Category Archives: Reviews

Even today, it's rare to see a developer's name affixed to a video game title. There are a lot of reasons for that, depending on which period we look at, but one of the bigger exceptions to that is the name of Sid Meier. I'm not sure how or why his name ended up in the title of Sid Meier's Pirates! [$2.99], but it might have simply been to help make the somewhat generic title more unique. The game was a massive hit, and while publishers generally don't like to canonize developers, they'll make an exception for just about any rule if the money looks right. So it is that after just a few more games, nearly every game Sid Meier had a hand in, and a few that he didn't, carried his name. It's an odd outcome for someone who seems to be a relatively low-key guy. The problem with his name becoming a brand, however, is that you can't be too sure with any given release just how much of the game is Sid Meier the designer versus Sid Meier the marketing tag...

'Odd Bot Out' Review - One Man's Unique Puzzle Platformer

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March 20th, 2015 11:56 AM EDT by Ben Jarris in 4 stars, Puzzle, Reviews
$1.99 Buy Now

One man, 1000+ design sketches and 1 years round the clock sweat and tears, has produced an intriguing puzzle platformer that's blown me away in terms of ingenuity and uniqueness. You can see why Apple chose to feature the game; the magic comes from the lego style constructions with blocks, characters and other objects. Each level is short and smart, providing just the objects you need to make it to the exit. Blocks and characters can be stuck together or pulled apart, and everything in game can be stacked on top of each other, or stuck to the side of other objects to increase their abilities and usefulness. It makes for varied solutions from fewer objects, requiring true problem solving skills...

'TouchTone' Review - Tricky Puzzles, Touchy Tone

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March 18th, 2015 11:30 PM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $2.99, 4 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews
$2.99 Buy Now

It's been a few years since we've seen a new iOS release from Mikengreg, the developers behind the hit Solipskier [$0.99]. Mike Boxleiter and Greg Wohlwend gave the label a bit of a rest while they worked on other things after Gasketball [Free (HD)] didn't catch on quite the way they'd hoped. Notably, Wolhwend ended up teaming up with Asher Vollmer to create Puzzlejuice [$1.99] and Threes! [$1.99], both excellent puzzle games with strong visual designs. Well, the band is back together again, and perhaps somewhat informed by their experiences had apart. TouchTone [$2.99] is a striking puzzle game, the sort of thing we've come to expect from Wohlwend's recent projects, but it's also a compelling politically-charged statement on modern America, something both Boxleiter and Wohlwend have strong ideas about. While these two sides of the game don't blend together as well as I might like them to, they're individually strong enough that if you're only coming to the game for one, you'll likely find the other to be quite enjoyable...

Rop [$0.99] has a bit of an odd name. Without the accent over the o, it may seem like "rahp" instead of "rope," which is the theme of this game. It's a puzzle game where a bunch of ropes are strung together, and your goal is to rearrange the different linked points into a shape matching what is given, all on a hexagonal grid. Yep folks, this is a casual minimalist puzzle game that's also a real game. 2015, we did it! I can tell you whether you will enjoy Rop or not through the answer to one simple question: do you get satisfaction when you get a massive mess of cords untangled? If so, every time you solve a puzzle here, you will feel pretty good...

'Ryan North's To Be Or Not To Be' Review - All Aboard the Party Boat to England

You probably know the William Shakespeare play Hamlet, or at least you have some form of cultural awareness about it thanks to English classes. You at least know the famous opening line to the character Hamlet's soliloquy, which provides the title of the latest gamebook adaptation from Tin Man Games, To Be Or Not To Be [$1.99]. This is adapted from Ryan North's choose-your-own-adventure novel of the same name from 2013, now available in handy digital form! I'm a fan of Ryan North's work, being a fan of the fantastic long-running webcomic Dinosaur Comics and of his spectacular run on the Adventure Time comic series. He has this particular sense of absurd humor that comes through in everything he makes, he has this distinctive voice, so as soon as I heard that To Be Or Not To Be was a thing that existed, based on a 2013 book of the same name, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. And it was well worth the wait, as this is an absolutely hilarious adventure...

'.Decluster - into the Bullet Hell' Review - Bullet Paradise

One genre that I can't get enough of is shoot 'em ups. I think I'll be taking them to my deathbed. The high-octane action, the emphasis on pinpoint precision, and the constant positive reinforcement of blowing up enemies and getting massively entertaining power-ups is just too great of a force. .Decluster [$2.99] is my latest obsession, and it ticks all the right boxes...

'Imps in Tokyo' Review - Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts

A first glance at Imps in Tokyo [$1.99] might not really reveal much about what type of game it is. A picturesque style and a dark purple-blue motif are at the forefront of information you can see from screenshots. Developer We are Vigilantes have crafted a game that is much greater than the sum of its parts. Imps in Tokyo is, in broadest strokes, a pattern recognition game. Passing most stages will require flying around, dodging some enemies, killing other enemies and collecting as many magic pellets as possible. ..

We've seen plenty of games that take after the kind of endless wave-sliding popularized by Tiny Wings [$0.99 / $2.99 (HD)], and refined by Kumobius' Time Surfer [Free] which threw its own wrinkles and a monetization-friendly metagame into the mix. RAD Boarding [Free] from Other Ocean and Noodlecake feels like it could be that next milestone game in this genre, at least at first. It has a gorgeous look and a game structure that could ideally make it a game worth checking out. But the problem is that RAD Boarding focuses way too much on its structure and metagame, and not enough on making getting high scores and actually playing the game feel important at all...

Gameloft’s Dungeon Hunter dungeon crawler series has seen a lot of changes over the years, and that theme continues with this year’s release of Dungeon Hunter 5 [Free]. Yes, the hack n’ slash series continues its march into freemium territory, but this time it does so with a system that’s pretty fair to its players. It actually leads to a game that’s not only pretty enjoyable (within the confines of its systems) but has the potential for long term investment...

I've reviewed a lot of Kemco games in the last couple of years here at TouchArcade, and while the quality varies wildly, I can easily say my least favorite of that two dozen, give or take, was Shelterra The Skyworld [$3.99]. It basically encapsulated everything that I dislike about developer Magitec's games. The archaic engine with its jerky scrolling, the localization so stiff you could iron a shirt on it, the irritating dungeons that have you doubling back and forth hitting switches with damage floors everywhere, the asinine approach to character development, and more all added up to one sad little reviewer. Every time I see Magitec's name on a new Kemco release now, I take a deep breath, flinching the way one would when a static shock is expected from a touch...

'Flop Rocket' Review - Fly Me to the Moon

It's always a tricky task to make a game that's challenging without being frustrating. It's a fine line between making a game that puts up a stiff resistance while still being something that the player should want to come back to again and again. Thankfully, Flop Rocket [Free] manages to find this balance. This cave-flyer is very difficult, and tasks players with a very difficult objective to strive toward, but that's part of the point: there's an objective...

'Card Crawl' Review - Just One More Time

Card games are extremely difficult to make, in my estimation: the game has to provide a rigid set of rules, while having to deal with randomness in a way that feels fair while reveling in the entropy that comes from not knowing what's next. I don't know if Card Crawl [$1.99] ever completely succeeds in that respect in terms of fairness with the randomness. But it does an excellent enough job otherwise at making a game that's super-fun with an interesting set of rules that I struggle to put this one down...

I'm a sucker for pixel art. No matter how many years have passed since the retro era, I'm still fond of that old school style. Kind of like hand-drawn animation over CGI, I'm at least there to take a look at something even if the game isn't necessarily worth playing. That's what initially drew me to Combo Queen [$1.99]. While it's a bit too simplistic to warrant extended play, the art style is worth checking out at the very least...

Balancing a tower defense title properly is a pretty tough task. Make a game too easy and players may lose interest in advancing through the game’s missions and difficulty. On the other hand, an incredibly difficult TD title can potentially alienate a lot of prospective players. Epic War TD 2 [$2.99] by AMT Games leans heavily on the difficult side in terms of the TD spectrum. However, the game is balanced well enough that most TD gamers can succeed while optional modes provide a challenge for the hardcore fans...

'Miner Z' Review - Mr. Zombie Driller

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I can't get enough of mining games. Although there are a decent amount of them out in the world, I feel like we still need more. The thrill of digging down deep into the depths of the unknown is unparalleled, and incredibly addictive. Miner Z [Free] might be a more arcade-like experience akin to an endless runner, but it still gets the job done...

Ever since we first caught wind of it back in February, Sick Bricks  [Free] by Spin Master has been an intriguing title to play. A lot of the individual elements have been seen before in countless games before it. However, as a compilation, we’ve never quite seen a title combine all of those elements with a real-world toy buying campaign. Granted, it’s not quite the perfect melding of real and digital world assets that I’d like. However, Sick Bricks is still a pretty fun game and should do quite well with its intended audience...

'Blokshot Revolution' Review - Round And Round We Go

It's been interesting watching the way shooting games have progressed over the years. As one of the first genres in video gaming, the shooting genre has had a lot of interesting twists and turns. From the earliest titles like Space Invaders that offered a single screen and a big set of targets to pick off one at a time, to the advent of scrolling shooters with titles like Namco's Xevious, into a golden age with amazing shooting games being made by just about every prominent company, often with intricate stage designs and power-up systems. This was followed by the near-total death of the genre that coincided with the rise of Cave who, along with developers like Treasure and Psikyo, continued to service the shrinking audience with increasingly intricate and complex games. The once-mighty genre seemed consigned to niche status forever...

If you're an iPad owner, into strategy games, and are a history buff, the mere mention of Slitherine's name is probably enough to get your blood pumping. Simply put, they consistently release some of the finest strategy games on iOS. Their games tend to be on the upper end of the App Store price range, but it's a genuine case of getting what you pay for. Each game is typically packed with content, extremely well-designed, and rounded out with a full set of features. Another well-known name in iOS strategy circles is Hunted Cow Studios, who are also nothing if not reliable. For years, their niche was in regularly releasing low-priced games covering a variety of interesting settings. The mechanics of those games rarely held any surprises, but they filled the belly without emptying the wallet. These two major forces in the iOS strategy game scene have come together with the release of Hell: Fight For Gilrand [$9.99 (HD)], an iPad-only release...

There are a lot of pieces of Pixel Heroes [$6.99] that would have had a much stronger effect on me a couple of years ago. The well-designed faux-retro graphics and sound, the roguelike elements, and the referential sense of humor are all things that have appeal for me, but even the marriage of these particular aspects is getting a bit too familiar to be exciting. That means the game has to carry forward on its gameplay, and it's honestly a mixed bag. This is a challenging streamlined RPG that doesn't take itself too seriously and offers a lot of replay value, but its repetitive nature and tedious combat eat away at the fun, bite by bite...

'Baldur's Gate 2: Enhanced Edition' Review - One Of The Best CRPGs Ever Is Now On iPhone

Okay, yes, this is a pretty late review of Baldur's Gate 2: Enhanced Edition [$9.99]. The game initially released on iPad about a year ago, and we didn't do a write-up of it for various reasons. There are plenty of reviews of the original Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows Of Amn out there, and given the existence of the first game's Enhanced Edition, we sort of assumed there wasn't much demand for one of our own. With the game's recent update that moves it to being a universal app, we've had a lot of requests from readers for a review of the game. Well, I guess we had that one wrong, but nobody's perfect, right? With that explanation out of the way, let's break down this port of one of the all-time greats of the genre...

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