Posts byJason D'Aprile

Reviews

Word Puttz Review

Words games really do seem to be a dime a dozen on the App store, yet occasionally one grabs us and forces us to reconsider our stance on the genre. Most of the really popular word games are multiplayer-centric, which is fine for those out there who like that sort of thing. But what about the anti-social word lovers? Who cares about us? Well, as it turns out, Jackbox Games cares. (more…)

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Fightback Review

Developer Ninja Theory has been pumping out some impressively cinematic and gorgeous third-person action games on console systems for a while now, but Fightback is their first foray into the mobile world. They started out simple, sticking to what they know– great looking brawling with a distinctly classic sensibility. Although the game comes out hot on the tail of Double Dragon Trilogy and is clearly influenced by such classic coin-op games, Fightback is built from the ground up to be a touchscreen-based fighter. (more…)

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Darklings Review

Darklings is a game clearly influenced by the likes of Limbo, but despite the graphic similarities, the actual gameplay is very different. Instead of a macabre side-scrolling adventure, this is a strange, endless, gesture-based battle against the forces of evil. It’s a creative, simple game that’s easy to learn, but challenging to master. (more…)

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Gunner Z Review

Gunner Z is one of the most micro transaction-obsessed games we’ve ever seen. Where Plants vs. Zombie 2 proved that developers could release a free game with an amazingly non-intrusive transaction system, this game goes in the exact opposite direction and essentially demands money to keep up with the game’s action. That’s a real shame, because while the core gameplay isn’t especially creative or diverse, this isn’t a bad shooter otherwise. (more…)

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Riddick: The Merc Files Review

When Vin Diesel announced he was starting Tigon games during the era of the original Xbox, I scoffed and promptly forgot about it until the Chronicles of Riddick game arrived. It was actually an impressive game, but unfortunately that was about the last we heard from Vin’s foray into gaming. Until now. Tigon is back with another Riddick game, subtitled the Merc Files. It’s an iOS-only game centered entirely on stealthy game play. (more…)

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Shadowrun Returns iPad Review

Old school pen and paper role-players have probably spent some time with Shadowrun. It was a brilliant melding of cyberpunk and fantasy, where orcs, trolls, humans, elves, and dwarves mingled with magic and technology in a universe that was as much about hacking networks as slinging fireballs. The biggest problem with the game—certainly its initial few releases—was the obscure rules that went with it. (more…)

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Pirate Legends TD Review

When you decide to take on the recognized leader in a genre, it’s best to go in guns blazing. This is the tack that developer Super Hippo took when developing a serious competitor for Kingdom Rush. The result is Pirate Legends TD, a game full of interesting twists on the genre, along with some serious oversights in user friendliness.

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Sky Tourist Review

Originality is hard to come by, so I at least respect attempts at doing something new. Sky Tourist is just that sort of game. It’s a physics-based vertical scroller similar to endless jumpers, but with some significant twists. As intrepid tourist, Petey Pendant, you’re not jumping, but taking a dual rocket-powered sight-seeing tour through the galaxy. (more…)

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Sine Mora Review

A collaboration between European-based Digital Realities and Japanese Grasshopper Manufacture– a development house known for weirdness– Sine Mora is a new twist on the classic side-scrolling shooter. Initially released for PC, PlayStation 3, and PS Vita, this is a visually striking and surprising game that mixes old school gameplay with new technology to create something impressive. (more…)

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Hero of Many Review

With the focus on indie developers in the App Store, iOS games frequently excel at creating new and unusual experiences that take familiar concepts and throw new, touch-based twists in. Hero of Many is a perfect example. It’s an evocative and moody game, a focused study on atmosphere and style over traditional gameplay. That’s not to say Hero isn’t an actual game, but this is clearly an exercise in creating a strangely mysterious and more relaxed play experience than traditional games. (more…)

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Siegecraft TD Review

Mobile gaming is no stranger to clones, retreds, and rip-offs, but occasionally imitation being the sincerest form of flattery pays off. Siegecraft TD isn’t, by any means, an original game. In fact, it’s a straight-up mix of Kingdom Rush and Fieldrunners. Since both games are terrific, a melding of the two seems like a logical step. As it turns out, it works great. (more…)

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Injustice: Gods Among Us Review

Taking their extensive experience with the Mortal Kombat series, developer Netherrealm Studios has plenty of fighting pedigree. So fans of superheroes have been excited to get their hands on the dark DC comics-based Injustice: Gods Among Us. While the console version is substantially different overall, the iOS version is still a team-based fighter with tons of content and super-powered brawling. (more…)

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Unmechanical Review

Unmechanical is a strange tale of a helicopter-like robot who finds himself lost in a massive cavern. The focus of the game is simply on solving puzzles to move from one room to the next. There’s no combat and the game’s description trumpets its all-ages fitness, but there’s still an undeniable sense of creepy to the whole thing. (more…)

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Hell Yeah! Pocket Inferno Review

The strange and cartoonishly violent downloadable game Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit seemed like it could make a good fit on the iPad and iPhone. So it’s especially bewildering that Sega didn’t release a straightforward port. Instead, the publisher pulled a totally different dead rabbit out of their hat. Taking the same path as Ubisoft did with Rayman Jungle Run, Sega has released another forced scrolling runner, but it’s lacking in a lot of the polish of its competition. (more…)

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Pudding Monsters Review

Zeptolab nearly trademarked cuteness with Cut the Rope, and they’re back with a different, yet still cute mobile puzzler that also fixates on sugary goodness. Pudding Monsters tells a vague tale of pudding creatures that want to escape the fridge, grow large, and do monstrous things– or something like that. There’s not much story, but there are tons of cute graphics and blob-sliding levels. (more…)

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Table Top Racing Review

There are plenty of racing games for the iPhone and iPad, covering the gamut between racing sim, street racing, and sci-fi. The recent release of the disappointing Dreamcast port, ReVolt, reminded us that there’s not much in the way of toy and RC racing games. Thankfully, Table Top Racing takes care of this problem quite handily. It’s a lot like ReVolt in terms of the taking arcade racing and shrinking it down, but the game is much more polished and playable. (more…)

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Little Inferno iPad Review

Little Inferno is a game about burning things. You buy various little things from a catalog, things like pictures, magnets, batteries, dolls, and a horde of other frequently bizarre objects. The items arrive, and then you throw them into your Little Inferno furnace. Next, you lay down a line of fire with your finger, and watch ‘em burn. This is a game someone actually made. (more…)

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Riven for iPad Review

Back in the day, when CD-ROMs were all the rage (that would be the ’90s) Cyan Worlds made a killing with their moody and atmospheric– if empty– adventure game Myst. Myst was an incredible sensation with its photo-realistic graphics, intriguing puzzles, and slide-show style navigation system. The sequel, Riven, was released to similar fanfare. It didn’t deviate much from the original’s slow-paced exploration and puzzles, but it was much larger. (more…)

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Repulze Review

Repulze is a sci-fi hovercraft racer that certainly tries its best to nail down the visual stylings of the PlayStation classic WipeOut. Without a doubt, it’s a great-looking game and has an excellent sense of speed, along with some tweaks on the genre that help give it a bit more identity. The game takes advantage of its touch screen platform with solid and sensible controls, and a design philosophy that encourages short bursts of play. (more…)

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Hundreds Review

Semi Secret Software made a noticeable splash with their endless runner Canabalt, but they’re back with something completely different. Hundreds is the epitome of a completely simple idea made into transfixing gameplay. Like the simplicity of Tetris’ block dropping, Hundreds merely tasks players with tapping on circles to expand their size until the numbers in them add up to 100. (more…)

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Robotanika iPad Review

Plenty of developers are using the Unreal Engine to create amazing games for iOS, and we imagine there’s probably a learning curve for any game creators not used to the tools. In the case of Dawn Patrol Games, their first release with the engine feels very much like a learning experience or test of concept rather than a whole game. The game is a pretty simple turret-based shooter, with some interesting ideas, but doesn’t quite mesh as a whole.

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Anomaly Korea Review

11 Bit Studios is back at war with the aliens in this follow-up to the terrific tower offense game, Anomaly: Warzone Earth. This time the aliens are destroying Korea and setting up all manner of horrible structures, and it’s the player’s job to take ‘em down. Though the game certainly doesn’t feel like a full-blown sequel, more Anomaly action is a good thing and there’s plenty to be had here. (more…)

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Sleepwalker’s Journey Review

Sleepwalker’s Journey certainly isn’t the first game of its sort. There have been plenty of games where the player is tasked with controlling the environment, not the main character. Yet, 11 Bit Studios has added an undeniable layer of charm and creativity to the mix with their latest. The company has a habit of releasing games that are completely unlike the release before. From Anomaly Warzone Earth to Funky Smugglers to this is a pretty wide array of styles, but it always seems to work for them. (more…)

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Raiden Legacy Review

DotEmu is rapidly making a name for themselves when it comes to taking classic games and porting them to new technology. Having already brought such greats as R-Type, Metal Slug 3, and Another World to iOS, they’ve proven they can do justice by retro gamers. Raiden Legacy is their latest retro revamp, and it contains four games in the classic vertical-scrolling shooter series. (more…)

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Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders Review

Apple used the previous Sky Gamblers game, Air Supremacy, to push the features of the iPad 3, and it was a technological marvel and solid game no matter the platform. The sequel lacks the Namco Bandai name, but still carries all the qualities the series has become known for. Taking the action back in time to World War II, Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders offers great aerial action both on and offline. (more…)

    Wii U Launch Games Review

    If you read our review of the Wii U hardware, you’ll know what to expect if you buy the system. But a gaming console is only as good as the games available for it. So read on for mini-reviews of several of the most popular launch titles. (more…)

      Wii U Review

      Nintendo has a long history of trying new things, and not always successfully. With the original Wii, they struck gold with casual gamers more so than hardcore players. Still trying to recuperate from the less than stellar performance of the Gamecube, the Wii was a very deliberate attempt to release a cheap system that would appeal to demographics outside of traditional experienced gamers. (more…)

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      Skylanders Battlegrounds Review

      The third Skylanders game to hit iOS is the closet to its console brethren, but not by much. This time around, the action is isometric, real-time combat with two Skylanders versus a horde of trolls, chompies, and other familiar bad guys. The game uses the same graphics engine as the console game as well, and looks amazingly good on the smaller screen. (more…)

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      March on Oz Review

      March on Oz will probably seem immediately familiar to most gamers. Get past the frequently overdone story-telling elements, which make the game take much longer to get going than it should be, and the similarities to Plants vs Zombies are undeniable. You’ll be placing units along rows to defeat enemies who come down those same rows, while waiting for your energy-producing units to provide more resources for conjuring up more troops. (more…)

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      Skylanders Lost Islands Review

      The freemium town-building genre is a love it or hate thing. When Capcom released Smurfs’ Village, plenty of people railed at the excessive and in-your-face micro-transaction focus, and for good reason. It’s entirely possible to play these games without spending a cent– provided you don’t mind waiting hours for a new building– but the developers are counting on the players’ impatience. Activision is busily building and expanding their amazingly successful Skylanders line, so it’s not surprising to see them adapting the town-building style to the franchise. (more…)

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      Zaxxon Escape Review

      Bringing back old franchises to cash in on new gaming crazes seems to be the way of things, and Sega is certainly on board with this trend thanks to Zaxxon Escape. A direct sequel to the arcade classic, the game takes the endless running genre out into space. Surprisingly, it’s not that bad. (more…)

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      Re-Volt Classic Review

      Re-volt Classic is the latest port from the classic Sega Dreamcast system to iOS, and it seems like a strange choice. The original game was a fun, if flawed RC car racer, full of interesting track settings and power-ups, but unlikely to be remembered in the vastness of video gaming history. The iOS version is essentially a straight port of the original with few updates beyond making it playable on a touchscreen. (more…)

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      MechWarrior: Tactical Command Review

      Old school gamers of both the tabletop and PC variety likely have fond memories of battling in giant, heavily armored and armed robots. FASA’s beloved Mechwarrior universe has been around for a long time and produced some of the greatest simulation games in PC gaming history (Mechwarrior 2 stands out in particular). So it’s nice to see this venerable series return after a long hiatus. (more…)

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      Lili Review

      Lili is one of the latest games in a long line to use the Unreal Engine to terrific effect on iOS. It’s a beautiful game, with tons of personality that uses a lot of familiar elements in creative ways. The story focuses on young college student, Lili, heading off to the island of Geos to study magical flowers for class. Collecting flowers is, oddly enough, the central game mechanic here, but don’t let that scare you off. (more…)

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      Quantum Legacy HD Review

      Originally released as a short, free-to-play space shooter, Quantum Legacy has returned as a much longer and more feature-laden full-priced release. The gameplay remains the same as before. This is an on-rails space shooter that simply has players shooting bad guys while activating their shields at just the right time to avoid damage. (more…)

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      Pitfall! Review

      For gamers of a certain age, the name Pitfall! is remembered with reverence. Designer David Crane’s classic Atari 2600 game not only kickstarted a generation of gamers, but single-handedly created the side-scrolling adventure genre. Activision apparently doesn’t share that reverence. Instead of resurrecting the name to create a modern-era side-scrolling platformer worthy of the name, they’ve released a blatant retread of Temple Run with a hefty focus on getting players to keep shelling out real cash. (more…)

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      Justice League: Earth’s Final Defense Review

      Across the whole of the video game world, there’s been a welcome upswing in the quality of super hero-based games. While this is largely thanks to Batman Arkham Asylum (and City), Spider-Man and other fan favorites have been benefiting as well– even on mobile devices. Justice League: Earth’s Final Defense is an iOS exclusive that apparently didn’t bother trying to reach such lofty goals. (more…)

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      Fur Fighters Review

      A somewhat obscure blast from the past hits iOS in the form of Fur Fighters: Viggo on Glass. Originally a Sega Dreamcast game from way back in 2000, Fur Fighters is proof that we’ve come a long way since those days. Just the fact that a game from the beloved system ports over in a technically perfect manner is impressive, and this shooting animal romp is still a lot of fun. (more…)

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      Fieldrunners 2 Review

      The original Fieldrunners was a quirky and enjoyable take on tower defense, with a fast pace that made it feel almost like an action game. Those qualities have carried over to the sequel, which takes everything about the first game and expands on it. The result is an entertaining and great-looking game with familiar gameplay and a unique sense of style and pacing. (more…)

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      Amazing Alex Review

      If Rovio’s Amazing Alex looks familiar, there’s a good reason. Rovio actually bought the rights for the excellent puzzler Casey’s Contraptions, and reskinned and rebranded the game into something with a bit more flash. While this isn’t a level-for-level clone, the gameplay is virtually identical. There is one major advantage Alex has over Casey though–you can actually buy this game. Rovio took Casey off the App Store right after buying the rights. Make of that what you will. (more…)

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      Kingdom Rush Review

      Kingdom Rush may have taken its time to hit the iPhone, but for fans of tower defense on the go, the wait is officially worthwhile. The game itself is identical to the iPad version. All the great gameplay elements, levels, units, and monsters are here. The main difference is the zoomed-in view of the map. (more…)

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      Unstoppable Fist Review

      For old school loving arcade hounds, Unstoppable Fist will feel like a welcome return to those dark, quarter munching days of yore. The game is retro by design–simple gameplay, pixilated graphics, and a totally chip-rockin’ soundtrack all make it feel like something that could have existed 30 years ago. So, for only buck, this is a cheap trip in the way-back machine. (more…)

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      Fish Heroes Review

      Craneballs’ Fish Heroes blatantly wears its influences on its proverbial sleeve. The immediate reaction is Angry Birds in 3D, but Wii gamers will also recognize some strong similarities to the terrific block-destruction game Boom Blox. So, if nothing else, Fish Heroes certainly ‘borrows’ from good stock. (more…)

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      Pocket Planes Review

      From the makers of the freemium hit Tiny Tower, comes another exercise in casual addiction. This time around, players can try their hand at airline management with Pocket Planes. It’s a strange little title– more of a virtual toy than a game– with charming 8-bit style retro graphics and dirt simple play mechanics. (more…)

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      OLO Game Review

      The oddly named OLO Game is deceptively simple. Essentially a physics-based virtual board game, this multiplayer-only affair is the epitome of a more refined party game. The goal is for each side to simply slide colored dots onto their opponent’s space and keep them there. Keeping the dots in place is where the competition really comes into play, and the game is uniquely geared to making sure that the tables can turn instantly with a well-placed shot. (more…)

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      Project 9: The Underground Aryan City Review

      Project 9: the Underground Aryan City is a strange game. It seems hopeful at first, with its colorful 3D graphics and bizarre storyline about Nazis in the Arctic, AI robots, and aliens’¦ or something. The game seems intent on throwing in every possible cliché to that end, and for those who revel in the weirdness of Asian cinema and video games, Project 9 looks just strange enough. (more…)

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      Extinction Squad Review

      Adult Swim has surprised a lot of gamers with their fun iOS games, which often manage to merge simple old-school gameplay with the themes and look of their own shows. Extinction Squad is no exception, and it takes the quest to rescue endangered animals to a new high’¦ or low as the case may be. Fortunately, we mean that in a good way. (more…)

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      Wingsuit Stickman Review

      You can get a lot of mileage out of simple stick man figures– from fighting and platformer games to flying. In the case of Wingsuit Stickman, flying through a variety of surprisingly dangerous landscapes is par for the course. This is a sharp-looking and easy-to-play accelerometer game, with plenty of challenge. (more…)