Category Archives: Universal

'Tiny Tower Vegas' Review - A Freemium Jackpot

NimbleBit has shown success across a variety of free-to-play titles, but Tiny Tower [Free] seems to take the cake as far as popularity is concerned. When Tiny Death Star [Free] came out last year, NimbleBit’s formula saw some nice improvements but overall we were left with mostly a sprite refresh with some heavy handed IAP incorporated on top of the base gameplay. With the launch of Tiny Tower Vegas [Free], NimbeBit has retaken the reigns back from Disney Mobile and has made what I consider to be the true sequel to its tower building title. Suffice to say, the mini-game improvements combined with a return to the more friendlier NimbleBit IAP approach makes for another awesome F2P from the developer...

The latest tower-building sim from the fine folks at Nimbebit is now available worldwide. Tiny Tower Vegas [Free] has been in the works for some time now, though it was only officially announced in late June. Then the game soft-launched in select territories about a month later, and now about a month after that, the game is out in all territories. If you're wondering what Tiny Tower Vegas is all about, well, think back to the original Tiny Tower where you add floors to an ever-growing building, put in a Vegas theme complete with gambling mini-games like poker and slots, and Bob's your uncle...

Gameloft's over-the-top arcade racer Asphalt 8 [Free] has just received a major update adding in a brand new track, some new vehicles, a new Season with 74 new events, and improved Twitch streaming integration. First off is the new track, set in the Middle Eastern city of Dubai. It features plenty of shiny skyscrapers, lots of interesting jumps, and no doubt some secret shortcuts to discover. Along with the new track are 5 new vehicles to race, including a Mercedes Benz Biome concept car and the Nissan GT-R NISMO. Here's a brand new trailer showing off the Dubai track and all the new cars...

I've played a lot of free-to-play RPGs, and they all tend to have the same strengths and weaknesses. That's probably due to most of them being inspired by the model used in the popular Puzzle & Dragons [Free], following its formula as closely as possible in hopes of achieving similar levels of success. Now, I like that game quite a bit, but even I'm getting a little tired of getting into a new game only to see the same old mechanics powering it. There must be other effective ways to monetize your puzzle RPG besides monster-collecting and stamina meters. Spellfall: Puzzle RPG [Free] takes a different approach, avoiding many typical elements such as multiple currencies, drawing random monsters, and nudging you to expand your inventory. Unfortunately, the game also has its own take on the stamina meter concept that seems on paper like it would be better, but in practice doesn't quite work out...

For the First Time on iOS, Terry Cavanagh's 'VVVVVV' On Sale for 99¢

Terry Cavanagh's platforming masterpiece VVVVVV [$2.99] is seeing its first ever sale on iOS, down to just 99¢ from its regular price of $2.99. Originally VVVVVV was released on Mac and PC in January of 2010, and was widely acclaimed from critics and players alike. The entire game is built around a gravity flipping mechanic that saw the main character Captain Viridian going from traversing floors to traversing ceilings with just the push of a button. In fact, the only actions available in the game are left/right movement and gravity flipping; there was no jumping to speak of which is normally a major function of platforming games. That's what made VVVVVV so brilliant though, as it explored the gravity flipping in every way imaginable, and has some of the most ingenious level design that I've ever seen in any video game...

It's been about a year since Re-Logic's Terraria [$4.99] made its way to the iOS App Store courtesy of 505 Games, and today 505 has announced on the official Terraria blog that a major update for the game should be arriving this week. The update will add the oft-requested "Hard Mode" which is found in the desktop and console versions of the game. Hard Mode is activated by defeating the Wall of Flesh enemy, which will then "transform" the game adding "new biomes, new bosses, 20+ new enemies, 100+ new items, New NPCs" and will allow you to "Use the Pwnhammer to destroy Demon Altars and create new ores."..

This past December, Namco Bandai released Ridge Racer Slipstream [$2.99], a new mobile version of the long-running arcade racing series that culled together vehicles and tracks from previous Ridge Racer games. For the most part, the game was very good: it looked great visually, had a ton of single-player content, and most importantly it "felt" like a proper Ridge Racer game, something that was sorely missing from the series' last outing on iOS. The negative aspects of the game were mostly due to its pay model. Slipstream was a paid game, but featured the trappings of a free to play title, like two forms of in-game currency (but thankfully no timers). On the bright side, all content was obtainable without paying anything beyond the initial price, though some patience and some extreme racing skills were required. Overall though, we thought Ridge Racer Slipstream was pretty darn good...

'Spooklands' Review - A Smart, Strategic and Challenging "One-Touch" Arena Shooter

Spooklands [$0.99] is so interesting because of its simplicity. As a one-touch arena shooter where firing also controls movement, the game invests in this mechanic, and proves to be an extremely satisfying challenge because of it. And boy is Spooklands tough. Because each shot winds up moving the protagonist around, managing this becomes key. Certainly, it was a challenge in Toast Time [$2.99], the obvious comparison to this game, but that game at least had gravity as a constant mitigating factor. ..

Earlier this month, we learned that a mobile version of the latest Madden NFL game would be hitting the App Store right alongside its console big brother on August 26th. Hey, that's today! And true to their word, following a brief soft-launch period, Madden NFL Mobile [Free] is now officially available in the App Store. ..

Whether you love it or hate it, one thing you can say for certain about the Infinity Blade series is that it's been well supported over the years. Each entry in the series has seen numerous post-release updates that add brand new content to the game and take advantage of the latest Apple hardware. The most current game in the series, Infinity Blade III [$6.99], has seen some particularly strong updates since its release and our initial review back in September of last year. There was the Soul Hunter update that landed the following month, the Ausar Rising update in December, and the return of Ryth with the Blade Masters update this past May. And that's not even counting the more minor updates like holiday helms, Clash Mob events, and even 3D-printed figurines...

'Deep Under The Sky' Review - A Beautiful Physics-Based Puzzler

Deep Under The Sky [$3.99] is a really fascinating game that winds up being a game that's really fun to play – it has a variety of things to do that are enjoyable to play with in motion, the game is set up to not be frustrating to play, and it makes a lot of its premise by presenting tricky challenges to solve. It does so well at so many things, that while calling a physics-based puzzle-platformer is perhaps the closest approximation of a descriptor for the game, it's got appeal beyond just what those words mean – and it's just so gorgeous and well-made that it's worth checking out no matter what...

'The Wolf Among Us' Review - Red in Tooth and Claw

The first thing that happens in Telltale Games’ The Wolf Among Us [$4.99] is that Sheriff Bigby Wolf talks to a toad in a cardigan. The second thing, at least for me, was that he gets beaten to death (twice). Apparent cause of death is an axe handle through the eye socket, but I’m no doctor. That’s a hell of a first impression for the series, adapted from Bill Willingham’s Fables franchise. Fables’ premise—that fairytale characters have come to live in the real-world Bronx—isn’t uncommon: The 10th Kingdom and Neil Gaiman’s American Gods both predate Willingham, and contemporary shows like Once Upon A Time and Sleepy Hollow continue the unevenly handled tradition...

In December of 2012 developer SkyGoblin released the point-and-click adventure game The Journey Down: Chapter One [$2.99]. It was modeled after the classics of the genre, and could have comfortably sat right alongside them back in the day – SkyGoblin did a really great job with The Journey Down. It featured interesting characters and a vibrant setting, but its low point was in the puzzles. They made sense at least, compared to some of the obtuse puzzles in older adventure games, but they felt a bit by-the-numbers and uninspired. The Journey Down's strength was definitely in its story and characters, but this too was a difficult point being that the game is episodic...

'Gemini Strike' Preview - The Vertical Shoot ‘em Up Goes Freemium

I’ve seen a lot of different genre melds but one I’ve not really seen before is a freemium shoot ‘em up. Yet, that’s exactly what the folks at Armor Games have done with Gemini Strike, a soon to be released shooter. Based on what we’ve seen so far, it’s looking like this freemium experiment might be a cool success...

The last major competition for the Street League 2014 season is this Sunday, the Super Crown Championship, and that means that the official game of the league True Skate [$1.99] has gotten a new downloadable course and is on a freebie promotion for the next week. The new course is the Super Crown course from last year's SLS Championship, and like the last two SLS courses that were added to the game it's a fun level filled with interesting objects to skate and there's a neat feeling about being able to skate something you've seen in real life before (or on TV, at least). Also like the previous DLC courses, the 2013 Super Crown course will run you 99¢ to download...

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