Posts byChris Aylott

Reviews

Threes! Review

Strange as it sounds, one of the most important numbers in Threes is a seven. This is one of the first games to embrace the clean, simple look of iOS 7. It’s elegant, but does the game live up to the look? (more…)

Reviews

Front Wars Review

Advance Wars hit the Game Boy Advance over a decade ago, but the many clones on the App Store testify to its enduring popularity. The clones usually offer a twist or two on the original’s formula, and Front Wars has staked out its territory with a World War II theme. But is the Greatest Generation enough to make the game stand out for the Nintendo Generation? (more…)

Reviews

Across Age 2 Review

Maurice Chevalier sang “Thank Heaven for Little Girls,” and while the sentiment sounds a little bit creepy today, we don’t know what Japanese-style roleplaying games would do without them. That’s certainly true of Across Age 2, a “Retro Action RPG” that would be lost without its women of an ambiguous age. (more…)

Reviews

Pivvot Review

Designing a minimalist game is a lot like wearing a Speedo: you’d better be confident in what you’re showing off. If Pivvot is any indicator, then designer Whitaker Trebella has confidence to spare. (more…)

Reviews

Tiny Thief Review

There’s a new study out from Flurry Analytics that highlights the increasing dominance of free and free-to-play apps in the iOS environment. Free-to-play isn’t a bad thing; it’s an approach that lets developers put out a lot of game and players to pay what they want for it. But Tiny Thief makes a powerful argument for little games that offer a lot of value for the money. (more…)

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Sugar Rush Review

Candy Crush has become one of the most profitable games in the world, and it’s no surprise that game publishers are looking for ways to cash in on its success. It should also be no surprise that a game named “Sugar Rush” is one of those me-too apps trying to catch the eyes of the Candy Crush audience. (more…)

Reviews

Rivals for Catan Review

Translating board games to computer games is a risky job. On the one hand, the game you’re making is already proven to be fun. On the other, sometimes you need a shoehorn to make it fit into the restricted environment of processor and screen. Sometimes you triumph and get a Carcassonne or a Ticket to Ride, but more often you get a mixed bag like Rivals of Catan. (more…)

Reviews

Agricola Review

Ah, the Middle Ages. A time for knights and ladies, lances and castles… turnips and mutton? Yes, it’s high time we had a game about how the other 90% lived. If you’ve always wanted to play a struggling peasant family living on the edge of starvation, then Agricola is the game for you. (more…)

Reviews

Apoc Wars Review

Don’t look now, but the world just ended again. Tattered gangs roam the desert, and the right of way goes to whomever has the biggest guns. This is the world of the Apoc Wars, and it’s pretty much exactly what you would expect. (more…)

Reviews

Combo Crew Review

Fighting games have a problem on iOS devices: those darn virtual buttons. These games get a lot of their fun from the kinetic experience of slamming the controls around, and tapping a screen just doesn’t cut it. Fortunately, the developers of Combo Crew have a solution that is almost as satisfying as the arcade fighting experience. (more…)

Reviews

Dash & Bash Review

Rubber duck races are a staple of charity fundraisers, with big regattas like the Charleston Duck Race unleashing thousands of bath toys upon unsuspecting rivers every year. Dash & Bash isn’t nearly as grand as that, but this duck racing game has something the real events have never seen: Evil beavers. (more…)

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Heads Up! Review

You can play an iPhone in its vertical orientation. You can play it in its horizontal orientation. But there are darn few games that take advantage of the iPhone’s little-known third gaming orientation: stuck to your forehead. Heads Up! is one of those games. (more…)

Reviews

Crabitron Review

Crabs have a bad rap. Angry people are described as crabby. Roger Corman made a marginally scary movie about them.  They’re associated with uncomfortable parasites. In fact, the only time people seem to love crabs is when they’re boiled, cracked open with hammers, and eaten with butter and a little lemon juice. Mmm, delicious. But never mind that. What we’re saying is that it’s time for the crabs to strike back, and Crabitron is the game that finally gives them their due.
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Kick the Buddy: No Mercy Review

There is a famous moment in Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land where Michael Valentine Smith, the man from Mars, is watching three monkeys in a zoo. The first monkey bullies the second monkey, who savagely beats the third–and Smith laughs, because he finally understands the human condition. (more…)

Reviews

Stay Alight Review

Minimalism is a good thing in iOS gaming. After all, simple plots and easy-to-understand games have earned millions in the App Store, especially in the physics puzzler genre. On the other hand, Stay Alight may have taken minimalism a little too far. (more…)

Reviews

Magicka Review

You’d think that amazing elemental powers would earn you some respect. You’d think the ability to explode your enemies would cause some fear! No such luck. In the world of Magicka, wizards cast mighty spells but still take plenty of sass. (more…)

Reviews

NightSky Review

The App Store is filled with hundreds or even thousands of platformers, and it’s hard for any one game to get attention. That’s the problem NightSky faces: it doesn’t have a gimmick or a big-name license, so how is it going to stand out?

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Reviews

Block Fortress Review

Sometimes it feels like app developers are checking off the boxes and trying to cram in as many popular features in games as they can. Retro look? Check. Minecraft? The kids love it. Tower defense? How can you go wrong? And hey, why don’t we throw in some first-person shooter action while we’re at it? (more…)

Reviews

Cyto Review

If there’s a DSM-IV of video game character mental disorders, then half of it must be taken up with amnesia. Game designers love amnesia, because it provides an easy excuse to explain things that a character should already know. There’s no evidence that players love amnesia as much as game designers do, but it’s an innocuous cliche and games like Cyto can rise above it. (more…)

Reviews

DrawQuest Review

Two years ago, “gamification” was a hot buzzword in the corporate world. Executives and consultants cheerfully asserted that dull and demeaning tasks would be transformed by adding points and level-ups. They were wrong, and you don’t hear much about gamification any more, but every so often you see game-like features creeping into applications that have nothing to do with games. Case in point, DrawQuest. (more…)

Reviews

Dungelot Review

Dungeon crawling ain’t what it used to be, laddie! I did all the great dungeons in my day. I sacked Telengard, defeated Morgoth, even retrieved the Amulet of Yendor! Dungeons were tough back then, so what’s this I hear about Dungelot making them easy? (more…)

Reviews

SlotZ Racer 2 HD Review

Slot racing is a piece of Americana, a hobby that calls forth memories of elaborate tracks sprawled across wood-paneled basement rec rooms. The shiny cars, the crackling sparks of electricity under them, and those spectacular moments of spinning end over end off the track are hard to recreate in a computer game, but SlotZ Racer 2 HD pulls it off. (more…)

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Wave Trip Review

In real life, most astronauts are practical-minded pilots, engineers, and scientists. Fortunately, that’s not true in video games, where an astronaut can be a geometric shape floating through alien landscapes to dreamy music. That’s the case in Wave Trip, a game for those who always wanted Defender to be a little more psychedelic.

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Momonga Pinball Adventures Review

Pinball games look like they should work well on mobile devices. The screen proportions are similar to pinball tables, and tapping flipper buttons translates well into touch controls. In practice, though, the scale is so different that pinball on a phone just doesn’t feel like a mechanical pinball machine. It’s a problem that Momonga Pinball Adventures tries hard to overcome, mostly by being strong in other areas. (more…)

Reviews

Wake the Cat Review

If you’ve been owned by a cat, then you know that the feline master race prizes sleep. Playing with string is also dear to the furry overlords’ hearts, though, and Wake the Cat may be the definitive portrayal of the epic struggle within this Maslow-vian hierarchy of needs. That, or it’s just a cute puzzle game about a kitten. (more…)

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Joe Danger Review

Joe Danger made a splash on the Playstation network a few years ago, selling at least 100,000 copies and earning itself a sequel in 2012. Hello Games has now brought the character and his friends to iOS, using the strengths of the touchscreen to create a different but equally engaging game. (more…)

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SnowJinks Review

Still think the holidays are a time of peace on Earth and goodwill to men? SnowJinks, from the makers of Epoch will show you what Christmas is really about: taking on the neighborhood in a no-holds-barred snowball fight. (more…)

Reviews

Dream of Pixels Review

Tetris is nearly 30 years old, and there have been many twists on the formula of falling blocks, disappearing lines, and cursing your inevitable defeat. Every so often, though, somebody comes up with a new variation. With Dream of Pixels, developer Dawn of Play has discovered that Tetris is just as addictive when you play it in reverse. (more…)

Reviews

Monster Mansion Review

There’s something depressing about a competently-produced bad game. You want to be able to root for it, because real people worked hard to create art and sound and get the code working right. However, there’s no getting around the fact that a game like Monster Mansion isn’t any fun to play. (more…)

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Royal Revolt Review

Here’s Hamlet’s first rule of being a prince: don’t go to college! Higher education may offer lots of learning and great parties, but you’re sure to come home to find that your evil uncle has usurped the throne. (more…)

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Earn to Die Review

What could be better than a road trip? How about a road trip that’s your one chance to escape the zombie horde? In Earn to Die, you play a stalwart unnamed protagonist who’s trying to cross the desert during the inevitable zombie apocalypse. If he gets there — a perilous journey of several levels and many days — a military helicopter is waiting to take him to safety. (more…)

Reviews

Guardian Cross Review

After a thousand years, the mysterious spirits known as the Guardians have returned. You may fear such creatures. You may wonder at them. Or you may grab your enchanted rifle, capture them, and set them to fighting each other. (more…)