Category Archives: Reviews

Mobile has perhaps been lacking the great Spelunky-like game that could at least imitate one of the best indie games of all time while being something you can play on the toilet while at work. Orangepixel steps up to the plate with Meganoid 2017 [$2.99], the nebulously-named reboot/sequel to one of the solo developer's earliest works. Where the original Meganoid games, both Meganoid 1 [$1.99] and Meganoid 2 [$1.99], were more challenge platformers, Meganoid 2017 is a procedurally-generated platform that takes a lot of cues from Spelunky. Exploring the Meganoid spaceship, you have nothing but your platforming wits, some explosive charges, and whatever you find as you venture further into the spaceship, taking on a different layout when you die, and you will die a lot. Spelunky 2017 had a rather rapid development time, and while it gets the core gist of the Spelunky formula right, and does some rather cool things, the game suffers from its short development time, leading to a lack of variation in level designs. Also, the game just doesn't have the tight platformer feel necessary for what the demanding difficulty requires to give the player a good shot at succeeding...

'Ellie & Max' Review - Some Doggone Perspective

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April 5th, 2017 10:23 AM EDT by Chris Carter in $1.99, 4 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews
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I don't know what it is about a companion gimmick that makes me so invested. I mean most of the time you're usually controlling both as a single entity, so it's not like you have much attachment to either side of the equation directly, but the concept of going into something with a partner is inherently less stressful. Take something like Banjo Kazooie (or the more recent Yooka-Laylee), as you're generally controlling the former, and the latter merely acts as a power-up -- just the notion that you're not alone is enough to bring a smile to my face. Ellie & Max [$3.99] isn't quite as iconic of a pairing as the aforementioned mascots, but I got somewhat attached by the time I reached the final curtain call...




Sometimes I see people share negative reviews of Steam games that have massive playtimes on them. They're shared in a context of this being ridiculous, that implies that the person with the negative review doesn't know quite what they want. And the people who share these seeming contradictions are often rather progressive people, sharing a rather ironically regressive view. It's a more complicated question than both parties realize. The negative reviewer perhaps should question whether the journey was worth it. But also, the critic should question just why they think it's hypocritical. Is it possible that people enjoy certain parts of experiences, but other parts become too grating over time? That, if they had the choice to take those hours back, they would have spent them differently knowing the end result? Or were the hours getting to that point worth it, even if the end was sour? This is a philosophical dilemma that deserves greater inquiry. I bring it up because I find myself quite conflicted with MLB Manager 2017 [$4.99]. It's another solid baseball simulator, but as a major baseball nerd, I find myself frustrated by so many of the little things that this game continues to not get right. Yet, I find myself more hooked on this game than perhaps any other that I come across...

'Kami 2' Review - 2 Kami 2 Furious

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March 31st, 2017 10:00 AM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in 3.5 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews
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Say what you will about other aspects of gaming, but one area where mobile games can frequently go toe-to-toe with those on other platforms is in their style. Games like Monument Valley [$3.99], Sword and Sworcery [$3.99], and Prune [$3.99] are as much about taking the player on an audio-visual journey as they are about pushing their gameplay mechanics. 2013 puzzle game Kami [$2.99] might not be as famous as some of those games, but it's certainly done well enough for itself. It has made the jump to multiple platforms and now has a sequel to call its own. Unfortunately, Kami 2 [Free] runs into a lot of the same troubles that puzzle game sequels usually do, and with much of the novelty of its gimmick worn off, its fundamental issues shine through a little too brightly...

'Krosmaga' Review - Fun Cards and Clever Ideas Make for an Entertaining CCG/Tower Defense Blend

"Another CCG?" That's pretty much the reaction I see every time I write about a new mobile CCG, and to a degree I understand why; CCGs seem to be one of the favorite genre of App Store developers. However, not all CCGs play the same or offer the same kind of experience, and Krosmaga [Free], the CCG from developer Ankama, definitely feels different enough from CCGs like Hearthstone [Free] and Shadowverse [Free] to warrant a closer look from those looking for a different kind of CCG. Krosmaga is still all about collecting cards, constructing decks, and playing the right card at the right time as you try to defeat your AI or human opponent, but there are very important differences, which I'll talk about below. There's plenty of fun to be had with Krosmaga and plenty of content to go through, but if you don't like randomness in your card games and are looking for a card game all about skill, I suggest you look elsewhere...

To tell the truth, I've put off playing Versus: The Elite Trials [$3.99] for a while. I didn't particularly enjoy The Hero Project: Redemption Season [$4.99], the last gamebook from author Zachary Sergi, and I was worried that I had completely forgotten where the story left off at the end of Versus: The Lost Ones [$3.99]. That gamebook, which you should definitely play before getting into this one, was something of an information dump. There were too many characters to keep track of, lots of world-building, and a plot that threatened to branch off in some truly confusing directions. With more than a year passing since playing the first chapter of Versus and now, I wasn't confident that I remembered anything from it anymore and wasn't looking forward to having to refresh myself. I kept shuffling The Elite Trials to the back of my to-do list, and now that I've finished it, I feel pretty silly about doing that...

'Death Road to Canada' Review - A Dog, Anime Magical Girl, and A Farting Man Enter a Bar...

I think you could make a strong argument that Rocketcat Games is the greatest developer in the history of mobile games. No studio has quite the collection of masterpieces that they do. Go on and look it up, their worst title is Five Card Quest [$2.99] and even that isn't so bad. Madgarden, meanwhile, has the strongest collection of unreleased titles perhaps out there, but when he releases something, it tends to be great. See their previous collaboration Punch Quest [Free], which is still brilliant and so unlike everything else on the App Store. In fact, that's the problem: these folks make games that are such pinnacles of what they do that nobody else can even come close. So, perhaps you might think Death Road to Canada [$9.99] off the bat seems a bit weird for them to do. After all, it's a zombie survival game. There's a ton of them. But that would be short-sighted: Death Road to Canada is another masterpiece from a partnership that keeps cranking out the hits...

Developer Zach Gage has a knack for putting together simple, accessible games that you can play for hours on end. He's been involved in a number of high-profile iOS games, but one of his earlier hits was the word game SpellTower [$2.99]. That was one of those games that seemed to transcend the usual crowd that played mobile games, appearing on the devices of the most unlikely of people. And why not? Word games play well with a large audience for a variety of reasons, and SpellTower was a very good one. Gage is back at the genre with TypeShift [Free] , but I can't help but feel this is aimed at a very different sort of player. It's an attractive game with an enjoyable primary mechanic, but there are a few things that keep it from reaching the heights of Gage's previous tower...

I'll give this to Capcom, they sure picked an unusual bunch for their latest mobile initiative. Given the original game's importance in Capcom's history, 1942 Mobile [$1.99] made a certain amount of sense. It was their first big hit, and shooters tend to play well with the mobile audience. Ghosts 'n Goblins [$1.99] is certainly a significant game but it wouldn't be my first choice to adapt to touch controls. Capcom disagreed enough that the next game in the series is Ghouls 'n Ghosts Mobile. The meat in that Arthur sandwich, however, might be the oddest choice of the lot. Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando Mobile [$1.99] is a technically-sound port of the game once known outside of Japan simply as Commando. It was a decent hit in its time, and it's certainly an influential game, but it manages to suffer from the negative points of both prior Capcom Mobile ports...

For all of the interesting themes that can be found in the published works of Choice of Games, one of the more common ones is that of war. I suppose that's no different from a lot of forms of entertainment, but it does start to feel like I'm re-living Disney's Mulan over and over again. Somehow a plucky (and usually lowly) hero manages to upset the certainly-evil invading bad guys almost entirely on their own, and usually gets a smooch or two along the way before being declared the best person that ever was. Yes, I'm over-simplifying, but it's only because this premise is starting to get a little weary. I had hoped Runt of the Litter [$3.99] would put a new spin on the theme, with its central conceit being that you need to raise and train a war gryphon. Indeed, it does play out differently than I would have guessed, but it's hard to say if that's for the better or the worse...

'Golf Zero' Review - Jump and Shoot

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March 23rd, 2017 11:15 AM EDT by Chris Carter in 4.5 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Sports, Universal
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I learned golf from the NES, and the SNES changed my perception of how far the concept could go. One of the most engrossing games I've ever played was Kirby's Dream Course on the Super Nintendo. I waltzed right into a Blockbuster Video one day and picked it up just because of the cover, and three days later I wasn't ready to return it...

'Card Thief' Review - It Eventually Stole My Heart

Tinytouchtales and artist Mexer reunite to make Card Thief [$1.99], a solitaire card game that is a follow-up to Card Crawl [$2.99]. Instead of being a dungeon crawler, this is about stealth, with a card system. You move your thief card around the board in any direction, dealing with traps, enemies, torches, and items that pop up. Your objective is to clear out cards to get through the deck, eventually picking up the treasure chest that gets on the board, and escaping when you've gotten through the deck. While there's actually an unlimited number of cards, the deck has certain milestones that pop up throughout your session. The thing is that where Card Crawl definitely added in some new elements after launch that added some depth and complexities to the experience, it's a much simpler game than what Card Thief is conceptually. For example, I went back to Card Crawl after a long time not playing (I have too many games on my phone...and iPad), and after a little bit of reacquainting myself, the game made sense. On the other hand, Card Thief off the bat is a more esoteric experience. It has its own rules, and a number of systems and card types that all interact with each other in ways that you probably won't understand right away. In fact, it plays fast and loose with the whole 'cards' concept to begin with. It could have just been a stealth action game without the card concept, I imagine. But the thing I found is that after a few sessions of not knowing what I was doing, the more I played, the more Card Thief clicked with me. And when it clicks, it's an amazing game...

There's something about a first-person dungeon crawler that just pulls me in and tugs at my brain. They're a nice contrast from the more talkative RPGs, which often involve intricate stories with large casts of characters. A dungeon crawling RPG will generally have a handful of NPCs, if that. Most of the time, it's just you and a big dungeon that you have to conquer one small piece at a time. Filling out a map, watching the floor count go up, raising your party to the point that earlier challenges are trivial, and finding hidden secrets are about as straightforward as markers of progress get, but somehow it still works for me every time. Whether or not you get into Crescent Moon's latest publishing effort, The Deep Paths [$3.99], is going to depend on whether you share that particular quirk with me or not. It's not the sort of game that is going to convince anyone who isn't already predisposed, but those who like to live their gaming life one uniform-length step at a time should be satisfied...

Like anyone who has been playing games for any length of time, I've seen so many endings that they barely even register in my memory anymore. But I distinctly remember the Saturday one summer in high school when I finally finished Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts. My friend owned the game, and I had dabbled with the game here and there over the couple of years leading up to that moment thanks to the occasional loan. It was something I had originally written off as being too frustrating to care about, but I was staying at my buddy's house that weekend and he was out for the day. Lacking other options, I sat down and played through the whole thing (twice). It's an incredibly difficult game even for its era, but there's a certain rhythm to it that will carry you through once you learn it. And to be perfectly honest, it's probably the easiest game in the series that started with 1985's Ghosts 'n Goblins...

'The Big Journey' Review - This Platformer is Near Purrfect

Folks, we’re in the middle of something of a feline renaissance of late, what with the recent release of an amazing kitten rhythm title and the future release of an RPG that lets you play as a cat (among other games). Meanwhile, The Big Journey  [$1.99] from Catfishbox and Armor Games is the latest platformer starring a cast of cuddly fat cats.Thankfully, The Big Journey does justice to our cat overlords with an excellent soundtrack, gorgeous visuals and gameplay that offers something for every type of gamer...

While the last open-world puzzle adventure I reviewed had the torches and pitchforks out for me, I do love the concept of like, a Metroidvania style puzzle-adventure. Take Pan-Pan [$3.99], a weird little game that has you crash-landing on a strange planet. The parts of your ship that can be used by your crew to repair your jalopy and get back into flying are scattered all about. So, you have to set out and discover just what's going on, solving weird puzzles along the way in an open world. It's a game that is rather charming, and can be a bit frustrating due to some design decisions, but it's a fun experience to check out...

I must have played billiards a hundred times as a kid before I truly understood what it was about. The mathematical calculations that go into each shot, the finesse and nuance involved, it blew past me while I was hitting a fun looking ball with a stick. Like a lot of sports the finer points were actually taught to me by way of video games, which highlighted the trajectory of the cue and where it would bank. It was an enlightening experience for sure, and one that I would apply to countless amounts of real life and digital games over the course of my lifetime.Incidence [$1.99] might look artsy, but at its heart it's basically a fancy version of pool or mini golf...

My big beef with Capcom, as a mobile fan, is that I never really know what level of effort to expect from them. I consider them responsible for some of the finest ports to iOS (Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies) and some of the worst (Mega Man Mobile, Mega Man X). Since the games they choose to port are selected from their excellent library of classics, it's hard not to get excited when they announce something new is coming. But somewhere in the back of my brain, I worry that we're going to end up with another unreasonably poor effort. Such was the case when Capcom recently announced that they would be bringing four of their arcade classics to the platform. Well, the first one is here, and I'm happy to say that we got the good Capcom this time. While it's not perfect, 1942 Mobile [$1.99] is a very good re-creation of Capcom's classic vertical shoot-em-up, with all that implies...

Okay, not quite all of them. That honor goes to Enter the Gungeon (SUCH A GOOD GAME), but it doesn’t take long to see what the primary inspiration for this game probably was. If you’re into the roguelike offerings of Nuclear Throne or Enter the Gungeon, this mobile game was made just for you. It’s solid to the core, and while it somewhat ironically lacks a soul or identity of its own, it revels in tossing pretext aside and getting to the action. Most importantly, especially for a lot of people who read this site, the economy is a glorious, unobtrusive, generous, beautiful thing. *wipes away tear* This is Soul Knight [Free]...

Did you guys know that they’re making a movie about the Rampage video game franchise starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson!? I am super pumped for that. Shame it shares a title with an Uwe Boll franchise. I learned this piece of recent news researching for the game in this review. I grew up playing the Playstation/N64 Rampage games, World Tour and Universal Tour. I loved them as a kid and am rocking some rose-tinted glasses as far as they’re concerned. It’s been over a decade since we’ve had a proper Rampage entry, and that realization fills me with sadness, but there have been several mobile games inspired by Rampage specifically or kaiju city destruction in general. MonstroCity: Rampage! [Free] decided to put it as the freaking subtitle...

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