Category Archives: Reviews

I love puzzle games. Lucky for me you can't swing a dead Pokemon in the App Store without hitting several dozen. Not all of them are good, of course, and many are shallow copies of much better games. There are enough good ones, however, to keep me entertained and seeking more. Those moments when I come across something really compelling and get that "oh cool" feeling make the search well worth the effort. Glowish [$1.99], a recently released pattern-recognition puzzler, definitely gave me that feeling...

I have always been extremely fascinated by the Victorian Period. Its aesthetics and 19th century industrial technology definitely allure me more than other periods of time. However, I am an even bigger sucker for Neo-Victorian (A.K.A Steampunk) aesthetics and its different technologies. I think they are a unique mixture of different aspects that you wouldn't initially imagine to be together. My choices in playing past games such as Dishonored and Bioshock Infinite were definitely influenced my my fascination with Victorian science fiction. These aforementioned personal fun-facts are why I absolutely had to try out Noblemen: 1896 [Free] by Foursaken Media...




'Darkest Dungeon' Review - Brave the Darkness for One of the Better RPGs on iPad

You've probably read headlines, and maybe even entire articles, about Darkest Dungeon [$4.99 (HD)]. There's been plenty of them. The game was officially released on Steam in early 2016 and has garnered all kinds of praise and game-of-the-year accolades. It also has a reputation for dishing out one heck of a beating to victory-seeking players. For every "this game is great" comment there seemed to be a couple "this game is impossible" disclaimers. Darkest Dungeon has built up quite the reputation for both excellence and challenge and those of us in the mobile crowd finally got our first crack at it with the recent release to iPad. Does Darkest Dungeon live up to the hype? Short answer: definitely, go buy it. For the long answer, read on...

A few years back, I reviewed an enjoyable puzzle game called Circix [Free]. In that game, you had to connect circuits in the correct fashion to get past each stage. Setting aside the theme, the core puzzle of the game was in thinking about how each node had to relate to its neighbors. Well, the developer behind that game recently released a new puzzle game called Taps [$1.99]. On the surface, it's completely different from the neon electronics theme of Circix, but it follows a similar idea of building its puzzles around logical relationships. Taps feels more polished, more unique, and more carefully thought-out than its predecessor, and it's just as devilishly challenging once it gets going...

SEGA is a company that has made its mark in multiple arenas, but perhaps none so much as the arcades. They took a little longer to get going than some of their fellow members of the arcade royalty, but by the mid-1980s they were starting to hit a stride that wouldn't slow until arcades themselves did. They achieved that through a variety of means. Sometimes it was pure technological spectacle. At other times, it was through clever gameplay innovations. But SEGA also knew how to recognize a good thing and make their own spin on it, a skill shared by all of the very best arcade game makers. The 1989 release of Golden Axe [Free] was a fine example of that, combining a few popular trends into one slick, enjoyable gaming experience...

Kemco is continuing their series of experiments with a familiar face this time around. Before 2017, the publisher generally only cranked out a near-monthly procession of JRPGs. They weren't identical to one another, but they were certainly similar in a lot of ways. This year, they've slowed down their release schedule on mobile a little and partnered up with some new developers to try to freshen things up. What Hadjane Says Goes! [$0.99] comes from Hit-Point, one of their old standby development studios, but it's not like any of their previous games. Instead of being a turn-based adventure across a medieval fantasy world, it's an action-RPG set in the depths of the underworld itself...

'STANDBY' Review- A Brutally Difficult Precision Platformer That's Tremendously Rewarding

As a child, my first forays into gaming involved me experiencing many platformers on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. I loved the difficulty and the learning-curve of certain platformers, such as Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario World, Earthworm Jim, and the Super Star Wars series. Sometimes I blow the dust out of my old cartridges and fire up my trusty Super Nintendo in order to take the games of my childhood for a nostalgic spin. I have no idea how I beat some of those games so quickly back when I was a child. They were pretty dang hard back then, and they still are now. Anyways, there have been many additions to the platforming genre on the App Store which continue to fuel my life-long love for them, and that includes the recently released STANDBY [$3.99] by HypeTrain Digital...

'Strike Team Hydra' Review - Trading Walking Guns for Regular Guns

Wave Light Games came virtually out of nowhere with the excellent tactical RPG Demon's Rise [$7.99] a couple of years ago. Perhaps more impressively, the small developer updated the game frequently, responding to player feedback to hammer out many of the game's dents and rough edges. All of that work paid off when Demon's Rise 2 [$7.99] was able to launch last year in a much more polished form than its predecessor. Naturally, that game got more than a few updates as well. One problem that sequel faced was that the original game was updated so often, the sequel had trouble distinguishing itself, an issue that likely would have afflicted a third Demon's Rise had that been Wave Light's next project...

'Bottom of the 9th' Review - Handelabra Knocks the Cover Off the Ball

Handelabra Games, known for their digital adaptation of the cooperative tabletop card game Sentinels of the Multiverse [$6.99], has a brand-new offering in the App Store. This time they've tackled the dice-rolling baseball game Bottom of the 9th [$4.99], yet another tabletop to digital transformation. As the name suggests, Bottom of the 9th focuses on the pivotal final half inning of a tied ball game. The scrappy, overachieving home team is surprised to find themselves on the doorstep of victory against the powerhouse visitors and are hoping to pull out a win by scoring a run. They know they had better do it in this half inning because they lack the steam to hang with the big boys in extra innings and would most certainly lose. It's baseball distilled to its central idea—the duel between pitcher and batter...

I kind of feel bad for the developers of Glyph Quest, We Heart Dragons. They've got a sound concept for their puzzle/RPG hybrid series, one with a satisfying amount of depth that nevertheless manages to be quite straightforward. The problem seems to be in finding the right balance of elements that allows them to make some money with the idea. After trying two player-friendly models and not getting great results, I guess I can't blame them for veering things hard in the free-to-play monetization direction. That's a tricky road to walk, however, and Glyph Quest Chronicles [Free] can't quite keep itself from stumbling into the ditch now and then...

In Cityglitch [$2.99], a new puzzle game in app stores now, the world is filled with haunted cities full of glitches—strange, irregular, and dangerous beings that torment the residents. It falls on a red-headed protagonist to fly through each city from rooftop to rooftop and light runes in order to conduct a magical ritual that will free each city from their glitches. Naturally you play as this protagonist and must solve a puzzle to light each rooftop rune. Each puzzle takes the form of a five-by-five grid. One or more of these spaces will be occupied by pink oblong circles which are the runes of that rooftop. When your protagonist steps on a rune it will light up becoming two oblong circles, one nested within another. Your goal is to light up all of the runes...

Egglia: Legend of the Redcap [$9.99] is an example of a game that betrays expectations to its own detriment. Because the development team consists of some key people who worked on Square's Mana series, the game's look and marketing might give you the impression it's a similar game. It's not. The game carries a relatively high price tag and no IAP, factors which usually point to a more traditional gaming experience, but Egglia also requires you to maintain an online connection and deal with a lot of timers and social RPG elements. On a fundamental level, you might look at the game's previews and screenshots and think you're getting something along the lines of a standard JRPG. But it's not that, either. Sadly, I think if you come into the game holding too strongly to any of these reasonable expectations, you're a lot less likely to enjoy the game for what it is. I suppose that's at least one major thing Egglia has in common with the average Mana game...

Taito is one of the most historically significant companies in gaming history, and that is almost entirely due to Space Invaders. The 1978 pioneer of shoot-em-ups kicked off a genuine worldwide craze, and Taito watched their coffers fill with cash hand over fist. Plenty of great games followed, but none would have the impact or financial success of Space Invaders. Taito helped create the arcade scene with that game's focus on achieving high scores. Sadly, the company never quite got the swing of making home games, and their relevance diminished right alongside the arcades they helped to build in the first place. They weren't even able to hold onto their crown in the shoot-em-up genre for very long, but to their credit, they kept right on swinging anyway...

'Nexomon' Review - Gotta Tame 'em All

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$2.99 Buy Now

How did my passion for mobile gaming start? My first dose of "mobile" gaming came from Pokemon Blue on the Gameboy Color. I can't tell you how many hours I feverishly poured into that game. I would play it for as long as my little AA batteries would last me. I loved being able to bring it with me on car trips or wherever I went. It is definitely one of my most precious gaming memories from when I was a kid. Now that I am an adult, I find myself seeking that nostalgic feeling of being a kid again, especially through playing games similar to those that I experienced in the past. That is why I regularly scour the App Store for modern games that resemble the games of my childhood, as well as why I decided to download Nexomon [$2.99] by LIME TURTLE, INC...

Before we get going with this review, let's address the elephant in the corner of the room: SEGA Forever. SEGA's latest attempt to bring its classics to iOS has had a bit of a rocky start thanks to a frankly lackluster Genesis emulator. SEGA got a lot of feedback from those initial releases and, to their credit, have been working hard trying to address the problems. Their latest release is Ristar [Free], and it comes with a new emulator build that shows significant improvement over previous ones. It's not perfect, mind you. While it greatly improves on the framerate and sound issues many have had with earlier releases, this version sometimes has some screen tearing. Nevertheless, it's a solid enough release that we feel it's worth reviewing this game largely on its own merits...

'Follow.trail' Review - Find  Your Trail to Victory and Fun

I'm a big fan of puzzle games. They are the perfect genre for quick play sessions on a phone while out and about or during brief stretches of downtime at work or at home. I'm constantly on the look-out for fun new titles to add to my collection for this very purpose and am pleased to be able to mention follow.trail [$2.99], a path-clearing puzzle game released just last week. In follow.trail your goal is simple: Eliminate a series of squares from a rectangular game board on your way to the exit. You do this by following a trail of dots, represented by what look like standard game dice with one, two, or three dots. Each time you land on a die you reduce the number of dots on that die by one. When all dots are gone the die disappears, leaving a blank space on the rectangular game board. Your path must move over all the dice in a level enough times to eliminate them on your way to the checkerboard die that serves as the exit for each level...

A node is a point at which lines come together or branch. It also drives the gameplay of new puzzle game noded [$0.99] by Pixel Envision Limited. In noded you're presented with a series of lines and nodes in a particular shape and given a target shape to replicate. You tap on the nodes to flip their associated lines in another direction and must figure out the right series of moves to morph into the correct final shape. The goal is to complete this transformation in as few moves as possible...

'Swim Out' Review - A Relaxing Poolside Puzzler

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August 11th, 2017 12:45 PM EST by Nick Vigdahl in $1.99, 4 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
$2.99 Buy Now

Summer is cruising along at a blistering pace isn't it? It's the speediest of all seasons to be sure and before long many of us will be left with wind chills and blankets of snow to continually clear and drive through, others will face sleet and gloomy skies. It's not over yet, though, and a new puzzle game is out to help conjure happier times once it is. Swim Out [$2.99] is a clever new puzzle game about a blue-capped swimmer looking to navigate their way through a great many high traffic pools...

'Fighting Fantasy Legends' Review - Nomad Successfully Passes their Skill Test

Given their importance both in RPG history and in the memories of many players, it's not surprising that Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson's Fighting Fantasy gamebooks have been adapted into many different kinds of video games over the years. Some of them simply did the obvious, turning the books into text adventures. More often than not, however, the developers would get creative, turning out everything from first-person action/adventure games to Tomb Raider knock-offs. As a fan of the books, I ended up trying out most of these games as they released, and I can say that the main thing they had in common was that they weren't very good at all. Then smartphones and tablets came along, and all of a sudden, Fighting Fantasy games found their feet. Fighting Fantasy Legends [$4.99] continues that bout of good fortune, offering an awesome new take on the classic gamebooks...

What comes to your mind when you hear the word "pigeon"? I don't know about you but I have always been told that they are "the rats of the sky". They can't be that bad, can they? Pigeons used to be pretty useful by delivering written messages back in the day. That fact has to make them a bit better than rats. Honestly, that's the only positive thing about pigeons that I can conjure up from my mind. Anyways, all of these thoughts flew through my brain as soon as I read the title of Pigeon Wings [$1.99] by Ignacio Schiefelbein...

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