Category Archives: Universal

'FOTONICA' Review - A Running Riot

I'm going to take a guess, dear reader, and say that you have played an endless runner or two hundred. I don't think you've played anything on mobile quite like Fotonica [$2.99]. It's an auto-runner by way of Mirror's Edge [$0.99 / $9.99 (HD)] – not the side-scrolling game, but the original game, in first-person, all in a wireframe style. The entire game is played with one touch, but it's not tap-to-jump. Essentially, tapping and holding on the screen descends to the ground, and allows the runner to pick up speed, while letting go jumps in the air. When jumping, trying to land with this rapid descent is important to maintain speed, as bonus points are earned for running fast enough that the world turns gold...

I am willing to admit that I have a soft spot for challenging, minimalist arcade games. The thing that fascinates me about something like a Super Hexagon [$2.99] or Flappy Bird is the way that such small concepts can be designed in such ways that they inspire constant replayability despite having such simple concepts. And in the case of Flappy Bird, it's possible for these games to succeed accidentally. It's an absolutely fascinating genre. So, seeing Hyper Trip [$1.99], I found myself curious to see if this could be something special, as I dug its concept of controlling a square through mazes, not unlike a Tron lightcycle. And certainly, it's a challenging game, requiring quick reactions to avoid the maze walls that pop up, with four modes the feature increasingly-challenging layouts. Certainly, it falls into my line of interest, but it left me not as satisfied as I hoped...

Developer Osao dropped Chronology: Time Changes Everything [Free] on the App Store last week. If the title didn't give it away, Chronology is a platform game that grants you, the player, the ability to manipulate time. Straddling the time periods directly before and after an apocalyptic event, it's up to you to discover the cause and ultimately try to prevent the disaster. Born from a sketch of a snail and a man with a fez, this game has a quirky sense of humor that should prove to have a pretty wide appeal...

Yes, I went for the low-hanging fruit with the review title. Let's just try to move past that and get to the game I want to tell you about today, Kapsula [$1.99]. This is a pretty unusual game. If it wasn't so utterly out there with its theme, I'd almost think it was the product of some bizarre marketing meeting. This is basically a lane-based endless runner mixed with a match-3 puzzle game, and I'll let you try to hash out how that might work for a second before I spoil it all for you...

I wanted to love Phantom Rift [$2.99]. I wanted to give it my unabashed affection. I am quite fond of the Mega Man Battle Network series because of, well, everything about it. Certainly, paying homage to Mega Man is something Phantom Rift isn't doing, but the series itself is paying homage to boasted a unique combat system that took the best aspects of card games and mixed it with fast-paced real-time combat. But where Phantom Rift falls apart is not respecting that speed. Not so much in the combat, but in the overworld that governs getting from fight to fight, and managing the character and deck: it's just too slow to get anywhere in this game, both figuratively and literally...

Microsoft announced earlier this morning that it had acquired Mojang — and Minecraft right along with it — for a cool $2.5 billion. The acquisition is expected to be finalized later this year, and Mojang's three co-founders, including Markus "Notch" Persson, are leaving the company...

A few months ago, ustwo announced that they were creating new levels for Monument Valley [$3.99], their beloved and popular puzzling adventure game of Escherian geometry. Well, between the Apple Design Award, Android release, million copies sold, and just the ravages of time, it'd be easy to forget that new levels are coming. Well, good news: those new levels are still coming, and we have proof, as a screenshot was posted on Twitter over the weekend by ustwo founder Mills...

Duke Dashington [$1.99] is the kind of game that exists in a kind of quandary. It's a game built around brevity, and for mobile devices: it's a platformer where players must swipe to get the eponymous Duke to the exit in no more than 10 seconds. It's frequently challenging but failure never leaves the player washed too far ashore to not just go back and try again. It's a game built around maximizing its brevity, but because it's so small, it winds up limiting just how well it succeeds at what it sets out to do...

Crazy Taxi City Rush [Free] has gotten its first major post-release content update. The big new addition is the fourth district, Hills, which takes place in a Hollywood-esque area. This section is roped off to those who have not completed all the Uptown HQ missions, so this is aimed for people who have played through most of the game already, and want more to do. But I suppose that's the point of any update. Those who do have it can play new HQ missions for characters, and explore the new sights...

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...

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. ..

It must be stealth game day on iOS, as not only has the very literally-titled Stealth launched but now Sony is getting in on the action with an iOS version of their PSN stealth game CounterSpy [$4.99]. CounterSpy is a much different beast than Stealth. It's a 2.5D game, meaning it has fully 3D visuals but the game itself takes place on a 2D side-scrolling plane. The visuals are incredibly stylish, and the whole game has very cool '60s-era spy movie vibe which fits right in with the theme of the game...

A couple of weeks back, I ran across a thread in our upcoming games forum for a new stealth-based game simply called Stealth. The game was the product of about 18 months of work from a single developer who had one goal in mind: recreate the stealth-based gameplay of the Metal Gear Solid series on mobile devices. The early screenshots and videos looked pretty promising, so I figured it'd be something I'd keep my eye on… except that the forum thread was created after the game was already submitted to Apple, and as it so happens, Stealth [$1.99] was approved and is available as of this morning. What a happy surprise!..

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