Category Archives: Reviews

Don't judge a book by its cover, or a game by its title, they say, and in this case, they are correct because even though Wars and Battles: October War 1973 [$6.99 (HD)] might win the award for the most self-evident and slightly uninteresting title ever, the game hiding underneath that title is an interesting strategy game that covers a conflict rarely visited by wargames. ..

'Million Arthur' Review - A Rusty Blade

StarStarNoneNoneNone
July 24th, 2015 12:45 PM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in 2 stars, Card, Free, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Role-Playing
Free Buy Now

Although it's a new arrival in most of the world, Million Arthur [Free] is a relatively old game in a very young sub-genre. In Japan, it arrived mere months after the release of Puzzle & Dragons [Free], and while its story and production values made it a cross-media hit in its home country, the gameplay feels it's from another era. The best analogy I can make is to go back to the early days of first-person shooters. Developer id Software had released their breakout hit Wolfenstein 3D [$1.99] through publisher Apogee, but were going it alone for their next title. Apogee created a new game called Blake Stone that was built on Wolf 3D's skeleton, offering greater interactivity and a more open structure. It was a fine evolution of the gameplay established in Wolf 3D. The only problem was, the week after Blake Stone released, id Software released Doom [$4.99], and suddenly the whole tea table was up-ended. Million Arthur is Blake Stone, but for social RPGs, and outside of Japan, it's not releasing in the same window as its assassin, but years later...




'Warhammer 40K: Deathwatch - Tyranid Invasion' Review - Glorious Space Hunters

Rodeo Games has a niche, and they're getting better and better at satisfying it with each new release. Their last game was a fairly well-received conversion of the classic Warhammer Quest [$4.99] board game, and their newest release is another Warhammer-themed turn-based strategy game. Of course, before all of that, Rodeo Games made their name with their excellent Hunters series of turn-based strategy games, and its from those roots that Warhammer 40K: Deathwatch [$4.99] draws most strongly from. This is basically Hunters 3, albeit with a Warhammer 40K skin. Some might frame that as a negative, but it's been a few years since the last Hunters game. I'm more than willing to entertain a sequel at this point, especially one as high-quality as Deathwatch...

TinyBuild's Divide by Sheep [$2.99] is a game that I first saw back at PAX South, and it left an indelible mark on me. This was thanks not just to its cute-yet-macabre theme, but also because its puzzles were clever, and did a lot to add joy to what is otherwise a casual-friendly math puzzler. Not that there's anything wrong with being a casual-friendly game, but it's tough for those games to stand out. I do wonder just how much Divide by Sheep suffers for trying to be a game for gamers, though: it feels like it sits in this odd middle ground between being a game that's a casual-friendly math puzzler, but with a deceptive theme. And I worry too many people will see the sheep and bright colors and maybe pass this fun game over. Though, if you're reading this, you should not, it's fun...

'Down the Mountain' Review - Crossy*bert?

StarStarStarStarNone
Free Buy Now

Just make Crossy Road [Free]. It’s easy! All you need to do is take a classic video game from the 80’s, give it a cheerful, vaguely Minecraft-ian art style, load it with cute characters to collect, and park your car in the garage so the driveway is clear for all the dump trucks full of money. Of course, in reality things aren’t quite that easy. I mean, I don’t think anyone is entirely sure why Crossy Road was such a huge success considering the sheer volume of other fun little time wasters there are on the App Store. Why Flappy Bird, for that matter? Why Temple Run [Free]? Why Doodle Jump [$0.99]?..

'The Mesh' Review - I Believe In Numerals, You Hexy Thing

StarStarStarStarNone
July 23rd, 2015 2:45 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $1.99, 4 stars, Games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
$1.99 Buy Now

In The Mesh [$1.99] by Creatiu Lab you play as a mad king who believes he rules over an ever-changing land of whole numbers. In the middle of the game board is a white tile which represents the most ideal House, and your goal as ruler is to combine the number tiles to the North and South so they add up to the white one. If you fail, the remaining numbers will revolt and destroy sections of your kingdom, bringing you and your people ever closer to a gruesome demise...

As a critic, you almost always inevitably face a response to your criticisms somewhere in the neighborhood of ‘Well let’s see you do better!’ As if one must first master an art rather than be a knowledgeable and experienced consumer of it to have valid criticism. You especially see these comments thrown at highly negative critics, probably along with a Molotov cocktail and a screaming honey badger. It’s pretty rare for those critics to reply simply with ‘OK, why not!?’ as Ben ‘Yahtzee’ Croshaw has done with his first ever mobile game, Hatfall [$1.99]...

There really aren't enough expansive RPGs or dungeon crawlers on the mobile platform. It's a pretty hard pair of genres to translate, but the ones that do shine on mobile are perfect for quick "pick up and play" sessions. That's basically where Exsilium [Free] stands, and although it doesn't do a whole lot more than your average top-down action game, it's a free affair that is easy to get into...

Illusion Labs is easily one of my very favorite developers, with their trademark colorfully cute 3D visuals and long tradition of taking familiar genres and mixing them up with clever controls and unique gameplay mechanics. Sway [$4.99] was among the first games I ever bought on my iPhone, and I’d argue that Touchgrind Skate 2 [$4.99] is one of the best skateboarding games on any platform. Even their dinky little kart racer Rocket Cars [Free] stole my heart recently, and it’s one of the few free-to-play games that I actually 100%’d...

'Cally's Caves 3' Review - Cally Powers Up Yet Again

Going back and playing the first Cally's Caves game, it's stunning how far this series has come in such a short span of time. While the core action gameplay is solid, just about everything else in the game looks and feels, well, like the small indie game that it is. Cally's Caves 2 [Free] upped the ante significantly, not just in terms of presentation but also in gameplay mechanics, adding a compelling Ratchet & Clank-style weapon upgrade system and smoothing out the overall difficulty. A quick glance at Cally's Caves 3 [Free] would make you think you're getting more of the same from the second game, but although the game may not appear all that different at first, I'm going to go as far as to say that this third game represents almost as significant a leap over Cally's Caves 2 as that game had made over the original...

'Puzzle Sweeper' Review - I'm Only Sweeping

StarStarStarStarNone
July 20th, 2015 1:30 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $1.99, 3.5 stars, Games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
$1.99 Buy Now

There are a number of ancient iOS games I’d just about kill to have updated to make them compatible with current iPhones and iPads. Chief among them is a criminally underrated minesweeper clone called Mines In Space [$1.99]. It’s so old that the Touch Arcade “review” was written by Arn himself, way back in 2008. It was incredibly fun, looked great (for the time), and had several different modes that were absolutely brilliant twists on Minesweeper. It was also, unfortunately, completely broken by the time I upgraded to an iPhone 5...

Old genres rarely die, they just often end up evolving into something a bit different. That's certainly the case with beat-em-ups, a genre which reached its height in the 16-bit era only to almost completely vanish in the following generation. That happened for many reasons, including market saturation, the popularity of one-on-one fighters eating the genre's lunch, an overall lack of innovation, and the 3D nature of the gameplay meaning it got precious little boost from the shift into polygons the way other genres did. A few attempts were made to keep the genre going on PlayStation and its contemporaries, but they met with limited success at best. It wouldn't be until the release of the PlayStation 2 that the beat-em-up would find its new footing, thanks to Koei's Dynasty Warriors series. That series spawned many sequels, spin-offs, and imitators, and even today serves as a general template for the genre...

'Don't Starve' Review - A Masterpiece of Horror, Humor, and Hunger

Don't Starve [$4.99 (HD)]. A simple imperative that encapsulates so much about this game; it sets the mood and traces your constant, furious, yet ultimately futile attempts to follow that advice (or is it a command?). Klei Entertainment's Don't Starve is a survival game with a lot in common with Minecraft in terms of gameplay, but at the same time it also manages to draw its own path because of its amazing art style and its uncompromising and challenging design that pushes players into moments of desperation punctuated by brief moments of triumph. Played either with the help of the many dedicated wikis or as blindly as a newborn baby traversing Hell, Don't Starve stands as a memorable, meticulously designed experience with a UI and control scheme that make it a real pleasure to play on the iPad. Just remember, Don't Starve...

As the mobile market trends further and further away from classic, no frills, pay-up-front gaming in favor of freemium models, games like The Silver Bullet [$1.99] become an ever increasing rarity. I don't really hate freemium, and there are still plenty of places to find that classic gaming experience. But it would still be nice to see more games like this one, from Korean developer KwangSam Kim and Byulbram studio, supported by the masses. Because man this one is a surprising treat, with awesome gameplay across a fairly lengthy campaign...

I don't think I'll ever get tired of samurai-based media. There's a certain elegance to it, especially when it's coupled with images of Japan's serene countryside. In that regard, Samurai Blitz [Free] is basically everything I could ever want out of an endless action experience...

Let me start this review by apologizing for its tardiness. I've been kicking this down the road for weeks, mostly because I've been kicking the game itself down the road for weeks. I've been doing that because playing Always Sometimes Monsters [$4.99] is not fun, or exciting, or even remotely enjoyable for me. A great deal of that is intentional design. Some of it isn't. The terrible mobile UI is likely not meant to be a commentary on anything, for example. Nor are the technical hiccups that occur during many mini-games. Beyond that, however, the game itself is not looking to give you a good time. It's essentially a series of depressing choices between bad options where anyone and everyone is ready to spew out a fortune cookie at you unsolicited. Being an iffy port of a divisive game, it's both easy and hard to review at the same time. Hence, the feet-dragging...

Have you ever had the sudden urge to be a creepy person wandering around in public making people uncomfortable? If so, you are in luck. Magic Cube's Barcode Knight[$0.99] is out and offers you the perfect excuse to wander around and scan random barcodes with your iOS device. Whether you are sneaking around a Walmart or lurking in a McDonalds, you now have an almost semi-plausible excuse for it. ..

'Avernum 2: Crystal Souls' Review  - The Empire Strikes Back

If you’ve been following along on our RPG Reload Podcasts, you’ll know that we have a soft spot for Spiderweb Software’s excellent old-school RPGs. In addition to dedicating a whole segment to Avernum: Escape from the Pit [$9.99 (HD)]on Episode 2, we’ve also spoke at length to the recent drama regarding Avernum 2: Crystal Souls [$9.99 (HD)]. Released and taken off the market within a day, issues with iOS 8.3 threatened not only its release but also the release of future titles. Thankfully, all that has been resolved and Jeff Vogel’s group has rereleased the second game in the Avernum series on iPad. It’s a big win for RPG fans, as Avernum 2 continues the excellent tradition of old-school RPG goodness with a new adventure deep underground...

Heroki [$4.99] is a game I desperately wanted to love. It hits a lot of my buttons: it's a stunningly gorgeous game. It's a platformer-type game that's centered around premium experience, and charging a fair price. It is a game I desperately want to do well. I want other big publishers to see that charging reasonable prices for well-made premium experiences is a viable business strategy for mobile games. I want there to be an audience for this. Plus, it's just so well-made, and its protagonist is adorable in the way an older Sega character might be. It does a lot right, and I am invested in this game's success. The problem is that the game is just kind of blah. It isn't bad. It just isn't very memorable. ..

UpUp: Frozen Adventure [Free] by developer Sioux is a fresh take on iOS puzzle platformers. The crux of the game is to guide an unnamed hiker safely up the mountain before he freezes to death. There is a health bar in the upper lefthand corner that slowly empties as you get colder and colder. The goal is to balance speed and collection strategies, as there are small yellow gems scattered throughout each level...

Copyright 2014, TouchArcade.com, LLC.