TouchMyApps » Jerome Darnell http://www.touchmyapps.com All Things iPhone and iPad for those who like to Touch. iOS App reviews, News, New Apps, Price Drops and App Gone Free Mon, 14 Apr 2014 11:45:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.3 Sword & Poker in Review – Straight to your Heart! http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/04/07/sword-and-poker-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/04/07/sword-and-poker-in-review/#comments Wed, 07 Apr 2010 21:59:40 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=30747 Peanut Butter and Jelly, Abbot and Costello, Oprah and cupcakes; Some things just GO TOGETHER. Such is the case with Sword & Poker, an epic jumble of two unlikely bedfellows: The hardcore RPG, which relies completely on player skill and gear, and the lighthearted poker (but-not-really-poker) mechanics of luck and pattern recognition. Feel free to … Read more]]>

Peanut Butter and Jelly, Abbot and Costello, Oprah and cupcakes; Some things just GO TOGETHER.

Such is the case with Sword & Poker, an epic jumble of two unlikely bedfellows: The hardcore RPG, which relies completely on player skill and gear, and the lighthearted poker (but-not-really-poker) mechanics of luck and pattern recognition. Feel free to discuss this review of Sword & Poker in our forums.

In the interest of full disclosure, Sword & Poker is perhaps my favorite game currently on the App Store. I have likely put more time into it than I have into all my other apps combined, including email / social networking / instant messaging, etc. While I will attempt to be as objective as possible, do not expect me to completely overlook its flaws and laud its achievements.

Let’s begin:

Sword & Poker is the Japanese, best-selling title released in – oh, who cares? It’s got accolades out the whazoo.

Here’s why:

MUSIC:

The music for Sword & Poker gets the job done beautifully, paying homage to RPG classics such as Ocarina of Time and the Final Fantasy series which isn’t surprising considering the game’s Japanese origins. The same can be said of the fight music itself, which also borrows heavily from FF random battle symphonics. Yes, I said “symphonics”. From the crisp flicking of your cards, to the “thud” your enemies make as you encounter them, to the clinking of your coins (your “health” is measured by how many coins you have) as they are discarded, battle effects merge seamlessly into a fantastic experience.

CONTROLS:

What is there to say about the controls? They are perfect. Touch-and-drag for the cards, touch for menu options, etc. Everything registers promptly and properly. It could be played with two hands or with a single finger. There is no timer, so how fast you wish to make inputs is up to you.

MECHANICS:

One word: Brilliant. Imagine playing poker against a D&D “Game Master” who decides to change the order of the cards halfway in. There’s a skill for that. There’s a thief-style ability to steal cards directly from an enemy’s hand. You can paralyse your opponent, drain their life, silence them from casting spells, and pierce through their shields for the killing blow. The combinations of special weapon abilities and skills is truly mind-boggling, and the RPG min/maxers who wish to take on the DEEP dungeon (yes, there are levels and bosses even after you “beat” the game) will have to master combos.

You start the level with a certain number of “recharge” coins that can be used (between fights) to fully heal you, but they are limited – and they provide a considerable bonus to your loot if you can complete the level without their use. This loot is then exchanged for classic RPG fare: better weapons with better stats, better shields, and a larger coin purse (read: health pool). The weapon selection and shield selection are unique and varied enough to pass muster – you will sometimes prefer a lower-level weapon to its superiors due to a different status effect it inflicts. Sword & Poker slowly introduces special abilities/combo moves as you beat each level. Every level consists of multiple paths through opponents leading either to the end of the level, or a boss fight.

The replay value from the previously mentioned “extra levels” is excellent and there is a pass-n-play multiplayer mode that allows you to take on your friends. Unfortunately, you cannot use pre-loaded profiles for combat, but if you were given the option to use your maxed-out character against some hapless noob, I doubt you’d have many repeat challengers.

GRAPHICS:

S&P is not a graphical powerhouse, but then, it shouldn’t be. The visuals are crisp and detailed. The only possible gripe I have is that some of the monsters are re-skins of lower-level creatures. However, as the focus is on the cards themselves, skins matter very little. Indeed, re-skinned enemies are the only aspect of the game lacking the quality that oozes from everything else.

Verdict:

Sword & Poker is great for the casual poker player or the RPG fan. For the person who enjoys RPGs *AND* cards? Sword & Poker is your soul mate. Best of all – there’s a lite version! If it tickles your fancy, take the leap. A paltry $3.99 doesn’t come close to paying for all the hours of fun this game promises.

App Summary
Title: Sword & Poker Developer: GAIA CO.,LTD.
Reviewed Ver: 1.1 Min OS Req: 2.2.1
Price: $3.99 App Size: 30.9 MB
  • Great for both new and old-school gamers
  • Nostalgic audio is spot-on
  • Replay-value is astronomical
  • Pass-and-play multiplayer is a riot
  • Some monsters are re-skins.
  • No character customisation in multiplayer mode
  • No online multiplayer mode

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Step right up…step right up! We’ve got more card games coverage here:

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Street Fighter IV in Review – How’re-you-Ken!? http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/03/22/street-fighter-iv-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/03/22/street-fighter-iv-in-review/#comments Mon, 22 Mar 2010 07:52:34 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=29778 When I first heard that Street Fighter IV was coming to the App Store, I was less than enthusiastic. Ever since SF2 on the SNES, I have been a big fan of the series. I wept with joy when I purchased Alpha 3. I shook with disbelief after I purchased EX3. And suddenly, Capcom announces … Read more]]>

When I first heard that Street Fighter IV was coming to the App Store, I was less than enthusiastic. Ever since SF2 on the SNES, I have been a big fan of the series. I wept with joy when I purchased Alpha 3. I shook with disbelief after I purchased EX3. And suddenly, Capcom announces that it’s porting perhaps its most beloved franchise (apologies to Dr. Light, Jill Valentine and Dante) to the iDevice. Feel free to discuss this review of Street Fighter IV in our forums.

You may find yourself saying “Why wouldn’t this be a sure-fire hit?” Cast your memory back to Capcom’s port of Mega Man II.

It’s all about the Controls.

In short, the Mega Man II controls are horrible. With terrible controls and character response (Mega Man’s jumps seemed to indicate a helium enema), each pit or spike strip becomes a boss in and of itself.

“So what,” you may ask, “does this have to do with Street Fighter IV?”

Everything.

Controls are the length and breadth of a fighting game. At the heart of a fighter is the input system. Your character lives or dies based on your immediate, accurate inputs. The more complex the required input (ever tried to pull off some of Zangeif’s more difficult supers?), the more precise and polished the controls have to be.

Did I want Street Fighter IV, a damn good game on both the console and PC, to get the “Mega Man” treatment on its journey to the appstore? Hell no. Luckily, my fears were put to rest.

The game is gorgeous and fun from start to finish. Street Fighter IV’s opening may raise an eyebrow or two. I was expecting the entire Indestructible cinematic, but Capcom probably figured that the limited roster of characters (8) would be more disappointing if they teased you with such a trailer. So, they have spliced the Ryu v. Ken portions out of the full trailer, and used that for the opening. It still looks pretty awesome, although the music is nowhere near as compelling.

But as I said, a good cinematic doesn’t mean anything in the face of the true test – the controls. Luckily, Capcom, against all odds, have engineered one of the most accurate and faithful D-Pad’s on any app to date. And that’s a good thing, too, because Street Fighter IV is a game that deserves no less.

Looking deeper at the controls, Capcom has instituted an 8-way joystick, located on the left and punch/kick/special/ex buttons on the right. This was initially difficult to adjust to, and I found myself doing wild, accidental sweeps of the HOME button with my thumb while trying to perform a Tatsumaki Senpukyaku (the helicopter spin-kick that Ryu and Ken do). Worse, in the heat of battle, you may sometimes revert back to old habits and attempt to use the traditional input for a Shoryuken, which will not end well. On the positive side, the Hadoken uses the traditional input and works flawlessly, while the updated input for Shoryuken is still doable and Tatsumaki Senpukyaku takes only a little adjustment.

What makes SF IV so difficult to review is that many of its best features are also lamentable flaws, depending on how you look at it.

TECHNIQUES:

Casual Gamer: “Wow! Characters kept about ¾ of their moves!”

Hardcore SF Fan: “Wow. Characters are missing a full ¼ of their moves.”

DOJO MODE:

Casual Gamer: “Wow, I can learn how to play!”

Hardcore Gamer: “So, instead of adding Sagat, Balrog, or Akuma, they are going to teach me that the P-button is for punch? FFFFFFFFUUUUU-“

SUPER COMBO INPUT:

Casual Gamer: “Awesome, there is an option for 1-button super combos.”

Hardcore SF Fan: “Lame, there is an option for 1-button super combos.”

CHARACTER ROSTER:

Casual Gamer: “Not bad, 8 varied playable fighters.” [yes, Ryu and Ken are different]

Hardcore SF Fan: “You have got to be kidding me.”

Yes, producer Takeshi Tezuka hinted at DLC in an interview with Kotaku. But atm, there are only 8 characters. Perhaps “space constraints” argument would make sense, but the game runs at 201 megabytes with multiple CG movies. If you had your choice between having Akuma as a playable character, or getting a cool little movie when you beat arcade mode, which would YOU prefer?

One of the things that made the more recent Street Fighter games so enjoyable was that the sense of accomplishment from defeating the arcade mode. Victories would unlock a character, a background level, outfit or even new game mode depending on the game. There is none of that in SF4. You play simply to play, win simply to win, wash and repeat. While this *IS* the essence of the fighting game, it feels like a step back from all the glamorous rewards we’ve become used to. It makes each thrashing of the arcade mode (which takes about 9-10 minutes total, due to the small list of opponents) seem rather pointless.

On the plus side, the fighting itself is fast-paced and frenzied. You completely forget that you are holding an iphone and are magically transported into that tense, stressful, magical realm where all good fighting games take you. You get the gut-clenching adrenaline shakes as you and your opponent have only a sliver of health left. You feel the triumph of timing a jump to perfectly avoid a fireball…and the misery of jumping right into a yoga-flame. The Bluetooth multiplayer is about as smooth as you could ask for and from the little that I was able to experience of it, quite responsive.

As a fighting game, Street Fighter IV is unrivalled at the appstore. While it may only be a shadow of the other Street Fighter IV versions, it still earns its rightful place among them with its beautiful graphics, tight control and immense fun-factor.

Despite my reservations, Street Fighter IV, on the whole, is the best of its kind.

While there are some caveats (the price is steep, the game feels like a “diet-mode,” Sagat and Balrog players need not apply), the game play experience is the real deal. It is a nearly-perfect game, but it suffers from artificially high expectations. The addition of character DLC may well upgrade this into a perfect “Kiss It” – if and when that happens, look for an update. But at the moment, the limited character selection and lack of purposeful replay value “goals” delivers some chip dmg to an otherwise perfect score.

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App Summary
Title: STREET FIGHTER IV Developer: CAPCOM
Reviewed Ver: 1.00.00 Min OS Req: 3.0
Price: $9.99 App Size: 201 MB
  • Stunningly beautiful graphics and smooth gameplay
  • Precise and accurate D-pad
  • The “feel” of a true fighting game
  • Promised DLC updates could provide the game with the depth and variety it lacks.
  • Limited character roster
  • Huge file size for bare bones
  • Game play “experience” is very short – 8-10 minutes

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Enjoy finishing him! in these fighting game articles

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Warfare Incorporated in Review – Battle is its business…and business is GOOD http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/03/20/warfare-incorporated-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/03/20/warfare-incorporated-in-review/#comments Sat, 20 Mar 2010 19:05:31 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=29432 There is something to be said for a game that withstands the test of time. Originally making its debut in 2003, Warfare Incorporated is among the oldest games in the appstore designed for portable devices. Let’s not mince words – it’s ancient. However, like a fine wine, age is not necessarily a bad thing. Feel free … Read more]]>

There is something to be said for a game that withstands the test of time. Originally making its debut in 2003, Warfare Incorporated is among the oldest games in the appstore designed for portable devices. Let’s not mince words – it’s ancient. However, like a fine wine, age is not necessarily a bad thing. Feel free to discuss this review of Warfare Incorporated in our forums.

Indeed, WarfareIncorporated has only improved with age. Rather than stagnating, the game has grown and evolved, due to its devoted player base. A large and vibrant multiplayer community ensures that there are always matches waiting for you, and a brilliantly incorporated map-editing feature enables you to ensure that the fun never stops – players can upload and share custom maps for both single player campaigns as well as multiplayer deathmatches and team battles.

…But the almost infinite amount of FREE DLC supported into the game isn’t even its best selling feature. Yes, it provides an endless amount of playtime and new missions, but if the mechanics of the game were terrible, it would still fall flat.

Luckily, the quality of the game is unsurpassed. It is the ONLY RTS on the iDevice that I have encountered (and I’ve played tons) that captures the FEEL of Starcraft / Command and Conquer without sacrificing interface functionality. Every other RTS has been dumbed down and simplified to compensate for the smaller screen and lack of mouse and hotkey interface. Warfare Inc. snorts in righteous indignation at these poser-RTS’s. You can tell that it is offended when it’s even mentioned in the same sentence as them – and it has every right to be. It has a fully functional RTS interface that stands up to anything on the PC or console. It has ingeniously utilized the “touch-and-hold” detection of the idevice to open up extra menus, practically pioneered the “pinch-box” unit selection into more mainstream use, and did it all seven years ago. Warfare Inc. has forgotten more about RTS gaming than most of its newer challengers will ever know.

Now, no game is perfect, and Warfare Inc. was certainly designed by people, not gods. As such, it has flaws. I hesitate to call them “mistakes,” or even say that these things are “wrong,” because they are not the sort of complaints that a gamer usually encounters. For one thing, the campaign mode lacks multiple races or factions with distinctive units. It has to: there simply wasn’t enough space to code all of that in. However, it should be doable now that we are 7 years down the road and dealing with the next-generation Ipods/Iphones/Ipads, rather than PDAs. Having multiple factions and distinctive units really gives an RTS its flavor. Another “gripe” is that the unit sprites are not very detailed. This may seem like an easily solvable problem, but in fact, it is a necessary evil. If the units were more detailed, the game would freeze or slowdown (and currently it runs as smooth as silk even in frenzied multiplayer). Aesthetics take a backseat here to gameplay and I for one think it was the right decision. People don’t play Starcraft because it still looks amazing after all these years; they play it for the great mechanics and experience. They play it for the competition. They play it for the massive versatility of content. Warfare Inc. has all these things, in spades.

Saying Warfare Inc. is the best RTS on the appstore is like saying birds fly or fish swim – It’s a given. But because RTS is such a niche genre, I cannot give a sweeping 100% endorsement to all gamers. If you liked Command and Conquer, Starcraft or Age of Empires, then Warfare Inc. is your crack. In such a case, I would upgrade it past “Kiss it,” beyond “Marry it” and into the realm of “assimilate it into your DNA.” For the average joe, this is a solid game with “meh” graphics and some of the deepest multiplayer and replay value around.

At the almost tragically undervalued price of $0.99, the game may just be the best app-buy you’ve ever made. Final Rating: Grab it.
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App Summary
Title: Warfare Incorporated Developer: Spiffcode, Inc.
Reviewed Ver: 1.6 Min OS Req: 2.2
Price: $0.99 App Size: 3.1 MB
  • Massive playerbase ensures for varied and exciting multiplayer
  • Nearly unlimited DLC maps for both single and multiplayer campaigns
  • Brilliant interface that conserves the depth of gameplay
  • Graphics and lack of alternate factions reveal the shortcomings of a game far ahead of it’s time

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More RTS coverage here at TMA:

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