TouchMyApps » Board 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 Thu, 18 Dec 2014 22:12:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.5 Zombie Quest HD – Mastermind The Hexes! in Review – Good Idea, Not Enough Content http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/09/28/zombie-quest-hd-mastermind-the-hexes-in-review-good-idea-not-enough-content/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/09/28/zombie-quest-hd-mastermind-the-hexes-in-review-good-idea-not-enough-content/#comments Fri, 28 Sep 2012 10:55:13 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=70068 I have to confess that I did not know what type of game Zombie Quest HD was when I agreed to review it, but the allure of undead participants and a quirky board game were too much for me to refuse.  I was a bit surprised to discover that it was simply an Othello variant, but … Read more]]>

I have to confess that I did not know what type of game Zombie Quest HD was when I agreed to review it, but the allure of undead participants and a quirky board game were too much for me to refuse.  I was a bit surprised to discover that it was simply an Othello variant, but then it turned out to be quite an amusing twist on the original.  Then it was over, just as I was really getting into it.  The changes from its inspiration are welcome additions, but for this game to rise above the rest it at least needs to either expand its level set or make multi-player more than just hot-seat, if not both.

Basically, Zombie Quest is one of those games were each time starts with a certain number of pieces on the board, and at the end of the game the person with the most pieces wins.  To get extra pieces you can clone one of your pieces to an adjacent tile or move to a tile that is surrounded by your opponent’s pieces.  The former will get you one extra piece, while the latter will convert all adjacent pieces that belong to your opponent over to your side.  There are five worlds to conquer, each with four boards, and as you progress through the boards on each level they get bigger and theoretically more challenging.  Truthfully, though, there were only 2 or 3 boards that really gave me any sort of grief.

To complicate matter, some tiles have grates on them, and every so many turns fire comes out of those grates, torching whoever is on that tile.  If enough of those pieces belong to you, it could easily turn the tide of the game.  You’ll also earn a power up for completing each world.  These power ups can be used in place of your turn and range from a crane that will remove one piece from the board to a bomb that can destroy the pieces on a selected tile and all adjacent tiles.  You can use more than one power up per game and you can even use the same power up more than once, but each power up has a cool down period so keep that in mind when planning your strategy.

To move a piece you tap to select and tap to move.  To use a power up you tap the power up and then tap where you want to use it.  The mechanics are simple as can be, but one simple addition I’d like to see is the possibility to unselect a piece by tapping it again.  There are achievements to earn, but sadly beyond that there’s no reason to return to the main campaign once you’ve beaten it, which won’t take most players too terribly long.  There’s also a multi-player mode, but sadly it is only hot seat at the moment.  I’m not much for online games, but this is one I’d probably be willing to play over the internet if the option existed.

While the game is horror monster themed, the visuals are an interesting mix of cartoony and macabre.  The character designs look good, but there are silly little things like the creatures on the chamber level periodically sticking their tongues out at you or the vampires having Mohawks.  The sound effects are pretty cool and again occasionally have some “cute” stuff thrown in.  One thing I really appreciate is there appears to be a unique theme for each world, and the music is well written.

Zombie Quest is a fun variant of the Othello style game, with things like flaming grates and power ups to set it apart from the pack.  The horror monster theme is nifty as well.  Unfortunately, the game is simply over way too quickly unless you have someone physically by you that wants to play.  Additional levels would help, and maybe even the ability to tweak difficulty settings.  Ultimately, though, I think the game needs internet connectivity for human competition in order to give it some longevity.

Tap It Rating - 3/5

App Summary
Title: Zombie Quest HD – Mastermind the hexes! Developer: Pavel Tarabrin
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $1.99 App Size:
  • Power ups and flaming grates
  • Cool visuals
  • Good music
  • Campaign is too short
  • Only supports hot seat for multi-player

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Chapaev Pro in Review – A cruel way to treat checkers! http://www.touchmyapps.com/2011/10/27/chapaev-pro-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2011/10/27/chapaev-pro-in-review/#comments Thu, 27 Oct 2011 11:26:58 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=59760 Growing up in Russia, one of the favourite school break pastimes was always a friendly game of Chapaev. Born out of a perverted version of checkers, we’d use figures made out of common stationary along with a checkers board – just about anything went! Suffice it to say that when I was offered the chance … Read more]]>

Growing up in Russia, one of the favourite school break pastimes was always a friendly game of Chapaev. Born out of a perverted version of checkers, we’d use figures made out of common stationary along with a checkers board – just about anything went!
Suffice it to say that when I was offered the chance to review Chapayev Pro for the iDevice, I was more than surprised, but pleasantly so. Now the whole world can be opened up to the amazing board game that is Chapaev.

Chapaev Pro is an adaptation of the exUSSR original board game. Played on a standard chess/checkers board and with common checker figures, it is a very hands on experience not for the faint of heart. Well, the latter is of course somewhat of an exaggeration, though don’t expect the calm pace of classic checkers. Instead players have to hurl their pieces at the opponent’s very own via well placed flicks of a finger to knock them off the playing field. The last one to have figures on the board wins.

The developers decided to embrace the basic game mechanics themselves rather than the actual experience and simplified the game a bit. Instead of actually flicking the pieces you have to simply tap-n-drag to define the direction and the power of the strike. On the other hand they’ve introduced multiple types of figures and some more complex game mechanics to make the game more interesting.

Both parties start with at the opposite ends of the board with the same units. These can range from the common light, medium and heavy ones to conventional and gas bombs and gas-masked units. Some even have a limited amount of moves, after which they self-destruct, so clever use is required to win. Speaking of which – you can win a battle, but not the war. Meaning – once you overcome your opponent, you’ll start over but now one row closer. The war (match) is won only after you literally push the opponent off the screen from the very beginning by winning enough matches to reach the other part of the board.

Graphically Chapaev Pro looks quite nice, especially on the larger screen of an iPad. Ground, air and naval sets of pieces and battlefields are available, though they differ only in appearance. I have to confess I would love to see the option of using the flick-to-launch mechanic instead of the tap-n-drag to control your pieces; it would make the gameplay much more authentic. There is multiplayer of sorts, but of the pass-n-play variety. So you’d take a turn and give the iDevice to your opponent for him/her to make theirs. And although it would be fine for those school break fracases, I find the absence of online play rather disappointing. Also the occasional crashing of the app made for some additional frustration.

Chapayev Pro brings the age-old exUSSR kids’ favourite to the attention of the general public, and does a good job of that. It does not make a complete transition of the experience, but instead adapts it to make the game more accessible to the casual crowd of iOS gamers. Unfortunately the frustrating technical glitches and the lack of online multiplayer rather limit the appeal of Chapaev Pro. Still, if you’re interested in how the Russkies had their fun when the rest of the world was already busy with Apple 2s and the like, it’s certainly a worthwhile pick – especially at the current promotional price of Free.

With this I declare Chapaev Pro officially touched!

Tap It Rating - 3/5

App Summary
Title: Chapayev Pro Developer: Kynitex
Reviewed Ver: 1.1.12 Min OS Req: 3.1
Price: Free App Size: 13.06MB
  • Original game mechanics
  • Universal
  • Nicely adapted controls
  • No online multiplayer
  • Stability issues
  • No flick-control options

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The 7th Guest: Infection in Review – Kids, don’t try this at home! http://www.touchmyapps.com/2011/07/26/the-7th-guest-infection-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2011/07/26/the-7th-guest-infection-in-review/#comments Tue, 26 Jul 2011 14:22:02 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=55342 The re-release of the classic adventure The 7th Guest (TMA Review) pleasantly surprised me about half-a-year ago, heralding the rebirth of Trilobyte Games. True to the minutest detail, the port nevertheless missed one of the most challenging puzzles due to the difficulty of adapting it to the small screen of the iPhone. Showered by fan … Read more]]>

The re-release of the classic adventure The 7th Guest (TMA Review) pleasantly surprised me about half-a-year ago, heralding the rebirth of Trilobyte Games. True to the minutest detail, the port nevertheless missed one of the most challenging puzzles due to the difficulty of adapting it to the small screen of the iPhone. Showered by fan requests however the developers decided instead to recreate the famous microscope puzzle from scratch and recently released it as a separate game for the iPad – The 7th Guest: Infection.

The 7th Guest: Infection is an original take on the classic board game – Reversi. You and your opponent control competing swarms of bacteria in an attempt to secure dominance over the playing field. The game itself as noted above is an excerpt from the classic PC adventure, but thankfully the mechanics do not really imply any storyline and you don’t have to own or even have played The 7th Guest to fully enjoy it.

The basic rules are simple:  the game starts with each player controlling a piece on the opposite sides of a square-shaped playing field. Each turn a single action can be taken, either adding a new piece to an empty square, adjacent to the one you own or moving an existing piece for 2 squares. If there are any enemy pieces in the squares adjacent to the one you placed/moved the bacteria to, they become yours as well. The game continues until one side completely eliminates the other or the board is full.

This seemingly simple and straightforward set of rules turns out to be extremely challenging, especially thanks to the excellent AI. Take care though, as even on the lowest difficulty level more times than I’d care to admit I lost miserably. The true joy, of course, is playing against a fellow human, where you have the option to gaze at his/her helpless eyes when to take over the last piece… or not. And as this played on the iPad, it’s perfectly suited for the board gaming experience. Sadly, if you fancy online play you’re out of luck though.

As Infection has been rebuilt from the ground up for the iPad, the graphics are eye-candy. It keeps the classic feel of the game, but the visuals have been updated for the 21st century. The controls are simple and intuitive and work perfectly, though it isn’t too much of a surprise. For those preferring to play with sound Infection will definitely be a treat with Stauf’s trademark taunts and an original soundtrack by MazeDude.

While some may complain that taking a single puzzle out of a classic game and releasing it on its own is a bit on the iffy side, few would having taken The 7th Guest: Infection  for a spin. The original take on the Reversi rules fully justify a standalone title and will provide ample enjoyment, whether you decide to face Stauf himself or go head-to-head with a friend. The only real downer of course is the absence of online multiplayer. But if you enjoy a good board game and/or working out your mind, Infection is definitely a title worth considering.

With this I declare The 7th Guest: Infection officially touched!

App Summary
Title: The 7th Guest: Infection Developer: Trilobyte Games, LLC.
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req: 4.2
Price: $2.99 App Size: 17.20MB
  • Original easy-to-learn-difficult-to-master gameplay
  • Atmospheric graphics and audio
  • No online multiplayer

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Pictureka! in Review – Can You See Me Now? http://www.touchmyapps.com/2011/02/07/pictureka-in-review-can-you-see-me-now/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2011/02/07/pictureka-in-review-can-you-see-me-now/#comments Mon, 07 Feb 2011 15:50:29 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=47731 This game is insane, and of course I mean that in a good way.  Just listen to the different sounds that you can assign to your profile and you’ll quickly realize that the people who put this together had a lot of fun doing it and wanted to share that fun with us.  Pictureka! is … Read more]]>

This game is insane, and of course I mean that in a good way.  Just listen to the different sounds that you can assign to your profile and you’ll quickly realize that the people who put this together had a lot of fun doing it and wanted to share that fun with us.  Pictureka! is based off of a board game, and after spending some time playing the electronic version I can definitely imagine that given the right group of people this would make a great party game.  If you’re looking for a “hidden object” game that offers something completely different, a great family game, or simply something that will both entertain and drive you nuts at the same time, Pictureka is your game.

Pictureka allows you to set up to four profiles, and in VS mode you can have up to four players (note the coincidence).  Of course this also means if a fifth person wants to get in on the fun at some point they have to share someone else’s profile or wipe it out.  If you don’t really care about that, you don’t need to set up anything at all – human players default to player1 through player4, and you can use them all without altering them.

The game itself has two modes – Adventure and Versus.  Either way you’ll be presented with several screens that contain a lot of objects on them.  You’ll also be given a target, whether it’s a specific picture or a description like “4 teeth”, and you must find the number of specified objects within a time limit.  The descriptions force you to think outside the box, because “4 teeth” could literally mean just a picture of a tooth, or it could mean a picture of something that has teeth as part of it.  Don’t always look for the obvious.

You swipe the screen to scroll the view back and forth, and tap on an object to select it.  A correct selection makes the object go away and get replaced with something else.  An incorrect object shows an X above it for a second, though it doesn’t seem to affect your time at all.

In Adventure mode you’ll travel across a series of islands, and the amount of items you have to find each step of the way will increase, while the amount of time decreases.  Also note that your time bank is shared across all levels on an island, so if you use most of your time on the first level you’ll have to be really quick when completing the rest of the island.  It does appear that you get bonus time when finding the last item in a group, but it’s not a lot of extra time.  There are also bonus rounds at the end of each island where you just have to tap everything you can that isn’t a bomb.

In Versus mode there are a variety of challenges to complete in.  You might have to see who can find a certain object faster.  Another challenge has you bid on how many of a certain object you can find, and the person with the highest bid has to either make good on the bid or lose a card.  Whatever the challenge, it’s all about finding objects and earning cards.  The first player to earn six cards wins.

The visual style is wacky to say the least.  It reminds me of one of those specialized humor card lines from hallmark.  If this were some normal side scrolling type of game, the graphics most likely wouldn’t cut it.  Here they work quite well.  The problem is that sometimes because of the goofy visuals it’s hard to tell what something is, but that usually doesn’t impede the game play at all.  I do really like the map in adventure mode, as each time you beat a level more animated things get added to the map.

The sound effects are just as crazy.  Leave the game on a menu screen some time and just listen.  The different noises really have nothing to do with the game, but you’ll find yourself chuckling at them after a while.  The music is fun and intense.  Sometimes it drives you crazy and makes it hard to concentrate, and other times it’s quite motivational in its hectic nature.

Pictureka is a great game.  The single player mode is a blast, and versus mode can be quite amusing given the right person or people to play against (don’t play against yourself – you’re not THAT entertaining).  A wi-fi mode would be nice for versus, but it’s manageable having to pass the device.  Just be prepared to start picking out random objects in the landscape as you’re driving down the road…

App Summary
Title: Pictureka! Developer: Electronic Arts
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.5 Min OS Req: 3.0
Price: $1.99 App Size: 17.8 MB
  • Frantic fun
  • Wacky visuals
  • Upbeat music
  • Can drive you nuts

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Jenga HD in Review – Topp(l)ing Expectations http://www.touchmyapps.com/2011/01/10/jenga-hd-in-review-toppling-expectations/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2011/01/10/jenga-hd-in-review-toppling-expectations/#comments Mon, 10 Jan 2011 19:13:34 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=46183 The fact that there are numerous board game classics on the iPhone and iPad is a testament that recreating the experience in a virtual format is a lucrative affair. Jenga, however, is different, because the selling point of the game is the physical dexterity, speed and accuracy to pull it off. More importantly, Jenga is … Read more]]>

The fact that there are numerous board game classics on the iPhone and iPad is a testament that recreating the experience in a virtual format is a lucrative affair. Jenga, however, is different, because the selling point of the game is the physical dexterity, speed and accuracy to pull it off. More importantly, Jenga is a game that is ideally played with friends and family. The best part, of course, is the riot that ensues when the whole thing collapses and everyone scrambles to rebuild the fallen tower of blocks to start a new round.

Physics-based gameplay isn’t new for iOS games, nor is the port of popular board game classics, but the true test here is how good an experience Jenga is with a tower of virtual blocks instead of the wooden ones we’ve come to know and love.

Translated into the iOS format, Jenga for the iPad becomes a portable game that is just as good for one as it is for four. There are three game modes: Classic, Arcade, and Pass and Play (the social aspect of the game). You can also choose the “room” in which you play in, a feature that one can also find in games such as Monopoly.

The gameplay is incredibly familiar – there are about 54 wooden blocks stacked up, with three comprising each layer. The objective is to build a tower as high as you can using blocks below the topmost layer, and to build a new layer without the tower toppling over. The trick is to look for blocks easiest to remove (highlighted in white) and carefully (if not gingerly) pull them out with minimal movement.

On the iPad, this is easier said than done. The graphics are excellent and smoothly done, unlike many 3D games. Despite the excellent physics engine behind the game, the touch controls are a bit too sensitive, making gameplay incredibly difficult and unrealistic. Dealing with actual wooden blocks, it’s a given that the first few layers are bound to be easy for the average player, since taking a block, say from the bottom of the tower requires little dexterity since it’s the most stable part of the tower. In Jenga HD, the act of pulling out a ‘safe’ block can already have serious consequences on your tower and early, tentative attempts will dislodge some blocks up in the tower, making the whole thing sway to and fro. It’s also quite difficult to view the whole tower clearly especially when you start from near the bottom to transport the block to the top – the camera doesn’t quite follow all your movements.

Even after so many earnest tries, I have yet to crack into the barest minimum into the top scores. After several failed attempts, playing became rather tedious and frustrating. As soon as I beat the basic towers, I will post my scores on Facebook and Twitter – the closest equivalent to bragging rights since having played the game solo on the go (a nice point to consider), there was no one to shriek with me when the tower came crashing down (which is rather sad).

Fans will no doubt love the prospect of taking Jenga with them anywhere. On my part, the sight of virtual wooden blocks teetering precariously reminded me of the challenges that games, even the good ones, have yet to hurdle. Regardless, once you get used to the controls, the game is still fun, especially when played with a bunch of friends. Jenga HD narrowly beats out a “Tap” to earn itself a Grab It rating.

Jenga is also available on the iPhone and iPod Touch, which can found here on the App Store.
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App Summary
Title: Jenga
Jenga HD
Developer: NaturalMotion
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req: 3.2
Price: $1.99 App Size: Size: 35.2 MB
  • Well-done graphics and realistic effects
  • Faithful recreation of the original
  • Excellent physics engine
  • Overly sensitive controls
  • Frustrating/tedious gameplay

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Reiner Knizia’s Kingdoms in Review – Dragons and Castles, but is it Fun? http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/12/13/reiner-knizias-kingdoms-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/12/13/reiner-knizias-kingdoms-in-review/#comments Mon, 13 Dec 2010 17:56:17 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=44722 Kingdoms is the latest port to the iPhone of a board game by Reiner Knizia, a prolific, “german style” board game designer with over 500 published games to his name. Kingdoms is a game he designed back in 1994, and now it is playable on your iDevice! So what’s it all about? Kingdoms is played … Read more]]>

Kingdoms is the latest port to the iPhone of a board game by Reiner Knizia, a prolific, “german style” board game designer with over 500 published games to his name. Kingdoms is a game he designed back in 1994, and now it is playable on your iDevice! So what’s it all about?

iPhone Screenshot 2

Kingdoms is played on a 5×6 grid with a bunch of terrain tiles numbered from -6 to +6, and a few special tiles. You play a member of some unspecified royalty placing castles amongst the terrain. Your goal is to maximize the sum of all the terrain tiles in the same row and column as your castle. Each castle has a multiplier, from 1x to 4x, which is applied to the sum for each castle that was played. At the end of each round, you add up the score for each castle, and then you get back your 1x castles. However, the 2x, 3x, and 4x castles are for a single use only, so you need to be careful and use them to best advantage over the three turns. Finally, there are three special tiles. Dragons cancel any positive tiles in the same row and column; in other words, only the negative tiles count towards your score, and then you multiply by your castle value, very nasty! Mines double the value of all tiles in the row and column, good or bad, and mountains break the row/column into two separate sections (you don’t count tiles on the other side of the mountain, but the dragon doesn’t affect over the mountain either). After three rounds, whoever has the highest score wins!

The game is nicely done, using the original artwork from the board game. The game supports retina display, and looks gorgeous, though the tile artwork seems slightly soft. There is no sound at all, but that doesn’t detract from the gameplay.

If you are thinking this sounds like a rather “mathy” game, you would be correct. As is common with Knizia’s games, this is really a mathematical optimization game with a thin veneer of theme to add some interest. Still, there are interesting strategies, and the game rewards repeated plays as you build up strategies for dealing with different scenarios. The math part is not overwhelming, it is usually possible to have an intuitive feel for the gameplay, though sometimes you will be surprised at the score differences.

However, all is not happy castles in Kingdom land. First up is the controls. The tiles are small, and it’s sometimes hard to tell which tile you have selected. The game gives some feedback where a move will be made, but sometimes I still find I have selected the wrong castle, or worse, placed a juicy tile in the spot next to where I intended. To add insult to injury, there is no undo, so you have no choice but to watch as the computer players take advantage of your mistake. Kingdoms games are tight, and sometimes brutal, so one wrong move can easily lead to defeat. Now the controls are generally quite good, and I don’t make the wrong move very often, but when it happens it is particularly frustrating since there is no margin for error.

The second problem is the difficulty. I have played Kingdoms as a board game, and I found by comparison that even on the easy setting, the difficultly of the iOS game is definitely on the hard side. Even on the easy setting, the computer players are very challenging, even ruthless, which can be very daunting. I did notice that playing with 2 or 3 is a little easier since fewer players means more opportunities to place tiles. But you should expect to lose early and often. There are no multi-player options, so the computer players are your only option.

Overall, Kingdoms is a well-executed and faithful port of the original board game with retina graphics and challenging computer players. However, I can’t help feeling that the the game is geared to hardcore fans of the board game, with very little for the more casual iOS crowd. The lack of multiplayer makes it a solitary pursuit, and the lack of any sort of online leaderboards is surprising. I can really only recommend this game to Knizia fans who want a complete set, or fans of the board game looking to sharpen their skills. Board gamers looking for iOS ports would be better off to start with more accessible fare like Carcassonne or Reiner Knizia’s Samurai.

With this I declare Kingdoms officially touched!

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App Summary
Title: Reiner Knizia’s Kingdoms Developer: Skotos Tech
Reviewed Ver: 1.02 Min OS Req: iOS 3.2 or later
Price: $3.99 App Size: 10.46MB
  • Faithful implementation of the original board game
  • Challenging computer players
  • Good graphics with retina display support
  • Controls are small, need more help for the small screen
  • Badly needs an undo, or some other way to recover from a wrong move
  • Computer players are ruthless, even on easy
  • Not very accessible for casual gamers
  • No options for playing with other gamers

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This review was brought to you by TouchMyApps contributor Paul Close

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Necronomicon in Review – Stopping Cthulhu is just a matter of having the right cards at the right time… http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/12/08/necronomicon-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/12/08/necronomicon-in-review/#comments Wed, 08 Dec 2010 16:59:57 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=44346 It seems my recent cry for more CCG games on the iDevice in the introduction to the review of Riese has not gone unnoticed. Lucidsphere Media recently released Necronomicon – an original single-player game with a mix of CCG and board game elements, inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft and the dreaded Cthulhu. Though … Read more]]>

It seems my recent cry for more CCG games on the iDevice in the introduction to the review of Riese has not gone unnoticed. Lucidsphere Media recently released Necronomicon – an original single-player game with a mix of CCG and board game elements, inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft and the dreaded Cthulhu. Though the meme of calling upon its name that has swept over the internet a few years ago has passed, the universe created by the famous author is still one of the most recognizable of any horror setting out there.

Necronomicon is an original blend of CCG and board game mechanics. A group of cultists have stolen the dreaded Necronomicon from the Miskatonic Universities library and yet again are trying to call upon Cthulhu. Through the open portal minions of the dark god have begun to leak into our world and it’s up to a unlikely bunch of investigators to defeat them, recover the stolen tomes and seal back the portal.

The gameplay of Necronomicon is split into 3 distinct phases. In phase 1 you get the actual CCG gameplay, with a 5 slots for the Chtulhu cards, 5 opposing slots for the investigator cards, a library and a graveyard. You draw cards one by one from the deck and place it according to the type. If it is an investigator or a monster you have to place it on one of the unoccupied slots for each team, and if it is a modifier, you have to apply it to one of the existing creatures in play or, sometimes, to an unoccupied slot. Most cards have to be used at once, though some may be stashed in the graveyard for the time being. If you have a monster and an investigator in the slots opposite one another – they fight and after all the bonuses are added up and the attack dice are rolled, the loser is removed from the playing field. In the end the goal is to have all investigator slots occupied and draw 2 more investigator cards to progress to the next phase.

Phase 2 is a rather simple board game. Each turn you roll the dice and may move your piece across the gaming board. If you reach an unexplored room you may reveal an ally or a piece of the lost necronomicon. If you end up on a free or already visited location, however, at the end of the turn you may randomly be either pushed back, placed in the asylum, library or just left alone. And the allies you find along the way alleviate some of the conditions. The goal in phase 2 is to gather all artifacts and allies and return to the library, where the final battle is triggered. This last part is quite straightforward and you are awarded life according to the combined parameters of all of your investigators in play and roll a 20-sided die in turn with Cthulhu to deal damage. Whichever reduces the enemy to 0 first wins.

Visually I can’t help to admire the amount of work gone into creating the cards. All of the artwork is excellent, stylish and recognizable and on par with the art for such full-blown CCGs as MTG, or WoW TcG. The musical score is also on par with eerie music adding to the atmosphere. The controls and interface are the only real issue. They are far from perfect, with all of the information on the cards being quite confusing and the way the battle parameters are added up still being a mystery to me. And the lack of any AI and complete control over where to place the monster cards end up making a serious blow to the gameplay interest, sometimes reminiscing of playing solitaire rather than a CCG game.

Necronomicon is one of the few CCG-type games on the App Store and it’s certainly a very promising one. The developers already promised to keep more content coming via updates and DLC packs to expand the game. And coupled with an original gameplay system, excellent artwork and atmospheric music this sets the game off to a nice start. Provided they manage to polish the interface to make it less confusing and add some AI, Necronomicon has everything in it to be the crown jewel of CCGs on the platform.

With this I declare Necronomicon officially touched!

App Summary
Title: Necronomicon Developer: Lucidsphere Media
Reviewed Ver: 1.1.1 Min OS Req: 3.0
Price: $1.99 App Size: 77.88MB
  • Original CCG and board game mechanics
  • Authentic atmosphere
  • Excellent artwork
  • Confusing interface
  • No Retina support
  • No AI involvement in the gameplay

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Riese in Review – Sometimes war is just another board game… http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/11/29/riese-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/11/29/riese-in-review/#comments Mon, 29 Nov 2010 22:04:53 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=43810 For reasons unknown one genre the iDevice is still almost devoid of are CCGs or Collectable Card Games. For the uninitiated, probably the most well known such game is Magic the Gathering. We’ve seen some titles based on the idea, like the very much underestimated Orions: Legend Of Wizards (TMA Review). It seems I’m not … Read more]]>

For reasons unknown one genre the iDevice is still almost devoid of are CCGs or Collectable Card Games. For the uninitiated, probably the most well known such game is Magic the Gathering. We’ve seen some titles based on the idea, like the very much underestimated Orions: Legend Of Wizards (TMA Review). It seems I’m not the only one who noticed this gap, as Genius Factor Games recently released Riese in an effort to both satisfy the market and promote the webseries, currently airing on Syfy.com.

It’s hard to define the genre of Riese specifically, but I would call it a tactical card turn-based strategy game. The world of Eleysia is in turmoil with its rightful princess dethroned. The dreaded Sect has put into power a puppet ruler that has declared it the official religion. The people have banded together to form the Resistance, their last hope of defending their homeland against the usurpers. And we’re thrown smack in the middle of it all.

Riese is actually a reasonably well thought-out cross between a CCG and a board game. It is split into a series of individual battles, the goal of which is to take over a specific region. The goal of each battle is to take over more than 75% of the battlefield. You do this by moving your units over the tiles, though it’s not necessary to keep them there afterwards. The units themselves are deployed on any neutral tile out of the cards you draw at the beginning of the game, with used cards immediately replenished. All actions, be it deploying a unit, moving it or attacking costs a certain amount of decision points, or DPs. You start with 3 and more are added at the beginning of each turn depending on the amount of units you have in play – up to a maximum of 5.

This rather simple gameplay aims for the easy to pick up but difficult to master goal. With only a few basic rules, but lots of cards to make up your deck (which incidentally can have up to 20 cards) you are destined to spend quiet a lot of time in the deck management interface. And with more cards unlocked as you progress farther through the game, as well as 3 separate factions with their own to choose from, it is bound to make any CCG fan’s day. Unfortunately the rather simple goal of taking over the territory instead of one more focused on eliminating your opponent takes a lot out of the excellent premise. Remember, you can place your units on any unoccupied neutral tile, meaning if you have a lot of 1 DP cards in the deck it’s quite easy to simply rush any battle.

Technically Riese is well thought-out. Utilizing a lot of visuals from the webseries it will be immediately recognizable to any fan. And anyone not yet familiar with it will still enjoy the excellent artwork on the cards. I did find the interface a bit clunky, especially with the card tray obscuring almost half of the battle screen. Another part I thought was a bit counter intuitive was the deck management interface, which is workable if you have an idea of what you want in the end, but it’s hell to manage if you want to experiment. Oh yeah, and do remember to save your progress since Riese lacks bots, Fast-App switching and auto-save support.

Riese is a must have for any fan of the webseries and/or the CCG genre. Superb story aside (though it must be good if they made a whole webseries out of it) it brings a well-thought cross between the card and board game genres to iDevice, set in steampunk goodness. Genre experts will spend hours building that perfect deck and newbies will find the default ones nicely suited for most battles. I’m not sure if they will address the issue with the basic mechanics, but the multiplayer update will surely make it an excellent addition to any iDevice.

With this I declare Riese officially touched!

App Summary
Title: Riese Developer: Genius Factor Games
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req: 4.0
Price: $3.99 App Size: 113.59MB
  • Great original concept
  • Lots of cards to choose from
  • Authentic artwork
  • No multitasking or auto-save
  • Some underlying issues with the basic mechanic
  • Somewhat clunky interface

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Jamzu in Review – When you cross chess, checkers and backgammons you get… http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/11/23/jamzu-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/11/23/jamzu-in-review/#comments Tue, 23 Nov 2010 14:58:43 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=43512 Board games are one of the oldest forms of entertainment known to man. Long before cell phones, tablets, PCs and even TV and books, the general population’s free time was ruled by board games, whether it was the Chinese Go, the ancient game of backgammons or some variant of chess. And in the new era … Read more]]>

Board games are one of the oldest forms of entertainment known to man. Long before cell phones, tablets, PCs and even TV and books, the general population’s free time was ruled by board games, whether it was the Chinese Go, the ancient game of backgammons or some variant of chess. And in the new era the creative streak still hasn’t expired, with people dreaming up new games every day. And one of such feats of creativity is Jamzu.

Jamzu is a new-age board game, sort of a mix between chess, checkers, backgammons and who else knows what. The general idea is deceptively simple – move all of your pieces across the board before your opponent does the same. Each turn the player rolls a six-sided die and can move one of his pieces on the board according to the result. But wait, that’s way too simple to make it interesting! Enter jammers – neutral pieces that may be moved by any player but only diagonally and only following specific rules (which I’m not going to get into right now). In a nutshell, this is the basic principle of Jamzu.

The iPhone incarnation of the board game features 2 variations on the rules – the classic mode and the DieDeck mode, where the list of recent die-rolls is kept and if the roll has already appeared in the last 5 results you have to reroll. This balances out the luck part of any game, based on rolling dice, and provides more room for strategy and tactics. You can play against the AI (with difficulty levels configurable from Novice to Expert) or against a human opponent either on a single device or local Wi-Fi. No online multiplayer though, which is quite strange for a game supporting both OpenFeint and GameCenter.

Visually the game looks reasonably nice. It takes full advantage of the Retina display and the rendering quality is crisp and clear. The design itself however is lacking in many ways and the Retina support is more of a marketing gimmick than any noticeable improvement. Jamzu does offer several different visual themes, displaying the pieces in variety of ways, from common checkers pieces to glittering gems. The game also features helpful hints to assist you in making the move in accordance with the quite complicated rules of the game. Technically the most disappointing aspect to me was the absence of a universal mode, that would allow the game to run natively on an iPad. After all, playing the game head to head on a single iPhone or iPod Touch is far from comfortable.

Jamzu is the proof that human creativity is unstoppable. Despite the multitude of various board games available, enterprising individuals still manage to dream up original concepts based on a few basic principles, without the need of all the complexity that most modern board games require (like Settlers of Catan (TMA Review) for example). Unfortunately, the absence of a native iPad version for single device enjoyment and online multiplayer rather limits the potential of this refreshing title. That said, if you’re a huge board games fan, you should still find hours of enjoyment from Jamzu. If not, you can always check out the free lite version on the App Store before picking up the full game.

With this I declare Jamzu officially touched!

App Summary
Title: Jamzu Developer: Real Fun Art
Reviewed Ver: 1.50 Min OS Req: 3.0
Price: $1.99 App Size: 18.43MB
  • Original concept
  • GameCenter and OpenFeint leaderboards
  • A bit lacking in the design
  • No online multiplayer
  • Not a universal application

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Hot Reversi HD in Review– Hot Piece Action, By Yourself Or With A Friend! http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/08/16/hot-reversi-hd-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/08/16/hot-reversi-hd-in-review/#comments Mon, 16 Aug 2010 12:25:38 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=37738 Reversi, also known by many under the trade name “Othello” is a board-game traditionally involving an 8 by 8 board, dark and light pieces, and hours of endless strategy. The main goal in Reversi is to get your pieces to cover the majority of the board. This game has been seen and played on just … Read more]]>

Reversi, also known by many under the trade name “Othello” is a board-game traditionally involving an 8 by 8 board, dark and light pieces, and hours of endless strategy. The main goal in Reversi is to get your pieces to cover the majority of the board. This game has been seen and played on just about every platform/OS/device in the digital world and most recently I was able to get my hands on one of the latest iterations Hot Reversi HD by developers nenet.


The iPad is a great platform for board games. Unfortunately I’ve been so busy these last few weeks that I’ve barely had a chance to try any on them. So when I saw a chance to review Hot Reversi HD I leapt.

One key that makes Reversi a true classic is the simplicity that makes it so accessible to people of all ages. Developer nenet knew this and rather than make some wild off the wall “inspired by” type game, they kept it true to its roots.

Visually, Hot Reversi HD is appealing. It makes full use of the screen to house your game board. Everything is crisp, clean and thanks to the iPad’s giant screen, roomy enough even for two players. Animations are great, everything looks so smooth and the special effects are really well done.
One really fun item is the “red hot switch”, the equivilant to tilting a pinball machine. If you mash the button enough times it will blow the pieces off the board. So if you’re deep into a game and your oppenent is driving you crazy, the red hot switch is a great way to completely interrupt his or her concentration. Don’t worry though, the pieces do go back to their original place a couple seconds later.

nenet also did really well in the “options” department. You have multiple choices for in-game effects, board color, sounds, even the angle that you view the board. I was really impressed as most of the time with games like this, you get what you get and there isn’t any real room for changes. Even though it has nothing to do with game play, the little things are what tends to sell it for fans.

Although not detrimental to the title, if I had to pick anything that I didn’t like about the game, I would probably say the lack of network play. Come on! a board game should at least have the option… There is also a funny lack of social network support, so forget about bragging to your friends about your amazing reversal.

There really isn’t much else to say about this game, other than that  Hot Reversi HD is simple, yet really fun. The graphics are good and any fan of previous iterations of the game should find this to be quite familiar and enjoyable. I would recommend this to all fans of board games.

App Summary
Title: HOT REVERSI HD Developer: moak-1 co., Ltd.
Reviewed Ver: 1.1.0 Min OS Req: 3.2
Price: $2.99 App Size: 5.7 MB
  • Excellent design
  • Lots of in-game tweaks/options
  • Very familiar to veterans, easy to pick up for beginners
  • No online play
  • Lack of social network integration

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RISK: The Official Game in Review – Ukraine is back in full scanline glory! http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/08/05/risk-the-official-game-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/08/05/risk-the-official-game-in-review/#comments Thu, 05 Aug 2010 17:13:17 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=37154 Back in my review of Conquest, I was quite sure that the perfect RISK game had been created. Simple, but loaded with extras, its gameplay is pointed and excellent. But Conquest isn’t an official game. Instead, Ukraine-smashing fans have looked forward to this summer’s release of EA’s RISK. Out it is and for better or … Read more]]>

Back in my review of Conquest, I was quite sure that the perfect RISK game had been created. Simple, but loaded with extras, its gameplay is pointed and excellent. But Conquest isn’t an official game. Instead, Ukraine-smashing fans have looked forward to this summer’s release of EA’s RISK. Out it is and for better or worse, it is thrashing my good hard free time.

After playing my way through easy, medium and hard levels, I have this to say: RISK: The Official Game doesn’t seem to be made for board gamers. If anything, EA had video gamers in mind when they created this game. RISK is flashy, loud, and full of enough noisome screens and turn animation to make hardened iDevice gamers feel at home.

So, is that a good thing? Yes and No.

RISK has been out for a long time and is a party favourite among strategy fans primarily because it can be started and finished quickly and without much fuss. It is easy to learn, quick to master and fun to play.

Fear not, these elements are preserved perfectly by EA. RISK is easy to play. There is a tutorial, but I’ll be damned if anyone needs it. And everything from the menu system to turn divisions is smooth and accessible. Attacking is as simple as selecting the deploying territory and then finding an adjacent territory to attack. Boom boom.

As everyone knows, strategy games generally take a while to finish. EA have programmed a few tweaks into RISK to help reduce waiting. Tap the screen during a computer turn and the game speeds through each player tap by tap. The map can also be set up automatically. But perhaps the most speedy tweak is the nuke command that sends an entire army in until: A. it is victorious, taking a territory; or B. it is reduced to a burning mound of flesh. RISK has also done away with single or double dice attacks. You only attack with the maximum number of dice available. While it means you spend less time in itsy bitsy battles, it also means that finesse prod-attacks just don’t work.

Multiplayer games are handled over wifi or via pass’n play. Both work well. If you’re at a coffee shop or waiting for a train (or waiting in one), you can play away, shaving minutes from otherwise boring spaces of time. Great. Unfortunately, EA’s RISK preserves none of the feel of the board game. There is an excess of special effects, some that are unnerving, others that are almost rude. Your territories are coloured in scanlines (for some reason) and when you select a colour, you get a commando avatar who annoyingly shouts and screams at the other avatars throughout every single battle. Then, every time a territory is captured, the screen flashes and during fights, it gets more excited than a 90′s style action game. The sounds are overdone and loud. Cute, though they may be for newcomers to the genre, or casual players, they detract from the fun after just a few short turns. RISK, you see, doesn’t feel like RISK. It feels more like a Hulk-smashed progeny of Contra and Wargame and it just doesn’t sit right.

Sure, all the dicing and slicing of the enemy is preserved. You can still build up armies and play against up to five enemies. But where Conquest added new gameplay options and maps, EA’s RISK adds unneeded sound and graphic effects. It is fun, but in its effort to please younger players and newcomers, this official game loses the feel of the classic board game. It also doesn’t have a REAL hard mode. RISK is fun, yes, but not the same classic and tweaked fun that is dished by Conquest.

App Summary
Title: RISK : The Official Game Developer: Electronic Arts
Reviewed Ver: 1.4.88 Min OS Req:
Price: $4.99 App Size: 8.30MB
  • Official RISK port
  • Exciting graphics
  • Easy to learn
  • No nonsense interface
  • Redundant animations
  • Obnoxious screen flashes
  • No extra gamestyles
  • Only option to roll 3 dice or attack till dead
  • Big departure from semi-stodgy feel of the board game

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Take a look at some of our other board game reviews here at TMA:

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Roll Through the Ages in Review – Century by century, die by die… http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/07/23/roll-through-the-ages-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/07/23/roll-through-the-ages-in-review/#comments Fri, 23 Jul 2010 18:25:05 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=36411 Board games are slowly but surely invading the App Store. Starting with the oldies like chess and backgammon up to the more recent, but no less classics like SCRABBLE and MONOPOLY (TMA Review). And more recently, even some of the lesser knowns are creeping in as well. One such example is Roll Through the Ages, a … Read more]]>

Board games are slowly but surely invading the App Store. Starting with the oldies like chess and backgammon up to the more recent, but no less classics like SCRABBLE and MONOPOLY (TMA Review). And more recently, even some of the lesser knowns are creeping in as well. One such example is Roll Through the Ages, a game for the whole family that has everything to provide hours of fun and enjoyment.

Roll Through the Ages is a typical example of the German school of board game design. The goal is to get as high a score as possible in a fixed amount of rounds (usually 10). Each round is divided into stages, with specific actions available during each one. You start by rolling the die (according to the amount of cities you possess) to define what resource you have available for the rest of the round. The resources may be food, workers, coins and goods. You can reroll up to two times, fixing the dice that you like.

Once you’re through with the dice, feed the workers and assign all available ones to the buildings you desire. These can be either cities that give additional dice to roll, or monuments that give you extra score at the final tally. Once finished, it’s time to spend the cash on achievements; these give you various bonuses in different aspects of gameplay in addition to adding up points for the final score. Rinse, repeat.

The mechanics of the board game has been lovingly translated to the iDevice. Up to the choice of selecting the era, which defines what achievements are available. The graphics are nicely done as well – I almost felt I was really playing the board game itself. Some interface decisions are questionable however. My main issue is the overextended use of the base iOS menu elements in the game itself rather than going from the ground up. While this may have saved the team some time and effort, as well providing a more fluid performance, the result seems to be a bit haphazard with various bits and pieces seemingly off.

But that is not the worse issue. There is no online multiplayer in Roll Through the Ages. Furthermore, there isn’t even any option to play against an AI as well! This leaves with hot-iDevice multiplayer only. And while this may have been forgivable for an iPad or even a universal app, in an iPhone specific game it is a killer downside. I can’t imagine sitting down with the family and passing around a single iPhone – it just doesn’t work.

In all of their care of redesigning Roll Through the Ages for the iOS, the developers lost sight of the end gamers, who are going to play it. No online, or even local multiplayer, no AI and no universal app support turn a full featured board game into little more than a practice run for the boardgame. With such shortcomings the UI, feeling like having been hastily put together, is more of minor nuisance, than a serious flaw.

With this I declare Roll Through the Ages officially touched!

App Summary
Title: Roll Through the Ages Developer: Vintru, LLC
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.11 Min OS Req: 3.0
Price: $2.99 App Size: 6.33MB
  • Mechanic true to the original board game
  • Authentic graphics
  • No multiplayer apart from “hot-iDevice”
  • Haphazard UI

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