of Pokemon imagined as a $0.99 mobile game. Well, originality isn't everything...

Crazy Taxi: City Rush [Free] is a test for those who play it. How much monetization needs to get in the way of a game that's ultimately pretty fun to harm it? Hardlight Studios, Sega's go-to for making IAP-laden mobile games, are going to hit a lot of breaking points with players who can't stand free-to-play monetization, because this game is full of enticements to spend money. But in my estimation, they can't ruin what makes Crazy Taxi [$4.99]as a gameplay concept great...

For the most part, Regular Show games tend to fit the videogame mold far better than its Adventure Time brethren. Videogames are heavily cemented in the show itself, and there's hardly a season that passes by when stars Mordecai and Rigby veg out on the couch and game for hours on end. This time around the gang finds themselves in a tower defense-like situation, sparked by rival park manager Gene and The Great Prank War [$0.99]...

I don't think I'm alone in feeling a bit disappointed by the way Kairosoft's been spinning their wheels with most of their releases. It's not that the games aren't fun individually, it's just that they provide such similar experiences that it's hard to get all that interested in another one if you've already played more than a few. So it was with a slightly weary sigh that I downloaded their latest game, Kairobotica [$4.99], expecting another Pocket Harvest [$4.99] -level rehash and little more. Much to my surprise, this is Kairosoft's most innovative new game in quite some time. That might sound like faint praise, but with the change-up in mechanics, the developer's strengths shine through brighter than they have in a while. The result is a game that may not please everyone, but should at least be a welcome sight to exhausted fans of any of the developer's prior games...

'Angels in the Sky' Review - A Fallen Star

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August 5th, 2014 11:00 AM EDT by Eric Ford in $6.99, 2 stars, Action, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Shooter, Universal
$2.99 Buy Now

Boasting visuals powered by Unreal Engine 4, the developers behind Angels In The Sky are obviously banking on a graphical backbone to power their on-rails shooter. While visuals can certainly pick up any game, there’s not much it can do for a game that suffers from fundamental gameplay issues. Unfortunately, with its relatively bland shooter mechanics combined with an IAP focused upgrade system, Angels In The Sky [$2.99] suffers from this issue, making it simply another pretty face...

A hyper-violent game of football mashed up with Warhammer winds up being kind of boring? Say it ain't so. Blood Bowl [$4.99 (HD)] is really only for really patient people who can really tolerate their sports as turn-based dice-rolling affairs...

'Deep Loot' Review - A Treasure Hauled Up from the Depths of the App Store

If you've played a Monster and Monster game before, you will probably already be familiar with their ability to turn atmospheric chiptune music and simple yet detailed pixel graphics into a great mood driven experience. Autumn Walk [Free] and Winter Walk [Free] live and breathe on this adorable mood they instill. If you think Deep Loot [Free] is going to give you a similar experience, however, you are going to be in for some surprises at what else the game has in store for you...

Super Heavy Sword [$1.99] is one of those games that really breaks me up. It's such an earnest effort, full of interesting ideas and mechanics that pay clear tribute to some all-time greats. It's also a complete mess. This is becoming the unfortunate calling card of developer Monster Robot Studios, who make games I truly want to love, but can't for a variety of reasons. Anyway, this one is the sequel to Heavy Sword [Free], which is probably this developer's best effort, largely due to the design obscuring the game's technical flaws. This sequel takes things in a bit of a different direction, dragging the gameplay into places it really shouldn't be. This is basically a 2D take on Super Mario 64, an idea that hasn't been tapped out nearly as much as it should have. You guide your choice of the hero of the first game or the princess he rescued on a quest to defeat the bad guys and restore peace to the realm...

It wasn't that long ago in gaming's history where the trend was to come up with the gameplay first, and then fit whatever story you could onto it. There are still plenty of games like that, but recently, the major attention-grabbers have been games that seem to have started with a story first. While there are rare cases when things just come together beautifully, games with the former attitude tend to have stories that feel vestigial, while games of the latter type often have gameplay that feels that way. I can't speak for the motivations of the developers of Revolution 60 [Free], but it sure feels like it's the latter. This is a game with an intriguing plot, excellent presentation, and more endings than you can shake a stick at. Unfortunately, this is also a game with an over-reliance on quick-time events (QTEs), a morality system without a hint of nuance, awful pacing, and RPG mechanics that don't quite come together in a satisfying way...

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