Category Archives: Universal

The beauty of mobile and this era of digital distribution is that with small games, we can see how games can become wildly different affairs from the same idea. Sure, this is the same system that leads to rampant cloning, but sometimes you see developers legitimately iterate on the same idea. Take Hue Ball [Free], for instance. It credits Wouter Visser's Gimme Friction Baby as its inspiration. This is the same game that inspired Orbital [$2.99 / Free], a classic App Store puzzle game, that both start from the same idea: you launch balls from a bottom cannon into a playing field, trying to break balls in the playing field to earn points, and to keep balls from landing and expanding below the border line where your cannon sits. What Hue Ball does is to tweak the concept just enough to feel like a very different experience, going from a slow, tactical puzzle game where one mistake can doom you, to a fast-paced high-score chaser that's somewhat forgiving...

'WonderCat Adventures' Review - Catforming Purrfection

'WonderCat Adventures' Review - Catforming Purrfection

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June 24th, 2015 1:30 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $1.99, 4.5 stars, Games, Platform, Reviews, Universal
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One of my favorite things about the App Store is how many hidden gems there are that pop up week and week. Sure, there’s a lot more garbage than gold, but that’s what Touch Arcade’s here for: to dip our proverbial pan into Apple Creek and shake it around until we see something shiny. And friends, I may have just struck it rich...

'Her Story' Review - Turns Out FMV Games Just Needed Good Acting and Writing

Her Story [$4.99] is one of the more unique games I have played in recent memory, by far. At its core, you're just browsing a search engine, trying to find the right queries for what you're looking for, but that's pretty much irrelevant. Her Story is a mystery, where you have a mystery involving dozens of segments of police interviews with a woman, where you're trying to piece together the mystery at hand. The game is about putting together the disparate pieces, paying attention to clues to discover the truth of what happened with the woman and her missing husband...

'Radical Rappelling' Review - Rock & Roll

'Radical Rappelling' Review - Rock & Roll

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After a few years of reviewing iOS games at Touch Arcade and elsewhere, I've begun to notice something. You can usually tell how "good" or "bad" a game is by the specificity of your gripes with it. If I'm writing generally about how the controls don't work or the graphics are ugly, the game as a whole probably isn't that great. However, if I'm spending an entire paragraph about how disappointed I am that one level is too hard or too easy, or that there aren't enough pants to buy in the shop, there's a good chance the rest of the game is pretty enjoyable. Why waste time pointing out every little flaw if there are bigger problems to discuss? And conversely, if a game seems to nail everything, what else is there to discuss but the tiny annoyances that don't really amount to much?..

Scrolling through the App Store screenshots, I can see how one might be led to believe the latest Angry Birds game is just another free-to-play match 3 battler. It appears to have all the trimmings and trappings of the popular (if a bit tired) genre: a grid of colorful tiles, characters to collect, loot to be gained, and--of course--multiple timers and currencies, all dressed up in that familiar Angry Birds style. I see how it looks. But you're wrong. Angry Birds Fight! [Free] is actually a bold exploration of the concept of free will in a deterministic universe...

The more I think about it, the more I see similarities between the Apple Watch and 4x4 Jam HD [$0.99] by Invictus Games. Hear me out: They’re both extremely beautiful, if a little clunky. They’re both undeniably fun to play around with, though a bit frustrating at times. But most importantly, in both cases the developers of these two very different products clearly have some cool ideas, and it’s easy to see them transforming them into something truly special with a little more love and a few more updates. Yes, I just compared a state-of-the-art piece of wearable consumer tech to a mobile game that costs a dollar. Deal with it bro...

'Transistor' Review - An Action-Packed, Evocative Journey in an Amazing World

I love stories, always have; give me a book, and I'm a happy man. It's not surprising, then, that I always appreciate games with strong, emergent stories that seamlessly mix with the gameplay. Yet, all too often many of the games I play show a distinct disconnect between story and gameplay or contain any story elements in the few, obligatory cutscenes. Don't get me wrong, I also like games with fantastic gameplay and nothing else, but the games that stick with me are those with great stories. Fortunately, there are those rare occasions, those rare games whose story and gameplay are so intertwined that they blend beautifully. Transistor [$9.99], Supergiant Games' second game, is precisely one of those rare occasions where the story emerges from the gameplay and the gameplay emerges from the story, one of those rare games that prove the importance of cohesiveness in narrative and gameplay. That cohesiveness made Transistor one of my most memorable gaming experiences in quite a while; perfect it is not, but it is a fantastic experience that most iOS gamers will really enjoy...

When Konami "mispoke" about its future plans and claimed that the company would be shifting its attention to mobile and the App Store, many were disappointed from what they saw as Konami shifting from "real" games to "casual" mobile games. PES Club Manager (PES CM) [Free], a soccer manager game just released, is the first Konami iOS game since the recent debacle, and I'm glad to say that it's a pretty good F2P sports game that shows that Konami can have a fruitful future on iOS, which is nothing but good news for mobile gamers. The game has plenty of content, a real-time 3D match engine that utilizes the console-version game engine, and a more robust team management system than I expected to find in a F2P game. And the monetization system never got in the way of my enjoyment, so all was well on that front too. Overall, PES CM is an enjoyable sports game that will entertain any lover of the sport for many hours...

'Xenowerk' Review - They Call Me a Werking Man, I Guess That's What I Am

I know Pixelbite's focus has been making racing games all this time, but man, was the world of dual-stick shooters missing out. Xenowerk [$1.99] is a more traditional dual-stick shooter affair than Space Marshals [$4.99], a more tactical shooter with stealth elements. Regardless, this is a ton of over-the-top fun. If you want a game that lets you blast a bunch of bugs into gooey puddles, rewards you for playing well, supports MFi controllers, and will push your device to a degree that will make it an effective hand-warmer in the wintertime, you'll love Xenowerk...

'Fallout Shelter' Guide – Strategies, Tips and Tricks for the Industrious Post-Apocalypse Vault Overseer

Bethesda came out of the gate swinging at their first ever E3 Conference Sunday night. Among all the hype for Doom, Dishonored 2, and Fallout 4 came a few smaller announcements. One of those announcements was a new Fallout mobile game called Fallout Shelter[Free], a partnership between Bethesda and Behaviour Interactive, and it is just adorable. I mean, in a horribly grim-dark sort of way. Basically it’s a Tiny Tower [Free]style town management game set in the alternate history world of Fallout, and it is just oozing that Fallout style. The main points I’ll be covering are the Basics, Population Control, Baby Making, Caps Acquisition, Room Rushing, and Happiness...

When you think of love, what do you think of? Is it bits of data in a computer system? I didn’t think so. Some of you probably thought of France, or at least Paris. And that, my friends, is why Bit Bit Love [$0.99], a logic puzzler about two bits of data who fall in love and try to find each other while avoiding deletion, obviously came from French studios Blue Pill Games and 82 Storks. Everything suddenly made sense when I learned that...

Hearthstone [Free] is about to get a lot more fun as the new mode, Tavern Brawl, is already live on the EU servers and will be going live on the North American ones in less than an hour from now. The theme for the first Tavern Brawl is "Showdown at Blackrock Mountain," probably in honor of the recent Blackrock Mountain Adventure. You'll get to fight as either Ragnaros or Nefarian, and you'll be using premade decks...

'8-Bit Waterslide' Review - Why the Long Face?

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June 15th, 2015 3:30 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $1.99, 3.5 stars, Games, Reviews, Runner, Universal
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I often find myself wondering if humanity is heading for a future like the one portrayed in Mike Judge's Idiocracy. The gist of the film, for those who haven't sent it, is that smart people don't "breed" as often as stupid people, which will therefore create a future society populated entirely by idiots. Everything from the food they eat to the shows they watch on TV are as unsophisticated as possible, and--even though the film is a comedy--I must admit it sends a small chill down my spine whenever I see something particularly low brow take off in our current popular culture. Could this be the beginning of the end? I think to myself...

Brickies [Free] is not a bad game. It is an excellent game in many regards, and a top entry in the brick-breaker genre. The problem is that it's still a brick-breaker. No matter how it mixes things up, I just can't shake the fact that it's a brick-breaker, and it's quite the familiar game. And while it's not bad at all, and is really quite good, it's also not an essential must-have in a venerable, oft-imitated genre...

I love surprises, especially when they have to do with unexpected game releases, and this one today ranks pretty much at the top of my "great surprises of the year" list. Transistor [$9.99], the great A/RPG from Supergiant Games, has just appeared on the App Store this morning. I had been waiting for this game to appear on the App Store for quite some time, but, to be honest, I wasn't even sure that Supergiant Games would bring their sci-fi RPG masterpiece to iOS. Apparently, not only have they ported the game over to iOS, but they are offering an "intuitive new touch interface" in addition to the game's classic controls. And the developers have included gamepad support, which I know will make many of you happy...

I am extremely conflicted about Hitman: Sniper [$4.99]. It's a great game, a legitimately fantastic mobile title. It's a game that takes a simple premise of sniping and turns it into a complex puzzle game, where you have to learn how your weapons and abilities work to piece together sequences of actions to get the most points possible, through becoming really good at the game. Seriously, Square Enix Montreal has made an absurdly clever game. It may be more 'traditional' than their previous Hitman Go [$1.99] was, but it shows the same sparks of clever creativity that made that game special. I just wish that there was more than one level to play over and over again!..

'Edge of Oblivion: Alpha Squadron 2' Review - Red Five, Going In

There isn't an overabundance of flight simulators in the mobile market. They're generally much more arduous tasks to develop -- at least, more intricate than runners and puzzle games. Despite that, Martian Monkey was up to the task a few years back with Alpha Squadron, and now, with Edge Of Oblivion: Alpha Squadron 2 [$4.99]. If you're just jumping into the series for the first time you'll have an easy time acclimating, and returning fans will find that it was worth the wait...

'One More Dash' Review - Disc Divin'

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June 5th, 2015 2:00 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in 4 stars, Arcade, Free, Games, Reviews, Universal
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As a casual fan of developer SMG’s other games, One More Dash [Free] was one of the first things I downloaded this week. I played a few rounds, and it seemed pretty good. Alas, there were a lot of other games to potentially review, and it fell by the wayside. As usual, some of them turned out to be great, and some were not so great. As I closed one app and flicked through my homescreen to find another, my eyes kept falling on Dash. I began playing it more and more, and it slowly began to take over my free time. Don’t be put off by it’s simple appearance, readers. This one’s a keeper...

'You Must Build A Boat' Review - You Must Buy This Game

To tell you the truth, friends, I'm actually pretty busy working on something today. That said, I was asked to come and write something for all of you about the new follow-up to Luca Redwood's 10000000 [$2.99]. It's called You Must Build A Boat [$2.99], and it's every bit as compelling as the first game. Did you like the first game? Do you enjoy puzzle games? Do you like games? You're going to want this one, trust me...

Skiing Yeti Mountain [Free] is the kind of game that's best in a bunch of small doses over time. The gameplay is solid, the controls excellent, and the structure of this skiing game is great for mobile. But in trying ot be this experience that you play over a long time, it doesn't do a great job at being a game that you'd want to play a lot of in one sitting. It's a blessing and a curse for Featherweight's otherwise fun title...

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