TouchMyApps » Shane 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 Sat, 21 Mar 2015 20:02:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.5 Sushi Mayhem in Review – Fresh Concept, Raw Gameplay http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/09/29/sushi-mayhem-in-review-%e2%80%93-fresh-concept-raw-gameplay/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/09/29/sushi-mayhem-in-review-%e2%80%93-fresh-concept-raw-gameplay/#comments Tue, 29 Sep 2009 16:06:27 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=20699 It’s hard to argue that the match-3 genre of games isn’t popular in the App-Store, but it’s true that it’s increasingly difficult to create a good match-3 game. There are so many titles available at the moment that, to the casual player, it’s very tough to find something just right to play. As a match-3 … Read more]]>

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It’s hard to argue that the match-3 genre of games isn’t popular in the App-Store, but it’s true that it’s increasingly difficult to create a good match-3 game. There are so many titles available at the moment that, to the casual player, it’s very tough to find something just right to play. As a match-3 maniac gamer, I’ve played quite a few of the big titles (Bejeweled 2, Treasures of Montezuma, The Rise of Atlantis, just to name a few) and it’s easy to see how some people might get lost in the seemingly endless gameplay.

However, these titles are mainly popular due to the fact that they’re ported from their original versions. Newer developers for the App Store are very aware that in order to be successful there must be some sort of unique concept in the game-play to keep people interested.
Now, being the self-acclaimed match-3 maniac that I am, I had to give Brain Stain Entertainment’s new game, Sushi Mayhem, a try because of their unique concept. Rather than pure match-3 play, they added some spice (and lots of fish) and created a time management type puzzle game.

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So your old man gramps is retiring from his world famous sushi restaurant, but he doesn’t trust you in taking over the business yet. What happens next? Well, you’re going to learn how to make world famous sushi so you’ll be able to take over the restaurant. And Grampa’s training method is to simply throw all the ingredients at you and let you serve the customers.

Sushi Mayhem is quite easy to learn. If you’ve never played a match-3 type game before, then you’ve most likely been living under a rock. Anyway, you are given a grid of ingredients and you then tap on the spaces to swap ingredients with adjacent ones. Matching groups of 3 or more will remove them from the board and more ingredients will fall down to take up the empty space.

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Sounds easy enough, right? Well, it actually is. But the twist comes with the time management portion. Each level represents a day of business at your sushi shop, and each day a profit goal is set for you to accomplish.

The ingredients that you remove from the board will end up accumulating at the bottom. Each day a special selection of sushi is put on the menu, and you must use your memory skills to match together the right ingredients in order to make sushi for each customer. As with most shop-keeping time management games, you’ll get a steady flow customers (who love sushi). Whatever pops up in their mind for an order must be delivered by you, by matching the right ingredients and making the right sushi before their patience runs thin. And if you happen to be stuck with too many angry customers, there’s the option of passing a bottle of sake to stall for time.

When the timer finally runs out to mark the end of the day, your total sales and tips are shown as well as a customer satisfaction rating.

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Graphic wise, Sushi Mayhem is very colourful and cartoon-like, which may appeal to many match-3 players. There are a vast number of different different ingredients ranging from cucumbers and avocados to salmon and shrimp. On the other hand, it’s harder to praise the amount of work done on the in-game sounds. Besides the main menu music, there aren’t any in-game tunes. The only effects are the constant “pings” from matching blocks, and they can be a bit annoying. There’s also no way to turn the sounds off since the game lacks an options menu.

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The main disappointment from this game was the lack of a high-score table. I felt like there was absolutely no replay value, and no reason to continue playing the same situations of matching sushi ingredients.

For a $2.99 price value, Sushi Mayhem is probably better for the die-hard match-3 fans rather than someone just looking for a game to play. With the myriad match-3 puzzles in the App Store, you’re certain to find something with more replay value, so unless Brain Stain Entertainment steps up their game with more features, I’m can only give Sushi Mayhem a Tap.

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App Summary
Title: Sushi Mayhem (v1.0) Developer: Brain Stain Entertainment
Price: $2.99 App Size: 19.5 MB
  • Unique gameplay
  • Good graphics and sound
  • No highscores.
  • Low replay value
  • Only one game mode

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You may be interested in other puzzle-game articles which can be found below:
Mezopuzzle in Review – Match 3D Flick Puzzle in Review — Zeno Sola in Review — Go Go Rescue Squad in Review — Upcoming Chillingo puzzler: Cash Cow — Orbital in Review

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Snood in Review – Not enough Snoot http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/08/31/snood-in-review-not-enough-snoot/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/08/31/snood-in-review-not-enough-snoot/#comments Mon, 31 Aug 2009 16:07:28 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=19098 Bubble popping games are a somewhat lesser played genre of games on the iDevice. Probably well known names are the earlier Bubble Bash by Gameloft and the recently ported classic Bust-A-Move by TAITO. Snood, however is published at the App Store by Electronic Arts, who are quite the powerhouse for popular iDevice games recently. Bubble … Read more]]>

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Bubble popping games are a somewhat lesser played genre of games on the iDevice. Probably well known names are the earlier Bubble Bash by Gameloft and the recently ported classic Bust-A-Move by TAITO. Snood, however is published at the App Store by Electronic Arts, who are quite the powerhouse for popular iDevice games recently.

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Bubble popping games are generally easy to learn and get very intense very quickly. Snood, however, seems geared more towards the casual player. The basic story and classic modes are non-time based while other games require you to finish a level within a time limit. In any case, the gameplay is easy to understand, even if you’ve never played a bubble pop game before.

Snood offers four single player game modes (story, classic, puzzle, and time attack) as well as online live play. In each level, various coloured Snoods are shown as the little cartoon characters and displayed as the “bubbles” which must be matched into groups of 3 or more of the same colour to be removed from the screen.

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In the bottom middle of the screen is your launcher, which is used to shoot the loaded Snood at the area above. The controls are intuitive, being an easy left/right touch-swipes to aim the launcher and a tap on the loaded Snood to shoot. They are then launched out to snag onto the first friend they find. Snoods that are matched into groups will disappear, and any Snood below that isn’t supported will drop down. Hence it’s important to make combos in order to score higher. Additionally, each Snood you shoot into the field will cause your gauge to rise. When the gauge is filled, the top wall drops down a notch. If any Snood reaches the bottom line, it’s game over. High scoring shots will reduce the gauge fill.

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Some games have graphics that just “wow” everyone, while other games appeal to a certain demographic. Snood is one of those other games. Although the cartoony graphics and cute Snoody facial expressions may appeal to some, I wasn’t really into it and felt like there could have been improvements. However, as it was ported from the classic Snood from 1996 for Windows; overhauling too many things would change the game. Fortunately, players do have to options to use the classic graphics if they want, which is a nice addition. The music is upbeat and techno-like, and albeit being a single loop it’s easy to get lost in the beat while playing.

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The main thing in which is wrong with gameplay is that achievements and statistics are based on Facebook connect. Upon connecting, the game adds your profile to the Facebook Snood game application and allows you to save your achievements and ranks against your friends, as well as send push challenges and play live matches against other players. This may be convenient for people with plenty of friends who play Snood, but for the people who are less fortunate (or perhaps who may not even use Facebook), it is somewhat disappointing and leads to limited gameplay experience.

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Besides the few flaws from the system, the gameplay is still fun and the variety of game modes will keep people entertained. The best way to know if Snood is for you or not would be to try the Facebook version to get a feel of the gameplay and maybe chirp at a few friends to join in. Otherwise, Snood only deserves a Tap It rating if it’s left as a standalone iDevice game.

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App Summary
Title: Snood (v1.0) Developer: Electronic Arts
Price: $3.99 App Size: 40.3 MB
  • Intuitive controls
  • Various game modes
  • Intense gameplay
  • Too much dependance on Facebook
  • No saves

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Nano Rally in Review – Small Cars, Big Race http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/08/18/nano-rally-in-review-%e2%80%93-small-cars-big-race/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/08/18/nano-rally-in-review-%e2%80%93-small-cars-big-race/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2009 08:50:14 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=18000 You know those things in life that you always want to try, but never really get the time to make it work? When I first saw Sauce Digital’s Nano Rally, I knew that I had to try it out. Simply put, I always wanted to race remote-controlled cars around the many layers of obstacles of … Read more]]>

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You know those things in life that you always want to try, but never really get the time to make it work? When I first saw Sauce Digital’s Nano Rally, I knew that I had to try it out. Simply put, I always wanted to race remote-controlled cars around the many layers of obstacles of a house. Sadly, I didn’t have any remote controlled vehicles or much house (let alone layers of obstacles) to bump around in. Needless to say, this game piqued my interest. Nano-sized racecars cruising around everyday household objects – sounds good to anyone else?

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Nano Rally placed you in the tiny driver’s seat of a miniature car. You, the lone blue car, must traverse the vast area of your house through a variety of different courses, made up of many delightful and colourful obstacles. Two game modes are at your disposal: Single Race and Championship. Single Race lets you race any unlocked course, while Championship is a sequence of races for a selected area of the house. At first, only the Kitchen is available to play, with other sections unlockable only after you pass the Championship mode in the top Quartile.

A nice feature of Nano Rally is that you can choose your car’s acceleration, top speed, breaks, and handling before beginning a course. How you customize may determine how well you run through the track. For example, “handling” allows for more responsive steering: great for those sharp turns on obstacle-heavy courses.

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Racing is fairly simple. You are given a number of laps to complete, and your total time is recorded at the finish. I found some of the excitement to be missing when I realized that you’re the only car on the course. Indeed, Nano Rally has more of a time-trial type gameplay than arcade style racing. In each race, your final time is ranked against a series of artificial times with very nationally-oriented names; for example, “The Bear” is the Canadian driver, and the French racer is named “S-Car GO” (pronounced “escargo”).

To be brutally honest, the top scores given in the rankings are probably from near perfect driving, which makes the game extremely difficult in its current form. Many other reviews have mentioned that it was near impossible for the casual gamer to unlock more tracks.

My last point on the gameplay goes towards the control scheme. Although the steering, brakes, and gas pedals work great, the racing gameplay is somewhat made awkward by the camera. In simple terms, while racing it’s not the car turning but rather the world revolving around the car, similar to the early iPhone app “Spinner Prologue”. This is no the most intuitive racing format.

Finally, a small but perhaps crucial thing to note is that there is no pause button – so get ready to roll… and roll… and roll…

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It’s clear that the developers spent many hours working on Nano Rally’s graphics; the courses and obstacles of Nano Rally are absolutely fantastic.. Every object in the game is colourful and beautifully rendered. It is in fact more than enough to make up for the lack of racing lines in the courses, even though I do prefer knowing which way to turn when I can. Sound effects are also clear and accented by the ever-so-necessary “vroom vroom” of your tiny engine.

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There is an online scoreboard for best track times and best overall times and players have their country flags shown beside their names for others to identify with. Additionally, the settings allow for changes to vehicle steering controls with a few tilt sensibilities and auto-acceleration tweaks.

At the moment, Nano Rally lacks real racing gameplay due to its time trial race formula. According to the iTunes description, the devs have promised fixes such as: additional difficulty levels, racing lines, and camera options. At the moment however, Nano Rally is just a cute game with good potential, but it seems to be waiting for something; for now, it just gets tapped.

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App Summary
Title: Nano Rally (V 1.0) Developer: Sauce Digital
Price: $0.99 App Size: 0.5 mb
  • Beautiful graphics
  • Online leaderboards
  • Racing in your house!
  • Much too difficult
  • Camera motion doesn’t give the game a “race” feel
  • No actual racing against other cars, just best times

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Are you “Big” into racing? We got a couple of handfuls of racing app articles for you below:
Real Racing in ReviewArtificial Life and Red Bull Racing Team up for F1Waterslide ExtremeNeed for Speed Undercover Review – Monster Trucks Nitro in Review

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Taxi Jam in Review – Think You Have What it Takes? http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/08/07/taxi-jam-in-review-%e2%80%93-think-you-have-what-it-takes/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/08/07/taxi-jam-in-review-%e2%80%93-think-you-have-what-it-takes/#comments Fri, 07 Aug 2009 15:44:36 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=17460 In the busy streets of large cities such as New York, Paris, and Shanghai, many people rely on the transportation system to get around. When you miss that bus or subway, or if you’re just in a hurry, one of your other options is to take a taxi. Of course, on busy streets a taxi … Read more]]>

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In the busy streets of large cities such as New York, Paris, and Shanghai, many people rely on the transportation system to get around. When you miss that bus or subway, or if you’re just in a hurry, one of your other options is to take a taxi. Of course, on busy streets a taxi may not be the most efficient method of travel, but at least it comes to you and hopefully, you won’t have to wait too long.

Taxi Jam, by Nerv, is a title which fits under the umbrella of line-drawing games. Yes, this is similar to Flight Control, Harbor Master, Draw Race, et cetera. The responsibility is now on you to make sure the important people of the city don’t miss their meetings, dates, and family dinners.

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Unlike the open maps in Flight Control and Harbor Master, Taxi Jam gives you a city map in which you drive on the streets. This of course, makes sense since taxis don’t fly over buildings. It also sparks a bit of challenge. Three cities are shown when you first play: New York, London, and Paris. Only New York is unlocked from the start. The other two require you to complete the previous map with a score of 100. However, this is definitely no easy task.

When you begin, you are given an arsenal of taxis from the garage. You can then begin sending out any number of taxis to pick up people in need of your services. Don’t keep them waiting though, or they’ll get mad and you’ll lose a life. Five lives isn’t much to work with, so keep your customers happy!

When you up a passenger, you must direct your vehicle to a specific drop-off destination. Locations are colour-based, and your taxi will have a colour to show where its destination point is. Each successful drop-off gives you 1 point. More and more drop-off points are added as you collect more fares.

Impatient passengers aren’t the only obstacle. Limited space makes it necessary for you to keep track of where everything is. Crashing two occupied taxis together will also cause you to lose a life. Additionally, every so often you’ll have a police car or firetruck, sirens blazing, rushing across the screen. These too, must be avoided or a life will be lost.

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It seems like most line-drawing games have similar graphic styles. Perhaps I’m among that group who dig the top-down 2D look. Maybe its the clean lines that grabbed me, I don’t know. One graphical problem that nags me is that taxis drive in the middle of a two-way street, a trivial, but frustrating problem. Taxi Jam’s sound effects and music are classy and the operator chattering away adds a dose of realism to this simulator.

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Taxi Jam features an online high score list for each city, allowing everyone to submit their high scores and compare with other players.

It’s rather hard to compare Taxi Jam with Flight Control and Harbor Master in terms of gameplay, because of the different variations of the concepts, but it’s easy to say that it is a fun game. Taxi Jam draws upon all your coordination abilities and tests your watchful eyes. With great confidence in all future taxi operators, I’d Grab a copy of this addictive game and get ready to roam the city roads.

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App Summary
Title: Taxi Jam (V 1.00) Developer: Nerv
Price: $0.99 App Size: 18.6 MB
  • Intuitive controls
  • Great gameplay
  • Neat graphics
  • Realistic sound
  • Online high scores
  • Too difficult?

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Into other draw-race type simulators?
Flight Control in Review – Draw Race in Review

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Earth vs Moon in Review – Rockets at the Ready http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/07/28/earth-vs-moon-in-review-rockets-at-the-ready/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/07/28/earth-vs-moon-in-review-rockets-at-the-ready/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2009 10:54:08 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=16508 If you are a retro gamer (unlike me), you may have played something by the name of Missile Command. The old concept of shooting down incoming missiles as a defence genre has grown over the years from the Atari system to the Xbox. Now it’s come to the iPhone and iPod Touch (although not the … Read more]]>

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If you are a retro gamer (unlike me), you may have played something by the name of Missile Command. The old concept of shooting down incoming missiles as a defence genre has grown over the years from the Atari system to the Xbox. Now it’s come to the iPhone and iPod Touch (although not the first of this genre) as Earth vs Moon, by Low Five Games. And this game is actually more retro than meets the eye.

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So what did the world leaders decide to do when Earth was suddenly attacked by masses of oncoming rockets from the Moon? There were two options: A) Surrender or B) Die. The Earth chose C) Fight, and now you are the commander of the most advanced missile defence system in the planet’s orbit.

That’s right, you are given command of three stationary satellites in orbit and your job is to defend against the myriad of missiles coming straight towards Earth. And mind you, there’s enough of those to blot out the sun, (as the Persians said in the movie 300).

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Earth vs Moon features extremely simple gameplay. However, no matter how simple they make it, I just seem to fail at these kinds of games. But it’s fun nonetheless to see a plethora of rockets, UFOs, and other things fall towards the Earth as you attempt to shoot them down.
The game modes are: Story mode, Score attack, and Boss attack. The latter two have to be unlocked by playing Story mode.

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The basis is this: in each level you have three stationary satellites on the screen armed with a limited number missiles. Hostile rockets will begin to fly towards the Earth, and tapping or swiping on the screen in the desired target location above satellite level will launch missiles from the nearest satellite. Upon reaching the designated point, the missile will explode and cause surrounding rockets to blow up as well. Chain reactions can occur when plenty of rockets explode in the same vicinity.

Indeed, this is a simple concept, but it’s not so easy when it comes to having to aim your missiles properly. Additionally, each level progresses in difficulty and more challenges are set upon the player. At the end of a stage, you’re given a rank based on how many missiles you used and how well you managed to keep oncoming rockets at bay.

It’s absolutely crucial that you defend the Earth from being hit, otherwise each rocket impact will make it less habitable. Once all your land turns red from explosions, it’s game over. Similarly, your satellites can also be destroyed from rocket impacts, usually resulting in a game over. Because of this, Earth vs Moon takes some strategy and coordination rather than just mindless tapping.

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Now, what makes Earth vs Moon more unique than other missile defence games is that it’s not just simply defending against rockets each level. Low Five Games decided to take it “retro” and involve a few other past games. For example, one level is playing Pong against a massive mother-ship, as you shoot rockets to deflect the ball back towards the top. Another level takes the form of Space Invaders, with masses of side-scrolling UFOs flying towards the Earth.

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Earth vs Moon’s graphics can only be described as “awesome”. Sure, there might not be massive 3D models or the like, but the game is retro, and coupled with the smooth gameplay Low Five Games create a very nice experience. The explosions from missiles are vivid enough, but don’t distract you from gameplay. The sound effects are also a nice addition to the gameplay especially UFO sounds which complement the space theme well.

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Earth vs Moon is one of those games that creates a harmony between graphics and gameplay while adding a dash of humour on the side to make an overall enjoyable experience. With many aspects of retro-gaming remixed into the humourous storyline, I think I would speak for most retro gamers when I say that I’d “Kiss It”. Earth vs Moon is a must-get for those who love fast paced action combined with strategy.
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App Summary
Title: Earth vs Moon (v1.0) Developer: Low Five Games
Price: $1.99 App Size: 14.0 MB
  • Combines different retro games into one
  • Short, but challenging and fun gameplay
  • Great replay value
  • Needs online capability i.e., online high scores, peer to peer, etc.

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Intro Retro games? Grab your one-button joystick and follow me below:
Sega’s Golden Axe Descended onto the App Store – Dragon Panic Blazes onto App Store – Brett Nova IV in ReviewBlade of Betrayal in ReviewWolfenstein 3D Classic in ReviewKrypton Egg in ReviewVector Tanks in ReviewBlue Attack! in ReviewBlue Defense! in Review

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Mahjongg Artifacts 2 in Review – A Mix of Adventure in Puzzle http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/07/15/mahjongg-artifacts-2-in-review-%e2%80%93-a-mix-of-adventure-in-puzzle/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/07/15/mahjongg-artifacts-2-in-review-%e2%80%93-a-mix-of-adventure-in-puzzle/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2009 00:04:24 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=15648 What makes a good mahjong solitaire game? Most people tend to play mahjong solitaire when they’re relaxed, or just feel like they’re up for some brain-work. There are quite a few titles for these tile-matching games, probably most notable would be Moonlight Mahjong from the earlier days of the App Store. It’s intuitive 3D graphics … Read more]]>

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What makes a good mahjong solitaire game? Most people tend to play mahjong solitaire when they’re relaxed, or just feel like they’re up for some brain-work. There are quite a few titles for these tile-matching games, probably most notable would be Moonlight Mahjong from the earlier days of the App Store. It’s intuitive 3D graphics were of high quality and the interface was easy to use, and I probably think of it as the epitome of mahjong solitaire games for the iPhone.

But alas, I always seem to sit here praising other games, so being back on topic we have a game known as Mahjongg Artifacts 2 by G5 Entertainment. It’s gameplay is essentially the same; match the tiles and clear the board. The real difference between all of the mahjong solitaire games is the graphics and the content. And I can assure you that Mahjongg Artifacts 2 has plenty of graphics and content.

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The gameplay of mahjong tile-matching games are all well known. Basically, the player begins with a board setup consisting of about 100 tiles. Two of the same tiles can then be matched and removed from the layout if they’re not covered by a tile, and if they have no tile to the immediate left or right side. The few special rules are that season tiles and flower tiles can be matched without being the same picture. Once all the tiles are removed, the game ends. Or in the case for Mahjongg Artifacts 2, the player only has to match the two gold tiles (usually buried at the bottom anyhow) to finish the level. Majongg Artifacts features three different modes: Quest, Classic, and Endless.

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Quest mode is simply progressive stages of tile-matching. There are 25 levels in total, split into 5 sections of the story. Each part of the story takes place in a different country, and the tile set reflects on the country you’re in. The storyline is based on a woman searching for an explorer in Asia, and along the way there’s a mystery to solve (however, I can’t give spoilers. That’s for you to find out!). There’s a section of a comic after each level to keep you updated as you play.

Classic mode is just the regular tile-matching game. Mahjongg artifacts gives 99 different layouts to choose from, so there’s plenty of replayability for the solitaire fans. Finally, there’s Endless mode. Frankly, this isn’t the best part of the game. It’s more of a classic mode combined with an infinity loop so the player just continues to match tiles. The game keeps track of how many layers you remove.

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To add a bit of flare, there are special tiles in the game. These tiles, when matched with another tile, will have effects such as moving a tile to a different spot, shuffling the board, or clearing away all the tiles of the same type. Additionally, some tiles contain pearls, and collecting pearls will allow you to play special actions like hints, shuffling, and undo.

The graphics of Mahjongg Artifacts seems like a double-edged sword… and I say this because the tiles and backgrounds are beautifully drawn and coloured, but only really noticeable when magnified (currently, there is only 1 level of zoom). The tiles themselves are also a bit small and a slight strain on the eyes, which makes the gameplay a bit awkward when trying to make the right matches. Other than this, the interface itself is quite colourful, detailed, and easy to use.

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Themes and sets aren’t unlocked from the beginning; the player is required to play through Quest mode to unlock them. Each country unlocks a tileset, and each level unlocks one of the beautiful art backgrounds. These can then be selected when playing Classic or Endless mode.
The game also features an achievement system for completing certain aspects of the game. There’s an object for each level in Quest mode that allows the player to review the storyline comic. As well, achievements such as “score 1 million points in any game mode” and the like, will allow for some replayability.

In the end, I can say is that it’s not a bad tile matching game overall. I myself prefer something with a larger view and perhaps a 3D look, but the graphics of Mahjongg Artifacts don’t disappoint. While it will be interesting to see if G5 Entertainment brings any updates to the game, for now I’ll only Tap It when I’m in the mood for a quick puzzle.

Note: G5 Entertainment has released a free lite version of Mahjongg Artifacts 2 that you can download here. If you enjoy Mahjong solitaire, then we highly recommend that you check it out.

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App Summary
Title: Mahjongg Artifacts 2 (v1.0) Developer: G5 Entertainment
Price: $1.99 App Size: 17.2 MB
  • Quest mode has a story which keeps you going.
  • Many, many different layouts in classic mode.
  • Power-Ups to make gameplay more interesting.
  • Tile graphics are a bit small, and sometimes the overlap is hard to see.
  • Endless mode is extremely boring
  • Would be good if there were more than just one level of zoom

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DrawRace in Review – A Straight Line to Victory http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/07/10/drawrace-in-review-%e2%80%93-a-straight-line-to-victory/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/07/10/drawrace-in-review-%e2%80%93-a-straight-line-to-victory/#comments Fri, 10 Jul 2009 13:56:22 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=15117 What is it that made Firemint’s Flight Control so popular? When it first appeared in the App Store, it had only one map and no online scores, yet it sold like wildfire. It was the fresh concept that drew the attention of the masses, being a new variation of the time management game. But this … Read more]]>

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What is it that made Firemint’s Flight Control so popular? When it first appeared in the App Store, it had only one map and no online scores, yet it sold like wildfire. It was the fresh concept that drew the attention of the masses, being a new variation of the time management game.

But this review isn’t about Flight Control, as there already is one on the site for that. This review is about a new game; one that’s also spreading rapidly for it’s new concept. From first glance, RedLynx’s DrawRace looks like it has a similar concept with line drawing gameplay, but it’s definitely not a time management game. I myself never became a fan of Flight Control, but DrawRace brought plenty of fun.

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DrawRace offers a very, very simple gameplay concept, but one that is also very enjoyable and takes practice to master. Before a race begins the player draws out the path around the circuit for which he/she wants the car to follow. The car will then try to follow that path as it completes laps around the course.

Of course, the car can’t follow the line exactly or the game would be too easy. The whole race depends on how well you draw out your route. Car speed at certain points of the course are based on how fast you draw the line. There are many small tricks that help increase the chances of getting a good lap time. For example, a commonly used skill is to slow down on turns, otherwise the turn will cause your car to lose speed rapidly. Obstacles will also slow your vehicle down, although this is mainly about cutting corners too close and going off-road. Luckily there aren’t any car collisions, so the game is completely based on the person’s own line-drawing ability.

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DrawRace has one main game mode, split into few sections. Everyone begins racing the AI on lower level tracks, and each track has its separate scoring for local and global. Winning on a track against the AI allows the player to then do time trials, ghost races against their local best times, or online challenges against other players’ ghost times. Additionally, more track sets are unlocked as the player completes previous sets. There are currently a total of 20 circuits in the game.

As well, DrawRace supports local hotseat multiplayer modes for up to three players, so you can race your friends on one device.

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DrawRace has similar type graphics to Flight Control, being the clean and colourful artwork and easy to see terrain. The sound effects of the cars “vrooming” down the track are realistic, as well as the screeching skids at those sharp turns. There’s also some upbeat music at the menus to get your finger adrenaline going for the next race.

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DrawRace features a local (saves your 3 best times) and online ranking for the best times on each track (submitted at the end of each race). There are national rankings and global rankings, and player locations are determined by GPS (not supported by all devices). Currently there’s no way to check the absolute best times unless you’re near the top of the ranks, but RedLynx has plans to make leader boards on their website in the future.

If you are a fan of racing games, DrawRace definitely won’t disappoint as it has a fresh concept on gameplay, plus it’s easy to play a few quick rounds whenever you’re on your coffee break. For $0.99, Grab it for the replayability and fun factor, and head for the finish line!

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App Summary
Title: DrawRace (v1.0) Developer: RedLynx Ltd
Price: $0.99 App Size: 15.4 MB
  • Extremely fun racing gameplay.
  • High replayability with online scoring.
  • Decent multiplayer system.
  • Somewhat slow server connection for uploading scores.
  • Short rounds makes 20 maps seem like “not so many”

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My Brute in Review – Violence Has Never Been So Entertaining http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/06/29/my-brute-in-review-violence-has-never-been-so-entertaining/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/06/29/my-brute-in-review-violence-has-never-been-so-entertaining/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2009 21:26:15 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=14575 So what is My Brute? If you’re familiar with the online flash game, My Brute is a mix of Super Smash Bros and a street gang war – it’s all action packed fighting with items and abilities, except you have no control over it. BulkyPix, the developers behind the the thriller game Hysteria Project, have … Read more]]>

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So what is My Brute? If you’re familiar with the online flash game, My Brute is a mix of Super Smash Bros and a street gang war – it’s all action packed fighting with items and abilities, except you have no control over it. BulkyPix, the developers behind the the thriller game Hysteria Project, have ported the web version of My Brute to the iDevice. But since that doesn’t explain the whole story, the web version can be found here. It’s a simple yet fun flash title based on automated fights between virtual characters called “brutes”. Typing in a name generates a new brute profile, in which the player can then go to the arena and choose their battles.

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Anyone with experience with the web-based My Brute should know that this isn’t really a “game”. It’s more of a pyramid scheme merged with a progressive half-baked role-play, but we call it a game because it’s fun nonetheless. The player has the ability to create brutes and challenge other players’ brutes to fight in the arena in an all-out 1v1 battle to the end. The concept is surprisingly entertaining, even if it’s based on the gruelling Colosseum fights of Ancient Rome. Coupled with the colorful cartoon-like graphics (no blood effects), the web-based My Brute has almost 2 million web hits each day worldwide.

BulkyPix’s iDevice version has no data connection to the web-based flash; it’s hosted on their own server (requires internet access to play!). That didn’t stop the masses of players from starting anew on the mobile platform though. Since there are distinct differences between the new App Store version and the original flash, I base my overview on the mobile.

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Upon creating a new brute, you then hit the arena for combat. Each brute has different stats, and as they level up from fighting in the arena, they gain new abilities, weapons, and pets to aid them in future battles . These extras contribute significantly to the fighting, and there is an almost rock-paper-scissors theme to it.

Each fight you initiate in the arena will give your brute experience. Winning a fight gains 2 exp, losing a fight gains 1 exp, and losing without even touching your opponent (aka getting blown up) will not gain any exp. Each level, your brute will gain a stat and a bonus in the form of a weapon/ability/pet. Although it seems boring at first with the back and forth punching at level 1, My Brute quickly becomes more action-packed (swords, hammers, and bears, oh my!)

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As with custom to the online version, fighting in My Brute is limited to a certain number per day. Each brute on the mobile version has the ability to fight 5 times every 24 hours, with exception to the first day, which is 6 fights. This feature ensures that the player who wants to win must make the right decisions on who to fight.

Finally, a major aspect of My Brute is the pyramid scheme, better known as getting other players to join your dojo as pupils. This is somewhat like the many code-collecting MMO games, except in My Brute each person can only have one master, and the pupils will also give the master experience each time they level up. Additionally, gaining pupils allows for the master to unlock bonus features such as more slots to create brutes and extra arena backgrounds. The pupil will also gain a 3 day double experience bonus and a stat bonus based on the type of dojo joined.

mybrute5However, the certain downside to the dojo system is the fact that the pupil must have bought the full version of the game for the master to take advantage of the experience. Additionally, the pupil is then faced with the problem of having to gain pupils in order to unlock bonuses. The reason for this being a complaint for some reviewers/players is that the full value of the game lies in having everything unlocked. In just starting out, the player only has the ability to create 3 brutes. And not everyone has the methods or ability to get friends to shell $5 to join. The lite version does offer the same deal, though to a much lesser extent.

Graphically, My Brute is enriched with colorful visuals. It reminded me a bit of the free PC game “Little Fighter” in a way, and despite being cartoonish, it remains popular amongst all ages. There is the occasional graphical glitch during fights, but most of the time it’s the action being watched.

My Brute on iDevice also features “kung-fu” style background music and sound effects in battle. As of OS 3.0, players can also make their own playlist from their iPod library to play in-game.

mybrute7Despite the downsides of limited play, I still recommend My Brute to players looking for some daily entertainment, especially when they might be in a rush and only have a few minutes to spare, perhaps on their coffee break at work. Bulkypix has promised more features added to the game soon, and in the future we may even see tournaments like the web version. For now, I’m all with the popularity and hype that comes with My Brute and say “Grab It” while you can to get ahead.

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App Summary
Title: My Brute (v1.5) Developer: Bulkypix
Price: $4.99 App Size: 20.8 MB
  • Very colorful and entertaining.
  • Graphics are well balanced.
  • Fun gameplay
  • Variety in weapons, skills and pets
  • Pyramid recruiting scheme is a bit flawed for the bottom level.
  • Limited play time per day (may not be worth it for some)
  • Slightly expensive at $4.99

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WaterWays in Review – Stuck In The Mud? http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/06/28/waterways-in-reviewstuck-in-the-mud/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/06/28/waterways-in-reviewstuck-in-the-mud/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2009 01:25:13 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=14452 Meet Patch. He’s a cow, but he’s not just an ordinary cow. Ok maybe he is, but he has a very important job, which is to stop the world from flooding. Our water system, the Caretaker 3000, hadn’t been properly maintained and now it’s sprung a leak. It’s up to you to help Patch stop … Read more]]>

waterways1Meet Patch. He’s a cow, but he’s not just an ordinary cow. Ok maybe he is, but he has a very important job, which is to stop the world from flooding. Our water system, the Caretaker 3000, hadn’t been properly maintained and now it’s sprung a leak. It’s up to you to help Patch stop the leak from flooding the land.

Developed by Rough Cookie and published by TAITO Corporation, WaterWays seems to be a unique puzzler game. After playing a few levels I realized that this game was similar to Conniption Entertainment’s “Pathways”, however TAITO’s WaterWays utilizes the features of the iDevice to create a slightly complex twist…

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WaterWays, as said, is a unique twist on the Pathways game. The goal is to reach the end square without getting stuck. Travelling around is done by walking on land or just going with the flow (of water!). In the beginning of a level, Patch the cow will find himself somewhat far away from the leaking pipe, and must take a bold step across flooded grounds to fix it.

Now, the first few levels come out as straightforward with just paths leading towards the pipe. With the slightest tilt of the device, the landscape tilts as well. Wait, what’s this? It’s 3D! There are multiple layers featured in each level. Controls are simple; simply tap in the direction that you want Patch to move and he’ll move in that direction. Patch can walk up or down one level of ground as long as it’s not flooded with water, otherwise he jumps into the water and prepares to free-float.

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However, with the terrain having multiple levels, so too does the water. The water will always begin at a certain level, and it can be “flushed” down a level by tilting your device in one of four directions. Directions become important in this puzzle, because it does two things. Firstly, each level uses colored drawbridges which are simultaneously raised and lowered by flushing a level of water in the direction of the same color. Secondly, if Patch is floating in the water, flushing it will allow him to drift in the direction of the water flow. As long as you use your water wisely, Patch won’t end up being stuck in the mud at the bottom.

There are also a few obstacles in the puzzle, which seem to be there more as an annoyance than to actually making the puzzle harder. Rams and pillars push Patch in the other direction, and crashing into geese in the water will automatically cause you to restart the level.
Finally as one interesting tid-bit, standing around with no action in a puzzle will cause Patch to say something witty to keep you somewhat entertained.

Graphic-wise, WaterWays is well made even if it looks a bit block-like. Every bit of tilt moves the whole screen, which shows the 3D environment. The only downside is that if you tilt too far you’ll cause a flush, and accidental flushes usually mean you have to restart the level. I didn’t think too much of the sounds; it compliments the game, but isn’t very noticeable.

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The downside to WaterWays is that it only has 20 levels of different difficulties, and higher levels cannot be unlocked until the previous few have been played. There is no scoring system for time taken, number of moves made, etc, and I had almost no sense of achievement from completing a level.

For $2.99, WaterWays doesn’t promise much except graphics and a few short puzzles that will cause more frustration than fun. Given that the average person may not even pass half of the levels, the price would have been well spent elsewhere. Without more features, I found there wasn’t much point in continuing the puzzles after playing through most of them, and thus I’m giving WaterWays a Slap It rating. This game definitely ain’t no Cooking Mama.

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App Summary
Title: WaterWays Developer: TAITO Corporation
Price: $2.99 App Size: 9.9 mb
  • 3D graphics.
  • Somewhat difficult levels
  • Too short.
  • No scoring/achievements.
  • Controls are not the most responsive.

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Buka in Review – ‘Sploding Baddies! http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/06/19/buka-in-review-%e2%80%93-%e2%80%98sploding-baddies/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/06/19/buka-in-review-%e2%80%93-%e2%80%98sploding-baddies/#comments Fri, 19 Jun 2009 21:01:02 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=13756 “Buka makes stars go boom!” – The description given by the developers Hexage.net for their award-winning casual action game for the Android platform. As some people may categorize Buka as a shooter game, I categorize it under the castle defence genre like Chillingo’s Knights Onrush, with a much different variation in graphics and a slightly … Read more]]>

buka1“Buka makes stars go boom!” – The description given by the developers Hexage.net for their award-winning casual action game for the Android platform. As some people may categorize Buka as a shooter game, I categorize it under the castle defence genre like Chillingo’s Knights Onrush, with a much different variation in graphics and a slightly different concept.

As the story goes, Buka is a little blue planet traveling through space to find The Happy Place. It’s a long and treacherous journey with plenty of baddies, represented as evil glowing stars. It is your duty to protect her – Yes, Buka is a she – from the baddies by blowing them away.

The game offers one mode of progressive difficulty in levels. When you first meet Buka, she’s drifting through space. “Me journey to the HAPPY PLACE!” No explanation needed there, you’re to help her get to her destination. The tough part? There is a myriad of evil out to get her.

buka3Your job is to make them explode before they crash on Buka. Controls are straightforward; as Buka travels along, there will be enemies rushing towards her. A single quick tap creates a small shockwave force to either deter them or slow them down in the opposite direction.

A touch and hold will start a spark. The longer you hold it down, the larger the spark will become. Releasing the spark will cause an explosion to cause everything in the area around to “Boom!”, and I can tell you that Buka loves seeing baddies explode. Sounds easy enough, but that’s not all. Baddies also leave chunks that can hurt Buka, and because more and more of them appear as you progress further along, more mayhem occurs.

buka4Among the chunks that baddies leave behind, you’ll also find Green Pieces. These are immune to explosions and restore hit points to Buka if she eats them. Buka can be moved around the screen with your finger to help avoid baddies and catch green pieces. The game also offers tilt control as movement for the players with multitasking ability (I definitely know I can’t). The controls for the game are well implemented and fit perfectly with the iPhone and iPod Touch’s capabilities.

buka5Buka’s graphics are cute, virbrant and very well designed. It shows that the developers have put a lot of time into making the game an enjoyable experience. What’s more though, are the game sounds. For example, Buka speaks to the player with a very cute “plub plub” language. The background music is soft and creates a relaxed atmosphere that also fits great with the space theme.

Scoring in Buka is based on a few factors. Primary scoring is based on how many baddies you explode and how many green pieces you collect. Bonus points are awarded for exploding multiple baddies with one spark. At the end of each level, bonus points are also awarded for the number of baddies blown up, the number of sparks used to blow up baddies (Accuracy), and the number of baddies that crashed into Buka (Less is better!).  The game also saves your best score and game progress percentage, as well as the total number of baddies destroyed and total number of green pieces eaten.

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For some people, Buka will make a great addition to their game collection. For others, the single game mode may seem a bit repetitive. I won’t deny it, I absolutely love the graphics, sound and concept, but I’m also a fan of variation. Without more modes of play and and deeper gameplay elements, there’s not much incentive to keep coming back for more after you’ve seen your share of Baddies. Thus, I give it a Tap It rating. Regardless, for only $0.99, Buka is still a great buy and I recommend it to those who like a bit of fast paced action.

Note: A free version of Buka can also be downloaded, which includes 8 levels from the award-winning game for all to try.

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App Summary
Title: Buka (v1.0.6) Developer: Hexage.net
Price: $0.99 App Size: 11.6 MB
  • Clean and polished graphics.
  • Progressively challenging gameplay.
  • Sounds are very cute.
  • Not much replayability at the moment, only one game mode.
  • A bit repetitive.

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Monster Pinball in Review – Pinball With Big Surprises http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/06/17/monster-pinball-in-review-%e2%80%93-pinball-with-big-surprises/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/06/17/monster-pinball-in-review-%e2%80%93-pinball-with-big-surprises/#comments Wed, 17 Jun 2009 12:42:47 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=13401 The App Store has seen many genres of games released since it all began last year. For fans of pinball, perhaps from the old days of playing Space Cadet on their Windows computers, the App Store offers a few interesting titles such as Wild West Pinball and Freeballin’. Recently, a new challenger arrived to face … Read more]]>

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The App Store has seen many genres of games released since it all began last year. For fans of pinball, perhaps from the old days of playing Space Cadet on their Windows computers, the App Store offers a few interesting titles such as Wild West Pinball and Freeballin’. Recently, a new challenger arrived to face the world. Its name: Monster Pinball.

One may wonder how the pinball experience works on an iDevice. Many note that the screen size is much too small to see a full table view like the old school arcade pinball machines. Face it; mobile gaming is, well, mobile. Developers make the most of these limits so that you can enjoy the game anywhere you go. Matmi shows this very clearly with Monster Pinball.

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Some say Monster Pinball consists of six tables. Others say its one very large table divided into 6 sections. Whatever it is, the concept is unique and well implemented. These six tables are connected in a 3×2 grid, and the ball can travel between tables through holes or portals in each section. And the great thing is that you get a full view of the table your ball is on, so it’s very easy to focus on the game.

As with all pinball games, scoring just requires you to keep the ball alive and explore the table with the ball. Bonuses occur in Monster Pinball for creating combos such as lighting up a series of lights, or hitting a series of bumpers. Other features in the gameplay include Freeballs and Hotballs. Freeballs are limited in number and obtained by accessing certain areas on a table. These prevent the player from losing a ball when the ball falls down the gutter. Hotballs occur every time your score hits a multiple of 100,000 and you’ll score double the points as long as you keep the ball alive. Through the plethora of launchers, bumpers, lights, and flippers, the gameplay is solid and will satisfy the pinball fanatic.

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The graphics are polished and fresh. “Wacky” would describe the cartoon-like look of the monsters. Various effects occur with when you strike obstacles with your pinball, which is common for all pinball games. But Monster Pinball’s style makes the action humorous and enjoyable at the same time. The sound effects give the game an added touch, drawing you into the game. It’s fun to note that each time you enter another table, the name of the table is announced with a technoish voice. Also noted though, is the lack of background music. Personally, I think the addition of a well done soundtrack would get players rolling.

Controls are as easy as one, two, three. One, swiping down the screen activates the launch. Two, hitting the red buttons on the bottom of the screen will activate their respective flippers. Three, giving your device a quick tilt will activate the tilt to get you out of those tough spots. And finally the pause button, while invisible, is at the top left of the pinball screen. Who needs pausing in such an action filled pinball game though?

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Monster Pinball sports a local and online high scores list to allow comparison with players around the world. Scores are saved from your games and the highest score on your local list can be uploaded to the server at any point in time, which is great news for iPod users who don’t have Wi-Fi connection everywhere. Games that are interrupted by calls, or perhaps your little brother hitting the home button, are saved on exit so you can continue your pinball spree afterwards.

Based on the great gameplay, replayability, graphics, and the fun factor, I give Monster Pinball a Grab It rating. If you’re looking for some quality pinball action on your iDevice, Matmi’s offering is as good as any at the App Store and won’t disappoint.

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App Summary
Title: Monster Pinball (v1.0) Developer: Matmi
Price: $3.99 App Size: 10.4 MB
  • Amazing graphics and great sound effects.
  • Addictive gameplay.
  • Great replayability.
  • Global highscores.
  • No background music.
  • No objectives except to keep the ball alive.

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