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.



Continuing in the tradition of Kung Fu Rabbit by mixing our favorite carrot-addicted mammals with ancient Eastern traditions–in this case Ninjas–Ninjin is a fun and exciting wave-based action game.

In the story mode you play through five different regions while battling 15 kinds of ancient critters while picking up bushels of carrots to upgrade your rabbit with magical abilities and weapons. Along the way, you learn some interesting history; like, did you know that katana’s are single edge weapons?

There are other modes as well, including an addicting Endless mode, to keep the action fun and fresh. It’s free to try and a dollar to unlock the entire game. It may not give you your daily dose of Vitamin B, but it can easily fulfill your daily requirement of absurdist fun.

Price: Free
App Store Link

Gurk III – The 8-Bit RPG


Taking a step into the way, way back machine, we come across the amazingly fun Gurk III. If you’re a fan of super old-school Ultima and revel in the warm blankets that are 8-bit graphics and retro sound effects, then Gurk III is for you.

The menus are clunky, the graphics are ugly, and the game doesn’t make even the slightest attempt to hold your hand while playing, but that’s all part of the fun. Playing Gurk III is like driving a Model-T instead of a 2013 Mustang and is an anachronism in the modern gaming world. But for those of us who enjoy a good, tough trek through magical villages, it’s right up our alley.

Price: $1.99
App Store Link

Shadow Vamp


In most stories, vampires are the villains and you do everything you can to destroy them. Shadow Vamp turns the tables and makes the bloodsuckers the protagonists, and has them trying to survive in a world that is not meant for them.

Shadow Vamp has some of the most inventive gameplay I’ve seen recently. As you move your pale hero throughout the world, you must do everything you can to keep them in the shadows. You do this by using your special amulet that allows you to alter position of the globe in order to use buildings and other obstacles to move the shadows and create a pathway of darkness for you to traverse through.

The graphics are gorgeous, the gameplay is ingenious, and the fact that it shares elements of one of my all time favorite games, Van Helsing, is just icing on the cake.

Price: $0.99
App Store Link



Try and imagine what would happen if Angry Birds and Penumbear met and had a child, and you might get an idea as to what Lums is all about. It’s another game like Shadow Vamp that uses lighting as its main gameplay element, but it mixes that with the the familiar style of a physics-puzzler like Angry Birds to make something that feels exciting and new.

Lums has you flinging your globular heroes across the screen in an attempt to destroy the rude vampires that invaded their world. You have to knock down obstacles and avoid traps as you do everything you can to expose those nasty vamps to the harsh reality of light.

Add in some gorgeous visuals and haunting, atmospheric sound-effects, and Lums shows that, yes, you can indeed do something new and unique in a genre that is starting to show its age.

Price: $1.99
App Store Link

9th Dawn


9th Dawn is yet again another old-school treat for RPG fans of the Ultima type. It’s a conventional ’80s style RPG mixed with modern twists (like twin-stick shooter controls), and the combination makes for an experience that has me constantly coming back.

Do you like playing long-standing, character classes like mages, fighters and archers? Do you like grand adventures in treacherous lands full of eccentric characters and dangerous enemies? And do you like collecting an absolutely ridiculous amount of loot and trying to figure out what works best? If your answer to these questions is yes, then 9th Dawn is the game for you.

However, it’s not as newbie friendly as it might be. The game largely leaves you to your own devices as far as figuring out what to do and how to do it, and features a huge world with danger and wonder waiting for you around every corner. It’s an absolute joy to play and will have your inner RPG child grinning from ear to ear.

Price: $2.99
App Store Link

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