Category Archives: Universal

'Quell Zen' Review - Peaceful Enough

StarStarStarStarNone
July 29th, 2016 5:00 PM EDT by Chris Carter in $3.99, 3.5 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
$3.99 Buy Now

Everyone gets their zen from their own special place. For me, that's usually listening to the latest Kenna album, grinding away in an MMO and leveling up a new character. It's relaxing in a way that it's probably crazy to basically anyone else, but if you shared some of your methods, you'd probably sound crazy too. So when a game bills itself as a zen-like experience, it's usually dubious of the claim given the subjectivity of its nature. With Quell Zen [$3.99] though, it mostly does its job, providing a puzzler veneer...

I’m a pretty big mark for The Blacklist. It’s not amazing but it’s my kind of show. James Spader’s performance elevates the standard cool and suave genius character who always makes things go their way to something pretty unique and memorable with Raymond Reddington. The Blacklist makes sense to adapt as a narrative driven detective adventure game. While that isn’t what we have here, those elements are present. Some of the character dialogue comes off as super shallow and basic, but some of it could have honestly been lifted directly from the source material. I can practically hear Spader’s voice when Reddington talks. Unfortunately, all the good things this game has to offer are standing behind an FBI level freemium firewall that even Agent Aram with his L33T Haxxor skills couldn’t penetrate. This is The Blacklist: Conspiracy [Free]...




Almost every time I write a story about the very entertaining card game Sentinels of Multiverse [$9.99 (HD)], someone in the comments will rightly inquire about the promised iPhone version of the game. Well, good news. Handelabra Games announced in a blog post that the 2.0 update, which makes the game universal, is coming Thursday, August 4th, the first day of Gencon. The developers didn't just hastily shove the game into the smaller iPhone screen; instead, they put a lot of effort into making it more than just "playable" on a phone. They redesigned the UI and did extensive beta testing to ensure that you'll be able to enjoy the game on your phone as much as you do on your tablet. I've played it a bit on my iPhone, and it does play great...

Yeah, you read that right. ReRunners: Race for the World [Free] is a massive multiplayer online platformer. Kind of. You never actually see other live players, but the world is populated and alive regardless. And it is freaking outstanding. I have been utterly hooked by this game for the last week. Not only is the actual gameplay smooth, fun, and functional, but the crazy, vibrant, psychedelic world that you’ll explore is almost worth the price of admission alone. Or it would be, if this game even had a price tag. There is a ton of expressive, creative content, with loads of customization options for your character and upgrades. I implore you to read on, my friends, for this is one of the most original games I’ve had the good fortune to be completely addicted to this year...

I’m a sucker for sci-fi horror settings, so when I saw this brutal app icon alongside colorful screenshots that really pop, I knew I had to go for this app. Wait, what’s that? And it’s a premium game with no in-app purchases? Oh Dead Shell, you say all the right things! I was excited to dive deep into the ghoulish landscape of Dead Shell: Roguelike RPG [$2.99] from the word go. Sadly, my excitement was met with a game that doesn’t really seem to know what it wants to be. It’s definitely an interesting game with a very cool premise, but that only takes you so far...

Well internet, you were right once again. In a stream that has just concluded, Blizzard announced the next Hearthstone [Free] Adventure, and it is, indeed, related to Karazhan and Medivh, as we had guessed when the event invitations went out. One Night in Karazhan, as is the official title, will take players all the way to Karazhan, Medivh's tower, for some "enchanted" single-player content. As the guest of Medivh, you'll be lavishly entertained, enjoying  wonderful feasts and Opera performances among other spectacles. As you can already tell, One Night in Karazhan will have a very different feel than League of Explorers and Blackrock Mountain; this one is all about partying under the disco balls...

If you're lucky enough to be up at 11 PM PDT today (which is in about an hour from now), you can watch Blizzard unveil the next Hearthstone [Free] Adventure live on Twitch. As we wrote a few days ago, Blizzard sent out an announcement inviting people to a "once-in-a-lifetime event that will be full of magic and celebration." "Please be prompt," the invitation concluded, "as we have an unforgettable adventure planned!" Since the invitation was sent out, Hearthstone players have been scouring it (and the Hearthstone Twitter account) for clues as to what's in store, and everyone seems to agree that we are getting something related to Karazhan, Medivh's tower. How Blizzard will approach this theme, though, remains to be seen...

One of the unique elements of mobile is that because people have their devices with them constantly, game design has taken on a new element of trying to fit into people's lives. Phoenix 2 [Free] feels like the idea was to provide an intense shoot 'em up experience that could be more than just an occasional distraction, but a game that could fit into someone's life. And in that regard, it succeeds: it's a unique experience that works best on mobile because it's built for the platform, while still being a fun bullet hell shmup experience...

If you're looking for a CCG that promises a higher degree of complexity than a game like Hearthstone but one that's still quick to play, you might want to check out the just-released Deckstorm: Duel of Guardians [Free] by DeNA. In Deckstorm's matches, players throw cards down simultaneously, which is a nice change from most other CCGs. Because of this mechanic, matches take much less time than your average CCG, and the tactics required are quite different. You have to try and anticipate your opponent's move rather than wait for the move and then counter it. It's a refreshing change, and I always enjoy seeing developers trying to deviate from the formula...

To say we really liked Land Sliders [Free] here at the TouchArcade tower would be an understatement; after all, it was our game of the year and for very good reasons. Land Sliders is a great mobile game and one that wouldn't work as well on any other platform. Apparently, we are not the only ones to like it since the game is currently celebrating 4 million downloads, and it's doing so with a big, western-themed update. This wild west showdown in Land Sliders, as the developers call it, brings 11 new characters - the Sheriff, the Outlaw, the Showgirl, the Piano Players, and more - new western-themed levels, and an upgraded character selection to help you sort all those characters you own...

'Severed' Review - I'd Give my Left Arm to Play This on Mobile

Consider it a testament to the power of mobile that developers still want to make and release games for it, despite the challenges of selling on it. After all, when games are customary a third of their price on other platforms, it's no wonder that games are rarely announced first for mobile. Severed [$5.99] was that exception, as mobile was a core platform for the game at its announcement. Then, it became a PlayStation Vita exclusive, before eventually being re-announced for mobile. And here it finally is. This first-person Infinity Blade [$5.99] meets Zelda type game – is a really cool experience that feels like it should have been on mobile all along...

Rodeo Stampede [Free] was a game I adored when I looked at it in our review last month, and for good reason. The interesting mechanic of jumping from animal to animal whilst traversing obstacle ridden environments at pace was extremely compelling, and managed to create an accessible casual experience that contained a surprising amount of depth and strategy under the surface. However, there was a core criticism that was levelled at Rodeo Stampede in our forums, even if it was a consequence of how enjoyable the game was - there simply wasn't enough content. Exploring the Savannah and the Jungle was great fun while it lasted but, beyond that, there was little reason to return to the rodeo apart from to break high scores. Thankfully, this issue has been promptly addressed, as in a new update released yesterday, developers Featherweight Games have offered a whole new ecosystem to explore, as your cowboy avatar travels to the mountains to jump upon even more unsuspecting animals...

'Angry Birds: Ace Fighter' Is a Soft Launched Shmup Spinoff, Not Developed by Rovio

In both an extremely surprising yet predictable attempt to wrestle the cultural zeitgeist back away from Pokemon GO [Free], a new Angry Birds title has soft launched today in Singapore - but not as you'd expect. Angry Birds: Ace Fighter is a departure from the typical aggravated avian slingshotting gameplay you know, loved and eventually found tedious - instead, Ace Fighter works as a shoot-em-up in the vein of the Sky Force series, as you shoot to eliminate pigs in UFOs, giant mechanical suits of armor and even riding dragons. While it's unlikely to have the same degree of depth and difficulty as shmups from developers such as Cave, Angry Birds: Ace Fighter boasts the slick cartoon aesthetic of the core games, and promises a whole roster of different planes, power ups and animal upgrades that will be a massive boon to any devoted fans of Rovio's other content...

If you dislike RNG-heavy Hearthstone [Free] Tavern Brawl, I suggest you do not touch that Tavern Brawl button this week because Randomonium is all about picking a class, getting a random deck, and then playing a game where card cost is random every single turn. As you can imagine, it's hard to strategize your next move when you don't know the cost of your cards next turn. What you can do is to expect that any high-cost cards in your hand will probably be cheap enough to play in the next two,three of turns, and plan around that. But overall, this is one of those Brawls where crazy things will happen (like Turn 1 C'Thuns for instance) and you should go with it and not get angry...

With wonderful titles like Triple Town [Free] and Alphabear [Free], Spry Fox is one of the preeminent developers of mobile games. But they make games for desktop and console, too! One of those games is a roguelike puzzler called Road Not Taken [$4.99], and although it took a couple of years, it has finally arrived on iOS. We first talked about Road Not Taken way back in May of 2013, when it was slated for release on desktop and "eventually" planned to release on mobile. Taking inspiration from Robert Frost's poem of the same name, Road Not Taken is about "surviving life's surprises" as you adventure around through randomly generated levels rescuing children who have lost their way...

If you are of the many Pokemon GO [Free] players  waiting for the Pokemon GO Plus to release at the end of this month, I have some bad news for you. According to a tweet by Nintendo of America, Pokemon GO Plus will release September 2016 instead of the end of July, which is a bummer for many. If you don't know what the Pokemon GO Plus is, it's a small device that lets you play Pokemon GO while walking around without having to keep looking at your phone. The device connects to your phone via Bluetooth low energy and notifies you for any in-game events. For instance, it allows you to search a Pokestop for items by pressing the button and can even use the device to add those items to your inventory...

Philadelphia's LOVE Park, nicknamed so for Robert Indiana's iconic LOVE sculpture with the tilted O, is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the US. But it holds an extra special place in the hearts of skateboarders. LOVE Park is a legendary skate spot, from its many planter ledges, to ramps made from propped up grates, to the massive four set leading down into its central fountain, this park has had a presence in skateboarding for decades. Now, the top skateboarding game for iOS is getting a little LOVE when Love Park arrives as a downloadable course for True Skate [$1.99] this Thursday. Here's Philadelphia skateboarding icon Josh Kalis taking the digital version of LOVE Park for a test drive, followed by a couple of screens of the new course...

World of Tanks: Blitz [Free] continues to add features with every update - though the pace is not fast enough for some members of the community - and update 3.0 is no exception. The main addition in this update is a new mode, Supremacy, which will play quite differently from the existing Encounter mode. Supremacy has multiple bases rather than just one, and base capturing brings points to your team as does destroying enemy tanks. The first team to either reach 1000 points or destroy all enemy tanks wins. This new mode should change tactics a bit because players will have to be looking at the points bars in order to figure out the best path to victory. The added bases should also force players to move about the map more than they usually do, which is always a good thing...

If you've been playing Telltale's Minecraft: Story Mode [$4.99], you'll be glad to know that the seventh episode of this long-running series, Access Denied, is available for download - or will be available today at some point. As we talked about recently, this episode moves away from the murder-mystery tone of Episode 6 and goes instead into a different narrative direction. Gone is the haunted house; instead, what we have in Access Denied is a battle between Jesse's crew and PAMA, a sinister AI seeking to command everything and everyone around it in a "pursuit of optimal usefulness and efficiency."..

My biggest qualm with Kairosoft, apart from that Game Dev Story 2 appears to be Duke Nukem Forever-esque vaporware, is that my enjoyment with any of their titles is highly dependent in my interest of whatever the topic their next iterative game is. This means while Pocket Arcade Story [$4.99] went down extremely well with me, Cafeteria Nipponica [$4.99] doesn't exactly pique my interest. Thankfully, Kairosoft have appeared to hit the holy grail of simulator themes, as who doesn't like superheroes? Legends of Heropolis [Free], the next title in their expansive catalogue of RPG-management hybrids, has launched today for free on the App Store, and offers the chance to build a town full of superheroes and bring back justice to Heropolis once more...

Copyright 2014, TouchArcade.com, LLC.