Category Archives: Reviews

Super Crate Box [$1.99] has definitely spawned a few games inspired by it, to say the least, though games cutting too close has been a sensitive subject. But the game owes a lot to the original Mario Bros. in terms of structure, and Woah Dave [$0.99] from Choice Provisions, the former Gaijin Games, manages to take more after Nintendo's original than Vlambeer's modern. And it does a great job at making its own blend of challenging survival and situation management that I quite enjoyed...

Let's be frank, video games based on team sports aren't known for revolutions between updates. That reputation was mostly earned by them being among the first types of games to adopt a yearly release schedule. As it turns out, games take a lot of work to make, and if you're committed to meeting a particular date every year, there's only so much you can risk upheaving. Given this long-held tradition in the genre, I almost instinctively wasn't surprised to find that NHL 2K [$7.99] is, shall we say, a modest step forward from the last hockey game 2K released on iOS. Shaking away that initial gut reaction, I then remember that this isn't a yearly update, and it has in fact been over four years since NHL 2K11, and in that context, it's almost embarrassing how little has been done here. If you're looking for a decent hockey game and you don't have NHL 2K11, it's easy enough to recommend NHL 2K. It's competent, and there's honestly little competition even across the entire handheld spectrum. If you do have 2K11, the question of whether it's worth it gets a bit trickier...

If you loved Final Fantasy Tactics [$13.99 / $15.99 (HD)] but thought it would be better if all of the characters were anime girls, then Japanese indie SRPG Rime Berta [$4.99] may have caught your eye. It's a clear tip of the hat to games like the aforementioned, and in a lot of ways does a very competent job of aping its overall presentation and many of its systems. It's a bit lean on content, which is perhaps understandable given the size of the developer, but its biggest failings are in the fundamentals. It's a serious problem when there are quite a few excellent strategy RPGs on the App Store that, even if nothing else, manage to nail those aspects. In the end, Rime Berta is all dressed up with no place to go...

'Sleep Attack TD' Review - Just a Microphone Short of a Beck Song

If you think you're all Tower Defense'd out, be prepared for the tables to turn. Ayopa Games have set their sights on a time honored genre that is, to be honest, usually pretty outdated. Sleep Attack TD[$2.99] is their first foray into tower defense. Our forums have been buzzing about this game for good reason. With the bright asthetic Ayopa is known for and some very unique gameplay, Sleep Attack brings some much needed defibrillation to a category of games that seems to be in constant danger of completely flat lining...

'Super Glyph Quest' Review - Bigger And Better Than Before

Earlier this year, a cute little puzzle RPG named Glyph Quest [Free] was released. It was one of those games that was pretty hard to put down until it was finished, but it was unfortunately also one of those games that finished a bit too quickly. The game used the shareware-style model of being free to download and play up until a certain level, at which point you could pay to unlock the rest of the game. That's a great way to do things, but it hid one of the game's most interesting gameplay features behind that paywall, so I think a lot of people ended up sleeping on it. Well, the developer's back to take another kick at the can with Super Glyph Quest [$2.99], a sort of-sequel that keeps the same great core of the original while simultaneously attempting to address most of its faults. Depending on what your particular issues were with the first game, there's a good chance you'll find this version of the game to be good enough to kick the original off of your device for good...

'Tilt to Live: Gauntlet's Revenge' Review: And I'm Dead Again

Sure, sometimes developers can give reasons for why they want to charge more money for something that are utter poppycock. Granted, I've known One Man Left since 2010, and I take them at their word that Tilt to Live: Gauntlet's Revenge [$2.99] was becoming too big and too separate to be just an add-on to Tilt to Live 2 [$2.99]. But in playing it, I think the position is really quite justified. This is pretty much its own game, only filtered through Tilt to Live's aesthetics and controls. And it winds up being this challenging gauntlet that's well worth checking out...

'Ghost Blade' Review - Something Wicked This Way Comes

If you asked me a couple of months ago to make a list of game types that were highly unlikely to ever be realized in a satisfying way on a touchscreen, I can guarantee that stylish action games would be on the short list. The sub-genre launched when wunderkind director Hideki Kamiya sat down to make another Resident Evil game, decided that it would be more fun if every attack felt as good as doing a headshot with a shotgun, and ended up creating Devil May Cry. One game does not a sub-genre make, but once Tomonobu Itagaki created his masterpiece re-imagining of Ninja Gaiden, we were off to the races. It's not the most prolific genre, probably because it's so hard to do right, but it's seen its share of hits including the mainstream-friendly God of War series, the campy and cool Bayonetta, and the amazing parry-focused Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. These games are usually characterized by their highly-technical, deep combat, where players are graded according to how well they can dance to the game's beat. This usually involves a lot of different buttons, and we all know how well that usually works out on a touchscreen...

'Skater' Review - Two Shoes and a Board

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October 24th, 2014 4:00 PM EST by Chris Carter in $4.99, 3.5 stars, Game Center, Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Simulation, Sports
$4.99 Buy Now

Skating games were my life for months at a time. Whether it was the next Tony Hawk iteration or EA's SKATE, every time a shiny new skating title would hit my doorstep, I'd be engrossed in that world for weeks on end. I wasn't the best skater in the real world, but digitally I was a pro, ready to ride with the best of them. That feeling has been missing for quite a while now after both franchises have been put on hold, but Skater [$4.99] for iOS recreates some of that magic on the go...

PikPok’s no stranger to making fun games (see the recently released Adventure Xpress [Free]) and with its latest release, the developer has decided to take on the card battler genre. Rival Stars Basketball [Free] takes a simplified card battle formula and infuses it with street basketball style. Rival Stars doesn’t have any significant missteps, but it’s just a bit too shallow in its current state to be anything more than a quick play...

It's really great when a well-made game seemingly comes out of nowhere, and that's just what seems to have happened with the stealthy release of Princess And Knight [$2.99], a new strategy RPG that is so under the radar, I can't find much proof of its existence beyond the App Store itself and a fairly new blog for the developer, Team SoftIceCream. Sometimes when that happens, it's because the game isn't quite ready for prime time, but apart from a really rough English translation, this is a remarkably solid effort from what appears to be an indie developer. The game design is unabashedly vintage, calling to mind SRPGs from the 16-bit console era and earlier, but there's a certain appeal to a game that drops out of the complexity arms race that the strategy RPG genre tends to get swept up in at times...

Fans of Kemco's RPGs are in luck this month. We only just saw the release of Soul Of Deva [$3.99] a couple of weeks ago, and here we are with another release already. Granted, this is Kemco trying to catch iOS up with previously released Android games, but let's not look a potential gift horse in the mouth. Amazingly, Crystareino [$3.99] is done by the same team that did Deva, Hit-Point, who at this point are probably in dire need of a vacation. If you read my review of Deva, you know that I ended up liking it quite a bit thanks to its sharp 2D visuals and strategic, unique battle system. Well, I also like Crystareino quite a bit, but for almost entirely different reasons. This game plays things very safely, eschewing innovation in exchange for delivering a solid, content-rich adventure. If you're tired of the tropes of the genre, it might not be the best choice, but if you thrive on them, you'll find this to be a decent meal...

'Pixel Boat Rush' Review - Everybody Do The Wave

I've often felt that the genre that perhaps benefited the most from the jump from 2D to 3D was racing. Really thinking about it, racing is one of the genres that begged the most for polygons, having already spent years working in pseudo-3D with scaling sprites and optical tricks. Hardware that couldn't manage said tricks tended to have racers that skewed the perspective to at least offer some sort of visual depth. Racers that opted for a strict, flat side-view to the action were historically pretty rare outside of obstacle course time-attacks like Motocross Maniacs. There are lots of reasons as to why that was likely the case, but it mostly comes down to the simple idea that it's hard to express the excitement of racing from that point of view. If there is no depth, there's no passing, no hairpin turns, no drafting, and collisions become hard to sort out. You have to find other ways to bring the beautiful tension that makes racing so compelling, and that's just what Pixel Boat Rush [$1.99] sets out to do...

I found myself kind of curious about Wavefront [$2.99] when I saw that it was published by DeNA – and it wasn't a free-to-play game. It started out as Waveform on PC, and now has been brought to iOS under the new name, for unknown reasons. Curious. But it still doesn't answer why this was published by DeNA, as this game is paid without IAP at all, which is even odder given that it's, well, DeNA. Did I wake up in bizarro universe? Perhaps not, but Wavefront is an interesting enough puzzler worth checking out...

Look upon me, peasants and nobles alike. For it is I who have slain the mighty yeti, traversed the caverns of the Snow Witch and put her to her final rest, and helped fend off the orc hordes from the dwarven stronghold of Stonebridge. It is I who, after enduring countless deadly battles and outsmarting fatal traps, began to ascend the mountain where I would at last find my goal. It is I, the mighty hero, felled by the bite of a simple rattlesnake because my luck points ran out. So it goes in Fighting Fantasy: Caverns Of The Snow Witch [$5.99], the latest gamebook conversion from the prolific folks at Tin Man Games. It's a fairly straight conversion using their trusty gamebook engine, so if you have fond memories of the original book and you're wondering whether or not the iOS version does it justice, you can rest easily...

I enjoy this current trend of games that are easy to pick up and play, but also present a challenge. And really, Swap Heroes hits a lot of my buttons. It's built for short sessions, winds up being challenging and highly replayable, and oh, it has pixel art. It's perfect for quick sessions, but delivers a challenge that demands practice to get better at it, though randomness does wind up hurting the experience a bit...

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