Category Archives: Reviews

'Spirits of Spring' Review - A Powerful, Cathartic Experience

Let me begin this review by lighting the "Experience Game" signal, just so that we're starting off with clarity. I've talked before about the distinction between games focused on mechanics and what I usually refer to as experience games, particularly in my review of Monument Valley [$3.99]. As you would probably expect from Minority Media, the developers behind PlayStation 3 game Papo & Yo, their new game fits firmly into the latter category. In Spirits Of Spring [$1.99], the mechanics exist only to serve the experience, so if you're mostly into mastering play mechanics, I guess this review was a short read for you. There are no fail states in this game, it's relatively brief in run-time, and you're never asked to do anything terribly difficult with the few abilities you have at your disposal. Those who enjoy games that focus on delivering an experience, on the other hand, will find something more than worth your time and money. It's a bittersweet exploration of bullying, from both sides of the fence, and though its hand is perhaps a little too heavy at times, I still found it to be a very precious journey...

Czech Games Edition's Galaxy Trucker [$7.99 (HD)] is out on iOS. This board game port has a lot more features than most, and has a solid sense of humor to help you endure the frozen wastes of the void. When I say a lot more features, I mean it. This board game doesn't just have online multiplayer and it doesn't just have AI opponents. Galaxy Trucker features a full on campaign mode on top of all that. This thing is so full-featured, I am certain that many people will pick it up and only realize later that this is based on a board game at all. Galaxy Trucker, the app, has very few things I can nitpick about it. Solid controls, clear visuals, the truckload o' features, and enjoyable gameplay are all on tap. Galaxy Trucker, the board game, does have some bits and pieces I don't enjoy very much, but I still can appreciate this fun, if flawed, game...

I've been even happier than usual with the recent releases from gamebook developer Tin Man Games. They've taken a couple of books that I enjoyed a great deal when I was younger and rather than simply present them faithfully as they typically do, they've shined them up into even better forms. The Complete Sagas Of Fire*Wolf [$9.99] represents a slightly different challenge, however. In my opinion, the original books that this release draws from are deeply flawed in a way none of the other books Tin Man have sourced for their adaptations are. They've made some serious improvements, but in the end, it's probably something that only the hardcore gamebook fans or people with nostalgia for Fire*Wolf ought to look into. Oh, and the asterisk stands for some kind of grunt that we can't make in our language. Basically, his parents were hippies...

Cosmophony [$1.99] is a rhythm-based tunnel shooter that is built to be challenging, with formations of obstacles to avoid throughout five levels, all set to an EDM soundtrack. The rhythm part is loose at best, but changes in the game do go along with changing sound cues. The problem is that the game is built around its challenge being through perfectionism. That, the only way to advance is by completing a very hard level in one life leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and limits what this game can do...

Personally, I'm always satisfied when I see a horror game make good on the sales charts these days. After hearing certain big companies insist that gamers weren't interested in scary games anymore, watching something like Five Nights At Freddy's [$2.99] go big makes me feel good because it affirms that, hey, there are lots of different kinds of people with lots of different kinds of tastes buying and playing games. I wish I liked it more, but those are the breaks, sometimes. ..

Cookie Clicker was one of my favorite games of 2013. Your objective was simple -- make more cookies. At first, you needed to click the screen occasionally to get more cookies. Eventually, you start accumulating them on your own and you don't really even need to click. Slowly but surely it evolves into a giant meta-game of cookie management and borders on a full-on simulation. It's the simplicity that makes it worth playing. Why am I mentioning all of this? Because Poor Gladiator [Free] for iOS has a similar scheme, and is a great way to relax on the go...

Adult Swim has a done a great job with its iOS titles and now, with the help of developer PikPok, they are taking on the Match-3 genre. Adventure Xpress [Free] continues the excellent off-beat motif of most Adult Swim titles with you taking the role of a mail courier in a fantasy setting. Meanwhile the Match-3 gameplay is a bit simplified, but has everything needed to offer an enjoyable experience (even with the freemium elements)...

'Banner Saga' Review - Story Driven Awesomeness

Stoic's June announcement is finally upon us. Banner Saga[$9.99] is now available on and designed for iPhone and iPad. This is one of those games that might just change preconceived notions about what mobile gaming is and isn't. The scope of this project should not be underestimated. Very rarely do we find an adventure with this much substance and depth even on one of those 'real' gaming platforms, but here we are. Unrestricted by cables or keyboards, Nothing is lost in translation from award winning PC title to this amazing iOS gem...

Snake is a timeless game. It was one of the first experiences I had on a portable device, and despite the fact that there was just one level (a giant square box), it provided endless hours of entertainment. It was a much simpler time, and that time is over. In the current era of gaming, it's expected that a snake game would have a load of bells and whistles, lest it fall short of providing something you haven't seen a million times in the past 20 years. The Jake and Finn skinned Treasure Fetch - Adventure Time [$2.99] differentiates itself somewhat, but falls into the same few trappings as the snake genre along the way...

'Turbo Dismount' Review - A Bang Up Good Time

Our forums are a great place to interact directly with game developers. In particular, the folks from Secret Exit have been peppering the discussion with insight into their latest release, Turbo Dismount [Free]. With more than just a subtle nod to their previous title Stair Dismount [Free], Secret Exit have iterated and improved their formula with a high octane kick of adrenaline. They have brought their in home calamity sim out into the street and over from a desktop version to our mobile platform...

I've hit a point where I think I'm kind of spent on Kairosoft's isometric build-a-whatever sims. It's one of their go-to variations, along with their isometric groom-a-whatever sims, and while I was completely caught up in Hot Springs Story [$4.99], the first of that type they released in English, I hit rock bottom somewhere around Pocket Harvest [$4.99]. They can throw whatever paint they want on it, and it's still fun if you haven't played the other dozen or so, but there's just too little variation beyond the themes. The groom-a-whatevers are at high risk of getting played out, too, and all without following up Game Dev Story [$4.99] properly on iOS. They've done a couple things outside those two types, such as the recent and interesting Kairobotica [$4.99], and one of my favorites from early on is Mega Mall Story [$3.99], a concept they could have easily milked but haven't yet...

Here at TouchArcade, we try to keep our eyes open for lesser-known treasures, since not every great game has a great marketing budget to go with it. I feel like we do a pretty good job of it, but sometimes, we do miss something interesting or cool. Star Saver [Free] assuredly qualifies as both of those things, and I'm sad to say that I don't think we're the only ones who missed it. This game is a huge Metroid-style action-adventure game that has elements of Kirby, Mario, and Knuckles Chaotix of all things woven into it. This is probably one of the longer games in this genre I've seen on iOS, and although it's not much of a looker and has a few rough spots, I think it's something any fan of the genre should at least check out...

'Tactics Maiden' Review - Now It's The Maiden's Turn

Let me cut right to the chase, for once. Tactics Maiden [Free], the latest strategy RPG from Mangobile, is basically the next game in the Kingturn RPG series. It's a new story in a new world, and there are some small differences in the gameplay systems that have a pretty big ripple effect in places, but it's very similar in most respects to the developer's previous games. As such, if you enjoyed any of the Kingturn games, you can safely dive into Tactics Maiden, confident that your money will be well-spent. If you tried those games and didn't like them, it's very unlikely you'll feel differently here. If you're not familiar with those games, you've got some reading ahead of you...

I don't mind free-to-play games, inherently. What I do mind are games whose monetization schemes are tilted against the player to the point that they severely impact the gamer. Thus we have Asphalt Overdrive [Free], a lane-based runner take on the venerable Asphalt racing series that's free-to-play, but definitely pay-to-progress, which is a shame, because it's good time when it's not trying to push upgrades or throwing in annoying wait timers...

'Air Supply - SOS' Review - Baa-ttle Of The Planets

I'd like you to imagine an alternate universe where Rare/Ultimate Play The Game's Spectrum classic Jetpac wasn't just a huge hit, but was so influential that developers were still doing their own spins and refinements on it for generations to come. I'd also like you to imagine that people in that world are obsessed with cute, fluffy sheep. In that dimension, something like the newest game in the Air Supply series from developer Quantum Sheep might seem somewhat pedestrian. In our reality, however, Air Supply - SOS [$1.99]'s action-packed twist on the Rare classic is pretty special. It occurs to me that I should clarify that this game has nothing to do with the band, since someone always asks...

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