TouchMyApps » Jim Haley 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 Fri, 12 Sep 2014 16:31:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.4 Disney at Work: Epcot in Review – an inspirational app! http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/11/29/disney-at-work-epcot-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/11/29/disney-at-work-epcot-in-review/#comments Sun, 29 Nov 2009 14:02:13 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=23104 Disney at Work: Epcot is well outside most of the reviews I’ve done for TMA. It’s not a game, but in fact a learning tool. The goal of the app is to teach, and it succeeds pretty well in doing just that. What you get out of it really has more to do with what … Read more]]>

Disney at Work 1

Disney at Work: Epcot is well outside most of the reviews I’ve done for TMA. It’s not a game, but in fact a learning tool. The goal of the app is to teach, and it succeeds pretty well in doing just that. What you get out of it really has more to do with what you’re looking for in it. Disney at Work teaches two things: a history of Epcot, and how you can use the lessons learned from that in your own life/career/business.

It app is broken up into chapters, like a book. Each chapter offers an intriguing look into the making of the Disney theme park Epcot. It’ll take you through each section of the park, giving stories about each ride and the challenges Disney Imagineers faced to make this park a reality. There are nice photos at the beginning of each chapter to illustrate the text. You can skip all around to different stories within the app if you’re looking for information about one particular favorite area. But the entire thing is worth reading. You’ll learn all kinds of trivia about the building of Epcot, and many useful lessons as well.

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That’s really the second purpose behind the app – the lessons you can learn from the stories being told. Disney has lots of these, they’ve had a lot of practice over the years in finding innovative ways to accomplish goals and ultimately provide a unique customer experience that has placed them at the very top of the service game. If you don’t think there’s anything you can learn from Disney that could be applied to your own life in some way, think again. At the end of each chapter, you are presented with questions and ideas to think about – and I found myself just as taken with those as I was with the history of the park itself.

Which is why, at least for me, this app is a success. It does exactly what it sets out to do -to provide an insightful learning experience. If you’re a Disney fan, the history alone is worth the price of the app. If you’re looking for some motivational material to use at work, again Disney at Work has you covered. It isn’t a chore to read through, nor is it feel preachy; this multimedia book is a compilation of real-world experiences that provide valuable lessons. For fans, it’s definitely worth Grabbing.

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App Summary
Title: Disney at Work: Epcot Developer: TimeStream Software
Price: $4.99 App Size: 43.5 MB
  • Informative application that provides wonderful insight into the making of Epcot
  • Lessons learned can be applied to life, businesses and careers
  • Probably limited appeal to those who either have an interest in Disney trivia or are looking for a inspirational type application

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Looking for more book apps? Grab some tea and curl up with a few of our reviews.

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Groovin’ Blocks in Review – Match 3 to a different beat http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/11/23/groovin-blocks-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/11/23/groovin-blocks-in-review/#comments Mon, 23 Nov 2009 21:16:11 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=23507 Groovin’ Blocks is another mash-up of genres, this time a mix of puzzle and rhythm music games like Rock Band and Guitar Rock Tour. And it’s a successful merger – producing a game that’s got a unique visual and audio style. If that sounds like it might appeal to you, click on through to get … Read more]]>

Groovin Blocks 1

Groovin’ Blocks is another mash-up of genres, this time a mix of puzzle and rhythm music games like Rock Band and Guitar Rock Tour. And it’s a successful merger – producing a game that’s got a unique visual and audio style. If that sounds like it might appeal to you, click on through to get my thoughts.

Starting with the basics, Groovin’ Blocks is a match 3 (or more) of the same color tiles type game. Like tetris, every few seconds you’ll be given a new vertical line of 3 tiles at the top of the screen which you must place somewhere at the bottom. As the line falls, you can change the order of the colored tiles, though the line shape never changes. You can move the line to the right or left, to best align the colors to create matches with what’s already on the field of play.

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What’s added to this is the audio component of the game. You play the game to a music track selected as different difficulty levels from the main menu. The goal is to achieve a certain amount of points before the song is over, so that you can proceed on to higher levels and more songs. While you get points for making matches, you get even more points for making matches to the beat of the music. Musical beats are represented by lines scrolling to the sides of the playing field – and if you press the down button in time with the beat, you have the potential to gain bonus points in a couple of ways.

First, if you can match beats, you’ll gain bonus points. But, lets say you can’t – the beat meter will increase it’s length on the screen and should you manage to make a match on the beat the next time, you’ll gain even more points. The larger the beat meter is, the greater potential score.

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And that’s really the whole point of the game. While you could play it without sound (due to the visual clue on the screen of the beat meter) music is an integral part of the game experience. The graphics are a nice vector/Tron style that’s very appealing, though to be honest, I feel like the layout is a little boring and there’s a lot of dead space on either side of the playing field in landscape mode. But none of those things take away from the ability to play the game. If this sounds like the right combination for you, I’d suggest you to go ahead and grab it.

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App Summary
Title: Groovin’ Blocks (v1.0) Developer: Zoo Publishing Inc.
Price: $1.99 App Size: 35.5 MB
  • artistically unique
  • great merger of puzzle and rhythm games
  • a lot of dead space on the playing field
  • not as much fun without sound

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Puzzling for the latest and greatest puzzle game? The below articles may help your search.

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Hopido in Review – Oh hoppy day! http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/11/16/hopido-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/11/16/hopido-in-review/#comments Mon, 16 Nov 2009 21:27:51 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=23096 Hopido is another one of those simple to learn puzzle games that becomes more and more complex as you get into the higher levels. It’s a great brain teaser, the kind of game you can spend hours playing, but broken up into as many quick sessions as you’d like. It’s not the flashiest game you’ll … Read more]]>

Hopido 1

Hopido is another one of those simple to learn puzzle games that becomes more and more complex as you get into the higher levels. It’s a great brain teaser, the kind of game you can spend hours playing, but broken up into as many quick sessions as you’d like. It’s not the flashiest game you’ll find in the app store, but it doesn’t really need to be, and I’ll tell you why after the break.

For each puzzle (which fits into a single screen in portrait mode) your goal is to highlight all of the tiles (to get the highest amount of frogs). You’re awarded more frogs the more tiles you highlight, so it is possible to get some for even completing most of the puzzle. Getting frogs gives you access to more puzzles – so the incentive to keep revisiting levels until you get them right is always there.

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But, highlighting those tiles isn’t as easy as it sounds. Once you select your starting tile, you can only make a move by jumping your finger over two tiles horizontally or vertically – or by skipping one tile diagonally. And the same rule applies once you’ve tapped that next tile. So you’re always hopping over tiles, tiles that you need to highlight in order to gain those frogs (and later levels). So you need to figure out just the right pattern so that you can complete as much of the puzzle as possible. It can take lots of trial and error – and one of the nice things about Hopido is that it’ll allow you to back up all your moves and retry from any point along the way. Or you can restart the level – and it’s no penalty, you keep any frogs you’ve previously gained while playing this particular level.

The graphics are simple; there’s nothing flashy here, but it doesn’t really need to be either. It’s like a word game or a numbers game – it’s nice to have a little dressing (and Hopido has some) but it’s not really necessary if the game is addictive enough. Hopido certainly succeeds in this area. I found myself wanting to keep playing, trying that next level, seeing if I could get more frogs if I just did this move instead of that one. About the only thing I might have suggested was actually having a frog jump between the tiles as you point out your moves – it would have added a little more purpose to the hopping you’re doing – but that’s really it. This is one of those games that’s definitely worth Grabbing.

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App Summary
Title: Hopido (v 1.01) Developer: Moido Games Ltd.
Price: $0.99 App Size: 3.4 MB
  • Easy to learn
  • Fun casual game
  • Just the right amount of incentive to keep playing
  • Basic graphics

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Hero Defense in Review – Good Luck, You’re Gonna Need It. http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/11/14/hero-defense-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/11/14/hero-defense-in-review/#comments Sun, 15 Nov 2009 06:04:20 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=23088 Hero Defense is a game very similar to Townrs Defender, which I had previously reviewed for TMA. There are some differences that make this game unique in its own way, but ultimately the biggest thing that separates it from Townrs is the difficulty level. Hero Defense is hard – really hard. If that’s the kind … Read more]]>

Hero Defense 1

Hero Defense is a game very similar to Townrs Defender, which I had previously reviewed for TMA. There are some differences that make this game unique in its own way, but ultimately the biggest thing that separates it from Townrs is the difficulty level. Hero Defense is hard – really hard. If that’s the kind of game you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place – and I’m ready to tell you all about it.

The first thing you notice when playing Hero Defense is that it’s played in portrait mode. It’s a nice change from most app store games, especially of this kind, which lends itself to easier one handed play. You’re not awkwardly holding your idevice with one hand in landscape mode while tapping with the other. So I appreciated that change. At the same time though, the maps are larger than the screen – and there’s no way to pan across them. So, to see more of the level, you have to move around.

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To move, you tap a spot on the ground, and your little soldier will go running there. The sprites aren’t very big, but it’s fitting in with the theme of this pocket sized adventure, so I really have no complaints as far as the size and look of the characters goes. And there’s a number of options you have as far as your character goes – with choices of different attack powers that are on a timed recharge between use as well as different maps and increased difficulty levels.

But that brings us right back to the difficulty. Even easy is hard; I have yet to survive 30 waves. Because your goal is to defend your castle from the invading hoards, and they come in waves. As you position your soldier to face them, he will automatically swing his weapon to attack. But there are so many of them, and only one of you. They’ll come from different sides, taking down your perimeter defenses (there are gates blocking multiple paths to your castle, but they will eventually take them down and open those paths up) and slowly hacking away at your castle.

At any point during the game play, you can tap the castle and spend money to rebuild (so long as it hasn’t been destroyed – once that happens, it’s game over) and you can also do that to the perimeter defenses as well – but that requires you have enough money (which you get from killing the enemies). Plus you have to keep track of the health of your castle, your own health, where the enemies are, placing yourself in the best spot to defend, using your special attacks as often as possible, and rebuild your perimeter defenses as often as possible. There’s a lot going on, almost too much.

I actually think the game would be improved by automating a few things. If you die you automatically come back in 10 long seconds – why couldn’t your defenses automatically recharge either over time, or so long as you have enough money to do so? The maps shouldn’t be larger than the screen in my opinion – it feels too big for what is ultimately a pocket adventure. I also think the pause between waves should be longer, allowing you time to rebuild your defenses. With regards to the difficulty, easy should actually be easy – I can’t even imagine surviving 60 or 90 waves in this game.

But in the end, it’s also a good game. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it or inherently bad about playing it. I think the difficultly actually works in it’s favor – there are people out there who like these kinds of games and if you welcome this kind of challenge – this is the game for you. There was only one other game I’ve reviewed for TMA that I felt this way about; Sweetwater Defense was also for those who like a tough game – and that’s what Hero Defense provides as well. For those who are more of a casual gamer, I’m not sure I’d recommend it, but for those who like this kind of game, I’d definitely say you should Tap It.

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App Summary
Title: Hero Defense (v 1.01) Developer: Brilliant Worlds
Price: $0.99 App Size: 15.9 MB
  • Nice Portrait Style game
  • Lots of Special Attact options and upgrades
  • A good choice of levels with increasing difficulty
  • Probably way too difficult for casual fans
  • Cannot scroll around the map
  • Too much going on simultaneously

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Just like you, we never tire of strategy games:
Avatar of War in Review – Strongholds in Review — Dragon Slaughter Episode 1 in Review — EGO City Invasion in Review — Animal Kingdom in Review

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Hands on Preview – Fuzion: Lands of Fate http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/11/03/hands-on-preview-fuzion-lands-of-fate/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/11/03/hands-on-preview-fuzion-lands-of-fate/#comments Tue, 03 Nov 2009 14:26:03 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=22403 I’m a big fan of games that try to mash a couple of existing concepts together into a new and fresh look. Fuzion is one of those games: a mix of RPG and scrabble. So, without further ado, let’s take spell out D-A-R-K L-O-R-D and look at the preview… Fuzion takes the best parts of … Read more]]>

Fuzion 1

I’m a big fan of games that try to mash a couple of existing concepts together into a new and fresh look. Fuzion is one of those games: a mix of RPG and scrabble. So, without further ado, let’s take spell out D-A-R-K L-O-R-D and look at the preview…

Fuzion takes the best parts of a bunch of other games and makes them even better. It mixes the fantasy artwork from an RPG with a word puzzle game and uses the static screens from those so-called App store MMOs, but adds in a large overworld map with lots of locations and quests. Then there’s the detailed story-driven quests themselves which build upon one another with a sense of accomplishment. There’s even a capital city, where you can fight against monsters in the arena or earn greater powers by facing particular word puzzle challenges.

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This game feels huge. Not something you’ll beat quickly, or easily. Now I’m not particularly good at scrabble (or spelling), so at times I was perhaps more challenged than others might be. I didn’t always win a battle with a monster, nor was I always able to come up with enough words out of the letters given to pass a quest – but it’s never so frustrating that I didn’t immediately want to try again.

So the main part of Fuzion is played by choosing among a group of randomly displayed letters and creating words from them. Sometimes your goal is just to make a certain amount of words – other times, your words will cause damage against the fierce creatures you face. It’s your task to defeat those creatures before they defeat you (as shown by the balanced life meter across the top of the screen). The map is give to you in chunks, and though the quests do have an order to them, you can choose to do any that you see on your screen at any time. As you complete a series of quests, you’ll be given a challenge from a boss creature, and once you defeat it, another chunk of the map will open up.

This is the kind of game I could easily see myself losing a lot of time on. There’s some character customization at the beginning, and an open-endedness to the game that lends itself to lots of replay. Fuzion is currently in beta-testing phase, and while there are some minor bugs that still need to be worked through, it’s definitely a very polished game even at this stage. The developer is hoping to release this game soon, and I’m looking forward to everyone else being able to see how much fun Fuzion is.

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Claws-on Preview: Imp or Oaf? http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/11/02/preview-imp-or-oaf/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/11/02/preview-imp-or-oaf/#comments Mon, 02 Nov 2009 15:12:55 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=22379 Many people were hoping that the first game to come out from Gilded Skull Games would be Galactic Keep, an impressive looking pen-and-paper RPG emulator. But that game is still in development, and in the meantime, they’ll be releasing their first game called Imp or Oaf?. I got the chance to sit down with the … Read more]]>

Preview-Game-Imp-or-Oaf-1

Many people were hoping that the first game to come out from Gilded Skull Games would be Galactic Keep, an impressive looking pen-and-paper RPG emulator. But that game is still in development, and in the meantime, they’ll be releasing their first game called Imp or Oaf?. I got the chance to sit down with the beta version of this game, and played it on and off with my 5-year-old son, and I’m here to give you my impressions.

The premise is fairly simple: you’re supposed to decide if the character on your screen is an Imp or an Oaf. When describing those characteristics to my son, I told him an Imp would be a trickster and an Oaf would be kind of goofy. You then have to use your own deductive reasoning to figure out which one of those two best fits the character in the picture.

Oh, there’s one more thing – you’re not actually shown the whole picture of the character. You’ll be zoomed in to a particular spot on the picture at the start of each round. Then, you decide to either click the button and choose if it’s an Imp or Oaf, or you can tap the picture on the screen to have it zoom to another spot on the picture. While that might help you by revealing more of the character and improving your odds of guessing correctly, you also lose potential points with each zoom (starting at 100 points, and decreasing by 10 for each zoom). And once you reach zero, your turn at guessing that character is over.

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In the beta build you can play 10, 20, or 50 round games. At the end, you’ll be given your score – there are plans for an online scoring system so you can strive to be the greatest Oaf of all time.

Really it’s a very cute game. My son really enjoyed playing it, and wanted to keep going after each game was over. He gladly counted each round, and his score at the end. It’s the kind of game that is great for young kids: simple to play and easy to understand. The artwork is just amazing – it’s got a style all its own and really helps it stand apart from the crowd. I did have some suggestions to give back to the developer, mostly based on how my son was playing and what he seemed to want the game to do. And of course, there are still some unfinished things in the game – like highscoring – but it actually plays very well and I had no major issues with the beta. In all, both my son and I enjoyed playing Imp or Oaf?, and I’ll be looking forward to reviewing it when it comes out.

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Hands on Preview: Moonga http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/10/30/hands-on-preview-moonga/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/10/30/hands-on-preview-moonga/#comments Fri, 30 Oct 2009 21:35:45 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=22393 I was given the opportunity to take a look at the beta version of Moonga, a Customizable Card Game coming soon to the App Store. I do feel like one of the few people who’s never really gotten into the whole CCG scene, but this one looked like a nice simple CCG to ease myself … Read more]]>

Moonga-Preview-1

I was given the opportunity to take a look at the beta version of Moonga, a Customizable Card Game coming soon to the App Store. I do feel like one of the few people who’s never really gotten into the whole CCG scene, but this one looked like a nice simple CCG to ease myself into. I liked the fantasy style art, so I was immediately drawn in to this easy to play game.

I’m going to do a quick run down of a typical card before I move on to describing how the game is played. A card will show you a picture of the character or creature it represents, along with a brief description of what it will do. There are three numbers to the left side of the card. The top one, over a sword, is your attack strength. The middle shield number is your defensive strength. And the bottom number is the damage you will actually cause to your enemy.

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When actually playing a game, you will play 5 cards against either a computer or live opponent. You get to decide which card you are going to play in what order, not always knowing what card your opponent is going to be playing next. Once you choose a card, you’re brought to a set up screen, where you can decide to add extra points to your card for additional attack strength and defense. You have a total of 10 points for the entire game, and can choose to add them a few at a time to each card played, or all at once to just one card. You also have an extra defensive card that can only be played once, simultaneously with one of your other cards.

Then the round begins, and your attack strength is compared to your opponent card’s defense strength. If your attack is greater than his defense, then you do damage for the amount shown on your card to his overall HPs (20 total for each of you). You will then be shown the same attack from your opponent against you, and you’ll move on to the next round. The one with the most HPs (shown as a heart) at the end of the game wins.

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In the beta, you’re limited to just the starter deck of 6 cards – there’s no upgrading or customization yet. There seem to be a number of future plans for this game, including online player vs player and tracking of high scores. There are also lots of additional cards – though I’m not sure if these will be a part of the standard game, or purchased as add-ons. It’s not clear as of now if there’s a narrative holding this game together, in beta form it’s mostly just a clean interface to allow you to play the game itself.

But I found it to be an enjoyable experience. It was easy to learn to play – I’m a complete newcomer and quickly figured out what was expected of me. At the same time, the difficulty seems average – I won as many rounds as I lost; like any card game, it was kind of the luck of the draw. As I said at the beginning, the fantasy trappings of the game are a real draw, and I think it could be just the kind of game some folks are looking for once it comes out. I don’t think it’s as deep as some CCG out there, but Moonga seems like the perfect size for this type of on-the-go gaming.

Into card games? Check out our review of Orions: Legends of Wizards

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Yumsters! 2 in Review – Yummy Yummy, Lucky Tummy http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/10/30/yumsters-2-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/10/30/yumsters-2-in-review/#comments Fri, 30 Oct 2009 20:35:16 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=22407 Yumsters! 2 is different from most puzzle games we get from the App store – for starters, this is not a match 3 game. Secondly, with it’s colorful characters and simple story, it’s got a very kid friendly vibe – much like Bumble Tales. Yumsters! 2 also fits into that category of hybrid games – … Read more]]>

Yumsters 1

Yumsters! 2 is different from most puzzle games we get from the App store – for starters, this is not a match 3 game. Secondly, with it’s colorful characters and simple story, it’s got a very kid friendly vibe – much like Bumble Tales. Yumsters! 2 also fits into that category of hybrid games – combination puzzle and music game. So what kind of a game does this all add up to? Find out after the break.

Review-Yumsters2!-01During the course of the game, you will control the Yumsters, sea-serpent-like creatures who are hungry – but only for fruit that matches their own skin color. Each level you will have control of a certain amount of Yumsters, and you must drag their heads over to the matching fruit color – without crossing over any other Yumster whom you’ve already set to munching. The larger the fruit, the longer it takes to eat – unless you get more than one Yumster eating it at the same time. You can also move Yumsters around the board into different spots – trying to get the optimum amount of Yumsters eating at the same time.

Because any fruit you leave too long will start to freeze – and then you can’t eat those – they wind up blocking your path to other fruit. There are some special powers granted by other Yumsters who will join you on your quest along the way; ones that will unfreeze the fruit or give you extra time before more fruit appears on the board.

Review-Yumsters2!-02Your goal on each board is to eat the fruit that’s listed towards the top of the screen. Eat the exact fruits shown in a quick enough time, and you’ll move on from the level. But if you move too slowly, more fruit will be added both to your requirement to pass the level as well as to the field itself. Once you clear a level, you’re given a little more story and taken to a map screen, where you move on to the next level. Occasionally, this is broken up by a special musical level – see the Yumsters are in a band and they’ve lost their instruments and so you’re searching the world to recover them all. Yeah it’s more than a little silly, but it gives purpose to these musical levels, which require you to tap the correct colors to the beat of the music (like Guitar Hero) to pass the level.

In all, I felt both of these game elements played well – neither felt tacked on or lacking depth. At the same time, I felt like there was no real purpose to the map, other than to show you that you were moving on to a new level. Granted, Azkend had this same kind of maps but for some reason it worked more for me there (perhaps because I wanted to return to levels I hadn’t beaten as fast as I felt I could have – whereas in Yumsters! 2 I just don’t see the point in going back). I’d almost rather Yumsters! 2 had given you the option to create your own levels, or generate random ones – like wide open fields or tough maze-like ones – a more simple interface than this sprawling map. If this game is meant to skew a little younger, I’m not sure if that’s just a little too overwhelming. But honestly, aside from that one drawback, there’s nothing about Yumsters! 2 to keep me from recommending you Grab It.

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App Summary
Title: Yumsters! 2 (v1.0) Developer: G5 Entertainment
Price: $0.99 App Size: 24.7 MB
  • Easy to learn, great for kids or adults
  • Both types of games (puzzle & music) executed well
  • The overworld map of levels adds an unnecessary  complexity to the game.

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Bumble Tales in Review – bumbling towards ecstasy http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/10/19/bumble-tales-in-review-bumbling-towards-ecstasy/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/10/19/bumble-tales-in-review-bumbling-towards-ecstasy/#comments Mon, 19 Oct 2009 16:49:06 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=21762 Just like in the play Gypsy (yes, you people need to step outside and watch a play occasionally – don’t worry, you can take your ipod with you) “you gotta get a gimmick” if you’re going to play in the match-3 puzzle game space anymore. The field is just too crowded, so you need something … Read more]]>

Bumble Tales 1

Just like in the play Gypsy (yes, you people need to step outside and watch a play occasionally – don’t worry, you can take your ipod with you) “you gotta get a gimmick” if you’re going to play in the match-3 puzzle game space anymore. The field is just too crowded, so you need something to separate you from the pack. Bumble Tales does have a gimmick, but ultimately it could have been used to better effect.

Bumble Tales 2

I’m not going to talk to much about the gameplay – it’s standard fare for a match-3 game. You can move one tile (in this case they are resources, such as gold, bricks, etc.) one space either horizontally or vertically so long as the move results in a match of 3 of the same tile (or more). As you match more and more tiles, you’ll see the numbers increase for each resource at the top of the screen – and once you’ve filled each resource up, you gain a star. The stars are really the gimmick I spoke of earlier – they’re used for upgrades that allow you to further hone your game playing.

Bumble Tales 3

The upgrades come in two forms; character upgrades and building upgrades. Each star you use on a character will increase that character’s skill – and each character has a skill that will increase a particular resource’s multiplier when you match that tile. Also as you increase that character’s skill, a story will be opened to you in the Scrapbook – bringing these characters a little more life (since they don’t really have anything much to do with the game otherwise). You can only use one character at a time, but you can switch out the one you’re using at any time during the game (if you need one resource in particular to get your next star).

The second upgrade comes in the form of buildings. These buildings can only be added and upgraded once you have increased the skills of a certain combination of characters (two per building). Once placed on the lower part of the gameboard, a building is used like a magic power in other games of this kind – once it has built its charge up, you can tap it to clear a certain number of the tiles associated with it from the field of play. The more you upgrade the building, the more tiles it will clear and the faster it will recharge for the next use.

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I’ve actually played a lot of Bumble Tales; it’s very easy to pick up and play, it has colorful graphics and the characters are well designed. At the same time, it comes off a little shallow and empty – the whole resource management aspect isn’t really used to the fullest extent. For instance, it would be interesting if you had to gain a certain amount of resources in order to use the powers of one of your buildings.

To be fair, I haven’t played the original version of this game (for PC) and so I don’t know what is or is not present there. I rarely ever remember to change characters to get better multipliers on my resources – because you just don’t really have to; it’s rarely THAT challenging. But what is fun is seeing how many matches in a row you can make (I think my top was 14 with just one move). The bulk of the game play is in Story Mode, though there is also an Arcade Mode and some trophies you can unlock by doing certain actions – it’s certainly not lacking in most of those areas. Still, ultimately it doesn’t feel as deep as it could be, and so that holds it back from being truly great – but otherwise I can definitely recommend grabbing it if you like these kinds of games.

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App Summary
Title: Bumble Tales (v1.0) Developer: Conjured Realms
Price: $0.99 App Size: 9.9 MB
  • Cheerful graphcial presentation
  • Easy to pick up and play
  • Lots of incentives to continue to play
  • Story feels a little disconnected
  • Resources not well integrated into the gameplay

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Puzzlegeddon in review – it’s puzzle Armageddon! http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/10/14/puzzlegeddon-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/10/14/puzzlegeddon-in-review/#comments Wed, 14 Oct 2009 17:55:15 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=21520 I’ve played lots of app store puzzle games now, so it’s taking more and more new ideas for a game to really catch my attention. Puzzlegeddon does a good job of introducing some new elements to the mix: a twist on the puzzle mechanics of color-matching as well as a bit of an added role-play/strategy … Read more]]>

Puzzlegeddon 1

I’ve played lots of app store puzzle games now, so it’s taking more and more new ideas for a game to really catch my attention. Puzzlegeddon does a good job of introducing some new elements to the mix: a twist on the puzzle mechanics of color-matching as well as a bit of an added role-play/strategy element. And while an it’s ultimately an enjoyable game in and of itself, there are also a few things that keep it from being a complete homerun.

Let’s start from the beginning – Puzzlegeddon is another ‘match the colored tiles’ game – in this case it’s not 3, but at least 5 on the board. You do this by swiping the columns and rows, shifting them like a scrollbar where a tile that disappears at the bottom of a column will pop up at the top of that column like a wheel. So your job is to manipulate as many of those colors together as you can – and it’s up to you to decide when to pop them by touching the grouped colors when you’re ready to have them disappear. Once your grouping disappears, more tiles will fill in from the top of the board, and it’s time to continue grouping.

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Each color has a purpose, feeding into some powers that are at your command. There’s a space theme to the game, and you’re supposed to be mining for resources (the various colors), while at the same time trying to beat your spacefaring opponents (computer controlled) – by defeating them in battle. You do this by slowly drawing down their energy – by shooting missiles at them while simultaneously defending yourself from their attacks. And you activate all these things by mining enough resources. Occasionally, you’ll also receive stars within a particular colored tile – by matching that set of colors before the star disappears, you’ll receive an additional bonus of resources of that color.

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But as I said, there are a few things keeping this title back from true greatness. The story element seems like it would be interesting – but it’s really just lock step. You have no choices, you just move on to the next board/objective you’re given by the game. You don’t select your destination or what battles you want to go after. Also, the game board itself isn’t really big enough. There’s a lot of wasted space on the screen devoted to character portraits and planets, but I felt like the playing field could have been made larger without losing that periphery stuff.

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There are challenge levels to break up the normal game play, where you need to follow the instructions given and make specific matches within a certain amount of moves. You can also play quick games, where you don’t follow the campaign mode at all and just choose a particular style of game you want to play and go at it. You can submit your records for online ranking, though you can’t play against other people as of yet. It’s probably something that would really make this title stand out, even if it would be very difficult to implement. Still, it’s not like you see your opponent’s gathering materials – you’re only shown your own efforts on the puzzle board in front of you – so the only thing that would need to be shown is when your opponent launches an attack against you. But even without those things, it’s still a fun game to play. It’s not the greatest puzzle game I’ve played on the iDevice, but it’s better than average, and I can definitely recommend grabbing it.

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App Summary
Title: Puzzlegeddon (v1.1) Developer: HandyGames
Price: $3.99 App Size: 22.2 MB
  • Lengthy campaign mode
  • Enough twists on the matching formula to feel different
  • Fun challenge modes
  • Not the best use of on-screen real estate
  • Story is too linear
  • No online versus mode

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Animal Kingdom in Review – doesn’t matter if you’re black or white http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/10/12/animal-kingdom-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/10/12/animal-kingdom-in-review/#comments Mon, 12 Oct 2009 17:54:17 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=21341 Animal Kingdom is kind of like Chess mixed with rock/paper/scissors. From the introduction screen, you’re shown in what order a piece can take another – each one has a ranking and it can only take a piece under it in value – just like rock/paper/scissors. But like Chess, Animal Kingdom is deceptively deep, with lots … Read more]]>

Animal Kingdom 1Animal Kingdom is kind of like Chess mixed with rock/paper/scissors. From the introduction screen, you’re shown in what order a piece can take another – each one has a ranking and it can only take a piece under it in value – just like rock/paper/scissors. But like Chess, Animal Kingdom is deceptively deep, with lots of strategy involved if you want to emerge victorious.

Animal Kingdom 2

App Description

Animal Kingdom is an easy-to-learn, easy-to-play board game with beautiful graphics and animations. It’s based on a traditional Chinese board game, Dou Shou Qi (斗兽棋). We didn’t change the rules, but completely re-designed the look of the game! It is joyful by simply watching how pieces move around on the board.

You’re asked to choose which side you want to play as from the opening screen – and it doesn’t really matter which side you choose. At this point, you can also choose to play it single player (meaning against the computer) or against a friend (but one who’s sitting next to you, not over an internet connection). There are also five levels of computer difficulty to play against; Beginner, Easy, Normal, Hard, and Professional. I don’t think I ever lost playing Beginner, but it was a great way to get used to the game.  Normal was where I first started to feel challenged – though soon enough I felt like I was beating that one each time. So I moved on to Hard – and I haven’t won a match yet. I can’t even imagine the difficulty in Professional.

Animal Kingdom 3

So, there’s no doubt this isn’t a game you’ll feel like you’ve beaten in half a day – so long as you understand that this is a board game of sorts. The pieces are wonderfully animated and move around the board so fluidly, I can even enjoy watching my guys get pummeled by my computer opponent. There are also some special moves, where certain pieces can jump over the open tiles in the middle of the board, or others can hide there and wait for the right time to pop out and strike. You ultimate goal is to get to the ‘base’ of the opposite side – the square with the symbol upon it surrounded by three spaces with circles. Those circles are your last minute ‘save’ – any piece that has landed on a circle space can be attacked by any other piece; thought it’s important to remember that’s just as true if your piece lands on that space in your home turf as well.

Animal Kingdom 4Some of the things that I want to see in Animal Kingdom are coming soon according to the developer. Sound was added in a recent update, and in the next release is supposed to be Bluetooth play mode (though I’d really like to see it done via wifi) and new game boards – both of which I think will really round out this gaming experience. That said, it’s an easy game to recommend grabbing – and with a Lite version you can even try it out for free.

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App Summary
Title: Animal Kingdom (v1.2) Developer: Sleeping Heroes
Price: $0.99 App Size: 5.0 MB
  • Great blend of Chess and Rock/Paper/Scissors
  • Nicely animated game pieces
  • Currently no plans for playing against live opponents over the internet

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iBlast Moki in Review – what a blast! http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/10/12/iblast-moki-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/10/12/iblast-moki-in-review/#comments Mon, 12 Oct 2009 14:07:36 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=21334 iBlast Moki is just one of those games you can’t help but like. It’s got the fun graphical quality found in Rolando and LocoRoco, and the easy pick-up-and play quality of a puzzle game It’s easily one of my favorite games on the iDevice, and I dare you to play it and not find yourself in the … Read more]]>

iBlast Moki 1

iBlast Moki is just one of those games you can’t help but like. It’s got the fun graphical quality found in Rolando and LocoRoco, and the easy pick-up-and play quality of a puzzle game It’s easily one of my favorite games on the iDevice, and I dare you to play it and not find yourself in the same boat.

iBlast Moki 2

iBlast Moki is split into 6 lands, with around 10-13 levels per land; in order unlock the next land, you must first beat a certain number of levels in the land you’re currently in. Also, depending upon how fast you managed to beat a particular level, you will earn a medal (bronze, silver, gold). So, like the best puzzle games, it’s got a series of rewards for you to earn and incentives to keep playing.

iBlast Moki 3

When you begin a level, you’re shown your Moki (or Mokis) and often given a hint as to how to proceed with getting that Moki to the level’s exit (as shown by the swirling ball). One of the primary methods of moving your Moki is placing a bomb near it. When you do so, you’ll see the trajectory come up on the screen, giving you an idea of where that Moki is going to go flying to once the bomb goes off. Things start simply enough: where you learn about setting delays on your time bombs so that you can set off a series and keep the Moki moving to where you need it to go.

iBlast Moki 4

But things build from there, as the game throws in destructible pieces you need to get through, movable pieces that must be pushed aside and multiple Mokis who must all be saved. And even though new pieces are added as you progress: rope, pipes and balloons; you always have a very limited inventory of these items, which means that you must work to find the best method of achieving your goal. Something else I love about iBlast Moki is that each world tends to change the rules a bit too. Just when you’re used to Mokis sailing through the air, we switch to a water world where a bomb will send the Moki on a downward arc instead.

iBlast Moki 5

But wait – that’s not all! On top of all that, there’s the fantastically robust level creator. You can make your own levels, building them as intricately as you’d like, using everything that you find in the game itself – and then you can share those creations on the plus+ network. I actually wish I could say something negative about iBlast Moki, or find some area where I think it needs improvement – but honestly, I think it’s a fantastic game. There are some brilliantly tough levels that will be a formidable challenge to anyone – but at the same time, I think most of the levels provide just the right amount of trial and error challenge that you’ll never feel annoyed by it. Besides, even when the Mokis are falling to their doom, or blasting off in unexpected ways – you’re still having a whole lot of fun – and that’s what it’s all about.

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App Summary
Title: iBlast Moki Developer: Godzilab
Price: $0.99 App Size: 9.9 MB
  • Fantastic graphics
  • Great puzzle strategy hybrid
  • Full featured level creator
  • It’s a crying shame you have to blast all those Mokis – I almost feel sorry for them. Almost.

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