In my own personal experiences with iOS gaming, there are three things that I have come to love: Nautical themes, a quirky lovable protagonist, and the always enjoyed options of hats. Well thanks to Mr. Crab by Illusion Labs, all of my criteria are met on the surface, which just leaves the ever present question, is it fun?
The game is a fast paced climb the tower/maze game. Mr. Crab will constantly scuttle along the cylindrical tower, bumping into walls will cause him to turn around, and tapping the screen will allow him to jump. On his way to the top of the tower, players are tasked with picking up all the little crabs that are hidden throughout the level, and these are essential for gaining three stars on each stage. And that’s really about it as far as the basics go. There are enemies that will knock Mr. Crab down a level in the tower that can be taken care of with a jump to the head, and there are portals that will drop rolling obstacles in your direction. Honestly, this gives the game a very nice classic feel to it that harkens back to the days when we had Jumpman jumping over barrels thrown by a renegade ape.
One of the things I love most about iOS gaming is that the games can fill just about any niche. If you want to help a panda reach his girlfriend through use of cannons, you can. If you want to just relax on the beach and flick bottle caps at ice cubes as they fly in front of your face, thanks to BigPixel Studio’s new title, Bottle Cap Blitz, you can do that too.
Bottle Cap Blitz is a game that is pretty easy to sum up. You are at some sort of beach resort, chilling near the bar with an ice cold drink. Ice cubes will fly in front of you, and you have one minute to rack up the highest score you can. Bottle caps are launched by tapping almost anywhere on the screen and they will shoot off in that direction.
The artillery genre is one that I’ve always had a particular fondness for. There’s just something satisfying about using your resources at hand and shooting them across the map to cause as much chaos as you can to your opposing forces. Dragon Blast by NPC Games brings a fairly interesting spin to this, but unfortunately, its status as a freemium title manages to hurt it more than it helps it.
Dragon Blast has players in control of a dragon whose eggs have been stolen by local dimwitted villagers, and is out to use her special brand of fire based justice to get them back. The premise may sound a bit similar to anyone who has ever been anywhere near any of the eleven thousand Angry Birds products, but the game itself actually does differ quite a bit, and the story is presented in a rather charming cutscene at the start of the game.
You guys might remember that I rated the soundtrack for Assassin’s Creed 3 Liberation as one of the year’s best. I mentioned that Winifred Phillips was able to masterfully switch between tones and genres and praised the opening track in particular. Well, it seems like I wasn’t the only one who thought this. Phillips recently won a Game Audio Network Guild award for the score at the Game Developer’s Conference. The main theme received the award for best “2012 Best Original Vocal Song – Choral”
You can read the full press release after the break.
“What is this game? Perfection, friend. Or at least as close as we’ll get til judgment day.”
I usually distance myself from other reviews so I can go in unbiased. Sure I was hyped but I was ready to keep it in check. I then realized that it was impossible to visit any gaming site without seeing “10/10 AMAZING. 9/10 UNFORGETTABLE. 5/5 ASTONISHING!” Well, after playing through it, I can safely report that all of this praise is true.
In some ways, reviewing only the multiplayer aspect of a game is a daunting challenge in itself because so much relies of the game relies on how well your opponents play it as well. This is doubly true for StarCraft, where everything is finely crafted to complement everything else in the game without being obviously out of place. Even heavyweights like the Dawn of War and Blizzard’s own WarCraft 3 had their own problems with game balance, with the Necrons and Orks taking clear advantages over the other races.
The downside to fine balance means that newer players will be at something of a loss because of a lack of knowledge. How would one know how to deal with a huge group marines that come barging in the door at the five minute mark unless they’ve lost to it multiple times before realizing that simply putting down a few forcefields or Banelings is enough to deal with it? It’s a game of experience as much as it is really fast fingers, shredding the keyboard like a Petrucci solo.
Every journey must begin with a single step, and when you’re playing West Legends, an RPG from Axion Logic based on the literary classic, Journey to the West, you’ll find your first, fifth, ninth, seventieth, and even two thousandth step to be an enjoyable one.
West Legends plays akin to an action RPG where your characters wander out onto the battlefield and enemies will come at you from the sides. Tapping a character and guiding them to an enemy will cause them to go attack, and thankfully they will also automatically attack enemies that are close enough to them. This may not matter much in early levels, but in later stages with clusters of enemies, it’s nice to know the characters have some survival instincts. You start off with three characters; Goku, the monkey king, Sanzo, the noble monk being guided on his journey, and Pigsy, no further explanation needed. The three characters work well with Goku’s close combat, Pigsy’s ability to shoot projectiles, and Sanzo’s ability to keep the party healed at all times. There are several more characters to unlock through play, allowing players a fair sense of customization in their party.
This is a review of the single player campaign. I’ve never been very good at the multiplayer so I would be a poor judge of the new content. We will have a separate review for that aspect of the game posted soon.
When Blizzard originally announced that Starcraft 2 was going to be split into a trilogy, there was an uproar. Screams of betrayal and accusations were aplenty. Wings of Liberty was a noble start but in terms of story, but I felt like it could have been much better. While it was in no way a bad story, it felt like an average beginning to a trilogy. Heart of the Swarm, on the other hand, just seemed to hit all the right notes.
From the unit animations and physics, to the way the environments interact and the cutscene quality, the presentation and overall visuals received a massive overall. Small details in the cutscenes like hair and skin just look much better. They even touched up the details on the creep like how it interacts with hills and gave it a more oozy and fleshy look. Overall, the quality was a huge improvement over Wings of Liberty.
Stop me if you’ve heard this story before. Whale Shark meets Dog. They fall in love. Dog gets kidnapped by evil people. Whale shark chases evil people into space to rescue beloved dog and has to dodge missiles being launched from aforementioned evil people. We all know that classic love story, right? Well Astro Shark from Unit9 does a great job explaining that story through a short video and then we’re off in space controlling the shark and blowing up rockets.
Every now and then, I play a game that I find so engaging, so enchanting, and so extremely extravagant that it causes me to start out my review for it with a very peculiar form of alliterative adjectives. As you may have figured out by now, Penumbear from Taco Graveyard and BulkyPix happens to be one of those games.
Penumbear is a platformer where you take control of a small black bear as he runs through a peculiar labyrinth of levels. While there are many actual platforms, the hook of the game is that our titular character is capable of walking on the penumbras that separate light and darkness. By using fireflies, players can activate certain lanterns to create shadows, giving access to new platforms to walk across, or to remove them as obstacles. Certain platforms will only be accessible in light, and some only in darkness. Often hazards such as spiked blocks will be carefully hidden so it’s important to be constantly aware of your surroundings.
It’s funny, but I personally always saw a lot of iOS games released on the market as my adult life equivalent of the little toys you’d get in machines found at grocery stores or pharmacies. For a low price you’d get something fun, new and magical that would keep you entertained for hours on end. Cling! by First5 Games has managed to not only enhance that feeling by making a game about a bubble gum machine toy, but has actually made me want to buy the toy featured in the game.
Cling! is the first I’ve ever seen in the newly found pegformer genre. You play as Edgar, a small purple eyeball with stretchy tentacles as he grips onto various pegs to work his way around the inner workings of the machine. The controls are simple enough, players hold their finger down on the screen and Edgar will head in that direction provided there’s something for him to grab onto. There’s also more of a classic joystick option, though I personally found the former to be much more reliable and fun.