TouchMyApps » Arcade http://www.touchmyapps.com All Things iPhone and iPad for those who like to Touch. iOS App reviews, News, New Apps, Price Drops and App Gone Free Mon, 14 Apr 2014 11:45:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.3 Toast Time in Review – When Breakfast Fights Back http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/03/21/toast-time-in-review-when-breakfast-fights-back/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/03/21/toast-time-in-review-when-breakfast-fights-back/#comments Fri, 21 Mar 2014 21:14:56 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73653 The idea is simple: protect the clock from a swarm of aliens for a designated number of seconds.  The thing is you’re just a toaster, so you do what toasters do best.  Each tap of the screen has you ejecting a nicely cooked piece of bread with the intention of either flinging yourself to a … Read more]]>

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The idea is simple: protect the clock from a swarm of aliens for a designated number of seconds.  The thing is you’re just a toaster, so you do what toasters do best.  Each tap of the screen has you ejecting a nicely cooked piece of bread with the intention of either flinging yourself to a more accessible spot or taking out a slimy critter before it gets too close to the clock.  You start with your basic slice of white bread, but you can change your weapon by shooting creates that appear from time to time on the screen.  Crates also help you unlock new weapons and outfits, so be sure to get as many as you can per level.

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There are 5 different worlds, each with nine levels to conquer.  You can just save the clock to beat a level, but in order to earn three stars you have to work at getting a nice high score.  In addition to the campaign mode there is an ironman survival mode where you have to play through all the levels in succession until you fail to save the clock.  This mode can only be beaten when you play through all 45 levels in a row without losing.  There are seven leaderboards to compete on: one for each world, one for all worlds combined and one for beating the ironman mode.  There are also 9 achievements to earn, and while this doesn’t sound like much some of them should prove to be quite a challenge.

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The graphics have an original Gameboy feel about them, though there is some color strewn throughout the levels.  The game does a decent job of making blocky look good.  The sound effects aren’t bad, but I do really like the music.  At first I thought there was a theme per level set, and there are definitely multiple themes, but I’m not sure if the music is chosen at random or there are just multiple themes per level set.  Either way the music is probably the best part of the aesthetics.

While I can’t say that I ever recall playing a game quite like this “back in the day”, Toast Time does an excellent job of capturing the feel of retro video games.  There are a decent number of levels to complete, plenty of weapons and outfits to unlock, and if you really get bored there’s the ironman survival mode to tackle.  All in all this is the perfect offering for those that enjoy the “simple to pick up, challenging to master” type of game.

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App Summary
Title: Toast Time Developer: Force Of Habit
Reviewed Ver: 1.01 Min OS Req: 5.1
Price: $2.99 App Size: 20.3 MB
  • Simple, challenging game play
  • Plenty to unlock
  • Nice retro visuals
  • Great music
  • Outfits don’t affect game play

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Galaxy Run in Review: Out Of This World Fun http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/03/10/galaxy-run-in-review-out-of-this-world-fun/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/03/10/galaxy-run-in-review-out-of-this-world-fun/#comments Mon, 10 Mar 2014 16:02:32 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73596 Galaxy Run is a one screen, one button platform game from Spiel Studio, the folks that brought us the cool “launch an object” game Propel Man.  Generally I get into this style of game play pretty easily, and I like the progression of game mechanics Galaxy Run employs as well as the space motif.  The … Read more]]>

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Galaxy Run is a one screen, one button platform game from Spiel Studio, the folks that brought us the cool “launch an object” game Propel Man.  Generally I get into this style of game play pretty easily, and I like the progression of game mechanics Galaxy Run employs as well as the space motif.  The main problem I have with the game is that there seems to be a strong lack of difficulty, at least in the initial sets of levels that come with the game.  Thankfully the bonus worlds start to fix that problem, but I think the initial six worlds could use a bit of balancing.

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Your job is to help Rez get home after he crash lands on an alien planet.  All you have to do on each level is make sure he gets from point A to point B without falling into a pit, impaling himself on spikes or electrocuting himself.  Of course your basic method for doing this is simply tapping the screen to jump.  Thankfully each new level set brings a new mechanic to the table like double jumping, moving fast and even swinging on ropes.  Some actions like double jumping require you to pick up the power up first, while others happen automatically like stepping on an accelerator that causes you to run.  Some of the mechanics work a bit differently than you might be used to from other games, like swinging which is activated automatically when you’re close enough to a swing point and stops as soon as you tap the screen.

The initial game is divided into 6 sets of 20 levels apiece.  You have to complete the first 15 levels to move on to the next set, and then you can work on the last five, known as the “extreme” levels, at your own pace.  Once you complete the initial 6 level sets you unlock the bonus levels, which currently provide another 12 sets of levels for your platforming pleasure.  As long as you complete a level you can move on to the next, and once you complete the basic levels of one set the next set is unlocked, but earning stars on a given level is based on the amount of time it takes to complete a level.  Sadly, aside from having to replay on occasional level a few times in order to score three stars, you generally won’t run into any issues until you start getting into the bonus levels.  I think I completed the initial 6 worlds (minus the extreme levels) in less than an hour.

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As mentioned before, all you need to do is tap.  The trick is making sure you tap at just the right moment to do whatever actions you need in order to complete a level.  The game seems pretty responsive, though as I mentioned with the rope jumping some mechanics take a bit of getting used to because they work differently than you’d expect.  The game offers 65 achievements to earn and a leaderboard for each level set as well as various totals leaderboards, so there is plenty to work towards in Galaxy Run.  The game also supports Facebook and Twitter, which I presume is for communicating high scores and achievements with your followers.

I like the visuals in Galaxy Run, though things do tend to be a bit small because the levels have to fit on one screen.  Still, there’s a decent amount of detail and some nice animation, which can especially be appreciated when poor Rez gets fried by a laser.  The sound effects aren’t great, but thankfully they don’t get too annoying.  The music has its moments although it’s hard to appreciate when you go through most of the levels as fast as you will.

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As far as this style of platform gaming goes, Galaxy Run is a pretty decent little game.  Folks that aren’t so good with this type of game or prefer their platformers a bit easier will feel right at home.  If you like a bit more of a challenge and are willing to tough it out through the first few level sets the difficulty later on will be more to your liking.  With 360 levels and tons of achievements there’s certainly plenty to do, and a recent update is supposedly adding 3 new levels a day to each of the three worlds.  Add to that a level editor that the developers are working on releasing and Galaxy Run is definitely a worthwhile investment.

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App Summary
Title: Galaxy Run Developer: Spiel Studios
Reviewed Ver: 1.65 Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $0.99 App Size: 48.6 MB
  • Easy to learn
  • Lots of levels
  • New elements introduced in every level set
  • Nice visuals
  • Levels are rarely challenging

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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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Crazy Chicken: Pirates in Review – More Tame Than Crazy http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/01/29/crazy-chicken-pirates-in-review-more-tame-than-crazy/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/01/29/crazy-chicken-pirates-in-review-more-tame-than-crazy/#comments Thu, 30 Jan 2014 05:17:15 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73530 While some developers have come a long way towards making playable FPS games on touch screen devices, the shooting gallery style game is really a much more pleasant experience for said hardware.  One franchise in particular that has always brought entertaining installments to this genre is Moorhuhn, aka Crazy Chicken depending on where you live … Read more]]>

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While some developers have come a long way towards making playable FPS games on touch screen devices, the shooting gallery style game is really a much more pleasant experience for said hardware.  One franchise in particular that has always brought entertaining installments to this genre is Moorhuhn, aka Crazy Chicken depending on where you live in the world.  One recent edition to the franchise is Crazy Chicken: Pirates for iOS devices, which as of the writing of this article has been subtitled Christmas Edition for the holidays.  It has all the wackiness you’d expect if you were familiar with the brand, and three different game play modes to boot.

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Despite having 3 different game play modes, Crazy Chicken: Pirates basically has one overriding goal: shoot as many chickens as you can.  Defense mode is the most basic in the sense that you only have one screen and besides the chickens the only thing you have to shoot is falling presents.  Chickens will come from both directions and you lose a heart each time a chicken exits the screen on the opposite side.  Every 15 presents you shoot earns you an extra life, but they won’t last long.

In Classic and Arcade modes you have multiple screens that not only offer up poultry to pulverize but provide you with skulls to collect, coins to capture, diamonds to dredge up and other miscellaneous items to use as target practice.  There are counters for the diamonds, coins and skulls, but I honestly don’t know what happens when you collect all of a particular item.  Both Classic and arcade modes are timed, the big distinction being that Classic mode only gives you 90 seconds, whereas Arcade mode gives you extra time when you shoot chickens.

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To shoot you simply tap the screen, and on levels with multiple scenes you just swipe left or right to get to other parts of the island.  Like I said, from a control perspective this is the perfect fit for a touch screen.  There are 59 achievements to earn, and while there is a “current objective” when you begin each game you can complete each achievement at any time.  There is a leaderboard for each game play mode as well as a special one for the Halloween update, which I assume will become active again if the game is still around for Halloween next year.  The biggest thing missing from this game is a clear explanation of anything.  You actually have to select a game play mode and then pause the game to find out what the mode is actually about, and there are no clues given as to what, if anything, you earn for collecting things like diamonds, coins or skulls.

The visuals are extremely well done.  The animation is good, the design for the chickens looks great, and there are all kinds of nifty details if you can spare the time to look around.  The sound effects are a bit lackluster, mostly comprised of gunfire and the sounds when the chickens die.  I do like the tapping when one of the chickens “knocks” on the inside of your screen.  Unfortunately there is no music unless you’re on the menu screens, which is kind of a shame.

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I remember having a lot of fun with this series on my PC, and I was fully expecting the same enjoyment from this iOS installment.  Maybe I’ve grown a bit more finicky over the years, but it just felt like there wasn’t quite enough there this time around.  It’s certainly enjoyable trying to find all the little things you can shoot, and the chickens are quite humorous to watch, but after a while it gets extremely repetitive.  Add to that the lack of explanation from certain achievements to what collecting the “special” items gets you and the game just doesn’t rise to the top where it should be.  If you like shooting gallery style games you’ll still get a kick out of it, but it sadly rests squarely in the middle of the pack.

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App Summary
Title: Crazy Chicken: Pirates (Christmas Edition) Developer: Teyon
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.6 Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: $0.99 App Size: 69.7 MB
  • Lots of things to shoot
  • Three different game play modes
  • Plenty of achievements
  • Love the chickens!
  • Not much variety in game play
  • Way too light on explanation
  • Lackluster sound and no music

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Air Supply – Infinite in Review – New Spin On An Old Classic http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/01/16/air-supply-infinite-in-review-new-spin-on-an-old-classic/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/01/16/air-supply-infinite-in-review-new-spin-on-an-old-classic/#comments Thu, 16 Jan 2014 07:53:22 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73513 If you’ve played the original Air Supply (and shame on the infinite runner lovers that haven’t) then a lot of this will feel familiar.  Sam is back, but his perspective has changed a bit, or more appropriately he’s finding himself going around in circles.  Air Supply – Infinite is just as fun as the original, … Read more]]>

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If you’ve played the original Air Supply (and shame on the infinite runner lovers that haven’t) then a lot of this will feel familiar.  Sam is back, but his perspective has changed a bit, or more appropriately he’s finding himself going around in circles.  Air Supply – Infinite is just as fun as the original, and the best part is it maintains the unlock system that kept me going back to the original for more.  I’ve always maintained that even the best developers will falter once in a while, but so far Quantum Sheep has not let me down.review-air-supply-infinite-2

You are Spaceman Sam, and you have been commissioned by your future self to recover the eight infinity cups.  To do this you’ll have to run around 7 planets and a black hole until you get enough speed going that you can reveal the hiding place of the missing cups.  Unfortunately there are some nasty aliens that will try to keep you from achieving your goal, but you’ll be okay as long as you keep jumping over them.  Occasionally a UFO will show up and emit a tractor beam that temporarily holds you in place, but the ground aliens keep coming so make sure you continue jumping.  You’ll also have asteroids that show up from time to time and reverse the spin of the planet for 10 seconds.  Oh, and then there’s the problem with running out of air.

Thankfully refills are consistently falling through the atmosphere, and running into a transparent one adds one bar back to your oxygen while running into a solid one completely refills your tank.  There are also smart bombs that destroy everything bad that’s currently on the screen and give you some air at the same time.  Additionally, the floating S symbol will temporarily slow things down, the freezer pauses an alien in its tracks for a bit, and the shield will destroy any bad thing that crosses your path for a short time.  You’ll see stars in the mix as well, but all those do is help you unlock new characters to play as.  Speaking of which, collecting oxygen and smart bombs help you unlock new musical tracks and new graphics colors respectively.  And, just in case you can’t get the infinity cup on certain planets you can unlock new planets simply by accumulating revolutions around the planets you’ve already unlocked.

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The default control is simple: tap to jump and double tap to launch a smart bomb.  There are other configurations, but aside from the occasional accidental smart bomb discharge I’ve not had any problems with the initial settings.  Besides unlocking all the choices for characters, planets and such, which really is the best part of the Air Supply series, there are 25 achievements to earn.  There’s even a “longest run” leaderboard if you’re interested.  You can also tweet your scores if you really want to.

The visuals look like something you might find in an early 80’s computer game, which is of course the whole charm behind them.  There isn’t a lot of detail to the game, and most of the animation is actually in the background, which can get a bit overwhelming at later stages.  The sound effects and music also reflect the retro nature of the game, the difference being that some of the sound effects can get a bit annoying and have to be taken as a package, whereas some of the musical tracks are pretty cool and you can pick the one you want to listen to.

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In the end this is basically Air Supply – 1 Bit Run with your character going around in circles instead of following a linear path, but that’s okay.  The biggest down side to the original was running out of things to unlock, so now I get to experience it all over again.  And you know what?  It’s just as entertaining this time around.

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App Summary
Title: Air Supply – Infinite Developer: Quantum Sheep
Reviewed Ver: 1.2 Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: $0.99 App Size: 19.2 MB
  • Same Air Supply addiction
  • Lot of items to unlock
  • Plenty of achievements to earn
  • Cool retro video and audio
  • Can get repetitive
  • There’s little draw once everything is unlocked

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Santa Rama: Christmas Mania in Review – Monetize The Children? http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/25/santa-rama-christmas-mania-in-review-monetize-the-children/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/25/santa-rama-christmas-mania-in-review-monetize-the-children/#comments Wed, 25 Dec 2013 21:05:07 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73491 Honey Tribe Studios has an interesting way of making social commentary, first on the plight of bees and then on the state of humanity as it revolves around money.  Their latest effort focuses specifically on the Christmas season, and while it may not be a message you want to hear it’s sadly true.  It’s also … Read more]]>

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Honey Tribe Studios has an interesting way of making social commentary, first on the plight of bees and then on the state of humanity as it revolves around money.  Their latest effort focuses specifically on the Christmas season, and while it may not be a message you want to hear it’s sadly true.  It’s also an entertaining game, at least in small bursts.  Can you help turn the tide of commercialism this holiday season?

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The crux of this game is that kids have become so caught up in advertising and the “gotta have” mentality that permeates the last couple of months of the year that they don’t get what Christmas is really about.  Just like moths to the flame they are attracted to the glow at the bottom of the screen, which I assume is meant to be the radiant energy of a TV screen.  It’s your job to snap them out of it by tapping on them before they reach the point of no return (aka the bottom of the screen).  You do have a couple of power ups including a clock that temporarily slows the children’s movements, a book you can use to block individual children and turn them to reading, and an activity bar that stretches from one side of the screen to the other and turns the kids towards more profitable activities for a short period of time.

A single tap converts most kids, while the bigger one takes two taps to persuade.  Holding down on the screen will activate the reading power up if you have it, while swiping across the screen from left to right will fire up the activity bar.  The clock is simply activated as soon as you tap on it when it goes floating by.  You’ll also see interlocked hands floating by from time to time that can be collected and used to bolster the duration of a power up and the frequency with which power up refills show up.  There are 2 leaderboards, one for high score and the other for overall score, and a “whopping” 5 achievements to earn.  There are also plenty of ads to help support the game (after all, the game IS about advertising).

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The graphics have a decent stylized look to them.  Much like in McBank the characters start out grey until you “rescue” them from their entrapment.  The sound effects are cool because each character plays a different tone when you free them.  There’s only one song that plays in the background, but I really enjoy it despite hearing it over and over again.

For the majority of you this will not be the type of game you’ll play for hours on end, but I don’t really think it was meant to be.  Play it when you’re next in line at a slow checkout lane or just want to do some mindless tapping for a few minutes.  It may get repetitive after a while, but the quirky theme, cool music and funny cartoons will keep you sufficiently entertained.

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App Summary
Title: Santa Rama: Christmas Mania Developer: shazad yousaf
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: Free App Size: 31.1 MB
  • Interesting Christmas message
  • Cool visuals and fun music
  • Funny cartoons when you lose
  • Gets repetitive quickly
  • Tapping fast kids isn’t always responsive
  • Lots of ads (yeah, I get the irony)

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Vampire Ventures in Review – No Blood, But It Doesn’t Suck http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/12/vampire-ventures-in-review-no-blood-but-it-doesnt-suck/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/12/vampire-ventures-in-review-no-blood-but-it-doesnt-suck/#comments Thu, 12 Dec 2013 16:14:10 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73462 When I first saw this game I liked the screen shots but I thought it was basically going to be a “been there, done that” sort of match 3 game.  In some ways it really is, but it packs in so many cool features from other games in the genre that it doesn’t really matter.  … Read more]]>

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When I first saw this game I liked the screen shots but I thought it was basically going to be a “been there, done that” sort of match 3 game.  In some ways it really is, but it packs in so many cool features from other games in the genre that it doesn’t really matter.  Throw in great music and a story that ties everything together and you end up with one of the best match 3 games to hit the virtual iOS shelves in quite some time, if not ever.

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You play Val, a vampire on a quest to rescue her father from the clutches of some evil fiend that seems to desire your destruction.  As a progressive vampire family that drinks strawberry juice instead of blood you can’t imagine who’d want to hurt you, but you’re sure to find out as you travel through 75 levels across a variety of locations.  Along the way you’ll encounter a variety of play styles including clearing away designated tiles, causing a variety of objects to fall off the bottom of the screen, and clearing a path so that you can move an object from one location to another.  The last mode is cool because there are buttons that let you rotate the board 90 degrees in either direction so that you can get the tiles to fall to your advantage no matter how the path twists.

Occasionally you will have to fight some bad guys as well, which is also accomplished via a match 3 board.  The difference here is that you and the villains will be making matches on the same board at the same time, so you have to be quick and pay attention to what they are doing at the same time.  In grand super hero cartoon style, the first character to push their opponent’s ray back in their face wins the battle.  There’s a lot to tackle, but thankfully at certain milestones you’ll collect talismans that give you the ability to do things like clear all the tiles of a certain color, remove all tiles in a selected area and even make diagonal moves for a short period of time.  Some talismans require you to match tiles that are the same color as the talisman, others just require matches of four or more of a tile, and some give you one use and then you have to win them with the spin of a wheel in order to use them again.

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The game uses a simple tap or swipe mechanic to swap two tiles for a match.  Some talismans require you to drag their energy to a target location on the board, while others require basic taps to activate.  Overall the control scheme is easy to use and quite responsive.  Beyond the 75 level campaign there is no infinite level but there are both relaxed and time modes as well as the ability to add additional tiles to each level where you must clear away designated tiles.  This at least adds some replay value.  The game offers 3 profiles so multiple people can play on the same device and iCloud support so you can play across multiple devices.  There are 15 achievements to earn and one leaderboard to compete on which ranks you based on your overall score for the game.

Vampire Ventures is not the fanciest looking match 3 game around, but the visuals are still pretty nice.  The characters remind me of something out of a PBS cartoon, and there are some nice special effects when you use the various talismans.  The sound effects are okay, and I do like the voice they used for Val in the cut scenes that appear between many of the levels.  The most impressive part of the aesthetics is definitely the music.  Sometimes bouncy, sometimes series and occasionally bordering on moody, I could easily see this score being used in a Hollywood soundtrack.

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When I first played Kitten Sanctuary I felt like Clockwork Pixels knew their way around the match 3 concept pretty well, and Vampire Ventures just validates that theory.  Multiple play styles, useful power ups and a story to tie everything together all help this game stand out from the crowd.  Now if they’d just throw in an infinite play mode the replay value would be incredible.

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App Summary
Title: Vampire Ventures Developer: Clockwork Pixels
Reviewed Ver: 1.02.0 Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $1.99 App Size: 89.8 MB
  • Multiple play styles fend off repetitiveness
  • Profiles and iCloud support provide flexible playing options
  • Music is incredible
  • No infinite mode
  • Achievements on first come, first serve basis

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Tilt To Live 2: Redonkulous In Review – Only The Name Is Silly http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/06/tilt-to-live-2-redonkulous-in-review-only-the-name-is-silly/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/06/tilt-to-live-2-redonkulous-in-review-only-the-name-is-silly/#comments Fri, 06 Dec 2013 21:55:53 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73430 A game has to be pretty special to make up words for its name and not have you go “now that’s silly”, and Tilt To Live 2: Redonkulous is just such a game.  It takes everything the original did and does it even better: intense action, crazy weapons and sometimes maddening achievements.  There are plenty … Read more]]>

review-ttl2-1 A game has to be pretty special to make up words for its name and not have you go “now that’s silly”, and Tilt To Live 2: Redonkulous is just such a game.  It takes everything the original did and does it even better: intense action, crazy weapons and sometimes maddening achievements.  There are plenty of “dodge the enemy” style games on the App Store, but the Tilt To Live series are among the only ones that handle the genre nearly flawlessly. review-ttl2-2 The goal of Tilt To Live 2 is simple – destroy as many dots as possible without coming into direct contact with them.  To do this you just tilt the device to move your little ship around the screen.  You can use a couple of pre-defined orientations or configure your own, and just like with the original the control works perfectly.  As for the dots, they will do everything in their power to run into you, thereby ending the game.  Joining the dots are skewers that you basically have to dodge but at least give you warning that they are coming and bosses that require you to strike targets floating around them instead of assaulting them directly. Thankfully you don’t have to rely completely on twitch based reactions as you’ll have a nice variety of weapons at your disposal.  Some are pretty basic like the ability to launch spikes in several directions or set of minor nukes to clean up a localized area.  Some are cute like the blob disguise that doesn’t actually hurt any dots but lets you pass through without being noticed.  Some are just plain cool like the “laser sword” (read: light saber) that temporarily lets you slice and dice the enemy. review-ttl2-3 There are currently two game play modes: Classic and Code Red.  Each has their own set of awards to earn, and for each three awards you move up a level in the given mode.  Not only is it a nice self esteem boost, but it also unlocks new weapons for you.  In addition to the achievements there are also 7 leaderboards to feed your competitive nature.  The random nature of the game along with 48 achievements to earn provide incredible replay value, and the simple yet addictive action will slyly coax you into continually coming back. The visuals are fantastic, combining basic designs for the dots and ship with cool special effects involving all the different weaponry.  The sound effects really make the world of Tilt To Live pop, and the music is wonderfully upbeat.  The tunes really get your adrenaline pumping, and I love how the music changes over to a mellow, elevator style music when you are wearing the disguise. review-ttl2-4 As I re-read my review of the original Tilt To Live way back from 2010 I see that I was quite enamored with it.  After spending some time with the sequel I absolutely remember why.  Back then this series really made me appreciate the “dodge ‘em all” style of game play, and now it’s still the leader of the pack.  My recommendation for the sequel is the same as for the first one: if you don’t already own it, go buy it.  You won’t regret it. kiss-icon

App Summary
Title: Tilt to Live 2: Redonkulous Developer: One Man Left
Reviewed Ver: 1.1 Min OS Req: 6.0
Price: $2.99 App Size: 91.1 MB
  • Awesome, intense action
  • Really cool weapons
  • Lots of challenging achievements
  • Slick visuals
  • Cool sound and music
  • Some achievements aren’t completely intuitive

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Geometry Dash in Review – Jump To The Rhythm http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/11/09/geometry-dash-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/11/09/geometry-dash-in-review/#comments Sat, 09 Nov 2013 16:29:34 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73375 For some reason there’s always a bit of apprehension that simple graphics and simple game play might make for a boring game.  You’d think I would know better by now.  Geometry Dash has pretty much no fluff, yet I can hardly tear myself away from it each time I start it up.  Even the game’s … Read more]]>

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For some reason there’s always a bit of apprehension that simple graphics and simple game play might make for a boring game.  You’d think I would know better by now.  Geometry Dash has pretty much no fluff, yet I can hardly tear myself away from it each time I start it up.  Even the game’s one stand out feature isn’t implemented particularly well, but I’ve just learned to enjoy what does work right.  I haven’t regretted playing Geometry Dash for a single moment, and I just hope that one day I get good enough to beat a couple more of the levels!

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Geometry Dash rests on a simple concept – tap to jump.  Now in all fairness there is a section in several – or possibly all – of the levels where you are flying a plane so you tap to go up and release to go down.  Whatever the case it’s always a one finger mechanic, yet it more often than not proves to be rather challenging.  There are a total of 9 songs, each of which has one level that come stock with the game and one more levels online that have been created by various users.  According to the statistics screen I have made 633 attempts and racked up nearly 9000 jumps between all the levels I’ve tried, yet I’ve only completed one.

This game certainly doesn’t just hand over a victory, so at least you never have to worry about getting your money’s worth from it. Jumps flow with the rhythm of the music, at least on the developer generated levels… you just have to figure out which beats to jump on.  What’s more difficult to master is the art of allowing yourself to fall because sometimes it will be more detrimental for you to take one more jump than not.  Of course it doesn’t hurt if you can memorize the tough parts of the level so you can do it from habit rather than knee jerk reaction.  You can probably surmise from my statistics where I’m at in that process.  It seems that each level introduces a new mechanic like glowing orbs that give you some extra height or circles that reverse the flow of gravity.  Just because a new gizmo shows up in a level doesn’t mean you always need to use it, though.

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For the most part tapping the screen seems responsive, and I’m sure most of the time when it’s not the problem is really that I made a mistake, but it does seem like on some occasions when I tap there is no response from my avatar.  In addition to simply beating each level there are 30 achievements to earn, but the game has no leaderboards, even for the built in levels.  As you complete various tasks you’ll unlock different designs for your avatar as well as a few color schemes.  In this game the main thrill simply comes from completing a level, much like it was in the old days. One feature this game has that could be really slick is a level editor.  Of course due to copyright issues you can only use the songs that are in the game, but it still provides the opportunity for a ton of additional replay value for Geometry Dash.  I give a lot of props to those that have submitted custom levels, however, because while it’s clear that the editor offers a lot of options it doesn’t seem very user friendly to me, and as of me writing this article the web page that’s supposed to offer help is still “under construction”.  If I ever get ambitious enough to dabble and create a level I’ll be sure to update this post with the level name.

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The visuals are a bit more simplistic than your average runner / platformer but they serve the game well.  Lines and grids are accentuated with neon background objects and pulsing foreground objects that really help everything contrast from each other and stand out.  The avatar designs kind of remind me of pumpkin carvings and help give your play time a bit of additional flair.  There really aren’t any sound effects except for when you die, but the music is great.  This is one of those rare instances where not being familiar with the music in a music based game doesn’t really make a difference.  The soundtracks have been well orchestrated to flow nicely with the mechanics of the game, and it’s an all around pleasing experience from an audio perspective.

Geometry Dash is a winner in almost every way.  Simple neon visuals and a thumping soundtrack are contradictory yet complimentary aesthetic experiences that make the game come to life.  Controlling your avatar is easy and nearly always spot on, and the developer levels are well thought out.  Even when you die it’s nearly impossible to resist hitting the retry button for one more go.  My main issue personally with the game was the level editor, but apparently some folks have mastered it because there are user generated levels available.  Even if you stick to the handful of levels that come native with the game you’ll have plenty to do and a good time doing it. Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Geometry Dash Developer: Robert Topala
Reviewed Ver: 1.20 Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $1.99 App Size: 24.9 MB
  • Easy to play, difficult to master
  • Well designed levels
  • Slick visuals
  • Great music
  • Level editor is awkward
  • Occasionally tapping produces no response

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NinJump Rooftops in Review – This Time It’s Horizontal http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/10/31/ninjump-rooftops-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/10/31/ninjump-rooftops-in-review/#comments Thu, 31 Oct 2013 20:56:50 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73317 Backflip Studios has had a number of interesting properties over the years, but for me the most endearing title in their collection has to be NinJump.  The game took the infinite runner and turned it on its side as well as introducing the concept of defeating 3 similar enemies in order to temporarily gain a … Read more]]>

Backflip Studios has had a number of interesting properties over the years, but for me the most endearing title in their collection has to be NinJump.  The game took the infinite runner and turned it on its side as well as introducing the concept of defeating 3 similar enemies in order to temporarily gain a power related to that enemy.  The ninja’s back, though this time he’s headed to the rooftops in what feels just slightly like a more traditional infinite runner.  That doesn’t make it any less addictive, though, and I fear it might suffer the same fate as the original: removal from my device so I can actually find the time for something else.

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If by some chance you’re not familiar with the infinite runner concept, the basic premise is that your character is always running and you have to perform one or more actions to help keep him safe from all the pitfalls in his way.  In the case of NinJump Rooftops all you can do is tap to jump.  If you tap longer you’ll jump higher, and when you have the right power up you’ll get three jumps instead of two.  There are other power ups as well, like a magnet to attract coins to you and sushi that temporarily turns you into Super Ninja who is much bigger and invincible.  Power ups take effect immediately, and you can have one of each if you can grab them all while the others are still active.

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You always have three different missions to work on and each mission will earn you some coins when completed.  Coins are also littered throughout the level for you to pick up at your whim.  In addition to coins you can collect jades and nindrops, though those items show up much less frequently.  Coins can be used to upgrade power ups and buy boosts at the beginning of each run, while jades will get you a couple of different costumes and allow you to continue where you left off when you die.  Nindrops give you the chance to play the NinJump version of pachinko after your run where you can win bonus prizes like coins, boosts and jades.  At this point there are is no social integration for achievements or leaderboards.

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The best part of the game is the bonus dash.  If you strike down three of a particular opponent in a row you’ll become temporarily invincible and get carted off by a large version of whatever it is that you attacked.  Unfortunately some villains are much rarer than others, so I’ve only seen three of the dashes so far.  The challenging part is getting more than one dash in the same run because it’s real easy to accidentally strike an opponent that you didn’t mean to simply because you’re in the middle of a jump.  This also makes it quite a trick to hang on to two of a particular type of opponent until you can find the third to make a bonus dash.  I think there should be some sort of prize for the player that manages to see every single dash available.

The visuals are similar to the original which means the game looks really sweet.  The background is multilayered with plenty of details throughout each level.  The characters are well designed and smoothly animated.  The sound effects do a good job of bringing the action to life and I particularly like the different noises that the ninja makes.  The music has a nice oriental ring to it, at least matching our Hollywood perception of what such music should sound like.

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I’ll be the first to admit that I have a certain predisposition towards infinite runners as it is.  However, I still get different levels of enjoyment from the genre depending on the quality, and this is one of the most entertaining ones I’ve played in quite some time.  I love what Temple Run did by providing a different viewpoint for such games, but there’s still something to be said for the side scrolling 2D perspective, and NinJump Rooftops captures that essence perfectly.  The control is super responsive, even without achievements there is plenty to work towards, and trying to get each of the bonus dashes is a particularly intriguing challenge.  Even though the switch from vertical to horizontal sort of took away what made NinJump stand out from the crowd, Rooftops proves that orientation alone does not make the game.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: NinJump Rooftops Developer: Backflip Studios
Reviewed Ver: 1.1.0 Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: Free App Size: 48.5 MB
  • Same addictive qualities as original
  • Ultra responsive control
  • Super dashes are awesome
  • Great visuals
  • Good music
  • Sucks up lots of time

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Cavemania in Review: Stone Age Match 3 Mayhem http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/10/11/cavemania-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/10/11/cavemania-in-review/#comments Sat, 12 Oct 2013 01:21:19 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73257 Not too long ago a game called Scurvy Scallywags came out that created a new breed of match 3 hybrids.  It was a welcome evolution from everything we’d seen so far, and I was hoping that more games would take the concept and run.  Well, not only did Cavemania run with it, the game created its … Read more]]>

Not too long ago a game called Scurvy Scallywags came out that created a new breed of match 3 hybrids.  It was a welcome evolution from everything we’d seen so far, and I was hoping that more games would take the concept and run.  Well, not only did Cavemania run with it, the game created its own finish line.  Now I’m not trying to say I love Scurvy Scallywags any less, and there are actually a couple of features in that game I like better, but Cavemania has me hooked.  I’m really not quite sure what to classify this as yet, but if you had to give it a label I suppose “strategy / RPG / match 3” hybrid would work as well as anything.

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So your job is to help a poor chieftain reunite his tribe that has been mercilessly scattered asunder.  Of course one would suppose that had the chieftain been doing his job in the first place this wouldn’t have happened, but I digress.  You’ll travel the land locating comrades, building structures and fending off predators.  Along the way you’ll have to gather resources, which is where the match 3 part of the game comes in.  The more items you match in one go the more resources you get (for example if you match 4 items you get 8 of that resource instead of just three).  You can also earn up to three power crystals by making matches of 4 or more, and you earn a prize box for every match of 5 or more that you make.  When you’re not busy making matches you’ll want to be sure that characters are next to any bad guys that are on the field, as they will automatically attack after every round.  Characters can only move one tile a turn but at least they can move independently of making a match.

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Each level has a set of tasks to accomplish in order for you to be successful, and those goals are displayed on the right side of the screen.  You only have so many slots to fill with character types that you can use, so you’ll want to pick the best ones for the tasks that you need to get done.  You also have a limited number of moves to work with, so make sure you keep an eye on the counter in the upper left corner.  You can play as many levels as you want as long as you beat them, but every time you lose a level you lose a heart, and when all the hearts are gone you either have to buy more via IAP or wait for them to regenerate.  Upon successful completion of a level you earn between 1 and 3 stars as well as coins for those stars.  If you go back and try to do better on a level you previously completed you will only get coins for extra stars you earn.  You can also collect money by matching certain items on the board.

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The money can be used to upgrade your characters’ offensive and defensive skills, as well as reduce the cost of building structures.  You can even buy boosts that will give you extra resources when you make matches.  Don’t expect the cash to be too easy to come by, however.  The three star ranking for each level also provides your “score” to place you on the Game Center leaderboards, and there are 27 different achievements to earn.  You can also connect with Facebook, though I’m not sure how that plays in other than giving them cause to display the message “beat this level before your friends do”.  Of course you can post your victories to Twitter and Facebook if you want.

The game looks great, with colorful characters and cute critters.  Everything is nicely detailed and your troops’ victory dances can be quite amusing.  The sound effects have somewhat of a Flintstones vibe to them, which I suppose is fitting giving the Stone Age nature of the setting.  The music is decent as well, with at least two or three different tracks playing throughout the various levels.

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When it comes to match 3 mash-ups, it doesn’t get much better than Cavemania.  A fun atmosphere, challenging levels and mechanics that go beyond other games of this sort make playing quite a treat.  As you get deeper into the game the levels do get rather challenging, but patience and often taking several tries usually pays off in the end.  And of course nothing says “quick boost” like IAP if you’re so inclined.  Despite the deluge of match 3 games that arrive on a weekly basis, this is one I can definitely recommend.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: Cavemania Developer: Yodo1 Games
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.9 Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: Free App Size: 79.4 MB
  • Great mash-up of genres
  • Ability to upgrade characters and structures
  • Fun, kooky characters
  • Atmospheric sound and music
  • Great victory dances
  • Have to wait for lives to regenerate if you lose too often
  • Earning coins for decent upgrades is a slow process
  • Might be tempted to pull hair out on some levels

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Giant Boulder of Death in Review: It’s Giant… And Deadly! http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/10/04/giant-boulder-of-death-in-review-its-giant-and-deadly/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/10/04/giant-boulder-of-death-in-review-its-giant-and-deadly/#comments Fri, 04 Oct 2013 17:09:26 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73228 Pik Pok already had one incredible infinite runner on their hands with Into The Dead, so when I saw that they were the creative force behind [adult swim]’s latest release Giant Boulder of Death I just had to check it out.  That was a big mistake on my part.  Not because the game is bad … Read more]]>

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Pik Pok already had one incredible infinite runner on their hands with Into The Dead, so when I saw that they were the creative force behind [adult swim]’s latest release Giant Boulder of Death I just had to check it out.  That was a big mistake on my part.  Not because the game is bad by any means, but because now I’m addicted to the idea of crushing everything in my path with a large rocky object.  Even though you might think you’re sick of “infinite whatever” style games, if you have the slightest depraved sense of humor you owe it to yourself to check out this title.  The rest of you just go back to your humdrum lives.

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You control the titular Giant Boulder of Death, and you must seek revenge for the heinous chiseling of your beloved boulder-ette into a hideous statue.  Pretty much all you have to do is guide the boulder over anything that looks like it might easily crush under your spiteful weight, and avoid all the bad things with spikes that seek to stop you from your quest.  The longer you travel in a single game the crazier the terrain gets, so be sure to avoid the sudden cliffs that appear which will inevitably be detrimental to your health.  If you do happen to die you can revive yourself with one and then two gems, but the third time’s not such a charm with a resounding game over.  As you clean up the landscape and rack up points you’ll build up your destructo-meter, and when that gets full you temporarily become invinciboulder and can decimate all those things you’ve only dreamed about destroying before.  Make sure you take advantage of that.

To control the game you simply tilt to steer and tap to jump.  Normally I prefer the option of some sort of screen alternative to tilting, but I haven’t had any issues with the controls so far.  The game has two forms of currency: gems and coins.  Gems are used for reviving the boulder when you die, spinning for boosts at the beginning of a game and enhancing individual boosts once you’ve spun.  They’re not bountiful but if you should be able to collect one each round as long as you play long enough.  Coins are a lot more prevalent and help you buy power ups to make your boulder better as well as permanently increase the effectiveness of your boosts.  The game does have leaderboards, which I believe flow through Facebook.  More importantly, however, is the “gallery o’ victims”, which is six pages of enemies and things to run over, most of which must be unlocked by completing tasks in the game.  This is what will keep you coming back again and again to play.

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I’m not real keen on what has been dubbed “Minecraft” style graphics, but in this case the blocky artwork actually works quite nicely.  The different characters are well designed and some of the animation can actually bit a bit humorous.  It’s also fun to watch your boulder fragments reign down on fleeing bystanders when you explode after you die.  Don’t worry, though, because the visuals are G rated even in death.  The sound effects are nice and varied and provide a decent chuckle between the mumblings of the soldiers when a new weapon is unleashed and the cries of the bystanders before they get plowed down.  The music is decent, though the best part of the score is when the lady yodels “game over” at the end of a run.

I’ve never been a fan of the [adult swim] programming block on Cartoon Network, but the games can actually be rather amusing.  I would say this is probably the best of the lot to date.  It’s simple to play, fun to look at and listen to, and keeps drawing you back with all the different bystanders to unlock.  Of course I’m not sure how enticing the game will be once all the victims have been revealed, but thankfully I don’t see that problem arising any time soon.

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App Summary
Title: Giant Boulder of Death Developer: [adult swim]
Reviewed Ver: 1.02 Min OS Req: 6.0
Price: Free App Size: 35.3 MB
  • You get to roll over stuff
  • Plenty of things to unlock and level up
  • Nice visuals
  • Fun yodeling soundtrack
  • Not much depth to the game
  • Questionable shelf life beyond unlocking all victims

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