Posts byErik Carlson

Reviews

Outwitters Review

Strategy games, with their built in turn-based nature, have always seemed like a natural fit for the iOS platform. Play a turn, save, come back later when you’re ready to go again. Now One Man Left studios has stripped the genre bare, taken it to the back to just the essentials, and made the asynchronous gem known as Outwitters. It’s fun, simple and can be addicting to the point where you’ll start to think the company should change their name to One More Turn. (more…)

Reviews

Doomsday Preppers Review

Doomsday Preppers is one of those infamous reality TV shows that follows the lives of a series of unhinged individuals who, ironically enough, have a tenuous grasp on reality. This show’s ‘stars’ are all people who think that the end is indeed nigh, and highlights their attempts to prepare for the end. G5 Games has made a freemium title for iOS that serves as a tie-in to the series and, oh irony of ironies, is a game that has a tenuous grasp on actually being a game. (more…)

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Reviews

Zombie Tsunami Review

These days, it’s super hard to get excited about yet another endless-runner game, let alone another zombie game. The App Store is positively clogged with these, so when one manages to stand out you have to give it some props. Zombie Carnaval by Mobigame, while not reinventing the wheel, manages to be unique and fun enough to help it stand out from the crowd. (more…)

Reviews

Arc Squadron Review

It’s always kind of thrilling to see a company knock it out of the park with their debut title on a platform. Psyonix Games– contributors to console title like Homefront and Bulletstorm– have released Arc Squadron, a gorgeous and intense new game for iOS that is exactly the kind of game that you would expect from a company that’s helped shape exciting and beautiful games in the past. (more…)

Reviews

Beatdown Review

At one point or another, we’ve probably all had fantasies of quitting or being fired from our jobs in epically explosive fashion. While most of us– at least we hope most of us– have never actually done this, going out in Office Space style seems to be an enduring American fantasy. Now Ravenous Games has brought out a game called Beatdown! that allows us to live out those fantasies, at least in videogame form. (more…)

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Reviews

Plunder! Review

Pirate games on iOS are on the road to becoming as ubiquitous as zombie games. They’ve still got a long way to go, but these days it seems like every other week there’s some variation of sailing the high seas as a pillaging scalawag. Now Big Fish Games is bringing back one of the originals. Plunder came out about two years ago and then was curiously removed. It seems to have found its sea-legs again with slightly streamlined gameplay, a ‘story’ and updated graphics and sound. Unfortunately it also tugged along the same laborious gameplay from years ago. It’s been described as Bomberman meets the ocean. But at least Bomberman was fun.

Plunder is a simple game in concept, so simple that it could just as well be a Flash game. You’re presented with a single, grid-based screen. Your goal is to get your pirate ship from one side of the screen to the other. Levels are randomly generated, and between you and your goal are a whole mess of mines and cannons that you need to detonate to clear a path to the other side. When a cannon is activated, either by the player tapping it or by having a cannon-ball shot into it, it fires its ball, hopefully into another cannon or obstacle, and then disappears.

A beautiful day for a naval battle.

The mines come in a few different varieties that shoot cannon-balls in a bunch of different directions. When a mine is red, that means that it can be exploded. Gray cannons need to be hit once with a ball before they can turn red, and black cannons need to be hit twice. Other obstacles are in your way as well. There are other ships that will fire on you, or treasure ships that drop gold and loot. Icebergs, fogbanks, shipwrecks and whirlpools are other annoyances that will prevent your pirate persona from escaping the justice of the Navy that is nipping at your heels. Take too long to complete a level and your ship gets captured and the game is over.

As you make your way through the game you’ll can upgrade your ship with items like cannons, fire-proof sails, and ice-breakers. You will also get rewarded with additional ships to join your fleet, and you can even buy bigger and badder ships down the line. You may also find power-ups that can give you a temporary advantage. Can’t get around a cannon? Use one of the arrow power-ups to move either your ship or the cannon out of the way.

Up in smoke.

There are seven worlds in total, and in each world you control a different pirate who needs to recapture lost treasure. And progressing through the game is where Plunder takes a dive off of the plank. Progress is made so slowly that it can take you hours upon hours just to make it through a single world. You have to collect 13 different pieces of treasure in each world, and since the levels are randomly generated, the rate you collect treasure is random as well. We played nearly 20 levels in the second world before we even got our first piece of treasure, and that was after playing for an hour and a half. The gold you collect to buy upgrades also comes at a snail’s pace, and the upgrades are expensive. The money problem is only compounded when you have more than one ship and you want to try and keep them all safe.

When Plunder came out initially it was a freemium game, and its origins remain obvious. Unless you want to spend real-world money on top of what you spend to unlock the full game, then you’re going to spend a lot of time grinding to get gold and treasure. The inventive gameplay is initially addictive and fun, but it soon gets anchored down by ceaseless repetition. The cute graphics, great voice-acting and awesome sound-effects can’t save what is otherwise a real chore to play through.

Reviews

iBomber Attack Review

A long time ago in a childhood far, far away, we used to play an NES game called Jackal. It was an intense top-down, vehicle based shooter that took you through war-torn lands and enemy strongholds in order to rescue prisoners and defeat the faceless villains. Now comes iBomber Attack from Cobra Mobile and Chillingo, and while it is a continuation of iBomber series for iOS, it’s also a continuation of the happy clappy feelings we got while playing games like Jackal back in the day. (more…)

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Hairy Tales Review

There are about a gazillion puzzle games out there on the App Store these days, with new ones coming out every week, so getting your game noticed takes some doing. Along comes Hairy Tales, from Crescent Moon’s indie label Forest Moon games. It’s a cute game with a unique look and clever gameplay mechanics. That just might be enough to get it some time in the spotlight. (more…)

Reviews

True Skate Review

At some point in our lives we’ve probably all tried an ‘extreme’ sport. Whether it was BMX-biking or skateboarding or snowboarding, theres a good chance there’s been some broken bones, scraped knees or bruises we can attribute to doing the exact opposite of what our parents wanted us to do. With iOS and a slew of games like Touchgrind and Mad Skills Motocross we’ve been given the chance to relive those memories… safely. Now comes True Skate, which claims to be the most authentic and ‘real’ version of skateboarding for the platform. (more…)

Reviews

Carmageddon Review

Carmageddon is one of those games where its production history and subsequent controversy almost overshadow the actual game itself. It was originally designed back in 1997 as a companion game to a remake of the movie Death Race2000, but when that movie never happened, the game developers decided to keep on making the game on their own. In keeping with the theme of the movie, Carmageddon was an ultra-violent car racing game where the players would score points for running over pedestrians, performing super crazy stunts and destroying the other racers. (more…)

Reviews

Lep’s World 2 Plus Review

At the tail end of last year, a game was released called Super Jump World from nerByte GmbH Games, a company that has created a little cottage industry of insipid games. It was an utterly shameless clone of Super Mario Bros. and was quickly pulled down from the AppStore. But through the magic of resubmission, it came back to the market as Lep’s World. It was kind of like buying a Suny camera instead of a Sony. Now comes Lep’s World 2, and it’s more of the same. Literally. This is practically the exact same game as the first one. Heck, even the App icon is exactly the same as the first. (more…)

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Reviews

Jumpster Review

On the App Store, physics puzzlers in the vein of Angry Birds are a dime a dozen these days. Virtually not a week goes by when there isn’t some new kid on the block trying to capture that pig-smashing magic. Now comes Jumpster, G5 Entertainment’s attempt to break into that world. It’s an admirable experiment, but one that has a hard time overcoming that most insidious of obstacles in a game… the dreaded paywall. (more…)

Reviews

Final Fantasy Dimensions Review

That Final Fantasy Dimensions exists at all is something of a miracle. That we have a somewhat original (it is based on a game that came out for other mobile devices last year), ‘old-school’ Final Fantasy game coming out in this day and age is a pretty special thing. And the fact that it’s a pretty amazing game to boot is just icing on the cake. Square Enix has given Final Fantasy fans a love letter to the games of yesteryear that built the foundation of our love for the games we enjoy now. What’s old is new again. (more…)

Reviews

WarCorps: Genesis Review

If you’ve been playing the recently released Tiny Troopers (and you really should be playing it) then you may have stopped to wonder what it would be like to play the game from a different perspective. While it may not exactly be a third-person shooter version of that game, WarCorps: Genesis from Triniti Interactive takes you deep into the action on the post-apocalyptic battlefront against another group of would-be terrorists. (more…)

Reviews

LAD Review

When you first boot up LAD, the newest game from Black Chair Studios, you may think you’re playing a sequel to the famed indie title Limbo. With LAD’s stark visuals, haunting soundtrack and bleak storyline, the parallels are obvious. But that’s where the comparisons end. Whereas Limbo is a smooth, wonderful journey through a dark landscape, LAD is a frustrating and deeply flawed experience that will have players cursing the moment they hit that ‘BUY’ button. (more…)

Reviews

The Last Express Review

The Last Express is one of those games that adventure game fans talk about with a sort of somber reverence. Released in the late ’90s, it was praised for its innovative and thrilling storyline, unique art style, eclectic cast of characters, and ‘real-time’ gameplay. Unfortunately it was also saddled with a horribly bungled release that led to it being overlooked by virtually everyone. Over the years it has garnered something of a cult status and has been released in numerous different formats for new and old gamers to enjoy. Now it’s finally made its way to iOS, and is proof that a fantastic story and an unique experience can outlast the years… and shaky ports. (more…)

Reviews

Mikey Shorts Review

If you’re anything like us, then you’ve probably grown up on Super Mario Bros. Jumping around all over the place, collecting coins, capturing flags and hopping on mushrooms within a certain amount of time were a fundamental part of most of our childhoods growing up. (more…)

Reviews

Super Hexagon Review

You know you may be in for an interesting time when a game’s difficulty settings start at Hard and go up from there. There are no ‘Easy’ or ‘Normal’ settings here. And you know things are not going to be easy if a game is from Terry Cavanagh, maker of VVVVVV, one of the most brutally punishing games you can possibly play. His latest salvo against our wits, Super Hexagon, is out for iOS and there’s no beating around the bush: this game makes every attempt to drive you utterly and completely mad. (more…)

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    Gasketball iPad Review

    Ingenuity in game design can go a long way. If something is fresh and new and unlike anything else you’ve seen before, that creativity can sometimes make up for a few warts a game may have. This is what you get with Gasketball, the newest offering from Mikengreg. It’s a little bizarre, a little out there, and can take some getting used to, but if you’re willing to take the time then you’re in for a real treat. (more…)

    Reviews

    Tiny Troopers Review

    If you’ve ever played and loved the old Cannon Fodder computer games from the early ’90s, then Finnish company Kukouri and Chillingo have made something special for you. Their new game Tiny Troopers takes the idea of a squad based war game, updates it with some gorgeous graphics, fantastic sound-effects, odd looking bobble-head characters, and a somewhat disturbing sense of humor, to make one of the more enjoyable action games on iOS. (more…)

    Reviews

    Slingshot Racing Review

    Do you remember seeing the Batmobile from earlier Batman movies use a grappling hook to get around tight corners? Do you remember thinking, ‘That’s so cool! I wish I could do that!’? Well, if you put that idea in a videogame, then Slingshot Racing, a steampunk themed racing game, gives you just what you were looking for. But even though it’s not a real thing, it’s still really, really cool. (more…)

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