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 Tue, 28 Jul 2015 01:00:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.9 Stupid Zombies 3 in Review – Still Just Standing Around To Get Shot http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/07/26/stupid-zombies-3-in-review-still-just-standing-around-to-get-shot/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/07/26/stupid-zombies-3-in-review-still-just-standing-around-to-get-shot/#comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 16:55:19 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74608 I’m still one of those people that believe there’s almost nothing better than a good zombie game, and from what I’ve seen so far Stupid Zombies 3 certainly qualifies.  It’s been a while since I played the first one, and I’m not even sure if I played part 2 or not, but based on my … Read more]]>

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I’m still one of those people that believe there’s almost nothing better than a good zombie game, and from what I’ve seen so far Stupid Zombies 3 certainly qualifies.  It’s been a while since I played the first one, and I’m not even sure if I played part 2 or not, but based on my time with the third chapter I think it’s fair to say that the series gets better with every iteration.  Zombie slaying, bouncy physics and an RPG toting granny really work well together.

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If you’ve ever played a zombie game, you know what the basic premise of Stupid Zombies is.  Your territory has been overrun with the undead, and it’s up to you to clean it up.  Thankfully you have weapons to help you do just that.  Better yet, your ammunition has this uncanny ability to ricochet off of things, making the kills much more stylish and entertaining.  You even get a nice line of sight guide to help you make the tough shots, or at least get them started correctly.  Aiming is a simple matter of dragging your finger roughly to where you want to make your shot and then letting go of the screen to fire.  If you decide you want to “recalibrate” then just drag your finger back to your active character to cancel the in progress shot.  The controls are intuitive and work quite well.

The game is divided into 100 levels that span the breadth of your zombie riddled city.  Each level has several body count requirements to meet, is comprised of multiple screens worth of area, and gives you a limited amount of ammo to work with.  Besides the natural barriers provided by the various ruined walls that litter the landscape there are other obstacles like panels that move up and down and construction zombies which tote around signs that block a single shot.  Thankfully you can use some of the junk that’s lying around to your advantage: tires and crates make good zombie killers.  You’ll also run across some barrels that are quite explosive.  There are three characters to control throughout the course of the game, but you don’t get to choose who goes when.  That’s determined by the level that you’re on.  Each character has a unique weapon, and mastering these different tools will be the difference between success and failure.  I hope that the distribution of these characters shifts as the game progresses, because so far it seems to mainly focus on the guy, which doesn’t give you much of a chance to familiarize yourself with the other weapons.

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If you meet your goals before you run out of ammunition you’ll earn somewhere between 1 to 3 stars based on your score.  Each level has its own leaderboard via Facebook, and there are 6 achievements to earn through Game Center.  If you do fail your mission you can gain an additional 2 shots by spending some gold, but gold is a rare commodity that is given only one at a time as a daily reward.  That doesn’t seem so bad except that it cost 9 gold bars for two extra shots.  Of course you can spend some IAP to get more gold, but based on my performance on level 20 so far I’d probably waste all my excess on that level and be stuck again a few levels down the road.  This is my main complaint with Stupid Zombies 3 – it feels like I’m going to be punished for not being particularly skilled at this style of game play by either playing certain levels ad museum or by eventually being forced to spend more IAP than I want to in order to move forward.

The visuals are rather nice.  Backgrounds have nice details and change as you crawl through the city, while the different occupants – both the undead and your “crew” – are well designed.  I do wish there were a bit more animation, as the zombies feel a bit lethargic, but then I suppose they are zombies.  The sound effects are decent, but the zombies themselves don’t really make a whole lot of noise.  Additionally, the music only plays during the map and menu sequences, which is a shame since it’s actually pretty good.  Overall the aesthetics were fairly underplayed in this game.

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Whether or not the physics in this game are anywhere near accurate, if you’re a fan of physics based games you should enjoy Stupid Zombies 3.  Even if you’re sick of the deluge of zombie based games this one is free, so you should give it a try.  Just pretend the zombies are politicians or something.  There are plenty of interestingly designed levels, and while not overly animated the world looks good.  The sound effects and music could use some bolstering, however, and you need to keep in mind that eventually you’ll start to feel the pains of this being a F2P game where their income is derived from you buying IAP.  If you can live with that you’ll get plenty of enjoyment from this title.

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App Summary
Title: Stupid Zombies 3 Developer: GameResort LLC
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req:  iOS 7.0
Price: Free App Size: 84.24MB
  • I love shooting zombies
  • Challenging level designs
  • Solid artwork
  • Free… mostly
  • They don’t switch up the main characters enough
  • The sound is mediocre
  • No music during game play
  • Some levels are nearly impossible to beat without buying extra shots

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Guardian Sword in Review – Match 3 / RPG And So Much More http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/07/19/guardian-sword-in-review-match-3-rpg-and-so-much-more/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/07/19/guardian-sword-in-review-match-3-rpg-and-so-much-more/#comments Sun, 19 Jul 2015 17:34:21 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74595 I’ve always made the assertion that there’s room for one more match 3 hybrid on my device as long as the game keeps me entertained.  Guardian Sword has done so much more than that so far – it has become an addiction.  Rather than just mindlessly slogging through battle after battle this game actually has … Read more]]>

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I’ve always made the assertion that there’s room for one more match 3 hybrid on my device as long as the game keeps me entertained.  Guardian Sword has done so much more than that so far – it has become an addiction.  Rather than just mindlessly slogging through battle after battle this game actually has a story, items for you to collect and use, and multiple paths to pursue.  The characters and bosses are cool, and even the combat is handled differently than most games of this style that I’ve played.  I wasn’t at the point of being burned out on the match 3 / RPG mash-up yet, but even if I had this game would have sucked me right back into it.

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You play an adventurer named Guts that is on a quest for a weapon known as the Guardian Sword.  Of course whether or not he plans on using it for good is the question this story is hopefully going to tell.  Along the way you’ll meet some interesting characters, tangle with diverse minions and take on some powerful bosses.  You’ll also have to explore tunnels, unlock gates and flip switches almost like you were playing a Zelda game.  Then there are skills you can acquire, special tiles you can collect to aid you in your match 3 battles, and ancient relics that have awesome abilities like turning you into an owl to get over uncrossable gaps.  This game has almost as much to do on the map screen as it does in combat, which makes it more in depth than most of its peers.

Each minion battle sees you taking on 3 bad guys, while the boss battles are one on one against some of the toughest hombres in the land.  The match 3 mechanic has you dragging your finger across as many of the same tiles in a row as you can.  Your main weapons are a sword for melee damage and a crossbow for long range torture, and once you finally get magic you’ll trigger that by making matches with the mana tiles.  Any special tiles you’ve discovered will be used when you match them with their corresponding color tiles on the board, though you can only take four of them into battle at any given time.  The same applies to skills, though those are triggered by hand simply by tapping on the icon for the skill.  Each skill requires a certain amount of mana and has a cooling down period before it can be used again, and for the most part they take the place of making a match.

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Battles earn you experience, coins and sometimes an item as well.  Items will be things like healing potions or anti-stun herbs that can be used during battle.  Coins are used to buy additional items or upgrade your weapons and armor.  You’ll also collect gems which can be used to forge your equipment into even stronger equipment or to continue if you’ve been defeated in battle.  Finally you have skill points which can be used to build up certain aspects of your character.  There’s a lot to collect and customize which gives you the opportunity to experiment in how you’ll play the game.  One other great feature is the ability to have a teammate.  Teammates will join you at various points in the story and will level up as you use them.  On the plus side they do their thing automatically, but you can only have one “equipped” at a time.

The visuals in Guardian Sword are really cool.  The maps look good, the characters are well drawn and the animation is pretty slick.  The sound effects are decent for the most part.  It would be nice if the different creatures actually made unique noises to compliment their differing designs.  The music is nice enough to listen to, and each area has its own track to listen to.

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There are plenty of match 3 / RPG hybrids out there, with one or two popping up seemingly every day.  Because of that, it takes something special in the genre to get noticed any more, and Guardian Sword is just such a game.  The combination of skills, special tiles and teammates that you can have is enormous, and when you through in several different stats you can update the depth for this type of game is incredible.  The graphics are great, and story is actually humorous at times.  As a whole this is certainly one of the best recent releases in the mash up genre, if not one of the top released so far.

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App Summary
Title: Guardian Sword Developer: Picsoft Studio
Reviewed Ver: 1.1 Min OS Req:  iOS 5.1.1
Price: Free App Size: 119.10MB
  • In depth skill / special tile / teammate system
  • Lots to do on the map besides match 3 combat
  • Actually has a story
  • Great graphics
  • Nothing significant

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Air Race Speed in Review – No Opponents But Still A Blast http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/07/08/air-race-speed-in-review-no-opponents-but-still-a-blast/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/07/08/air-race-speed-in-review-no-opponents-but-still-a-blast/#comments Wed, 08 Jul 2015 17:16:08 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74568 Typically I’m not a big fan of racing games that don’t have bullets flying and power ups galore, and it’s even less likely that I’ll play such a game when there are no opponents to be found.  There are certainly exceptions to the rule, however, and Air Race Speed has become one of them.  Despite … Read more]]>

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Typically I’m not a big fan of racing games that don’t have bullets flying and power ups galore, and it’s even less likely that I’ll play such a game when there are no opponents to be found.  There are certainly exceptions to the rule, however, and Air Race Speed has become one of them.  Despite often being frustrating, what makes this shine are the tracks, and with 36 of them it should take you a while before you’ve either mastered them or gotten bored.  It might not have all the bells and whistles like ammunition or car upgrades, but it manages to get the adrenaline pumping, and that’s the best thing that can be said for a racing game in my opinion.

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The goal of Air Race Speed is simple: get the best time you can in each of the 36 different tracks the game provides.  Sounds easy enough, but I guarantee the tracks will do everything in their power to make sure you don’t complete your mission.  Every track is full of twists and turns, and many of them have mini-mazes, which I personally despise mainly because I can’t navigate them quickly and I can never remember the short path to take through them.  Thankfully no matter how often you crash you can simply continue to try and beat the track.  The problem is that every time you crash you’ll be taken back to the last checkpoint you cleared, AND 3 seconds will be added to the clock in addition to the time you’ll have to make up flying part of the course over again.  3 seconds doesn’t sound like a lot, but when your ranking is based solely on time every second matters.

To control your craft you just tilt the device, and if you want to go faster you can hit the boost button.  Boost is unlimited, but sometimes you might find it too difficult to navigate a particular area if you continually depress the boost button.  On the other hand, if you avoid it in hopes of having much better control of your device, you could have issues making the times necessary to earn more stars.  There is a calibrate option though it doesn’t really seem to do much, and other than deciding to use the boost or not there are no sensitivity options that I’m aware of.

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There are currently 3 tiers of tracks as well as several bonus levels.  Each track carries a 3 star ranking based on time, and unlike many similar games you can definitely complete a course without earning any stars.  This is okay to unlock additional tracks, but if you want to earn better ships you need to get as many stars as you can.  The last level of each tier is endless, and instead of ranking based on time you rank based on total distance travelled in one run.  You get three lives on these levels, but it appears that only your highest distance of the three is used instead of a sum of the runs.  On the bonus levels, not only are you ranked on time, but in order to successfully complete each level you must fly through all the rings on that level.  There are 40 achievements to earn, and there is actually an individual leaderboard for every single course in the game.

The visuals are just as amazing as the track designs themselves.  I was flying through one of the most recent ones I unlocked and there were scorpions floating in some of the tubes!  Of course you have to be careful because if you spend too much time admiring the scenery you’re bound to crash.  Even the ships look really good, though I wouldn’t say there is anything overly exciting about their designs.  The sound effects are pretty much limited to crashing and the sound of pillars smashing together every once in a while.  A little more ambient noise might have been nice.  The music is decent for what it is, but however you’d describe the style doesn’t really suit me, so I keep it on more so that I can have noise than anything else.

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I like racing games, but typically the ones that attract my attention let me blow things up or lay down some cool power ups.  Air Race Speed is definitely an exception to that rule, and despite having no one to race against in the game I find myself easily hooked every time I launch it.  The visuals are top notch, the tracks are varied and sport some excellent design, and the three star ranking system gives you reason to keep coming back for more.  If I can’t destroy stuff while I’m zipping along the track, this is the next best thing.

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App Summary
Title: Air Race Speed Developer: QubicGames
Reviewed Ver: 1.1 Min OS Req:  iOS 6.0
Price: $2.99 App Size: 245.03MB
  • Lots of well designed tracks
  • Plenty of achievements and leaderboards
  • Excellent visuals
  • Good music if you like the style
  • No way to really tweak the controls
  • Nothing to race against or blow up
  • Lackluster sound effects

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Armadillo Gold Rush in Review – Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’… http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/15/armadillo-gold-rush-in-review-rollin-rollin-rollin/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/15/armadillo-gold-rush-in-review-rollin-rollin-rollin/#comments Sat, 16 May 2015 01:53:55 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74421 When I first saw the press release for Armadillo Gold Rush I thought maybe I had missed something, because I was sure I had already played this game.  Well, it turns out I had – 7 years ago when I reviewed it for the PocketPC!  Back then I gave the game a 9 out of … Read more]]>

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When I first saw the press release for Armadillo Gold Rush I thought maybe I had missed something, because I was sure I had already played this game.  Well, it turns out I had – 7 years ago when I reviewed it for the PocketPC!  Back then I gave the game a 9 out of 10, and I have to say my feelings towards it haven’t changed much.  Things certainly don’t always age well, but this little armadillo is definitely no worse for the wear.

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Why he needs it I don’t know, but your goal is to help the armadillo gather all the gold coins that are scattered around the 75+ levels the game contains.  The problem is that this little guy likes to roll, and once he gets started there’s no stopping him unless something gets in the way.  If it’s a rock or hedge it’s no big deal, but things like spiked balls, water and lava are certainly not his friends.  Thankfully you can find plenty of miscellaneous objects like crates, non-spiked balls and more to both protect you from aggressive obstacles and help you cross over the more passive ones.  There are also things like sticky pads to stop your roll when there’s not a solid surface in sight.

With this many levels you’re bound to run across some that you don’t like, and others can be just plain evil because you keep dying or getting stuck.  For the most part, however, the level designs are extremely well done.  It’s very rarely a straight zip through the park, either.  You might have to go around a level several times to get everything you need, or criss-cross back and forth to flip levers so you can open gates or turn off bothersome devices.  Some levels even require you to perform mini-games like “playing golf” or pushing a ball across the entire level.  You can tell that a lot of thought went into the level design, and that’s a big part of what makes the game so enjoyable.

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Upon level completion you’ll be awarded with up to three stars in three different categories: time, number of moves and overall score.  The funny thing is that you can do really poorly on the first two and still earn three stars on the score, but thankfully you can revisit a level at any time to recover any stars you missed the first time around.  You also don’t have to finish an entire level set to unlock the next one, and once a level set is unlocked you can play any level in that set.  The game offers five leaderboards ranging from total overall score to the sum of the least moves taken for each level.  There are also a whopping 42 achievements to earn.  That’s just in case getting all 9 stars in each level isn’t quite enough satisfaction for you!

I really like the visuals.  While they may not be the most advanced and they certainly aren’t 3D, there’s a nice “modern old school” charm about them.  Everything is nicely detailed and there are little bits of animation where necessarily to keep things from feeling completely static.  The sound effects aren’t that great, however, and while there’s a nifty banjo track that plays during menus and such, there’s no actual in-game music.  Ironically, it’s not just the good things about the game that haven’t changed over the last seven years!

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Armadillo Gold Rush may have it’s origins as a seven+ year old PocketPC game, but it certainly holds up well enough today.  At a time when the App Store is overrun with just about every time of action / puzzle game there is, this one still feels like a breath of fresh air.  There are plenty of levels to keep you busy, numerous achievements to earn, and multiple three star ratings per level to aspire to.  The audio department could use a bit of a lift, but otherwise this is a top notch puzzle game worthy of your time and effort.

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App Summary
Title: Armadillo Gold Rush Developer: AppAbove Games LLC
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.9 Min OS Req:  iOS 4.3
Price: $2.99 App Size: 85.09MB
  • Easy to learn
  • Plenty of well designed levels
  • Lots of achievements and 5 leaderboards
  • Great visuals
  • Lackluster sound effects
  • No music during the levels

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Orbix in Review: ‘Round and ‘Round The Core We Go… http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/12/orbix-in-review-round-and-round-the-core-we-go/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/12/orbix-in-review-round-and-round-the-core-we-go/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 20:48:33 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74401 Welcome to Orbix, the game about protecting your core from all those who would try to destroy it.  The “core” is a set of glowing circles in the center of the screen, and it’s where you derive your energy from. Lots of triangle shaped ships will try to infiltrate your defenses and take the core … Read more]]>

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Welcome to Orbix, the game about protecting your core from all those who would try to destroy it.  The “core” is a set of glowing circles in the center of the screen, and it’s where you derive your energy from. Lots of triangle shaped ships will try to infiltrate your defenses and take the core out, and if enough of them sneak through you’ll be out of power and the game will be over.  The enemies will come at the core in different movement patterns and speeds, but basically they are all the same.  It doesn’t really matter when you’re losing power, though.  You’ll simply be focusing on taking them out so you can last as long as possible.

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To protect the core you have a single ball that rotates around it.  Tap the right side of the screen to get the ball to rotate clockwise and the left side of the screen for a counterclockwise spin.  It’s all pretty intuitive unless you’re like me and accidentally reverse direction just before you collide with a bad guy.  Of course there is one rather interesting wrinkle in this whole thing: power ups must enter the core in order to be activated, and the ball you control can destroy them just as easily as it can destroy an enemy space ship.  In other words, you can be your own worst enemy in this game.

If you are lucky enough to let a power up through you’ll be treated to things like increased rotation speed, a bigger ball, and double ball action.  It does pay to remember what icons equate to which power ups, though, because there are a couple that are bad like reversing the direction of your controls or shrinking your ball.  Feel free to destroy those before they “help” you.  For those that like “last ditch efforts” you do have two one use items that you can activate at any time: a shield and a battery that completely recharges your core.  Use sparingly, but don’t be afraid to tap when you’re about to die.  The game does support Game Center for challenges and a leaderboard, but there are currently no achievements.

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The graphics are pretty simple, but they look sharp and there are enough little twinkles to keep things interesting.  The sound effects are probably the weakest part of the audio-visual presentation, but they suit the needs of the game.  There’s only one musical track, but it’s actually pretty neat and definitely maintains a high energy.

Orbix is one of those games that are perfect for when you have a few minutes to kill waiting in line or something like that.  There’s not a lot of variety to the game play, but it is fun trying to get the power ups and last just a little bit longer each time.  It would be nice to see more types of ships and a couple of different game modes, but for what it has Orbix provides a nice little diversion every now and again.

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App Summary
Title: Orbix Developer: Christian Ghelardoni
Reviewed Ver: 1.2 Min OS Req:  iOS 7.0
Price: $0.99 App Size: 18.08MB
  • Simple mechanics
  • Nice visuals
  • Cool background music
  • Lack of game play variety
  • No achievements or unlockables
  • Lackluster sound effects and only one song

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Maya The Bee: Flying Challenge in Review – Kid Friendly, Infinite Flying Fun http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/03/21/maya-the-bee-flying-challenge-in-review-kid-friendly-infinite-flying-fun/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/03/21/maya-the-bee-flying-challenge-in-review-kid-friendly-infinite-flying-fun/#comments Sat, 21 Mar 2015 20:02:32 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74328 Looking at the screen shots for Flying Challenge I had a feeling this was going to be geared towards kids.  Spending some time with the game has basically confirmed that suspicion, though that’s in no way meant to be a negative towards the game.  It certainly has all the hallmarks of your typical infinite runner … Read more]]>

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Looking at the screen shots for Flying Challenge I had a feeling this was going to be geared towards kids.  Spending some time with the game has basically confirmed that suspicion, though that’s in no way meant to be a negative towards the game.  It certainly has all the hallmarks of your typical infinite runner (or in this case flyer), but it tones things down a bit for the sake of the little ones.  None of that stopped me from wanting to keep playing the game instead of taking my son down to the bus on the morning when I was writing this review.

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You control Maya – and eventually Willy if you’re willy-ing to spend a buck via IAP to buy him – in a quest to help Mrs. Cassandra collect some flowers for a lesson she wants to teach.  There are 10 plants to collect altogether, and you shouldn’t be surprised if you go many rounds between finding each one.  Thankfully that’s not all there is to do, however.  At the beginning of each run you’ll be presented with three missions to complete, some of which are actually kind of challenging.  Maya’s even nice enough to recycle missions as you complete them, which is a good thing since there’s no way to skip a mission you deem especially difficult.  The other thing you can do is collect honeycombs which serve the dual purpose of keeping your meter full so you can continue to fly and providing you the in-game currency needed to upgrade three different skills.

To control your selected bee you can either tilt the screen or use a one finger touch control.  Now I never claim to be an expert at playing games, but the touch control seems to elude me on this one.  On the other hand, the tilt control is one of the best calibrated I’ve seen in an infinite travelling style game.  Besides the missions the game does offer a Leaderboard via Game Center, but there are no achievements either related to the missions or otherwise.  The biggest problem I have with this game is it lacks the diversity of power up and character unlocks that I’ve come to expect from this style of game play.  In fact, the only additional character you can unlock you have to pay for, and the same goes for the one “unlockable” world.  What’s worse is that besides redecorating the obstacles, introducing a new world into the mix doesn’t even add anything to the game play.  I think the standard game is decent if a bit lacking, but I’m not really seeing much point in investing in the IAP unless you have to have a second playable character.

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The graphics in Flying Challenge are very nice.  The 3D scrolling images in the foreground look decent and rarely manifest clipping issues, and the static background does a good job of providing depth while avoiding the draw-in issues that are common with engines that try and simulate a vast viewpoint.  The main character is pretty cute, too.  The sound effects are okay, and the voiceover is cute for a while but can get on your nerves quickly, which means the kids will probably love it.  The soundtrack is well written but appears to be comprised of only one or two songs (I think it’s just one fairly long one).  It would be nice if each world at least had its own theme.

Maya The Bee: Flying Challenge is what I would call an introduction to infinite games, and that it does pretty well.  The environment and the cute bee should entertain the kids, and there’s actually enough substance that parents might like to take it for a spin once in a while.  Hardcore infinite runners that thrill at the likes of Temple Run will probably be disappointed, however.  The lack in variety of obstacles to avoid, limited power ups to upgrade and no characters to unlock via in-game currency severely limit the long term replay factor.  There’s plenty of potential here, and hopefully it will get explored more fully in the future.

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App Summary
Title: Maya The Bee: Flying Challenge Developer: Bulkypix
Reviewed Ver:  1.1 Min OS Req:  5.0
Price: $0.99 App Size:  57.6 MB
  • Lots of missions to complete
  • Nice visuals
  • Good music
  • Touch control is flaky
  • Limited power ups and no character unlockables
  • Different environments don’t impact game play
  • Voiceovers get annoying

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Satellina in Review – Simple Yet Engaging http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/02/18/satellina-in-review-simple-yet-engaging/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/02/18/satellina-in-review-simple-yet-engaging/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 01:52:30 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74269 There are a multitude of games in the “dodge everything” or “dodge this while avoiding that” genre of causal games, but few have managed to be anywhere near as intriguing as the Tilt To Live series.  With Satellina there’s a new contender to the throne, and the game play is actually unique compared with any … Read more]]>

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There are a multitude of games in the “dodge everything” or “dodge this while avoiding that” genre of causal games, but few have managed to be anywhere near as intriguing as the Tilt To Live series.  With Satellina there’s a new contender to the throne, and the game play is actually unique compared with any other games of this style that I’ve played before.  Combined with simple yet sharp visuals and a great soundtrack, this is basically a “can’t miss”.  The main gripe I have with the game is its length, or unfortunate lack thereof.

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The goal of the game is to clear each of the 50 boards in under two and a half minutes.  You can change the color scheme, but using the default theme you’ll do this by first collecting all the green items, then collecting all the yellow (which will turn to green), and finally consuming the red (yep, they change to yellow and then green respectively).  This sounds easy enough, right?  Well, the levels are lumped into groups of 5, and within a level group once the clock starts ticking it doesn’t stop.  If you touch one element of the wrong color you have to start that level over, so if you run into a particularly challenging level it can quickly eat into your two minute thirty second time window.

To top it off, you’ll have to clear every level in under 2:30 in order to truly beat the game.  Oh, and once you’ve mastered all that you can play the grand tour, which takes you through all 50 levels with one timer.  Controlling the game is a simple matter of dragging your finger across the screen, and you can either keep it right on your avatar if you feel that gives you tighter control or at a distance if you think it gives you a better view of the action.

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Having said all of that, I think I completed the entire game, including the grand tour, in about 45 minutes.  That’s not to say you can’t go back and try to better your score in a particular set of levels, and it is actually entertaining to do that for a while, but I really hope they have plans for more levels, because this is one game that definitely needs it.  The game does keep track of your score compared to other players, though it does this internally and not through Game Center.  It would be nice to have some sort of achievements even if they are trivial to provide incentive to keep playing.  Some multiplayer options would be cool as well, like say a competition where the game randomly picks five levels and see which player completes them more rapidly.

The visuals are simple but effective.  All the objects are circles that actually kind of look like a power button icon, and you are represented by a white crosshairs.  The background is a solid color which is there just for the sake of having a background.  The sound effects are basically superfluous, though there is a noise to indicate that you’ve cleared all objects of the “safe” color.  The music is quite nice, on the other hand, and there is a separate track for each level group.  The game is even kind enough to switch between tracks as you advance through the level groups in Grand Tour mode.

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Satellina is a good game, and every time I’ve gone back to it for final analysis before finishing up this review I’ve enjoyed playing it.  The music is great, the levels are varied and some are rather challenging, and trying to master some level groups to get the best score can be quite a rush.  I just wish there was more to the game.  I don’t know what the developers have in store for the game’s future, though the ? in the last level group circle indicates that there’s additional content coming.  Hopefully it will come soon and be as strong as what the game currently has to offer.

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App Summary
Title: Satellina Developer: Peter Smith
Reviewed Ver:  1.0.3 Min OS Req:  iOS 4.0
Price: $1.99 App Size:  40.7 MB
  • Cool variation on “dodge and consume” style game play
  • Levels are often challenging
  • Great music
  • Current content is too short
  • No replay incentive other than high score

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Crazy Chicken Director’s Cut in Review – Second Verse, Better Than The First http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/01/28/crazy-chicken-directors-cut-in-review-second-verse-better-than-the-first/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/01/28/crazy-chicken-directors-cut-in-review-second-verse-better-than-the-first/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 07:51:07 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74254 The chickens are back, and I’m still not 100% sure what to make of the series.  As a mid-tier movie buff I like the setting of this game much better, especially since it focuses on sci-fi and horror movies.  On the other hand, there is only 1 game play mode instead of the three offered … Read more]]>

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The chickens are back, and I’m still not 100% sure what to make of the series.  As a mid-tier movie buff I like the setting of this game much better, especially since it focuses on sci-fi and horror movies.  On the other hand, there is only 1 game play mode instead of the three offered by the original game, and the number of achievements is significantly less.  I still think of the two offerings I’d rather play this one, but it probably isn’t going to be enough of a step above Crazy Chicken Pirates to satiate the hunger of those that got bored with the original.

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As with its predecessor, the top priority in Director’s Cut is to shoot the chickens.  Whereas the original offered three game play modes which admittedly mainly differed in determining what resulted in the game being over, this one offers only one option: you play until you run out of bullets.  The game toggles between a scene full of sci-fi sets and one that boasts spoofs of all your favorite horror films, and in order to transition from one to the other you must shoot a certain number of 3 different types of targets.  Of course the total number of targets increases with each transition, and so far I have seen no way to earn extra bullets aside from actually completing a scene and transitioning to the next one.  As a result, it almost seems inevitable that you will eventually not have enough bullets to complete a scene, especially if you make one or two mistakes (or decide to shoot something else just for the sake of it).

Thankfully the need to shoot everything in sight to find out what you can score on is still present in this game.  In addition to that, however, there are some instances where you have to solve a simple puzzle in order to get a chicken to a position where you can take them out.  And, if you happen to be a fan of either of the covered genres, you’ll appreciate trying to find all the hidden (or not so hidden) references to the films you know and love.  The game only has one leaderboard and 40 achievements to earn, so while it’s not quite as Game Center centric as the original there’s still plenty to work towards.  But, much like its predecessor, the game can get a bit repetitive after a while.  Even if they stuck to the same 2 genres and charged IAP for them, it would be nice to see a couple more scenes added over time.  That shouldn’t be too hard given the plethora of source material to choose from.

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The visuals are right in line with the first game, which is to say that they are cartoonish, detailed and quite enjoyable.  There’s a certain undeniable charm in seeing a chicken dressed as classic horror icons, and the sci-fi world is pretty cool as well.  The sound effects are decent and the music is well written, but it would have been nice if the audio gelled a bit more with the specific content instead of feeling generic. Still, I’m glad there at least was music at all, which is a step up from their previous effort.

The mobile touch screen paradigm is the perfect place for a shooting gallery style game, so it seems only fitting that the Moorhuhn franchise would find its way to iOS devices.  While not the best of the genre for said devices, the Crazy Chicken series certainly provides some decent entertainment with its colorful characters and plenty of extras to shoot at.  If you haven’t taken one for a spin yet I’d certainly recommend giving Crazy Chicken Director’s Cut a try.

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App Summary
Title: Crazy Chicken Director’s Cut – Moorhuhn series Developer: Teyon
Reviewed Ver:  1.0.0 Min OS Req:  iOS 5.0
Price: $0.99 App Size:  64.0 MB
  • Plenty to shoot at
  • Great themes with loads of colorful characters
  • Good music
  • Tends to get repetitive
  • Only one game play mode
  • Needs sound effects that relate to specific events going on

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Acky’s Breakout Reloaded – brick breaker in Review: Played The Rest? Try One Of The Best http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/12/03/ackys-breakout-reloaded-brick-breaker-in-review-played-the-rest-try-one-of-the-best/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/12/03/ackys-breakout-reloaded-brick-breaker-in-review-played-the-rest-try-one-of-the-best/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 20:51:42 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74184 If you consider yourself anything more than a solitaire player when it comes to computer games then you’ve probably played a Breakout clone or two in your time.  Much like the tower defense genre there’s a pretty basic game play mechanic that most variants in this genre stick to, so just like in tower defense … Read more]]>

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If you consider yourself anything more than a solitaire player when it comes to computer games then you’ve probably played a Breakout clone or two in your time.  Much like the tower defense genre there’s a pretty basic game play mechanic that most variants in this genre stick to, so just like in tower defense games it tends to boil down to window dressing.  And boy is Acky’s window looking spiffy.  There are power ups, pilots and pets, oh my!  Create more than one ball at the same time, destroy random bricks to help you complete a level and try real hard to conquer the boards where you must hit all the bricks without touching the side and top walls.  This may be “just” a brick breaker at heart, but there’s plenty of fluff to keep gamers happy.

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So it’s just another Saturday night as you head out in your extremely oversized paddle to knock around a few bricks that seem to have formed odd but appealing patterns in the middle of space.  If most of this sounds familiar then you get the gist of your average Breakout clone.  Thankfully Acky’s Breakout Reloaded tosses in enough extras to make it stand out from the crowd.  Foremost is the idea of creating balls from a mystical material called ether.  As long as you have enough you can create another ball and keep playing, and the stuff does regenerate over time.  You can also collect it as it falls from certain bricks or buy it in the store with the pizza that you earn.  There are plenty of power ups to collect and use, and whenever possible the game tries to put a new twist on them – for example, the Prediction power up will not only draw a line to show where the incoming ball will bounce when you hit it, but the ball actually slows down so you can try to reposition the shot if you want.

When you complete a level you’ll earn 10, 20 or 30 slices of pizza depending on the rank you placed in the level.  You can also sometimes pick up slices of pizza floating in space if your reflexes are quick enough, and naturally you can buy additional pizza via IAP.  Pizza is used to buy power ups (if you want to actually start the level with one), specials which include things like filling ether and gem tanks, and pilots and pets.  You can collect ‘em all if you wish – in fact it’s encouraged thanks to two of the missions – but you can only use one pilot and one pet at a given time.  Each has their own bonus to bring to the game, so choose wisely based on how you like to play.  The game boasts 175 levels, and so far none of them have felt repetitious to me.  There are also 24 missions (AKA Game Center achievements) to complete as well as 6 different leaderboards to rank on.  The only additional thing I’d like to see is some sort of reward for completing each mission.

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The graphics are retro HD, with cool pixel graphics that are nicely detailed and just enough special effects to keep them from getting boring.  You do actually see your pilot and pet in the paddle as well, which is a sweet touch.  The sound effects are pretty much what you might expect from this type of game, and it’s kind of disappointing that there are no special noises for any of the pilots or pets that you pick.  On the other hand, I really like the music.  It’s not necessarily the kind of stuff I’d listen to on its own, but the style just seems to suit the overall atmosphere of the game.

There is certainly no shortage of breakout style games on the App Store.  The question is whether you want just another clone or are you more interested in playing the best?  If you choose the latter then you’ll definitely want to take Acky’s Breakout Reloaded for a spin.  I’m not a big fan of the genre, but after more than 40 levels the game still has me thoroughly entertained.  Between the sheer number of levels, the achievements and the vast amount of pilots and pets there are to collect there’s never a shortage of goals to reach for, and the game even does a decent job of combating the “can’t get that last brick” syndrome so many brick breaker games suffer from.  And who doesn’t love the thought of using pizza as currency?

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App Summary
Title: Acky’s Breakout Reloaded – Brick Breaker Developer: Isotope 244
Reviewed Ver:  1.0 Min OS Req:  iOS 5.0
Price: $2.99 App Size:  38.2 MB
  • Plenty of levels
  • Numerous achievements and 6 leaderboards
  • Lots of pets and pilots to collect
  • Great pixel art and rockin’ music
  • Pizza takes a lot of time to earn
  • Sound effects are a bit weak

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