Category Archives: Universal

Imagine you’re in a room by yourself. Every so often someone comes by and slips a piece of paper under the door with Chinese characters on it. You don’t know Chinese yourself, but you do have a book that can help. You simply look up the characters in the book and it’ll tell you what should be said back based on the rules of Chinese language and conversation. You don’t actually understand any of what you’re writing, but the person on the other side of the door is convinced they’re conversing with someone who is fluent. This is John Searle's "Chinese Room" thought experiment, and I was reminded of that while playing Sleep Furiously [$2.99] by Playmation Studios...

'Oddwings Escape' Review - Shiny Wings

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May 22nd, 2015 1:45 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in 3.5 stars, Free, Racing, Reviews, Runner, Universal
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I wish I could love Oddwings Escape [Free] by Small Giant Games. Don’t get me wrong--I definitely like it. But in order to love something, I need to feel a drive deep in my soul to go back to it over and over, because That Thing is super enjoyable and puts a warm glow in my otherwise darkened husk of a heart. Like pizza and cats. Oddwings is more like… fireworks. I like fireworks. They’re pretty and fine and I’ve been known to enjoy a firework or two when the time is right. But I’m not the sort of person who seeks them out. Maybe you are, though, and that’s fine. And this game is fine. Let’s talk about it...

'Digit & Dash' Review - Domo Arigato, Mr. and Mrs. Roboto

I was recently reading a science fiction novel that featured a central character who argued against the idea that consciousness is a good thing to have. On the surface that sounds absurd, but think about it a little deeper. Computers absolutely demolish us when it comes to things like math and chess, and some of our most creative ideas come when we’re sleeping or thinking of other things. Your brain stem is an incredibly quick chunk of meat, and it could be argued that consciousness just slows it down. Imagine if self-awareness was required to remove your hand from a hot stove, for example. Yikes...

Heroes and Castles 2 [$1.99] runs into the problem that trying to bring big-scope, console-style games to mobile often have: these games are often well-made and can be fun to play. But sometimes, they're terrible fits for the actual platform. And that's where my issues with Heroes and Castles 2 lie: the game's good, I just came to dread playing it because it isn't a good fit for the mobile platform...

Sometimes, the most simple experience is the best experience. That goes double for the mobile platform, where often times your only method of control is a basic tap motion. Orbits [Free] follows that principle to a tee, and although it can be a tad too simplistic in its presentation, it's definitely worth looking into...

'Capitals - Free Word Battle' by NimbleBit Review - Real Game, Really Fun

Capitals [Free] from NimbleBit is their take on a long-running genre: the turn-based multiplayer word game. Thankfully, they manage to deliver a fun and worthwhile take on the genre by making it a simple strategy game that just uses familiar word game mechanics to feel familiar. It's a game that's accessible, but leads to an intense battle between folks. You form words from tiles on a hex grid using Scrabble/Words With Friends [Free] rules, with each tile you play being replaced by another tile. Any tiles you play connected to your color of tile are added to your tiles, and if you capture the enemy capital, you get an extra turn. Wipe out all the enemy territory, and you win!..

'Ire: Blood Memory' Review - A Hardcore F2P Game that's Challenging in all the Right Ways

I often hate when I'm right; you tell a friend not to climb that tree, he does, he falls, and then you have to rush him to the ER. Yet, there are times when I'm glad to be right, and the case of TenBirds' Ire: Blood Memory [Free] is one such case. When I decided to draw attention to the game recently, I did so because of the influences cited by the developers: Demon Souls, Dark Souls, and Monster Hunter, three games that are demanding and relatively-slow paced and that aren't the kind of influences most iOS developers will cite. I was quite positive in my write-up, and even though most commenters dismissed the game outright because of its F2P monetization model, now that I've played the game, I'm glad to say that I was right about this game being one to look forward to. Ire is a brave and successful attempt to give iOS gamers a challenging, tactical Action-RPG that offers a great and complex battle system wrapped in a demanding inventory and forging system. While the game isn't perfect, it might actually come pretty close to that if some of its issues are addressed in the future, provided you enjoy difficult games that punish you often but reward contemplative, tactical gameplay...

Hands on With the Much-Awaited 'Galactic Keep' - Game (Apparently) Releasing Soon (Yes, You've Read that Right)

No, it's not April Fool's Day, and no, your eyes aren't fooling you either; the 6-year saga that was the development of Gilded Skull Games' Galactic Keep (formerly known as Galactic Keep: Dice Battles) seems to be, finally, coming to a happy conclusion. I've been playing the game throughout the weekend, and I'm very glad to say that it plays like a charm and feels almost like it could be released tomorrow...

Wow. Talk about an iOS dynasty. It's been five long years since Miniclip.com published the port of the original Fragger [$0.99] to the App Store. All this time later, Harold Brenes, the original creator of Fragger is back with a long, long awaited sequel, Fragger 2 [$0.99]. I mean, 5 years? That's ancient history in mobile gaming. Not quite 'cradle of life,' 'dawn of man' ancient, but still pretty darn old. Ancient Greece, maybe. Anyway, was the wait worth it? Did anyone really want this sequel?..

If you've been playing Hearthstone [Free] on a tablet or mobile recently, you've probably noticed that the game would get sluggish even on the latest devices. Fear not, though, because Blizzard's decided to give the game a boost. In an update released yesterday, Blizzard switched on support for 64-bit devices (anything better than an iPad Air 1 and an iPhone 5s) and, seriously, the improvement isn't just noticeable, it's more like playing the game on fast forward. Menus pop open without the slightest delay, and any delay that wasn't network-related has vanished. Go check it out yourself, you'll be surprised at the difference 64-bit support makes...

Curling as an influence to a high score game? What? That's what Gameblyr's Into the Circle [Free] promises and delivers on. Curling is an underappreciated sport here in the United States. It's something I always try to catch whenever the Winter Olympics happen, or if ESPN3 has some on. It's surprisingly entertaining! It's better than watching golf on TV. There's not a lot of great curling games out there, so hey, we'll have to settle for curling-inspired ones like this. And Into the Circle winds up being a fun little game, albeit suffering a little bit from pay-to-win syndrome...

'Fatal Fight' Review - Two Finger Hurty Whack

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May 14th, 2015 2:00 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in 4 stars, Action, Free, Games, Reviews, Universal
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One of my favorite things about being a gamer in the indie/mobile/Steam age is how many new genres seem to pop up all the time. You’ve got your twitch games, Minecraft-likes, Hex-likes, Flap-likes. A lot of “-like”s. Of course, there’s a fine line between inspiration and cloning, and the App Store is rife with examples of both. Toghrul Samadov’s Fatal Fight [Free] is clearly inspired by the PC game One Finger Death Punch (which itself was inspired by those stickman flash cartoons that were all the rage a hundred internet years ago). Fatal Fight may not be the first, but it’s still a great example of a pretty kick-ass new genre of quick fix gaming...

'Fearless Fantasy' Review - The Stuff of Nightmares and Dreams

When tinyBuild’s turn-based RPG was released on Steam almost a year ago, players flocked to the game’s highly unique visuals and interesting take on RPG turn-based battle mechanics. Some even pointed out that the game would fit well on iOS devices. Indeed, we’ve been keeping tabs on a potential release even before an open beta was held on our forums earlier this year. Well, after a complete overhaul of the game’s art assets, as well as an extensive period of fine-tuning its mechanics, Fearless Fantasy [$3.99] is finally out on iOS and is well worth the wait...

'Seek: Find Your Friends' Offers Players a Lovely Window into a Vibrant, Mysterious World

Constantine Cavafy, one of my favorite early-20th Century Greek poets, once wrote that when you set out for a destination, you should hope that your journey is a long one. Why? Because once you arrive, you'll realize that the destination's only value was that it spurred you to undertake your journey. I've often found that unlike Cavafy, most game designers often privilege the destination over the journey by positing  level- or game-ending bosses as the moment when the hours a player has spent with the game acquire meaning. More often than not, the journey to the game's end credits is a blur with all elements of game design pushing with single-minded purpose towards that enemy waiting for you at the end. Yet, there are often exceptions to every rule, and Five Pixels' Seek: Find your Friends [Free] is precisely such an exception. Seek provides a literal window into a lovely, mysterious island and allows the players to blissfully meander inside the game world without inorexably pushing them towards a singular, rigid goal (despite the fact that the game does have an ending). This is definitely an island worth exploring if you, like me, enjoy savoring the journey and not just the destination...

'Kindo' Review - Respect, but not Love

Kindo [$1.99] is the kind of game I feel somewhat conflicted about. It's a game that I like and respect. I appreciate it for what it is and everything that it does. I think the concept of the game is strong, easy enough to pick up on, while allowing for high level play. It does almost everything it needs to in terms of features. But it's the kind of game that I personally won't be playing long-term because it doesn't give me the kind of satisfaction I like from games...

If you were trying to play Hearthstone [Free] in the EU servers last week, you probably got quickly frustrated from being unable to log into the game. Apparently, Blizzard's servers were experiencing some kind of undisclosed issue that prevented many from enjoying the game. It's unlike Blizzard to have such issues for such a long period, so many were surprised (and frustrated). This wasn't the kind of advertising Blizzard was looking for so recently after unleashing the game on mobile devices, but the issue is now fixed and everyone can go right back to dumping dozens of hours into the game...

Apparently Crossy Road [Free] can be successful even when the cars drive on the other side of the road because according to a new report by research firm App Annie, Hipster Whale's take on Frogger had more active players in the UK during the first quarter of 2015 than Candy Crush Soda Saga and Clash of Clans. ..

Those who've been following the iOS CCG scene the last few years know that before there was Hearthstone, there was another digital-only CCG game, Stone blade's Solforge [Free], a lane-based CCG with an innovative leveling mechanic that has been in Beta for some time now. Solforge was the product of a successful Kickstarter campaign, but since the company making it isn't called Blizzard, it has had to work with much less resources and, as a result, the fantastic card collection (the game's released over 500 cards so far) and mechanics have been occluded by a less-than-stellar UI and client...

For the fourth year in a row, Wargaming is celebrating National Military Appreciation Month during May and honoring North American vets by donating 25% of the proceeds from the dedicated in-game currency support packages sold in World of Tanks Blitz [Free] Premium Store (only in the North-American one). It's good to see such a huge gaming company like Wargaming, and not just individual streamers, promote charity work, and I hope more companies follow suit. Wargaming is supporting one charity per week starting with Amvets, Wounded Warriors Canada, National Armor & Cavalry Foundation, and Operation Supply Drop. While the Amvets week is over, Wargaming will split an additional 25% of the proceeds from the Military Appreciation Month All-Charity Support Bundle to all four organizations. The bundle costs $14.99 and offers 1,500 Gold and 1,500,000 Silver...

Stop me if you've heard this before -- a new jump-scare horror game is coming out, and it's set in an asylum. As a child of the 90s I've had my fair share of mental ward scares, and Lost Within [$6.99] is no exception. Despite the overdone premise though there is something there, and well crafted touch controls certainly helps its case...

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