Category Archives: Reviews

'1-Bit Hero' Review - Back and Forth

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November 13th, 2014 3:30 PM EST by Carter Dotson in $0.99, 4 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPod touch games, Platform, Prices, Ratings, Reviews
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Auto-running solves a lot of problems for mobile games where virtual d-pads are suboptimal. While generally this is used for endless runners, platformers that use auto-running are an interesting breed to me. Meet 1-Bit Hero [$0.99 / Free]. It's an auto-running platformer that's just a nice little game. It's challenging, but has levels that are short enough that they don't get too frustrating, which strikes a fantastic balance. And it uses auto-running in a good way, that makes it worth playing...

Ah, the spin-off. A truly noble creature, brought into creation typically by a secondary character becoming so popular that it's believed by the powers that be that they can anchor a story of their own. Sometimes, it works out well, as in Frasier, The Jeffersons, and Wario Land. But for each success, there are a handful of failures like Joey, The Ropers, and Shadow The Hedgehog. Deep Silver's attempt to spin out a character iOS gamers have yet to meet leans more towards the latter group than the former, but point and click adventure fans are still likely to find some merit in the whole exercise. Secret Files: Sam Peters [$0.99] is a much shorter, simpler game than Secret Files: Tunguska [$4.99], and its protagonist is considerably more abrasive than that game's duo. That said, there are a couple of good puzzles and, along with occasionally clever bits of dialogue, it just barely manages keep its head above water...

I feel like the last few games I've reviewed have skirted the line between being a game in the functional definition and being just an interactive experience. Cosmic DJ [$1.99] by GL33k and Devolver Digital is perhaps is more accurately described as a gamified music synthesizer than an actual game per se, it passes the sniff test just enough that it's worth talking about here. Actual musicians might find the basicness of composition rather lacking, and people who enjoy playing games to completion might find the lack of resistance toward achieving their goals dissatisfying. But non-musicians who want a clever way to compose music with only minimal musical knowledge, or want to enjoy the goofy-yet-earnest story here, will want to check this out...

'Micro Battles' Review - Share the Wealth

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November 13th, 2014 11:00 AM EST by Chris Carter in 3.5 stars, Action, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Prices, Reviews, Universal
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The advent of touch technology has created a vast number of innovations that weren't really evident upon release.  While many are quick to damn virtual controllers and the like, one of my favorite things about mobile platforms is the sheer lack of physical controls. For certain games that need precision it can be a pain, but for titles that are custom-created for touch controls it's a dream to just pick up and play something. One avenue that I don't think gets enough love is the multiplayer on one device market. There are a decent amount of board games and asynchronous titles out there that support multiple people, but Micro Battles [Free] does a decent job of adding some arcade action into the mix...

'Monument Valley: Forgotten Shores' Review - Take Another Trip To The Valley

As I mentioned back when I reviewed Monument Valley [$3.99], it was bound to be a love it or hate it affair, and I was actually pleasantly surprised to see that most people felt as strongly about the experience as I did. It's a beautiful thing to play with, an artfully-constructed world that you can manipulate and bend around in ways that only a few other games have allowed. It was a gorgeous, pure experience, free of the flashing lights and urging pace that seems to be the general speed of things in this wonderful hobby of ours. It was also very short, with a mere ten levels to its tale, about a third of which were basically tutorial stages. By the time it turned up the gas even a little bit, it was soon finished. As an experience, it's hard to argue with it. As a mechanical game, it was a whole lot of potential with a somewhat wanting level of realizing it. Generally, it was very well-received, with most people left crying for more. So developer Ustwo got working on some more, and after several months of development, they've released an expansion for Monument Valley called Forgotten Shores...

'Candy Crush Soda Saga' Review - Poppin' Bottles in the Ice

'Candy Crush Soda Saga' Review - Poppin' Bottles in the Ice

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November 12th, 2014 4:44 PM EST by Eli Hodapp in 5 stars, Free, Games, Puzzle, Reviews
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There's been a lot of super popular free to play games on the App Store, but the original Candy Crush Saga [Free] completely redefined the meaning of App Store success. The game was huge on Facebook, and the leap to mobile sent the popularity of Candy Crush to a level I'm not even sure the wildest dreams of anyone at King could have imagined. It's become part of pop culture to the point that the game is even referenced in unrelated TV commercials now, and it's almost rare to be out in public and not see someone playing the game...

It may be among the lowest hanging fruit of all when it comes to entertainment, but it's hard to deny the raw comedic appeal of monkeys. They're like little hairy people that we can teach amusing tricks to without feeling bad about it. They're also very useful for filling in gaps if you lack a charismatic actor or character. Generally, people like monkeys, unless they've known a real monkey, in which case, they probably hate monkeys. ..

Battle Worlds: Kronos [$14.99 (HD) / Free (HD)] is the iOS debut release for developer KING Art. As a big departure from their previous work, it's surprising how ambitious this game is. The game is a turn based hex grid futuristic war game that focuses primarily on tactical maneuvers, focused fire, and ammo/armor management. With 2 very large campaigns and online play there is a boat load of replay value in this title...

'Mr. Particle Man' Review - At Last, One For The Gentlemen

Up-front disclaimer: I hadn't played or even heard of Ms. Particle Man [$1.99], the game this is a sequel to, until about a week ago. It was apparently released in late 2012, so I was probably busy building my deluxe shelter to protect myself from the impending inevitable apocalypse, which appears to be rather late at this point. I wish I had discovered it sooner, but I'm glad I finally did, even more so because I've found it by way of its superb follow-up, Mr. Particle Man [$1.99]. It's an unabashedly old-school experience that manages to make use of a few modern tricks, one of which I've never seen implemented in quite the same way before in an iOS game. Fair warning: Mr. Particle Man is one of those tough as nails games where you'll die, die, and die some more, and it's very possible, likely even, that you'll hit the limits of your own skill before the game is finished. If you're the sort that gets frustrated by games like that, move along with your sanity intact. For the rest of us weirdos who meet such adversity with laughter and an insane need to keep playing, what this game does is going to be a nice, comfortable fit...

'Bitcoin Billionaire' Review - I'm Ashamed to Love This Game

I hate Bitcoin Billionaire [Free] for existing. It's an idle clicker game, where tapping the screen gets stuff that can be spent on other stuff, but I've spent way too much time playing this. I've mined way too many fake bitcoins to be proud of myself in any way. I've had fun, and this game provides some real excitement and does so in a way that can be played for free with innovative incentivized advertising, but again, I feel kind of ashamed about it. Genuinely, it deserves five stars for excellence at what it is, but perhaps one star out of spite for existing...

'RPG Asdivine Hearts' Review - Credit Where It's Due, This Is Really Good

Well, friends, it was bound to happen sooner or later. A couple of the developers of Kemco's regular RPG releases have been dancing at the knife edge of quality for a while now, and it was only a matter of time before one of them finally lined up all the pieces and created something truly excellent. I always knew it would be you, EXE Create. Asdivine Hearts [$3.99] isn't just Kemco's best RPG release to date, it's one of the better original JRPGs available on mobiles from anyone. It doesn't transcend the genre in any meaningful ways, but every aspect of it not only shows a desire to change things up a bit, but to make sure all of those ideas actually work well together. If you like JRPGs and want something that isn't a port of a classic, this game should definitely be on your short list...

Back in September, we reported on the soft launch of Star Wars: Galactic Defense [Free]. Developed by the folks at DeNA, Galactic Defense is a freemium tower defense title complete with classic Star Wars heroes and locales to visit. While there’s a certain amount of fan service that makes Galactic Defense appealing on some level, the game’s actual execution leaves a lot to be desired...

There are lot of reasons developers might choose to put a game on mobiles, and plenty of them have nothing to do with the unique interface presented by the touch screen. Most of us have learned to deal with virtual buttons and such just fine, but it's always nice when a developer clearly designs their game around the hardware's natural input methods in an intuitive way. Splot [$1.99], a new platformer from the developers behind the Trine games, benefits greatly from its easy-to-understand control setup. Its controls work very well, and that should theoretically open the developer up to more challenging level designs, an element I think most platform fans can agree on. Unfortunately, Splot doesn't quite go as far as I'd like it in that regard, but it still ends up being a fun, content-rich game that will keep you busy for at least a few hours...

I applaud Simogo for continuing to challenge what mobile gaming should be, and for aiming to tell stories in a world where gameplay is such a heavy focus. The Sailor's Dream [$3.99] is Simogo's third-straight story-heavy game after the absolute masterpieces Year Walk [$3.99] and Device 6 [$3.99], which you should go play right now if you haven't yet. Where Device 6 was much more of an interactive novel with the occasional puzzle than Year Walk was, The Sailor's Dream eschews any challenge or practically any 'game' elements in order to just deliver a story-driven experience. I admit that just having a story disappointed me, as I perhaps was frantic to discover the mystery here, but I have to say – Simogo's made another must-play game, even if it wasn't the most satisfying to me...

Okay, so if you've been around the block a few times in the mobile or flash game scenes, you've almost certainly come across a time management game before. Going back as far as Activision's Pressure Cooker, this puzzle sub-genre typically requires you to match pieces of things just right while under a time limit. It's enjoyed a bit of a comeback in recent years thanks to games like Diner Dash [Free] and Cook, Serve, Delicious! [$4.99 (HD)], and you can find dozens if not hundreds of games in the genre on the App Store, covering a wide variety of jobs or tasks. The difficult thing, then, for a new time management game is to differentiate itself from the enormous pack. Twisty Hollow [$2.99] opts for a more abstract view of the action, and from there it finds a few tricks to call its own...

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