It took them a while, but Namco came up with yet another way to abuse the Pac-Man property, and Pac-Mangames is the most interesting attempt yet in my opinion. They took several of their popular classics and created quick play, “rack up the score” versions of them, and then wrapped them all up in an odd avatar system. If Pac-Mangames sounds like a bit of a stretch you can always try your hand at Pocket Law Firm, a new time management system that not only could be fun but might just teach you something about the constitution as well. Just don’t tell your friends you’re actually learning with your iPad. If you just can’t get enough of Hollywood retreads there’s Mirror Mirror: The Untold Adventures, the video game tie-in for one of two Snow White films coming out this year. To its credit the game looks pretty sharp, and there are even a couple of places where it looks to break the mold of most runner type games, so hopefully it won’t suffer the fate of most movie based games.
Letters from Nowhere HD has a different story, different mini-games and different scenes to explore, but in the end it’s still your traditional hidden object game. Thankfully that suits me just fine, and even though it doesn’t stray to far from the formula it manages to suck you in anyway. The story gives you just enough to make you want to know more, and there are enough gimmicks that the hidden object scenes feel fresh even though you’ve played them a million times before. Even the mini-games are passable, both figuratively and literally. Letters From Nowhere doesn’t break any new ground, but it does what it does really well.
There is a list that sits on my desk that is infamous – at least to me – because it is the list of all the games that I have slated for review. It’s not a bad list, mind you, but rather a constant reminder that I have a lot of playing to do. The problem with this is what has compelled me to write this particular review. I sat down one day at lunch to play one of those games that I’m supposed to review, and I spent about 10 minutes with it. The game was fun, but I was ready to move on. Then I decided to go back to Trundle Unlimited. Before I knew it a half hour had passed and my lunch break was over. I felt like I had been playing for five minutes.
This week brought with it a nice variety of genres to indulge in as far as new games were concerned. Of course fowl tossing fans are in seventh heaven with the release of Angry Birds Space, the latest installment in the insanely popular physics puzzle franchise that made its debut on iOS devices. This time around you’ll conquer the pigs in a galaxy far, far away, and you’ll get new powers for that purpose as well. Top down racing fans that are looking for something a bit different should consider Road Wars HD. This is a two player affair, but not in the way you’d expect – one player controls the car and the other handles the road! I couldn’t forget the zombie slayers in the group either. Zombie Hunter Defense seems like your typical “defend the center of the board” type games until you realize that you must use strategically placed mirrors to ricochet your shots for the most effective damage.
The week that DARIUSBURST SP came out I included it in my weekly “10 App Store Games To Watch” list and hoped that it would be half as good as another Taito “retread” called RayForce (TMA Review) . Well, after spending some time with the game I’d wager to say it’s actually better. At the very least they’ve handled the “too easy” issue amicably, but Dariusburst has a third game play mode, two fighters which need to be unlocked before use and a branching level system – all of which greatly extend the replay value. Sure the initial run through can still be fairly short, but there’s a lot more reason to keep playing this one after you’ve beaten it.
This week’s 10 New Games to Watch article was somewhat challenging. Not because of a lack of cool looking games, mind you, but because of a lack of detail in iTunes descriptions. Still, I managed to piece together what I think is a diverse and interesting lot for you to choose from, though I will admit that several of the games have RPG elements coursing through their veins. First up is the third installment of a popular Square Enix title, though the title Chaos Rings II would lead you to believe it’s the original game’s sequel. Among other features, this outing has a revamped combat scheme, so if you weren’t a fan the first time around it might be worth checking out again. If you love FPS games there’s Mission Sirius, an interesting looking Unreal 3 engine game from a relatively unknown developer. Match 3 fanatics should check out Azkend 2 HD – The World Underneath (TMA Review). I’d go on about this one, but I already have on several occasions.
Not too long ago before this review I wrote a preview for Azkend 2, so I decided to start over and play the game on my iPad this time around. I was about half way through the game on my iPod Touch, but the truth is that I’ve had just as much fun the second time around with this match 3 from 10tons. Actually, I think it was a bit more entertaining because I found it easier to pull off massive combos on the larger screen. Still, whether you’ve got an iPad or just a small screen device with which to play iOS games, Azkend 2 is definitely worth your time.
Little Acorns is one of the latest platform games from the publishing masterminds at Chillingo, and I’m beginning to think that there are a lot of closet Mega Man fans out there. Not that the premise or atmosphere is anything like those games, but Little Acorns can get tough! Thankfully it’s fun as well, though there are times when playing a level repeatedly can get frustrating, especially when it’s one small spot on the level that’s giving you grief. I honestly wasn’t quite sure about this game when I started playing it, but I’d say that Little Acorns is another solid platform game release from one of the leaders in iPhone game publishing.
The big surprise for me this week was Mass Effect Infiltrator, especially since it didn’t come out on the heavy release day of Thursday. I’ve never really followed the Mass Effect series, but with a pedigree like Dead Space (TMA Review) iOS under their belts, this offering has me really intrigued. If you’re into the lighter side of role playing games there are a couple of choices this week. Kids vs Goblins takes a nod from the classic Henson film Labyrinth where you must save your baby brother from the goblin king. Instead of one girl you have a team of three rescuers, and don’t expect a famous rock star to be playing the main villain. On the other hand, if you’ve ever wanted to be one of the personnel in an RPG you now have the chance with Adventure Bar Story. You own one of the precious taverns strewn across the typical RPG landscape, and among other things you’ll get the chance to prepare over 400 dishes made of select monster parts.
Thanks to the inspiration of such classics as Bejeweled there certainly isn’t a shortage of match 3 games on the App Store, but quality ones are an entirely different story. For every Treasures Of Montezuma there are literally dozens that… well, just aren’t. Thankfully 10 Tons rises above the ranks of “the others”, and with Azkend 2 kicks this particular series up a couple of notches [TMA's Azkend 1 review].