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 Wed, 03 Feb 2016 17:15:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.13 Air Attack 2 in Review – Sorry Sky Force, You’ve Been Replaced http://www.touchmyapps.com/2016/01/25/air-attack-2-in-review-sorry-sky-force-youve-been-replaced/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2016/01/25/air-attack-2-in-review-sorry-sky-force-youve-been-replaced/#comments Tue, 26 Jan 2016 04:26:50 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=75002 So how do you make a compelling scrolling shooter that works at all the right levels?  I could list a bunch of criteria here, but I figure I’ll just make this easy for both me and you and say “give Air Attack 2 a try”.  Much like Sky Force in 2014 (and much of 2015), … Read more]]>

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So how do you make a compelling scrolling shooter that works at all the right levels?  I could list a bunch of criteria here, but I figure I’ll just make this easy for both me and you and say “give Air Attack 2 a try”.  Much like Sky Force in 2014 (and much of 2015), Air Attack 2 will be the scrolling shooter to dethrone this year.  Between the extensive single player campaign and several special runs that allow you to compete against other players around the world, Air Attack 2 has plenty of game play to keep you busy.  And, while you might have to fly some missions over and over again to achieve all the goals, you’ll never get bored doing so.  If this is your type of game then you’ll want Air Attack 2 on your device right now.

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The thing about scrolling shooters is that no matter how detailed a story you try to give them, in the end all that matters is how effectively you can fly around blowing away everything in sight.  Just like its predecessor, Air Attack 2 makes sure this banal desire is front and center every time you fly a mission.  While you can’t blow up absolutely everything in the game, all the major bases are covered.  Want to destroy a building?  Go for it.  Feeling extremely ornery?  Take out a buoy or a streetlamp.  My personal favorite is dropping a bomb on a bridge to derail the oncoming train.  Of course none of this reflects how I am in real life, but that’s the whole point of games like this, right?

Anyway, the game has two main components: a multi-stage campaign and competitive missions.  If I’m counting correctly there are at least 20 missions in the campaign.  To move on to the next mission you must complete the current one, but to truly beat a mission you must complete the three goals.  The goals primarily revolve around destroying a certain number of something, though other goals might include achieving a certain score or collecting a designated number of silver stars.  Whatever the case is, most of these goals will require a deliberate effort to complete, and unless you’re an extremely skilled player you’ll need to play through these missions several times to finish everything.  The competitive missions are one off events where your score is ranked against anyone else playing the event.  The events last a day, and at the end of the 24 hour period you receive a reward based on how you ranked against other players.

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Controlling your plane is a simple matter of dragging your finger around the screen.  There is no tilt option, but the control works so smoothly I’m not sure it is necessary.  To drop a bomb you tap the screen, and to activate certain weapons you tap their corresponding icons at the bottom of the screen.  At times you’ll also switch to rear gunner mode, at which point you’ll just drag the crosshairs of the tail gun around the screen targeting anything you want to destroy.  During the course of play you’ll be able to collect stars which allow you to level up and coins that you can use to upgrade your plane.  There are four additional planes you can unlock using silver bars which are earned by defeating end bosses and leveling up, as well as reaching certain milestones on special runs and earning some achievements.  Overall there are plenty of ways to get rewarded and a lot of game play to keep you busy.

The game looks fabulous.  Everything is extremely well designed, and the detail can often distract you from your tasks.  Drop a bomb and watch nearby trees sway from the force of the explosion.  Buildings actually collapse when they are hit, and decimated planes (including your own) spiral to the ground when they’ve lost the battle.  I remember the original Air Attack being pretty sharp looking, but I’d say they actually upped the ante on this one.  The superb soundtrack does an excellent job of complementing the game play.  It sounds like music you might hear while watching an epic war movie, which is exactly what this game deserves.  The sound effects are nothing special, but at least they don’t get on your nerves like noises in this type of game sometimes can.

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We’ve been lucky to get a handful of really solid scrolling shooters on the iOS platform, and it seems like once a year we get one that rises above the rest.  Technically this game was released in December of 2015, and I realize it is way too early in the year to tell, but I have a good feeling that Air Attack 2 will be the leader of the pack in 2016.  And if it’s not, I can’t wait to see what will be.

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App Summary
Title: AirAttack 2 Developer: Art In Games
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req:  iOS 8.0
Price: $2.99 App Size: 318.60MB
  • A ton of fun game play
  • Incredible visuals
  • Amazing soundtrack
  • Sometimes mission objectives don’t seem to complete correctly

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Party Gods in Review – Most Excellent, or a Bummer? http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/12/16/party-gods-in-review-most-excellent-or-a-bummer/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/12/16/party-gods-in-review-most-excellent-or-a-bummer/#comments Thu, 17 Dec 2015 03:58:30 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74956 Forget the multitude of Guitar Hero clones that are out there.  When it comes to rhythm based games I prefer something wacky and different, and Party Gods certainly delivers in that regards.  As I continually discover when I’m playing rhythm games, however, I apparently have no clue what a beat is.  My biggest frustration with … Read more]]>

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Forget the multitude of Guitar Hero clones that are out there.  When it comes to rhythm based games I prefer something wacky and different, and Party Gods certainly delivers in that regards.  As I continually discover when I’m playing rhythm games, however, I apparently have no clue what a beat is.  My biggest frustration with this game is that I am continually getting “Off Beat” messages even when I don’t think I am, which can really break your concentration.  Still, I like the general vibe that Party Gods exudes, and I think with a little refinement it could be something special within the category of rhythm games for iOS devices.

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You control one of three animal dancers, and your task is to rock to the music and defeat the bunny hordes.  The game actually has a slight bit of a story which is pretty silly yet adds to the overall charm of the game.  Playing the game is a simple matter of tapping a bunny on the screen on the beat of the song you are listening to.  Unlike most rhythm games you aren’t necessarily penalized for a missed tap or an off-beat blunder, but it does give you less time to make the right moves.  If one bunny gets to your dancer in the middle of the screen then it’s the last dance for you and you have to start over again.  There are three dancers to master altogether, and to get to the second and third dancers you must complete a certain percentage of a song with the previous dancer.

This is where the “unfortunately” part of the review comes in.  Sadly, this is really about all there is to the game.  Unlike most rhythm games I’ve played where you get a percentage rank per song, in Party Gods your percentage complete is by dancer, so if you’re skilled enough to get there you only have to do it three times, one for each participant.  There aren’t any stats either, which means you have no idea what your best songs are, or how many times you’ve tried each one or anything like that.  This all wouldn’t be quite as bad if there were some sort of way to compare your skills with other partiers, but alas that doesn’t exist either.  There are 5 achievements to earn, but you can’t even find out about those unless you exit the game and go into the dedicated Game Center app.  It just seems like the game needs to give the user more rewards for their efforts, especially when it comes to players like me that have no rhythm to begin with.

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The other big issue I have with this game is the music.  The video preview of the game is correct in saying that the music can induce toe-tapping, but I think that’s more due to skillful use of beats and rhythms.  Typically for this genre of game I tend to make comments like “normally I wouldn’t listen to this type of music but here it works”, but in this case I don’t even care for the music in the context of the game.  It all pretty much sounds the same to me, which becomes frustrating when I tap the shuffle button and it doesn’t sound like anything has changed.  As for the visuals, I like the overall design, but it has a weird 3D effect that actually becomes hard to look at after a while.  Add to that the “explosions” that occur when you tap a bunny, and sometimes it’s difficult to tell exactly what’s going on, especially when it comes to seeing other bunnies on the screen.

Party Gods has a lot of potential.  There’s a quirky plot, killer bunnies and a trio of animals that could dance a Saturday Night Fever induced John Travolta under the table.  It just seems like there’s not enough actual game in Party Gods right now.  A more diverse soundtrack wouldn’t hurt anything either.

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App Summary
Title: Party Gods Developer: Chopsticks Games
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.0.0 Min OS Req:  iOS 7.0
Price: $2.99 App Size: 66.87MB
  • Silly plot involving killer bunnies
  • Unique game play for rhythm based games
  • Stand-out visual style
  • Not much reward for your efforts
  • Visuals can be kind of hard to stare at for extended periods
  • Didn’t care much for the music

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Tiny Rogue in Review – Fun Mobile Rogue-Like (But No Small Packages Jokes Here) http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/12/03/tiny-rogue-in-review-fun-mobile-rogue-like-but-no-small-packages-jokes-here/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/12/03/tiny-rogue-in-review-fun-mobile-rogue-like-but-no-small-packages-jokes-here/#comments Fri, 04 Dec 2015 02:17:53 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74912 With the somewhat rogue-like Devious Dungeon series under their belt, I was kind of surprised to see Ravenous Games release another rogue-like game.  However, Tiny Rogue is a decidedly different game than that other series, and so far I quite like it.  The game utilizes a more traditional top down perspective, and random everything makes … Read more]]>

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With the somewhat rogue-like Devious Dungeon series under their belt, I was kind of surprised to see Ravenous Games release another rogue-like game.  However, Tiny Rogue is a decidedly different game than that other series, and so far I quite like it.  The game utilizes a more traditional top down perspective, and random everything makes it feel like a completely fresh experience every time.  The single screen layouts are also easier to navigate and much more manageable for an on the go experience.  For me this has been a great portable rogue-like experience.

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There’s not really a plot to this game, but I’m pretty sure you won’t miss that fact.  You do start out each game with a quest, but all that does is toss some extra points your way if you end up completing it.  Don’t worry, either, because the “quest” is usually something simple like finding a treasure chest or rescuing a princess.  That’s assuming, of course, you can actually make it to the level where the quest item is to be found.  You might have to sweat the “defeat the dragon” quest a little bit, though, depending on how well you’ve built up your character up to that point.

The main objective of each play through is to traverse as many levels in the dungeon as you can before the monsters overwhelm you.  Each level is randomly generated every time, both in layout and content.  The one thing you can be sure of is that after the first couple of levels there will be plenty of opponents, and there are usually at least a couple of items for you to pick up on each level.  There are a variety of creatures, and they all have their own fighting tactics.  Some can attack you at long range, others get more than one move at a time, and some just won’t stay dead.  You’ll have to learn all of their tricks so that you can take them out in the most efficient manner with the least damage to yourself.

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Luckily you get one heart restored to you when you complete a level, and you can also pick up health potions along the way to restore your much needed life.  Other pickups include extra throwing daggers, offensive spells like fireball and freeze and defensive measures like teleportation and the ability to skip a turn.  As you slay monsters you’ll earn experience points, and eventually you’ll advance to a new skill level.  At that point you’ll be able to choose from one of three enhancements, which can include more space in your inventory, extra umph with your attacks or even an additional heart.  Part of what makes the game so interesting is that these three choices are random every time, so you’re more or less forced to choose a unique strategy for building up your character with each play through the game.

Maneuvering through the levels is a simple matter of swiping in the direction you wish to move.  If there’s a monster standing next to you in said direction you’ll automatically attack that monster.  To use an item from your inventory you tap on it, and then depending on the item you’ll either tap on yourself or a target creature or you’ll swipe towards the creature you wish to affect.  The interface is basic and effective, though it would be nice if once everything was cleared away you could just tap the exit to go to the next level instead of having to swipe one move at a time.  Tiny Rogue offers one leaderboard based on total score for a single run through as well as 17 achievements to earn.

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Due to the unique perspective employed in Tiny Rogue versus most of Ravenous Games’ other efforts the visuals do look a bit different, but in this case that’s a good thing.  They still have the pixel-y goodness we’ve come to expect from the Ravenous Games catalog, and people can’t accuse Tiny Rogue of looking just like everything else the company has done.  The audio is also different than their other games, but here it’s not as favorable.  The sound effects are kind of bland compared to the Devious Dungeon games, and unlike those games where there was an effort to have a variety of noises everything sounded basically the same here.  Also, I’m pretty sure the music was just a slight variant on the theme from those games, which was a bit disappointing.  Not that it’s a bad song, but it would have been nice if Tiny Rogue had original music.

If you have this apprehension that all Ravenous Games offerings feel the same, which I’ve read on more than one occasion in various forums, I think you’ll be pleased with Tiny Rogue.  The overhead perspective gives it a decidedly different look than all of their side scrolling affairs, and the turn based movement separates it from a standard platform game.  The random nature of everything allows for infinite replays, and the simple control scheme works quite well on touch screen device.  The sound could use a bit of sprucing up and a quick exit feature on a given level would be nice, but otherwise Tiny Rogue is another top notch Ravenous Games adventure.

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App Summary
Title: Tiny Rogue Developer: Ravenous Games Inc.
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req:  iOS 6.0
Price: $2.99 App Size: 36.51MB
  • Simple, mobile friendly game play
  • Randomly generated everything keeps game fresh
  • Cool pixel graphics
  • Needs “express route” to level exits
  • Audio is lacking

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Dub Dash in Review: The Beat Rolls On http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/11/06/dub-dash-in-review-the-beat-rolls-on/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/11/06/dub-dash-in-review-the-beat-rolls-on/#comments Sat, 07 Nov 2015 03:32:19 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74868 At one point after I received a copy of Dub Dash to look at the developer asked for an update on my review, and I told them I wanted to wait until I had finished at least one level before writing something about the game.  After I don’t know how many times playing the first … Read more]]>

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At one point after I received a copy of Dub Dash to look at the developer asked for an update on my review, and I told them I wanted to wait until I had finished at least one level before writing something about the game.  After I don’t know how many times playing the first three levels I was ready to concede and write the review even though I hadn’t completed a single one yet, and then wouldn’t you know it – I actually managed to complete the first level!  If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years when it comes to rhythm based games it’s that I’m not real good at them, so this was an exciting achievement for me.  Thankfully it was born from a desire to actually accomplish something in the game, and not simply because I “had to” for the sake of this review.  To me that’s the best sign of a game being worth putting some effort into.

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Dub Dash has no complicated plot or deep meaning.  It’s simply a game about trying to get from point A to point B by following the beat.  The majority of the game is spent tapping the left or right sides of the screen to move in the appropriate direction, though sometimes that just means “swerving” to the left or right while at other times it actually rotates your avatar 90 degrees.  It’s basically the same game play, but the shifting perspectives and slight modifications in the mechanics (a hard turn versus a drift, for example) make the journey constantly feel fresh.  Occasionally you’ll even go into “flappy” mode where you hold the screen to go up and release to go down – you know the drill.  Personally I could have done without these particular sequences, but there’s no questions that it adds an extra bit of variety to everything that’s going on.

Each level is a unique experience, in no small part due to the brilliant combination of visuals and audio that comprises your surroundings.  As with a fair number of rhythm based games the music isn’t something I’d normally just sit down and listen to, but as a backdrop for the action in this game it is wonderful.  The beat is naturally synced with the terrain, and if you’re not careful you’ll end up embarrassing yourself as your head bobs up and down to the music that no one else hears, at least if you use headphones like you should in order to fully appreciate the tunes.  The visuals have a blocky look, but in a slick way and not a “this looks like every other blocky game on the App Store” way.  Parts of the background will light up with the beat, much like some of the awesome displays people put up on their houses over the Christmas season.  There’s not much in the way of sound effects, but in reality you don’t actually need any.

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So you manage to actually finish one or more of the 7 levels that currently exist, but does the game offer more?  Well, there are 3 musical notes to collect on each level, so there’s incentive to replay the level if you don’t get them all the first time.  Of course so far they seem to primarily inhabit the “flappy” sections of the level, which is bad news for me.  The game also offers 28 achievements through Game Center, and since there are only 7 levels that means they require more than completing a level in order to earn them.  Also, on the level selection screen there appear to be 2 progress bars for each level, so I’m guessing that you might get to play through a – dare I say it – harder version of each level once you’ve completed them all.  Someone with actual skillz will have to fill me in on that some day.

Overall I’m pretty happy with the game, but if I had to wave my mythical game altering wand and change something I’d love to see save points.  Of course that actually seems to be a fairly unpopular feature among rhythm games, and I suppose it might harm the flow of the game somehow, so I’m not holding my breath.  Also, I wish that instead of simply spiraling me into another attempt at losing a level the game would actually ask me if I want to play again.  That might actually make it just a bit easier for me to tear myself away when I know I should be doing other things.  Of course a little willpower might help there as well, but then I’d have to take responsibility for my addiction.

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The concept of rhythm games, inasmuch as they look like cheap knock-offs of Guitar Hero, still manages to elude me.  However, as long as developers keep making bizarre alternative like Dub Dash, I’m more than willing to pretend to be a fan from time to time.  Slick visuals, lively music that keeps the head bobbing and a different mechanic than you see in most rhythm games make Dub Dash enjoyable even if you’re not a fan of the genre.

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App Summary
Title: Dub Dash Developer: Headup Games GmbH & Co KG
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req:  iOS 7.0
Price: $0.99 App Size: 55.94MB
  • Challenging, addictive game play
  • Great visuals
  • Exciting, dynamic music
  • Decent replay factor
  • No checkpoints

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Dodo Master in Review – Don’t Be A Dodo And Miss This One http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/10/24/dodo-master-in-review-dont-be-a-dodo-and-miss-this-one/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/10/24/dodo-master-in-review-dont-be-a-dodo-and-miss-this-one/#comments Sun, 25 Oct 2015 05:49:07 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74823 3D certainly has its place in the world of gaming, and there’s no question that some of the 3D content available on the iOS platform looks pretty slick.  Personally, though, I’d just assume have a nicely drawn 2D game any day of the week, and Dodo Master is just such a game.  It’s a lot … Read more]]>

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3D certainly has its place in the world of gaming, and there’s no question that some of the 3D content available on the iOS platform looks pretty slick.  Personally, though, I’d just assume have a nicely drawn 2D game any day of the week, and Dodo Master is just such a game.  It’s a lot more than eye candy, however.  It’s the perfect example of how to make a fun platform game for iOS that has pretty basic mechanics and derives its challenge from excellent level design rather than shoddy controls.  And, you get can hats for your dodo.  Who doesn’t love a dodo wearing hats?

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If you haven’t caught on yet, you play a dodo in Dodo Master.  For some reason that’s not really explained you’ve been tossed in a dungeon, and all of your eggs have been captured (which, based on what I’ve played so far, means you’ve been a VERY busy dodo).  You finally decide you can’t take it and escape from your cell, so now you have to figure out how to get out of this odd yet beautifully constructed dungeon.  There are 20 levels to master, each comprised of 4 different sections.  You can complete the levels in any order, but once you choose a level you must finish it in order to earn a key to unlock another level.  Even the level selection screen is a level that you can walk through, though thankfully there are no traps to harm you as you navigate from door to door.  Those come only once you’ve entered one of the doors.

Speaking of which, there are plenty of traps littered throughout the levels in Dodo Master.  Spiked implements of death are prevalent, as well as pits of fire, collapsing platforms and perilously small ledges that are easy to accidentally step off of or completely miss when you’re jumping towards them.  There is also a bestiary comprised of rats (both the regular and N.I.H.M. kind), spiders that have clearly been feed too much and weird half-creature skeletons that hover around and sometimes hurl flaming blue balls at you.  If you actually ponder it for a minute the variety of different obstacles is not that great, yet the developers have managed to make each level feel fresh and exciting.  The other thing that strikes me about the level design is that while some parts can be challenging and infrequently even get frustrating, in the end everything always seems fair.  Unlike many platform games that go for the cheap kill, this one feels like the developers had the players in mind.

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The controls are pretty standard platforming fare: left and right arrows for movement, a button to jump / double jump and a button to perform a slam after you’ve jumped.  The slam is useful for breaking eggs or hearts out of containers as well as removing some unsturdy flooring to reach levels below, but remember that all creatures can be dispatched with a regular jump, so don’t use the slam if you don’t need to.  The controls work pretty decent, though occasionally I find myself accidentally hitting the opposite direction of how I actually want to move.  You can actually position the controls wherever you’d like, but on my iPad 2 I haven’t quite found the position yet that alleviates my problem and feels comfortable.  You do have two chances on each section before you have to start over, unless you start the section with only one heart.  Thankfully there are enough hearts scattered throughout the levels that you can usually recoup your life without too much trouble.  And, if you happen to complete a level with only one heart, there are even a couple scattered throughout the menu level.

To finish the game you simply have to conquer all 20 levels.  There wouldn’t be much challenge in that though, now, would there?  If you truly want to complete the game you need to get all the eggs on each level.  Fortunately, if you happen to miss one or two the first time around you can always play a level again to get the remaining eggs.  The game is even nice enough to color code the eggs so you know which ones you’ve already collected and can simply risk your lives for the remaining ones.  Plus, for every level you gather all of the eggs on you’ll earn a new hat.  And trust me, some of these hats are pretty cool.  I just wish there were some indication of how many eggs you had left to gather on a level.  Right now you only know you’ve got them all when it counts them up at the completion of the level.  Additionally there are 21 achievements to earn, and while they are “hidden” before completion when you look in Game Center, 20 correspond to getting all the eggs on each level.  I would suppose the last is for completing the entire game.

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Dodo Master is a gorgeous game, which is the reason I started this review with my comments on 2D vs 3D.  The levels are beautifully drawn and nicely detailed.  From the time you step into a room with the gust of air accentuating your entrance to all the details like light streaming through the windows and the fire of candles and torches flickering everywhere, the artists did a wonderful job of making this a living, breathing world.  They were even kind enough to provide little red sparkles around the less obvious dangerous areas.  The audio elements are also extremely well done.  The creaks and groans of the equipment really add to the atmosphere of the dungeon, and things like the crackle of the flames enhance the feeling of a dynamic world.  I did find the choice of making the smaller rounds sound like squeaky toys when being squished a bit odd.  The music is nicely written and sets a great mood for your quest, but I was particularly impressed with the tracks for the last couple of rooms.  They really stepped it up a notch on those two and got the adrenaline pumping for the end of the game.

At a time when there seems to be a trend towards infinite runners and third person perspectives, it is nice to still see some developers put out good old fashioned Mario style platform games.  Sure they might not be as nail biting as the old Mega Man fare or as intricate as a Metroid or Mario, but in a world constantly on the go they suit me just fine.  Dodo Master is a fine example of such a game, and I hope their promise of more to come holds true.  I’d love to see these guys tackle a set of levels that takes place outdoors to challenge both the designers’ abilities at devising puzzles and the artists’ capabilities of bringing a 2D world to life.

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App Summary
Title: Dodo Master Developer: semir Saleh
Reviewed Ver: 1.11 Min OS Req:  iOS 7.0
Price: $0.99 App Size: 381.94MB
  • Simple, challenging game play
  • Well designed levels
  • Cool hats
  • Excellent visuals
  • Great music
  • Anti-climatic ending

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Blockadillo in Review – You Got A Brick Breaker In My Platform Game! http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/10/03/blockadillo-in-review-you-got-a-brick-breaker-in-my-platform-game/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/10/03/blockadillo-in-review-you-got-a-brick-breaker-in-my-platform-game/#comments Sat, 03 Oct 2015 18:20:10 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74787 I’ve always thought the armadillo was a cool looking creature, yet it seems like any time it is used as the protagonist in a game it ends up spending most of its time rolled up into a ball.  Thankfully these games usually tend to be fairly interesting, and Blockadillo is no exception.  In this case … Read more]]>

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I’ve always thought the armadillo was a cool looking creature, yet it seems like any time it is used as the protagonist in a game it ends up spending most of its time rolled up into a ball.  Thankfully these games usually tend to be fairly interesting, and Blockadillo is no exception.  In this case game play is akin to a 360 degree brick breaker with some interesting platform style elements thrown into the mix.  It can get frustrating at times, but overall the game is challenging, well balanced and most importantly, fun.

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You’re an armadillo in a jungle, trying to recover idols from a thieving monkey while being coached by a hummingbird.  I’ve got to believe there’s a Disney or Dreamworks fan somehow involved in this project.  In any case, you’ll have to navigate through 2 lands each comprised of 40 levels.  The levels are filled with bricks that must be broken, but unlike a typical Breakout style game these bricks are scattered in clumps throughout the level.  They might simply be there just for you to break, they might be in the way of your progress through the level, or they might even be part of a puzzle you need to solve.  Some are deadly and appropriately marked with a skull, while others with a plus cannot be destroyed but instead can be moved around the level.

Like any good platform game, each level is filled with obstacles to keep you from reaching your goal.  Besides the aforementioned skull bricks, thorns often line various surfaces of the level in an attempt to puncture your pride.  Before long blocks and switches become color coded, and it’s possible to find yourself trapped in a section because you’re surrounded by a color and can’t get to a painter to change yourself to that color.  There’s also the occasional pool of lava to contend with, though that seems to be more for preventing you from grabbing an idol than actually killing you.  Of course the end result could be your death anyway.  The one thing that interestingly enough does not act as an obstacle in this game is the timer.  While it helps determine how well you did on a level, you can still complete the level even if all the alarms on your time run out.

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Controlling the game is interesting because instead of having a paddle like traditional brick breakers, in Blockadillo you actually alter the armadillo’s course by tapping the left or right sides of the screen.  It takes a bit of getting used to, and it can cause a lot of overcompensation at times, but it’s neat because you can change direction in mid air to narrowly avoid a trap that you didn’t see or that was revealed after triggering a switch.  The main problem I ran into was that the game would often freeze for just a fraction of a second in the middle of a level yet still recognize your tapping.  This could cause sudden death when the game decided to unpause and let you resume the action.  It’s not an insurmountable problem by any means, but it can certainly be annoying.

Each level has three stars you can earn which are related to the number of idols on a level.  The plus side is that if there are no idols, you automatically get three stars when you complete the level!  There are also three scrolls hidden in each world, and finding these scrolls unlocks bonus areas in the world.  So, while you can finish the game without them, you can’t truly complete the game until you have all six scrolls.  There are four leaderboards, one for each of the timer levels (bronze, silver and gold) and one for the total number of idols collected.  There are 21 achievements to earn as well.

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I really like the visuals in Blockadillo.  They remind me of a solid 16 bit console game, with nice details and decent animation.  There are times with everything feels a bit small, but it’s necessary so that the levels don’t stretch on forever.  The sound effects, however, hearken back more to the 8 bit era and can get annoying, especially when you bounce around a lot in a tight area.  The music is decent enough, but it’s very subtle and sometimes you’ll likely think there is nothing playing in the background.  It would be nice if there were a bit more variety to the music as well.

Blockadillo is a fun platform / breakout hybrid.  It’s certainly a combination that sticks out from the crowd, and it has solid game play to back up that uniqueness.  It can get frustrating at times, and the bonus area scrolls are particularly challenging to find, but the game actually makes it worth trying.  The audio department in particular could use a bit of a facelift, but overall Blockadillo hits all the marks of a good game.

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App Summary
Title: Blockadillo Developer: Michael Olp
Reviewed Ver: 0.5.0 Min OS Req:  iOS 6.0
Price: $0.99 App Size: 64.43MB
  • Unique platform / breakout hybrid
  • 80 levels to master
  • 21 achievements to earn
  • Cool 16 bit console visuals
  • Decent music
  • Split second freeze issue has caused many a lost level
  • Scrolls are difficult to find
  • Sound effects can get annoying
  • Needs more variety in music

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Tiny Empire in Review – Cute And Challenging http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/09/09/tiny-empire-in-review-cute-and-challenging/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/09/09/tiny-empire-in-review-cute-and-challenging/#comments Wed, 09 Sep 2015 16:28:26 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74728 I’m willing to admit that I loved Angry Birds right along with everyone else when it first came out.  After umpteen sidetracks and licenses, however, I found the sequel to be too little too late.  I still think the general mechanics of the Angry Bird style game work, but I’m tired of being angry.  That’s … Read more]]>

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I’m willing to admit that I loved Angry Birds right along with everyone else when it first came out.  After umpteen sidetracks and licenses, however, I found the sequel to be too little too late.  I still think the general mechanics of the Angry Bird style game work, but I’m tired of being angry.  That’s where Tiny Empire comes in.  You’re still trying to get rid of the bad guys by flinging objects at them, but in this case you simply need to take out the enemy, and not destroy everything in sight.  It’s a simpler approach, but I’ve found my time with Tiny Empire so far much more fulfilling than my outing with the latest avian adventures.  Besides, tiny equals cute, and I like cute.

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In this fantasy based approach to the physics based flinging puzzler you must help a king defend his land against golems, orcs and more.  The thing is, you’ll have to champion this fight on your own, because the rest of the king’s soldiers seem content with doing nothing more than getting in the way of your dangerous cannonballs.  Thankfully with a little skill and some luck you can get around them, though even if you take out one or two in the process of your defense you can still complete a level.  On the other hand, you do have to take out every bad guy on each level, or you basically fail and have to repeat the level over again.  Of course each level has 3 tokens (either stars or diamonds) that you can earn, and while casualties of friendly fire don’t keep you from passing a level, they’ll certainly guarantee that you don’t get your maximum reward.

In typical object flinging fashion, you control your cannon simply by dragging from the cannon to where you want to shoot, adjusting the length and height of your finger for distance and arc.  When the cannon is on the left side of the board this works just fine, but it seems like if the cannon is in the center or worse yet on the right side of the field, your hand tends to block the display as you’re crossing the screen.  I know it technically works the same when going from left to right, but while that feels natural the other configurations seem a bit awkward.

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You start the game with one type of cannonball, but as you progress through the levels you’ll earn a fireball that covers more ground with its damage as well as a cannonball that provides for a more precise shot.  It would be nice if you could choose what order to use your ammunition in, but since you can’t you’ll just have to make the order work to your advantage.  In addition to the different types of ammunition you’ll have two power ups to help you in your quest: shields protect each soldier on the battlefield from one errant shot, while targeting gives you the ability to see exactly where your shot will land for one attempt at a level.  The beauty of these bonuses is that they don’t affect your ability to earn tokens, so it’s definitely to your benefit to take advantage of them to earn 3 tokens on the more difficult levels.

Using each of these bonuses requires gems, but there are several ways to get those.  Naturally you can spend some cash on IAP if you’d like, but you also randomly get gems from certain foes when they die.  Occasionally goblins will pop up on the field, and if you blast them you’ll get 40 gems.  Finally, you’ll uncover gem mines along your route which will earn you some gems every so many hours.  Between all these sources you shouldn’t run out of currency unless you’re constantly buying bonuses.

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In addition to the three tokens on each level, there are several different cannons and helmets to collect either by earning a certain number of tokens or using the gems that you’ve collected.  Unfortunately these “upgrades” are purely aesthetic at this point, but hopefully that will change some time down the road.  There are also 17 achievements to earn via Game Center, though most of them revolve around simply completing the different areas of the game.

Tiny Empire might describe the kingdom, but it also gives you a fair idea of the inhabitants.  They may not really be that tiny, but it just seems that way given the visuals.  But, as I mentioned in the beginning, tiny equals cute, and I like cute.  The character graphics are actually pretty neat, with good designs and decent animations when the characters get struck by the various types of ammunition.  What did disappoint me, however, were the backgrounds.  They felt somewhat simplistic, which was particularly sad given the detail in the world map.  There we see birds flying around, fish swimming in the water and even little animations on the levels that you have as yet to conquer.  The sound effects helped bring the world to life, but I think the game needs more.  The creatures are too quiet unless they are actually the recipients of a cannonball.  The music is decent enough, but the medieval fair tunes are easily forgettable once you stop playing for a while.

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Like most games, Tiny Empire isn’t without its flaws.  But, given that this particular genre seems to be waning in popularity, it’s nice to have an alternative to the ever growing birds regime that’s actually fun to play.  If we’re lucky, maybe this will grow into its own franchise to keep that alternative alive for a while.  Or if nothing else, some extra levels down the road to lengthen this experience would be just fine with me.

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App Summary
Title: Tiny Empire Developer: Mother Gaia Studio
Reviewed Ver: 1.1.3 Min OS Req:  iOS 6.0
Price: $2.99 App Size: 70.54MB
  • Great alternative to Angry Birds
  • Plenty of levels to conquer
  • Steady supply of in-game currency without IAP
  • Cool pixel characters
  • Fun sound effects
  • Hand can get in the way of the battlefield
  • Can’t choose order of ammo
  • Various collectibles don’t enhance game play
  • Needs more memorable music

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Devious Dungeon in Review: Random, Side Scrolling Fun http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/08/13/devious-dungeon-in-review-random-side-scrolling-fun/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/08/13/devious-dungeon-in-review-random-side-scrolling-fun/#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2015 11:53:48 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74662 Ravenous Games is probably best known for their League Of Evil series, which is definitely an entertaining collection of platform games.  Personally, though, I actually get more enjoyment from Devious Dungeon.  Sporting the same cool pixel graphics as most of their other offerings, Devious Dungeon is a side scrolling rogue-like that provides random level generation, … Read more]]>

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Ravenous Games is probably best known for their League Of Evil series, which is definitely an entertaining collection of platform games.  Personally, though, I actually get more enjoyment from Devious Dungeon.  Sporting the same cool pixel graphics as most of their other offerings, Devious Dungeon is a side scrolling rogue-like that provides random level generation, loot collection and stat and weapon upgrades without all the hardcore stuff like needing to eat or weapons that get worn out and break.  It seems like the type of game that should get old after a while, yet every time I go back to play it I’m just as captivated as the time before.

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The plot is pretty basic – go down in the catacombs and clear them out.  In a game like this it works just fine because the lack of plot makes it real easy to pick up and play for a few minutes or a couple of hours, depending on your mood at the time.  The mechanics are equally simple.  Arrows allow you to move left and right, while two buttons provide you with the ability to jump and swing your sword.  It’s just enough to give you something to do without having to worry about forgetting all the commands or special moves between sessions.  The controls work quite well and make even the tightest of jumps fairly easy to execute.

So what exactly do you do in Devious Dungeon?  Well, your primary business is to slay lots of monsters and collect a bunch of loot.  Killing monsters gets you some experience and some coins, assuming you can catch them.  You also get coins from various statues and crates littered throughout the levels, so make sure you take out everything that you can destroy.  Most levels even contain a hidden area where you’ll find either a chest full of gems that earn you lots of coin or a tome that gives you a large amount of XP.  I really like the fact that as you level up the tomes increase in the amount of experience they give you, even if you go back and play earlier levels.  I also appreciate the fact that the game encourages you to explore every nook and cranny of a level, despite the fact that you might have found the key that opens the exit portal.

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Like most RPG style games, experience helps you level up.  When you gain a level you get one point to spend on stamina, strength or dexterity.  You can also buy potions that permanently increase certain stats as well as amulets and rings that bolster your stats as long as you’re wearing them.  And of course there are weapons and armor that fortify your attack and defense capabilities respectively.  I find it interesting that unlike most games where you can have multiple types of say a weapon or armor that do different things for you, in Devious Dungeon each object tree (weapon, armor, amulet and ring) is linear, with the next unlocked item is always better than the previous one.  The only question you have to answer at that point is which tree do you unlock the next rung in first?  In addition to simply completing the game there are 24 achievements to earn via Game Center as well as plenty of quests to complete which reward you with additional gold.  There is certainly plenty to keep you busy in Devious Dungeon.

If you’ve played any of the Ravenous Games offerings, especially from the League Of Evil series, then you know what to expect from the graphics, and Devious Dungeon does not disappoint.  Of course even if you’re just a pixel art lover you’ll be able to appreciate the crisp foreground objects and subdued backgrounds.  The characters are well rendered, and larger versions of creatures don’t just feel like resized sprites.  Even the main character goes through visual changes as you swap armor and swords.  The sound effects are decent, and while the individual creatures could use some distinct noises, you’ll always know when a particular ranged attacker is firing.  I also like the fact that wooden versus metallic objects make different sounds when you crush them.  The only thing that’s really missing aesthetically is a diversified soundtrack.  The music isn’t bad, but there appear to be only two main songs: one for all of the levels and another for when you visit Olaf’s camp to buy weapons or get healed.

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I’ve read in the past where people have felt that all of Ravenous Games’ offerings start to feel similar after a while, but honestly other than the jumping mechanic, Devious Dungeon provides a completely different experience from League Of Evil and really from most of their other games.  The random dungeons, myriad of quests and multitude of upgrades to collect give you plenty to do, and even in the sometimes tediousness the simplicity of the game incubates it never really gets boring.  Despite not actually being devious, Devious Dungeon is certainly plenty of fun.

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App Summary
Title: Devious Dungeon Developer: Ravenous Games Inc.
Reviewed Ver: 1.1 Min OS Req:  iOS 5.0
Price: $1.99 App Size: 41.93MB
  • Lots of levels to conquer and loot
  • Plenty of quests to complete
  • Simple, effective control scheme
  • Great pixel visuals
  • Can get tedious at times
  • Needs a more diversified soundtrack

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Red Game Without A Great Name in Review: At Least The Game Is Great http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/08/07/red-game-without-a-great-name-in-review-at-least-the-game-is-great/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/08/07/red-game-without-a-great-name-in-review-at-least-the-game-is-great/#comments Fri, 07 Aug 2015 14:23:50 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74651 Red Game Without A Great Name suffers from one major problem: it doesn’t have a good name.  I’m assuming this isn’t a turn-off for those of you that are already reading this, otherwise you probably wouldn’t be wasting your time in the first place.  I’m afraid it might prevent many from trying this game, however, … Read more]]>

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Red Game Without A Great Name suffers from one major problem: it doesn’t have a good name.  I’m assuming this isn’t a turn-off for those of you that are already reading this, otherwise you probably wouldn’t be wasting your time in the first place.  I’m afraid it might prevent many from trying this game, however, which would be an absolute shame.  This game is unique, challenging and often makes me want to pull my hair out.  Unlike something along the lines of Flappy Bird, though, this frustration is completely worth it.

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Your task is simply to deliver a secret message, and just like the fabled postmen you must complete that task regardless of rain, sleet, snow… well, you get the picture.  Of course so far weather hasn’t actually played a factor in the game, but maybe that will be coming eventually.  It’s not like the game needs it, given the extreme challenges the game already provides.  You see, in order to get the mail where it needs to go you’ve devised a rather clever mechanical bird that can teleport from one spot to another.  The problem is that aside from the teleporting the bird is constantly in motion, and it’s always travelling the same direction unless something causes it to do otherwise.  Oh, and did I mention the level is moving as well?

This constant movement turns the game into an interesting combination of reaction and memorization, and even when you know the level like the back of your hand there’s still no guarantee that you’ll pull a move off the same way twice.  Naturally there are also all of the standard obstacles like walls that simply stop your movement (but not the level’s), barbed wire strands that stop you permanently, and gates that try to crush you.  Occasionally things will pop up to alter your journey, like jets that change your direction, gas clouds that cause you to speed up and glowing masses that give you the power to destroy cracked walls.  When it comes to these “aids”, the trick is in determining when they are useful and when they will just make your trip harder.  I will give you a hint: usually the cracked walls are either hiding something or give you a bit of protection from danger, so be sure to check each of those out at least once.

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To teleport the bird you simply drag a line from it to where you want it to go.  Conceptually this is a great idea and more often than not it works fine, but when you’re in a hurry to make your next move it’s easy to accidentally not select the bird, in which case any dragging you’re doing is worthless.  Also, while the line drawing method is good for more lengthy movements, it’s not great for small, precision tweaks in your flight path.  Each level has three cogs to collect, and if you’re like me and gotta have them all then you’ll probably drive yourself nuts on some levels trying to get the one that’s in a tight spot.  The game also keeps track of your deaths on each level, so once you’ve gotten all the cogs you can go back and try and better that ranking if you wish.  The game is even kind enough to record a video of all your attempts in a given run, so you can depress yourself even more when you realize you managed to kill yourself 33 times in just under seven minutes!

The visuals are great. While it’s not all about red like one might expect given the name, there’s definitely a limited color palette.  This combined with the simpler yet still detailed shadow like design of the graphics makes for a rather appealing and slick looking world.  The one issue I have is that sometimes things are so dark that it’s hard to tell what’s going on, which can make already challenging areas much more difficult.  The sound effects aren’t bad, though I do get tired of hearing the screech the bird makes when it dies after a while.  The music is easy to listen to and has a nice, jazzy beat to it.

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Red Game Without A Great Name has two potentially off-putting issues for casual gamers: it can be insanely difficult at times, and the simple controls often feel problematic.  Unlike so many other games on the App Store today, though, the difficulty is tempered by the fact that there are levels you can actually finish, giving you a real sense of accomplishment.  Combine that with a fresh game mechanic and some cool graphics design and you have a great entry in whatever genre you wish to label this as.

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App Summary
Title: Red Game Without A Great Name Developer: iFun4all
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.3 Min OS Req:  iOS 6.0
Price: $2.99 App Size: 94.70MB
  • Refreshing game mechanics
  • 60 levels to conquer
  • Great visuals
  • Jazzy, upbeat music
  • Levels can get really frustrating
  • Controls don’t work well for pinpoint accuracy
  • Sometimes visuals can be too dark

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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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