Category Archives: TA Plays

We got a look at Square Enix's (then upcoming) King's Knight [Free] at PAX, and our initial impressions were that it was a pretty cool game even if we didn't really understand how to initially play the demo they had on the show floor. Basically, when you're actually playing the game portion of King's Knight, it's a hybrid of a dungeon crawler and a vertical shooter- A super neat mash-up that I'm not sure I've ever seen done before. (Although, on a platform like the App Store, that's almost an impossibility.) Unfortunately, after playing quite a bit of the actual release of King's Knight, I wish I could say I was surprised that it's absolutely packed to the brim with practically every freemium shenanigan in the book: Post-install downloads, multiple gacha systems, connectivity requirements, multiple ways to level up seemingly everything, login bonuses, friend systems, daily quests, and elaborate freemium menus (each often with their own tutorial) to manage all these things. It's really sort of incredible...

I just got finished playing around an hour or so of Ironhide's Iron Marines [$4.99], and it'd be hard for my first impressions of the game to be any better. It's from the developers of the Kingdom Rush [Free] series, so it's not much of a surprise that they'd know how to make a really great mobile game. At its simplest, the easiest way to describe Iron Marines is that it's pretty dang close to a mobile version of StarCraft. At times it even feels a little too on the nose when it comes to riffing directly from the Blizzard classic, but with a unique art style and a fascinating blend between tower defense and real time strategy mechanics, Iron Marines manages to feel distinctly different even if it is giving a unbelievably massive hat tip towards the StarCraft universe...




In the summer of 2016, a surprisingly fun musical puzzle game called Tapt [Free] hit the App Store. I posted a first impressions piece on it explaining what you do in the game, which effectively amounts to remembering and tapping the basic beat of a large collection of ultra recognizable songs. It was a basic concept, sure, but it worked very well and was one of those things I couldn't believe hadn't been done before. Well, Tapt developer Stephen Coyle is back with another clever puzzler that also has an interesting twist. It's called Deja [Free] (as in, deja vu) and the inspiration behind the title becomes immediately apparent once you start playing the game...

We've covered Ankama's Drag'n'Boom [Free] quite a bit in the past based off its real cool trailer. It hit the App Store yesterday, and I just wanted to post about it again in case this gem got lost in all the hustle and bustle of the new iPhone announcements. If this is the first you've heard of Drag'n'Boom, I think the easiest way to describe it is that it's like playing as a dragon inside of a medieval version of The Matrix. Every action you make in the game comes with a slow down bullet time-like effect, and that includes everything from movement to actually firing flames from your mouth...

A new thing I've been doing on our Twitch channel is just streaming me working during the day. I'm usually alternating between playing games and writing about them, but today I wrote most of the stories for the keynote and then streamed the keynote itself while we talked about it together in Twitch chat. Afterwards, I did a bit of a wrap-up of sorts going through all the new pages on Apple's site showing off all the features and specs which I thought might be interesting to watch for people who weren't on stream or potentially missed the keynote...

We're huge fans of Raw Fury's Kingdom: New Lands [$9.99]. It's an ultra-clever kingdom building game that's played as a sidescroller where the only interaction you have as the player is earning and spending gold. The fascinating thing about it is that through this one simple mechanic, the game is jam packed with all sorts of surprises. We get deeper into all this in out game of the week post, but needless to say, Kingdom is a very good game...

We've been covering the upcoming Metroidvania title Dandara for well over a year now. It's a super clever title as they manage to pack in everything you'd expect of a Metroidvania title while coupling it with a jumping mechanic that has you launching from wall to wall. Since you can stick to walls, which direction is up and which is down is fluid, creating some incredibly fascinating exploration possibilities. We saw it back at GDC, and got another quick look this morning at PAX:..

The digital strategy board game Armello has a heck of a story behind it. It was originally announced as an iPad title all the way back in 2011. Following a successful Kickstarter, the developers, League of Geeks, shifted gears to make the game a Steam and console title. On those platforms, the game has seen incredible success, so much so that as of this year the studio has done its sixth profit share with the development team. (You can read about this on their blog.) Anyway, back in 2014 we posted that the game would be coming to iOS "next year." ...A few years later, and we got a look at it actually running on an iPhone on the show floor of PAX West:..

We posted our hands on with Reigns: Her Majesty from the show floor of PAX this morning, and while the booth they set up for it is super awesome for people walking by... It's not so great for shooting video. We reached out to Devolver Digital, who actually hooked us up with the developer of Reigns [$2.99] who was able to give us an up-close demo on his iPhone. Check it out:..

As we mentioned last week, Super Meat Boy Forever is once again a thing on mobile. We're still skeptical as to whether or not it'll ever get released on the App Store, but, considering recent news we shot some video of it on the show floor at PAX West. The demo we played is running on the Switch, but it seems painfully obvious that the game and its simple controls were designed for a touch screen...

When Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition was announced late last month, our we raised our eyebrows with some warranted skepticism as to whether or not Square Enix could actually pull off what they were promising: A full featured, mobile version, of their blown-out console title Final Fantasy XV. Well, after spending a good 20 minutes with Pocket Edition on the show floor of PAX West, we're pretty blown away...

Wandering through every last nook at PAX looking for anything to do with mobile, we stumbled across the booth for the FidgetlyCTRL Smart Fidget Spinner, a bluetooth-connected fidget spinner that does all sorts of stupid things through their open API developers can use. The demos they had on the show floor were using the spinner to control music, and play a Flappy Bird-like. Check it out:..

Probably my favorite game from the handful we saw from Digital Melody here at PAX West is one called Diggerman. It's an arcade game that has you digging into the ground, collecting gold for points and avoiding dangers like enemies and explosives. The concept is one that's been done on mobile before, but what I felt set Diggerman apart from the others is how it has you digging diagonally which lends itself well to a two-button control scheme. Tap the left side of the screen to dig diagonally down and left, and the right side to dig diagonally down and right. This allows for some extremely fast-paced digging as you can see in the video below...

While Digital Melody was busy showing us many of their upcoming mobile games here at PAX West, they also wanted to take the time to show off a game from one of the developer's brothers and it's a clever enough concept we felt it was worth sharing. The game is called Extra Color and it's a single-tap arcade game that has you tapping the screen to alternate the color of the diamond in the center so that it matches the colors of the lines moving towards it. If the diamond doesn't match the line when they come into contact, it's game over. The neat twist here is that you can rack up extra points by alternating the colors while waiting for the lines to come into contact with the diamond, so there's a risk/reward factor in play. Do you leave the diamond the correct color and wait for the line to approach to ensure your game keeps going, or do you frantically switch colors as much as you can and hope to stop on the right color before contact is made?..

One of my favorite things about gaming the last few years is the recurring trend of seeing these otherwise obscure board games that you might not ever play (or have even heard of) getting digital adaptations. Not only does it make playing the game more accessible, but learning the games are also way easier as you never have massive rule misunderstandings since the game doesn't let you break the rules. Lotus is available on Amazon as a physical card game, but check out the digital version in action:..

Digital Melody is probably most well-known for their ultra-popular Timberman, and along with Timber Tennis they've tried expanding the brand into new game genres. One of the new Timber games is one called Timber West which we were able to check out here at PAX West this weekend. It's a shooting gallery style game that's a bit tricky to explain. Basically, enemies pop up in various places and you can touch anywhere on the screen to generate an aiming reticule, which will slowly rise up from the position you touch. Once the reticule is over an enemy you lift off the screen to fire. Check out the video of Timber West to see what I mean...

One of the other games we checked out here at PAX West from Timberman developer Digital Melody was a neat balancing game aptly titled Find the Balance. The goal here is to stack all of the items shown at the top of the screen and have them balance long enough to clear the level, which felt like about 5 seconds or so. Easier said than done. You choose which items to stack in whatever order you choose, and one of the keys is to rotate the objects so that they will stack properly. It's probably best explained by just watching our hands-on video of Find the Balance below...

Digital Melody was at PAX West showing off Timber Tennis [Free] which is getting a Nintendo Switch release, but they also had an iPad loaded up with some of their upcoming mobile stuff, one of which is a very interesting platformer called Runventure. The idea is that it's a platformer that can be played with one thumb. Using a slider at the bottom, you'll slide left or right to move in that direction, with how far you slide it being how fast your character runs. Here's the twist: At the same time, as you slide a line creates an arc sort of like firing a bird in Angry Birds, and when you lift up your thumb your character will jump. Check out the video...

The developers at Rusty Lake have put out some of the creepiest and most unsettling games on mobile between their Cube Escape series and the Rusty Lake point and click adventures. Their games have a style and feel that's easy to recognize, and during the middle of last month they began teasing their newest Rusty Lake game called Rusty Lake Paradise. Well, they had the game on display here at PAX West so naturally we asked to get a demo of it and were treated to a very… interesting experience. Check it out...

We first posted about Tiny Bubbles early last month, and I think it was easy to be skeptical about the game, particularly on mobile where it feels like there's every iteration of color matching games has been explored ten times over. Well, after watching a demo of the many different puzzle types found in Tiny Bubbles, I found myself blown away with the level of depth such a seemingly simple color matching and bubble popping game has. Check out our video:..

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