TouchMyApps » Young http://www.touchmyapps.com All Things iPhone and iPad for those who like to Touch. iOS App reviews, News, New Apps, Price Drops and App Gone Free Mon, 14 Apr 2014 11:45:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.3 Isotope: A Space Shooter in Review – RPG, Vectors, SHMUP, Oh My! http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/06/23/isotope-a-space-shooter-in-review-rpg-vectors-shmup-oh-my/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/06/23/isotope-a-space-shooter-in-review-rpg-vectors-shmup-oh-my/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2009 20:55:19 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=14123 For a while, I felt like I was searching for something that I couldn’t quite grasp. It seemed that so many games I’ve played had some of the elements that were great, but were lacking in other areas. It’s almost as if there was this meta-uber game that resided in the back of my mind … Read more]]>

isotope6For a while, I felt like I was searching for something that I couldn’t quite grasp. It seemed that so many games I’ve played had some of the elements that were great, but were lacking in other areas. It’s almost as if there was this meta-uber game that resided in the back of my mind that has yet to see fruition. With Isotope: A Space Shooter, I feel that I have gotten one step closer to playing that meta-uber game of my imagining… and this is praise indeed.

isotope2Isotope looks and plays much like the highly acclaimed Geometry Wars. It is a top down shoot-em-up where you must navigate your ship through each world, destroy the enemies that appear, dodge bullets aimed your way, and finally take on a boss or two. You play using a virtual control pad. The left side moves the ship, the right side is used to shoot the full 360 degrees. All this is standard fare for the many games in this genre that are appearing in the AppStore. What sets Isotope apart from most of the pack are the RPG elements that are infused within the game.

Unlike some other SHMUP games that offer certain customization options, Isotope goes the full length in giving the player a true RPG experience. What does this mean?

isotope3Instead of just gaining cash to upgrade your vessel, Isotope allows you to change you ship’s class. You can buy new ships that offer a variety of modification potentials. Their firing mechanism is different, the potential damage of weapons, the strength of their speed, how fast they are, how many modifications you can make to the ship… the options are enough to satiate the RPG-fiend in all of us.

Not only is there an amazing array of customization options, there is also another RPG element that I have not found in other SHMUPS on the iDevice: Leveling up. When you purchase a new ship, you start off slow, weak, and unable to customize yourself beyond one module. Going through worlds and destroying your enemies gives you experience points that you can use to level up your ship. This adds an interesting element to this game and definitely helps in the longevity of gameplay. With 40 ships and so many different abilities to purchase and experiment with, Isotope takes a good while to finish.

isotope4Isotope: A Space Shooter offers so much. It features:

  • Fast and Frenetic gameplay with tons of enemy mobs.
  • A Full Campaign Mode with over 30 missions.
  • Earn credits from missions and spend them in the store to expand your arsenal of ships, modules, abilities and satellites.
  • 40 different ships to purchase and level up.
  • Purchase and equip modules to increase your ship’s effectiveness.
  • Use abilities like mega laser, blackhole and time stop to turn the tide in battle.
  • Equip satellites and have them fight by your side.
  • Take your leveled-up ship and compete in survival mode with online leaderboards.
  • Play the game exactly how you want to play it with 5 different control schemes

The survival mode and online leaderboard are a great addition to the lengthy campaign mode.

isotope5I cannot express how much I am enjoying the evolution of gameplay and game offerings these developers are churning out for the iDevice. True, there are thousand upon thousands of crap offerings that make the App Store landscape feel many times like an App Store landfill, but when you find gems like Isotope, it definitely makes wading through the muck and mire worth it.

If you haven’t yet, please please please get Isotope. There is a lite version out, so try before you buy, but let me say, it’s when you’re on your third ship purchase, customizing the heck out of it that you begin to really enjoy this game.

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App Summary
Title: Isotope (v1.0) Developer: iDrinkApp.com
Price: $2.99 App Size: 9.1 mb
  • Plethora of Customizations
  • Great Vector Graphics
  • 5 Control Schemes
  • Deep RPG like elements
  • Needs More Variety of Weapons
  • Gameplay a Tad Slower Than other SHMUPs

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Peggle in Review – Pachinko on Acid http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/06/18/peggle-in-review-pachinko-on-acid/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/06/18/peggle-in-review-pachinko-on-acid/#comments Fri, 19 Jun 2009 00:11:54 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=13649 I admit I was one of the few people living under a rock that had no idea what the heck Peggle was. To me, it just seemed like one of those games that people got excited for but just didn’t do it for me. So when I had the opportunity to review PopCap Games’ Peggle, … Read more]]>

peggle1I admit I was one of the few people living under a rock that had no idea what the heck Peggle was. To me, it just seemed like one of those games that people got excited for but just didn’t do it for me. So when I had the opportunity to review PopCap Games’ Peggle, it seemed just another one on the list. When the App loaded, I was greeted with a colorful, highly energetic, fun-paced experience.


peggle2The game is simple. You take aim at the various orange pegs scattered throughout the board. You fire. You hope for the best.

Peggle features:

  • 55 levels and 40 Grand Master challenges
  • Pick your level in Quick Play or Challenge mode with a flick of your finger
  • All new Extreme Precision wheel – fine-tune your aiming for masterful shots
  • Cool new style shots (like Off the Wall, Double Long Shot, and Eye of the Pyramid) for racking up more bonus points
  • New Trophy Room – revel in your growing collection of trophies
  • Save and replay your hottest shots
  • Play friends and family in Duel Mode
  • Fully optimized for the iPhone and iPod Touch
  • Listen to your own music while you play!

peggle3Peggle plays like a mixture of Bust-A-Move, Pachinko, and Pinball, except with the added twist of the the moving platform on the bottom. You start off with 10 balls that you can carefully aim using the virtual EXTREME PRECISION WHEEL on the right side of the screen or by dragging your finger. When you get the right angle and the timing is right, you press the fire button. From there, the game plays like an intense version of Pachinko. You see the ball flying, moving from one peg to another until it fall off screen.

It is in this movement of the ball that Peggle really shines. Peggle employs a great physics engine. It is so good that you can accurately estimate the reflection from the hit. Aiming at a corner, at the wall, and the curve of the pegs, all these need to be taken into account if you want to hit multiple orange pegs. Once all of these orange pegs are hit, you clear the board and the stage.

peggle4There are also a bunch of powerups and tricks that enhance your gaming ability. If you get off a shot that hits multiple amounts of pegs, a meter on the left rises. After a certain amount of hits, you can earn an extra ball. You can also earn an extra ball by having the current one fall into the moving hole on the bottom of the screen.

Then there are the purple bonus pegs. These pegs change position with each turn. The green pegs are special in the sense that they provide an assortment of power ups depending on which stage you are in. They include multi-ball, accurate shot, explosion, and so forth. Once all the orange pegs are hit, the bottom transforms into a pachinko-esque format. There are five slots in which to gain bonus points.

Included in all of this fun are great visuals and sound effects that are bright, colorful, and really a pleasure to experience.

peggle5There is really nothing negative I can say about this gme. It is a fully fleshed out experience. There is an adventure mode, challenge mode, and duel mode which enhance the replayability of this game.

If you were one of the lucky ones to buy this game when it was on sale for $0.99, consider yourself fortunate. If you’re wondering if it’s worth the money to buy it now, then let me just say yes yes yes yes yes. Peggle is definitely worth the buy. It’s quirkiness will put a smile on my face and easily became one of my more favorite iDevice game.

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App Summary
Title: Peggle (v1.0) Developer: PopCap Games, Inc
Price: $4.99 App Size: 10.2 MB
  • Great Visuals and Sound
  • Unique Gameplay Experience
  • 3 Different Modes of Play
  • You Will See Time Slip By

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Star Defense in Review – TD Given the Super Mario Galaxy Treatment http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/06/16/star-defense-in-review-td-given-the-super-mario-galaxy-treatment/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/06/16/star-defense-in-review-td-given-the-super-mario-galaxy-treatment/#comments Tue, 16 Jun 2009 12:41:14 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=13241 If there’s one genre of games that has gone through a gamut of change, it’s Tower Defense. Much like the variety of Super Mario Brothers games, there has been a gradual shift from 2D to 3D gameplay. Not content with just 3D graphics and gameplay, the most recent change in the Super Mario Brothers world … Read more]]>

If there’s one genre of games that has gone through a gamut of change, it’s Tower Defense. Much like the variety of Super Mario Brothers games, there has been a gradual shift from 2D to 3D gameplay. Not content with just 3D graphics and gameplay, the most recent change in the Super Mario Brothers world has been the ability to fully explore a multitude of small planets in an amazing 3D experience. Star Defense represents this next stage in the evolution of TD games…one that breathes new life into a tried and true formula.

stardefense1With the thin veneer of a story (it’s more of a set-up of events), Star Defense places you at the helm of the S’rath onslaught. You are charged to keep the invasion at bay while survivors flee each world. While this may seem a bit on the pessimistic side (there’s no hope for victory… just the delaying of an inevitable defeat), the actual playing of this scenario makes for a great game.

Star Defense features:

  • Powerful Arsenal – Build your defenses from 5 tower types, that’s 15 different weapons each with unique attributes, firing ranges and reload frequencies.
  • Asynchronous Multiplayer Action – Battle friends over Twitter, Facebook and email. Search for #StarDefense on Twitter, check out other player’s scores then take them on!
  • Explore and Secure the Universe – Defend 7 breathtaking worlds, each with its own distinct path layout, weapon choices and enemy types with their own specific immunities.
  • Earn Medals and Commendations – Collect over 20 Medals and more than 30 Commendations by accomplishing specific feats on the field.
  • Breathtaking 3D Graphics – Stunning graphics and 3D worlds – this is tower defense like you’ve never seen it before!

stardefense2While some may feel that the whole 3D aspect of this game is all hype and no substance, I assure you that it is not. One thing this does is restrict your view of the battlefield. By limiting your viewing angle to approximately 1/6th of the actual battlefield, you need to be able to keep more of the world in your memory than if you were able to view all of it. Also, the enemy’s path follows the curvature of the planet, so determining the best places for the placement of the towers requires a little more thinking.

The result of this is that on later levels, you’ll find yourself rotating the planet, changing your viewing orientation, and keeping an eye out for all the invaders.

Thankfully, Star Defense makes good use of the natural touch gestures of the iPhone and iTouch. You can pinch in and out, scroll around, and even tilt. It all feels natural, and in playing the game, I’ve never once gave a second thought about the controls.

stardefense3Another innovative aspect of Star Defense is the medals and commendations section. This gives the game a sort of XBOX360/PS3 feel, and while gaining those doesn’t seem to affect the game (to my knowledge) it does add to the re-playability factor.

Unfortunately, though, besides the new twist in the gameplay and the challenges it brings, Star Defense (when compared to other great TD games) does find itself a bit lacking in certain areas.

First off, there are really only 5 weapons. Each weapon can be upgraded 3 times. While this is functional, and other TD games have done well with the same amount, the visual changes and tweaks in the power, range and speed feels a bit lackluster. There is almost a desire in me to say, “If you’re going all out with the 3D effect, then go all out with the guns and enemies as well.

stardefense4Another huge drawback is the lack of a fast-forward button. Seriously, they should make these things standard on all TD games. This issue is compounded by the fact that since the path winds around a 3D object, it is actually longer than it seems. So if you miss destroying one wave of the enemy, you have to significantly wait while the enemy makes its way across the other side of the planet.

One point of mixed contention is the multiplayer mode. In lieu of a local and global leaderboard, ngmoco and Rough Cookie have opted for Facebook/Twitter/email integration. While it may try to sell itself as a multiplayer experience, it is more like a social-network driven leaderboard. You can compete with friends to see who gets a higher score. This is all fine and good, but it is in a way just an another substitute for a leaderboard.

stardefense5With all the positives and negatives running throughout the game, it’s difficult to objectively grade Star Defense. On one hand, it is a truly innovative game that brings a new dimension to the TD genre. On the other hand, there are other TD games that are just more fun to play, but stick to the tried and true TD formula.

Yet, in the end… with so many TD games choking the market, I can easily say that there is no other TD game like this. It truly is unique in presentation and it incorporates a new concept into a tried and true genre and for that, I must give Star Defense a 4 out of 5. With a variety of tweaks and upgrades, though, Star Defense can become an amazing TD game.

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App Summary
Title: Star Defense (v1.1) Developer: ngmoco, Inc
Price: $5.99 App Size: 57.4 MB
  • Circumnavigate 3D Planets
  • Great 3D Graphics
  • Amazing Touch Interface
  • No True Leaderboard
  • Weapons Feel Lackluster
  • No Fast Forward Button

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Card Ninja in Review – Shurikens-A-Plenty http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/06/12/card-ninja-in-review-shurikens-a-plenty/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/06/12/card-ninja-in-review-shurikens-a-plenty/#comments Fri, 12 Jun 2009 16:40:54 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=12989 What does it take to be a ninja? It takes speed, power, agility, stealth, and the mastery of a butt-load of weapons. What does it take to be a Card Ninja? 99 cents and an iDevice… and trust me, a Card Ninja you would want to be. Like it’s Asian counterpart, Card Ninja requires the … Read more]]>

cardninja1What does it take to be a ninja? It takes speed, power, agility, stealth, and the mastery of a butt-load of weapons. What does it take to be a Card Ninja? 99 cents and an iDevice… and trust me, a Card Ninja you would want to be.

cardninja2Like it’s Asian counterpart, Card Ninja requires the decisive, hand/eye coordination needed to be a true master. According to the website:

“Card Ninja features unique game play in which you flick cards at matching targets, balancing speed with accuracy as you try to improve your Ninja ranking. Card Ninja begins as a deceptively simple matching game with killer sound effects and a fast tempo… This addictive game will soon become a test of your peripheral vision, short-term memory and the key Ninja skill, your finger flicking speed.”

Some aspects of Card Ninja include:

  • Earn bonuses for beating the timer.
  • Take care to hit targets an avoid causing chaos in the dojo kitchen
  • Gather enough cards to progress to higher levels and earn a higher Ninja ranking
  • “Good” wildcards offer card bonuses while “Evil” wildcards can inflict extreme damage to your card count – learn their clues well and you may succeed.

cardninja3So then, what exactly is this game and how do you play?

When you begin Card Ninja, you are greeted with a circle that has a stack of cards on it. Each card has a specific symbol and color. Your task is to flick the cards to its appropriate destination within the allotted amount of time. There is a specific quota of cards that you have to meet for each challenge. Your score count becomes negatively affected if you either flick the card to the wrong destination, the card doesn’t pass over the line, or if you don’t lift your finger off the card before you go outside the circle. (That last one is tricky because in your attempt at flicking the cards fast, you will be tempted to hold onto them for longer than you should)

cardninja4What makes this game fun and difficult at the same time are the various objective. At the beginning of each challenge, you are greeted with the quota you need to match and the specific task to accomplish. These tasks includes things such as matching the same color only, matching the same symbol, and hitting the moving targets. The difficulty level also rises with an increase of targets as you progress in the game.

That’s where the fun comes in. It’s as perfect of a blend of memory, simon says, and those hand eye coordination games as you can find in the App Store. It is such a simple concept, but one that will get you hooked again and again.

The best part is, you can save your game between Challenges. This is perfect for spot sessions with the game.

The few negative complaints I do have is that there is no difficulty modes. If I lose and have to start all over, there are many early levels that I would not want to go over again. By adding a difficulty mode, I would be able to amp up the excitement at a faster pace.

cardninja5Card Ninja is definitely one of the more innovative games I’ve played recently. It combines simplicity and difficulty that befits the philosophy of a true Ninja warrior. All of this is wrapped up in pleasant graphics and sound… although I have to say that the effects were very stereotypical of what Ninja sounds are thought to be.

In the fierce competitive world of the App Store, this is one contender to look out for.

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App Summary
Title: Ninja Card (v1.0) Developer: Pint Sized Mobile
Price: $0.99 App Size: 8.0 MB
  • Great Mock-Ninja Action
  • Innovative
  • Great Re-Playability
  • Early Stages Too Tedious
  • No Difficulty Selection Mode

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Glandarius Wing Strike in Review – Another Look In The Shmup Bin http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/06/09/glandarius-wing-strike-in-review-another-look-in-the-shmup-bin/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/06/09/glandarius-wing-strike-in-review-another-look-in-the-shmup-bin/#comments Tue, 09 Jun 2009 11:36:25 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=12696 More and more, each foray into the AppStore games section is becoming a virtual equivalent to my experiences in the brick and mortar stores. You have a bunch of big name and popular games that are highlighted on either the frontpage or the easily accessible shelves of the stores. Then you have the bargain bin … Read more]]>

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More and more, each foray into the AppStore games section is becoming a virtual equivalent to my experiences in the brick and mortar stores. You have a bunch of big name and popular games that are highlighted on either the frontpage or the easily accessible shelves of the stores. Then you have the bargain bin and back corners. Once in a while, you’ll find a hidden gem, but most of the offerings are mediocre at best. The problem is, there are tons and tons of mediocre offerings – it’s difficult to distinguish one from the other. Glandarius Wing Strike reminds me of those bargain bin games that fail to become diamonds in the rough.

I really blame iShoot for the rise of this phenomena. It was one of the first major diamond in the rough stories. The creator of this amazing game made (to use a scientific term) a butt load of money. It wasn’t the flashiest game out there; it was an idea that’s been done plenty of times, but it was well crafted and one of the first of its kind on the iDevice platform. To create a game like iShoot is the dream that many devs have since sought after and the end results are games like this.

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Now, I’m not saying that Glanarius Wing Strike is a bad game that deserves to be tarred, feathered, and dragged out onto the streets. It’s actually does a decent job with the sounds and graphics. Yet, the gameplay experience itself leaves a lot to be desired.

Glandarius Wing Strike plays like a typical Vertical Scrolling SHMUP. Your craft (I assume it is a Glandarius Wing) resides on the bottom of the screen. You can only go left and right on the X-Axis. Meanwhile, your enemies appear at the top of the screen. They move in a variety of patterns and shoot bullets your way. To survive, you must dodge the bullets, destroy you enemies, and defeat the level boss at the end. This game takes you through all of 5 worlds, each world has some similar enemies and some specific to their locale.

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While these are standard in most SHMUPs like this game, Glandarius Wing Strike boasts a control scheme that is unique.

On the iTunes page:

= Original interface suitable for iPhone /iPod touch
With just one finger, you can do everything: movements, attacks, lock on and emitting lasers. That would be novel game experience unique to iPhone.

Engrish aside, what may seem to be a great control scheme on paper (or at least the attempt at a great control scheme) fails to deliver the novel game experience promised by the developers. It is true you can control everything with one finger. The problem is with the many annoyances that come along with it.

Your left and right movements are done by touching the screen, holding down, and swiping left and right. You can also touch to the left and right to make your Glandarius Wing quickly move in those respective directions. Unfortunately, you can only shot when tapping the screen. This means that you find yourself constantly tapping the screen in various directions to shoot and dodge in order to stay alive. You will miss most of the enemies and find yourself frustrated all at once.

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Another failing of this game is the lack of power-ups. I am a sucker for power-ups. They make a static gaming experiences like a scrolling SHMUP exciting and surprising. Think about it. One of the classic SHMUPs of all time, Contra, is well known for its iconic powerups. They vault a decent game into one of the most cherished childhood gaming memories of all time. Glandarius Wing Strike has absolutely no powerups. There are no extra lives, no bombs, no satellite planes that encircle your own, no weapons upgrades… nothing. You are stuck with your machine guns, and lasers that lock onto your opponents and both of these weapons seem uninspired and do nothing to enhance the gameplay experience.

On the plus side, this game does boast a variety of hi-score screens. There also one to see the global hi-scores. This does help in giving a player an incentive to play, but in my opinion, it isn’t much incentive.

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Given its price, the fact that there are better SHMUPs out there, and the lackluster quality of this one I do not recommend Glandarius Wing Strike. The addition of an easy and hard mode seems a feeble attempt to enhance the gameplay experience.

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App Summary
Title: Glandarius Wing Strike (V 1.3) Developer: AQ Interactive
Price: $4.99 App Size: 57.8 MB
  • Good Visuals and Sounds
  • Leaderboards
  • Variable Difficulty Settings
  • Monotone Gameplay Experience
  • No Power-Ups
  • Too Pricey

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Toki Tori in Review – Chicken Before the Egg http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/05/26/toki-tori-in-review-chicken-before-the-egg/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/05/26/toki-tori-in-review-chicken-before-the-egg/#comments Tue, 26 May 2009 12:41:21 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=11467 One genre of games that seems to have seamlessly found its place on the iDevice platform is the puzzler. The blend of portability, touch interface, screen size, and processing power on both the iPhone and iTouch gives developers an amazing canvas in which to showcase their creative programming. Take the case of Toki Tori, a … Read more]]>

tokitori_review1One genre of games that seems to have seamlessly found its place on the iDevice platform is the puzzler. The blend of portability, touch interface, screen size, and processing power on both the iPhone and iTouch gives developers an amazing canvas in which to showcase their creative programming. Take the case of Toki Tori, a recent offering from publisher Chillingo; this game is a great statement to the level of polish and ingenuity that the App Store can offer.

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Toki Tori is labeled as a puzzle platformer. It involves elements of both genres into a interesting mix that requires good timing, strategy, and the ability to solve puzzles. What this means in terms of the actual gameplay is that most of the game involves planning your moves and the rest revolves around the (sometimes quick) execution of that plan.

The objective of the game is to collect all the eggs. While there’s no real backstory or any given reason as to why you need to do this, it doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of Toki Tori. To collect all the eggs, you are “given a wide variety of items and weapons introduced gradually during the game.” Sometimes there is a limit to the amount of each, and sometimes there isn’t. I found that on each level I played so far (approximately half the game) I always used up all the weapons and items if they were limited. This means that there is usually one correct way of playing each level.

tokitori_review3One drawback to the singular answer set for each level is the limited amount of replayability it brings to this game. If you have an adequate enough memory, there is no real reason to revisit the levels you’ve beaten. If each level had multiple ways of winning, a different selection of objectives, or even a timer that will cause you to go back and beat your previous time, Toki Tori would definitely become bumped up on the replayability scale. As it is, once you beat every level, there isn’t much to go back to.

With this being said, the fact that there are 80 levels (many that you have to unlock by beating each world) goes a long way in the provision of entertainment. Toki Tori will keep you engaged enough to feel like you’ve gotten your money’s worth. All that and it comes with a nice shiny package.

tokitori_review4This is where most people concentrate their praise of this App: The graphics. Toki Tori is, undoubtedly, one of the better looking games that can be rightly compared to other graphical gems such as Ancient Frog and Sway. Yet, what I believe is more important to discuss than this is its control scheme. Two Tribes as created a scheme that works seamlessly with the natural inclinations of iDevice users. This is no small task.

Instead of over-contrived tilt controls or even a virtual directional pad, Toki Tori follows a simple Touch-and-Follow method of control. Wherever you touch on the screen, the protagonist will follow. Zooming in and out involves pinching the screen. You can also use the items by pressing their respective icons on the left of the screen. It works so well that you don’t even have to think about it.

tokitori_review5There has been much hype around the release of this game. I can assure you that Toki Tori meets those expectations and more. It is a great game, well worth its price. It’s the Easter Egg Hunt that everyone was looking for, even if they didn’t know it.

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App Summary
Title: Toki Tori (v1.0) Developer: Two Tribes (Published by Chillingo)
Price: $4.99 App Size: 9.9 MB
  • Amazing Graphics
  • Intuitive Control Scheme
  • Great Difficulty Curve
  • Minimal Replayability

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Zenonia in Review – THE RETURN OF CLASSIC ACTION RPG http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/05/25/zenonia-in-review-the-return-of-classic-action-rpg/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/05/25/zenonia-in-review-the-return-of-classic-action-rpg/#comments Mon, 25 May 2009 13:48:04 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=11426 The heading of Zenonia’s App Store page hails it as the return of classic action RPG[s]. While this is a lofty statement to make, GAMEVIL put their money where their mouths are and brought us a game that fulfills this statement. After a few hours under my belt, I can safely say that there is … Read more]]>

The heading of Zenonia’s App Store page hails it as the return of classic action RPG[s]. While this is a lofty statement to make, GAMEVIL put their money where their mouths are and brought us a game that fulfills this statement. After a few hours under my belt, I can safely say that there is nothing to adequately compare Zenonia with that is offered in Apple’s App Store.

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The first thing I realized as I delved into the role of Regret, the main protagonist, is how expansive the game is. This is in direct contrast to most iDevice games. I can recount how, app after app, I felt the shortness or limited scope of the game, whether it is through sheer hours of playability, replayability, or even in the various aspects of customization.

Zenonia, on the other hand, does much to show you just how expansive it is. This game boasts:

  • Numerous quests following an epic storyline
  • Hundreds of unique items for each character
  • Long play time (packed with over 40 hours of game-play)
  • Good-and-Evil decision tree with a different storyline depending on the path you choose

zenonia_review2What starts off as a simple quest to see who killed Regret’s father turns into a story in which you choose to be on the side of good or evil as either a Paladin, Warrior, or Assassin. While the story may seem cookie cutter in so many ways, I realized how it subtly pulled me in. I honestly wanted to find out who killed my… sorry… Regret’s father. I really struggled with the temptation to go down the dark road instead of the road o’ light. Knowing that I can finish and play again to satiate my dark cravings made me smile. This is no small thing because once you finish all 40+ hours of Zenonia, you can play again with different outcomes and experiences.

zenonia_review3The graphics and the sound are definitely a highlight. There’s an blend of 16-bit Zelda mixed in with anime influences that fit well with the iDevice platform. This is a difficult accomplishment. There are so many game that would benefit from a closer or further zoom. Yet, with Zenonia, what you view on screen is adequate. The only place that seems a bit cramped is the in quick slots.

On the middle bottom of the screen are four quick slots. You can assign magic spells to one row and items in the next. By pressing the button with the left arrow next to the slots, you switch between the two rows. If you have bigger, clumsier fingers like me, you’ll find that it takes you a second longer to hit the right slot. This can have negative effects, such as not being able to heal properly if you’re close to the maws of death.

zenonia_review4The big question that needs to yet be answered is, “Is Zenonia a fun game?” I would say yes on most accounts. If you’re looking for a graphically excellent game, then get Zenonia. If you’re looking for a game with a true storyline that you can follow for hours long, then this is the game for you. If you’re looking for depth in terms of customization, upgradability, and weapons/equipment buying, this is a great game.

Yet, I will admit that the actual fighting mechanics get routine. In terms of the specific aspect of the game, Zenonia is little more than a standard hack-and-slash affair. While this is not a drawback for most people (and honestly to be expected from a game within the ARPG genre) for those that are not prepared for this, it may seem a bit simplistic. Other than this one aspect of gameplay, Zenonia excels far and above the iDevice RPG herd.

zenonia_review5Zenonia is a must-not-miss game that deserves a space on everyone’s iDevice front page. Gamevil surprised me at how much they can pack into one game in such a small device. I’ll say it here and now, Zenonia is definitely worth its price.

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App Summary
Title: Zenonia (v1.0) Developer: Gamevil Inc.
Price: $5.99 App Size: 9.6 mb
  • Expansive Gaming Experience
  • Replayability
  • Good Story Line
  • Play as a Paladin, Warrior, or Assassin
  • Simplistic Action
  • Quick-Slots May Be Too Small

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Anytime Pool in Review – Brunswick in my Pocket http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/05/21/anytime-pool-in-review-brunswick-in-my-pocket/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/05/21/anytime-pool-in-review-brunswick-in-my-pocket/#comments Thu, 21 May 2009 14:09:42 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=11342 Brunswick, according to their website is, “the most trusted name in pool tables and game room furniture since 1845″. They are a long standing name in billiards. Another company that has a similar reputation (although not quite as extensive) is EA. The two companies converge (I hope it is a Brunswick) on the iDevice platform … Read more]]>

review-games-anytimepool-pic1 Brunswick, according to their website is, “the most trusted name in pool tables and game room furniture since 1845″. They are a long standing name in billiards. Another company that has a similar reputation (although not quite as extensive) is EA. The two companies converge (I hope it is a Brunswick) on the iDevice platform in the shape of Anytime Pool. It has all the polish that you would expect from the company, but does it deliver on other gaming elements to form a truly great pool game? review-games-anytimepool-pic2

Anytime Pool, like all other EA iDevice games has a certain level of polish that is easy to appreciate given the plethora of other Apps that lack this. It does an amazing job translating the fullness of pool in the limited visual space of your iPhone or iTouch. All this is translated with slick graphics that have yet to stutter or stall. The transitions between setting up the shot, to seeing the balls travel around the table is done without any lag. The background is also varied enough and contains some nice details. While these things don’t do much to enhance the gameplay itself, they do enhance the general ambiance of the game.

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One gameplay aspect that separates a decent pool game from a great one is in its control mechanism. While there are many minute variations that can be used, I find that there are two major categories. One is a realtime control scheme that has you pulling back and flicking forward to make the shots. The other; and this is the one Anytime Pool uses, is where the player predefines the angle, power, and placement and then presses a button to hit the cue ball. While both these control schemes have their pros and cons, Anytime Pool does a great job with the scheme it follows. You have full control over the power, angle, and can decide to put some ‘English’ on your shot. I believe that some people may like one control scheme over another, so please be aware of your own preference when you consider purchasing this game.

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The single gameplay aspect that separates Anytime Pool from other pool games is in the sense of progression that it’s various options presents. Many sports games lack any sense of progression. You play a couple rounds of the game, get bored, and that is it. Anytime Pool has two single player modes (World Tour and Challenge) that have a variety of stages to unlock. While this may not seem like much, it does give players certain goals to accomplish which can add to the longevity of the game and inhibit a feeling of “been there done that.” I will concede that once you finish these unlockables, Anytime Pool becomes just another pool game.

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The question remains, do the graphics, control scheme, Facebook integration, and unlockables make this a truly great pool game? I think that it depends on whether you like the control scheme and pool in general. There is enough variation and unlockables to justify the price, but if this control scheme isn’t for you, then Anytime Pool isn’t for you. tap-icon

App Summary
Title: Anytime Pool (v 1.0.3) Developer: Electronic Arts
Price: $4.99 App Size: 29.7 MB
  • Sharp Graphics
  • Unlockables
  • Background Detail
  • Control Scheme Is Not For All
  • No Wifi Playability Outside Facebook

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Pocket Tanks Deluxe in Review – Fire in the Hole! http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/05/14/pocket-tanks-deluxe-in-review-fire-in-the-hole/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/05/14/pocket-tanks-deluxe-in-review-fire-in-the-hole/#comments Fri, 15 May 2009 03:13:36 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=10877 Pocket Tanks is a game that has been around in some shape or form since 2001. It’s available for the Windows and OSX platforms. As stated in the iTunes page, “Almost 2 million downloads from download.com alone (PC version).” With such a large fan base, a leg up in terms of gameplay refinement, and the … Read more]]>

pocket_tanks_deluxe1Pocket Tanks is a game that has been around in some shape or form since 2001. It’s available for the Windows and OSX platforms. As stated in the iTunes page, “Almost 2 million downloads from download.com alone (PC version).” With such a large fan base, a leg up in terms of gameplay refinement, and the staying power of 8 years of experience, (I know I’m going to get some flak for this) I’m surprised at how much I felt Pocket Tanks was lacking.

pocket_tanks_deluxe6Now, before you disregard the rest of this review and start the hate mail, I did enjoy the game. I believe it is well made. I’m in no way shape or form saying it is a bad game. It’s just that in comparison with another popular artillery game, iShoot, Pocket Tanks seems more expensive and definitely has less options.

One of the biggest drawbacks to Pocket Tanks is in its lack of gameplay options. You can play 1 vs 1 with either the computer or a human opponent. The difficulty levels go from 1 to 10. With no online multiplayer support or anything other than a straight forward two person duel, there is a constraint on the variability of gameplay modes. The strategy is straightforward and requires less thinking than if there were multiple combatants.

pocket_tanks_deluxe3When you decide to play either the one or two player game, you are taken to a screen with three sections. In the middle is a list of all the available weapons for the round. It’s randomized each time you play. The first person chooses a weapon. The second person chooses theirs. This continues until all the weapons are chosen. There is an option to randomly distribute them between the two players.

When you start the round, you are taken to the battlefield. The terrain is randomized. This gives Pocket Tanks a bit more in the way of replayability. When it is your turn, you can move around by pressing the button on the far left. To change the angle and power of the shot, you touch those buttons. Changing these values is easy. You can increase and decrease them in increments of one or you can just slide the values which ever way you want. You select your weapon. Then, you press fire.

pocket_tanks_deluxe4Unlike other artillery games, in Pocket Tanks, once you use a weapon for the round, you do not have it anymore. This is how the game registers when a round is over; the players use up all their weapons. This influences you strategy. You must decide if you want to expend the more potent weapons with an unsure shot or move in closer to better your odds of a hit. Also, with significant defensive weapons such as the Mud Pie, Crazy Wall, and so forth, you can opt for a hit once and barricade yourself in strategy.

This is where the game really shines. Pocket Tanks Deluxe boasts 105 weapons. So far, many of them have distinct and unique features. My favorites so far are the Burning Rubber, Side Kick, and Magic Beans. Since there are so many weapons available, I found that spending time in the Target Practice arena was useful. In this arena, you have all the weapons available to use for however long you’d like. This is to familiarize yourself with them in order to effectively win against your opponent.

To win each round, you must sustain less damage than the opponent. Successfully attacking an opponent gives you points. On the flip side, if you damage yourself, you lose points. Once you are declared the winner, you are asked if you want to play again.

pocket_tanks_deluxe5While this game shows a lot of promise, there are so many ways in which it could improve. A leaderboard showing the top amounts of damage would be a good place to start. Adding more modes of play is a definite must. Also, the inclusion of at least a wifi multiplayer option would be welcomed.

Pocket Tanks is not a bad game. Yet, when compared to another popular title in the artillery genre, it soon loses its appeal. Check out the lite version of Pocket Tanks Deluxe, Pocket Tanks. It includes only 35 weapons, but is the same game.

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App Summary
Title: Pocket Tanks Deluxe (v1.0) Developer: Blitwise Productions
Price: $4.99 App Size: 5.4 MB
  • Weapons Galore
  • Randomized Landscape
  • Good Control Mechanisms
  • Limited Gameplay Modes
  • No Wifi Muliplayer Support
  • No Leaderboard

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Brett Nova IV in Review – A Superstar This is Not http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/05/12/brett-nova-iv-in-review-a-superstar-this-is-not/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/05/12/brett-nova-iv-in-review-a-superstar-this-is-not/#comments Tue, 12 May 2009 10:14:34 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=10725 Space Invaders is one of those iconic arcade games that conjures up fond memories. Released in 1978 by Tomohiro Nishikado (THANK YOU WIKIPEDIA!), this game combined quick reflexes and the ability to determine an invader’s trajectory. As Lrrr, in the show Futurama, said, “Instead of shooting where I was, you should have shot where I … Read more]]>

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Space Invaders is one of those iconic arcade games that conjures up fond memories. Released in 1978 by Tomohiro Nishikado (THANK YOU WIKIPEDIA!), this game combined quick reflexes and the ability to determine an invader’s trajectory. As Lrrr, in the show Futurama, said, “Instead of shooting where I was, you should have shot where I was going to be. Muahahahahahahaha!” This famous game has, like all famous games, inspired clones and spin offs. Brett Nova IV draws all of its inspiration from this arcade gem and adds a few twists to make things interesting.

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The premise and story of the game is quite simple. For some reason there is conflict and strife between you and the Spider people. The protagonist, Brett Nova IV, pilots the ship, The Iron Duke II, and fights off wave after wave.

From the Developer:

Featuring simple tilt and tap controls Brett Nova IV includes 30 levels of fun-tapping game play. Easy to pickup and play but difficult to master.

With each level getting increasingly more difficult you’ll need to keep your wits about you and have nerves of steel to guide Brett and his ‘The Iron Duke II’ spacecraft through wave after wave of the Spidor horde.

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The actual gameplay is decent enough. You tilt to the left or right to move your ship. In the options menu, you are able to change the tilt sensitivity, but cannot calibrate the accelerometer. Tapping the screen shoots. If you touch the top of the screen, you can pause the game.

Throughout the game, and in both regular and hard modes, there are upgrades. The weapons upgrade changes your single shot into 3. This effectively wipes out a large amount of enemies within a short amount of time. The red triangle gives you a shield withstands attacks. The miniature ship gives you an extra life. These upgrades go a long way in refreshing the Space Invaders paradigm.

Unfortunately, the upgrades aren’t well implemented. The major issue with the weapons upgrade is that there is no indicator as to how long you have it or when it’s going to run out. The same is also true with the shield, although the blue indicator in front of your ship is adequate enough. In terms of the extra life, you can only hold 5 at a time, any more that you get goes to waste.

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As I blasted through the waves of my enemies, one nagging feeling kept rising up in the back of my mind. I kept feeling that this game is unbalanced. There are moments where I have all the upgrades and can plow though the game easily. This occurred more than the other end of the spectrum which is playing the game sans upgrades.

Even the graphics feel unbalanced. It lacks the retro graphics that would have given Brett Nova IV the “cool” factor. It’s graphics aren’t so great that the game stands out. It is more functional than anything else and in some respects feels a bit unrefined.

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Brett Nova IV is what it says it is. It is, “[A] classic Space Invaders/Galaxian style game with a fresh and original iPhone feel.” While the upgrades may help in this reiteration of the classic game, it unfortunately does not do enough to make this a great game. It is just ok.

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App Summary
Title: Brett Nova IV v.1.1.0 Developer: Electric TopHat Ltd
Price: $0.99 App Size: 2.4 MB
  • Upgrades
  • Local Leaderboard
  • Controls are decent
  • Gameplay feels unbalanced
  • Graphics lack appeal

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Caster in Review – Spirit Fingers… of DESTRUCTION http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/05/09/caster-in-review-spirit-fingers-of-destruction/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/05/09/caster-in-review-spirit-fingers-of-destruction/#comments Sat, 09 May 2009 20:38:54 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=10674 To create a true 3d Action RPG for the iDevice platform, certain aspects have to be in place. Of these aspects, the most important (in no particular order) are control, level building, visuals, enemy types, story, and action elements. Caster fits into the Action RPG genre and excels in may ways. It is a solid … Read more]]>

caster1To create a true 3d Action RPG for the iDevice platform, certain aspects have to be in place. Of these aspects, the most important (in no particular order) are control, level building, visuals, enemy types, story, and action elements. Caster fits into the Action RPG genre and excels in may ways. It is a solid game and a great first release by developer Elecorn.

caster6While there are many games on other platforms that are similar to Caster, it is difficult to find games similar to this on the iDevice. As described by the iTunes Caster page:

Caster is an Intense High Speed 3rd person shooter with Explosive Effects and Massive Terrain Deformation! As a rookie Caster, you are assigned to rid the Middon region of a serious infestation of bug like creatures known as the Flanx.

Features:

  • Fast Action!
  • Massive Terrain Destruction!
  • 6 Attacks of Sheer Power and Awesomeness!
  • 15 Unique Open World Landscapes!
  • Jump hundreds of feet into the air!
  • Dash at super human speeds!
  • Pulse pounding music and sound!
  • Fantastic 3rd person controls!
  • 3 difficulty levels, Casual, Normal, and EXTREME!

caster3The various elements, taken together, help make Caster a good game. When taken separately, though, there seems to be varying levels of strength and weaknesses that run throughout this 3D shooter.

Perhaps one of the weakest points of the game is its story. It feels that it serves to introduce the environment and protagonist and nothing else. It serves as mere function without much form, to the point where skipping the story line will not be detrimental to your gaming experience.

Another point of weakness is the control scheme. I realize that finely tuning the control scheme for the iDevice is difficult, and while Caster does do a good job in its own scheme, it is adequate at best. I found it difficult to overcome my natural inclination of pressing the right side of the screen instead of the middle for the jump button. Also, it was sometimes difficult to run in a straight line while strafing and firing at an object at the same time. This standard move was still difficult to execute naturally even with practice. Another issue with the control scheme is the blockage of the field of view with two thumbs on the screen. I have big thumbs (not freakishly big, but big enough) and to place both on major portions of the screen does detract from the field of vision.

caster4Caster did a good job with the audio. The quasi-techno beats and the sound effects are crisp and clear. Graphically, while there is not the fine level of detail as in other games (e.g. Ancient Frog, let’s Golf, and Sway) it is definitely better than many other games out there and does convey the action elements of the game well. I found that the camera does a good job in following the action.

In terms of the actual gameplay, I felt that there was a good steady pace of action. While it may not be as frantic as others within this genre, there was enough to overcome any sense of tedium. The real fun of Caster, though, is in it’s over the top environment destruction, the super jumps (love them), and abilities. The chance to upgrade these things pushes you forward in playing the game.

caster5While taken apart into its various elements, Caster may not seem to just be mediocre. Yet, when put together, it provides a distinct and unique gameplay experience. There are few other games like this in the iDevice games library. Despite the negative aspects of the game, Caster is a good game that will keep you going for a while.

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App Summary
Title: Caster (v1.0) Developer: Elecorn
Price: $4.99 App Size: 18.2 MB
  • Unique iDevice Game
  • Upgradability
  • Landscape Destruction
  • Weak Story
  • Control Scheme

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iso in Review – A Tower of Pisa It Is Not http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/05/08/iso-in-review-a-tower-of-pisa-it-is-not/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/05/08/iso-in-review-a-tower-of-pisa-it-is-not/#comments Fri, 08 May 2009 15:29:48 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=10632 Match 3 games… some are just completely awful, some barely distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack, and some exceed people’s expectations and present a brand new gaming experience to the general populace. iso is a game that finds itself squarely in the middle of the two polar ends. It is a decently crafted … Read more]]>

iso1Match 3 games… some are just completely awful, some barely distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack, and some exceed people’s expectations and present a brand new gaming experience to the general populace. iso is a game that finds itself squarely in the middle of the two polar ends. It is a decently crafted game and experience, but ultimately, it doesn’t have enough to sustain people’s attention.

iso2From the developer’s website:

FEATURES

  • Designed specifically for the iPod touch and iPhone.
  • Flawless automatic save. Exit at any time without losing progress.
  • Clean interface. Control pieces with natural gestures.
  • Progressive difficulty. With blocks piling up and more colors in play, iso gets harder over time. You can’t last forever.
  • Infinite re-playability. iso has been finely tuned for short and addictive gameplay.

iso3iso plays like a Tetris game but with Bejeweled rules. For those who may be unfamiliar with these classics; Tetris is a game where various pieces fall from the top of the screen to the bottom. You can rotate the pieces to fit. Bejeweled is a match 3 type game. You place three similar objects is a row either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. By matching 3 or more pieces, you clear them from the board.

The approach iso takes is slightly different. Each block has three colors that are vertically stacked. You can move the stack by swiping to the right or to the left. Tapping the screen will switch the order of the colors. Swiping down will hastily move the stack down. By placing these stacks strategically, you can create combos that ramp up your score. The game ends when your stack reaches the top of the screen.

iso4The audio of iso is perhaps one of its lesser noticed selling points. There is a certain sound the stack makes when switching around their order. It is sublime and satisfying. Other than the sound, the visual quality does help iso garner the appearance of distinction from the other match 3 type games.

The stage is set up in a distinctly isometric view. The background colors subtly change over time. Each stack is crisp, and it is easy to differentiate the colors within each of them. There is a nice wobbling effect as the stack gets too high.

The only major detraction is the in-game scorekeeping. It is written out on the side. There is a major convenience in fully reading the score, tilting your head to the side in order to do so, and paying full attention to the game. I understand that the current design is unconventional in approach, but I feel it is more of an annoyance than anything else.

iso5In an era where match 3 games have come a long way (i.e. Puzzle quest with its RPG elements and Samurai Puzzle Battle with its Risk like gameplay), iso seem plain and stripped down in comparison. This is not to say that iso is a bad game. Far from it. It sticks to the match 3/Tetris formula to the T. In that regard, it is a solid game. Yet, compared with everything else out there, coupled with the “Didn’t I play five other games like this feeling” hinders iso from rising above the level of mediocrity. For $0.99, you can do a lot worse, but for a bit more, you may fare better.

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App Summary
Title: iso (v1.1) Developer: Jacob Schwartz
Price: $0.99 App Size: 0.3 MB
  • Unique design for Match 3 game
  • Good use of audio during gameplay
  • Fans of genre should get some mileage out of iso
  • Awkward placement of in-game score
  • Currently no online scoreboard
  • Could use more gameplay modes

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