Category Archives: Reviews

'Super Hyper Ball' Review - Breakout Pinball

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December 3rd, 2015 1:00 PM EST by Chris Carter in 3.5 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Pinball, Reviews, Universal
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I've been playing Breakout-esque games for decades now, and despite the fact that they've fundamentally remained the same, they still do the trick every so often when I'm craving an arcade-like retro experience. Sure it's a score-attack-based affair, with a dangling carrot that will never actually be reached, but at the very least, you can still break out all of those bricks and move on to the next set of tiles. There's a sense of progression to it and a noble air of simplicity that makes the genre so alluring. Super Hyper Ball [Free] maintains the same classic feel as those titles, but adds in a few rudimentary aspects of pinball into the mix...

'Starlit Adventures' Review - Time For Adventure

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December 3rd, 2015 11:00 AM EST by Nadia Oxford in 4 stars, Free, Review, Reviews
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Video games have given us a wide variety of mounts, including dinosaurs, dragons, bears, and other creatures that would likely sink their teeth into our squishy human heads if we had the gall to jump on their backs. But Rockhead Games' Starlit Adventures [Free] lets us go for a ride on a truly unique critter: A giant star-nosed mole named Kikki who admittedly looks far cuter than the real animal. Seriously, have you ever looked at a star-nosed mole head-on? It looks like someone stapled the facehugger from Alien to a blind rat...




It seems like 2015 is the year of long-awaited games finally releasing. This year we've had Spider: Rite Of The Shrouded Moon [$2.99], Galactic Keep [$3.99], The Room Three [$4.99], and Dragon Fantasy: The Black Tome Of Ice [$9.99], among others, and it looks like we're going to be ending the year with another game that's been stewing for awhile: the follow-up to 2010's Aralon: Sword And Shadow [$4.99], from Galoobeth Games and Crescent Moon Games. For its time, Aralon was almost unbelievable for a mobile game. Offering a big 3D world that felt considerably more detail, open, and alive than the one found in Crescent Moon's previous title, Ravensword, Aralon felt like a big step towards having a fully-featured, modern, WRPG-style game on iOS. That was in 2010, however, and I'm sure I don't need to tell anyone how the market and player expectations have shifted in the intervening half-decade. Aralon: Forge And Flame [$4.99] is stepping out into a much different world than the one that welcomed its predecessor, and it doesn't quite have the sizzle to fill the footsteps it's walking in...

I mentioned recently in my review of Baseball Apocalypse [$0.99] that I love impossible games. One of those games comes from developer/publisher Invictus. Now, Invictus puts out a lot of games, very few of which actually interest me, though they seem to have found their footing in the last couple years. There are a handful of gems in their library that really truly shine. I'm talking the supremely elegant Greed Corp [$0.99], the heavy metal monster mash Tap 'n Slash [Free], and the game that I name dropped in said review, Give It Up! [$0.99]. While the original game grew with a handful of updates, a sequel was being made, and that sequel is pretty magnificent. I give you Give It Up! 2 [$0.99]. (I'd have gone with something like Give It Up Again! but I digress)..

Late last year, iOS gamers were treated to an excellent port of the cult classic Xbox title Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath [$2.99]. In my review of that game, I sounded off on the series on the whole, making no bones about my admiration for the tight design and excellent gameplay found in Stranger's Wrath, referring to it as without question the developer's best game. I also made no secret of my feelings about the previous games in the series, which I've always felt were lovingly-crafted but ultimately quite middling outside of their production values and strong art direction. I think there are valid reasons why they were like that, but the point remains that I don't think very highly of the gameplay they offer. I guess that's kind of a foreboding way to start this review, but stay with me...

They say that you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Which is exactly why whenever I write reviews, I wear my furry Chewbacca bath robe. You don't get quite as disparate, or quite as wide of a gap, as a lowly beggar literally wearing the face of god and getting godlike power in the process. That's quite the promotion! And it's also the premise of the lovely puzzle platformer and debut App Store game from Bad Seed, The Beggar's Ride [$3.99]...

'Blendoku 2' Review - Does It Blend?

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December 2nd, 2015 12:14 PM EST by Shaun Musgrave in 4 stars, Free, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews
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I don't envy puzzle game designers. In our hobby, there are plenty of genres where you can more or less get away with looking at what the big dog is doing, slapping a slightly different look on it, and maybe tossing in a new hat or two if you're feeling particularly ambitious. You probably won't do extraordinarily well doing things that way, but it's certainly viable in some genres. Puzzle games are not one of those genres. Perhaps owing to the generally minimalist presentation most puzzle games use, people can spot gameplay imitations pretty quickly. Whether they'll care or not is another thing altogether, mind you. That's why I'm somewhat sympathetic to puzzle game developers who go back to the well a few times on an original concept. It's hard enough to come up with something new and fun, let alone trying to successfully reinvent the wheel thereafter. Just ask Alexey Pajitnov...

For a game that wasn't received with much excitement when it was released, Sanitarium [$3.99] has held up pretty well over the years. The game first released in 1998, when adventure games were just about to drop off a cliff sales-wise for the next several years. Some of the things it was criticized for at the time actually seem to have anticipated the way the genre would evolve once it became healthy again, making this game something of a pioneer. Even setting its historical value aside, however, it's a compelling psychological adventure ported to iOS in fine fashion by the good people at DotEmu. It has its weak points, but I'd honestly recommend Sanitarium ahead of most other point and click adventures of its era...

'Football Manager Mobile 2016' Review - Your Phone Couldn't Ask for a Better Sports Manager Game

When I heard a few years ago that Sports Interactive was planning on bringing Football Manager over on iOS, I was filled with reserved anticipation. Anticipation because the thought of a portable Football Manager was the white whale of many gamers (including me) who had spent hours upon hours on the many PC versions of the game, and reservations because I knew they couldn't really port the whole game on mobile unless the developers seriously pared down the experience. The major issue was the PC game's huge database, which would barely fit on the then top-end devices, and the memory requirements. When the first Football Manager Handheld was released, it was met with the expected response: most players were happy the game was on iOS but were disappointed by the lack of many 'essential' features and by the very small database...

'Digfender' Review - Tunnel of Love

Digfender [Free] is basically a tower defense game combined with a “digging” game (if you couldn’t tell from the title alone). As far as the TD stuff is concerned, it’s all pretty standard. You’ve got waves of different enemies marching toward your base (a castle, in this case), and your job is to stop them by planting various weaponized towers in strategic places that will slow or kill the hordes. The towers themselves are pretty typical, too, with a fire tower, shock tower, freeze tower, and bomb tower, each with branching upgrade paths a la Kingdom Rush [Free]. On top of that, you’ve got several support towers that connect to the weapons to boost things like damage, range, and gold drops...

'Progress To 100' Review - Are We There Yet?

'Progress To 100' Review - Are We There Yet?

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November 30th, 2015 12:30 PM EST by Nathan Reinauer in $2.99, 4.5 stars, Games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
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It’s no secret that there are some pretty expensive iOS games out there. Thankfully, most of them tend to be free, but there are still a few that are a dollar or even two (twice as much!). Even worse, most of these games only use a couple of my iPad’s features. I mean, if I’m going to break the bank on a game that costs money it had better be utilizing my whole device. (Example: I bought Horizon Chase [Free] earlier this year for three entire dollars and quickly found that it only uses my touchscreen. What about the gyroscope? The microphone? The camera? Eeeeyoo, eeeyooo! Ripoff alert!) Progress to 100 [$2.99] is yet another of these wallet draining “premium” games, but I quickly found that this one is different. As I played through its hundred levels, it slowly began to dawn on me: This game uses everything. Finally!..

'Diabolical' Review - Ridiculously Evil

The flexibility of topics in the interactive fiction genre is one of its greatest strengths. I've said this before, but due to the relatively low production costs of putting words on a page, interactive fiction can take risks that other games dare not. Thankfully, nearly every company releasing gamebooks isn't shy about flexing that privilege. The occasional release even goes for comedy, a fairly hard topic to do well in gaming. Earlier this year, we had the absolutely delightful Ryan North's To Be Or Not To Be [$5.99] from Tin Man Games, and now, from Choice Of Games and author Nick Aires, we have the madcap super-villain simulator, Diabolical [Free]. I'm feeling a little bit spoiled, to be honest...

Not all games can be revolutionary, or even evolutionary. In some cases, they're just well-done interpretations of the tropes and styles that have come before them, and they serve as reminders of why they were fun and became well-worn and overused in the first place. Such is the fate of Super Dangerous Dungeons [Free]. It's not going to innovate much on the platformer genre, but it just manages to do well at being a solid, familiar platformer that does what it's trying to do right...

Another day, another Warhammer game. But Pixel Toys' Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade [Free] seemed promising not just because Apple showed it off with 3D Touch, but also because it's a game where you walk around as a giant Imperial Knight and shoot everything in sight with big, explosive weapons and a giant chainsword. What's not to love with that combination? Well, the issue is that this game plays everything big – and that includes the monetization, which tries every trick in the book to get you to pay. This isn't bad, except for a misleading energy system that really sours the experience. And like many free-to-play games, including the social RPGs it apes much of its structure from, it quickly becomes something where if you tire of the cycle the game puts you on, you will fall out of it quickly. The gameplay is brutal fun, but it alone is not enough to keep you going...

Do you enjoy games like Out There [$4.99] or FTL [$9.99 (HD)], where you have to manage resources and survive encounters in randomized galaxies? Well, Last Horizon [$2.99] isn't exactly what you're looking for, but it exists within a very similar sphere thematically and even structurally, while being an entirely different game...

Sometimes, in life, the earth starts bursting at the seams with magma and fire while meteors and little chibi zombie para-troopers rain down endlessly from the sky and giant slime monsters slug their way across the earth. Sometimes, a baseball playing Robot gets caught up in all of that mess, and decides that if he’s going to go down, he’s literally going down swinging. And also hitting. And sometimes striking out. Such is the premise of Baseball Apocalypse [$0.99] from Thomas Janson...

'Skylanders SuperChargers' Review - A Pretty Fun and Relatively Economical Ride

iOS versions of current console games still pretty scarce, but it’s refreshing to see this trend slowly start to reverse with recent launches of Disney Infinity 3.0, Guitar Hero Live, and Skylanders SuperChargers [Free] on iOS. In the case of SuperChargers, this is the second full launch of a console game with the previous Trap Team [Free (HD)] having made its iOS debut last year...

'Dark Fear' Review - Old School Horror

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November 20th, 2015 10:00 AM EST by Chris Carter in $2.99, 4.5 stars, Adventure, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Universal
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I have a love-hate relationship with horror films and games. As a rule, I'm in love with older films, which use practical effects to great success, and deliver interesting and suspenseful stories. But as time progressed, CG is often used as a crutch, and horror has become increasingly more about shock or jump scares rather than a normalized sense of fear. It's the same way for games, but Dark Fear [$2.99] manages to bring us back into the 80s in more ways than one...

Wizards and Wagons[$4.99] is out now from Touch Dimensions and it is one of the more active and engaging item shop sim games I have played. Known for more traditional strategy games, Touch Dimensions is stretching their dev skills to reach into the sim genre. Rather than sitting in town and waiting for customers to come to you, W&W mobilizes the store and puts you in the drivers seat. As last week's Touch Arcade Game of the Week, I was not surprised to find dynamic gameplay and an addictive quality that has put some extra rings under my eyes for the last several days from lack of sleep. ..

'Lumino City' Review - Point and Tap Adventure

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November 18th, 2015 2:30 PM EST by Chris Carter in $4.99, 4 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
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Point and click adventure games had a wonderful, whimsical feel to them, amidst the chaos of pixel-hunting. One minute you were searching for that perfect "eureka" moment, and the next, slamming your keyboard in frustration because that one tiny little item you needed that was barring your progress for eight hours was in the corner, behind a window. It brought out the duality of emotions like no other genre, and the same goes for Lumino City [$4.99] on mobile devices...

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