TouchMyApps » Adventure 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, 22 May 2015 02:47:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.8 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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The Fool HD in Review – You’d Be Foolish Not To Try It http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/18/the-fool-hd-in-review-youd-be-foolish-not-to-try-it/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/18/the-fool-hd-in-review-youd-be-foolish-not-to-try-it/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 14:58:29 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74428 Some people say there’s a fine line between being a hero and a fool, and the main character in The Fool HD from Big Fish Games did his best to try and prove it.  Given the macabre, horror style entries BFG has been turning out so much of lately this was a nice change of … Read more]]>

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Some people say there’s a fine line between being a hero and a fool, and the main character in The Fool HD from Big Fish Games did his best to try and prove it.  Given the macabre, horror style entries BFG has been turning out so much of lately this was a nice change of pace both in story and general atmosphere.  In fact, overall it was a rather fun, well designed adventure.  It certainly has the same minor misgivings that most hidden object adventure games do these days, but it was a joy to play from beginning to end.

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You are a nameless one, just another in a long line of wannabe adventurers trying to gain the princess’ hand in marriage.  Unfortunately you decide to buck the system resulting in your newly betrothed being whisked away by a ticked off dragon.  Now you must journey to the vile beast’s castle and finish what you claimed to have done the first time, both ridding the kingdom of the dragon and bringing your lovely bride home.  The story is lighthearted and will sometimes make you smile, even if it is a bit cliché.  It does a good job of keeping you entertained and providing a reason for visiting the different realms that you do.

If you’ve played any hidden object games on your iDevice already then you know the drill where game play is concerned.  Tap to move between locations, tap to pick up objects, and drag to use inventory items with other objects on the screen.  There are a couple of times where you actually have to drag to interact with an on-screen object, but “out of the norm” manipulation like that is still a rarity in this game.  The mini-games are all pretty much tap or drag affairs, and as usual there are a couple that are hard to manipulate, but overall I actually enjoyed the diverse selection of mini-games that were offered.  In fact, the general balance between object puzzles, hidden object scenes and mini-games was just about perfect in The Fool.

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Visually the game is very appealing.  The backgrounds are nicely drawn and quite detailed, and there’s pretty much always something going on animation wise to keep things from getting stale.  The character designs look really good as well.  The sound effects serve their purpose, but there was a lot of missed opportunity for cool ambient noises in certain locations.  The voiceover for the narration was well done, but sadly we didn’t get to hear any of the other players in this fun story.  On the other hand, the musical score was extremely well written.

There’s a good chance I might have missed out on this one had I not caught the April Fool’s day sale, and I’m so thankful I didn’t.  As happy as I am when I manage to score a great game for 99 cents, this is definitely worth the normal asking price for the full version.  A fun story, excellent game play and great aesthetics make The Fool HD one adventure definitely worth taking.

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App Summary
Title: The Fool HD Developer: Big Fish Games, Inc
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.1 Min OS Req:
Price: Free App Size: 456.34MB
  • Lighthearted, amusing story
  • Great game play balance
  • Nice visuals
  • Well written music
  • Some mini-games hard to maneuver
  • No voiceovers aside from narrator

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Graven: The Purple Moon Prophecy HD in Review: No Green Clovers Or Blue Diamonds Here… http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/06/graven-the-purple-moon-prophecy-hd-in-review-no-green-clovers-or-blue-diamonds-here/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/06/graven-the-purple-moon-prophecy-hd-in-review-no-green-clovers-or-blue-diamonds-here/#comments Wed, 06 May 2015 18:10:32 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74394 When a developer or publisher has released a decent number of titles, it’s likely that even the most devout fan won’t be interested in all of them.  Thankfully, while that is the case even for a company like G5, they turn out so many good titles that it’s easy to ignore the not so good … Read more]]>

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When a developer or publisher has released a decent number of titles, it’s likely that even the most devout fan won’t be interested in all of them.  Thankfully, while that is the case even for a company like G5, they turn out so many good titles that it’s easy to ignore the not so good ones.  Graven: The Purple Moon Prophecy is definitely one of the good ones, and for not having an unlockable bonus story there was a surprising amount of game play.  If you decide to embark on this journey be prepared to be captivated until the very end.

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You are a noted archeologist that gets called in to help locate some ancient druidic stones.  What starts as a seemingly innocent search for a great scientific discovery quickly becomes a tale of betrayal, redemption and the ultimate challenge of saving two unsuspecting worlds.  Taking cues from the best fantasy plots, the story of Graven is told through cut scenes and dialogs with various characters you meet throughout your journey.  It’s the kind of tale that would make an intriguing summer blockbuster, and while it may not be the most original it should keep you hooked from the moment you arrive in the strange town of Brittany.

On the off chance you haven’t played an adventure game before, the mechanics are pretty standard.  Tap on an area you wish to move to, tap on an item in a scene to interact with it, and tap on an item in your inventory and then somewhere on the scene you’re in to use that item.  Some scenes have areas you can zoom in on, and others contain hidden object areas or mini games for you to play.  Besides your standard list of items to find, some “hidden object” scenes require you to locate an object and use it elsewhere in the scene, repeating the action until you’ve found a useful object.  In other cases you’ll actually be locating a bunch of parts to a single object that will then be added to your inventory.  The mini games are rather diverse, and while there’s a good chance you’ve seen them in one form or another, they were all well balanced and at least for me easy enough to get through without the need to bypass them.

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If you do require help there is a hint button that can be used to show you where you need to go next or what object you might be looking for.  On the harder settings the hints take more time to recharge, but there are clovers hidden all over the place that instantly recharge the hint meter for you.  There is also a journal that keeps track of important clues, lists your current objectives and even provides a map that lets you jump instantly to any discovered location.  The down side to the latter is that you might not realize a hidden object scene has opened up if you don’t wander through each scene again.  There are 19 achievements you can earn, and the game allows multiple profiles so each person that uses your device can have their own experience and earn their own achievements.

As one might expect from a top tier G5 game, the graphics are excellent.  Well drawn, detailed backgrounds are a delight to explore, and the cut scenes are nicely rendered even where the people are concerned.  The one thing I don’t really care for is the type of hidden object scene where your list is simply the silhouettes of the objects, because it’s often hard to tell what you’re looking for.  The sound effects certainly serve their purpose, and the developers did a good job of selecting people for the voiceovers.  There’s also some decent music that at times almost sounds more appropriate for a horror themed game.  As long as it’s good I’m certainly not complaining, though.

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In case I haven’t given it away yet, I enjoyed this game.  Sometimes as I get closer to the end of an adventure game, even one I really like, I tend to be ready for it to be over.  I never felt that way with Graven.  I’m not sure I’d want to see a sequel, as the game did an excellent job of telling a self contained story, but there’s no question I’d be in for the ride if one did appear.

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App Summary
Title: Graven: The Purple Moon Prophecy HD Developer: G5 Entertainment
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req:  iOS 6.0
Price: Free App Size: 927.86MB
  • Decent fantasy storyline
  • Plenty of well balanced puzzles and mini-games
  • Excellent visuals
  • Quality voiceovers and music
  • Nothing of note

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Mind Snares: Alice’s Journey HD in Review – Creepy Visions Make Nifty Games http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/03/01/mind-snares-alices-journey-hd-in-review-creepy-visions-make-nifty-games/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/03/01/mind-snares-alices-journey-hd-in-review-creepy-visions-make-nifty-games/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 03:32:17 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74298 If you’ve been adventure gaming on your iPhone or iPad for long I’m sure you’ve run across a G5 adventure or two.  The name Artifex Mundi might not sound quite as familiar, but they had their hands in both the Nightmares from the Deep series and Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden, both of which I’ve … Read more]]>

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If you’ve been adventure gaming on your iPhone or iPad for long I’m sure you’ve run across a G5 adventure or two.  The name Artifex Mundi might not sound quite as familiar, but they had their hands in both the Nightmares from the Deep series and Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden, both of which I’ve given high regards to.  Their latest combined effort is Mind Snares: Alice’s Journey, and having just finished it I’d say it deserves the Artifex Mundi branding.  Excellent visuals, theatrical quality music and an odd storyline do a great job of keeping you entranced to the very end.  Either this version wasn’t the collector’s edition or the typical bonus adventure was strangely absent this time around, but there was more than enough main game play to make up for that missing element.

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You play the role of Alice, a run down middle class laborer who is basically unhappy with her life.  On your way to a client you run off the road, and the journey that ensues is one of weird dreams and enlightening quests.  Alice certainly has a vivid imagination, as her black robed spirit guide takes her through a “living doll” factory, the salvation of a half dying tree and the quest to feed some old hag her supper.  Through it all you’ll have to complete plenty of object quests, solve a few mini-games and explore several hidden object scenes.  The game is broken up into an intro and four main chapters, and of them I think I liked chapter one the best as it had the most enjoyable ratio tasks: object puzzles took center stage, mini games came next and hidden object scenes were minimal.  As the game progressed the amount of hidden object scenes increased, and while I have nothing against them I’m finding that I much prefer the object based puzzles like adventure games of old.

Control is just what you’d expect from this style of game.  Double tap where you want to move, tap to pick up objects and interact with the scene, and tap or drag to use inventory items with something on the screen.  The mini games are all fairly basic and require little beyond simple tapping or dragging.  While conceptually some of the games were different then I’ve seen in the past, it would have been nice if there were a bit more innovation in interacting with the device itself, like tilting or maybe even using the camera.  The game has the standard difficulty settings that alter things like the time between hint recharges and whether or not “hot spots” sparkle so they are easier to find.  The game does have several achievements you can earn, and what it thankfully doesn’t have is any of those “collect 50 of these throughout the game” type objects.

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As usual the visuals are top notch, with finely detailed backgrounds, well rendered hidden object scenes and cool looking characters.  And as usual the main drawback is that the lip syncing always seems a bit off.  The sound effects are decent enough, and the voice acting is actually pretty good.  I also think they did a really good job with the music.  It’s not distracting, and when you actually take the time to listen to it you’ll hear that it’s quite well written.

Overall I really enjoyed Mind Snares: Alice’s Journey.  I don’t get to do a complete play through on games very often any more, but this one kept me going until the end was right there.  I would have liked to have seen the balance of game play styles stay consistent based on the first chapter, but other than that I have no complaints.  If you are an adventure game fan, and especially if you’ve played other Artifex Mundi games, you’ll definitely want to check this one out.

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App Summary
Title: Mind Snares: Alice’s Journey HD Developer: G5 Entertainment
Reviewed Ver:  1.0 Min OS Req:  5.1.1
Price: Free App Size:  779 MB
  • Interesting story
  • Lots of game play
  • Great visuals
  • Excellent music
  • As game progresses the balance of game play elements gets worse

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The Secret Of Raven Rock in Review – Don’t Worry, I Won’t Tell http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/01/05/the-secret-of-raven-rock-in-review-dont-worry-i-wont-tell/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/01/05/the-secret-of-raven-rock-in-review-dont-worry-i-wont-tell/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 06:08:04 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74229 The Secret Of Raven Rock was the last game I played in 2014, so I figured I’d make it my first review for 2015.  As adventure games go it doesn’t have the most original or intriguing plot, but the game play is interesting enough that you want to keep coming back to find out what … Read more]]>

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The Secret Of Raven Rock was the last game I played in 2014, so I figured I’d make it my first review for 2015.  As adventure games go it doesn’t have the most original or intriguing plot, but the game play is interesting enough that you want to keep coming back to find out what you’ll discover next.  The puzzles are well balanced, the mini games don’t keep you hung up for too long, and the game actually tries to take advantage of some of the features of the device like multi-touch and tilting.  Overall it was a fun experience and worth the time investment for iOS adventure game fans.

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The basic premise is that you arrive home after an extended absence only to find the village abandoned and a weird vibe in the air.  Now you must figure out where your people went and who the mysterious warlock is that you’ve heard rumors about.  At least this gives you a reason to do what you’re doing, but this “disappearing town” shtick gets kind of old because it means there are no NPCs to interact with, and to me that’s half the fun of an adventure game.  Still, if you can get past that hang up there’s plenty to do in Raven Rock and an odd mystique that drives you to do it.

Navigating the world is pretty typical: tap where you want to move, tap to pick up items and drag to use items somewhere in your current scene.  At least, that’s what the game would have you believe.  As it turns out, there are times where you have to drag things to move them, hold things with one finger while tapping objects with another, and even an instance where you get to use the camera.  I like how they’ve integrated more than just simple tap mechanics into the game, though it would have been nice to know that such mechanics existed so I wouldn’t have torn out quite as much hair.  Still, I’ve already forgiven the developers and applaud them for thinking outside the box.  There’s also a map, and while it’s not completely interactive, at least it lets you jump to the start of any major section of the game.

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In addition to the bounty of object based puzzles there are also plenty of mini games to dig into.  There’s a nice variety, though sadly they still had to have at least two of the “slide tiles to make a picture” type, which are among my least favorite given that there is no recourse to skip a puzzle after a given amount of time.  Just like with the object based puzzles, there are times where you must use multi-touch and even an occasion that requires you to tilt the device to complete the puzzles, so while the types of puzzles might not always have been to my liking, I give them credit for not just making another simple tap everywhere type game.  If there was one true complaint I had it’s the fact that the game tends to be a bit unstable, as it crashed on me several times over the course of playing.  Thankfully I never lost any real progress.

Raven Rock looks really good.  All the backgrounds are crisp and nicely detailed, and for the most part it’s easy to tell what all the objects are.  The graphics do get a bit fuzzy when you transition between scenes, but I’ll take it because I like the whole transition effect.  It gives you more of a sense that you’re moving between areas instead of just suddenly being in a new place.  The sound effects do a decent job of conveying what’s going on around you, so at least it doesn’t feel completely dead.  The music is pretty good, and in certain locations they do a great job with ambient sounds – hanging around in certain locations can give you the creeps, especially if you forget the game is running!

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The Secret Of Raven Rock is certainly not without it’s issues, but along with Escape From LaVille it has provided a strong, enjoyable conclusion to my year as far as adventure games go.  And, despite the fairly clichéd story, the cliffhanger at the end has me hoping that they are working on a sequel for the new year.  I just hope the next installment comes with a slightly more stable engine.

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App Summary
Title: The Secret of Raven Rock Developer: Raven Rock Games
Reviewed Ver:  1.1 Min OS Req:  iOS 7.0
Price: $1.99 App Size:  96.0 MB
  • Plenty of puzzles and mini-games
  • Used mechanics beyond simple tap and drag
  • Really nice visuals
  • Good music and ambient noises
  • Story was pretty generic
  • Game crashed several times

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Escape From LaVille1 in Review: Beware The Green Mist http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/12/15/escape-from-laville1-in-review-beware-the-green-mist/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/12/15/escape-from-laville1-in-review-beware-the-green-mist/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 03:04:09 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74203 As I start to write this review the sequel to Escape From LaVille has been released for just a few days.  I never got the chance to play the first one, however, so I figured I should do that before diving into the sequel.  I’m glad I did.  Not only does it directly set up … Read more]]>

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As I start to write this review the sequel to Escape From LaVille has been released for just a few days.  I never got the chance to play the first one, however, so I figured I should do that before diving into the sequel.  I’m glad I did.  Not only does it directly set up the second game, but it’s actually a very entertaining adventure game.  Best of all, while the ending is brief, it’s one of the best ones I’ve run across in a mobile adventure game in a while.  It certainly left me surprised and stunned.

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You are Forest Campbell, and you have been sent to LaVille to try and figure out what wiped out the entire town.  Your investigation leads you to an old mansion with a weird green light that seems to emanate from the porch, and once you enter your adventures are only beginning…

It amazes me how many old mansions are filled with traps and puzzles, but I guess if they weren’t we’d have nothing to adventure around in, right?  This is a “pure” adventure game in the sense that all you’ll find is object and logic based puzzles rather than a collection of hidden object screens.  The puzzles are pretty straightforward and well thought out, and while I did have to access the help a couple of times I think there was really only one instance where I wouldn’t have figured out the solution with a little more patience.  There was really only one mini game that consisted of rotating some tiles in a picture, and it was fairly easy to figure out.  The interface was fairly basic adventure fare that requires you to tap to move and pick up objects.  In this particular interface, however, you tap inventory items and then tap where you want to use them instead of dragging them onto the scene.  Everything was extremely responsive and I never had trouble executing what I wanted to do.  If anything I might say the game could have been just a smidge longer, but I don’t think you’ll feel disappointed in any way.

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The graphics were good, though I think I did myself a disservice by playing the iPhone version of the game on my iPad.  I cheated a bit and used shots from the iPad version for this review, and they certainly look much crisper than what I saw when I played.  Still, for being scaled up to fit my device the visuals were certainly detailed enough and everything was readily discernible.  The sound effects weren’t bad, though we didn’t get treated to any voice-overs since this was a solo outing with no NPC interaction.  Musically the audio delivered with a soundtrack that fit the ominous tone of your explorations.

Escape From LaVille 1 is another fine example of how to do an adventure game right on iOS devices.  The interface was solid, the story was intriguing (though they could have used a better translator), and the audio and visuals did a decent job of taking you into Forest Campbell’s world.  You can quibble about the length of the game, but equal parts of me say it was a bit short and it was just the right length.  If you like adventure games you should enjoy this one.  Now if you’ll excuse me I’m on to part two…

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App Summary
Title: Escape from LaVille 1 Developer: Gabriele Pellistri
Reviewed Ver:  1.2 Min OS Req:  iOS 5.0
Price: $0.99 App Size:  87.8 MB
  • Good story with twist ending
  • Balanced game play with minimal mini games
  • Pleasant visuals
  • Good music
  • Might have been a bit short
  • Text could have been translated better
  • Needed some voice-overs

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The House on Usher in Review: Bosses That Go Bump In The Night http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/12/13/the-house-on-usher-in-review-bosses-that-go-bump-in-the-night/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/12/13/the-house-on-usher-in-review-bosses-that-go-bump-in-the-night/#comments Sat, 13 Dec 2014 12:29:41 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74196 So here we are with another hidden object game that wasn’t released by one of the “big players”.  In fact, The House On Usher looks to be the first iOS outing for Red Aphid Games.  Turns out it’s actually a pretty fun game.  As sadly seems to be the case with most hidden object games … Read more]]>

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So here we are with another hidden object game that wasn’t released by one of the “big players”.  In fact, The House On Usher looks to be the first iOS outing for Red Aphid Games.  Turns out it’s actually a pretty fun game.  As sadly seems to be the case with most hidden object games there’s a bit of a response problem when clicking on the objects you’re trying to find, but otherwise the game has solid production values and plenty of locales to explore.  It also has a decent mystery vibe about it that makes you want to keep playing to find out what the strange force behind the house is.

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The House On Usher is what one might expect if the legendary Steven King where to try his hand at horror comedy.  You’re a neophyte real estate woman trying to make her name by turning over this worn down, abandoned property… which just happens to be haunted.  The story unfolds through newspaper clippings and your general investigation of the house, and your only contact with the outside world is your boss who seems to know a lot more than he’s letting on.  There’s nothing earth shattering about the story, but the lighthearted nature is a nice change form many of the macabre offerings of Big Fish Games.

The interface is pretty standard for this style of game play.  Tap on the screen to move to a new location, tap on items within the screen to pick them up and drag items from your inventory to use them with other items on the screen.  There are just a couple of different types of mini games scattered throughout the main game and they just require simple tap and drag operations as well.  You can pinch to zoom in and out, but there’s also a handy magnifying glass that will zoom you completely in or out with a quick tap.  More importantly, I really appreciate the fact that you can actually tap on the locations in the map and move directly to them without any fuss.  This should be a standard feature of adventure games in my opinion.  The main issue with the interface is that you often have to click several times on an object before it registers that you clicked the object.  Sadly that’s pretty common with hidden object games on the iPad, but in this case it gets really frustrating when you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for in the first place.

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Game play is divided into three segments: object puzzles, hidden object scenes and mini games.  As a “bonus” you get to clean the house which consists of finding any stray cobwebs, bugs or mauve items (apparently your character doesn’t like mauve).  This is where it gets frustrating, because in a given scene you’re told how many items need to be cleaned up, but not what you’re looking for.  The bugs are especially difficult to find, and when clicking them doesn’t respond appropriately it may leave you baffled.  In hidden object scenes you’re always presented with a list so you don’t have to try to match shadows or place objects where they belong.  Most of the mini games are like a Wheel Of Fortune board where you’re given a clue and must spell out a phrase with supplied letters.  There are a couple of others, but thankfully unlike a lot of modern hidden object games you don’t have to complete a mini game to get behind every locked area.  Overall the game play felt pretty balanced.

The graphics fall in line nicely with higher end hidden object games.  Detailed backgrounds give you a real sense of the environment and also make it challenging to find the objects.  There are only two characters, you and your boss, but they are well designed and some of the boss’ expressions are pretty humorous.  The sound effects are decent enough, and they did a good job casting the boss, though I will say that the girl seems a bit whiny sometimes.  There’s a decent selection of music that all sounds really good, but don’t listen to closely to some of the tracks because you’ll realize that they are on a fairly short repeat loop.  Still, I enjoyed the tunes for the most part.

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While we’re seeing more “pure” adventure games show up on the App Store these days, they’re still few and far between compared to hidden object games.  As long as the latter is going to be prevalent for a while, I hope more of them turn out like this one.  Niggles about the interface and the sometimes repetitive music aside, I found myself practically unable to tear myself away from this adventure until it was complete, and that’s the way a good gaming journey should be.  I will leave you with one final warning: if you’re the type that finds the end more important than the journey you might want to stay away, because the conclusion to this tale leaves a lot to be desired.

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App Summary
Title: The House on Usher Developer: Red Aphid Games
Reviewed Ver:  1.0 Min OS Req:  iOS 6.0
Price: Free App Size:  230 MB
  • Mystery that keeps you coming back
  • Decent balance of game play
  • Nice visuals
  • Entertaining music
  • Item tapping needs to be more responsive
  • Weak ending
  • Soundtrack does get repetitive

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Secret Files Tunguska in Review: An Adventure Game Like They Used To Make http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/09/09/secret-files-tunguska-in-review-an-adventure-game-like-they-used-to-make/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/09/09/secret-files-tunguska-in-review-an-adventure-game-like-they-used-to-make/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 20:59:36 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74061 While I’ll happily take any sort of adventure game for my iPad that’s half way decent, there’s something about the 80’s King’s Quest style adventure that can’t be matched by a first person point of view or lots of hidden object scenes and mini-games.  Apparently the developers behind Secret Files Tunguska get that, and as … Read more]]>

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While I’ll happily take any sort of adventure game for my iPad that’s half way decent, there’s something about the 80’s King’s Quest style adventure that can’t be matched by a first person point of view or lots of hidden object scenes and mini-games.  Apparently the developers behind Secret Files Tunguska get that, and as a result this is one of the best adventure games I’ve played on the iOS platform to date.  The story keeps you wanting to know more, the NPC interaction is plentiful but not overburdening, and the puzzles are intelligent and fun.  Add to that a polished interface and beautiful graphics and you can’t really ask for much more.  Well, a bit of background music would be kind of nice…review-secret-files-2

You start out playing Nina, who simply wants to visit her father at the museum where he works.  Instead you end up on a quest to find him as well as figure out the mystery behind the explosion that rocked Tunguska a century before.  Nina is joined by her father’s assistant Max, whom you’ll also get to control at various points in the game.  The detailed and intriguing story is told via dialog trees between the character you control and various NPCs as well as the occasional cut scene.  The actual “game” portion is your old fashioned mix of item collecting and object puzzle solving.  There are no hidden object scenes, and so far I haven’t run into any mini games.  Personally I hope it stays that way, though as long as the mini games are minimal I’ll be content.

The interface is simple yet effective.  Tapping on an item of interest brings up one or two options: a magnifying glass for viewing and a hand for interacting.  Depending on the situation “interacting” might mean taking an object, talking to someone or literally manipulating something without adding it to your inventory.  To use an inventory item you can drag it onto an item in the scene or onto another item in your inventory.  The inventory interface is a bit sluggish, and it can be frustrating because two objects must be combined in the right order (ex: dragging a matchbook to a cigarette lights the cigarette, but dragging the cigarette to the matchbook does nothing).  You can tap to move around your current area as well, but that’s rarely needed since your character automatically walks towards objects you interact with.  I did finally run into one mini game so far, and that was handled simply by dragging objects around the screen.

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The game auto saves at certain points and will keep your last position when you exit out of the game, but you can (and should) also explicitly save occasionally in the options menu.  You can also save and load your game to the iCloud if you’d like, which is a feature games of any decent length should have.  From a game play perspective this is just about the perfect adventure game, except for the dialog.  Now don’t get me wrong, because dialog between characters is one thing that sets a true adventure game above a simple room escape experience, but there are times when the dialog just devolves into nonsense that does nothing but make the game longer.  Plus, it makes you work a little harder to determine what’s actually necessary to move the plot along.  Not a major hurdle, but it can get annoying at times.

This is a pretty amazing looking game.  The backgrounds are extremely well drawn and finely detailed, and the characters look good enough in the normal course of the game.  The models don’t always look the best in the cut scenes, but then there are very few games centered around humans where they really do.  Overall the visuals are stunning.  The sound is another story.  There are some sound effects, but the game seems to be more focused on ambient noises, which actually do have the effect of making the world feel a bit more vibrant and alive.  However, there is very little music which is rather disappointing.  Also, while the voiceovers are nice, they seem to be a bit out of place in most cases.  For example, only one person that I’ve encountered in Russia so far even speaks with any sort of accent!

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Adventure games used to be one of the staples of my gaming diet, but as time moves on and the popularity of the genre seemingly diminishes there just aren’t as many quality options as there used to be.  Thankfully Secret Files Tunguska is one of the exceptions.  An interesting story, plenty of game play and overall pleasing aesthetics definitely make this a worthwhile experience for any avid adventure gamer.  Just remember that because you think you’ve moved on doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re done with something.

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App Summary
Title: Secret Files Tunguska Developer: Deep Silver
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req:
Price: $4.99 App Size:
  • Intriguing story
  • Lots of NPC interaction
  • Plenty of puzzles
  • Excellent visuals
  • Nice ambient sound
  • Navigating inventory can be sluggish
  • Overabundance of silly dialog
  • Little background music

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Pahelika: Secret Legends in Review: Questing For A Mystical Book http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/05/15/pahelika-secret-legends-in-review-questing-for-a-mystical-book/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/05/15/pahelika-secret-legends-in-review-questing-for-a-mystical-book/#comments Fri, 16 May 2014 06:21:25 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73829 I’ve already written may reviews on adventure games, yet in spite of, or maybe because of that I’ve been struggling with how to start this one.  Something I’ve noticed with most adventure games these days is that they struggle to provide a decent balance between story telling, puzzle solving and any of the various extras … Read more]]>

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I’ve already written may reviews on adventure games, yet in spite of, or maybe because of that I’ve been struggling with how to start this one.  Something I’ve noticed with most adventure games these days is that they struggle to provide a decent balance between story telling, puzzle solving and any of the various extras like hidden object scenes or mini games that they choose to throw in.  Pahelika: Secret Legends seems to do a pretty decent job in terms of game play because it’s mostly puzzle solving with just a few mini games thrown in, which is the way I like it to be balanced.  It even does a decent job of trying to present a story, though most of the communication outside of cut scenes between levels is just your character describing where he’s at.  Still, Pahelika is overall a decent adventure game that just suffers from a few niggling annoyances.review-pahelika-secret-legends-2

Pahelika begins with a brief narrated comic book style intro that discusses leadership, tyranny and redemption, and before long you inadvertently find yourself on a quest to find a mystical book.  There’s something just slightly Jumanji-ish about the whole thing, but it makes for a nice adventure game background.  Unfortunately, once you stray from the cut scenes there’s little to advance the stories short of the main character’s narration when he enters most rooms, though all that does is really give you his point of view on the room you’re entering.  I’m not a big proponent of things like notes or diary pages strewn throughout the locations, but fleshing out the story at a consistent pace is something more of these games need to strive for.  If you don’t know what I mean, check out the old Lucas Arts or Sierra games, or more recently the folks at TellTale Games to get a good feel for the way it should be.

Game play is pretty typical – discover a new location, explore it for items to solve puzzles then solve said puzzles.  Usually the answers to the puzzles are somewhere fairly intuitive or even spelled out in the level somehow, though occasionally the answers to situations felt a bit arbitrary and forced.  There were no hidden object scenes, but it did feel like sometimes you had to hunt and peck for the items you needed because they didn’t stand out from anything else in the scene you were exploring.  Mini-games basically came in three flavors – putting a jigsaw puzzle together, sliding blocks around so that you could move one of them to a specific location and arranging runes based on a pattern that was established by three that were preset for you.  Generally the mini games were easy to complete, but you always have the option to skip them after a set amount of time.  Overall the game play felt pretty balanced though there were a couple of instances where I had no clue what to do and one time the hint button told me it had no hints for me no matter which room I walked into.

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The interface is also pretty standard.  Tap an item to pick it up, and then either drag it from your inventory to where you want to use it in your current scene or tap the item and tap the destination location.  You can also drag items onto each other to combine them if appropriate.  Most of the time this wasn’t a problem, but a couple of puzzles are a bit too small and can get a bit frustrating trying to place objects in the appropriate spots.  If you’re one of those folks that like achievements no matter what the genre there are 18 of them for you to earn.  You can also create multiple profiles so several people can play at the same time, which is a feature every adventure game should employ.

Visually Pahelika is quite pleasant.  As I mentioned before some objects can blend in a bit too well or be a tad small, but as a whole the graphics are very well rendered with a nice level of detail.  The sound effects aren’t bad, and there is typically quite a bit of ambient noise throughout the levels.  The music is extremely well written.  I honestly didn’t notice it much the first time I played through the game (maybe I had the sound down too low), but as I replayed the first three worlds while writing this review I realized that the songs can be quite beautiful at times.

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As a freshman effort from IronCode Gaming, Pahelika: Secret Legends is an extremely solid starting point.  The engine interface is polished and fairly solid, the aesthetics are professional and the game play is pretty well balanced.  I’d like to see a bit more story throughout the game instead of just between worlds, and if you’re only going to have a couple of different styles of mini-game strewn throughout please don’t make any of them be sliding block style games.  Otherwise I can say that everything I’ve experienced on this journey has me excited to check out part 2, which is already available on the App Store.

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App Summary
Title: Pahelika: Secret Legends – A Search and Find Hidden Object Adventure Developer: IronCode Gaming
Reviewed Ver: 1.1 Min OS Req: 6.0
Price: $4.99 App Size: 90.2 MB
  • Solid, polished interface
  • Balanced game play
  • Sharp visuals
  • Excellent music
  • Objects sometimes blend into the background too well
  • Occasionally difficult to determine how to proceed
  • Story could be unveiled at a better pace

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Nightmares from the Deep: The Siren’s Call HD in Review – Davey Jones Is Still A Fish Out Of Water http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/01/19/nightmares-from-the-deep-the-sirens-call-hd-in-review-davey-jones-is-still-a-fish-out-of-water/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/01/19/nightmares-from-the-deep-the-sirens-call-hd-in-review-davey-jones-is-still-a-fish-out-of-water/#comments Sun, 19 Jan 2014 21:36:05 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73520 I’ve been pondering how to keep this review from sounding like a simple retread of the first installment, but that might be a bit of a losing battle.  Thankfully that’s not entirely a bad thing because the original Nightmares From The Deep was definitely one of my favorite G5 offerings, and so far the sequel … Read more]]>

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I’ve been pondering how to keep this review from sounding like a simple retread of the first installment, but that might be a bit of a losing battle.  Thankfully that’s not entirely a bad thing because the original Nightmares From The Deep was definitely one of my favorite G5 offerings, and so far the sequel has been just as entertaining.  The protagonist Sarah Black is back, as is the slimy sea serpent Davey Jones.  The backstory is different, but ultimately it’s still you against evil incarnate with a healthy dose of exploration, puzzle solving and mini-games coming your way.  Are you ready to match wits with the stuff of legends once again?

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This time around you’re trying to save an island-bound village whose mayor made a pact with the devil and has now gone mad with power.  You’ll make friends with a rebel fish-man and set out to rescue Caliope and reclaim her siren powers so that you can defeat the Kraken and whip Davey Jones into shape once and for all – or at least force him to slither away until your next adventure.  A bulk of the story will be communicated through your fish-man ally and journals you find scattered throughout the world, though the annoying treasure chest and its goblin-like guardian do return for this second installment.  There are plenty of rooms to explore and like most adventure games these days you’ll find yourself traipsing back and forth to certain locations several times before fully completing some tasks.  The game does actually offer maps, and if you’re playing in casual mode it will mark the map to show locations where you can actually do something.

In order to fully explore the vibrant world there are plenty of object based puzzles to solve.  Occasionally you’ll run into a situation that requires a bit more than what’s in your inventory to conquer, at which point you’ll enter into a mini-game.  None of the games so far have been overly difficult to solve, really acting more as a diversification element than anything else.  Finally there are several hidden object scenes, which in this case are broken up into three distinct types.  The first is your typical “find a list of objects”, while the second requires you to find all the silhouetted parts to a single object.  The last hidden object style is much like a mini-adventure as you have to find items and then use them elsewhere in the screen until you find the object you’re ultimately looking for.  I really like this last type of hidden object screen and hope to see it more in future games.

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To navigate between rooms you can double tap the direction you want to go, or you can actually pull up the map and double tap the location on the map to which you’d like to travel.  Pretty much anything you need to do in the game will be some combination of tapping and dragging which naturally works great on the touch screen but doesn’t really take advantage of anything unique to the device.  Once you’ve completed the main story you can play it again on a different difficulty setting if you want or you can continue the story with a bonus adventure that gets unlocked the first time you win the game.  There are 29 achievements to earn and 3 different types of “secret” objects to collect, but these seem pretty superfluous given that this is, in fact, an adventure game.  The thrill should come in seeing the story to a close (though I’ll admit the ending wasn’t quite as interesting as that of the original game).

Graphically the second Nightmares is on par with if not maybe slightly better than the first installment.  There are plenty of details in the backgrounds and surprisingly enough the hidden object scenes are often challenging without being overly crowded.  The character models are really well done also, rounding out the visuals quite nicely.  The sound effects are pretty decent, and the voiceovers for the most part are well acted and don’t sound stiff.  The music is pretty good when you notice it, but I usually found myself too engrossed in the game to care.

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I’m not too surprised, but this is another fine adventure game from G5 and Artifex Mundi.  The developer does a great job of telling a story, and is quite skilled at balancing the game play elements so it never gets boring.  I was a bit annoyed that they revisited the concept of collecting the coins to open a treasure chest, and the extras to find like birds and octopi seemed a bit overkill, but by and large I enjoyed traveling with Sarah Black just as much this time around.  If there’s ever a third Nightmare you can bet I’ll be there.

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App Summary
Title: Nightmares from the Deep™: The Siren’s Call HD Developer: G5 Entertainment
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: Free App Size: 896 MB
  • Interesting story
  • Balanced, fun game play
  • Excellent video and quality audio
  • Another dwarf-protected treasure chest!
  • Secret collectibles seemed unnecessary

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Oceanhorn in Review – If We Can’t Have Zelda, I’ll Take This http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/31/oceanhorn-in-review-if-we-cant-have-zelda-ill-take-this/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/31/oceanhorn-in-review-if-we-cant-have-zelda-ill-take-this/#comments Tue, 31 Dec 2013 19:44:39 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73485 Games like Diablo certainly popularized the concept, but in my opinion one of the earliest examples of a good action / RPG was The Legend Of Zelda.  There have been many installments in the franchise, but more importantly there have been a ton of wannabes made in an attempt to provide the same type of … Read more]]>

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Games like Diablo certainly popularized the concept, but in my opinion one of the earliest examples of a good action / RPG was The Legend Of Zelda.  There have been many installments in the franchise, but more importantly there have been a ton of wannabes made in an attempt to provide the same type of game to non-Nintendo platforms.  Some of them have succeeded to a limited degree, but Oceanhorn is one of the few to do so in both mechanics and spirit, and probably the only one for the iOS platform so far.  Apparently you don’t need a tri-force for this type of game to be fun.

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In this game you wake up a boy and set off to become a legend as you track down the mysterious creature Oceanhorn that is somehow tied to both you and your father.  To start your journey you must recover a mysterious necklace, and during that brief quest you’ll also find your first weapon.  Much like Zelda, you tend to find the useful stuff underground in the caves and tunnels you’ll explore.  Why do they always hide everything underground?  Anyway, you also have your trusty shield and fairly early on you’ll acquire the ability to collect and use bombs, so I’m expecting to find a bow and arrow or at least a boomerang at some point.  You soon get directed to visit a new island, and as you find documentation or talk to people that reveal the history of the land new locations will be unlocked for your explorative pleasure.

Naturally this won’t be a straightforward expedition, so you’ll spend some time traveling back and forth between islands to accomplish all of your goals.  In a nod to Wind Waker you actually pilot your boat during these treks, and once you get the bombs you actually have to shoot at things as well.  On the islands you’ll battle a variety of creatures, solve basic environmental puzzles that so far tend to revolve around moving blocks around and flipping switches, and some occupants on the islands will give you quests to complete.

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Along the way you might find items that you can equip or that relate to quests, and in a nice twist when you find non-essential items you’ll automatically sell them for gold.  No seeking out shops to clear your inventory in this game!  Each island also comes with three overriding missions to complete, though some or so broad you can actually finish them on any island.  Completing missions and killing monsters earns you XP, and once you’ve gathered enough you’ll go up a level which enhance or unlock some new trait for you.  There seems to be plenty to do, and the multiple levels make for some expansive islands, but even with the mini-map it can be easy to get lost and turned around at times, especially when you’re trying to get to that treasure chest that you can see on the map but just can’t quite find on the actual game screen.

To move your character along you use an invisible virtual joystick on the lower left side which works reasonably well most of the time.  Its impreciseness can be felt at times when you are trying to cross narrow bridges and such, however.  Most actions are performed with the versatile action button in the lower right corner of the screen, and special items are activated via the graphical item button above the action button.  Don’t confuse this with the button that actually says “item” which brings up the menu of special items you can pick from.  You can throw certain items by picking them up and holding them with the action button, aiming by dragging the virtual control stick, then releasing the action button to toss.  This does take some getting used to, especially since there is no nifty guide ala Angry Birds to show you where you’re actually tossing the item.  There is also a menu accessible by touching the mini-map that shows things like your current missions, items you’ve collected and a log of everything you’ve read and everyone you’ve talked to.

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Graphically I’d say the game comes in at about the level of the Zelda series when it was on the Nintendo 64.  The backgrounds are pretty stunning at times, and there’s plenty of detail strewn throughout the levels.  Some of the monster designs are rather interesting, and there’s an obvious influence from Zelda in cases like the monster that rises from the ground and spits rocks at you (sort of a combination of two classic Zelda critters).  The sound effects are pretty good and they did a good job finding people to voice the characters, though there are times that the voices don’t necessarily match what you’d expect by looking at an individual.  The music takes me back to the days of Castlevania IV on the SNES.  That was some of the best music of the 16 bit era, and the style still holds up incredibly well as evidenced by the soundtrack in Oceanhorn.

This game does offer a few frustrations, especially when it comes to the preciseness of the controls.  However, all the good in the game far outweighs any minor inconveniences these things might provide.  I’ve always been a big fan of the Zelda series, and since Nintendo doesn’t share the closest we were ever going to get on another platform was an incredible clone.  There’s no question in my mind that Oceanhorn is that clone.  If Zelda doesn’t mean anything to you then you’re still in luck because Oceanhorn is a pretty remarkable action / adventure RPG in its own right.

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App Summary
Title: Oceanhorn ™ Developer: FDG Entertainment
Reviewed Ver: 1.3 Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: $8.99 App Size: 170 MB
  • Closest thing to Zelda on iOS
  • Lots of world to explore
  • Challenging and rewarding game play
  • Excellent visuals
  • Great soundtrack
  • Virtual joystick not as precise as it could be
  • Often hard to judge where you’re throwing something
  • Easy to get lost on some levels

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Temptation. Episode 1 HD (Full) in Review – Can You Resist The Fog? http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/02/temptation-episode-1-hd-full-in-review-can-you-resist-the-fog/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/02/temptation-episode-1-hd-full-in-review-can-you-resist-the-fog/#comments Mon, 02 Dec 2013 23:35:26 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73408 Temptation. Episode 1 HD is another solid offering from G5 Entertainment.  The story keeps you engaged and there are plenty of rooms to explore and puzzles to solve.  The mini games can be a bit on the tough side, and the hidden object scenes are basically superfluous, but overall this is once again a job … Read more]]>

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Temptation. Episode 1 HD is another solid offering from G5 Entertainment.  The story keeps you engaged and there are plenty of rooms to explore and puzzles to solve.  The mini games can be a bit on the tough side, and the hidden object scenes are basically superfluous, but overall this is once again a job well done.  I do hope that if there is an episode 2 that it takes a bit more liberty with the whole concept of temptation.

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You are an unfortunate victim who ends up getting sucked into a fog she is trying to escape and ultimately winds up trying to save the land’s queen from the evil Dark Raven.  Even though you know you’ll eventually escape it or fall prey to it, I like the “impending doom” imposed by the fog at the beginning.  I also like the fact that Dark Raven’s minions are constantly trying to get you to join the dark side, but the sad reality is that you can’t (or at least I haven’t been able to so far), and that would have been an interesting angle to explore.  Otherwise, if you’re at all familiar with adventure games you now how this goes.  You wander around different locations collecting items, using those items to solve puzzles and playing the occasional mini game to unlock an object or new area.

There are plenty of object based puzzles to complete, and the only problem I’ve had with that so far is that sometimes by the time I get an object I forget where I need to use it.  The mini games are quite interesting in that there are a number of them that I have not seen in other adventure games before.  Unfortunately they often tend to become a true obstacle after a while and I have found myself skipping them just to get on with the game.  The hidden object scenes seem like an afterthought or a mechanic that was used just because they couldn’t come up with another way to present a certain puzzle, and to me it seems like they should have been left out.  One thing I do like is that along the way you’ll be granted the power of three different plants that help you solve puzzles by transmuting items.  It’s mainly just a gimmick, but it adds an extra dimension to the game.

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Graphically the game stands up to its peers in the G5 catalog.  The backgrounds are ornately detailed, the character designs are decent, and there are decent effects like when the fog is rolling in or you use a flower to transform something.  The sound effects are pretty good and they did a great job of casting the voices.  The music is top notch as well and really emphasizes the dire mood of the game.

Overall Temptation Episode 1 was an enjoyable game.  I think it would have been better to go straight adventure rather than trying to through a few hidden object scenes in just for the sake of doing so, and some of the mini games were kind of annoying, but the interesting story and abundance of object based puzzles more than makes up for any of that.  I’m looking forward to seeing what episode 2 has to offer.

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App Summary
Title: Temptation. Episode I HD (Full) Developer: G5 Entertainment
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req: 5.1
Price: $6.99 App Size: 648 MB
  • Interesting story
  • Plenty of item based puzzles
  • Excellent visuals
  • Great music
  • Hidden object scenes felt out of place
  • Too many frustrating mini games

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