TouchMyApps » Games 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, 02 Sep 2015 16:33:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.10 Castling in Review – You Got Your Chess In My Puzzle Game… http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/09/02/castling-in-review-you-got-your-chess-in-my-puzzle-game/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/09/02/castling-in-review-you-got-your-chess-in-my-puzzle-game/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 16:33:21 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74706 When I was younger, most notably in high school, I liked to play chess once in a while.  The problem with a game like chess is it’s not easily accessible like checkers or most card games, so it can be hard to find folks that want to play with you.  Earlier this year my kids … Read more]]>

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When I was younger, most notably in high school, I liked to play chess once in a while.  The problem with a game like chess is it’s not easily accessible like checkers or most card games, so it can be hard to find folks that want to play with you.  Earlier this year my kids started to gain an appreciation for the game, so when I came across Castling I thought it might appeal to both them and me.  The brilliance of Castling is that while it never presents a full game it teaches you how to move all the pieces, and it throws a nice bit of good old fashion puzzle strategy into the mix as well.  Add to that the entertaining representations of the different pieces and you have an instant classic for both chess lovers and puzzle gamers alike.

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Just like in the game of chess, the object in Castling is to take out the king.  In this case, however, you must literally remove him from the board, unlike this game’s inspiration where you can simply “contain” him to win the game.  Typically this means getting one of your pieces onto the same square as the king, though on rare occasions there are other ways to eliminate the royal thorn in your side.  The trek won’t be easy, as the king often has some evil henchmen surrounding him.  Thankfully the opposition will only attack and not move around the board, so as long as you stay clear of a piece’s attacking pattern you’re okay.  Of course there are times when you may actually want to get attacked, though you always have to keep one of your pieces alive.

Besides the king and his minions, the path to victory is paved with many other obstacles.  Sometimes the path will be obscured with drawbridges that must be lowered by positioning a piece on a button.  In the second level set you’ll have to deal with ice, which is a slippery proposition, and sometimes even cracks under your weight.  In the third group of challenges you’ll have to have a keen eye for color, as certain gates can only be traversed by pieces of a certain hue.  Luckily you’ll be able to merge and split pieces as well as simply have them land on color changers in order to get the exact shade you’re looking for.  There is also a set of eight levels that just tests you to see how much you’ve learned from the first 60.  In order to navigate this wonderful world of “not quite chess” you just have to drag a piece from where it rests to where you want it to go.  The game is even kind enough to show you all the available moves you can make.

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Castling is comprised of 60 levels spread across 3 worlds with an additional 8 level bonus which you unlock by completing the rest of the levels or posting on Facebook or Twitter about the game via in-app buttons.  Each level has three stars to collect and a special medal you can earn by completing a more challenging goal such as beating the level in a certain number of moves.  There are 21 achievements to earn via Game Center, but there’s no leaderboard since the only thing you could really compete on is overall time to complete and the game doesn’t time you in the first place.  This is a feature I really appreciate, by the way.

The backgrounds aren’t overly detailed or diverse, but the game looks good.  I particularly like how they’ve rendered the different chess pieces.  I could almost picture them making an animated movie with these characters not unlike such films as Cars or Finding Nemo.  It would be an unexpected subject for sure, but the depictions of the various pieces give them such character.  The sound effects help in that regards as well, especially when your pieces cheer after a victory or the various players start to yawn if you haven’t moved for a while.  There are some other miscellaneous effects throughout the game that provide some nice distraction in the background but don’t really seem to fit with the game.  It’s like someone left a “sounds of nature” CD running in the background.  There’s a halfway decent music track that plays during the menu, but sadly there is no music while you’re actually playing a level, which as I’ve said many times is a particularly bad thing when the game is slower paced like Castling.

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Castling is a great puzzle game that’s blends the movements of chess with a completely different style of play.  Pure chess fiends might not find it as much of a thrill, but casual players as well as general puzzle freaks like myself should really enjoy it.  The puzzles are well thought out and often challenging without ever being impossible, and the atmosphere is cute but doesn’t feel too childish.  Some music during the levels would be nice, and maybe just a bit of animation in the background.  Otherwise this is a solid, worthwhile puzzle game.

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App Summary
Title: Castling Developer: Oddlabs
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req:  iOS 7.0
Price: $0.99 App Size: 31.22MB
  • 60+ well designed levels
  • Nice blend of chess and puzzle solving
  • Cute character pieces
  • Nice sound effects for pieces
  • Background effects seem random and superfluous
  • No music during the levels

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Interview: Rob Lemon from Gilded Skull Games http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/08/29/interview-rob-lemon-from-gilded-skull-games/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/08/29/interview-rob-lemon-from-gilded-skull-games/#comments Sat, 29 Aug 2015 16:03:15 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74691 If I’m not careful I might start morphing into something resembling a journalist.  In what has shockingly become my second interview in under a month I decided to talk with Rob Lemon, art and design lead of Gilded Skull Games.  The company recently unleashed Galactic Keep on the App Store, a labor of love that … Read more]]>

Galactic Keep Logo

If I’m not careful I might start morphing into something resembling a journalist.  In what has shockingly become my second interview in under a month I decided to talk with Rob Lemon, art and design lead of Gilded Skull Games.  The company recently unleashed Galactic Keep on the App Store, a labor of love that has been six years in the making.  See what Rob had to say about what I feel is one of the most original games to hit the App Store in quite some time.

Concept Artwork

Concept Artwork

First of all, I want to offer the customary “thank you” for taking the time to talk with me.

Thanks for giving me this opportunity, there’s a lot to talk about!

Q1. So Rob, can you tell me a little bit about yourself and Gilded Skull Games?

Gilded Skull was started almost seven years ago now. I design the games, write them and create the art while the other half of Gilded Skull, Chris Sokol, programs them while refining the design. He keeps me from going too far overboard and helps to wrangle and re-process the unreasonable and outlandish ideas that I often have. We spend a lot of time bouncing ideas back and forth, refining them then implementing them. Chris is on one coast and I’m on the other and that’s likely one of the reasons why things have worked so well for us thus far.

Q1a. So you’re saying that if you worked together in the same office you’d drive each other nuts (laughs)?

Hard to say. Actually, we get along quite well when we have met up so who knows.

Oren'Sel Character Card

Choose Your Character

Q2. Galactic Keep is your third game on the App Store that’s actually been published under the Gilded Skull label, and it’s about as far removed from the other two products game play wise as one could imagine.  What influenced you to make this turn based, board game style strategy game?

This has always been the game that we sought to make. Galactic Keep was what sparked the company into existence. I grew up playing tabletop games and own a fairly extensive collection of classic sets, modules and rulebooks to this day.

I’m drawn towards gaming oddities like the almost immeasurably complicated board game Magic Realm (I own a complete copy but have never played!) and non-fantasy RPGs like Gamma World and Star Frontier. Re-reading D&D modules by Gygax years ago inspired me to start writing the basic foundation for the Galactic Keep universe and its cast of characters.

Q3. While there are certainly other games out there with similar length and pacing, what was the draw for designing a game that takes time and patience to play in a realm that’s focused on quick bouts of gaming on the go?

Our goal was to create a game that you could pop open on a train, get some loot, kill a weird creature and shut down. You can make some quick progress and then continue on with your day. We also wanted you to be able to sink into your couch and fire up the game for an extended play session. The game needed to be both because that’s how people play, at least that’s how I play.

The tutorial is a bit long and drawn out. There’s a lot of information to get through and we dispense it in a very granular way but you can quit out of it at (almost) any time if you feel you want to get going. After that, and it only takes a few minutes, there’s not a lot to hold you up. The game auto-saves all the time, with almost every action you take, so you are always progressing.

The Story Of Galactic Keep

Tell Me A Story

Q3a.  Interesting.  I never really thought of the game as a “quick fix”, but then maybe it’s just because I got hooked every time I fired it up.  So far, does it seem like people are taking both approaches as you suggest, or does the fan base by and large hit Galactic Keep in longer gaming sessions like me?

It seems that people are playing in long sessions but there has been some positive response to the iCloud save support and being able to switch between devices, playing the same game, so there are people who do play it that way. We wanted to be open to both play styles

Q4. What is one or two features that you’d like to especially highlight about the game?

We didn’t plan for the game to have an open world. We originally thought that it was going to be a linear but branching, choose-your-path type of game almost like a game book. As I re-read a pile of game modules it occurred to me that in trying to emulate the decision-making in an actual tabletop RPG, with a DM, we’d never be able to give the player enough choices to cover the infinite directions that they could take, so we scrapped that direction.

Instead of leading a player down a track of predetermined choices, a DM will leave the flow of the game open to the players, guiding them at key points. Describe the location, give a hint (or red herring) to pique the players curiosity and then let the players figure it out for themselves. That was what I set out to do. You’re dropped into this foreign universe, the stage is set and then you are left to explore and figure out the world for yourself.

Another great aspect of the game is that you are free to stumble into things that are off the beaten path. Sometimes, the best parts of a campaign might not be in the module storyline at all, they could be on a little side path the DM took you on, into an eerie location with a memorable character who said something that resonated with you in some way. We tried to allow that to happen in Galactic Keep.

Explore The Sewer (iPad)

Explore The Sewer

Q5. Given the 6 year development cycle, I think there’s no question that this could be considered a labor of love.  I know some people have compared it to Duke Nukem Forever in that regards.  So since I’m sure the question is burning in the back of some folks’ minds anyway, what took so long?

I’ll be honest, we never expected it to take this long.

When I first posted character designs and screenshots onto the interwebs I had just finished writing what I had originally thought would be the initial module of the game. At that time, the game was a long series of multiple-choice questions that lead to a variety of game endings. Based on your choices, you’d move in various directions on a map. Most directions and story turns ended in death but some of them would bring you, inevitably, to the one ‘good ending’. It was like a game book crossed with a roguelike.

As I figured out what the iPhone could do, I realized that this idea could be expanded a lot. The game began to evolve into more of an ‘arena adventure’ where you’d roll a character and take them into an arena to battle various opponents and possibly other players. We started building that and created a demo of sorts that we showed around a bit. People liked it, but it needed more depth and the newest hardware could handle that.

It was at that point that we shelved the idea to work on a more commercial project. As we developed that, I began rewriting Galactic Keep from the ground up. Once the other commercial game was complete, about a year later, we used the newly created outline to make the game into more or less what was released.

[my response] I’m glad you went the current route.  Not that I don’t like the modern crop of electronic gamebook adventures, but I feel the approach you took sets Galactic Keep apart from anything else out there.

I loved gamebooks as a kid and being able to read / play many of the exact same books that I played way back when in a digital format is amazing!

Level Map

Won’t Find This On MapQuest

Q6. In a market that’s being driven increasingly towards the F2P model, why make Galactic Keep a premium game?  Given it’s modular nature in both campaign and cards, it seems the perfect candidate for being F2P.

I’ve never really trusted free to play games. I feel that they’re (innately, based on the ‘free-to-play’ name) not upfront about needing you to pay for them. They aren’t free, someone has to pay or they will disappear.

For Galactic Keep we thought about following that road at one point but decided we didn’t feel right about that direction. That’s not to say that we wouldn’t have in-app-purchases in the future, but we wanted to have the core of the game sold at a set price.

[my response] Well I for one appreciate this approach.  And given the length and complexity of the built in module, I could still see paying a couple of bucks extra for new modules.

Q7. Now that the initial game is out, do you already have plans for future updates?

We do. The very first update, which was just submitted and has not been reviewed as of this writing, is all about bug fixing. Many more people are playing the game than ever have before and there was bound to be things that needed fixin’. Next, we have three main components that we held back so that we could launch: A way to swap characters easily, an item storage area that was accessible to all your characters and some sort of ‘mini-map’ or zoom out feature. After that’s released, we plan to work on adding more content. We currently have several modules in various states of completion. We’d like to continue to work on the game, expanding on it, for a long time.

We are also discussing a PC version with third parties and the possibility of bringing the game to other platforms and consoles.

[my response] Well I for one hope you do get the chance to work on this for a long time.  And I’m very excited to hear about the mini-map!

Q8. Do you have another casual game in mind for when you need a break from Galactic Keep enhancements?

We have several game engines that we could use to create a casual game at this point but no, there’s nothing else in the works. We’re going to try to focus on this, our core brand.

Board Game Mockup

Physical Board Game Mock-up

Q9. So given the board / card game inspiration for Galactic Keep, would you ever consider making a physical interpretation of the game, whether it be a full blown board game or some type of card game?

A lot of people have asked if this was based on a printed product (that was lost in obscurity). We have thought about it and went so far as to create a mock-up product a while back. We haven’t pursued publishers or anything like that but it would make a lot of sense. You never know!

[my response] Wow, that’s pretty awesome.  I think I can speak for all the fans in saying thanks for sharing that bit of background.

Thanks for your time, and I really wish you the best with Galactic Keep.

We sincerely appreciate the support that we’ve had so far. Thank you!

Galactic Keep Gilded Skull Games, Galactic Keep – $3.99

Note: This interview was conducted via email.  Also, Galactic Keep actually runs quite nicely on an iPad 2, which is great news for me.

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Light In The Dark in Review – A Glowing Puzzle Game http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/08/26/light-in-the-dark-in-review-a-glowing-puzzle-game/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/08/26/light-in-the-dark-in-review-a-glowing-puzzle-game/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 22:12:36 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74685 Light In The Dark is one of those puzzle games where you have to light things up using various colors.  It’s been done before, but what makes this one work is the cute atmosphere.  Of course it doesn’t hurt that there are some well designed levels to go along with the kooky story and silly … Read more]]>

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Light In The Dark is one of those puzzle games where you have to light things up using various colors.  It’s been done before, but what makes this one work is the cute atmosphere.  Of course it doesn’t hurt that there are some well designed levels to go along with the kooky story and silly characters.  I’m not a huge fan of this particular type of puzzle game, but Light In The Dark has managed to win me over for now.

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In Light In The Dark you control these odd but cute creatures that have lost their kids inside a crazy temple full of rooms with quirky designs.  To make matters worse the tykes have all fallen asleep, and the only way to wake them up and bring them home is to bathe them in the light that emanates from the adults’ bodies.  Don’t let the child like premise fool you, though.  There’s definitely plenty of challenge to be had for adults in this game, and the silly characters that appeal to kids are just a bonus for anyone with children that need to move beyond basic educational games.

To move the critters you simply drag them with your finger.  This also applies to movable crates and mirrors, both of which can be used to block and redirect beams of light as appropriate.  With mirrors you might also have the opportunity to spin them which requires tapping on them to get the rotation handles, and then dragging those handles in the direction you want to rotate the mirror.  The controls are pretty user friendly, but there are times where you try and grab something and the game seems to not do what you’re expecting it to.  Given the precise nature of the game it can be frustrating occasionally, but it’s certainly not a pervasive problem.

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The world you get with the game is comprised of 5 tombs that each contains 20 levels and 4 bonus levels.  It seems like each new level offers some new mechanic or at least a different combination of mechanics, and whether or not you like some of the levels it’s obvious they put a lot of thought into the design.  Initially the babies and the adult are all the same color, and then you get multiple adults and babies of different colors so you have to make sure the colors don’t cross.  Then there are babies that are a combination of colors and white babies that have to be touched by the light of every adult in the room.  Add to that the mummies that don’t like light on them at all, switches that are manipulated by the presence and absence of light, and so on and you can see how getting everything lined up just right can be tricky on some levels.

The game rewards you with up to three stars per level, but of course you actually have to get those by shining light on them as well.  Stars are needed to unlock bonus levels and additional tombs, but thankfully once you’ve unlocked a tomb you can start on it without finishing the previous one.  On the down side, within a tomb you do have to finish a level before moving on to the next one.  In addition to saving the babies and collecting stars you get a best time and lowest number of moves for each level.  I guess this is for your own personal gratification, because there are no leaderboards that I’ve found which take advantage of these two values.  There are, however, 54 achievements via Game Center, so if you’re like me that’s actually a better reward.

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If you hadn’t seen this coming yet, the visuals in this game are cute.  Everything is well drawn, the visuals have plenty of details, and the animation makes the main characters look perky and even helps the mummies seem not so bad.  The sound effects are decent overall, and the cheerful squeals the kids make when they wake up in the glow of their parents’ light really encourages you to keep on pressing on.  The music is fun for a while, but I’m pretty sure it’s the exact same tune on every level, so it does get old before too long.

As puzzle games go, the bending light through a maze style challenge ranks pretty low on my desire list, but Light In The Dark has managed to capture my time anyway.  The cute atmosphere, challenging puzzles and constant addition of new elements gives you a reason to keep on coming back.  Now if those kids could just stop wandering away…

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App Summary
Title: Light in the Dark Developer: Dreamgate Studios
Reviewed Ver: 2.0.2 Min OS Req:  iOS 6.0
Price: $1.99 App Size: 92.41MB
  • Lots of levels to master
  • New puzzle elements added frequently
  • Family friendly atmosphere
  • Cute graphics and sound effects
  • Controls are occasionally finicky
  • Can’t skip challenging levels
  • Only one musical track

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10 App Store Games To Watch [8/18/15] http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/08/18/10-app-store-games-to-watch-81815/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/08/18/10-app-store-games-to-watch-81815/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 21:38:01 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74671 I got another list of games for you.  Many of the entries this time are variants of popular games that have been cloned to death, but games like Sword & Dragon demonstrate how you can put an extremely fresh spin on a stale concept.  Scrappy Cat, on the other hand, actually proves that borderline annoyingly … Read more]]>

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I got another list of games for you.  Many of the entries this time are variants of popular games that have been cloned to death, but games like Sword & Dragon demonstrate how you can put an extremely fresh spin on a stale concept.  Scrappy Cat, on the other hand, actually proves that borderline annoyingly difficult can actually be fun as well.  And then there’s Mountain Goat Mountain, which just goes to show that goats really are cool.  In the end, I don’t think you’ll go wrong no matter what you choose from this list.

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Mind The Arrow: Match The Dots [7/29/15] – You can’t get much simpler than this.  You have a circle with dots on it, and a diagram in the left corner that shows you witch dots need to be tapped.  There is one caveat, however, and that’s the arrow inside the circle.  The arrow is your guide to which dots need to be tapped, and before long the diagram starts rotating so the arrow in the diagram isn’t pointing in the same direction as the arrow on the playing field!  If that’s not enough of a challenge for you, at some point the playing field will start rotating as well.  Throw in a timer and suddenly this simple premise becomes rather challenging.  The game offers a leaderboard and 16 achievements via Game Center, and there are plenty of color schemes, arrow designs and circle types to unlock to keep you occupied for quite some time.

Mind The Arrow: Match The Dots Thumbspire Inc., Mind The Arrow: Match The Dots – Free

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Scrappy Cat [7/27/15] – Scrappy Cat is a one tap platformer.  It always amazes me when a developer can make a good game based around a single input, and this is the perfect example.  You tap the screen to jump and then hold in order to cling to whatever surface you might come in contact with.  If you then let you you’ll slide, which can often help you adjust your location to make the next appropriate jump.  Your cat is in constant motion unless you run into or jump off of a wall, which will reverse the kitty’s orientation.  You start the game with 9 lives, but once you’ve used them all up the first time you can only get 3 lives at a time unless you complete a level with all of your lives in tact.  There are 18 levels to complete, each with their own leaderboard.  There’s also a leaderboard for the best overall ranking in the game.  The graphics and sound aren’t going to blow away cutting edge junkies, but if you’re old school like me you should get a kick out of the audio / visual design.

Scrappy Cat Totebo Ltd, Scrappy Cat – Free

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Dungeon Quest Rival – explore the underground monster world [7/27/15] – I think it’s time for my “merits of a shorter title” article.  In the mean time, this is an interesting little game.  You explore a bunch of randomly generated rooms in an increasingly growing tower with the intent of fighting the end boss for all the glory.  Sound familiar?  What makes this game interesting is that as you finish each set of floors – in the first level there are 3 floors, for example – you have the option of going on or returning home (assuming you’ve unlocked the next set of levels).  If you go home you must spend some gems in order to keep the goods you’ve collected, but regardless of your spending habits you lose all of the stats you’ve worked to build up.  To add insult to injury, you only have a limited number of moves, and when you run out its back home for you, which means saying goodbye to all of your stuff again.  Thankfully when you do work it out to where you keep your equipment you can use gold you’ve found to upgrade it, and if you somehow manage to score an excess of diamonds (or buy them via IAP) you can add bonus slots to use more items or get some special equipment to make your journey last longer.  This game definitely won’t be for everyone, but if you’re a dungeon grinder you should be in seventh heaven.

Dungeon Quest Rival - explore the underground monster world Jason Saxon, Dungeon Quest Rival – explore the underground monster world – Free

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Sling Kong [8/5/15] – Sling Kong is a silly arcade game about flinging poor critters from peg to peg, hoping to avoid all the nasty obstacles that don’t play nicely with their delicate bodies.  You start out with a monkey, and as you earn coins you can play the prize game to see if you can win other animals.  Occasionally you get the chance to earn coins by watching an ad, and after increasingly longer intervals you get the opportunity to play the “magic spin” to earn some additional loot.  It would be nicer if they dispensed with that and put more coins actually along the route that you’re flinging your animal, but in the end I’m not sure what you’ll use the coins for once you’ve earned all the animals anyway.  The traps range from opening and closing blocks to flowers that spew fire at you, as well as the ever popular spinning blades of doom.  What I like the best is that eventually the peg you’re hanging on will start beeping and disappear, so while you’re reactions don’t need to be instant there is a bit of urgency to the whole process.  In addition to collecting the animals there are two Game Center leaderboards, one for score and the other for prizes won.  Hopefully future updates will include new animals and some achievements to earn, but for what it is already Sling Kong is pretty fun when you have a few minutes to spare.

Sling Kong Protostar, Sling Kong – Free

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Mountain Goat Mountain [7/16/15] – This is like Qbert meets Temple Run with a goat.  Once you get past my mostly erroneous comparison you’ll find that Mountain Goat Mountain is really pretty entertaining.  It is like Qbert in the sense that the board is laid out in an isometric tiled format that seems like a crazy set of stairs.  And, just like Temple Run it is infinite (or at least my lack of ability to get to the end of the level tells me so).  And, just like in Temple Run you’re collecting coins to buy new characters, which in this case just happen to be goats.  So far what I’ve seen as far as “aids” are the coins that you get you new goats, springboards the jump you a few levels higher on the board (usually), and springs that give you a bit of an extra jump as well as some armor temporarily.  There are definitely a lot of things trying to kill you as well, like logs, boulders, snowballs and of course simply inadvertently jumping off of a cliff.  The gamer offers a leaderboard and 22 achievements via Game Center, so you have something to do besides collecting all the cool goats.  The best part of the game is the visuals, which are not only cool to begin with, but so far change with each new goat.  I’m not sure how many goats there are altogether, but that’s potentially a lot of cool themes.

Mountain Goat Mountain Zynga Inc., Mountain Goat Mountain – Free

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Puzzle Dragons: Jewel Quest [8/13/15] – In the scheme of things this is probably one of the most basic games of this style to come out in a while, yet I find myself oddly addicted to it.  I like the fact that it has gone the minority route of using the “clear tiles by tapping a group” mechanic instead of the more traditional tile swapping mode.  I also appreciate that it has forgone the increasingly annoying 10 levels of tutorials whether you want them or not road, though it would be nice to at least have an optional help screen that you could pull up.  The characters do not always conform to the standards for this type of game, and even better is the fact that the art style itself is unusual and nice.  It has kind of a “pixilated watercolor” feel to it, whatever that might mean to you.  The game uses an equipment tree similar to Devious Dungeon’s in that each area that you can upgrade only has one path of increasingly powerful items, but in this case you can switch to previously purchased ones if you wish.  I haven’t tried to mix it up much yet, but apparently the different weapon, skill and armor types react uniquely to the various creatures.  I think this game has a lot of potential, and hopefully if they intend on updating it they’ll add some sort of reference so that you don’t have to go to the iTunes description to find out exactly what’s going on in the game.

Puzzle Dragons: Jewel Quest LV1, Puzzle Dragons: Jewel Quest – Free

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Bird VS Zombie [8/13/15] – It’s been a while since I’ve had a “thank you for not being Flappy Bird” installment, but this game certainly qualifies.  The mechanic will feel intimately familiar, and there’s no doubt you’ll die repeatedly.  However, the control is tweaked enough that you actually have some control over it, and while you die a lot you’re not croaking every couple of flaps.  This game also provides you with something “meaningful” to do – on one side your job is to eliminate all the zombies, while on the other hand you must infect every human.  Yep, there are actually two factions you can play for, and each even has their own set of birds to unlock!  Granted I think the powers each bird have basically parallels that of the opposing force, but it’s the thought that counts.  There are 54 birds to collect altogether, and a bunch of quests to complete as well, so running out of things to do shouldn’t be an option for a while.  The game does have Game Center integration, but as of the writing of this article I don’t think it’s working correctly.  Hopefully that will come in an update, because it looks as though they plan to provide both leaderboards and achievements.  The best part is that unlike it’s long lost predecessor, this game gives you lives, so it’s not a “1 hit you’re done” phenomenon.  The clones keep coming, and I’m glad that there are still those that like to stretch the boundaries of what this type of game should offer.

Bird VS Zombie RAIN&D Inc., Bird VS Zombie – Free

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Mechanosaur Hijacks the Moon [7/29/15] – Games where you spin around a planet to protect it from incoming projectiles are nothing new.  Mechanosaur takes an entirely different approach to the genre, however.  Instead of shooting down the projectiles before they get to the planet, you must use the gravity of the moon you control to attract the asteroids away from the planet.  To make things a bit trickier, your moon only travels in one direction, as one might expect from a body orbiting another body.  The only thing you can do is hold the screen to speed up and let go to slow back down, so you have to be able to anticipate where the asteroids are going to be when they enter the planet’s orbit.  This isn’t so bad at first, but it gets much more complicated when you start facing asteroids that split apart, double back or simply teleport to another part of the screen.  As you progress through the game you’ll earn “meanings of life” that do things like give you a percentage increase in score.  You’ll also unlock more devious asteroids to contend with.  The game has one leaderboard and 26 achievements through Game Center, but the biggest challenge comes from actually mastering how to handle each new type of asteroid.

Mechanosaur Hijacks the Moon XperimentalZ Games, Mechanosaur Hijacks the Moon – Free

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Sword & Dragon [6/29/15] – The 2048 genre is one that is proliferated with “I’m not the same but I really am” clones.  Sword & Dragon is one of the rare entries that truly break the mold.  In fact, aside from the sliding of tiles and the accumulation of numbers on similar tiles, Sword & Dragon is really its own beast.  Each board has a heart, and when that heart’s count goes down to zero you lose.  To protect the heart you have swords, and you must use them to slay the dragons that would rip your heart apart.  The game is heavily dependant on direction, so if you slide the heart into a dragon you’re safe, but the other way around means bye-bye vital organ.  There are also gold bricks that you can collect by sliding your sword into them and potions that will increase the points on the heart when you slide the heart into them.  Fortresses don’t harm anything but can get in the way, and they can be disposed of with swords just like the dragons.  Unlike the potentially unending nature of a regular 2048 game Sword & Dragon has distinct levels with goals, and also has a three star system depending on the score you achieve.  2 leaderboards and 20 achievements via Game Center round out this entertaining little package.

Sword & Dragon Iyoda, Sword & Dragon – Free

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Circix [3/24/14] – I think I did pretty good staying current this time around, but I’m going to dig into the vaults a bit for the final entry.  You’ve probably played a game like this before: the board is filled with objects that each contain a number in them, and you have to create links between the objects such that each object is joined by the number of links that it contains.  The premise is quite basic, and I haven’t run into anything overly challenging yet in terms of the individual puzzles.  What I like about the game is you do have to think about it a little bit, but it’s not so taxing that you can’t relax while playing it.  It does start to get more demanding as the boards get bigger and objects can be linked to other objects multiple times, but there’s never anything that makes you want to pull your hair out, or at least that I’ve encountered yet.  The game comes with over 200 free levels, and you can buy additional packs if you can’t get enough of it.  If you’re looking for a game that will work your mind without raising your blood pressure, Circix would be a good choice.

Circix Russell King, Circix – Free

Well that wraps up another edition of games to watch on the App Store. As always, if there’s something you’ve played recently that you feel should be part of this list, please leave a reply to this post. Previous weekly installments of our App Store Games Roundup:

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News: Behind The Scenes With Panda and Rousey http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/08/13/news-behind-the-scenes-with-panda-and-rousey/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/08/13/news-behind-the-scenes-with-panda-and-rousey/#comments Fri, 14 Aug 2015 02:42:06 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74668 Do you play cross-platform action / RPG Taichi Panda?  Or maybe you’re just a fan of up and coming UFC fighter Ronda Rousey.  Either way, if you haven’t seen it yet, they’ve been featured in a pretty cool TV ad promoting the game and her fondness for it.  Better yet, for those of you that … Read more]]>

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Do you play cross-platform action / RPG Taichi Panda?  Or maybe you’re just a fan of up and coming UFC fighter Ronda Rousey.  Either way, if you haven’t seen it yet, they’ve been featured in a pretty cool TV ad promoting the game and her fondness for it.  Better yet, for those of you that like behind the scenes goodies, here’s a short video of how the commercial was made:

Making Of Taichi Panda Commercial on Youtube
The Actual Commercial

If you haven’t tried the game yet, you can find it here:

Apple: Taichi Panda Snail Games USA Inc., Taichi Panda – Free
Google Play: Taichi Panda

My thoughts here: Taichi Panda in “10 App Store Games To Watch”

 

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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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Sale: Check Out Free Titles from Colto during August http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/08/10/sale-check-out-free-titles-from-colto-during-august/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/08/10/sale-check-out-free-titles-from-colto-during-august/#comments Mon, 10 Aug 2015 15:34:51 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74658 Kids might be starting to go to school already, but the summer is not quite over yet.  Colto is trying to ease the pain of “back to school blues” by offering one of its iOS titles for free every day in August.  If you have young kids you might want to check out one or … Read more]]>

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Kids might be starting to go to school already, but the summer is not quite over yet.  Colto is trying to ease the pain of “back to school blues” by offering one of its iOS titles for free every day in August.  If you have young kids you might want to check out one or all of these titles.

1-11 August – Eli Explorer
Trailer: Eli Explorer on Youtube
Eli Explorer  –  Fun educational game for preschool kids to learn and discover their first 100 words and phrases in 10 languages with a flying bunny Colto, Eli Explorer – Fun educational game for preschool kids to learn and discover their first 100 words and phrases in 10 languages with a flying bunny – Free

12-18 August – Star Gurus
Trailer: Star Gurus on Youtube
Star Gurus  –  Fun educational dot to dot game for preschool kids to learn numbers and how to count in different sequences Colto, Star Gurus – Fun educational dot to dot game for preschool kids to learn numbers and how to count in different sequences – $0.99

19 – 31 August – ABC Gurus
Trailer: ABC Gurus on Youtube
ABC Gurus  –  Fun educational alphabet and phonics game for preschool kids to learn letters and their phonetic sounds Colto, ABC Gurus – Fun educational alphabet and phonics game for preschool kids to learn letters and their phonetic sounds – $1.99

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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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MISSING: An Interactive Thriller in Review – FMV Done Right? http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/08/05/missing-an-interactive-thriller-in-review-fmv-done-right/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/08/05/missing-an-interactive-thriller-in-review-fmv-done-right/#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 17:53:09 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74646 In the 80’s and 90’s there was a movement in videogames to enhance the stories with FMV, or Full Motion Video.  From an animated perspective the genre is best personified by Dragon’s Lair, while “live action” video enthusiasts might fondly recall games like Night Trap or The 7th Guest.  The concept as a whole was … Read more]]>

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In the 80’s and 90’s there was a movement in videogames to enhance the stories with FMV, or Full Motion Video.  From an animated perspective the genre is best personified by Dragon’s Lair, while “live action” video enthusiasts might fondly recall games like Night Trap or The 7th Guest.  The concept as a whole was more miss than hit, and as it became more practical to render cool 3D cutscenes that flowed seamlessly with the game the concept sort of faded into obscurity.  Now that video technology is tightly integrated with mobile devices we’re starting to see a resurgence in this format of storytelling, and the detective / room escape game Missing actually manages to handle the situation fairly well.

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Right off the bat I’ll warn you that this game is pretty short, so if you’re looking for an in-depth experience you might want to steer clear.  On the other hand, if you’re the type that’s always craving something different and likes to see old ideas revitalized in a fresh way, you’ll definitely want to check out Missing.  The video sequences are well staged, and it’s actually interesting how they transition into certain puzzles.  There are also sequences during the videos where you have to react with taps ala Dragon’s Lair, though those could have been a little more challenging.  Finally you’ll encounter situations where the game plays more like a first person point and click adventure.  These experiences tend to break the immersive nature of the game a bit, and sometimes it can be hard to spot the objects you need to complete a certain puzzle, but overall they provide a level of interaction that you won’t find in most FMV based games.

The majority of the game is you by yourself as a kidnapped victim trying to escape, and the one sequence where you take on the helm of a detective and interact with a cop is fairly brief, but the acting seems decent enough.  For the most part it does feel a bit more polished than most of the FMV fare that came out in the 80’s and 90’s, so at this point we’ll call it a B+ / A- production instead of the typical B-movie filler that was the hallmark of the first generation of this genre.  The visuals outside of the video sequences are good, though as mentioned earlier it can be difficult to discern where the items are that you need to pick up.  The off-screen voices seem a bit stiff, but the overall sound effects are decent enough.  The music is actually pretty good and provides some nice background ambiance.

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If this is where the FMV genre is headed I think we’re in for a treat.  Hopefully the next installment of Missing will be a bit longer with some more interaction, but while this offering may be short it’s pretty sweet.  If you’re one of those gamers that loves concept over quantity and have been looking for something new in the world of adventure games, you’ll definitely want to give Missing a try.

Notes: This game was reviewed on an iPad 2 running iOS 8.3 and a promo code was provided for review purposes.

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App Summary
Title: MISSING: An Interactive Thriller Developer: ZANDEL MEDIA
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.19 Min OS Req:  iOS 7.1
Price: $1.99 App Size: 505.22MB
  • Transition between video and puzzles is well done
  • High production value in videos
  • Story keeps you engaged
  • Nice music
  • Game is pretty short
  • Hard to find objects in puzzle sequences

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Interview: The Developers behind The Lost Treasure Island 3D http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/08/04/interview-the-developers-behind-the-lost-treasure-island-3d/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/08/04/interview-the-developers-behind-the-lost-treasure-island-3d/#comments Tue, 04 Aug 2015 16:05:09 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74615 I recently had the opportunity to speak with the fine folks over at Canavan Communications, LLC about their upcoming iOS adventure game The Lost Treasure Island.  The game will challenge your problem solving skills while shedding some insight on a real live hidden treasure, and the developers are determined to bring you some first class … Read more]]>

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I recently had the opportunity to speak with the fine folks over at Canavan Communications, LLC about their upcoming iOS adventure game The Lost Treasure Island.  The game will challenge your problem solving skills while shedding some insight on a real live hidden treasure, and the developers are determined to bring you some first class story telling for your mobile devices.  Read on to find out what brought them to where they are now and what they have planned for the future.

First of all, I want to offer the customary “thank you” for taking the time to talk with me.

1. How many people are on your team, and what kind of experience do you have in the gaming industry?

We have about 22 experienced people on the team, all part timers, from all over the world. Most people work only on the weekends. Every person on this team is very passionate about creating an amazing experience.  Although we are all new as a team, Project One Games is about making you, the player, the focal point and your entertainment our first priority.

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2. From what I understand this game has at least some grounding in actual facts.  What was the inspiration for the story, and specifically for focusing on a real life treasure?

The “Lost Treasure” is actually the world’s largest and most ancient lost treasure.  It was first gathered together in ancient Egypt, was captured by the ancient Romans and grew to an enormous size, until it was lost for almost 800 years, when it was found by The Knights Templar around 1099 AD.  This treasure has been the topic of many great films, books and TV series.  Some people believe that in 1398, the Knights Templar, with stone masons, hid the treasure behind some very devious tricks, traps and puzzles on a remote island, to keep people from finding it. This is the focus of The Lost Treasure Island.

3. In your initial press release you likened The Lost Treasure Island to The Room, which I thought was an interesting comparison.  From the video I’ve seen and what I’ve played so far, I’d think a more likely peer would be Myst.  What were the influences behind this particular style of game play?

The core team is the four of us, Mike, Jeff, Chris & Nicole. We are brothers and sisters. As kids, we were all into role-playing games from a very young age. (Dungeons & Dragons mainly). Our favorite adventure was “Tomb of Horrors” by Gary Gygax.  We wanted to create an adventure that allows the player to free roam and solve puzzles, tricks and traps. We have been looking for something for years to fill this void.  One evening, in front of a roaring fire, we decided that we would just do it, we would create an amazing experience, whatever the time and cost.  Although we took influences from others, we had to build something entirely new and innovative.  It took us about 5800 hours to get to this point after two years, but we finished what we started.

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Q4. Assuming a game player with average problem solving skills, how much game play would you say The Lost Treasure Island offers?

Well, if you play it perfectly, it takes me about 3 hours and 20 minutes. For an average player, it would take about five hours to complete.  What is interesting, is that you don’t have to solve every puzzle, it is not sequential.  And there is an advanced “hint engine” that figures out when you get stuck and offers you in game hints.  Originally, the adventure was much longer, but we decided to shorten it to be closer to the length of a film, which is usually 2 hours 20 minutes.  And you can finish the entire adventure without doing any “in app purchase” or “IAP”.  It is 100% optional to purchase the “IAP” to finish the game, it just makes it much easier.  So, it should entertain you for between approximately 2-4 hours.

5. I found the combination of free form movement and tap-to-move waypoints (much like the Infinity Blade series uses) rather intriguing.  Why the decision to allow both at the same time, or to even use the waypoint method for that matter?

That’s a great question. When we started, we did not have waypoints, or tap to move spots.  We spent a lot of time play testing this adventure with many people. And many “non gamer” people (like my wife) felt “Lost” on the island. So, we found that providing a suggested path helped them have a better experience. For gamers (like my son), we wanted them to have freedom to explore.  The game is designed for all levels. However, I will say that you will miss a lot in the middle of the game if you stick to the tap-to-move waypoints.  We encourage you to explore.

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6. With mobile games plunging further into the abyss of F2P, why choose the mobile platform for this type of game?

Let’s be honest, “free to play” isn’t free. For a large percentage of today’s most popular “free” games, the player pays a lot to continue his/her journey. The cost of coins, gems, additional lives and ammo costs a lot.

Our adventure immerses the player into a very realistic, alternative environment, where it requires concentration and effort to survive. Our thinking was: why ruin that immersion by zinging the player with a purchase request that yanks them out of their adventure? In-app purchases and annoying pop up ads ruin the experience.

For almost the cost of a cup of coffee, you get an amazing, personal adventure that will entertain you for a few hours. This is the model that we believe in.

7. Providing a relatively easy in-game method of letting the users connect with the developers is a pretty bold move.  How important is the relationship between customer and developer to you guys?

The Player is King to us.  Any feedback we get, good or bad, we consider a great gift.  We built an infrastructure that allows any player to connect to the core team from within the game itself. If someone has a suggestion or an idea, or gets stuck, we are there. Feedback is very important to us.  Listening is critical.  This is only episode one of seven.  We expect to retain people from episode one, through seven.

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8. So you mentioned to me in an email that you have a vision for 7 episodes.  That seems like an awful lot for a game coming from a relatively unknown development team.  Why such big ambitions for a first project?

This Lost Treasure is a very complicated story that spans many centuries.  The story is really too much to convey in one episode.  We want to create great experiences for people, and we believe we have a new formula for doing this.

People might notice that everything in the adventure is physically possible to replicate in the real world.  This was intentional.

Is more than one episode already complete?

Yes, episode two is 80% completed. There are some very exciting components planned for the next episode that we cannot wait to complete for the players.

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Q9. Sorry for a generic ending to this interview, but do you have any closing thoughts for the readers?

As kids, we read The Harry Potter books, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and even Sherlock Holmes. We played Dungeon and Dragons extensively. The games and books were a series. The series was an adventure. You’d put down one, and pick up the next… and there would be continuity. We noticed that the art of story telling was missing from mobile games. Our adventure will provide a series of connected episodes which tells a story. Each one builds upon the previous.

We just hope the readers dare to become players and enjoy our adventure!

Once again, thank you for your time.

Thank you, for hosting us on your excellent website.

The Lost Treasure Island 3D - Escape Adventure Puzzle Game Jeffrey Canavan, The Lost Treasure Island 3D – Escape Adventure Puzzle Game – $0.99

Note: The game requires an iPhone 5s / iPad Air or newer to run.

 

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10 App Store Games To Watch [7/27/15] http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/07/27/10-app-store-games-to-watch-72715/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/07/27/10-app-store-games-to-watch-72715/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 01:00:36 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74618 The summer’s drawing to a close, at least as far as school is concerned in our area.  Thankfully the App Store doesn’t care if there are kids around to play its games or not, and the new offerings are still flowing on a daily basis.  One of my favorites this time around is Rush Star … Read more]]>

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The summer’s drawing to a close, at least as far as school is concerned in our area.  Thankfully the App Store doesn’t care if there are kids around to play its games or not, and the new offerings are still flowing on a daily basis.  One of my favorites this time around is Rush Star – Bike Adventure, an over the shoulder “infinite runner” style game with some cool motorcycles and intense level design.  If you prefer to do your racing on the water you might want to check out Driver Speedboat Paradise, a game that somewhat pays homage to the arcade classic Hydro Thunder but offers so much more game play.  Maybe you’re just not into motor vehicle games at all, in which case you might consider MicRogue, a game that looks like a rouge-like but plays more like a puzzle game.

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Spandex Force: Champion Rising [12/17/14] – While I’m somewhat of a match3 hybrid addict, they are starting to feel more and more alike to me.  Thankfully there are still some that stand out, and Spandex Force is one such game.  You’re an average Joe or Jane that some crotchety old wizard is convinced he can turn into a superhero in 30 days.  This will be no luxury heroic life, however.  You’ll have to train in one of three disciplines to build up your super powers, round up all sorts of hooligans to gain street credit, and actually earn money to pay for everything – apparently the wizard doesn’t have a bankroll.  Every confrontation or event is handled with a match 3 game, but the rules vary slightly depending on what you’re doing and the rewards are also different.  One thing I really like about the match 3 portion of the game is that if you make a match of 5 or more items you’ll also clear off some adjacent tiles, so the more you match the more it really benefits you.  The graphics have a nice comic book touch to them, there’s actually somewhat of a story with some witty dialog at times, and the whole game just feels pretty polished.  The only down side is that instead of capping at a certain skill level or something of that nature, the free version of the game appears to give you only an hour of play time per new game.

Spandex Force: Champion Rising Miro Karjalainen, Spandex Force: Champion Rising – Free

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Rush Star – Bike Adventure [5/1/15] – Rush Star feels like an infinite runner, but there is a definite end to each level.  The trick is actually making it there in one piece.  At least you get to ride one of several different bikes, each of which can be unlocked by riding a certain distance with the previous bike.  Sadly you can’t upgrade the bikes themselves, but you can purchase up to 4 different boosters to help you beat the courses.  There are also power ups that show up occasionally on the routes, but you won’t know which power up you’re getting until you collide with the constantly changing sphere, and not all of them are good.  My favorite is the semi that gives you a lift for a bit, because it can even derail a speeding train.  Take that, Optimus!  Along the way you’ll collect coins that can be used to pay for the boosters or the new bikes once they are unlocked, and you can also pick up “collectables” that earn you even more coins.  The other form of currency is dollars, and this is used to continue the game once you’ve met one too many unfortunate incidents.  The course designs are some of the best and some of the toughest I’ve seen for this style of game play, and the graphics do a great job of immersing you in the environments.  Even if you’re kind of burnt out from the “may be an infinite runner, maybe not” genre, you should give this one a try.

Rush Star – Bike Adventure JellyBus Inc., Rush Star – Bike Adventure – Free

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eVubble [6/27/15] – Finally, a bubble dodge ‘n smash game that feels different!  Instead of just running into smaller bubbles to get bigger or simply avoiding bubbles altogether, in this game you must guide your bubble into the other bubbles in a color sequence defined by the squares at the bottom of the screen.  You only have a certain amount of time to collect each sequence, and when the time runs out the game is over.  When you collect the sequence you get some time added back to the clock and a new sequence begins.  If you botch up the sequence you don’t have to start over, but your bubble will get bigger.  In this game you don’t want that because a bigger bubble inadvertently hits other bubbles, and if the bubble gets too big it will explode, which once again means the game is over.  You increase your score by collecting the right bubbles, and increase it even more by collecting plenty of bubbles in a row without hitting the wrong ones in between.  More importantly than score is the stars you collect along the way which allows you to buy and upgrade power ups.  The game also offers two leaderboards: one for high score and the other for longest streak.  There are 10 achievements to earn as well, but those mainly revolve around getting the power ups.  The graphics are simple and slick, the music is easy to listen to and the overall experience is just right for a casual, pick up and play game.

eVubble Yosuatreegames LLC, eVubble – Free

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Deadlings [3/4/14] – I’m digging into the archives again a bit for this one, but I think it’s worth it.  Artifex Mundi has always brought some intriguing hidden object games to the iOS platform, but it turns out they’ve got a pretty good action / puzzle game as well in Deadlings.  Death is lonely and friendless, and apparently decides to humor himself by building a factory to train the undead to do his bidding.  You’ll have to master the skills of 4 different types of zombies in more than 100 levels spanning four different worlds.  The zombies are easy to control, but it will take some finesse to conquer all the traps that death has laid out for testing purposes.  Some levels require more than one type of zombie to complete them, and every level has a limited supply of testers unless you want to spend hard earned skulls for a rescue pack or simply start over after they are all extinguished.  There are three stars to be earned for each level: one for completing it, another for collecting all the brains and a third for beating it in under a specific time.  There’s a leaderboard which ranks you based on your total point score as well as 48 achievements to earn through game center.  Toss in some great pixel graphics and a decent sense of humor and you have an action oriented Lemmings game for the Undead, which in my opinion works really well.

Deadlings ONE MORE LEVEL S.A., Deadlings – $1.99

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Shake Duck Off [7/1/15] – If you’ve been yearning for that Duck Hunt experience ever since you sold, lost or broke your NES, this probably isn’t going to do it for you.  The game means well, and I like the added touch that you actually control the dog to try and shoot down the pesky ducks.  The problem is that the “tilt to aim” control is flawed and frustrating, and at the very least needs to be inverted so that tilting left or right does in fact move you left or right respectively.  Still, if you can deal with that the game is a cool if not simplistic take on the genre, with ducks getting scared and trying to escape if they’re too close to a shot and a fever mode that lets you score ridiculous amounts of points.  There is a leaderboard via Game Center, and hopefully achievements will be added in a future update.  The visuals have an incredible style and the music is fun to listen to.  There’s definitely a lot of potential here, which is why the game made my list, but ultimately it’s going to fizzle out if they don’t do something about the control scheme.

Shake Duck Off Pine Entertainment, Shake Duck Off – Free

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Goblin Quest: Escape! [3/18/15] – You are a goblin that just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Your boss decides that you are going to be the one to help test all of his new traps in his deadly dungeon.  That means you’ll have to dodge all manner of critters, catapults and more as you attempt to simply make your way from one end of each room to the other.  As you wander around you’ll collect coins and gems which can be used to buy and upgrade one use items as well as clothing that gives you permanent power ups.  You can earn up to 3 diamonds per level, one for completing it under a certain amount of time, another for not dying and the third for finding the secret area.  In addition to providing accomplishments for the levels, a certain number of diamonds are required to pass gates between certain levels.  The game has 26 levels, 9 of which are free and the other 17 available via a onetime IAP purchase.  Goblin Quest is an interesting combination of dungeon crawler and tower defense where you are actually the object being defended against, and it works quite well.

Goblin Quest: Escape! Daniel Kalmar, Goblin Quest: Escape! – Free

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MicRogue [4/28/15] – MicRogue is rouge-like in the sense that the levels are randomly generated and the game is turn based.  However, it really plays out more like a puzzle game.  There are only 10 levels to conquer, but it will take all your wits to do it, and so far I haven’t been successful.  You can move up to two squares in each of the four main directions (N, S, E and W) assuming there is somewhere to move.  If you land on a creature you kill it, and if your shield is facing a creature when it attacks you automatically defend.  You only get three shields for the entire game unless you pick one up should a spare appear on a given level.  The trick with the shield is it only protects you in the direction it is facing, and it only points either East or West, so all other directions are vulnerable – and some monsters can move diagonally.  Each creature has its own movement pattern, so it pays to learn them all and use them to your advantage.  The other thing you have to watch out for is spikes, but those can also kill creatures, so keep that in mind as well.  If you’re looking for a rogue-like with unique game play, you’ve come to the right place.

Microgue Crescent Moon Games, Microgue – $1.99

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Battle Of Love [7/13/15] – Have you ever felt like tower defense games were a bit too hands-off for your tastes?  Battle Of Love is about to change all that.  Your job is to protect the love of your life, who for some reason can’t see fit to actually reside in a tower with some defensive walls or anything like that.  As a result you must ward off all of the cruel king’s minions by slashing them Fruit Ninja style.  Thankfully there are no bombs to worry about, but each baddie that gets to the top of the tower takes away one of your girl’s hearts, and when all three are gone the level is over.  As luck would have it slaying bad guys earns you some coins which can be used to buy power ups like extra life or a hammer that lets you temporarily kill your opposition with one slash.  The game currently has only 20 levels, but some of them can be challenging and there is a map labeled “coming soon” to whet your appetite.  Just make sure to give your finger a rest every once in a while, because the later levels will really tax your slashing abilities.

Battle Of Love Sivakumar kumar, Battle Of Love – Free

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Driver Speedboat Paradise [4/8/15] – One of my favorite arcade games and one of the few racing games I’ve ever played outside the comfort of my living room was Hydro Thunder.  This is sort of like the iOS version of that game, and while so far the track layouts haven’t been quite as impressive, the overall game offers so much more than that classic.  There are plenty of boats to choose from, each one having four different attributes, some or all of which can be upgraded depending on the boat.  This game is just as much about the driver as the boat, however, so you’ll have to keep up with the latest wardrobe trends and fanciest house accessories in order to please your fans.  You actually have two experience meters to keep up with in this game, one for your general racing skills and the other for your lifestyle, and leveling up in each will unlock different things.  There are several locations to conquer, each consisting of multiple races.  To keep things interesting, not all races will be your typical “do a couple laps” thing either.  In some instances you’ll drag race, which introduces an entirely different line of boats, and sometimes you’ll have to keep out of last place or get caught by the cops.  For being an actual hands-on racing game rather than a management sim there’s a surprising amount of depth, and since I don’t see Hydro Thunder popping up any time soon Driver Speedboat Paradise works for me.

Driver Speedboat Paradise Ubisoft, Driver Speedboat Paradise – Free

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Hoodee Hero [6/4/15] – You are the hoodee hero, and it’s your job to rid the Earth of the menacing bug like robots that have invaded.  You do this by swiping left, right, up or down in accordance with the boards that are falling from the sky.  Each board that is destroyed by matching the correct pattern earns you a point, an attack against your opponent and some coins.  Every time a board escapes to the bottom of the screen, though, you’ll lose a heart.  You only get three of those before the game is over.  The premise is simple enough, but the patterns get longer, boards show up more frequently and they often overlap so it’s hard to see certain patterns.  The coins you collect can be used to buy different heroes, some of which look really cool.  I’m not sure they make any difference to game play, however (at least the first one I bought didn’t seem to).  This game could use some variety like different character abilities, different types of monsters and maybe even some power ups.  It’s a nifty concept, however, and a nice promise of things to come.  The graphics look really cool too!

Hoodee Hero Thang Le, Hoodee Hero – Free

Well that wraps up another edition of games to watch on the App Store. As always, if there’s something you’ve played recently that you feel should be part of this list, please leave a reply to this post. Previous weekly installments of our App Store Games Roundup:

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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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