TouchMyApps » Action 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 Wed, 27 Aug 2014 20:51:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.4 Overkill 3: Get Ready For 3rd Person Mayhem This Fall http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/07/27/overkill-3-get-ready-for-3rd-person-mayhem-this-fall/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/07/27/overkill-3-get-ready-for-3rd-person-mayhem-this-fall/#comments Sun, 27 Jul 2014 22:27:54 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73952 The Overkill series from Craneballs has always been among my favorites as far as gallery style shooters go. I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical at first when I saw that they were taking the series to a truly 3D third person perspective. The more I watch the video, however, the more … Read more]]>

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The Overkill series from Craneballs has always been among my favorites as far as gallery style shooters go. I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical at first when I saw that they were taking the series to a truly 3D third person perspective. The more I watch the video, however, the more excited I get about seeing this game released. If you’re curious, and you should be, you can check out the video yourself here: Overkill 3 Teaser. I’ve also listed a few point of note about the game below.

  • Change to TPS to showcase the character and armor/gun upgrades directly in the game
  • Boss battles – against drones, robots, vehicles
  • Machine gun nest missions for pure “letting of steam”
  • Night missions – they look great thanks to Unity with its lighting possibilites
  • Plenty of guns and sophisticated gun upgrading (not entirely unexpected from an Overkill title)
  • Release date Fall 2014
  • iOS and Android
  • Free to play

In the mean time, you can check out previous installments of the franchise to get a small taste of what you’re in for.

Overkill Craneballs Studios LLC, Overkill – Free
Overkill 2 Craneballs Studios LLC, Overkill 2 – Free
Overkill Mafia Craneballs Studios LLC, Overkill Mafia – Free
appBlaster Overkill Craneballs Studios LLC, appBlaster Overkill – $1.99

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Shadow Blade in Review – Old School Action With Modern Looks http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/02/06/shadow-blade-in-review-old-school-action-with-modern-looks/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/02/06/shadow-blade-in-review-old-school-action-with-modern-looks/#comments Fri, 07 Feb 2014 05:50:44 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73539 Amongst all of my past console excursions, the one that I remember with the most fondness was my time spent playing my Nintendo Entertainment System.  A franchise that kept me entertained if not a bit frustrated was Ninja Gaiden, the tale of a ninja named Ryu that kicked butt and liked to do back flips.  … Read more]]>

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Amongst all of my past console excursions, the one that I remember with the most fondness was my time spent playing my Nintendo Entertainment System.  A franchise that kept me entertained if not a bit frustrated was Ninja Gaiden, the tale of a ninja named Ryu that kicked butt and liked to do back flips.  At first glance one might feel that Shadow Blade is a modern interpretation of this classic series, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  After spending some time with the game I’m not so sure if it’s meant to be an homage to or simply inspired by the old favorites, but either way the game is quite entertaining.  It also manages to pretty much conquer the issues most action games have with controls on a touch screen device.

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There are no cutsecnes in the game or story panels hidden away in some obscure help menu, so you really don’t know why you’re doing what you do.  What you do figure out early on, however, is that you’re a cool ninja with some decent skillz that likes to collect shiny lights and glowing green Japanese symbols.  To complete a level you just need to find the exit, but to master a level you must collect three shurkiens: one for finishing the level below a certain time, another for collecting all the shiny lights and a third for uncovering the two glowing green symbols somewhere within the level.  These goals must be completed simultaneously in order to get all three shurkiens, so don’t think you’ll leisurely stroll through collecting goods in one round and then just fly through the level to earn that third elusive timing star.

Along the way you’ll face all the usual platforming pratfalls like deadly spikes, platforms that spin, platforms with deadly spikes that spin and more.  There are also plenty of enemies to take out before they get the drop on you.  Thankfully you’ve apparently been trained well because you can double jump, flip between walls to climb high, and smash through ice walls by attacking while in mid air.  You can also kill your opponents in several different ways, the most efficient of which is executed when you sneak up behind them.  Keep in mind that while it make take you multiple hits to down a foe, they will take you out in one, as will the unfortunate circumstance of running into anything that you shouldn’t.  At least there are checkpoints along the way so you don’t have to start over, but these can really mess you up if you’re trying for that timer star since the timer doesn’t reset to where it was when you first activated the checkpoint.

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There are two ways to control your ninja: gesture based and with a virtual joystick.  I gave the gesture controls a try for a few seconds, and they might not be bad once you get used to them, but the virtual joystick works so well that I’ve not looked back again.  There are arrows for moving left and right as well as buttons for jumping and attacking, and aside from the occasional misstep that I think is inherent to touch controls I’ve not had a single issue doing what I’ve needed to unless I just haven’t had the skill to do it.  The game is made up of three chapters with 10 levels each and a hardcore mode with 9 levels.  Unfortunately, without and leaderboards or Game Center achievements there’s little cause to replay anything once you’ve earned the maximum number of stars available on a given level.

The game looks great.  The backgrounds have a gritty feel to them and are nicely detailed.  The characters are well designed and the animation is well done.  The game doesn’t get overly bloody or anything, but it might be a bit gruesome for the younger set.  The sound effects are decent and while there’s not a lot of ambient noise there are a couple of nice touches like the sound of the train in the background of certain scenes.  The music isn’t bad, but from what I can tell there’s only one track that plays throughout all the levels.  Either that or it all sounds the same to me.

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Shadow Blade is a prime example of platforming done right on a touch screen device.  The bite size levels make it more than tolerable if you have to play one several times before getting it right, and the spot on controls make sure you don’t have to worry about that too often.  The game looks good and sounds decent, and the levels are actually designed pretty well.  The down side is that there isn’t much replay value, and a skilled player will probably make it through most levels rather quickly.  Some achievements and a leaderboard would certainly help sweeten the pot, and hopefully decent sales will inspire the developer to add a couple more level sets.  Despite its shortcomings Shadow Blade is a lot of fun to play.

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App Summary
Title: Shadow Blade Developer: Crescent Moon Games
Reviewed Ver: 1.1.1 Min OS Req: 4.0
Price: $1.99 App Size: 155 MB
  • Fun game play
  • Well designed levels
  • Tight controls
  • Excellent visuals and good sound
  • Low replay value
  • No achievements or leaderboards
  • Only one musical track

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Darklings: Gesture Based Action and an Odd Adventure http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/17/darklings-gesture-based-action-and-an-odd-adventure/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/17/darklings-gesture-based-action-and-an-odd-adventure/#comments Wed, 18 Dec 2013 02:53:05 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73472 The minute I began playing Darklings, I had a lot of questions. What is a Darkling? Where is my character and what on earth is going on? Out of all the iPad games I’ve enjoyed, this was definitely one of the strangest. That isn’t, of course, to suggest that it’s bad – in fact, I … Read more]]>

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The minute I began playing Darklings, I had a lot of questions. What is a Darkling? Where is my character and what on earth is going on? Out of all the iPad games I’ve enjoyed, this was definitely one of the strangest. That isn’t, of course, to suggest that it’s bad – in fact, I found the game surprisingly intuitive once I’d figured out more about the strange character at the bottom of the screen. This $0.99 iPhone/iPad game was created by MildMania, and is definitely on par with dark and quirky games like Limbo. When you load the app, you find yourself in control of a small character called a Lum, and it’s your goal to save him from surrounding monsters that have come to attack. Your character exists in a lonely looking universe where it’s constantly night time, and you’re surrounded by endless models.Adding to the mystery and spooky element of the game is the soundtrack. I immediately noticed the audio of the game when loading, and enjoyed it from the very beginning. Despite the initial confusion over the character and the purpose of the game, the soundtrack was superb and I quickly became engrossed in the story. Your ghostly little character, or ‘Lum’ needs to use his powers to get rid of all the evil Darklings. The dark characters surround your Lum and must be fought off using magical powers.

 

As you progress through the game, you can also play with new Lums that each has different powers. With your character, your ultimate aim is to survive, reaching new levels and bosses as you progress. The storyline may well be simple, but it’s definitely fun. I was immediately engrossed, not only because I love survival games, but also because I have never seen gameplay like this before. In order to fight off the Darklings, your Lum must replicate the shapes on the heads of each of the evil Darkling characters. I should say, rather, that it is the player that has to replicate the shapes. Here you will find no directional arrows, you won’t navigate through a landscape like a traditional game either – you will have just one role. You will use your finger as if it were a pencil, and trace the shape on the screen, which sees your Lum jump into the character of the related Darkling. You’ll also see stars appearing around your character throughout the game. It’s important that you collect the stars with your finger and draw a line to your Lum. This increases the amount of time you have on the game, and collecting five big stars can give you helpful little extras! If you run out though, as always with inexpensive games, you can purchase more for a small fee from the shop. You can also share your results with your Twitter followers and Facebook friends for new stars.

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While it’s definitely intuitive and enjoyable, it’s not the most comfortable way to play the game. If you’re lucky enough to have the current iPad Air, or perhaps even the iPad Mini, you’ll probably fine. If you have an older generation iPad however, then you’ll probably find the game uncomfortable, owing to the extra weight. Unless you’re ambidextrous, you’ll have to keep your iPad in one hand while you draw away with the other – that can be quite tiring after spending some time on the game! I must also be honest about the fights with bosses. While generally the gameplay feels seamless and smooth, it begins to lag a little bit when you’re fighting the bigger Darklings. You’ll probably find yourself drawing your patterns numerous times over before anything registers, which can be quite annoying when you’re counting on a win to progress!

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All in all though, I have to rate Darklings quite highly. It’s definitely a welcome new addition to the App Store, and one of the most intuitive games I’ve played in a while. The gameplay is flowing, the soundtrack very nice and visuals are superb. The levels seem endless, you can play different characters and you can enjoy an impressive range of challenges. It’s well worth the small fee of $0.99!

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Darklings Darklings - $0.99

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HEAVY – sword in Review – Mario With A Sword, Anyone? http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/05/10/heavy-sword-in-review-mario-with-a-sword-anyone/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/05/10/heavy-sword-in-review-mario-with-a-sword-anyone/#comments Fri, 10 May 2013 15:36:29 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72615 Heavy Sword reminds me of a cross between Super Mario Bros and The Legend Of Zelda. Now some of you might be thinking “isn’t that basically Zelda 2 for the NES?” That’s probably fair enough, but since I never played that title I’m sticking with the correlation. The problem is that this really isn’t as … Read more]]>

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Heavy Sword reminds me of a cross between Super Mario Bros and The Legend Of Zelda. Now some of you might be thinking “isn’t that basically Zelda 2 for the NES?” That’s probably fair enough, but since I never played that title I’m sticking with the correlation. The problem is that this really isn’t as interesting as either of those games separately, let alone what a good combination of them could be. That alone I could live with, since either of those franchises is hard to live up to. What is troubling me, however, is the fact that the game keeps freezing up on me.

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Like so many of these games the basic premise is that the princess has been kidnapped – in this case by a bunch of ugly trolls and such – and you have to rescue her. Now I will admit that it was a nice touch having the villains walk right into the castle and take her, but it makes you wonder whose payroll the guards were on. Anyway, you’ll traipse the countryside with your trusty sword, slaying monsters and somewhat frequently hacking up the scenery in order to get to certain areas of the level. Your sword has the built in ability to shoot a bolt of energy if you unleash enough attacks in quick succession, but along the way you’ll also pick up level ups and power ups for your sword. These will be diminished if you get hit and completely go away if you exit the level by choice or by death.

Power ups are found by bopping your head on bricks, and you can find coins that way as well. The annoying thing is that in this game, coins that come out of bricks don’t automatically get added to your total – you have to catch them first. Since there’s only a limited time before they fade away, you’re likely to miss a few here and there. There are also coins laying around for your retrieval, as well as three special coins on each level that might take some doing to collect. But enough of the fun stuff; there are also plenty of obstacles to overcome. It’s a platform game, so you have all the typical moving, tilting and disappearing platforms to deal with. There is a variety of creatures waiting to end your run early, many of which take multiple hits and some of which simply can’t be killed. There are bosses as well, the first of which is not overly difficult unless the game locks up on you.

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I wouldn’t normally mention such things, because I’ve had a lot of games freeze on me a time or two. However, Heavy – Sword locked up at least twice during the first boss battle, causing me to fight the boss several times before beating it. There have been at least two or three lock ups outside of that fight as well, one of which happened just as I was exiting a level which meant I lost my progress on that level. It’s not that there is anything overly difficult to make up this early on in the game, but it’s more the principle of not wanting to continue for fear of the game freezing up during a much more challenging stage. If you can get past that or don’t care, there is some replay value to be had in trying to collect the three special coins on each level, attempting to earn all 9 achievements or simply hording enough gold to by the few upgrades that are available in the shop. Unfortunately, so far none of the levels have been intriguing enough for multiple plays through.

The graphics are probably the highlight of the game. A little less inspiration from Super Mario Bros would have been nice, but the backgrounds are well drawn and nicely detailed none the less. The characters look good and seem to be well animated, and I like the chickens that are running around. Too bad you can’t serve them up to replenish some hearts. The sound effects are pretty standard fare, and either I don’t remember the old games so well or monsters have gotten strangely quiet in the last few years. The music is pretty decent, and there appear to be several different tracks, even in the 10 or 11 levels I’ve played so far.

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I think Heavy – Sword has a lot of potential. It actually started picking up a bit towards then end of my play time as well. However, I still find it irritating that I have to chase after my coins. Isn’t the fact that I got them worthy enough of being awarded them? Worse yet, I’ve had the game lock up at least one more time in my last round of playing. Finally, while I appreciate the homage to Super Mario Bros, which is undoubtedly one of the best 2D platform franchises ever, I think the developer needs to tone down the SMB likeness a bit. I’m not going to give up on the game yet, but I think I’ll put it aside for a bit and see what updates come down the pike.

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App Summary
Title: HEAVY – sword Developer: ashley jackson
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: $0.99 App Size:
  • Cool graphics
  • Decent music
  • Eventually you get a mech to ride in
  • Level design takes too long to get interesting
  • Hate chasing after coins
  • Game randomly freezes up
  • Needs to be more HEAVY – sword and less Super Mario Bros

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Dungelot in Review – Rogue-like At Its Best http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/01/20/dungelot-in-review-rogue-like-at-its-best/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/01/20/dungelot-in-review-rogue-like-at-its-best/#comments Sun, 20 Jan 2013 20:42:13 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=71730 Back in the day, by which I mean a time I barely remember and which many of you probably weren’t born yet for, there existed a game called Rogue that quite possibly started one of the first trends of copycats, known as rouge-likes.  The games were simple in some ways such as consisting of only … Read more]]>

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Back in the day, by which I mean a time I barely remember and which many of you probably weren’t born yet for, there existed a game called Rogue that quite possibly started one of the first trends of copycats, known as rouge-likes.  The games were simple in some ways such as consisting of only ASCII graphics, but complex in others like having a myriad of commands to remember and randomly generated dungeons that were revealed as you moved through them.  While I actually enjoyed several games of this type, I’m happy to see that modern variants such as Dungelot have revamped graphics and streamlined control schemes.  Unfortunately one challenging feature still remains in many modern rogue-likes: death is death.

review-dungelot-2There might be a plot to this game, but if so it’s basically superfluous to any enjoyment you might get from Dungelot.  You choose a character – paladin at first and others once you’ve unlocked them – and attempt to conquer level after level of the dungeon until one gets the better of you.  The levels are randomly generated and consist of monsters, loot and occasionally someone to help you out.  You reveal the dungeon a tile at a time by tapping on them, and you don’t have to fight anything until there are no other tiles to reveal or you haven’t found the key to the next level yet.  This is actually a cool feature compared to “old fashioned” rouge-likes where you basically had to fight or run as the monsters came at you in “real time”.

Treasure consists of gold that you can use to upgrade your characters or open certain “greedy doors”.  You might also find hearts to restore some health, spells to alter stats or directly damage monsters and objects that help you while you wield them.  Physical objects can be traded in for money if you need it, and spells can be exchanged for hearts.  The exchange rate might not be what you desire, but since you only have eight inventory slots this option often comes in handy.  Thankfully multiple spells of the same type only take up one slot, though the same can’t be said of multiple objects of the same ilk.  Because of your limited storage capacity it’s also a good idea to use items instead of trying to hoard them.

review-dungelot-3Control is tap based and I have not experienced any responsiveness issues so far.  There is Game Center integration for leaderboards, and once a game is over you do get “medals” of sorts, but there aren’t any actual Game Center achievements.  Most of the replay factor comes from the fact that you have to work pretty hard to level up characters and unlock new ones, and the levels themselves are randomly generated.  The main drawback to the game is that there is no formal save.  If you leave it running in the background you can continue where you left off, but quitting the game means you have to start over.  My understanding is that is going to be remedied in a future update.  What won’t change is that the save is not for those who want to try something, end up getting killed and then want to go back and try something else.  Once you’re dead the game is over unless you have a way to resurrect.

The visuals are great.  Everything is detailed and cartoony at the same time, and there are some wonderful character designs.  There are also some nifty special effects strewn throughout the game.  The sound effects are decent enough, with some variance depending on what type of creature you’re fighting.  The music is good but actually a bit ominous at times, which doesn’t really fit the overall mood of the game.  At least it’s there and it doesn’t get boring.

review-dungelot-4This game works so well because it’s fast paced, randomly generated and despite being somewhat repetitive game play wise, it always seems like you’re discovering something new.  The lack of a true save game might be a turn off to some, but in the end the rest of the package more than makes up for this design choice.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: Dungelot Developer: Red Winter Software
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 3.2
Price: $0.99 App Size:
  • Simple, fun game play
  • Randomly generated levels
  • Cool creatures
  • Lots to discover
  • Great visuals and good music
  • Somewhat repetitive
  • Currently no save game

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Team Awesome in Review – A Diversion With Superheroes http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/12/05/team-awesome-in-review-a-diversion-with-superheroes/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/12/05/team-awesome-in-review-a-diversion-with-superheroes/#comments Wed, 05 Dec 2012 17:07:44 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=71174 Fans of the game Diversion from Ezone.com are going to feel a sense of déjà vu here, assuming you haven’t already with the several other Diversion-derived projects they’ve released in the last couple of years.  Thankfully the formula’s still addictive, and there are enough differences to be found in Team Awesome that it still seems like … Read more]]>

Fans of the game Diversion from Ezone.com are going to feel a sense of déjà vu here, assuming you haven’t already with the several other Diversion-derived projects they’ve released in the last couple of years.  Thankfully the formula’s still addictive, and there are enough differences to be found in Team Awesome that it still seems like its own game.  Unfortunately (depending on how you look at it) you won’t find any deep game play here, but if you’re looking for a simple diversion that could turn into an addiction, Team Awesome is your game.

You control Team Awesome, a group of innocent bystanders given extraordinary powers thanks to a freak meteor shower.  In true superhero style you’ll have to stop car thieves, help old ladies across the street and more all in the name of justice.  It’s more 1966 Barman than 2012 Avengers, but sometimes you need a bit of that as well.  The game is currently comprised of 40 different episodes, each of which has three goals you need to accomplish.  So far one has always been collecting a certain amount of money in one run.  The next is do a certain number of something in one run like capturing X number of car thieves.  The final task will be doing something X number of times throughout the course of playing but not necessarily on one run through.

The game is a simple one touch affair.  Tap to jump and hold to fly and everything else will be taken care of simply by running into stuff.  It seems to simple to be entertaining, yet like many one touch games it’s more about the atmosphere, which Team Awesome has in spades.  As you run through the level you’ll collect money which can be used to unlock and upgrade power ups.  Collected money and accomplished tasks provide you XP so you can level up, which in turn makes additional episodes unlockable at a reduced rate (you always have to pay to unlock a new episode, but they are more expensive if you buy them before their corresponding level).  You start out with Awesome Dude, and you can unlock three more superheroes with collected coins as well.  And naturally you can buy coins via IAP if you’d like.

Visually the game looks much like its predecessors, due in no small part to the fact that I’m sure it’s the same engine used by Diversion and its cousins, albeit possibly supped up a bit.  Still, the varied locations are pretty cool, my favorite so far being the nuclear waste factory.  There are plenty of neat little effects like steam rising from grates and pigeons flying away as you pass them and there are also lots of nice details in all the objects.  The sound effects suit the game quite well, especially when it comes to the floating speaker that acts as a narrator.  I just wish the actual superheroes would have some catch phrases.  The music is decent enough, though it doesn’t quite feel like a superhero soundtrack.

At first glance that does seem like a skinned Diversion clone, but it has more than enough charm to stand on its own.  In fact, I think I might actually like it better than Diversion.  Of course it doesn’t hurt that I’m a big superhero fan since my teenage years.  Whatever the case, if you like infinite runners and think the comic book superhero backdrop is cool, Team Awesome will definitely work for you.  If you’re a Diversion fan that thinks you’ve had your fill, I’d still urge you to give it a try.  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Team Awesome Developer: Ezone.com
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $0.99 App Size:
  • Simple mechanics
  • Addictive game play
  • Cool superhero motif
  • Awesome visuals
  • Some goals extremely hard to meet
  • Music doesn’t really fit

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Horn – Console Adventure On A Portable Screen http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/11/15/horn-in-review-console-adventure-on-a-portable-screen/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/11/15/horn-in-review-console-adventure-on-a-portable-screen/#comments Thu, 15 Nov 2012 16:48:54 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=70784 I first tasted of the intrigue that Phosphor Games could produce as I wandered the creepy halls of Dark Meadow.  It had its issues, but overall it was a captivating game with wild creatures and a unique control scheme.  That was, of course, until I played Infinity Blade and realized that I had suffered Déjà … Read more]]>

I first tasted of the intrigue that Phosphor Games could produce as I wandered the creepy halls of Dark Meadow.  It had its issues, but overall it was a captivating game with wild creatures and a unique control scheme.  That was, of course, until I played Infinity Blade and realized that I had suffered Déjà Vu in reverse.  Now Phosphor Games has released Horn, and while the fantasy theme is reminiscent of Infinity Blade, it actually has a lot more to it then either of the aforementioned games in terms of things to do besides combat.  At first I was a bit skeptical about it just because I was afraid it would be a clone of the Chair Entertainment Group’s franchise, but every time I load up Horn I manage to get lost in its mystery and grandeur.

You play a character named Horn, and aside from the fact that you don’t know why you’ve awoken in a strange tower, you discover that you are the only person from your village that has managed to evade a mysterious Pygon curse.  You’ll have to explore a sprawling land with the “help” of the sarcastic head of a Pygon creature in order to discover what the curse is about and how to defeat it.  You’ll face many creatures, solve puzzles to unlock new areas to explore, and gather Pygites and Cores which will allow you to forge and upgrade weapons as well as buy outfits and other miscellaneous items.  Of course you can buy all the outfits as well as additional Pygites and Cores from the App Store if you’re not the grind and earn type.

To move horn and interact with most items you just tap on the screen in the appropriate places.  As simple as this seems, I often find Horn running where I don’t want him to or not manipulating what I’m aiming for.  In combat you’ll swipe to use your currently equipped weapon and tap the left and right dodge buttons to roll in the desired direction.  While the swiping behaves nicely the dodging seems a bit finicky, though that could just be the game trying to catch up with all your swipes.  Additional controls allow you to consume health potions and toss bombs that temporarily stun the enemy.  My favorite thing to use is your Pygon-based wristband, which acts as a projectile weapon, grappling hook and lighter among other things.  It’s sort of like the Swiss army knife of Horn’s world.

If you’re willing to put up with the controls, which really aren’t that awful, there’s a fairly big world to explore.  Each area usually has several interconnected sections to explore, complete with interesting little hovels that take you to bonus areas that couldn’t possibly exist within the physical constraints of the level layouts.  Every once in a while I found myself getting disoriented and going back the way I came instead of pushing forward, usually as a result of doing a lot of dodging during a battle.

People like to throw around the phrase “console quality” when it comes to some of the more ambitious iOS efforts, and while I wonder what the obsession with that is, I would say that games like Horn are starting to breach that barrier.  There are occasions where things can get a bit drab and murky, but overall the visuals are lavish and highly detailed.  The opening video and combat sequences are quite impressive, as is standing and spinning around in an area filled with waterfalls or tall structures.  There are even fine details like sun rings to give natural effects a realistic look.

The sound effects are pretty good, though I do wish there were a bit more ambient noise, as the game often seems too quiet.  I do like the banter between Horn and the Pygon head, as they did a good job of casting the voices.  The music is pretty decent as well, when it plays.  Sadly this mostly seems to be during the initial movie and when you are engaged in combat.  This again adds to the unnecessary silence, which can sometimes be annoying.

If you like games like Dark Meadow and the Infinity Blade series you will feel right at home with Horn.  I was trying to find a total playing time, which I haven’t come across yet, but I’m sure I’ve put a few hours into the game and I’m only 30% through.  There’s a nice balance between exploration and fighting, with a healthy dose of “figure out how to open the doors” thrown in for good measure.  Supposedly the latest update – as of this review being published – addressed some of the control issues I mentioned, but I’m not really seeing it at this point.  Still, the experience far outweighs any minor navigational inconveniences.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: Horn™ Developer: Zynga
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.0
Price: $6.99 App Size:
  • Lots to explore
  • Decent, balanced challenge
  • Incredible visuals
  • Good sound and music
  • Controls are a bit flaky
  • Needs more noise

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Latest Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour video shows off killer graphics http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/10/16/latest-modern-combat-4-zero-hour-video-shows-off-killer-graphics/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/10/16/latest-modern-combat-4-zero-hour-video-shows-off-killer-graphics/#comments Tue, 16 Oct 2012 13:30:52 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=70270 Gameloft has released the first Dev Diary video for Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour, the highly anticipated FPS and one of the most popular in the genre for iOS and Android. The next installment in the series utilizes the Havoc game engine, which you can thank for its spectacular graphics. One twist that should please … Read more]]>

Gameloft has released the first Dev Diary video for Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour, the highly anticipated FPS and one of the most popular in the genre for iOS and Android. The next installment in the series utilizes the Havoc game engine, which you can thank for its spectacular graphics. One twist that should please gamers is how they’ll only only be able to play as US soldier, but also the president-kidnapping villain, Edward Page. MC4 will also offer a new specialization systems feature that will allow you to choose from several ‘perks’, those of which provide various bonuses to complement different styles of play.

While other details aren’t fully revealed as yet, we do know that the game will support the iPhone 5. This should help make playing a first person shooter slightly more comfortable on a hand held device. And hopefully MC4 will support the Duo Gamer as well, particular for those who plan on getting the dedicated dual stick controller. As for the release date, expect it to drop for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices in the fall. Check out the insightful dev diary below.

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Gameloft’s N.O.V.A. 3 crash lands onto the iPhone and iPad http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/05/09/gamelofts-n-o-v-a-3-crash-lands-on-the-iphone-and-ipad/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/05/09/gamelofts-n-o-v-a-3-crash-lands-on-the-iphone-and-ipad/#comments Wed, 09 May 2012 19:42:54 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=68065 While Gameloft has been fairly quiet with new App Store offerings of late, the publisher has dropped the big one today with the release of the highly anticipated N.O.V.A. 3 – Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance. The first two N.O.V.A’s are widely considered to be among the best FPSes on iOS and the third instalment raises the … Read more]]>

While Gameloft has been fairly quiet with new App Store offerings of late, the publisher has dropped the big one today with the release of the highly anticipated N.O.V.A. 3 – Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance. The first two N.O.V.A’s are widely considered to be among the best FPSes on iOS and the third instalment raises the stakes further by using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 3. Among some of its technical highlights include “real-time shadow and lights, particle system and ragdoll physics”. Compared to the similarly styled Crysis games, N.O.V.A 3 takes place 4 months after the hit sequel and features 10 levels across the galaxy, multiple weapons and powers and 6 multiplayer modes that supports up to 12 players.

The game appears to be iDevice friendly as it supports even the iPhone 3GS, iPod Touch 3rd gen and iPad 1. N.O.V.A 3 (a 1.57 GB download) has already been released on the New Zealand App Store and should be making its way across other stores (including US) later in the day. Video trailers and more info after the gap.

N.O.V.A. 3 - Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance Gameloft, N.O.V.A. 3 – Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance - $6.99

Description

The most immersive and impressive sci-fi FPS franchise on smartphones is back! Fight for mankind’s survival in the greatest space shooter on mobile devices!

Four months have passed since Kal ruined the Volterites’ plans by sabotaging their war factories, and stopping the extraction of the Judger Artifacts. However, following the assassination of President Folsom, the government surrendered the colonies to the Volterite Protectorate in order to prevent civil war between the increasingly pro-Volterite citizens.
Kal Wardin has been laying low since Folsom’s death, nut now he has received a desperate plea from Yelena to come to Earth. Once again, the hero must rise to save mankind!

• An epic storyline: Humanity finally returns to Earth after years of exile! Fight in 10 immersive levels across the galaxy, from a war-torn Earth to a frozen Volterite city.
• Multiple weapons and powers: Run, shoot, drive vehicles, and pilot a mech to defeat hordes of enemies.
• Join 12-player battles in 6 multiplayer modes (Capture the Point, Free-for-All, Capture the Flag, etc.) on 6 different maps.
• For the first time, multiple allies can jump inside the same vehicle and spread destruction on the battlefield.
• Discover the new FPS benchmark for graphics and gameplay on iOS (real-time shadow & lights, particle system, ragdoll physics, etc.)

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Dariusburst SP in Review – Everything Old Rocks It New Again http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/03/24/dariusburst-sp-in-review-everything-old-rocks-it-new-again/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/03/24/dariusburst-sp-in-review-everything-old-rocks-it-new-again/#comments Sat, 24 Mar 2012 18:34:30 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=67277 The week that DARIUSBURST SP came out I included it in my weekly “10 App Store Games To Watch” list and hoped that it would be half as good as another Taito “retread” called RayForce (TMA Review) .  Well, after spending some time with the game I’d wager to say it’s actually better.  At the very least they’ve … Read more]]>

The week that DARIUSBURST SP came out I included it in my weekly “10 App Store Games To Watch” list and hoped that it would be half as good as another Taito “retread” called RayForce (TMA Review) .  Well, after spending some time with the game I’d wager to say it’s actually better.  At the very least they’ve handled the “too easy” issue amicably, but Dariusburst has a third game play mode, two fighters which need to be unlocked before use and a branching level system – all of which greatly extend the replay value.  Sure the initial run through can still be fairly short, but there’s a lot more reason to keep playing this one after you’ve beaten it.

Dariusburst is a horizontal rather than vertical shooter, but otherwise it’s still the basic “you against the aliens” concept.  I believe Original mode is a port of the PSP version and SP is a remixed variant of Original with a couple of new bosses thrown in.  Both contain 11 zones, but you only play through 5 at any one time, which means for each mode there are several combinations of zones you can play before exhausting all the combinations.  Missions mode is a bit bizarre as it is comprised of 8 missions with 4 chapters each, but the chapters might contain simply a boss fight or several seemingly random zones thrown together.

You get your choice of 4 different spacecraft, two of which must be unlocked by playing various modes.  The ships have different shot strength and armor, but where they feel the most different from each other is in their burst power, which is a weapon that can be fired and then sometimes controlled depending on which craft you select.  There are a variety of bad guys to fight, several of which take a number of shots to destroy, but most of which don’t require the burst shot.  Each zone has an end boss, however, which is a great time to use the burst weapon (multiple times if you can pull it off).  There are some pretty slick enemies throughout the levels, but many of the bosses are absolutely incredible.

You drag your finger around the screen to move your ship and press a button to start and stop the burst weapon.  Firing is automatic by default though you can shut it off, but I haven’t actually been able to figure out how to fire manually.  There are three difficulty levels, and while not drastic you can tell the difference between easy and normal (I haven’t tried hard yet).  More importantly, though, is that you can control the number of continues including setting the value to 0, so if you thought Rayforce was too easy you should be able to make this one harder.  There’s also something called Silver Hawk Stock that I think affects game play, but I’m not entirely sure what it does.

Dariusburst has some pretty incredible visuals.  The backgrounds are really good for the most part, though a couple of the levels can be a bit nauseating.  I love the ship designs, however.  A few of the minor ones are kind of silly, but the bigger ones look cool especially when they start taking avian or aquatic features.  For the most part the bosses are incredible, and put your average modern shooter to shame.

The sound effects are give or take – mostly take because I can’t stand silent games.  The music, on the other hand, is as brilliant as the graphics.  I don’t really know how to categorize it, and it’s certainly not the kind of noise I’d sit and listen to outside of the game, but it compliments the action so well that I rather enjoy it while I’m blasting alien spacecraft to bits.

I love a brand new iOS only release as much as the next guy, but in the end I just want to play good games.  If that means porting something from another platform or reviving a franchise that started more than 20 years ago (or both, in this case), then I’m all for it.  Much like Rayforce, the sticking point here is going to be the price tag, because there are still a lot of really good shooters for much less money.  If you’re willing to admit that quality should cost money, though, and you want to see why certain series are still loved after so many years, Dariusburst SP is a great example of both.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: DARIUSBURST SP Developer: TAITO Corporation
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $10.99 App Size:
  • Fun, frantic game play
  • Plenty of replayability
  • Stellar visuals
  • Awesome soundtrack
  • Universal app
  • Initial play through pretty quick
  • Doesn’t save game if you quit app

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EPOCH in Review – Go save the princess, you tin can! http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/01/26/epoch-in-review-go-save-the-princess-you-tin-can/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/01/26/epoch-in-review-go-save-the-princess-you-tin-can/#comments Thu, 26 Jan 2012 10:02:21 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=65755 At times it seems developers just miss that creative spark in terms of writing, leaving us stuck with stories full of cardboard characters and clichés. But every once in a while a streak of genius may turn such a seemingly boring tale into something new and original. And depending on the viewpoint EPOCH falls neatly … Read more]]>

At times it seems developers just miss that creative spark in terms of writing, leaving us stuck with stories full of cardboard characters and clichés. But every once in a while a streak of genius may turn such a seemingly boring tale into something new and original. And depending on the viewpoint EPOCH falls neatly into the latter category. Or not.

Epoch is somewhat of a cross between Infinity Blade (TMA Review) and a shooting range. In the distant future, robots have taken the weight of humanity’s shoulders quite literally by decimating the entire population. After years of peaceful servitude a mysterious virus has turned the docile butler and gardener bots into bloodthirsty lunatics. You play as presumably the sole sane surviving android – though not just any hunk of scrap. Our protagonist is the bodyguard of the princess and following its main directive, it sets off to find what happened to her. This is presented through glimpses of the preceding events via intercepted transmissions.

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Although obviously inspired by Infinity Blade, Epoch can in no way be called a rip-off. It takes the swipe based combat mechanic and merges it with the good old shooting range genre. You take charge of your daring bot as waves of not so friendly robots try to destroy you. Interestingly enough, instead of fully controlling the aiming, you simply mark the target and the shooting is done automatically. As such, you have to focus on avoiding enemy fire, timely reloads and use of the special abilities. A level usually consists of several vantage points, between which you can alternate to keep the damage to a minimum.

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In addition to the main weapon, grenades, rockets and special abilities become available as you progress through the game . These have the advantage of dealing damage without exposing you to enemy fire, though they do come with a cooldown timer. The abilities complement your style of play, whether by self-healing, giving you limited bullet-time or firepower boosts. Weapons and armor can be one of 5 types (think elements in Infinity Blade) and choosing the correct one to avoid enemy resistances in a particular level is often the key to success. All of this goodness is either acquired as salvage after a mission or available for purchase in the store. Money is also awarded for completing levels with bonuses for destroying hidden crates.

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Visually Epoch is superb – the graphics are detailed and atmospheric, with rich special effects showing the full power of the Unreal engine. The controls are perfectly balanced with a mix of swipe gestures and virtual buttons. With perfect performance on my iPhone 4, it’s definitely one of the most polished titles I’ve laid my hands on. And to top it off, it’s universal so you can enjoy it both on the iPad and iPhone for one low price. No save game syncing between devices though, which is a downer.

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Epoch is an original twist on the gameplay mechanic introduced by Infinity Blade. With amazing graphics, intuitive controls and addictive gameplay it will certainly provide a fun and satisfying experience. The downside is that it’ll not last too long as the game has only a handful of levels, which are far from enough to fully unlock the story bits and the equipment available – leaving you feeling cheated out of a conclusion. But while it lasts, Epoch’s a great game!

With this I declare EPOCH. officially touched!

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: EPOCH. Developer: Uppercut Games
Reviewed Ver: 1.1.0 Min OS Req: 4.0
Price: $0.99 App Size: 234.80MB
  • Stunning visuals
  • Polished and addictive gameplay
  • Intuitive controls
  • Universal
  • Short
  • No save game syncing between devices
  • Poor incentive to start over

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Super Crate Box in Review – Just One More Time, Please… http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/01/13/super-crate-box-in-review-just-one-more-time-please/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/01/13/super-crate-box-in-review-just-one-more-time-please/#comments Fri, 13 Jan 2012 13:44:36 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=64198 There’s no question Super Crate Box is a silly game.  You basically run around one of three levels collecting crates and killing monsters to stay alive.  It’s like a side view FPS with no fancy graphics and no point.  The funny thing is that it is also one of the most addictive games I’ve played in … Read more]]>

There’s no question Super Crate Box is a silly game.  You basically run around one of three levels collecting crates and killing monsters to stay alive.  It’s like a side view FPS with no fancy graphics and no point.  The funny thing is that it is also one of the most addictive games I’ve played in quite a while, and that says a lot since I’ve spent almost every day for the past week playing Treasures of Montezuma 3.  There’s something about the simplicity of the game combined with the retro pixel graphics that to me makes it a whole lot more interesting than the previously released Muffin Knight, a game clearly inspired by this one.  All I know is I’m glad to be part of the crate collecting revolution.

So part of me feels like I should just leave the first paragraph and call it quits.  After all, that’s about all there is to the game.  You play this little guy running around the screen, shooting any monsters that show up and running into every crate in order to collect the weapon that is inside.  To start the game you get 1 character, 1 background and a couple of weapon choices.  As you collect crates you’ll start unlocking new characters, better (sometimes) armaments and two additional locations.  Initially you’ll be unlocking things like crazy, but after a while the requirements to unlock the next item become a bit more challenging.

Different characters don’t seem to offer any nuances in gameplay.  Locations do because each one brings a new monster type, and though the rooms are only one screen – or maybe because of that – the configurations can make a big different in playing style.  What really throws you for a loop, however, are the guns.  This is truly a game where each weapons makes a huge difference in how you approach the enemy.  Some serve you well at long range, while others require the personal touch.  Some need a bit of reload time, and a few are good at cleaning house with one shot.  Then there are a couple of weapons like the Disc gun that can take you out just as soon as the enemy.  The thing is, you automatically switch guns when you pick up a crate, so you have to deal with what you’re given.  This can make the game both frustrating and quite dynamic.

What you have to keep in mind is that the game really is all about the crates.  Killing monsters is just a means to get to those crates.  You can sit and shoot at monsters all day with your favorite weapon, but you won’t get a better score that way.  This is what makes the game so addictive as well.  An individual play through is generally pretty quick, and when you’re done you look at the number of crates you collected and think “I know I can do better”.  50 rounds later, you might just make that statement come true.

The graphics are great.  Everything is retro pixel goodness, while at the same time providing a crazy amount of details in some cases.  For instance, if you use the shotgun you’ll actually see a shell fly out.  Your character also tosses his weapon (when appropriate) as he picks up a new one.  In the background of the moon temple level there’s even a statue that slowly moves up as you collect crates.  The sound effects are just as cool, at least where the guns are concerned.  Each weapon has a unique sound, and even if you miss the message saying what you picked up and are too caught up in the action to notice the graphic change, you’ll recognize your armament the first time you fire.  The music is pure chip-tune magic, and each level has its own theme, which is a great bonus.

This game is universal, and about the only thing I’d like to see is the ability to migrate your status between devices so you don’t have to unlock everything multiple times (not that it hasn’t been fun doing that).  Otherwise, there’s really nothing to complain about here.  The game is simple, it’s frustrating and it’s addictive all at the same time.  Super Crate Box looks great, it sounds wonderful, and it’s almost making me crave a NES.  Ah, the good old days.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: Super Crate Box Developer: Vlambeer
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 3.1
Price: $0.99 App Size:
  • Simple, frantic, addictive game play
  • Cool weaponry
  • Retro pixel graphics
  • Great chip-tune music
  • Game unlocks don’t flow between devices

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