Category Archives: Universal

'Lanota' Review - You Spin Me Round

Ironically, the very success of the rhythm genre back at Guitar Hero’s launch on home consoles in 2005 was ultimately its undoing. A complete over saturation of the genre in under five years - spanning many different formats, even more spin-offs and unbeknownst amount of instrument-shaped controllers - meant the genre vanished almost as quickly as it had arrived. Rhythm game fans should not be disheartened, however - many developers took this as an opportunity to create well-crafted and unique music titles that were not iterative, and used the best features of the platform to their advantage, instead of relying on plastic peripherals as a crutch. The App Store was one of the delighted recipients of this new wave of rhythm games, and developers like Rayark have led the way with stunning efforts such as VOEZ [Free] that have impressed us in the past for putting a spin on the tired formula without becoming too derivative from the core elements of the genre that attracted so many fans in the first place. Lanota [$1.99] follows this trend - while some of the more radical attempts at distinguishing itself from the crowd can occasionally become a distration, developers Noxy Games have crafted an immersive and beautiful world that makes merely tapping in time to a song become a fully fledged adventure...

'Atomic Super Lander' From Crescent Moon Games Merges Pilot and Platforming Action, Coming Soon

Crescent Moon Games have such a varied and dynamic catalog of games that it's become hard to know what to expect from them anymore. While they are responsible for some behemoth big-budget titles - such as the upcoming Morphite - that normally attract a massive amount of hype and speculation, Crescent Moon Games also publishes smaller titles that, while not lacking in charm, tend to be somewhat hit and miss. Nonetheless, it's great to give a platform to some creative indie developers, and Atomic Super Lander, from developers Bit Weird Games, is the next to launch on the App Store...




'Spectrum 6' Is a Cool Color-Mixing Puzzle Title, Launching August 25th

Considering virtually all my free time is spent commuting on the tube, the iOS games I tend to gravitate towards on these train rides are colorful and unique puzzle games such as twofold inc. [$3.99] and Threes! [$2.99]. Being able to immerse myself in a puzzle or two between stops is, in my opinion, the epitome of mobile gaming, and while enjoying a more expansive experience such as Monster Hunter Freedom Unite [$14.99] is great at home, nothing beats pick up and play puzzle games on the move. As a result, my interested has definitely been piqued by the upcoming Spectrum 6 from developers Dusky Drones, as merging block placing puzzles with a cool color mixing element seems to be a very interesting and intuitive blend (pun fully intended)...

Even though it's always fun looking forwards to an influx of new games in the middle of the week, it's also nice when things trickle out a bit earlier just to break things up. Just as we reported last week, Boncho Games' twitchy swipe-based platformer Blitz Breaker [$2.99] rolled out earlier this morning and is now available in the App Store. In case you've missed our previous coverage, here's the launch trailer for Blitz Breaker to give you an idea of how it all works...

Despite having received two updates in only two days, Pokemon GO [Free] has attracted an almost unprecedented amount of ire amongst internet communities around the world, from the dedicated subreddit to comments and posts on our forums. Through removing some key features, shutting down unofficial ways of circumventing issues within Pokemon GO, and changing the mechanics to alter the freemium balance that existed in prior versions of the game, many fans who fervently supported the app before have been requesting refunds or deleting the game altogether as a protest towards what they deem unacceptable behaviour from Niantic. A further 1.1.1 update today which merely contains a 'performance improvement' and the 'correct link for app upgrade' has only helped stoke the fire of disillusionment amongst the fanbase of Pokemon GO. However, is this an overreaction by Pokemon GO players and merely symptomatic of 21st century entitlement, or do they have a legitimate reason to be so disenchanted at the developers?..

Hello Pokemon trainers, I hope this story finds you out and about hunting for Pokemon. Niantic has decided to help your hunt be a bit smoother by releasing a new update for Pokemon GO [Free] that fixes some of the game's issues. Update 1.1 lets you re-customize your trainer's avatar form the profile screen, which makes sense. It has also adjusted some Pokemon battle move damage values, removed footprints of nearby Pokemon, adjusted battle damage calculation, refined some of the Gym animations, updated the Pokemon details UI and the achievement medals art, and fixed issues with displaying certain map features...

Don't skip out on Bulb Boy [$2.99]. This iOS port of the 2015 grotesque-comedy-horror point-and-click adventure game is incredibly charming, when it's not trying to weird you out. It's not very difficult to beat, but it also doesn't overstay its welcome. The premise has you playing as the eponymous Bulb Boy, who finds the house he's staying at with his frail grandfather and flying bulb dog suddenly invaded by monsters, or perhaps some kind of symbiote from outer space. Bulb Boy wakes up, and there's suddenly weird arms coming out of the walls, giant headless chickens, and at least one giant poop monster. No joke. This is a game that's definitely got a flavor for the grotesque, and it's got horror elements to it as well. And the only way to solve the problems here is by collecting items, and using them on objects in the environment, experimenting to figure out what works! Just like any good point-and-click adventure. ..

'Quell Zen' Review - Peaceful Enough

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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 [$6.99], 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 [$6.99] 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...

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