TouchMyApps » Applications http://www.touchmyapps.com All Things iPhone and iPad for those who like to Touch. iOS App reviews, News, New Apps, Price Drops and App Gone Free Fri, 26 Jun 2015 21:25:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.8 Got Goldfish in Trouble? Now Get Some Extras With A Promo Code… http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/06/26/got-goldfish-in-trouble-now-get-some-extras-with-a-promo-code/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/06/26/got-goldfish-in-trouble-now-get-some-extras-with-a-promo-code/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 21:25:02 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74533 Hey, did you happen to check out Goldfish in Trouble based on my recommendation from 10 App Store Games To Watch [6/14/15] (note that it was called BUBBLA back when I wrote this)?  If not but you were intending to do so, or even if you already have, here’s some incentive to play it (some … Read more]]>

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Hey, did you happen to check out Goldfish in Trouble based on my recommendation from 10 App Store Games To Watch [6/14/15] (note that it was called BUBBLA back when I wrote this)?  If not but you were intending to do so, or even if you already have, here’s some incentive to play it (some more).  The developers were kind enough to provide me with a promo code that will enable all skins from the onset, provide you with 500 gold coins, and get rid of those pesky ads.  You’ll find the code at the bottom of this post, and here’s how to apply it:

  1. In the Main Menu, there is a yellow fish.
  2. Tap on the fish quickly multiple times!
  3. A pop-up window will be shown for entering the coupon code
  4. After entering the correct code, content of the coupon will be unlocked

Just in case that’s not working for you, check out this instructional image.

Now, here’s the code: tmap042prm

Enjoy, and be sure to drop the developer a note thanking them for the code.  By the way, while this is first come first serve, it will work for 20 users.  Get tapping!

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Fix The Candy in Review – Sweet Success In A Puzzle Game http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/06/23/fix-the-candy-in-review-sweet-success-in-a-puzzle-game/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/06/23/fix-the-candy-in-review-sweet-success-in-a-puzzle-game/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 19:14:51 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74526 I have to admit that I have this really bad stigma towards games that are priced at $2.99 on the App Store.  I don’t know why, but to me that seems to be the price point that has been settled on for a wide variety of games that should honestly be free… or maybe shouldn’t … Read more]]>

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I have to admit that I have this really bad stigma towards games that are priced at $2.99 on the App Store.  I don’t know why, but to me that seems to be the price point that has been settled on for a wide variety of games that should honestly be free… or maybe shouldn’t have even made it to the App Store in the first place.  Thankfully I decided to ignore that quirk in my judgment with Fix The Candy, which has turned out to be an incredibly fun game.  Unfortunately there’s only one save slot, so I’ve had to keep shooing my kids away until I get the game completed on my own.  Oh, the trials I endure for a good game!

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The idea is that a bad earthquake has torn the magical kingdom of Candy World apart and splintered all the candy in the process.  Your job is to put all the candy back together by dragging the sweet shards onto each other to form a whole.  You have to be careful, though, because anything you touch with the candy that is not a like piece of candy will destroy it (and if it’s a different type of candy you’ll also destroy that piece of candy as well).  Additionally, if you let go of a piece of candy before you’ve joined it with another like piece of candy then you can kiss that candy goodbye.

It already sounds a bit nerve wracking, right?  Well just to make sure things aren’t so easy, there are all kinds of obstacles.  Walls, moving walls, walls with spikes (and of course moving walls with spikes) will all restrict the areas in which you can move.  And just in case that doesn’t feel modern enough for you, there are laser walls to contend with as well.  Don’t forget about the creatures that like to eat candy.  Some of them will actively seek out the candy which adds additional pressure to the already ticking clock.  Others will grow bigger when they consume a piece of candy.  Thankfully you have a few tricks up your sleeve, like pipes that let you pass through the walls and a magnet that can assemble a whole piece of candy by dragging one shard on it.

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Control is a simple matter of tapping a piece, dragging it to another like piece and letting go.  While this seems easy enough, there have been a number of times where I thought I was on a piece and started dragging only to realize it hadn’t registered the fact that I picked up the piece.  Also, dropping off the piece seems to be somewhat sensitive as again there were several occasions where I thought I was in the right place only to watch my pieces go poof in a puff of smoke.  It’s certainly not enough of an issue to keep me from playing, but seeing as it’s the only controllable mechanic in the game it could be a bit smoother.  The game has a leaderboard, though last time I checked there was one person on it which leads me to believe it’s not working right.  At the moment there are no achievements to earn.

The graphics are cute, with colorful candies and quirky critters.  The different styles of candy are distinct enough that even when they get smaller they’re easy to tell apart.  There really isn’t much to the background, but at least there are some nifty special effects when your candy gets destroyed.  The sound effects are decent enough, and the music is fun for a bit, although the single musical track gets kind of boring after a while.

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Fix The Candy is a nice combination of puzzle game and twitch fest.  Even with the timer it rarely gets frustrating, and it’s both simple enough for younger kids to understand and challenging enough to keep older kids (both in age and spirit) entertained.  The biggest down side is that with only 60 levels some skill and a little persistence will have you wanting more before long.

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App Summary
Title: Fix The Candy Developer: Evelyn Labs
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req:
Price: $1.99 App Size: 86.95MB
  • Simple, fun game mechanics
  • Entertaining for both young and old players
  • Cute, colorful visuals
  • Control can be a bit touchy
  • 60 levels go by quickly
  • The single background song gets boring pretty fast

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The Silent Age: Episode Two in Review – If Sierra Still Made Adventure Games… http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/06/16/the-silent-age-episode-two-in-review-if-sierra-still-made-adventure-games/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/06/16/the-silent-age-episode-two-in-review-if-sierra-still-made-adventure-games/#comments Tue, 16 Jun 2015 12:24:41 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74519 When I reviewed chapter one of The Silent Age over two years ago, I felt that it was one of the best examples of a traditional Sierra style point and click adventure game, nicely updated for modern touch screen devices.  If anything, the second and final chapter of the game cements that notion.  Having reread … Read more]]>

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When I reviewed chapter one of The Silent Age over two years ago, I felt that it was one of the best examples of a traditional Sierra style point and click adventure game, nicely updated for modern touch screen devices.  If anything, the second and final chapter of the game cements that notion.  Having reread my original review I would say that most of the niggling negative points are still there, but the game is still so captivating that it doesn’t really matter.  Unlike the first time around where I was still left desiring more I am fully satisfied with the resolution to this tale, and I only hope this time that the developers will continue to make adventure games that are as good a quality as this one.

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Chapter two literally takes place right on the heels of the original story.  I won’t share any details so as not to spoil either chapter for you, but I will say that this game does a nice job of tying up all the loose ends.  One might even say that there are a couple of times where it feels like there is too much explanation, but at least it never reaches Final Fantasy cut scene levels and you can skip the long parts if you want.  This time around there was a lot more interaction with other characters, so add a check to the “improvements” column.

The interface hasn’t changed, so you’ll basically tap to do everything – tap to move somewhere, tap to pick up an item or tap an item and then somewhere on the scene to use that item.  There didn’t seem to be as much “hunt and peck” action this time around, and the puzzles were still balanced enough that the provided a challenge but didn’t force me to look elsewhere for the answers.  The ability and necessity to switch between multiple years in order to complete certain puzzles is still the game’s biggest asset and is done just as well this time around.  Sadly, the game still feels rather linear in terms of level design, but I suppose not everything is going to change to my liking.

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The visuals maintain the high quality of the first installment.  There’s something about them that seem detailed and simple at the same time, and it’s a style that I hope they continue with should the studio produce any more adventure games.  The sound effects once again do the game justice, but we still never get to hear the voice of Joe the janitor or any of his contacts.  In my original review I commented that the music was good when it was there, and I’m guessing the same holds true for this installment since it doesn’t the soundtrack didn’t seem to be any more prevalent this time around.

Overall my feelings towards chapter two of the silent age mirror how I felt with chapter one a couple of years ago.  There are some small improvements this time around, but it basically feels like an extension of the first half, just as one might expect it to.  I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, but I do hope that some of my suggestions see the light of day in future products that House on Fire develops.  Of course even if they just maintain the quality displayed in The Silent Age I’ll be more than happy to try whatever comes next.

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App Summary
Title: The Silent Age Developer: House on Fire
Reviewed Ver: 2.0.16 Min OS Req:  iOS 7.0
Price: Free App Size: 120.10MB
  • Excellent continuation of an intriguing story
  • Well balanced puzzles
  • Good use of time jump mechanics
  • Great visuals
  • Decent sound and music
  • Levels feel to linear
  • Still no voiceovers

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10 App Store Games To Watch [6/14/15] http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/06/14/10-app-store-games-to-watch-61415/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/06/14/10-app-store-games-to-watch-61415/#comments Sun, 14 Jun 2015 23:56:09 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74504 This roundup is still loaded primarily with casual games, but at least there were some that put a fresh spin on old genres.  Brickies is a brick breaker game, but it adds a pong like element and some nifty power ups to put a fresh coat of paint on a tiring game mechanic.  BUBBLA – … Read more]]>

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This roundup is still loaded primarily with casual games, but at least there were some that put a fresh spin on old genres.  Brickies is a brick breaker game, but it adds a pong like element and some nifty power ups to put a fresh coat of paint on a tiring game mechanic.  BUBBLA – chain reaction does something similar for the chain reaction genre, forcing you to not only clear the playing field but do it in a way that maximizes points and allows you to collect the elusive golden fish.  Ball King, on the other hand, takes the concept of rapid basketball dunking and quite literally turns it on its side, complete with pixel graphics and plenty of non-basketball items to shoot.

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One More Dash [5/27/15] – Talk about an appropriate name for the game.  This is one of those causal games that will have you pressing the play button again and again, even though you KNOW you have other things to do.  The goal is simply to keep your avatar alive as long as you can, racing from circle to circle to collect points.  Most circles have at least one barrier preventing entry, while some have two or more.  Thankfully there are gaps in these barriers, though they might not always sync up with each other.  Some barriers even have spikes on them, so while you can bounce off of the tamer barriers and try again, spiked barriers mean instant death if you touch them.  To make matters worse you can only spend a certain amount of time in a circle, so if the next target has a slow moving barrier you might be out of luck.  In addition to collecting the points that are inside the circles you can get tokens that orbit the outer part of the circle.  These tokens can be used to buy new visual schemes or different avatars.  The game offers a single leaderboard and 32 achievements through Game Center, and there are also 200 missions to complete that will earn you additional tokens for buying stuff.

One More Dash SMG Studio, One More Dash – Free

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Ball King [5/20/15] – I don’t much get into “true” sports simulations, but I like a good sports themed game as well as the next guy.  Ball King has certainly caught my attention in that regards.  The goal is simply to make as many baskets as you can.  In challenge mode the first basket you miss signals the end of your run, whereas in timed mode you can miss but it deducts from your score (my first outing netted me a -5, so you can go below 0).  The game uses the Angry Birds style of dragging your finger to create an arced path between the player and the basket.  At first you just have to worry about the basket moving after each shot, but eventually you’ll have to take wind into consideration as well.  You can collect diamonds by making sure your path crosses them when they show up, and you can also earn them by watching videos or simply by playing for a long enough period of time.  These diamonds will get you new “balls” to play with, but the objects can range from an old tire to a floppy disk and even a fish bowl – animal lovers might not want to use the latter.  The game offers a leaderboard for each game play mode, and you can also challenge your friends to see who has the best aim.

Ball King Qwiboo Ltd, Ball King – Free

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Brickies [5/20/15] – Don’t like brick breakers?  Then you haven’t tried Brickies yet.  Okay, I feel like I’m cheating on Anodia a bit here, but while there’s no question that game has better level design, this one has definitely managed to grab my attention.  I like the fact that you actually have two paddles – one at the top and one at the bottom – instead of just one.  I also think it’s cool that the ball never actually “goes out”.  Instead, if you miss it with the paddle it just turns red, and it won’t break any more bricks until you paddle it again.  Power ups can stack on top of each other, and Brickies tries to do things you haven’t seen before… including my current favorite which lets you temporarily guide the ball with your finger.  The visuals are great, and the ever present timer counting down in the background always lets you know how you’re doing without being obtrusive or not visible enough.  The 100+ levels each have a three star ranking, and if you don’t do well the first time around you can go back after you’ve unlocked more powerful power ups.  There’s also an endless mode to challenge you skills.  There is a leaderboard and 33 achievements via Game Center, so there’s always something to strive for.  Overall this is one of the best entries in the genre that I’ve run across so far.

Brickies Noodlecake Studios Inc, Brickies – Free

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Silly Sausage in Meat Land [3/24/15] – Lately it seems like another roundup means another Nitrome game.  Either I’m taking too long in between roundups or they’re just releasing a bunch of decent games recently.  This time around you take control of a dog that has this innate ability to show up Mr. Fantastic when it comes to stretching.  You’ll have to open gates, slide through Mario style pipes and dodge flying, knife wielding hands in order to get from dog house to dog house.  Along the way you’ll collect gems and you can either use the gems or watch videos when you arrive at each dog house so that you can resume the game from that house.  The task seems simple enough, but when you start getting into combinations of things like only being able to stick to certain platforms and needing to flip multiple buttons at the same time, the game can get rather tricky.  The visuals have the same great pixel style you’ve come to know and love from a Nitrome game, and each section provides new and interesting challenges.  The only thing I’m not keen on is the fact that so far the game seems to be just one really long level, but I guess it would be the same game play wise whether it was broken up or not.  I just prefer more, smaller levels.

Silly Sausage in Meat Land Nitrome, Silly Sausage in Meat Land – Free

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Zombiebucket [5/27/15] – What could be better than a match 3 game with a zombie theme?  How about a match 3 game where you actually match the zombies?  In Zombiebucket you must keep your bucket from filling up with zombies by matching zombies of like colors.  As long as they are touching it doesn’t matter if they are up, down or diagonal from where you start, and you’ll want to get as many in one try as you can.  As you get rid of the zombies more will take their place, and as the levels increase you’ll get different types of zombies thrown into the mix.  Fortunately you also get power ups like randomly zapping several zombies not in the selected pool or destroying anything in the path of a laser beam.  Killing zombies earns you zombie brains, as does tapping on special zombies that are thrown into the mix upon completing certain goals.  These zombie brains can be used to upgrade your current bucket or buy a new one.  There is a leaderboard which has been severely hacked, but there are also 37 achievements to earn if collecting the superzombies isn’t cool enough for you.

Zombiebucket ONE MORE LEVEL S.A., Zombiebucket – Free

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BUBBLA – chain reaction [5/25/15] – After a while I stopped downloading games from this genre because while one might have looked better than another graphically, they all just started to feel the same to me.  Now there’s no arguing that the base mechanics are there – explode every object on the screen in the given number of moves.  It’s cool that the objects are evil fish and that when you explode them the innocent fish inside get set free, but that doesn’t affect the game play any.  What is important, however, is the order in which you explode things.  There are multiple ways to complete each level, but only one will get you the maximum score so that you can earn three stars, as well as give you the chance to acquire the golden fish for that level.  Most of the levels are easily beatable for one star, but it will take a true master to collect all the golden fish.  A leaderboard unlocks after you’ve conquered 35 levels, and at certain points you will also open up each of three different power ups that can be activated by spending coins you collect or buy through IAP.  According to the iTunes description, though, you can complete all levels without the power ups, and since the game is free you theoretically could complete it without spending a dime (if you like it make sure you treat the devs right, though).  Just so you understand the value you’re getting, there are 1500 stars to earn, which means the game sports a whopping 500 levels!

BUBBLA - chain reaction TINYSOFT, BUBBLA – chain reaction – Free

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Bear vs. Art [4/8/15] – Here’s a game where you get to play as a bear and tear up artwork, so I don’t know what there is to not like (disclaimer: I do like art).  You were a relatively happy bear until some inconsiderate folks put a huge art gallery in the middle of your forest, and now you want to get revenge.  You’ll travel through many different rooms, the goal of most being to demolish all the paintings.  Sometimes you’ll have to take out the patrons as well, and on rare occasions you might even need to avoid them.  Restrictions include limited time and / or moves, and to make things even trickier this is one of those games where once you pick a direction you keep moving until something gets in your way.  Along the way you’ll earn coins which can be used for a variety of things like buying outfits and leveling them up.  There are also different skills you can enhance over time as you earn skill points.  The game has 20 achievements to earn, and with 150 levels and the tease of more to come you’ll certainly have plenty to keep yourself entertained for quite some time.

Bears vs. Art Halfbrick Studios, Bears vs. Art – Free

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Gunbrick [1/7/15] – Guess what?  I found another Nitrome game to include in my roundups!  This time around you play a slightly off-kilter duck that happens to get his hands on a rather destructive cube.  One side sports a really big gun, while the opposite end has a nice shield.  Your task is to traverse a bunch of puzzle filled levels, destroying everything in your path that you can while making sure that the exposed sides of your cube don’t fall prey to the soulless lasers, flames and other obstacles that would do you harm.  The trick is that you can only swipe to move left or right and tap to shoot, so if you want to go down you have to fall off a cliff or if you wish to travel up you need to make sure your gun is facing down and then tap to shoot.  This control scheme makes for some very interesting puzzles.  Combine that with killer pixel art and a really cool soundtrack and you have yourself a great modern retro game.  There are several achievements to earn, but the lack of level completion stars or any sort of score cements that old school feel this game exudes so well.

Gunbrick Nitrome, Gunbrick – $2.99

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Get Hi [5/25/15] – I might as well disappoint a lot of you right now by saying this is not a marijuana smoking simulator.  The object of the game is to simply bounce an object as high as you can before it falls off the platforms that you control.  Tapping the screen causes the platforms to tilt one way, and releasing your finger makes them go the opposite direction.  If you can manage to get a rhythm going you’ll do really well, otherwise you’re probably not going to get a very high score.  The only boost you’ll find is the triangle which will knock you up a few extra levels.  Periodically you’ll also see other objects on the board, and if you can bounce your current object into them you’ll be able to use them as your bouncing object.  The cool thing is that each object has their own style of platform – for instance, when you switch to the golf ball the platforms become clubs, and when you select the sushi roll the platforms are chopsticks.  There are 50 objects to collect, as well as a leaderboard and 11 achievements through Game Center.  I’m not sure this game will hold up well in long spurts, but for a few minute jaunt while in line somewhere it can be quite entertaining.

Get Hi Philipp Stollenmayer, Get Hi – Free

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Nubs’ Adventure [5/28/15] – Let me count the ways that I love this platform game.  If you have any sense of nostalgia you’ll immediately fall in love the fine combination of pixel art and awesome animation.  There are plenty of areas to explore, with a slick teleportation system that easily gets you to key locations in each region.  The game has a map that is actually useful, showing you how all the rooms interconnect and what you have left to complete in each room.  And, unlike so many platform games these days, you can actually get back to just about any previous room in case you missed something like a gem or other item that isn’t necessarily essential to completing a puzzle.  Speaking of which, Nubs will have to solve many environment based puzzles to finish his adventure.  Thankfully he’s not alone, and at certain points in the game you’ll need to control either the wisp Ally or the giant worm Brute in order to pass sections that Nubs can’t do on his own.  Nubs’ Adventure even has decent controls, but if you want a true platform gaming experience Nubs supports game controllers as well.

Nubs' Adventure Maximilian Csuk, Nubs’ Adventure – Free

Well that wraps up another edition of games to watch on the App Store. As always, if there’s something you’ve played recently that you feel should be part of this list, please leave a reply to this post. Previous weekly installments of our App Store Games Roundup:

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You Must Build A Boat in Review – Awesome Match 3 Rouge Like Action http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/06/12/you-must-build-a-boat-in-review-awesome-match-3-rouge-like-action/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/06/12/you-must-build-a-boat-in-review-awesome-match-3-rouge-like-action/#comments Fri, 12 Jun 2015 20:52:57 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74497 This is a sequel to a game that I don’t recall the name of off hand, but I’m pretty sure I own it and have not actually played it.  After spending some time with You Must Build A Boat I realize I really missed out the first time around, even if the game were only … Read more]]>

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This is a sequel to a game that I don’t recall the name of off hand, but I’m pretty sure I own it and have not actually played it.  After spending some time with You Must Build A Boat I realize I really missed out the first time around, even if the game were only half as good as this one.  The best I can describe the experience as is a side scrolling rogue like with real time match 3 battles and a boat building sim to boot.  The real time nature of the game frustrates me to no end at times, but the overall package is so polished that I instantly fall in love with it again.  Also, this is one of the rare games I’ve ever played that actually makes you feel good when you die by displaying “You Win” at the end of a run, even if you didn’t meet any of your goals.

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As the title of the game suggests, the overriding goal of your travels is to build a boat.  You start out with basically a deck and a place to sleep, and as you progress through the game you’ll meet various characters that require their own rooms to be added to your ship.  Just so you don’t feel completely taken advantage of, however, each new resident will offer you some sort of service in return for your hospitality.  These include things like upgrading weapons, training captured creatures to work alongside of you and letting you sell back all the worthless junk you find in treasure chests.  It’s basically like having your own floating adventure game city always with you.

The dungeons themselves are a combination of a “window” to the dungeon at the top of the screen as well as a match 3 area below that.  Your character is constantly running towards the right of the screen, but any time a monster or treasure chest gets in the way you’ll have to stop and deal with it.  You get rid of chests by matching keys, and monsters can be dispatched by matching swords or staffs or by using spells or weapons that are revealed when matching seemingly innocent, empty crates.  There are also traps that will periodically show up that require specific object matches to get rid of.  What you need to keep in mind here is that if you aren’t running forward you will be pushed backwards, and if you end up getting pushed off the left side of the screen the run is over.

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There is plenty of loot to be found along the way, either in the form of gold coins or junk that can be sold to get coins.  Occasionally you’ll be lucky enough to score some silver as well.  All of this can be used to upgrade your sword, staff and shield.  If you want to recruit monsters to fight for your cause, on the other hand, you’ll need to match plenty of the arms and brains that you find on the playing field.  Each dungeon has plenty of quests to complete, and your rewards for beating each one will vary from some gold to unlocking monsters you can recruit to finding rare and useful items.  There is no Game Center integration, but like the olden days you’ll get much satisfaction from actually completing the game.

Speaking of old school, I love the visuals in this game.  Granted the pixelization often makes it hard to tell what things are, but that’s part of the graphics’ charm.  Of course if you’ve played games back in the days of Atari or the Commodore 64 then these images should look right at home to you.  The sound effects are actually pretty decent and don’t come off like standard match 3 hybrid type sound bytes.  The music is enjoyable enough, reminding me of NES / SNES era tunes.

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If you’re already a fan of match 3 / rouge like hybrids, there’s no reason you shouldn’t already be playing this game.  If you’ve never tried them or are burnt out on the concept, You Must Build A Boat is great way to get hooked (possibly for something other than the first time).  My inability to keep up with the action at times aside, there’s not a whole lot here not to like.

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App Summary
Title: You Must Build A Boat Developer: EightyEight Games LTD
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.1617 Min OS Req:  iOS 6.0
Price: $2.99 App Size: 56.07MB
  • Plenty of action and places to explore
  • Lots of upgrades and monsters to recruit
  • Awesome pixel graphics
  • Decent audio elements
  • Real time combat can get frustrating
  • Multiple swipes sometimes required to move row or column
  • Can’t always discern what creatures are

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The Frankenstein Wars – Ring In Christmas With The Undead http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/06/04/the-frankenstein-wars-ring-in-christmas-with-the-undead/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/06/04/the-frankenstein-wars-ring-in-christmas-with-the-undead/#comments Fri, 05 Jun 2015 05:49:12 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74492 I’m certainly as much a fan of zombie games as the next guy, but there are other undead specimens that are just as cool and often tend to go virtually unnoticed.  The upcoming game The Frankenstein Wars takes the notion that someone has managed to harness the secrets of Dr. Frankenstein and create an army … Read more]]>

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I’m certainly as much a fan of zombie games as the next guy, but there are other undead specimens that are just as cool and often tend to go virtually unnoticed.  The upcoming game The Frankenstein Wars takes the notion that someone has managed to harness the secrets of Dr. Frankenstein and create an army of piecemeal soldiers that feel no pain and can definitely wreak havoc.  You actually control the fate of two brothers, and it’s up to you whether they become allies to stop the impending invasion or if they choose to be mortal enemies as one vies for ultimate power.

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While story will certainly be key to this adventure, the game goes well beyond the scope of normal interactive gamebooks.  You’ll explore interactive maps, follow branching, non-linear storylines, and eventually decide the fate of two different characters.  Your goals will change as the story progresses, and your theoretical victory will be affected by your pace – the longer you take to reach the enemy, the stronger they will be.  Weather can actually direct the story, and you’ll even get to command whole battalions of troops.  The scope of the game sounds much grander than anything we’ve experienced previously in a gamebook adventure, and I for one am pretty excited about it.

It appears that The Frankenstein Wars is slated to ship in December on both iOS and Android platforms, and there is currently a Kickstarter campaign so the developers can gather a few additional funds to tidy things up a bit.  Head on over and check it out.

Goodies:
Video: The Frankenstein Wars on Youtube
Kickstarter Campaign: The Frankenstein Wars on Kickstarter
Sol Invictus – Sequel to Interactive SciFi Gamebook Heavy Metal Thunder Cubus Games, Sol Invictus – Sequel to Interactive SciFi Gamebook Heavy Metal Thunder – $1.99
The Sinister Fairground - The Horror Adventure Gamebook Cubus Games, The Sinister Fairground – The Horror Adventure Gamebook – $2.99

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Leo’s Fortune in Review – iOS Platforming At It’s Best http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/06/03/leos-fortune-in-review-ios-platforming-at-its-best/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/06/03/leos-fortune-in-review-ios-platforming-at-its-best/#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 01:50:59 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74485 As far as I’m concerned the platform game genre reigned supreme in the days of 8 bit and probably even 16 bit consoles.  Many have tried to capture the feel of such games on the iPad, and a few have managed to succeed.  The biggest obstacle usually ends up being how to control the main … Read more]]>

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As far as I’m concerned the platform game genre reigned supreme in the days of 8 bit and probably even 16 bit consoles.  Many have tried to capture the feel of such games on the iPad, and a few have managed to succeed.  The biggest obstacle usually ends up being how to control the main character of the game.  The developers behind Leo’s Fortune have managed to make both an outstanding platform game from a design perspective and one that controls extremely well.  If you haven’t tried this game yet you’re really missing out.

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You play Leo, who is basically a Tribble with a personality and a disproportionately large moustache.  You were once well respected in the land, but now that a thief has stolen all of your riches you are looked on as a fool.  It is up to you to track down the thief, collecting all of the gold he has left to taunt and bait you along the way.  The game consists of 5 acts for a total of 19 regular levels and 4 bonus levels.  Compared to some games it may not seem like an overabundance, but trust me when I say it will take you some time to master the main levels, especially if you want to earn 3 stars on all of them.  The bonus levels are basically to test your speed as they challenge you to zip around a track as many times as you can in a certain amount of time.  The bonus levels are nice for a diversion I guess, but they don’t really compel me to play them like the standard levels do.

Speaking of which, there is some killer design in the main levels, at least from what I’ve seen so far.  I say that because each level has a 3 star ranking: one for collecting all the coins, another for beating the level without dying and a third for finishing the level under a certain amount of time.  The way I am I find myself continually replaying the older levels instead of continuing on because I really, really need all those stars.  While the one for coins has never really been an issue, it turns out not dying and getting through the level fast tend to be mutually exclusive for me, if I can even get either of them on a given level.  Not only are the levels laid out in such a way that you want to explore (even though you basically don’t have the time to), some of the puzzles are fiendish in their simplicity vs. time allotment ratio.  In other words, they aren’t necessarily difficult unless you try to do them fast.

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You can move Leo left or right and cause him to either inflate or squish depending on your needs.  There are two methods for controlling him.  The first is through a set of on screen buttons, and the second has you using one finger to slide back and forth for left / right movement while the other finger slides up to inflate and down to squish.  While the second one is actually pretty effective, I still find it easier to use the on screen buttons.  The game offers 26 different leaderboards, so you can definitely get your rank on.  There are also 37 achievements to earn on the off chance that working for all those stars just aren’t enough for you.

The graphics in Leo’s adventures are beautiful.  The landscapes are extremely well drawn, there are gobs of detail throughout, and the main character looks cool and is well animated.  A lot of times that means the audio portions of the game don’t fare as well, but for Leo that’s not the case.  The sound effects are very well done and I love the accent of whoever does Leo’s voice.  The music is nicely written and suits the game.  As a whole the aesthetics blend together to form a vibrant universe for your exploration pleasure.

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Platform games have always been one of my favorite genres, and now players have another reason to enjoy this style of game play on their iOS devices.  Slick visuals, great level design and some of the best platform gaming controls to date help Leo’s Fortune rise above the crowd compared to its peers.  I do wish it weren’t quite so tough to earn some of the stars, especially in the earlier levels, but at least that gives me more incentive to keep on playing!

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App Summary
Title: Leo’s Fortune Developer: 1337 & Senri LLC
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.6 Min OS Req:  iOS 7.0
Price: $4.99 App Size: 73.84MB
  • Some great puzzles and level design
  • Solid controls
  • Lots of leaderboards and achievements
  • Great visuals
  • Well done audio
  • Bonus levels not so interesting
  •  3 stars difficult to achieve even on early stages

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A Day In The Woods in Review – To Grandmother’s House We Go http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/31/a-day-in-the-woods-in-review-to-grandmothers-house-we-go/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/31/a-day-in-the-woods-in-review-to-grandmothers-house-we-go/#comments Sun, 31 May 2015 23:30:33 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74474 When I first read the description for A Day In The Woods I got a bit nervous.  The iTunes description pegs it as a “stylish re-imagining of the traditional sliding puzzle game”, and I started having flashbacks of cheap plastic molding and the need to physically rip some tiles from their tracks and position them … Read more]]>

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When I first read the description for A Day In The Woods I got a bit nervous.  The iTunes description pegs it as a “stylish re-imagining of the traditional sliding puzzle game”, and I started having flashbacks of cheap plastic molding and the need to physically rip some tiles from their tracks and position them in the proper place forcefully in order to beat the puzzle.  Thankfully there is really very little similarity between this game and those frightful little toys.  Instead what we have is a delightful puzzle game that expands on the Red Riding Hood universe and challenges the mind to look beyond the trees for the forest (okay, I’m reaching with that pun, but it had to be done).

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The task is to help Red get through the woods to grandmother’s house.  As it turns out, this journey is a lot longer than any story has ever given it credit for, and it’s also apparently filled with a lot of imposter houses.  Nevertheless, you must aid Red in reaching each house and knocking on the door so you can get some sort of snide remark from the dwelling’s occupant, who usually doesn’t want to be bothered.  You can’t control Red directly, however, nor of that matter any other object or obstacle in the game.  Instead, you must use a magical sprite, constantly swapping tiles between the sprite and whatever object you wish to actually move.

Long before the wolf comes into play you’ll have to deal with bears and trapdoor spiders.  Thankfully you’ll have things like campfires, beehives and poor, fluffy rabbits to deal with these vile creatures.  Each has their own set of rules for how they interact with each other and with you, and as this is a family friendly game you’ll be spared the gruesomeness of watching innocent red get devoured by some hungry beast.  In fact, if there’s something you can’t get too close to the game just won’t let you do it.  This does mean you’ll have to work your way around things at times, though, and since one of the goals is limited number of footsteps, you’ll have to be creative in your movements.

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The game is comprised of 60 levels, and each level has 3 stars you can earn: one for simply completing the level, another for collecting all the flowers and berries on the level and a third for finishing the level on or below a certain number of moves.  Thankfully you can always earn one star.  The trick becomes trying to collect all the goodies on a level and still making it to the cabin door under the required number of moves.  It is quite possible on each level, but as my sorry scoreboard suggests it’s not all that easy.  There are no leaderboards to rank on or achievements to earn, but for a game like this being able to earn all three stars on a level is reward enough.  One thing that is kind of neat is that as you earn stars you’ll be able to unlock new accoutrements for the sprite as well as additional backdrops for the scenery.

Speaking of which, the graphics in A Day In The Woods are really neat.  At first things seem a bit washed out and lacking in detail, but when you realize that the characters and tiles are supposed to look like hand carved wooden pieces everything takes on a whole new dimension.  Granted the bits of animation detract from that illusion, but they are welcome none the less.  The sound effects work quite well and are much appreciated, especially since there is no music playing during the game itself.  This is really the single biggest flaw with this game, especially given the slow, methodical nature of the game play itself.  It’s easy to notice the lack of background music.

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A Day In The Woods is a breath of fresh air on the App Store.  It’s engaging, it’s challenging, and it doesn’t feel quite like anything else I’ve played.  The visuals do a great job of capturing the board game nature of the product, and the sound effects actually help bring a little life into this imagining of the Red Riding Hood tale.  If they would just add some music this game would be an A+ instead of an A.

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App Summary
Title: A Day In The Woods Developer: RetroEpic Software
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.0 Min OS Req:  iOS 6.0
Price: $4.99 App Size: 159.10MB
  • Great concept
  • Challenging but manageable levels
  • Cool board game look
  • Nice sound effects
  • No music

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Proto Raider in Review – ASCII To A Whole New Level http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/28/proto-raider-in-review-ascii-to-a-whole-new-level/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/28/proto-raider-in-review-ascii-to-a-whole-new-level/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 19:12:31 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74462 I love a good platform game as much as the next guy, but if the developers aren’t careful everything starts to feel like another Super Mario clone.  Thankfully Proto Raider isn’t even close to causing such confusion.  Basic one button mechanics and single screen arenas keep the levels intimate, while awesome “hi res” ASCII graphics … Read more]]>

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I love a good platform game as much as the next guy, but if the developers aren’t careful everything starts to feel like another Super Mario clone.  Thankfully Proto Raider isn’t even close to causing such confusion.  Basic one button mechanics and single screen arenas keep the levels intimate, while awesome “hi res” ASCII graphics give the game a feel like none other you’ve seen.  If you’re up for a deceptively simple challenge, this is the game for you.

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There’s not really a story to this game, but it won’t matter once you get into it.  You basically need to collect treasure, avoid obstacles and occasionally fight a bad guy or two.  You tap to start each level and then tap to jump when appropriate – or slide if the gravity upgrade is in effect.  Everything else is pretty much handled by the game.  It always seems like it would be too basic to be challenging, yet some of the levels will take you several tries to master.  The game has this “if I try it the same way one more time it will work” effect, when in reality I slight change in logic is needed to solve the level.  That’s what makes this style of game work despite being limited to a single screen per level.

The screens are filled with all kind of obstacles.  Standard jumps can prove fatal when not timed right, and waterfalls provide a nice downward pull that literally keeps you jumping to escape.  Boats keep you protected from falling into the water, assuming you step right so that you land on the boat in the first place.  Poison, flames, drowning – these are but a few of the things will force you to restart a level.  Thankfully you can pick up tools to help you out along the way: scuba gear to traverse deep pools, antidote to protect you from poison, picks to get you through inconvenient rock piles and much more.  You just need to make sure you get to the tools before you plunge head first into the obstacles.

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You can collect up to three treasure chests per level, and while you don’t need to get all of them you will need a certain number to transition between major areas.  Unfortunately you’ll never get to spend that loot.  There is also no score awarded at the end of any level, and while there is Game Center integration there are no leaderboards or achievements.  Basically, this is one of those old school affairs where you’re forced to derive pleasure from the simple fact that you actually beat every level.  And trust me, once you’ve conquered some of these challenges that might just be enough.

If you’re one of those folks that’s fallen prey to the “3D is the only way” mantra then you won’t get the beauty of the graphics in this game.  If you remember the days of text bases MUDs or know what I’m talking about when I say ZZT then you’ll be amazed by how the developers have upped the ante on ASCII imagery.  Sure they’ve taken some liberties that weren’t truly available on character based displays, but in the end it’s pretty spectacular have they’ve managed to capture a vibrant world by combining the output of a standard keyboard in various ways.  The sound effects don’t really live up to the standards of the rest of the aesthetics, but in the scheme of things it doesn’t really matter.  To back up the wonderful visuals is a soundtrack that would be easy to listen to even if you weren’t playing the game.

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If you’re a platform game junkie like me then you really need to give Proto Raider a try.  The unique visuals and killer soundtrack will keep you senses busy while the single tap mechanics and one screen levels will challenge the brain and reflexes.  Those seeking high scores and massive amount of unlockables probably won’t be satisfied, but anyone else will have a hard time not getting hooked.

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App Summary
Title: Proto Raider Developer: UAB “Puzzle Lab”
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.2 Min OS Req:  iOS 6.0
Price: $2.99 App Size: 44.53MB
  • Simple mechanics
  • Challenging one screen game play
  • Excellent ASCII visuals
  • Great soundtrack
  • No visceral incentives like score or achievements
  • Sound effects are kind of lackluster

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10 App Store Games To Watch [5/27/15] http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/27/10-app-store-games-to-watch-52715/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/27/10-app-store-games-to-watch-52715/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 11:48:49 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74448 Okay, I know I should be going out more to enjoy the warmer weather we’re finally getting in my part of the world, but then the sun messes up my view of the iPad screen!  Once again I’ve divined 10 App Store games that I think you’ll enjoy, and for the most part they fall … Read more]]>

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Okay, I know I should be going out more to enjoy the warmer weather we’re finally getting in my part of the world, but then the sun messes up my view of the iPad screen!  Once again I’ve divined 10 App Store games that I think you’ll enjoy, and for the most part they fall under the “casual” category so you can spend five minutes with them or hours on them if you get hooked.  Just remember if the latter happens it’s not my fault.  I didn’t make you download the game and give it a try.

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High Dive [5/7/15] – You’re Walter, and all you want to do is get to the water below you.  This desire has caused you to become a diving fool, emphasis on the fool part.  You see, in a veiled reference that probably has nothing to do with Alfred Hitchcock, there are lots of birds flying between you and the water.  Touch one and you’ll have to start the dive all over again.  The trick is to see how high you can get before you’ve lost your resolve (and all of your lives).  Diamonds are strategically placed along the dive, and if you collect them you can either continue your game once you’ve lost all your lives or you can unlock a couple of different characters to play with.  Or you can do both if you’re persistent enough.  You have the option from time to time of watching a video to earn more diamonds, and of course you can always buy some via IAP.  There are 5 different leaderboards to conquer and 4 achievements to earn.  While the latter might seem like nothing, they are the kind of achievements that will take most people some time to fulfill.  The visuals are simple but nice, and the music is decent for a while though the single soundtrack does get old after a while.  If you don’t have enough causal games yet, High Dive is a solid, basic alternative for you.

High Dive The Frosty Pop Corps Inc., High Dive – Free

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Into The Circle [5/6/15] – Simple is the name of the game… okay, well I guess I already established that it was Into The Circle.  And this game is by no means simple, but like many casual games I mention it is certainly easy to figure out.  You simply hold the screen when the arrow is pointing in the direction you want and let go when the power meter is filled to what you deem is an appropriate level.  What you’re doing is launching a ball, and your goal is to get it to stop in the next zone from where you’re at.  You score one point for landing in the zone, and additional points if you get close enough to the center, which is also known as perfect.  The cool thing is that the bonus goes up for each “perfect” you score – the first time you get one extra point, the second time you get two, etc.  If you score three perfects in a row you get a star, and you can also collect stars via daily “logins” or by purchasing them from the store.  Stars are used to continue the game if you don’t make it into the target zone.  The game offers a high score leaderboard and 21 achievements through Game Center, and there is also an internal weekly leaderboard where the higher you rise, the more stars you earn.  The graphics are simple but pleasing, and the single song is quirky and cool.

Into The Circle Gameblyr, LLC, Into The Circle – Free

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Cooped Up [5/5/15] – Nitrome is one of those indie companies that seems to just drop games into the App Store out of nowhere.  They’ve typically got good pixel art graphics and in the case of Platform Panic and Cooped Up seem to strive for simple, entertaining game play.  In this case you are trying to help a bird “fly the coop” so to speak, but unfortunately the long term residents really don’t want to see you getting out before them.  Of course most of them look like cartoon zombie birds, but that’s okay because it jives well with their crazy personalities.  Your job is to fling the bird from wire to wire, avoiding the demented adversaries and eating the insects and spiders whenever you can.  Your score is based on how many wires you manage to traverse, and it helps you climb the Game Center leaderboard.  There are also 15 achievements to earn.  Every time you collect 10 bugs you earn a boost that launches you through a few wires, but otherwise there are no power ups to be found, which in my opinion is the main down side to the game.  If Nitrome keeps this up they’ll definitely be one to watch in the mobile realm.

Cooped Up Nitrome, Cooped Up – Free

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Pieces of Paper Pro [2/22/15] – Every match 3 game these days claims they offer something new, but this is one of the few I’ve played in recent months that really holds true to that claim.  The game offers 15 different game play modes, including a career mode where you level up and earn game play bonuses.  Instead of your basic “swap two pieces” game mechanic, in Pieces of Paper you can only move each piece in certain directions as indicated by the arrows on the piece.  A move doesn’t have to result in a match, and when you do make matches the empty spaces on the board are locked instead of being replaced with new pieces.  Every couple of seconds you can unlock those squares and repopulate the entire board.  There are a few different power ups you can get, my favorite being the fan which blows away several pieces around the tile the fan is in.  There are also a couple of boosts you can purchase before each time you play.  These boosts require pops which you can collect during the game, earn when you level up or buy from the App Store via IAP.  If you’re a fan of match 3 games you’ll definitely want to check this out so you can see what a fresh match 3 experience feels like.

Pieces of Paper Pro Kyle Wilgus, Pieces of Paper Pro – $1.99
Pieces of Paper Match 3 Free Kyle Wilgus, Pieces of Paper Match 3 Free – Free

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Fluff Eaters [5/13/15] – Fluff Eaters is like a twisted version of the old kids’ game jacks.  Instead of a ball you have a cat in a bubble, and instead of jacks you must pick up fish and destroy fluff.  Position the cat where you’d like it to fall and then let go.  Be careful, though, because the cat can only bounce once before being placed in a bubble again.  More than one bounce, bouncing on things like spikes or letting poor Bouncy fly of the screen all result in having to start the level over.  Oh, keep in mind that Bouncy can’t touch fluffs either.  Your primary goal on each level is to clear away the fluff, though each level has 3 fish you should try and collect because these allow you to unlock new levels.  As you progress through the levels the obstacles start getting tougher: platforms spin, have spikes on them or fall away once you bounce on them, and the fluffs start getting more ambitious as well.  Your score for a level is based on how long it takes you to complete, how many bounces you need and the number of fish you capture.  There is a leaderboard for each of the four worlds as well as 12 achievements to earn.  I’m not a big fan of cats, but for some reason people tend to make interesting games around them.

Fluff Eaters Henry Fernandez, Fluff Eaters – $1.99

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The Top Spot [5/20/15] – This is the latest offering from Chillingo, who at one time I would have considered the juggernaut of the mobile games arena.  While I’m not sure I feel that way any more they still turn out some interesting games, and this is one of them.  The object is simple: tap each circle in sequence from the topmost to the bottom one.  The problem is that the circles don’t always line up in a way that’s conducive to knowing what order they should go in.  Thankfully you have three tools to aid you in your task.  Stop lets you freeze a specific object so that you can watch other ones pass over it (or freezes non-circle objects so they don’t interfere with the circles).  Slow reduces the speed of an object so it will actually cross paths with other items on the screen, and enlarge makes an object bigger so it can actually overlap the other circles that it is passing.  The game offers 200 levels of overlapping fun, and since there are no timers or scores to be concerned with you can take your time and enjoy this to the full extent.  The game does offer a leaderboard, which appears to be the highest level you’ve reached, and there are 6 achievements to earn.  The Top Spot is ad supported, so if you plan on seeing it all the way through you might consider buying the ad-free IAP.  Otherwise you either watch a video to keep the ads at bay for 10 minutes or close an ad between every single play (or replay) of a level.

The Top Spot Chillingo Ltd, The Top Spot – Free

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Seabeard [12/10/14] – Seabeard is a game of exploration.  It’s also a city builder… and there’s even a bit of RPG thrown in for good measure.  Your primary goal is to rebuild your home town, which you even get the honor of renaming towards the beginning of the game.  You’ll meet plenty of folks to trade with a do quests for, and you’ll also take on the task of reuniting the legendary Seabeard’s famous crew.  As you complete quests you’ll earn XP which you can use to enhance your main character’s various traits.  Your crew mates will also level up so that they get better at whatever it is they specialize in.  Each town is located on an island, and as you travel between them you’ll get to play mini-games to earn items for quests and to sell, and you might also win money or pearls.  This game offers plenty to do, though it might be a little slow paced for you FPS fans out there.  The graphics are nice and colorful, and a pretty good indication that this title is geared more towards kids.  However, there is still plenty for adults to enjoy as well.

Seabeard Backflip Studios, Seabeard – Free

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Catch The Rabbit [5/5/15] – The title says it all, though I have to say the “rabbit” looks more like a cross between a burglar and a demented Santa Claus.  To pursue the rabbit you’ll launch your critter from platform to platform by dragging your finger to set a path for the critter to travel on.  Unfortunately pursuit won’t be so easy because the platforms don’t seem to want to stand still.  Some are moving up and down, while others move back and forth.  To complicate matters there are golden apples you’ll want to collect, but those are constantly moving up and down as well.  The plus side is that for every 50 apples you collect you get a randomly selected new critter, and while they don’t seem to have any impact on game play it’s always fun to earn new things.  There are also some creatures you can earn by downloading other games.  Game Center integration provides a leaderboard for the most jumps in a single run, and there are 13 achievements to earn.  Catch the Rabbit is another simple but entertaining choice for the casual gamer.

Catch The Rabbit Ketchapp, Catch The Rabbit – Free

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Defense 39 [6/1/14] – Defense 39 is a bunker defense game that takes place during WWII.  You must hold your position against invading Nazi forces using the best weaponry you can acquire.  Each weapon is more effective against different types of enemies, and every mission has a different balance of adversaries.  Thankfully a missions “expert” will give you hints as to what you might want to use as you attempt to tackle a particular mission.  There’s a campaign mode with more than 70 missions to conquer as well as a survival mode where you simply fight for as long as you can.  Survival mode is pretty intense right off the bat, so keep trying as you unlock new and upgraded equipment in campaign mode.  Slaying certain groups of bad guys earns you medals, as does watching videos or simply buying them via IAP.  These medals are what you use to actually buy and upgrade equipment when it is available.  Each level in campaign mode has a 5 star ranking, and each group of levels has an overall ranking as well.  As you get new equipment you can go back and replay older missions to get a better ranking.  As a bunker defense game Defense 39 is pretty well rounded, and the strategy in determining what weapons to use for a given campaign adds a nice edge.

Defense 39 Sirocco Mobile, Defense 39 – Free

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Dungeon Highway Adventures [3/12/15] – If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like playing an infinite runner on the Commodore 64, I think this game just about covers it.  Of course it’s not really infinite, as each level definitely has an end.  It might seem like it goes on forever, however, as you take one more step into each level trying to get that coveted three star ranking.  There are currently 5 different worlds to explore, each containing multiple levels.  While you have to explore levels within a world in order, you can work on any world at any time (once you’ve passed the tutorial, of course).  As you run through the levels you’ll collect gold that you can use to buy new weapons, armor and magical items.  You can only have 3 items equipped at a time, so the game truly forces you to tailor things to your own playing style.  You tilt the device to move left and right and tap to shoot, which works rather well in this instance.  If you have more than one weapon equipped there’s a button in the upper right corner to toggle the currently used one.  The graphics have a great old school look to them, and the music is decent and changes with the world you’re in.  This is one highway definitely worth traveling.

Dungeon Highway Adventures Substantial Inc., Dungeon Highway Adventures – Free

Well that wraps up another edition of games to watch on the App Store. As always, if there’s something you’ve played recently that you feel should be part of this list, please leave a reply to this post. Previous weekly installments of our App Store Games Roundup:

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9 Clues 2: The Ward HD in Review – Creepy Is As Creepy Does http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/24/9-clues-2-the-ward-hd-in-review-creepy-is-as-creepy-does/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/24/9-clues-2-the-ward-hd-in-review-creepy-is-as-creepy-does/#comments Sun, 24 May 2015 23:54:34 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74442 I’m sure I say this far too often but it’s rare that I play something from G5 that I don’t like.  However, when the next thing that pops up after the G5 logo is Artifex Mundi I get particularly excited.  This combo seems to produce some particularly high quality fare, and 9 Clues 2: The … Read more]]>

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I’m sure I say this far too often but it’s rare that I play something from G5 that I don’t like.  However, when the next thing that pops up after the G5 logo is Artifex Mundi I get particularly excited.  This combo seems to produce some particularly high quality fare, and 9 Clues 2: The Ward HD is no exception to the rule.  Game play is extremely well balanced, the game looks and sounds great, and the story is top notch.  In fact, this particular tale managed to throw a few twists in, which is something pretty rare for a hidden object style adventure.  If this is your cup of tea than this game shouldn’t be missed, and if you’re not familiar with or have tried to distance yourself from the genre, this would be a great place to start.

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You play a detective who, along with your partner, gets called to a creepy asylum tucked away on an island.  Nothing could go wrong there, right?  You get greeted by a head practitioner that knows nothing of the call and a professor that decides to take a fatal dive out of his second story window, and things go downhill from there.  The story is told via a myriad of cutscenes throughout the game, as well as from notes, newspaper articles and other printed media scattered around the asylum.  The pacing is just right to keep you both on your toes and wanting to know what comes next.  Additionally, unless you decide to way overthink things there should be a few surprises in store for you as you delve deeper into the game.

Game play itself is divided into the standard three elements: object based puzzles, hidden object scenes and mini-games.  It’s really well balanced in my opinion, which means it is mostly object based puzzles and the mini-games are basic enough that even if you find them annoying (which I did in a couple of instances) you should be able to complete them without too much difficulty.  As for the hidden object scenes, if you don’t care much for that style of game play you can actually bypass the scene with a rousing game of Mahjong – assuming, of course, you find Mahjong interesting.  There were a few occasions where I got stuck on something for a bit and wandered away from a room before I was done with it, but for the most part the puzzles provide just the right amount of thought and are never over-taxing.

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Maneuvering through the asylum is pretty simple.  Tap twice to travel to a new room, and tap on an object to pick it up.  Tap an inventory item and then part of the scene to use that item, or simply drag it from your inventory to the desired location.  Controlling a mini-game varies by mini-game, but it usually involves some sort of tap or drag event.  One neat feature of this series of games is event reconstruction, where you have to identify nine areas in a scene that appear to have been disturbed.  Once you find them all you have to put them in order of occurrence, and then the detective will narrate the event as she has deduced that it took place.  Besides simply completing them game there are several achievements to unlock if you so desire, and there are also three difficulty levels to play at if you’re one who likes to experience the adventure several times.

For the most part the visuals are top notch.  The scenes are well rendered, the hidden object screens do a good job of concealing the items without truly hiding them, and the cutscenes as a whole are nicely drawn.  The one thing that bugs me is the character animation.  It reminds me of the way they used to animate the Spider-man cartoon in the 60’s, and for me it just doesn’t work.  The sound effects are pretty good, and they did a great job of matching the voiceovers the visual representations of the characters.  The background music does a good job of staying there, but when you do notice it definitely sets the proper tone for a romp through the looney bin.

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I never get tired of bragging on a good game, and this is an extremely good game.  Once I started playing it was pretty much all I wanted to do on my iPad until I completed it, and then I was kind of hoping for some more in an unlocked bonus story or something.  I sadly didn’t get the chance to play through the first 9 Clues game, but now I’m thinking I really should go back and give it a try.  That is, of course, unless they’re already working on chapter 3!

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App Summary
Title: 9 Clues 2: The Ward HD Developer: G5 Entertainment
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req:  iOS 6.0
Price: Free App Size: 884.29MB
  • Intriguing story
  • Extremely well balanced game play
  • Great visuals
  • Nice voiceovers and background music
  • Same old mini-games
  • Character animation a bit odd

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Lifeline… In Review – The Next Evolution Of Adventure Games? http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/21/lifeline-in-review-the-next-evolution-of-adventure-games/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/21/lifeline-in-review-the-next-evolution-of-adventure-games/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 02:47:11 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74434 Before I virtually put my foot in my mouth, I want to make it clear that I admire developers that try to do something different.  The App Store is so full of “been there, done that” games that even if I’m not keen on a particular game, if it’s a concept I’ve not played much … Read more]]>

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Before I virtually put my foot in my mouth, I want to make it clear that I admire developers that try to do something different.  The App Store is so full of “been there, done that” games that even if I’m not keen on a particular game, if it’s a concept I’ve not played much or at all in the past I’m thankful I got to try it.  Such is the case with Lifeline from Big Fish Games and 3 Minute Games, the irony of the latter being that this doesn’t even come close to being a 3 minute game.  I’ve only played one other adventure game like this that I can recall, and while the story here is much more defined an interesting, I almost feel like I’d rather just be reading this as a book than interacting with it in the limited capacity that I’m capable of.

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The condensed version of the story is that you are some unknown controller communicating with what you presume to be the sole survivor of a craft that has crash landed on a distant planet.  Basically he tells you what he sees, and occasionally asks for your input on what to do.  When he decides that something will take more than a second or two to complete he lets you know and you see the message “Taylor Is Busy”.  At that point you can turn off the game and go about your business, and when there’s something new to report the game will drop you an instant notification letting you know that Taylor’s once again in need of some direction.

The story is fairly well written, and you get a pretty good feel for the kind of person Taylor is by his comments and how he reacts to his dire situation.  If I were to turn this into a movie I’d probably try to wrangle Ryan Reynolds into the leading role.  The notification aspect is neat as well, though I imagine this would be much easier to appreciate if you owned an Apple Watch, which Lifeline happens to be compatible with.  As for game play, when you get to “guide” Taylor you only get two options every time, and even though he might occasionally argue he always ends up doing what you tell him to.

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So far there has only been one time where they stretched the boundaries of this concept a bit by having Taylor pose the question if a particular amount of rads (radiation) would cause permanent damage or not.  I did look up the answer on the internet, but since it’s basically a yes or no response that you give him, the game has no way of determining if you really researched the question or not.  Add to that the fact that there is no inventory to speak of and the game feels to much like the old Choose Your Own Adventure paperbacks, which is fine if there weren’t already a couple of other companies that tackle that genre so much better than this.  Sometimes there’s something to be said for using technology to enhance a style of game play beyond what was capable in physical form.

There are no graphics aside from the splash screen, but at least the text is laid out nicely and easily readable.  The sound effects basically consist of little blips between each message.  This is one area that I think could have been spruced up a bit – even though you’re experiencing this whole journey over a com-link, there’s no reason you couldn’t necessarily hear background noises over said link.  There might not be too many occasions to take advantage of this, but it would be better than nothing.  The background music is subtle but stirring, and helps with the notion of keeping you on edge waiting to find out what Taylor’s going to do next.

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I do think there is some merit to this style of game play.  Lifeline certainly ups the ante from the previous game that I played like this by providing a solid, fleshed out storyline to accompany your choices.  However I think to truly satiate the adventure gaming crowd developers will need to figure out some way to practically add inventory management to these games and maybe even some combat if the overall scenario warrants it.  Without a little more interactivity you might as well just read a book instead.

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App Summary
Title: Lifeline… Developer: 3 Minute Games, LLC
Reviewed Ver: 1.2 Min OS Req:  iOS 8.0
Price: $2.99 App Size: 19.07MB
  • Interesting story
  • Good music
  • Limited interactivity
  • No inventory
  • Sound effects not used effectively

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