Posts byErik Carlson

Reviews

Wayward Souls Review

Wayward Souls is the game that Mage Gauntlet was supposed to be, and I mean that quite literally. When Rocketcat Games was making Mage Gauntlet, they wanted to have all of the things that Wayward Souls eventually ended up having, like randomized levels and multiple character classes. Eventually they realized that they were never going to be able to get that game done in time, and so Mage Gauntlet was born.  (more…)

Reviews

Baldur’s Gate II iPad Review

Like I alluded to in my preview of the game, playing Baldur’s Gate II was one of the defining moments for me as a gamer. It holds a special place in my gaming heart, and you’d be hard pressed to find an “all-time best of” list that doesn’t include this amazing game. Unfortunately, times they have a changed. RPGs have evolved and the way we play games has changed, so a straight port of this computer classic just doesn’t work for the iPad. (more…)

    Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition Hands-On Preview

    Playing Baldur’s Gate II when it came out in the early 2000’s was something of a formative gaming experience for me. While I absolutely loved the first one, and played countless games before it, it wasn’t until part two that I came to realize just how immersive and engrossing playing videogames could be. So I was a bit heartbroken when, because of befuddling legal vagaries, it looked like Baldur’s Gate II might not ever grace our little screens. (more…)

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    The Shadow Sun Review

    The Shadow Sun is a game that I honestly thought we would never see. Announced three years ago, the game was promised to be something that would give us an Elder Scrolls-like experience for iOS from developers who had worked on games like Baldur’s Gate and NeverWinter Nights. With a gameplay promise like that and from people with those kinds of resumes, expectations ran high for RPG fans. (more…)

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    Epoch 2 Review

    When the first Epoch came out a couple of years ago, it was further evidence that AAA production values could be coupled with the unique opportunities of a touchscreen environment to provide an exciting gameplay experience for iOS. Its elegant and uncluttered control scheme, gorgeous graphics, and cool cover-based gameplay gave us a fierce little game that showed just what our iPads and phones were capable of if someone were willing to put in the work. (more…)

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    Icycle: On Thin Ice Review

    Are you familiar with the works of a man named Saul Bass? During the ’70s and ’80s he was one of the most iconic graphic-designers/artists the nation had ever seen. His surreal and spacey style graced movie posters, corporate logos, and even movies themselves which included the title sequence for Hitchcock’s Psycho. He has been imitated, revered, and homaged endlessly over the years (check out the title sequence for the Spielberg movie Catch me if You Can for an idea) and it’s not hyperbole to say that he’s one of the most influential artists of the modern era. (more…)

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    Sorcery 2! Review

    In some games, the story is the backdrop, a means to get you from one action setpiece to another. In other games, the story is so deeply integrated into the action that it’s hard to imagine one without the other. In Sorcery 2, the latest choose-your-own-adventure storybook game from Steve Jackson, the story is the whole point of the game. (more…)

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    Transport Tycoon Review

    Videogame content can cover a wide range of extremes. Whether it’s extreme depictions of violence, humor, or difficulty levels, if you’re a lover of the intense, then odds are you can find a game that fits your style. Transport Tycoon is a game that travels in a different kind of extreme, and that’s an extreme level of resource management. If dealing with menus within menus within menus, a distressing amount of unmarked icons cluttering your screen and an absolutely ludicrous level of detail to govern sounds like a fun night at home, then Transport Tycoon is the game for you. (more…)

      Under the Radar: October 4, 2013

      So many games come out for iOS on a regular basis that it can be difficult to keep track of them all, let alone review them. In this edition of Under the Radar, I highlight a handful of games from this summer that I enjoyed immensely. Whether it’s because of ingenuity in gameplay, or a great mix of old-school and new, these are games, in no particular order, that captured my attention over the last few months. (more…)

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      Six O’Clock High Review

      Dogfighting is a form of fierce aerial combat that’s been around almost since the invention of the airplane itself. It featured intense aerial melees between dogged opponents performing death-defying, close quarters maneuvers in their vicious attempts to knock the other out of the sky. The style of fighting gained considerable notoriety during World War I and even produced a bonafide celebrity of sorts in the Red Baron. Now, from ColePowered Games, comes Six O’Clock High, an energetic and fast-paced game that seeks to recreate at least some of those oft romanticized days of yore. (more…)

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      Breach & Clear Review

      iOS, and especially the iPad, have been a real boon for the strategy game genre. Games like Great Big War Game, Ravenmark, and most recently the amazing PC ports of Frozen Synapse and XCOM have shown that not only can this platform do strategy, but it can do it fantastically well. Breach & Clear, a new game from Gun and a former creator of the Call of Duty games, promises to up the ante. Claiming that they want to change the way people think about mobile games, the developers want to bring AAA production values and creativity to hopefully force us to reevaluate how we interact with our touchscreen gaming devices. (more…)

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      Motocross Elite Review

      When I was just a wee lad, during the summers, my dad and I would go to a massive BMX dirt-bike obstacle course and watch the absolute insanity of these daredevils running over giant piles of dirt, popping wheelies, flying through the air, performing crazy aerial stunts and generally doing things on bikes that usually required onsite EMTs. Now all these years later comes Motocross Elite, a game that seeks to recreate the feeling of those muddy, acrobatic daredevils. And it does a fairly good job of doing just that. (more…)

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      Star Wars Force Collection Revew

      The year 1995 was good for collectible card gaming fans. Magic: The Gathering was still going strong, but a new game came out that year: the Star Wars collectible card game. Almost overnight, thousands of players were able to battle their friends with Light or Dark side decks, using different iterations of their favorite characters and playing in countless locations from the movies. It was some of the most fun I’ve ever had and helped to create friendships that lasted for years. (more…)

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      Asphalt 8: Airborne Review

      It’s another year, another summer, and just like a summer blockbuster movie, it’s time for another entry in Gameloft’s venerable racing series, Asphalt. It’s easy to get cynical as this would be the eighth game in the series, and after part seven I was starting to think that this franchise was getting a little too long in the tooth. Thankfully Gameloft seems to have realized that as well and has added enough new and fun elements to justify keeping the series going. (more…)

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      Mikey Hooks Review

      There’s something to be said about having a passion. Whether you’re passionate about movies, biking, reading or whatever, doing things you’re passionate about can really make life worth living. So when two friendly rivals on the Touch Arcade forums decided to get together and make last year’s awesome Mikey Shorts, you could clearly tell that they were passionate about the game they were making. (more…)

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      Bloodmasque Review

      When you think of Square Enix, the developer of games like Final Fantasy, Tomb Raider and Chaos Rings, the last thing you would ever think of coming from them is an Infinity Blade-style game where you can take a picture of yourself, stick your face on a character and fight vampires in the streets of Paris. But these are the days we live in, and Bloodmasque is the game we’re playing. It’s an interesting mash-up of ideas that more or less comes together in a fun and unique game. (more…)

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      Sky Gamblers: Cold War Review

      Have you ever played one of those games that has you thinking about it even when you’re not playing it? You know, it’s the kind of game where you’re already planning your next move after you quit to menu, brush your teeth and go to sleep. The most recent game that has me doing this is the latest entry in the Sky Gamblers series, Cold War. While I was at work I would think about flying my Black-Bird to spy on the commies in the single-player campaign, or daydream about battling in heated dogfights against other real-world players in the amazing multiplayer. Yeah, Sky Gamblers: Cold War is the kind of game that leaves an impression. (more…)

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      Sprinkle Islands Review

      Two years is a long, long time in the iOS universe. An eternity even. When the first Sprinkle game came out almost two years ago, it was a bit of a revelation. A creative, ambitious water-based physics puzzler, Sprinkle was a shining gem in an already crowded genre. However, in the intervening years, countless other physics puzzlers have been released, and Sprinkle even got upstaged by Disney with it’s water based game, Where’s My Water. So now we’ve got the sequel, Sprinkle Islands, and the big question is: Did the developer make the two year wait worth it? (more…)

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      The Lone Ranger by Disney Review

      Video games licensed from movies have a long and checkered history of being terrible. They tend to be nothing more than cheap tie-ins designed to ride the coattails of whatever movie they’re promoting, and seem to be made with the hopes that our excitement for the film will be enough to get us to play the game. (more…)

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      Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage Review

      We may reach a point, sometime in the future, when our enjoyment of so called physics-puzzler games reaches a sort of critical mass. When our love affair with annoyed avians, candy addicted whatevers, or ninjas with a vengeance against fruit may well and truly reach its cultural nadir. But as long as inventive, campy, and multifarious games like Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage continue to come out and remind us why we started to relish this genre in the first place, then that national nightmare could still be a ways away. (more…)

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      Fighting Fantasy: The Forest of Doom Review

      The Fighting Fantasy gamebook series has been a staple of many table-top gamers’ lives for decades. It started in the early ’80s as a collaboration between Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, and over the years it became a beloved choose-your-own-adventure series of books. Almost every page could take you in any number of directions, and many readers/players ended up being eaten alive by wolves, burnt to death by dragons, lost in caves, drowned, and so on. (more…)

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      Gangstar Vegas Review

      Imagine trying to describe the Grand Theft Auto series to someone who has never played it before, isn’t much of a gamer, and has probably never seen a gangster movie. You talk about the massive “open-world” settings, the ridiculous amount of destruction you can wage with an arsenal of weapons, the crime stories, the vehicular mayhem, the colorful characters, and the sordid missions you can undertake. You don’t give this person any specifics, but you try to convey a general sense of what the games are all about. (more…)

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      Kingdom Rush Frontiers Review

      It’s not easy being a tower-defense game. The genre is designed to be repetitious and almost passive in a way. There are only so many ways you can place your towers, hit the start button and watch things happen. Thankfully, last year brought us a genuine gem in the genre in the way of Kingdom Rush. It really did a lot to engage the player and did it with such style that it’s no surprise it quickly became one of the most loved tower-defense games for iOS. (more…)

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      Warhammer Quest Review

      Warhammer by Games Workshop is a gaming world that’s close to the hearts and minds of geeks the world over. Started in the early ’80s, Warhammer is a fantasy adventure table-top game that shares many of the same Tolkienesque tropes that Dungeons & Dragons does. But its potent mix of player interactivity and a world that’s darker and grittier than D&D’s have given Warhammer fans a violent, dangerous and enthralling experience that many still love today. (more…)

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      Dead Ahead Review

      It’s kind of tough to get excited about another game with zombies. It’s even tougher to get excited about another endless-runner. And it’s even more difficult to get excited about another endless-runner featuring zombies. Dead Ahead, the new game from Chillingo, does very little to overcome those hurdles, but it at least has a nice art style and an amusing sense of humor. (more…)

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      Frozen Synapse Review

      At first glance, Frozen Synapse may seem like an iOS version of the classic arcade game Robotron. The simplistic graphics and sparse battlefields call to mind a time when shapes and stick-figures were the best we could get from a game. But if you take a closer look at this PC port, you find a game brimming with a staggering depth of gameplay, hours of intriguing strategy, and one of the best soundtracks you’ll ever hear in an iOS title. And if you zoom in, those “simplistic” graphics are gorgeous. (more…)

        Blitz Brigade Players Encounter Connection Issues

        When Gameloft announced Blitz Brigade at the beginning of the year, multiplayer fans greeted the news with equal parts excitement and skepticism. Fans of Team Fortress or Battlefield: Heroes were excited to play a new IP for the iPhone that looked like it was mashing up the best parts of both games, with the usual polish we expect from Gameloft. Most were even willing to look past the fact that Blitz Brigade looked like a pretty blatant clone. Then the game came out, and there was a big problem. (more…)

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        BlastPoints Review

        There’s been a dearth of quality space-shooters for iOS. Sure we’ve had our Galaxy on Fires and Galactic Phantasies, but on the whole this is one genre that’s been a little starved. But in the past month we’ve gotten the amazing Arc Squadron, which proved our little phones were more than capable of giving us that Star Fox feeling. Hot on the heels of that game, Checkbox Studios has brought us BlastPoints. And while its threadbare story won’t exactly light up the skies, its intense and addictive action more than make up for it. (more…)

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        Leviathan: Warships Review

        The open waters can be a treacherous place. Brigands, scofflaws and villains of all types will try and plunder, pillage, and claim all that they can for their own nefarious needs. Luckily, in Leviathan: Warships, you control a fleet of super powered, heavily armed, and technologically advanced vessels of destruction to stop these sea-based reprobates from using the lawlessness of the high-seas to their advantage. (more…)

          Junk Jack Sequel Coming Later This Year

          Good news for fans of 2D house building, monster hunting, food making and crafting all manner of ladders: The sequel to Junk Jack is slowly becoming a real thing. On Thursday, Junk Jack creator PixBits posted a huge update about the sequel — currently titled “Junk Jack X” — to their massively popular and just plain fun MineCraftish game. And boy oh boy does this look like it’s going to be an even bigger time-sink then the first. (more…)

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          Sorcery! Review

          It can be hard for non-gamers to understand how something like a videogame can be so engrossing and so captivating that most outside concerns take a second seat to the screen in front of our faces. We’re not entirely sure if Sorcery! from creator Steve Jackson is the game to convince them, but it’s a good candidate for the job. It’s an elegant, thoughtful and spellbinding adventure. (more…)

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          LEGO Batman: DC Super Heroes Review

          The Dark Knight has always been a bit of a loner. Fighting crime, righting wrongs, embarrassing the police and protecting the citizens of Gotham are all things he likes to do on his own. But sometimes even the Caped Crusader needs a little help from his friends, and luckily in his newest adventure LEGO Batman: DC Superheroes, the Bat grudgingly (very grudgingly in Superman’s case) learns to love. (more…)

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          The House of the Dead: Overkill – The Lost Reels Review

          Zombies, zombies, zombies. We honestly think that if a zombie apocalypse were to happen now, we would be pretty well prepared. What with action, strategy, puzzle, and defense games–and even zombie exercise apps–we can’t think of any zombie situation that we aren’t prepared for. Now we’ve got House of the Dead: Overkill – The Lost Reels to show us what a zombie invasion would be like if it took place in an old-school exploitation film. (more…)

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          Ark of Sinners Advance Review

          Ark of Sinners Advance is a game that very desperately wants to fill your Metroidvania needs, and it has elements in place to seemingly make it work. It has an appealing art style, huge levels to explore, and lots of combat options. Unfortunately, none of these components add up to anything interesting, and we ended up wondering why a game that started out its life as a critically savaged Wii-Verse title from two years ago would get ported to iOS without fixing at least some of the things that made the console version so very, very terrible. (more…)

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          Final Fantasy V Review

          Final Fantasy V is a game that has a weird place in the legacy of the series. It doesn’t have the nostalgic values of being the first in the franchise, nor does it have the crown of being the first to introduce something like the Jobs system that has become a staple of the Final Fantasy games. It also doesn’t have a beloved story like the fourth, sixth and seventh installments. Going back and looking at what people thought of it way back when, you’ll find words like “trite” and “simplistic.” Not exactly sentiments you would expect to see about a game from the early days of this classic series. (more…)

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          Tiny Troopers 2: Special Ops Review

          The original Tiny Troopers took us by surprise. Here was this little war game featuring bobble-headed characters, an odd sense of humor, and single-finger controls. Could something like this work? It turns out it did– marvelously in fact– and Tiny Troopers ended up being one of our favorite games of 2012. Now comes the inevitable sequel, and while it doesn’t stray too much for the original’s formula, it still manages to be a fresh and fun experience that we dare say is even better than the first. (more…)

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          Star Wars Pinball Review

          Star Wars Pinball, the newest game from the makers of the superb Zen Pinball, is exactly what it sounds like: Star Wars + Pinball. Boom. Like we said, pretty simple. This isn’t a game that’s going to blow your mind with radical concepts and way-out-there uniqueness, but if you like pinball and you like Star Wars, then this is a game for you. (more…)

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          Journey to Hell Review

          Journey to Hell, the new game from BulkyPix, is the gaming equivalent of a 2X4 to the back of the head, and we mean that in a good way. It’s a game that wears its influences on its sleeves, that doesn’t have any pretensions about being anything other than what it is, and just wants to get you into the action as quickly and as brutally as possible. It’s kissing-cousins with the Doom games of yore and shares a certain kinship with the more recent Serious Sam series of games. Quick and dirty is the name of this game. (more…)

            The 10 Best iOS Games for Gamers of All Ages

            While many of us enjoy the more “mature” types of games, we have to admit that gallons of blood and violent battlefields aren’t for everyone. Thankfully, the App Store offers all kinds of quality games that don’t feature bullets flying all over the place. We’ve come up with a list of games that offer full-fledged, engrossing experiences, while still being appropriate for gamers of all ages. (more…)

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            Penumbear Review

            When we first heard about Penumbear, a game featuring an adorable teddy-bear wearing an ascot, the last thing we expected to think was “Wow, this may be one of the toughest games we’ve played since League of Evil.” But here we are days later pondering a twisted, dark, supremely challenging existential adventure through a castle– where the main character is a teddy-bear. (more…)

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            Cognition Episode 1 Review

            Adventure gaming fans sometimes have to put up with a lot. Whether it’s getting stuck in a room and tapping on everything in an attempt to get out, or trying every bizarre combination of objects our brains can come up with in order to solve a puzzle, we sometimes have to use a shotgun approach to our gaming techniques to get anywhere. That’s why a game like Cognition Episode 1 is such a refreshing experience. It’s a thrilling, engrossing adventure game where the solutions usually make sense and you’re rarely left with that “What just happened?” feeling. It also has a unique twist that makes it fun. (more…)

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            QuestLord Review

            Role-playing games come in all stripes. You’ve got your Japanese RPGS like Final Fantasy, your Western RPGS like Baldur’s Gate and even your Korean RPGS like Zenonia. They all have different aspects to them that appeal to different types of gamers. And there’s a fourth type that really doesn’t fit into any of those RPG boxes: the dungeon crawler. (more…)

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            Cypress Inheritance Review

            In Cypress Inheritance you play as Lorna, a young woman with a crazy uncle Alfred who has just died. But Alfred isn’t just any crazy old uncle. Alfred was apparently an odd scientist who dabbled in Artificial Intelligence and liked to use it to guard his priceless art collection. Lucky Lorna inherited her peculiar uncles vast fortune after he passed, but there’s a catch: she has to fend off the female robot A.I. Vonya in one of Alfred’s mansions. And Vonya is determined to make getting that inheritance as difficult as she possibly can. Typical A.I. (more…)

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            Infestor Review

            Infestor is a game that continues the iOS tradition of taking online flash type games and bringing them to your pocket. It also continues Ravenous Games’ tradition of making delightul and fun bite-sized games that you can play and put down after a few minutes. Infestor is a cute little game, with a strong concept that makes for a fun diversion. (more…)

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            Penny Arcade’s On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3 Review

            If you play videogames, then odds are you know about Penny Arcade, at least in some fashion. Whether it’s their industry skewering comic-strip, involvement in PAX, or no holds barred website, love ‘em or hate ‘em, Penny Arcade is an institution in the industry. A little while ago they decided to put their money where their mouth is and actually make some games themselves. (more…)

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            Cracking Sands Review

            Polarbit is a company that has become synonymous with racing games. From Reckless Getaway to the Reckless Racing series, Polarbit has shown that it has an understanding of how iPhone racing should work. When word came of Cracking Sands, we were anticipating another great, polished racing game set in a Mad Max-style world. Unfortunately, when we actually sat down and played the game we were faced with baffling design decisions that led to a disappointing and disheartening experience that left us feeling let down. (more…)

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            Tennis in the Face Review

            If you’ve ever played tennis, then you’ve undoubtedly encountered someone who could use a little, ummm, encouragement to make you see things your way: refs, obnoxious bystanders, other players. For fallen tennis hero Pete Pagassi, it’s the makers, purveyors and consumers of Explodz energy drink. Like many poor souls before him, he just kept chasing that caffeinated dragon and his sports career suffered a B-12 fueled flameout. (more…)