TouchMyApps » Lucy Felthouse 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 Thu, 20 Nov 2014 21:22:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.5 Miriel the Magical Merchant in Review – A Time Management that’s pure magic http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/09/24/miriel-the-magical-merchant-in-review-a-time-management-thats-pure-magic/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/09/24/miriel-the-magical-merchant-in-review-a-time-management-thats-pure-magic/#comments Fri, 24 Sep 2010 16:05:26 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=40209 Miriel the Magical Merchant from Gamehouse is a time management game in the same vein as the like of Diner Dash and Sally’s Salon. In this particular game you play as Miriel, an “ordinary girl with extraordinary powers” who’s charged with the ever important task of running her family business and supplying her kingdom with food … Read more]]>

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Miriel the Magical Merchant from Gamehouse is a time management game in the same vein as the like of Diner Dash and Sally’s Salon. In this particular game you play as Miriel, an “ordinary girl with extraordinary powers” who’s charged with the ever important task of running her family business and supplying her kingdom with food supplies.

Customers come to the shop and stand at the counter. Soon, they’ll decide what they want and you must begin preparing it as quickly as you can. The more quickly you serve a customer, the more money you’ll earn. Some items are simplistic and you just have to tap once to make them appear on the serving table. Others, however, are more complicated. For example, you may have to put two bottles of milk in the oven to make cheese, or add a strawberry to a cake to make strawberry cake, and so on. Naturally, the more complicated a recipe, the longer it will take to create, so make sure you’re keeping the customer happy – otherwise they’ll disappear and you’ll lose their money!

The idea of the game is you serve all your customers as quickly as possible throughout the level to earn the maximum possible points. If you don’t earn enough, you won’t pass the level. As well as merely passing, you can also get an extra bonus if you acquire enough points.

As in most games of this ilk, all of your customers have different profiles. Some are more patient than others. This means it makes more sense to keep the more patient customers waiting and serve the impatient ones first, because if they walk out, you’ll lose points. It’s a fine balancing act to keep everybody happy whilst making bread, cheese, cakes and more as fast as you can.

It doesn’t take long for one to realize that this is a really fun game. The graphics are simple but attractive, and the sound effects and music are great. They’re there, but not overpowering, so you can simply get on with playing the game without finding the sounds distracting.

Dotted between some of the levels is the opportunity to upgrade your kitchen equipment, for example your ovens, your table and a gramophone to help keep the customers happy. To upgrade, you must successfully play a minigame – which is essentially a match three game. It’s good fun and helps to break up the gameplay of the main levels, giving you a nice break from slaving over a hot stove.

As a totally peculiar added bonus, the game also includes real life recipes. If you successfully unlock recipes for various things that you create and serve during the game, you’ll be able to view a recipe which you can use to make things in real life! I’ve seen this done in games before but if I’m honest, I certainly wouldn’t dream of using this function, and I’m sure many people feel the same.

Overall, Miriel the Magical Merchant is a blast to play. There are tons and tons of gameplay to be had, which is fantastic considering the price of the game ($0.99). The only downside is that it isn’t particularly challenging. I managed to get the ‘Expert’ achievement on each level first time round – and I was never in any danger of failing a level. I think it could have been made that little bit more difficult in order to keep people interested.

That said, I’d still recommend the game to casual gamers, purely because it’s good fun, will keep you occupied for a good long while and it’s a total bargain at this price. For those with an iPad and can’t get enough of Miriel, Miriel the Magical Merchant HD is also available at the App Store.

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App Summary
Title: Miriel the Magical Merchant Developer: Gamehouse
Reviewed Ver: 1.00 Min OS Req: 2.2.1
Price: $0.99 App Size: 17.8 MB
  • Nice graphics
  • Good quality music and sound effects
  • Fun gameplay
  • Tons of levels
  • Fun minigame
  • Excellent value
  • Little replay value
  • Not overly challenging

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Can’t get enough of Time Management games? Take a browse at some other TMA reviews:

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My Little Restaurant in Review – Cooking With Gas! http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/09/10/my-little-restaurant-in-review-cooking-with-gas/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/09/10/my-little-restaurant-in-review-cooking-with-gas/#comments Fri, 10 Sep 2010 14:42:39 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=39264 My Little Restaurant and its format will be familiar to fans of time management games. It’s similar to games such as Diner Dash, Cooking Dash and Cake Mania. In My Little Restaurant, you are in charge of — yeah, you guessed it — a restaurant. As in similar games, your customers will arrive, you’ll take … Read more]]>

My Little Restaurant and its format will be familiar to fans of time management games. It’s similar to games such as Diner Dash, Cooking Dash and Cake Mania. In My Little Restaurant, you are in charge of — yeah, you guessed it — a restaurant. As in similar games, your customers will arrive, you’ll take their order and deliver it to your chef. Your cook will then churn out the order for you to deliver to your customer. This is all conducted by tapping on the relevant person, place or item.

As with most games of this type, things start off simple. However, as time goes on you’ll get more customers of different types. Some will be more patient than others, and it’s up to you to serve them as quickly as possible. The quicker you serve them, the happier they’ll be, and the more money you’ll earn. If they lose patience, they’ll walk out, losing you valuable points. And you’ll need a certain amount of points to pass each level. As well as the ‘pass’ mark, which is Bronze, you can also earn Silver and Gold medals for getting a certain amount of points on a level.

Mini-Game: Burgers for Coach

Although things get more hectic as time goes on, you don’t need to panic too much. You’ll have help! As you progress, you’ll get more upgrades for your restaurant. Items like music players, drinks machines and power ups will all help you get through those difficult shifts!

Mini-Game: SushiMaster Challenge

Adding a fun element to the game are the mini-games. There are two to speak of: Burgers for the Coach and SushiMaster Challenge. In Burgers for the Coach, there’s a plate on your screen with ingredients rotating around it. You must drag the ingredients onto the plate in the correct order to build the burger demonstrated on your screen. SushiMaster has a similar theme, but you’re making up sushi boards by rolling and building using the ingredients on the conveyor. You must achieve a certain number of points to pass. These are pretty tough mini-games, so they’ll keep you entertained for a while!

One thing I’d like to see improved is the visual indication of the controls. The Diner Dash games generally have an element which lets you know you’ve tapped something, for example a checkmark on the customer. This is missing in My Little Restaurant, so sometimes you’re not sure if you’ve tapped something, or whether the game isn’t responding. For this reason you may find yourself tapping on things several times to make sure your character carries out the order.

Overall, this is a really fun game. It’s well priced, has a decent amount of levels and mini-games and will keep you entertained for a while. It may be a little tough for younger kids, but older kids and casual gamers will have no problem getting to grips with My Little Restaurant. Bon appetit!

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App Summary
Title: My Little Restaurant Developer: QubicGames
Reviewed Ver: 1.2 Min OS Req:
Price: $2.99 App Size: 14.38MB
  • Well priced
  • High production values
  • Fun gameplay
  • Great graphics, sound and music
  • Good value for money
  • Little replay value
  • Some elements of gameplay could be improved

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Can’t get enough of Time Management games? Have a look at some out TMA reviews:

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MarineBlue in Review – You’ll Feel Like You’re Drowning http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/08/04/marineblue-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/08/04/marineblue-in-review/#comments Wed, 04 Aug 2010 19:55:38 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=37053 MarineBlue is essentially a shoot-em-up game by developer IndieAn (makers of the hit game Heavy Mach 2 (TMA Review)). Your character is some kind of sea creature (your guess is as good as mine), and the idea is to tap the screen to shoot at other underwater beasties to stop them from reaching the bottom … Read more]]>

MarineBlue is essentially a shoot-em-up game by developer IndieAn (makers of the hit game Heavy Mach 2 (TMA Review)). Your character is some kind of sea creature (your guess is as good as mine), and the idea is to tap the screen to shoot at other underwater beasties to stop them from reaching the bottom of the screen. When they do, they’ll start eating away at the time you’ve got to play the level, which is 180 seconds. The idea is to get the best score you can in the time you have.

It may sound fun, but it isn’t, not really. The game is simplistic to the point of being boring. You’ll very quickly suss out that constantly tapping different areas of the screen will shoot your enemies into smithereens and get you lots of points. You don’t have to plan any kind of strategy, or be very careful about what you’re doing. There’s no limit on your ammunition, so randomly tapping works just fine.

Blasting entire schools of fish will give you bonus items. These appear in your armoury, and you tap them when you want to use them and then deploy as normal. These different types of bullets and bombs don’t make the game any more interesting, I’m afraid.

It’s a shame the gameplay is such a let down, because the graphics and sound on this game are really nice, funky and fun. The developers have even gone so far as to make MarineBlue work on OpenFeint, so there are various achievements you can hit during gameplay. However, I think most people will probably play the game a couple of times and realise how little else there is to do gameplay wise and not care whether their high score is better than anyone else’s or not.

Yes, it’s cheap. Yes, it’s cute. But sadly, it’s still incredibly dull and won’t keep the average adult entertained for very long. Maybe kids will like it, but if they’re old enough to have an iPod Touch, they’re probably old enough to realise this game is snooze-worthy. Now if you’re a fan of the blow-em-up genre and still care to check it out, IndieAn have also released a free version dubbed MarineBlue Lite for the iPhone/iPod Touch and MarineBlueHD Lite for the iPad.

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App Summary
Title: MarineBlue Developer: 해준 Byun
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.0 Min OS Req: 3.1.2
Price: $0.99 App Size: 13.6 MB
  • Cheaply priced
  • Nice graphics
  • Good music and sound effects
  • Integrated with OpenFeint
  • No gameplay variety
  • No replay value
  • No challenge

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Build-a-Lot 2: Town of the Year in Review – Become a Real Estate Mogul! http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/07/21/build-a-lot-2-town-of-the-year-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/07/21/build-a-lot-2-town-of-the-year-in-review/#comments Wed, 21 Jul 2010 11:17:18 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=36288 Naturally, as an obsessive casual gamer I’ve played all the Build-A-Lot games on the PC. So imagine my delight when they came out on the iPhone! Build-a-Lot 2: Town of the Year is, as you may have guessed, the second title to be released on the iDevice. And jolly good it is too. For those … Read more]]>

Naturally, as an obsessive casual gamer I’ve played all the Build-A-Lot games on the PC. So imagine my delight when they came out on the iPhone! Build-a-Lot 2: Town of the Year is, as you may have guessed, the second title to be released on the iDevice. And jolly good it is too.

For those of you not familiar with the franchise, the premise is that you’re a real estate tycoon. You must build, buy, improve and sell houses to make money. Within each level you’re given set tasks which you must complete before time runs out. It starts off simple, and you’re expected to make a certain amount of money, build a certain amount of houses, and so on. As you progress, however, it becomes more difficult. You have to be more careful where you’re building your properties, because if you build a house next to a Workshop, for example, its “Curb Appeal” will be reduced, putting a dent in your profits, and the happiness of the neighbourhood.

There are different types of houses you can build, from tiny bungalows to plush villas. The bigger the property, the more money you make in rent from your tenants. Sounds good, right? Trouble is, these large properties also take more building materials, more time and more workers. So it’s a fine balancing act to make as much money as you can and complete the tasks before time (or your cash flow) runs out.

As well as building homes, you can also build shops, parks and buildings. These include recycling centres, bookshops and cafes. These buildings give another element to the game which makes it more exciting than simply buying and selling houses.

What makes the game so great is its simplicity. You simply tap what you want to do to make it happen. The sound effects are fun but not too over the top, and you can quite easily keep playing level after level and lose track of time. It becomes very addictive as you watch your Career Earnings mount up – and then you realise that sadly, it’s not real money and you’re not really a property tycoon. It’s a fun game and a great time waster – so keep an eye on the time!

The only real downsides to this game are the price (I just don’t think the current price of admission is quite justified for the amount of gameplay) and the fact that some things are a bit tough to see on the small screen. Otherwise Build-a-Lot 2: Town of the Year is great, particularly as it’s updated to iOS4, meaning you can quit out of it and then go back in right where you left off without losing your progress. This is essential as some of the levels, especially later on, are a little long, so it’ll definitely come in handy if you only have five minutes here and there to play the game.

App Summary
Title: Build-a-Lot 2: Town of the Year Developer: Glu
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.1 Min OS Req: 3.0
Price: $4.99 App Size: 19.08MB
  • Colourful graphics
  • Unobtrusive music and sound effects
  • Easy to pick up and play
  • Addictive
  • You can skip tutorial mode
  • Overpriced
  • Levels are a little long for a casual game
  • Some things difficult to see on the small screen
  • Little replay value

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U Connect in Review – Will you connect? http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/07/14/u-connect-in-review-will-you-connect/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/07/14/u-connect-in-review-will-you-connect/#comments Wed, 14 Jul 2010 20:39:52 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=35986 U Connect is a puzzle game and the premise is very simple. You’re presented with a series of dots, and you must connect them all to create an image, but without retracing your steps. At first, I thought it was going to be pretty dull, given the graphics aren’t exactly inspiring. However, as I progressed … Read more]]>

U Connect is a puzzle game and the premise is very simple. You’re presented with a series of dots, and you must connect them all to create an image, but without retracing your steps. At first, I thought it was going to be pretty dull, given the graphics aren’t exactly inspiring. However, as I progressed and the puzzles got more difficult, I found myself getting quite addicted to it.

As I say, the graphics aren’t that exciting, but because of the very nature of the game, it doesn’t need high definition craziness. It would probably result in making the game more difficult if your screen was full of distractions, anyway.

You can change the look and feel of the game, however. Your choices whilst playing are chalk and pen, which naturally look very different on the screen. I much preferred the chalk version, but of course that’s just personal preference.

There’s no music, either. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. It’s probably easier to concentrate without it, but it’d be nice to have the option. It’s not completely silent though, there are some inoffensive and quite nice sound effects to accompany your game.

U Connect has four different game modes, just to make things a little different. There’s the standard game, where you simply keep playing to your heart’s content, and you can clear the screen if you make a mistake. There are also much tougher modes, which include timers, completing the level in a certain number of moves, and so on. This helps keep the game interesting, particularly if you’re a real logic buff, and you find the standard mode far too easy.

With over 1,000 puzzles to keep you entertained, U Connect is surprisingly a fun little game. It’s not one I’ll play continually, because I’m not a huge puzzle fan. However, people who are deeply into puzzle and logic games will love this, especially at this price.

It’s a shame there is no way to connect with other players and share your scores and achievements, because that would have added a whole new element of competition, which it doesn’t currently have. Never mind though, at $0.99, you can’t complain too much.

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App Summary
Title: U Connect Developer: Bit Logik Inc.
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req:
Price: $0.99 App Size: 8.9 MB
  • Good price point
  • Easy to pick up and play
  • Addictive
  • Ideal for 5 minutes, or longer periods of play
  • Cute sound effects
  • Extra modes give the game new life
  • Graphics aren’t particularly inspired
  • There’s no music
  • No connection to networks for score sharing/competition

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Want to check out more puzzle games?

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Wurd in Review – Way to Improve Your Vocabulary http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/07/07/wurd-in-review-way-to-improve-your-vocabulary/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/07/07/wurd-in-review-way-to-improve-your-vocabulary/#comments Wed, 07 Jul 2010 13:00:08 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=35701 The gameplay in Wurd couldn’t be simpler. You’re shown a word on the screen, and you have to decide whether it’s real or fake; by tapping either the word ‘real’ or the word ‘fake’. No rocket scientists required here. There are two elements to the ‘fakes’; some words are completely made up, whereas others are … Read more]]>

The gameplay in Wurd couldn’t be simpler. You’re shown a word on the screen, and you have to decide whether it’s real or fake; by tapping either the word ‘real’ or the word ‘fake’. No rocket scientists required here. There are two elements to the ‘fakes’; some words are completely made up, whereas others are simply misspellings of actual words. You’ve got to sort these out from the real, correctly spelled words.

You only have three lives. So if you get three words incorrect, it’s Game Over. Therefore the idea of the game is to work your way through as many words as possible without getting any wrong. Dependent on how good your vocabulary and spelling are, you could be going for some time. In fact, if you don’t find this mode challenging enough, have a go at the Marathon mode. In Marathon mode, you’re playing against the clock. If you’re good enough, you’ll also be awarded bonuses, word streaks and other achievements, helping you climb high up that scoreboard.

The achievements and leaderboards are available in the OpenFeint section of the App, so you can see what you’ve yet to unlock, and compare scores with your friends. If you’re a perfectionist, you may find this reason enough to come back and play again and again. If not, you’ll probably get bored pretty easily, even if you consider yourself a wordsmith.

Overall, I felt that Wurd had very limited appeal. I’m a bit of a word geek, so I did find the standard mode quite easy, but even the Marathon mode wasn’t very exciting. The graphics and sound aren’t very inspired, and the gameplay just isn’t that fun. You’re basically saying yes/no to everything, hardly on-the-edge-of-your-seat action. Wurd is OK to keep you entertained for five minutes here and there, but it’s not one that’s going to stay on my iPhone for the long run.

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App Summary
Title: Wurd Developer: Gomu Gomu
Reviewed Ver: 1.3 Min OS Req:
Price: $1.99 App Size: 4.4 MB
  • Easy to pick up and play
  • Compare high scores via OpenFeint
  • Improve your vocabulary
  • Pretty uninspired
  • Little replay value
  • Bit pricey

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Check out more word game reviews right here at TMA:

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180 in review – Just Another Match 3 Game http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/07/05/180-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/07/05/180-in-review/#comments Mon, 05 Jul 2010 17:03:20 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=35081 Match 3 fans, meet Headcase Games’ 180, a title which claims to be a match ‘em style of game with a difference. True, it’s a little different – but Bejeweled it ain’t. In 180 you have a screen full of coloured coins and you must tap the empty area below a column to shoot the coin that … Read more]]>

Match 3 fans, meet Headcase Games’ 180, a title which claims to be a match ‘em style of game with a difference. True, it’s a little different – but Bejeweled it ain’t. In 180 you have a screen full of coloured coins and you must tap the empty area below a column to shoot the coin that you have at the bottom of the screen. You must keep shooting your coins in order to match three or more, and then the matched coins will disappear. To add another dimension, you can tap any coin already on the board to flip it over, revealing another colour. What makes the game difficult is that the coins are advancing down on you from the top of the screen, and when they reach the bottom, it’s Game Over. So you’ve got to be quick to keep those tiles at bay.

There are three different game modes; Score Attack, Drop Attack and Endless. The first is where you must get the highest score you possibly can in just 90 seconds. Drop Attack is where you must add lines to score points. Endless is exactly what it says on the tin – just last as long as you can before that wall of tiles comes to crush you.

There are also two difficulty levels, Easy and Hard. So once you’ve mastered Easy, you can give yourself more of a challenge. This is ideal for casual gamers who find that this sort of game comes naturally to them, and it quickly becomes boring. This second difficulty level will add some more gameplay time for players.

180 is simple to play but somehow it all feels a bit flat. Despite the advancing coins, there’s no real urgency to win, and very little to keep you coming back. There are high score boards within the App and OpenFeint but I still didn’t feel at all compelled to keep playing. It’s a decent enough game to play for a little while, but it’s just not polished enough to inspire that ‘just one more go’ mentality.

The sound and graphics are pretty dull, though colourful. Also, annoyingly, the tutorials keep coming back. It’s fair enough to have these displayed the first time you play the game, even the first time you play each mode, but for them to still come up randomly when you’ve played the game a dozen times; well, it’s just plain irritating. Sadly, I haven’t got a recommendation for this game – match three fans will find better alternatives in the App Store for the same price. That said though, if you can’t seem to get enough of the genre, you can always check out the free version of 180 (one character and one game mode included) to get a good feel for the game.

App Summary
Title: 180 Developer: Benjamin Ma
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req:
Price: $0.99 App Size: 6.6 MB
  • It’s inexpensive
  • Easy to pick up and play
  • It’s entertaining… for a while
  • You can compare scores with other OpenFeint users
  • It’s not very exciting – doesn’t have that “just one more go” addiction
  • Tutorials keep coming back

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Match 3, Match 4! We’ve got more! :

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Chocolate Shop Frenzy in Review – A Tasty Time Management Game http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/06/29/chocolate-shop-frenzy-a-tasty-time-management-game/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/06/29/chocolate-shop-frenzy-a-tasty-time-management-game/#comments Tue, 29 Jun 2010 11:41:54 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=35317 In Chocolate Shop Frenzy you must help Emma achieve her dream of becoming a chocolate shop owner. Emma’s just quit her marketing job and taken out a loan for the store. You’ve got to successfully run the shop for a year and make a profit in order to pay back the money. You’ll mainly be … Read more]]>

In Chocolate Shop Frenzy you must help Emma achieve her dream of becoming a chocolate shop owner. Emma’s just quit her marketing job and taken out a loan for the store. You’ve got to successfully run the shop for a year and make a profit in order to pay back the money. You’ll mainly be tapping away at the screen in order to give your customers a menu, make their chocolate, deliver it and then pick up your earnings. However, as well as this time management element there are also some match three stages within the game to break up the action a little.

You must serve eight different types of customers, from grannies to brides to hippies. They’ll all have different requirements, different levels of patience and varying budgets. It’s a juggling act to keep everyone happy. This may include serving impatient customers first, even if they arrived after a more patient customer. Usually, the impatient people tip higher so it’s definitely benefits you to look after them. You’ll soon get the hang of it once you get used to each customer and their ways. Also, keep an eye out for thieves – leave your cash on the counter for too long and it might get stolen!

You also must earn a certain amount of money in each level to progress, so it’s important to scrape every last penny you can from your customers. Earlier in the game it is, of course, much easier to achieve your goals, but later on you’ll be relying on power ups and giving your punters sweeteners to keep them happy. Hitting each target will also ensure you have enough cash handy to buy upgrades for your shop. Unlike some time management games, you don’t get to choose which upgrades you have, they just appear between certain levels. Some will make your life easier, others will just give you another job to do on top of everything else and others will help speed you up and keep your customers happy. Hit Expert on every level if you can, but it’s not essential – you can always go back and re-do levels later to get the Expert score.

The graphics are simple but cute, and the game is very well put together. The music and sound effects are fun too. Another nice addition to the game is the Trophy Room. Although it’s not essential to earn any trophies to progress, they’ll automatically be rewarded when you hit certain thresholds: for example serving a certain number of businessmen, and so on. Some of the ‘achievements’ are quite surprising, because they’re not all awarded for when you do things well. That’s all I’m saying… you’ll have to check out the game to find out

Overall, a fab little time management game. There’s plenty to keep you busy even in the standard mode, but with additional modes thrown in too – you’ll be playing for a while to come. Chocolate Shop Frenzy is definitely worth the small fee they’re asking in the App Store. The only downside is there’s no connectivity to any high score boards, but then I’m not sure how many people would want to compare scores on a time management game anyway.

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App Summary
Title: Chocolate Shop Frenzy Developer: Digital Chocolate, Inc.
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.0 Min OS Req:
Price: $0.99 App Size: 25.6 MB
  • Great value for money
  • Easy to pick up and play
  • Nice graphics and sound
  • Fun gameplay
  • Decent replay value
  • No social connectivity to compare scores

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Abundante! In Review – Journey to the Jungle http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/06/25/abundante-in-review-journey-to-the-jungle/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/06/25/abundante-in-review-journey-to-the-jungle/#comments Fri, 25 Jun 2010 20:40:36 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=35138 For those of you that are getting fed up with match three games, you might want to look away now. Although in actual fact, developer 10tons’ Abundante! (also the publishers behind the amazing Azkend) is a match four game. Considerably different from other games of its type, Abundante! has you venturing deep into the jungle, and … Read more]]>

For those of you that are getting fed up with match three games, you might want to look away now. Although in actual fact, developer 10tons’ Abundante! (also the publishers behind the amazing Azkend) is a match four game. Considerably different from other games of its type, Abundante! has you venturing deep into the jungle, and beneath the earth.

There you have a miner’s cart which you must use to mine jewels. Tap a column to pull down a coloured brick, then tap another column to throw it back up. If there are two or more of the same colour, they’ll both move together. Use this movement to stack four or more bricks together. They don’t have to be in a row or column, as long as the four are touching. As soon as they do, the bricks will disappear and you’ll collect the jewels nestling inside. Keep matching and collecting jewels until your meter fills, then you’re on to the next level. Be quick, though! You must fill your meter before the descending wall of bricks crushes you!

I have to confess I thought the game a little dull when I first started, but the more difficult and challenging the game becomes, the more addictive it is. There are in excess of 100 levels to play, so there’s plenty to keep you busy. You’ll get some cool power-ups to help you along the way, and you can unlock special bonuses to boost your score too. Every few levels you’ll get a mini-game to break up the action a little, but it’s a tad uninspired and won’t take up much of your time.

The graphics are cartoonish and fun, and the music and sound effects are fitting but not too overwhelming. This is the sort of game which is ideal to play for a few minutes here and there; just play a couple of levels then turn it off. I think if you played for long periods of time, you’d quickly find the game becoming repetitive, especially as there are so many levels to wade through.

Sadly, there’s no way of comparing your scores with anyone else, so it’s a very solitary sort of game. However, I’m not sure it’s the sort of game that lends itself well to high scores and comparisons. It’s more of a game which you’ll play through to completion, and then probably not play again. Before that happens, though, there are two additional game modes to be unlocked, which naturally gives more gameplay and value for money.

Overall, Abundante!’s a fun game and for the small asking price, it’s definitely worth it. If you’re a casual gamer looking for some light entertainment, then you could do much worse. All that remains to be seen is… will you unlock the secrets of the jungle?

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App Summary
Title: Abundante! Developer: 10tons Ltd.
Reviewed Ver: 1.01 Min OS Req: iOS 2.21 or later
Price: $0.99 App Size: 12.0 MB
  • Great value for money
  • Nice graphics and unobtrusive sound
  • Easy to pick up and play
  • Addictive
  • Little replay value
  • A bit repetitive
  • No social connectivity
  • Mini-game is a little uninspired

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More Match 3/Puzzle games reviewed:

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PAC-Match Party in Review – You’re Invited! http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/06/25/pac-match-party-in-review-youre-invited/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/06/25/pac-match-party-in-review-youre-invited/#comments Fri, 25 Jun 2010 20:06:29 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=35130 PAC-Match Party was released to commemorate PAC-MAN’s 30th birthday. It’s difficult to believe that the little guy has been around that long – since before I was born! Quite rightly, PAC-MAN is a legend and so it’s only right that he should have a party for his 30th birthday. And that’s what this game is. … Read more]]>

PAC-Match Party was released to commemorate PAC-MAN’s 30th birthday. It’s difficult to believe that the little guy has been around that long – since before I was born! Quite rightly, PAC-MAN is a legend and so it’s only right that he should have a party for his 30th birthday. And that’s what this game is. A match three party.

It’s a combination of the classic style game and match three gameplay. So instead of controlling PAC-MAN using directional arrows/buttons, you’re propelling him around the board by swiping and tapping the screen to make matches in the centre section. But you’ve got to be quick to stay ahead of the ghosts.

Along the way you’ll collect power-ups which will help you stay ahead of the ghosts, and maybe even catch up with them! There are 30 levels in the game and naturally they get harder as you progress, so you’d be advised to keep hold of those power-ups until the last possible moment. When playing the game, you’ll be racking up a (hopefully awesome) score and also unlocking achievements. Sadly, both of these things appear to remain in the game – there’s no connectivity to OpenFeint or any other social channels. So you’ll only be attempting to beat your own high scores and unlock achievements for your own satisfaction.

The graphics in the game are good – they’re not particularly hi-tech or what you’d call stunning, but they remain faithful to the spirit of PAC-MAN – it’s retro! The music can get pretty annoying after a while, but there is an option in the game where you can select songs from your own iPod music library to play instead. Really, you wouldn’t be missing much to just play the game with the sound on your device switched off.

Overall, the game is good fun, particularly for those who – like me – have grown up with PAC-MAN and believe it’ll never get old. People who love casual gaming in particular will enjoy this. The only downside is the game is quite buggy. When you’re swiping and touching the screen to make matches, it’s not particularly responsive and sometimes you have to keep trying. This obviously isn’t ideal in a game which needs you to make your moves quickly in order to stay alive. You also can’t make moves too soon after making a match, you have to wait until the board ‘settles,’ meaning you’re wasting time, particularly if the ghosts are catching up on our birthday boy hero.

I also experienced problems when trying to use power-ups. It didn’t happen every time, but when trying to activate various power-ups, the game would freeze up. You couldn’t make any moves and nothing would happen. The only thing you could do was exit. When returning to the game the problem would often still be there. It seems to rectify itself after a little while, but this is problematic, especially in the later levels when you rely on the power-ups to get you by.

I’d still recommend the game to PAC-MAN fans, especially if they’re match three enthusiasts. It’s not overly expensive and hopefully Namco will iron out these bugs in later releases.
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App Summary
Title: PAC-Match Party Developer: Namco Networks America
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.1 Min OS Req:
Price: $1.99 App Size: 38.8 MB
  • A different take on a classic game
  • Reasonably priced
  • Addictive fun
  • Buggy
  • No social connectivity
  • Little replay value

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More Match ‘em reviews right here at TMA:

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Simon Graham and the Extraordinary Timepiece, Book I in Review – A Super Puzzle Adventure http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/05/26/simon-graham-and-the-extraordinary-timepiece-book-i-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/05/26/simon-graham-and-the-extraordinary-timepiece-book-i-in-review/#comments Wed, 26 May 2010 15:52:31 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=33534 Simon Graham and the Extraordinary Timepiece is a puzzle adventure game. Simon Graham arrives at his grandmother’s house, only to find she’s been kidnapped. The only clues he has as to her disappearance are in the diary she left behind. Trouble is, everything is a puzzle! So you must help Simon to solve jigsaws, math … Read more]]>

Simon Graham and the Extraordinary Timepiece is a puzzle adventure game. Simon Graham arrives at his grandmother’s house, only to find she’s been kidnapped. The only clues he has as to her disappearance are in the diary she left behind. Trouble is, everything is a puzzle! So you must help Simon to solve jigsaws, math questions, word riddles and hidden object hunts in order to track down his missing grandmother.

Feel free to discuss Simon Graham and the Extraodinary Timepiece, Book I in our forums.

As soon as I started playing, the game reminded me of the Professor Layton titles. They share the same quirky style and mind-bending challenges. When you get into the game, you discover the storyline is just as intriguing as the puzzles – it’s not a simple kidnapping, there is something deeper going on, and it’s up to you to uncover the whole truth. As you’ve perhaps already guessed from the game’s title, it’s all to do with this extraordinary timepiece – can you find the hidden pieces?

As you’d expect, the puzzles are easy at the beginning, to break you in gently. However, they quickly become much more difficult, to the extent where they’ll take several attempts to crack. The frustrating thing is, though, you can’t skip any puzzles if you get stuck, which is a nuisance. It would be good to be given the option to do so, either by using a rechargeable meter, or by penalising you somehow. This will probably annoy less patient players such as myself, who would like to be able to keep going even if one particular puzzle has them stumped.

Overall, though, the game is really tough, but puzzle-masters will still plough through until the end. And if you can’t, well, there are always walk-throughs available! I had fun with this game, despite the lack of hints/skips. It’s ideal for five minutes of play here and there, or for longer periods. Either way, your progress will be saved when you quit out of the game, so you can simply pick up where you left off last time.

Simon Graham and the Extraordinary Timepiece is tough enough to make it last a long time (unless you’re an expert puzzle buff, you may well fly through!). This fact, coupled with the graphics, sound and cool storyline make this game well worth its price tag. Puzzle fans, and those of you that liked Professor Layton and similar will love this.

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App Summary
Title: Simon Graham and the Extraordinary Timepiece, Book I Developer: The App House
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req: 2.2.1
Price: $1.99 App Size: 12.0 MB
  • Inexpensive
  • Intriguing gameplay
  • High production values
  • No social elements
  • No replay value
  • No option to skip puzzles

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Need a steady diet of puzzle games? Check out some of our other reviews!

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iPhone 3G / 3GS Otterbox Defender case in Review – Pretty in pink http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/05/20/iphone-3g-3gs-otterbox-defender-case-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/05/20/iphone-3g-3gs-otterbox-defender-case-in-review/#comments Thu, 20 May 2010 10:23:01 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=33189 I’m a keen walker and camper, but I also love my iPhone, so finding a case which promised to fully protect my device is a must have. I mean, that is what an iDevice case is supposed to do, right? Well sure, there are fashionable, earthy ones like the Skydda TradDuo, but when you want … Read more]]>


I’m a keen walker and camper, but I also love my iPhone, so finding a case which promised to fully protect my device is a must have. I mean, that is what an iDevice case is supposed to do, right? Well sure, there are fashionable, earthy ones like the Skydda TradDuo, but when you want to beat the bushes, it’s time for rubber. The Otterbox Defender case comes in four colours: black, white, yellow and pink, catering for all audiences.

At first glance, I was confused about how to match the case and my iPhone. Luckily, the instructions are clear and easy to follow and soon my iPhone was in its new home. Once everything is tucked neatly into place, the device is completely encased. However, the functions are all still accessible due to cool flaps built into the design which you can open to get to your charger and headphone sockets, etc. The case fits really well, and even comes with a matching belt clip holster, so if you have no pockets, you can clip it on to your belt or waistband.


As promised, the Defender is very hard-wearing, and perfectly adequate to protect your device from bumps, scratches or drops. It doesn’t say it’s waterproof, and I certainly won’t try running mine under a tap any time soon, but I felt perfectly happy checking my map App whilst it was spotting with rain, or even a light shower. All the connections and the screen are covered, so the odd spot of water shouldn’t do any harm.

Due to the nature of its design, however, the Otterbox does add some extra bulk to your phone, but not a great deal, and it simply makes it feel more robust and easier to handle. If you don’t want to use the belt clip, your iDevice housed in the Otterbox is still plenty slim enough to pop into the average pocket, so no worries there.

I have had a couple of comments from people who’ve spotted the Otterbox – so despite the fact it’s there to do a job, it’s clearly still attractive and eye-catching to people! It’s not really what you’d call a stylish or fashionable case, but it still looks good, and more importantly, does what its job.

On the whole, I am pleased with the Otterbox, but I’d only really use it in a situation where I feel my device needs that extra protection, i.e. walking, camping and generally spending a lot of time outdoors. There are a few reasons for this. One, the case attracts a lot of dust and lint, when I pulled it out of my pocket, it was covered! Secondly, if you are using it outdoors or anywhere the temperature may fluctuate, you’ll find the screen may steam up. Naturally, this makes it difficult to see and use. Thirdly, when the case is fitted it can be quite difficult to press buttons which are positioned right in the corners of the screen – and I imagine people with big fingers will find this even more difficult. Finally, though the method is simple, it takes practice to remove the Defender. I found myself getting paranoid that I’d break the plastic casing, but once I got the knack I had no more problems.

In summary, I’d say that if you’re looking for something robust and trustworthy for outdoor pursuits, then the Otterbox is it. It’s fabulous quality, does the job and is well priced. If, however, your iPhone doesn’t like the wild outdoors, there are other, sleeker options.

App Summary
Title: iPhone 3G/3GS Otterbox Defender Case Developer: Otterbox
Reviewed Ver: Defender Series Pink Category: iPhone case
Price: $49.95 Device iPhone 3G/3GS
  • Not too bulky
  • Reasonably priced
  • Comes in a variety of colours
  • Robust
  • Good quality
  • Attracts dust and lint
  • Can steam up and make screen difficult to see
  • Makes corners of the screen difficult to tap
  • Tricky to fit and remove

Be sure to follow our other accessories and headphone reviews.

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