Category Archives: Reviews

'NBA 2K15' Review - Technical Foul

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October 22nd, 2014 3:03 PM EST by Eric Ford in $7.99, 2.5 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Sports, Universal
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2K has been experimenting with sports games on the iOS for a while, with NBA 2K15 [$7.99] being its latest attempt to bring its 2K Sports brand to the platform. In some regards, 2K15 does a great job of bringing that experience to iOS, with a full featured Career Mode, great graphics, and a look and feel that excels beyond most of the iOS competition. Unfortunately, some significant technical issues remove a good deal of the enjoyment that should be had with the game...

We have seen a pretty big surge of board game ports recently, and I am loving the amount of developer support this genre has been garnering. Handelabra Studio released the latest of these ports recently with Sentinels of the Multiverse[$9.99 (HD)]. With an entire universe of lore,Sentinels seems like it could be a very strong platform to build expansions off of. Very rarely do we get to see a true co-op game that can challenge the competitive culture that has become a stigma for many would be gamers. I think it is important to point out, however, that lore and style are not the weak link of this board game. It is gameplay itself that has me concerned about the future of this franchise. ..

Say whatever else you will about Angry Birds [$0.99] creators Rovio, they know how to make fun, accessible games that have a lot of personality. There's no question that they've done just that, once again, in Angry Birds Transformers [Free]. It's not terribly deep, but it's enjoyable to play and its sense of humor is in exactly the right place, paying respect to the Transformers license while still gently poking fun at it. I walked away from Optimus and company a while back because sometimes it's not a good idea to revisit your childhood favorites, but playing this game brought back a lot of good memories for me. So, congratulations to Rovio, it's a nice game that uses its admittedly strangely-matched license well, and does so without retreading the default Angry Birds template, as tempting as that likely was...

When I'm reviewing games, the hardest to evaluate tend to be the ones that hit their core gameplay well but provide a small amount of content. Usually, they promise more to come in updates, and Tail Drift [$1.99] is no different in that regard, but most people who have been gaming on mobiles for a while know that promise isn't always one a developer can keep, so you can't count on that. At the moment, Tail Drift is a sweet piece of cotton candy. You pop it in your mouth, get a momentary hit of pleasure, and before you know it, it has dissolved. I think at the price it goes for, that's not really a raw deal, but there are so many games on the App Store that will offer you bigger bang for your buck, especially in the highly-competitive racing genre...

Did you ever play Super Hexagon [$2.99] and think, "this was too easy?" Well, congratulations, Superhyper [$1.99] is just the game you've been looking for, you masochist. It's got the gameplay of a lane-based endless runner, mixed with pretty much everything Super Hexagon was about, and drenched in hot sauce. This is a game so challenging, it may be weeks before anyone unlocks its ultimate difficulty level. It's fair but downright cruel, the kind of game that's worth playing again and again just to prove it wrong...

Reckless Racing 3 [$2.99] delivers a style of racing that honestly is reckless, with the loose-controlling cars making perilous turns and drifting around, rubbing paint and just generally making a mess of the proceedings. This has been the series' modus operandi, and it does its job very well, at being a chaotic racing game that's easy to pick up but always hard to control, by design...

To a great degree, I applaud Electronic Super Joy: Groove City [$4.99] for managing to bring a challenging trial platformer from PC to iOS without much compromise. It's a game that will test players, but thanks to its simple control scheme, it winds up being a great fit on iOS. It's perhaps more built for replayability than completion, as the dozen-or-so levels are far more rewarding to those trying to complete them quickly and with as much collectibles as possible, but there's still a lot to like for those who like to be tested...

Do you love Sony's Fat Princess, the downloadable title on PlayStation 3? If so, you are not the target of Sony's latest mobile release, Fat Princess: Piece of Cake [Free]. Rather, this game, like many of Sony's mobile efforts thus far, seems to be more of a promotional tool to pull in people unfamiliar with the franchise. Not only does the gameplay have very little in common with the unique gameplay of the main title, but one of the interesting hooks of this app is the ability to win a code for a free copy of the original Fat Princess for PS3. It's sort of fascinating watching Sony figuring out how they want to incorporate mobile into their overall gaming strategy. I can't say it's yielding the fruits some would hope for, but I at least applaud them for giving it a try, and at the very least, you can't say that they aren't paying attention to what sells in the mobile market...

'Helix' Review - Let it Surround You

868-HACK [$5.99] creator Michael Brough is doing for the arena survival genre with Helix [$2.99] what he did for the roguelike with 868-HACK: take an existing genre and own it with his own style. This is an arcade game that's got great art, great controls, intriguing gameplay, and even a few secrets to try and dig up, that make this worth checking out if you love arcade games...

'Crimsonland HD' Review - Can't Beat The Real Thing

It's fun to think back to the launch of the Xbox 360 in 2005, when out of all the possible choices for a breakout early hit, the one that most gamers flocked to was the humble Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. Starting as an in-house test demo, it's still amazing to me that this little game not only carried a console through the dry launch period all hardware suffers from, but also dragged a sub-genre back into viability, where it still sits to this day. Suddenly, twin-stick shooters were popular and prolific in a way they perhaps never were before. Mobiles have particularly enjoyed the fruits of that success, with a load of great twin-stick shooters already and more releasing all the time. But although the genre was fairly quiet in the years prior to Geometry Wars, like any dormant genre, it wasn't completely dead. One particular standout was 2003's Crimsonland [Free], an early effort from a name many iOS gamers know quite well, 10tons Entertainment...

Back in September, we previewed Hail to the King; Deathbat, an action hack n’ slash from Subscience Studios. Based on the ‘mascot’ of Avenged Sevenfold, Deathbat would be an interesting enough game simply from that premise, as it does a great job of portraying its dark world. Thankfully, Deathbat is also a good addition to the genre, offering a solid gameplay experience that doesn’t particularly excel but hits all the right marks...

'Skullduggery!' Review - Collecting Taxes via Brain Flinging

Clutch Play is headed back to mobile with their sophomore title, Skullduggery [$4.99]. No bones about it, this game is a head turner. You can find platformers of all shapes and sizes on iOS but this one is the head of its class. Just looking at the graphics(and my amazingly funny jokes), you can probably already guess there are plenty of head and brain puns to be found in this app. What you find underneath, however, is a really great game...

'Zombie Highway 2' Review - The Fun Never Stops

Free-to-play gets a bad rap among a lot of serious mobile gamers, and often for good reason: there are many games which devolve and infantilize their design because it's more profitable to do so. But not Zombie Highway 2 [Free]. This is a free-to-play game that features many of the trappings of the business model, two-tier currencies, and incentivized video ads, but it makes them feel optional, and doesn't get in the way of being a fun, zombie-splattering good time...

Over the years, I feel like I've developed a pretty good nose for my own tastes. Usually just from reading a brief outline and seeing a few screens, I can at least figure out in ballpark terms how well I'll like a game, and it's rare for a game to fall outside of those admittedly broad estimates. Surprises come in two flavors, then. Sometimes a game I don't expect to like much turns out to be totally up my alley, like SEGA's Yakuza, and other times, a game that I think looks great just doesn't click for me at all. Unfortunately, Card Dungeon [$3.99], a game that initially appears to have a great deal in common with the PC game Card Hunter, is an example of the latter. It's a roguelike with an interesting hook and a great visual style reminiscent of a board game, and while I could list off a lot of things I think it does very well, it never manages to come together into something I can truly enjoy...

As a developer, if you're going to wade neck-deep into a crowded genre, especially one in a very crowded marketplace in general, you have to have some kind of means of standing out from the crowd. When it comes to side-scrolling running games, it's getting harder and harder to find something that can actually accomplish that job. Jack B. Nimble [$1.99], from developer Sean Noonan, opts to take the approach of a double-barreled appeal to nostalgia, with graphics that look like they came off a torqued-up Game Boy and a theme that will be instantly recognizable to Castlevania fans. It's got an interestingly familiar cadence to it that I don't see very often in this kind of game, and it will certainly have strong appeal for those who appreciate streamlined runners like Canabalt [$2.99] or Boson X [$2.99]...

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