Category Archives: Reviews

Die-hard Kemco fans, or sufferers as we are known to normal people, know that for whatever reason, Kemco's games usually hit Android before iOS. Typically, the iOS versions lag behind by a month or two, but there have been a couple of instances where Kemco skipped to the next game instead. As of this month, one of those two skipped titles has finally seen release on iOS, some eight months after the Android release. For any other publisher, that's not a very long time, but for Kemco, that's somewhere around eight releases ago, and as a result, Link of Hearts [$3.99] feels a bit outdated in several respects. Well, more outdated than usual, I guess I should say...

Just imagine how great the world would be if everything lived up to its potential. We'd have flying cars, safe clean-burning energy for all, a Stanley Cup-winning team in Vancouver, and Elthinia [$2.99] wouldn't be a terrible mess of a game. Unfortunately, here in the real world, potential sometimes amounts to very little except disappointment. If you play Elthinia, and I strongly assert that you should not, you can see the potential all over the place. The battle artwork is really good, the story is extremely detailed, character progression and customization are surprisingly deep, and the world seems like a place I'd like to explore. The first problem is that this is very clearly not a finished product. To be very fair, I waited until the game had its first patch since it was supposed to be coming quickly and fixing some very important things. Well, the game is still full of bugs, both major and minor, but the game is out there on the store for anyone to buy, so it's fair game for criticism...

Card battles and rogue-likes probably aren’t a combination you necessarily think about, but that’s exactly what you get in Dream Quest [$2.99]. It may sound weird, but it actually works very well, with some potentially deep gameplay that keeps you coming back for more. Unfortunately, outside of the battle system there’s a lot to be desired, but Dream Quest still has enough going for it to be worth exploring...

While I enjoy a big budget RPG production like any fan of the genre does, I'm also a pretty big fan of checking out what the little guys are up to. That's because when it comes to RPGs, perhaps more than most genres, you don't need a huge budget or a massive studio to realize your gameplay ideas. It doesn't hurt, mind you, but it's arguable that the very core of video game RPGs is in realizing abstract ideas through more practical means. It's why companies like Atlus and Falcom who work with budgets many times smaller than someone like Square-Enix are still able to capture the hearts of RPG lovers just the same. To be honest, finding an innovative RPG with ideas that connect well with me tends to be a bit rare, but the enjoyment I get from them when I do find them makes the search more than worthwhile...

I was a bit surprised by this latest release from Kairosoft, makers of the hit simulation Game Dev Story [$4.99]. Not by the game itself, mind you, since this is right off the assembly line in every way, shape, and form. No, I was surprised by Pocket Harvest [$4.99] because I really thought Kairosoft had done a farming game before. I guess it's because farming and rustic settings have been regular elements of many of their games. This is their first pure farming game, but it has been shoehorned into Kairosoft's most familiar template, creating a game that is one of their least appealing to date. The most common criticism of this developer's games is how much they tend to recycle, but at least with titles like World Cruise Story [$4.99] or Sushi Spinnery [$3.99], the settings are unique even if the mechanics are very familiar. Pocket Harvest doesn't even have that going for it, unfortunately...

A young boy who gets trapped inside a video game? Well, it all sounds a little familiar.. doesn’t it? That aside, Marcus Level [$0.99], despite it’s strange name, is a curious platform game that takes elements from the endless runner genre to combine a unique twist on what is essentially a quirky finite runner game...

There are many things you could accuse the Trese Brothers, developers of Star Traders 4X: Empires in Exile [Free / $4.99] of with regards to how they handle their games. You can't ever say that they lack ambition or industriousness, however, and that has never been more apparent than with this latest release. Although most of their past mobile work has been for Android mobile devices, the Trese Brothers have released two games before this on iOS. Their first release, a couple of years ago, was Star Traders RPG [Free / $2.99], a sci-fi themed trading game with an impressive amount of universe lore. Then, several months ago, they released Heroes of Steel RPG [Free / $3.99], an interesting turn-based strategy RPG that again featured an impressive amount of world-building. Both games were in many ways too deep for their own good at times, and both were pretty rough around the edges at release. On the positive side, both have received a mind-boggling amount of updates in response to player feedback...

Puzzle And Dragons [Free] is a scorching hot hit in many Asian countries, but while it's done quite well in Western countries, it hasn't had quite the same dominance. So, while Eastern publishers are scrambling hand over fist to try to catch a little lightning in a bottle with their own takes on the idea, we actually haven't seen all that many straight attempts from Western publishers. Enter Gameloft, one of the oldest and staunchest supporters of mobile gaming. It's been known for many things in its history: making, shall we say, heavily inspired homages to popular titles, pushing extremely high-quality production values, and recently, making free-to-play games and pushing mandatory online connections. Their latest title, Dungeon Gems [Free], is all of those things wrapped up into one neat little package...

'Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake' Review – A Scrumptious Treat

Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake [$4.99] is one of my favorite games of the year. It's a puzzle game that's bright & colorful, but decidedly not just for kids. It's a game that has complexity without frustration, and takes place in a wonderful world that helps make it so much fun to just play again and again...

Supernauts [Free] is a curious mix of a game: it's a blend of the well-worn town-building simulation genre and the kind of world-building sandbox crafting gameplay popularized by Minecraft [$6.99] et al. The thing is, the way that Supernauts tries to blend together these two genres it has to take away a lot of what makes them both tick individually...

There are an awful lot of games involving cats on the App Store. Sometimes, their inclusion doesn't even make sense. Like most of the Internet, I love cats, so I'm not going to complain, but there are plenty of people out there who have a slightly more negative appraisal of the feline species, and I can only guess how many games they miss out on as a result. If that describes you, perhaps you've gazed longingly at Cat Physics [$1.99], the popular puzzle game released a few years back by Donut Games, wishing you could enjoy its physics-based puzzles without all that shedding on your freshly-laundered slacks. Well, person with an unusually strong hatred of digital cats, have I got a game for you. It's called Lightlands [$0.99], and although it has a few new ideas to freshen things up, at its core, it's essentially Cat Physics after TV's Alf has made the scene...

DUNGEONy [$2.99] is a curious game because while it's a turn-based roguelike, and certainly those are not rare, but it's more of a puzzle game set around roguelike mechanics than an actual roguelike...

'Powerpuff Girls: Defenders Of Townsville' Review - Once Again, The Day Is Saved

Every once in a long while, things converge in this hobby in such a way that I almost feel the resulting game was aimed right at me. I'll confess, I was on top of this game as soon as I saw it was The Powerpuff Girls. I can't explain why watching three super-powered kindergarteners beat the crap out of a hyper-intelligent megalomaniacal talking monkey is awesome. I shouldn't need to. Next, I saw that word used to describe it: Metroidvania. That term gets tossed around a lot, and even though most of the games that invoke it rarely deliver, I'll still show up every time, because I miss Metroid and Symphony-style Castlevania games. Finally, as a ridiculously unnecessary coup-de-grace on the whole thing, I saw that it was developed by none other than radiangames, who have a very fine catalog of games on the App Store, including the recent Fluid SE [$1.99] and JoyJoy [$1.99]. They're a developer I trust enough to buy their games as soon as they appear, no questions asked...

This is a slightly controversial opinion, depending on one's values, but I personally believe that video game fans have never had it as good as we have it now. Particular genres have ebbed to an extent, as they tend to in this hobby, but I feel like the overall spread of the market is broader and deeper than it's ever been. As the big companies have focused more and more on creating big, expensive productions that dazzle with their beauty and scope, indies have rushed in and filled just about every possible gap you could think of. On top of that, the popularity of deep discount sales across most digital platforms means that not only do we have more choices than ever before, but they're a lot cheaper than ever, to boot. It's truly a buyer's market...

'TwoDots' Review - Connecting Dots Is Still A Beautiful Thing

Joining the vast selection of exceptional iOS puzzle games isTwoDots [Free], the follow-up to Dots, one of last years smartest and hugely addictive puzzle games. Similar to the original title, which has racked up over 20 million downloads, the object of TwoDots is to connect dots of matching colors horizontally or vertically, and also like its predecessor, the best way to clear the level is to find squares of corresponding colors out of the game board in front of you...

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