Category Archives: Reviews

One of the cool things about video games is how they let you do things that you might not be very good at in real life. For example, in the real world, I am about as stealthy as a cow on ice skates, but in video games, I can be a master big boss ninja. Stealth games were around as early as 1981's 005 from SEGA and enjoyed a few brief spikes of popularity around certain titles like Castle Wolfenstein on the Apple II and Konami's Metal Gear on the MSX, but for the most part, it was a genre waiting for technology to catch up with its ambitions. Finally, in the late 1990s, the genre broke out in a big way on the backs of titles like Metal Gear Solid, Thief, and Tenchu, and would keep going strong with heavy hitter franchises like Splinter Cell and Assassin's Creed. These big franchises are still going at it, though at times with a reduced emphasis on pure stealth, but the genre's recently been seeing a lot more small-scale projects. I think Stealth [$1.99] represents one of the smallest yet, having been created by just one person...

'The Journey Down: Chapter Two' Review - Bwana's Big Adventure Kicks Into High Gear

Nearly two years ago, or longer if you're a PC gamer, we were introduced to the world and characters of The Journey Down [$2.99], a point and click/tap adventure game from developer SkyGoblin. It was a mechanically sound example of the genre with charm to spare, but it definitely suffered from the usual chapter one problem of doing a whole lot of setting up and not much paying off. If you played it, chances are good that you fell in love with its jazzy, dark atmosphere and lovable protagonist, Bwana. Chances are also good that after finishing the game's two and a half hour adventure, you went looking for a magic lamp to wish up the next chapter. It's been a bit of a wait, but The Journey Down: Chapter Two [$4.99] is finally here, and it's an excellent continuation of the story...

Reviewing a game like Dragon Quest [$2.99] is never easy. First of all, as many of you probably do, I have a very deep childhood connection to this game, which means it's a nostalgic trip for me every time I play it. Then there's the fact that this is a genre-defining game, and as a result, can't possibly be expected to be as refined as the games that followed in the path it carved out. Ultimately, this game is both a classic and a curio, a piece of history that feels like one, no matter how much Square Enix tries to pretty it up. Its age is in its fundamental structure. I think it holds up very well relative to other games from its era, but that's perhaps faint praise, given the state of console RPGs in 1986. A completely new player without any sort of fondness for the history of the series would be better off checking out Dragon Quest 4 [$14.99] first. That doesn't mean that the first Dragon Quest has nothing to offer, but it's probably not the best way to break the ice in 2014...

'MUJO' Review - A Fresh Take on Match Three

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September 10th, 2014 6:14 PM EDT by Andrew Fretz in $1.99, 4 stars, iPad Games, iPhone games, iPod touch games, Puzzle, Reviews
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If Percy Jackson found himself in the Paper Mario universe, he might be playing MUJO[$1.99]. Finally seeing worldwide release, MUJO has had about a month in soft release to tighten up it's loose ends. Audio and visuals are clean and enjoyable, and while I never thought I would describe fighting a medusa with cheery music as a cohesive theme, it is. I think we all know that match three puzzle games have gotten a lot of exposure, and I don't think we have really seen a lull in the stream of saccharine inspired clones either. With that said, there is enough innovation with this game to warrant a closer look...

I have a very simple wish. I don't think I'm asking for all that much. I want Etherlords [Free] to be the vanguard for the death of energy systems in free-to-play RPGs. We've seen a rise in these kinds of games that make game design purists recoil in horror – ruled by automated battle systems that don't always work in favor of the player. But here's Etherlords, which at least has the decency to let the player play as much as they want. Oh, and it's also a puzzle game with battling that's really just incidental to the whole experience...

Games built around comedy are few and far between. Although there was an era on PC where Monty Python games flowed like fine wine and adventure titles were primarily build on comedic material, the gaming industry has gotten progressively more serious as the audience has gotten progressively larger. Enter Max Gentlemen [Free] -- a game that will make pretty much anyone smile, but lacks a solid gameplay foundation...

'Gemini Strike' Review - A Freemium Shooter That’s a Blast

As we mentioned in our earlier preview, Armor Games’ Gemini Strike [Free] was worth some attention simply due to its interesting combination of a vertical shoot ‘em up combined with a deep loot system reminiscent of any RPG. Thankfully, Gemini Strike is far more than just an interesting combination of genres; it’s also a pretty awesome game in its own right. With fast, frenetic gameplay, a fair freemium system, and a ton of replayability, Gemini Strike is a pretty fun game...

'Super Monkey Ball Bounce' Review - Super Monkey Peggle

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September 9th, 2014 8:58 AM EDT by Eric Ford in 3 stars, Free, Games, Puzzle, Reviews
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We’ve been keeping tabs on Sega’s Super Monkey Ball Bounce [Free] since we first heard about its soft-launch back in May. While a pachinko (*cough* Peggle) experience with SMB characters probably isn’t what most would think about in regards to a new game in the series, the thematics and execution make Bounce a pretty fun game to play. Unfortunately, enjoyable gameplay can’t fully make up for the incredibly annoying (and occasionally heavy-handed) use of freemium elements...

'Battle Riders' Review - Wreck And Roll Racing

Once upon a time, there were shooting games and there were driving games. Two fine genres enjoyed by many gamers, young and old. Then, in the early 80s, in a move precedented only by the peanut butter-chocolate combination that was so delicious it kicked off the concept of democracy, the two ideas were finally brought together. It's hard to nail down who did it first, with it largely depending on how broad you go, but by the time the theme from Peter Gunn was pounding in your local arcade, there was no going back. We were driving cars, we were shooting at other cars, and it was pretty great. As a genre, its certainly had its ups and downs, but I don't think it's ever going to disappear entirely...

After playing Colorbs for a few minutes and going back to the home screen of my iPhone, everything looked so much more boxy that I thought Apple had done a stealth UI update or something. That is probably the most interesting thing I can say about Colorbs [$1.99], a very minimalistic puzzle game from One Minute Games, who previously brought us the well-liked Commander Pixman [$1.99]. The game pulls in elements from many staples of the genre such as Puyo Puyo and Panel de Pon to create something mostly familiar but with a few little twists to set it apart. It's all packaged up in a terribly bland presentation that leaves the game feeling just a little bit too lifeless...

Multi-platform Cold War stealth game CounterSpy [$4.99] has snuck into the app store just scant weeks after it was released on it's other platforms. This is not Sony's first foray into the wonderful world of iOS. As a port of a game designed for more than one platform, you can expect production value to be quite high. Once you get past the face of this title, however, there are some serious hurdles to clear if you are looking to draw out some enjoyment...

The cooperative element of Lucky Frame's new puzzle-roguelike The Nightmare Cooperative [$3.99] reveals itself after a few quick crawls through the game's tile-floored dungeon. Your party of up to four Miners, Archers, and Warriors moves as a single entity, sliding up, down, right, and left in unison with each swipe of your finger. With these strictures in place, its your job to guide your ragged band through 16-odd levels littered with wolves, pits, yetis, and executioners carrying gilded pitchforks. ..

Of all the many complaints I've levied against the games released by Candy Crush Saga [Free] publisher King, one I haven't been able to make up until now was that their games lacked polish. A whole lot of that is owing to their relatively simple nature, but nevertheless, King games were generally bug-free and ran well enough. Their games don't typically suck a whole lot of battery power and are pretty good for filling in those gaps in the day where you want to play something without paying much attention. I could say all of that stuff until now, with the release of Diamond Digger Saga [Free], a battery-hogging, crash-prone game that in its current build has one of the worst kinds of bugs: the type that steals away your premium currency. Unintentionally, to the comedian in row three of the comments section...

Are you the type of gamer that likes to get angry at a game? You're going to be quite interested in Glue Knight [Free], if so. I mean that in the kindest possible way, too. Glue Knight is a really cool game, with reliable controls, exciting level designs, and a really good tempo overall. It's also cruelly difficult in a way I haven't personally experienced in about a year. This is a level-based auto-run platformer where death comes swift and often, and the only real way to succeed is to have superhuman reflexes or die, die, and die some more until you learn the right sequence. I know some of you out there must dig this because even I sometimes get a kick out of games like this...

'Mikey Boots' Review - These Boots Were Made for Speedrunning

I remember when I first saw Mikey Shorts [$1.99]. It was the GDC Touch Arcade party back in 2012, and I remember meeting Mike Meade. If I recall, I may have been the first press person to ever see the game. It certainly seemed neat, as pixelly platformers are absolutely up my alley. What I didn't expect was that BeaverTap Games would make one of the best speedrun platformers on mobile, this side of Rocketcat Games. Then they would duplicate the feat with Mikey Hooks [$1.99], adding in grappling hooks. And lo, was it good. But where would they go from there? Certainly, the ending of Mikey Hooks hinted that jet boots would play a role. And thus we have Mikey Boots [$1.99], the close of a spectacular trilogy that lives up to its predecessors while also being a bit different for a Mikey game...

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