Category Archives: Reviews

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...

Soccer Physics [$1.99] is a dumb game and I mean that in the most loving way possible. This is the latest from the creator of Wrestle Jump [$1.99] and Tank of Tanks [$1.99 (HD)], Otto-Ville Ojala. It's a 2-on-2 soccer game where players have only cursory amounts of control over their players by timing their jumps, with balls, goals, and fields that are randomized for each round. First to score five goals wins. There's a lot of wacky stuff that happens because the game is so innately chaotic – and that's what makes it so compelling...

'80 Days' Review - This Adventure Is More Than Just Hot Air

If it's not enough that developers inkle turned gamebooks on their heads with their wonderfully creative adaptation of Steve Jackson's Sorcery! [$4.99], they're now trying to out-adventure Jules Verne in his own story. 80 Days [$4.99], based on the classic Verne novel Around The World In 80 Days, takes the nearly-perfect premise of the book and uses it as a launching point for one of the most interesting tales I've come across in the interactive fiction genre. This isn't the kind of game that is going to get people to cross lines if they don't like this genre, but if you do, 80 Days is pretty much a must-have thanks to its sharp writing and incredible replay value...

Compared to other popular licensed characters, the Ninja Turtles have had it pretty good in the video game industry. Their first game from Konami is well-remembered if not necessarily loved, though at the very least it taught many an elementary school kid that turtles can't breathe underwater. After that slight misfire, it didn't take long for Konami to put the TMNT into a few of the most beloved belt-scrolling beat-em-ups of all-time, along with a couple of less-successful one-on-one fighters. After their initial popularity waned and the license left Konami, the Ninja Turtles have had a handful of decent, if not spectacular, outings based on their various revivals, most recently seen on iOS in TMNT: Rooftop Run [$3.99]. Sure, their star may have faded over the years, but they headlined two games that are still considered among the best in their genre, something you can't say for those smug Power Rangers...

You really have to hand it to The King of Fighters series. Not only has it survived through 20 years and more than one company sale, it's actually seen fairly regular releases throughout that span, proving to be just as prolific, if not more so, than its more well-known competitors. It also has long roots on handhelds, with semi-regular handheld versions dating all the way back to the second installment, King of Fighters '95. I feel like the series has never quite gotten its due from the general public, but it enjoys a strong reputation among fighting game fans, and The King of Fighters '98 [$0.99] is arguably the best of the bunch...

Dragon Raiders [$0.99] is not your typical endless runner. It may seem like Temple Run [Free] with dragons on the surface, but what lies beneath is a clever game with a bit more to it...

As a medium moves forward, it's often the case that things that were important and indeed integral in its early days become obsolete or out of vogue. I've talked about this a bit before with regards to shoot-em-ups, adventure games, and belt-scrolling beat-em-ups, but one genre I haven't mentioned yet perhaps represents some of the earliest and most important roots of the hobby of electronic gaming. Chances are, if you're old enough, you've got memories connected with light gun shooters in some form or another. Both in the arcades and at home, light gun games enjoyed quite a long period of popularity, possibly because of how straightforward they are to understand. At their core, you just have to point and shoot, and although new elements were added over time like reloading, choosing different routes through stages, and using cover, they've always been something you can easily pick up and play...

'Traps N' Gemstones' Review - An Excellent Metroid-Style Indy Game

I hope no one takes this the wrong way, but Traps n' Gemstones [$4.99] isn't exactly the kind of game I've come to expect from prolific mobile developers Donut Games. Don't get me wrong, their games have a very consistent quality to them, and like their namesake, there isn't really a bad one in the bunch. Still, in the past, they've tended to put together highly-focused gameplay experiences, often building a game around mastery of a single concept, whether it be cutting grass, flinging monkeys, or batting a ball between cats. Short little score-attack affairs, for the most part, have been the bread and butter of Donut Games, and they've found a lot of success with that type of game...

Zombie Commando [$3.99] is the rare premium game without in-app purchases that I think would actually be better if it had them, because with the current structure, it's grinding or nothing. Zombie Commando's premise is like many more before it: kill wave upon wave of zombies. This time, players control an entire team of zombie killers, all at once, across fifty missions...

'Modern Combat 5: Blackout' Multiplayer Review - A New Standard in iOS FPS MP

Gameloft’s Modern Combat series, like the Call of Duty’s and Battlefields before it, is usually a tale of two games. On the single player side, an action-packed (and typically short) adventure with a fantastical story typified the experience while multiplayer is a fast-paced endeavor with plenty of fragging accompanied with some sort of progression system. Modern Combat 5: Blackout [$6.99] fits the bill on the single player side (as evidence by our review), but does a great job expanding the series beyond what’s typically been expected on mobile on the multiplayer side. In fact, when it comes to multiplayer FPS titles on iOS, at this point there’s MC5, and there’s everything else...

Adventure games are currently enjoying a renaissance after a long period of dormancy. Telltale's dialogue-heavy episodic games are enjoying excellent sales and general critical acclaim, Kickstarter's main legacy in gaming may well end up being dragging many veteran adventure game designers back out for another game, the PC market just might be the strongest it's ever been, and touch interfaces have proven to be a natural second home for point and click-style games. It's an interesting situation for this latest version of Secret Files: Tunguska [$4.99] to release into, a game which has a history of arriving in slightly drier climates. Originally released in 2006 for PC with ports a couple of years later on Nintendo's DS and Wii systems, Secret Files has been fairly successful at taking advantage of a lack of competition, something that obviously isn't the case on iOS...

You might recall that with The Walking Dead: Season One [Free], we did something of an unorthodox review due to the episodic nature of the game. There was a basic overview that was appended to with a review of each episode as they released, with the score adjusting appropriately. As it worked pretty well last time, we'll be doing the same thing here. I'll do my best to avoid any serious spoilers for the current season, but I'm going to talk frankly about the first season, so if you haven't finished it yet, consider yourself warned about possible spoilers...

'Modern Combat 5: Blackout' Single Player Review - Blurring the Lines Between Single and Multiplayer

After months of news, teaser trailers, and hands-on previews, Gameloft’s latest entry in its first-person shooter series is finally here. As was the case with MC4, there’s a lot to look it with this latest sequel, so this first part of the review focuses primarily on the single player campaign and underlying gameplay mechanics. In that regard, Modern Combat 5: Blackout [$6.99] is an excellent sequel that makes some dramatic improvements to said mechanics while keeping the actual FPS action mostly unchanged...

In my review of the game based on Thor: The Dark World [Free], I remarked about how, as a child, I never would have expected Thor of all characters to become a major media star for Marvel. There are always bigger miracles, however. I remember flipping through the pages of a Marvel Handbook when I was in elementary school and coming across Rocket Raccoon. It was my first time seeing him, and to my eyes, he looked stupid. Not just The Shocker-stupid, but genuine, unadulterated Razorback-level stupid. He was the kind of character who you would only see in a Marvel Handbook, with a handful of appearances to his name, doomed to disappear entirely for 15 years of publications. Several years ago, he and many other somewhat forgotten members of Cosmic Marvel returned as a new Guardians of the Galaxy team, in an effort to revamp that part of the Marvel Universe. It was so successful, they've got a live action movie coming out next week, and with it, their very own game. Now, that's improbable...

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