Category Archives: Reviews

Developer EXE Create seems to have their business all sorted out when it comes to putting together an enjoyable JRPG on a Kemco-sized budget. Even at their worst, we end up with something like Infinite Dunamis [$0.99], a solid effort whose chief offense is in its lack of ambition. More typically, however, an EXE Create release will fall among the best of prolific publisher Kemco's mobile catalog. The developer has a particular strength for characterization, casting their adventures with clashing personalities and a hero that shows actual growth. This work is backed by surprisingly strong localizations, resulting in a story that's fun to play through even if the overall plot isn't all that special. In terms of gameplay, they tend to play it safe most of the time, but unlike their stablemates at Kemco, even if they're not strong at a particular design element, they at least turn in a good enough effort that it doesn't detract from what they do well...

There are lots of different reasons that a person might enjoy an RPG, from the story to the battle system to exploration, but I think the one aspect that speaks to just about everyone is seeing numbers go up. It's such an appealing element of RPGs that it's been wholesale lifted by other genres over the last several years to massive success. Some games have even gone as far as to ditch everything else, allowing you to mindlessly tap away to see your numbers go up. Templar Infinite Crusade [$1.99] doesn't go quite that far, but it's certainly in the neighborhood. It looks like the dog's breakfast, it's so random that you'll need as much luck as strategy to survive, and yet, there's a certain basic appeal to the game that might get its hooks into you if you give it a shot...

'Drop Wizard' Review - Here Comes the Drop

I absolutely love Neutronized's pixel art stylings. They added a lot of flair to their previous games Roar Rampage [$0.99] and Lost Yeti [$1.99], though both were darn good games in their own rights. Now they've returned with another pixelly game, and one that pays homage to single-screen arcade classics like Bubble Bobble with Drop Wizard [$1.99]. It's definitely a game that's paying homage to the classics, and feels like it'd be a great fit in an arcade cabinet from 25 years ago or so. But Neutronized don't just rest on their laurels with the retro homage, they actually make a game that's remarkably clever in and of itself...

I must admit that I am a sucker for games with good craftsmanship. For me, good visuals, refined controls, little details, things that can seem often shiny and superficial reveal something to me, especially when they come from a smaller developer: they reveal that there is perhaps a deeper quality to pay attention to here. Crossy Road [Free] was so excellent to me not just because it is so much fun to play, but little details and tweaks made to game feel abound in that game, and they push it from "entertaining diversion" to "supremely excellent game." What we have here in Bit Dungeon 2 [appprice url="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bit-dungeon-ii/id823658485?mt=8" is the flip side of that coin: what happens when a game has a compelling structure, but lacks that last stretch of quality that makes the great games what they are? You're left with an experience of what could have been...

FIFA 15: Ultimate Team [Free] is a game that lives and dies by its monetization. Where previous entries in the series had a bevy of modes that soccer video games will have, this latest entry in EA's soccer series scraps them all for the Ultimate Team mode being the exclusive focus of the game. This is about building squads of players obtained through card packs, earning coins from matches, competing in seasons and tournaments, trying to get rewards and buy more card packs to build deeper and better teams in the quest to form the Ultimate Team. While the core game is better than ever, and the Ultimate Team mode has its perks, the shift to just being about this monetized meta-game hurts FIFA 15...

If Super Meat Boy had a rhythm based mini-game, it might look a lot like Give It Up![$0.99]. A strong techno beat drives the latest offering from Invictus. The first time I died the game told me 'Maybe you should go watch TV.' As a fan of good burns, I took this as a good omen of things to come. I was not disappointed...

Tap Titans [Free] is the latest game to make me feel ashamed for enjoying it so much. After Bitcoin Billionaire [Free] ruined my life, I figured I was safe from clickers for a while. Then I saw Tap Titans on the App Store, and heard it mentioned in a comment that I was probably enjoying it. I wasn't yet, but that spurred me to check it out. And I'm either really glad I did, or really distraught that apparently my tastes are this shallow that the very semblance of a game is enough to satisfy me...

The tag line for The Witcher AG[$3.99 (HD)] says a lot. "The Witcher Adventure Game is CD PROJEKT RED's board game set in the brutal, dark fantasy universe of monster slayer Geralt of Rivia!." I don't know if its intentional that one hero gets top billing over the other three that are involved in the game, but after playing some rounds, I think we have a pretty obvious Mary Sue case on our hands. Geralt is the guy that right off the bat is best in combat. No one fights like Geralt, rolls his dice like Geralt, In a wrestling match nobody bites like Geralt. If you are ok with a slower start, the other characters are ok to play too though...

Platform Panic [Free] is an interesting game because it manages to straddle both sides of an interesting duality regarding retro-style and pixel art games. Pixel art games are always an interesting proposition because there's a sort of confusing duality to them. Part of the appeal of pixel art is based on the limiting nature of retro games, with their low resolutions and limited resources demanding pixel art. So it gets used in part because it's a throwback to the early days of gaming. But it's also a bona-fide art style at this point that can be used in games that really don't have much to do with retro games, but still just use that style. I mean, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP [$2.99 / $4.99] really isn't much like classic games, but it's got distinctive pixel art. ..

'Dojo Slash' Review - Tap Ninja Tap

The mobile platform has allowed for quite a bit of experimentation. I've seen callbacks to the NES era, 16-bit, and more 32-bit remakes than you can shake a stick at (I'm looking at you Tomb Raider 1 and 2). But often times developers will put their own dose of charm into a game despite the fact that it doesn't belong in a single era -- and you get that feeling with Dojo Slash [Free] right from the get-go following a faux-DOS intro...

I often am asked how we come across some of the games we cover here at TouchArcade. While I can't spill all of our secrets lest Eli end me with a single, swift swipe, I can tell you one of the things we keep an eye on is what the members of the TouchArcade forums catch on to. That's how I first caught notice of a humble little developer by the name of Quantum Sheep, at the time fresh off of releasing a clever endless runner called Air Supply - Infinite [$0.99]. It didn't look like much from the screenshots or description in the App Store, but our forum was absolutely crazy about it, so I gave it an honest go and found it to be a very compelling game, with a wry sense of humor and an enthusiastic appreciation for the 8-bit computing era. Quantum Sheep's next game, Air Supply - SOS [$1.99], took the Jetpac concept and gave it a good old twist, creating a frantic action game in the classic arcade style. SOS's development was fairly lengthy and the developer wasn't shy about discussing it, so I had a good idea early on of what it was and when it was coming...

'Gentlemen...Ricochet Mini!' Review - Something to Reflect Upon

Limitations are often a great thing for an artist. Gentlemen...Ricochet Mini! [$0.99] shows that in two different facets. This is a sequel and de-make of Gentlemen...Ricochet! [$0.99] which strips away all the modern trappings of the original physics puzzler, and replaces it with something that could be on the original Game Boy. But this is hardly to the game's detriment, as it winds up improving on the original while not losing anything that made its concept great...

Mobile gaming certainly isn't hurting for clever puzzle games. Perhaps due to their natural fit with touch controls, puzzle games were one of the earliest genres to flourish on iOS. If you ask the average person to name off the mobile games they know of, chances are many of the entries will be from the puzzle genre. Candy Crush Saga [Free], Angry Birds [$0.99], Cut The Rope [$2.99], and similar fare are to many people the face of mobile gaming. Puzzle platformers, on the other hand, seem to have a rougher go of it. The puzzle part is usually fine, of course, but touchscreen platforming is a hard thing to nail down properly. Volt [$0.99 / $0.99 (HD)] tackles the problem by having you play as a little battery, who can't do much more than flop around on its own. Instead, it can generate beams of electricity to grapple onto various surfaces. It's like Cut The Rope meets Bionic Commando...

Anh Huy Phan has brought one of my favorite genres to iOS. Star Nomad Elite[$3.99] is a trimmed down, stream lined 2d space adventure game. The game notes have a shout out to Elite, Wing Commander, Privateer, Escape Velocity and Freelancer. I was a bit surprised that my favorite 2d space sim, Star Sonata wasn't also mentioned. In any case, I had a lot of expectations going into Star Nomad. It's a fun game from a very small indie outfit that could really take you by surprise. ..

iOS gamers that are into brawlers may have heard of Reliance Entertainment, makers Real Steel World Robot Boxing [Free] (among a variety of movie tie-in games). Well, the developers are back with Ultimate Robot Fighting [Free], another robot brawler that focuses on the likes of recent free-to-play brawlers such as Injustice and Marvel Contest of Champions. Lacking the star power of those two games, Ultimate Robot Fighting is forced to rely solely on its gameplay and freemium elements. Unfortunately, lackluster controls and simplistic gameplay make this game a bit hard to recommend...

Copyright 2014, TouchArcade.com, LLC.