Category Archives: Reviews

'The Wolf Among Us' Episodes 1–4 Review - Red in Tooth and Claw

The first thing that happens in Telltale Games’ The Wolf Among Us [$4.99] is that Sheriff Bigby Wolf talks to a toad in a cardigan. The second thing, at least for me, was that he gets beaten to death (twice). Apparent cause of death is an axe handle through the eye socket, but I’m no doctor. That’s a hell of a first impression for the series, adapted from Bill Willingham’s Fables franchise. Fables’ premise—that fairytale characters have come to live in the real-world Bronx—isn’t uncommon: The 10th Kingdom and Neil Gaiman’s American Gods both predate Willingham, and contemporary shows like Once Upon A Time and Sleepy Hollow continue the unevenly handled tradition...

'Broken Age' Part 1 Review – An Uneven Split

StarStarStarNoneNone
June 17th, 2014 9:30 AM EDT by Carter Dotson in $9.99, 3 stars, Adventure, Games, iPad Games, Prices, Ratings, Reviews
$9.99 Buy Now

Broken Age [$9.99 (HD)] is an appropriate name for this point-and-click adventure from Tim Schafer's Double Fine, veterans of the genre. The game is about two separate stories that eventually come together, hence the 'broken' part of the name, but it's also about how this game itself is broken into two separate parts: this is part one of two. Reviewing early access games from a critical perspective is hard enough as it is because a game can change so much from even a public release to its completion. But for this game, there's a special challenge because instead of charging for the full game up front like on PC, with clear "early access" distinguishers, this is just being sold as part one, with part two available as an in-app purchase. So, while I feel like part one of Broken Age shows some promise for the eventual whole, as a consumer product in and of itself, where people can buy just part one of the game, it's hard to recommend on its own...

'Doug Dug.' Review - Grab Your Shovel And Dig In!

For the life of me, I really don't understand why I find digging so much fun. Whether it's digging at the beach, at the park, in the shoe section of Walmart, or in a video game, I really seem to get a lot of enjoyment out of displacing soil. If you think I'm weird, think of all the awesome video games about digging: Dig Dug, Mr. Driller [$4.99], Super Mario Bros. 2, Minecraft [$6.99], and Steamworld Dig, just to name a few highlights. Now, I'll grant you that in some of those games, digging is just a portion of the game, but there are quite a few games that center around the idea. Doug Dug [$1.99], the new game from pixa [$2.99] developers The Electric Toy Company, is all about digging for treasure and the risk versus reward that presents itself from the concept...

Some puzzle games have such simple mechanics that just about anyone can pick them up and do fairly well without too much effort. Games like these usually rely on something external to the mechanics to add a greater challenge, such as a timer or giving you a penalty for making mistakes. Perfect Paths [$2.99], from Lums [$2.99] developer Hyperbolic Magnetism, is not one of those games. In the broad sense, the rules aren't that hard to understand. You've got a certain number of different colored blocks that each need to be moved to a matching-colored goal. You do this by drawing the paths each block should move, then press the button to execute your plan. If all goes well, you can enjoy watching each block make its way to its final location, all according to your brilliant strategy...

Three years ago, iOS gamers were treated to Great Little War Game [$1.99] from Rubicon Development. It was perhaps one of the more truthful titles seen in gaming, and it was a big hit with us here at TouchArcade. Two years ago, the game got an immense sequel in Great Big War Game [$2.99], which added just about anything fans of the first game could have asked for, including online multiplayer. After that, things went quiet for the series, and it seemed like Rubicon had moved on to other things, like last year's Combat Monsters [Free]. They haven't been shy about discussing the somewhat sluggish performance of that last game in the marketplace, and I wouldn't be surprised if that blow informed Great Little War Game 2 [$2.99] right from its very existence on. That said, I don't really care how or why we got another game in the series. As a pretty big fan of both of the previous games, I'm just happy to see the series back...

Fluid SE [$1.99] from Radiangames is perhaps the most hardcore of all of their releases on iOS. Granted, many of the dual-stick shooters like JoyJoy [$1.99] are very much games for core gamers, the ones who like intense action and watching things go boom, versus, say, SideSwype [$1.99] and its puzzle-y-ness. But no, Fluid SE is for the person who wants to repeat a challenge again and again, trying to shave fractions of a second off of their best times...

Certainly, Rival Knights [Free] has a formula that invites skepticism. It's free-to-play from Gameloft, a company not exactly known for making "free" games. And it's a jousting game that uses simplistic mechanics to play the game with. But it's about the sum of its parts and not just the individual elements: everything comes together fabulously in Rival Knights...

Nobody tell Noodlecake Games that they're doing this whole flaplike thing wrong. With Flappy Golf [Free] having creatively reimagined Super Stickman Golf [$2.99] into a platformer with flapping, now Noodlecake has made Jupiter Jump [Free], an endless runner where bouncing off of the ground to get through hoops while avoiding mines is the key. It could have been a simple game that was moderately entertaining, but no: Noodlecake went and made a deeper flaplike that's incredibly rewarding...

Even on devices that survive and thrive using non-conventional control methods, tilt controls are somewhat controversial among players. Some people find them a bit hard to control or inaccurate, while others are unsurprisingly using their mobile devices outside of their homes and don't want to draw attention to themselves. Those in favor of tilting usually point to the more natural feeling it sometimes offers, along with delegating fewer actions to on-screen buttons or sticks. Usually, developers who want to use the tilt feature do their best to accommodate everyone, but sometimes a game comes along where the tilt controls are inseparable from the game itself. A great example of this is the excellent Tilt To Live [$2.99], a game that typically appeals even to people who aren't big fans of motion controls. Even in the case of that game, some people just aren't convinced...

'99 Bricks: Wizard Academy' Review - An Excellent Twist On Tetris

Tetris [$0.99] is one awesome game. I personally consider it one of the best games ever made, and certainly one of the closest to pure perfection. While most other games are work-in-progress designs that eventually have to be snipped off, polished up, and released, Tetris's big coming-out releases on Game Boy and NES were essentially flawless realizations of the design's potential. Other than catching up with technology like internet play, what do you really add to Tetris to make it better? Every attempt to change the game in some way has resulted in, at best, a lateral move, and at worst, an absolute disaster. Well, 99 Bricks: Wizard Academy [$2.99] offers a few interesting answers to my question, and while it's probably not a better game, it's a more than worthy side-trip for fans of that classic...

Rolling Zimro [$0.99] is an endless runner with a gimmick. Actually, it's an endless runner with two gimmicks, but one of them is just set dressing. First, and most obviously, this game has a big old coat of recreational drug culture paint covering it from head to toe. The main character is a thinly-veiled pot-farmer, some of the enemies look kind of like bongs, the name of the currency you're collecting is 'munchies', and most of the power-ups are drug references. That's going to be a selling point for some people and a turn-off for others, but personally, I'm kind of indifferent...

When it comes to tower defense, I personally think it can be a tough task for developers to balance new concepts with established elements that give a TD game that familiar, comfortable feeling. Armor Games' Demons vs. Fairyland [Free / $2.99 (HD)] does a good job with that balance. While its small unique features probably don’t do much in terms of innovation, I think it does enough overall to be included in any TD fan’s game library...

Pixel Cup Soccer [$1.99 / Free] is, for better or for worse, an arcade sports game using just two buttons, and one that revels in its inaccuracy to the real sport. Those expecting a version of FIFA 14 [Free] but with pixel art will be sorely disappointed. But as an arcade soccer game, it's charming and worth coming back to again and again...

Candy Crush Saga [Free] creator King has a fairly extensive catalog of puzzle games it has developed over the last several years. Their iOS lineup is just a small fraction of what it has released, though it's fairly representative of King's strengths and weaknesses. I think it's fairly safe to say at this point that its games have very broad appeal, with people of both genders, all ages, and many walks of life having a great time playing them. I think it's also pretty well-known that its games are really, really hard, and sometimes it's difficult to tell if things are rigged against you just to sell you IAP or simply just randomly cruel to keep you from flying through the games. I think it's also widely-accepted that many of its games owe a very large debt to existing puzzle games. King's match-3 games, like Candy Crush or Farm Heroes Saga [Free], use familiar mechanics and add a few twists, with the result being at least as original as, say, Dr. Mario is to Tetris [$0.99]...

You can file this one in the "better late than never" folder with Blek [$0.99]. A Dark Room [$1.99] released several months back, but due to a horrific accident in the TouchArcade break room involving the microwave oven and a can of non-dairy powdered cream, it fell between the cracks. Well, I stuck a piece of chewing gum to the end of a stick and pulled this interesting little game out of that crack. I also found my keys. I'm glad for both, since not only can I get back into my home, I also got to enjoy a really unusual and entertaining adventure. It's one of those games that you finish and want to talk about almost immediately, and so, here we are...

Copyright 2014, TouchArcade.com, LLC.