TouchMyApps » Puzzle http://www.touchmyapps.com All Things iPhone and iPad for those who like to Touch. iOS App reviews, News, New Apps, Price Drops and App Gone Free Mon, 21 Jul 2014 18:44:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.3 Vampire Ventures in Review – No Blood, But It Doesn’t Suck http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/12/vampire-ventures-in-review-no-blood-but-it-doesnt-suck/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/12/vampire-ventures-in-review-no-blood-but-it-doesnt-suck/#comments Thu, 12 Dec 2013 16:14:10 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73462 When I first saw this game I liked the screen shots but I thought it was basically going to be a “been there, done that” sort of match 3 game.  In some ways it really is, but it packs in so many cool features from other games in the genre that it doesn’t really matter.  … Read more]]>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

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

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An Alien With A Magnet in Review – The Developer Sure Can Attract Some Fun http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/08/23/an-alien-with-a-magnet/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/08/23/an-alien-with-a-magnet/#comments Fri, 23 Aug 2013 13:36:51 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73028 Gamers are always clamouring for that next big thing that they’ve never played before.  I would hope that at least once in a while something new would come along, but I don’t hold my breath for it.  Instead, my main concern is that developers focus on ways to take the styles of game play that … Read more]]>

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Gamers are always clamouring for that next big thing that they’ve never played before.  I would hope that at least once in a while something new would come along, but I don’t hold my breath for it.  Instead, my main concern is that developers focus on ways to take the styles of game play that we have grown to love and make them even more interesting.  Personally I feel Rejected Games has done just that with An Alien with a Magnet.  I find myself loading it up even when I had the intention of playing something completely different, simply because I want to take it for another spin.  You might almost say it has a magnetic quality about it.  But we don’t go for those bad puns around here.

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You are a little alien that has crashed and just wants to get back home.  Unfortunately the only thing that still works in your craft is a magnet, but it would appear that will be enough as it can work in conjunction with the gravity of various planets to slingshot you through space.  Unlike most games of this type where you tap when you want to go, however, in An Alien With A Magnet you tap when you want to stay in orbit of a planet.  If you get too close before tapping you’ll crash into the planet, and if you get out of the planet’s orbit, designated by a ring that glows when you’re in the right proximity, you’ll just have to wait until the next one comes along (and hope you don’t collide with the rocks in the mean time).  While you’re in a planet’s orbit you’ll spin around it, and it often takes precise timing and facing the right direction while spinning to get to your next destination.

Several interesting challenges await such as planets that have no orbit until you bounce into them once or planets that don’t actually exist until you collect all of their puzzle pieces scattered about the level.  Sometimes you’ll need cannons to guide your path, and in other levels you’ll have to avoid black holes that have no problem sucking you in and not spitting you back out.  The one I’m not real fond of is the energy meter.  On some levels you only have a certain amount of energy before you can’t use your magnet any more.  Luckily that means as you’re drifting you’re fine, but while orbiting a planet you use up that precious energy.  It can only be recovered when you orbit certain planets that act as rechargers, but these don’t always exist on levels that use the meter.  I get that the developer was trying to be creative with the challenges, but this is the next worst thing to a timer, and to me doesn’t fit with the casual nature of the rest of the game.

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Controlling the game is as simple as pressing the screen to use the magnet and letting go to retract it.  It doesn’t even matter where you press on the screen, so long as you’re not pressing the pause button.  Along the way you can collect up to three green orbs on each level that act like many games’ “three star” ranking.  There are also tons of stars to collect to help bolster your overall score for the level.  Finally you can collect gems to unlock special sub-levels that aren’t required to complete the game.  How long it takes you to get through the game really depends on how much of a perfectionist you are.  If you can’t get your fill from everything the main game play mode has to offer there’s also Time Attack mode which lets you race against the clock and compare your lightning fast reflexes with other Game Center members.  Oh, and there are even some achievements to earn too if you need more.

Visually I could very easily see this being a Saturday morning cartoon.  The backgrounds have nice details while remaining bright and colorful, and the main character is full of expression.  The sound effects work well for the most part, though the sound a puzzle piece makes as it is travelling to its planet is really annoying.  The music is pretty decent, but this is one of those games where you’ll honestly not really notice it unless you’re trying to.

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An Alien with a Magnet is lots of fun.  The first time I played it I thought it was interesting but just kind of shrugged it off, and now I’m addicted.  If you’re one of those people that pride yourself on collecting every star, gem or what have you on any given level, you’ll certainly have your work cut out for you with this one.  There is plenty to do, a great feeling of satisfaction when you complete certain levels, and new surprises to be discovered throughout your journey.  An added benefit is that this is a game that is not only safe for kids, but one they will most likely really enjoy.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: An Alien with a Magnet Developer: Rejected
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: $2.99 App Size:
  • New spin on tested game play
  • Challenging, diverse levels
  • Plenty of extras
  • Lighthearted atmosphere
  • Cute visuals
  • Safe for children
  • Energy meter makes some levels frustrating
  • Time Attack mode uses same levels
  • No “infinite” mode

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LIMBO Game in Review – A Dark, Captivating Platformer http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/07/21/limbo-game-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/07/21/limbo-game-in-review/#comments Sun, 21 Jul 2013 17:41:53 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72890 I’ve always felt platform games were a staple of the mobile game world, or at least they were until everyone wanted a touch screen.  It’s not even that people didn’t want platform games any more, but rather while some developers did a much better job than others, no one could really seem to master solid … Read more]]>

I’ve always felt platform games were a staple of the mobile game world, or at least they were until everyone wanted a touch screen.  It’s not even that people didn’t want platform games any more, but rather while some developers did a much better job than others, no one could really seem to master solid controls with no physical controller.  LIMBO doesn’t accomplish that task either, but thankfully that didn’t stop the developers from porting the game over to iOS devices.  There’s something about this game that grabs you pretty much from the beginning and just doesn’t let go… even when the main character doesn’t do what you want him to.

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You play a young boy trying to rescue his sister, though I wouldn’t have known that had I not read the iTunes description.  You start out in a field with no explanation of why you’re there or any instructions on how to play the game.  Anyone with the slightest amount of gaming experience will figure it out, though, and soon you’ll be up and running.  And jumping, pushing, pulling, climbing and swinging from ropes.  There is a wide variety of puzzles in this game, and some of them are very creative.  There are also a couple of “bosses” that you have to deal with in quite interesting ways.  The important thing is that you are willing to try things that you wouldn’t expect to work, because you never know what will succeed in the land of Limbo.

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You swipe both to move left and right and to jump, which can sometimes cause issues where you end up performing one action instead of the other.  This can be especially problematic in situations that require extremely precise movement or impeccable timing.  Most other actions require some combination of tapping and dragging and do tend to work fairly well except when timing is crucial.  Thankfully I’ve always managed to figure a puzzle out just before I was ready to chuck my iPad through a window.  It’s a good thing too, because I can’t afford a new iPad right now.  The focus of the game is exploring and ultimately finishing it, evidenced by the lack of level score or any sort of leaderboards.  There are achievements, but even though I’m nearly half way through the game I haven’t earned a single one yet, so I’d say these are geared more towards the folks that really need it all.

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The graphics in LIMBO are incredible.  Everything is extremely well drawn and despite the limited palette comprised of shades of black and white and the silhouetted nature of the design, there is still plenty of detail.  I particularly like the fact that you often see the protagonist’s white eyeballs amidst the shadowy nature of his form.  The only thing I don’t care for is that sometimes the scenes get a bit too dark and it’s hard to tell what’s going on.  The sound effects do a great job of bringing the world of LIMBO to life.  I don’t normally like it when games like this don’t have a soundtrack, but the ambient sounds are enough to accentuate the spooky atmosphere.

Conceptually this is a beautiful game.  It’s gripping without a vocalized story, it’s challenging and creative, and it looks and sounds amazing.  It’s probably one of the best platform games I’ve played in a long time, iPad or otherwise… at least in terms of content.  I just implore the developers to consider revamping the control scheme to make it more touch screen friendly.  By the time that happens I’ll probably be done with the game, but they’ll certainly save future players a bunch of heartache.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: LIMBO Game Developer: Playdead
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 6.0
Price: $4.99 App Size:
  • Great atmosphere
  • Creative puzzles
  • Beautiful visuals
  • Complimentary sound effects
  • Controls can be frustrating
  • Visuals sometimes get too dark

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The Room in Review – One Location, Plenty Of Fun http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/05/24/the-room-in-review-one-location-plenty-of-fun/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/05/24/the-room-in-review-one-location-plenty-of-fun/#comments Fri, 24 May 2013 16:45:09 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72662 I couldn’t decide if I wanted to invest in The Room or not, but I was really tempted to grab it when the game went on sale for 99 cents.  A raving review in a TouchArcade forum I frequent pushed me over the edge and I made the purchase, but then I began to play it … Read more]]>

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to invest in The Room or not, but I was really tempted to grab it when the game went on sale for 99 cents.  A raving review in a TouchArcade forum I frequent pushed me over the edge and I made the purchase, but then I began to play it and started having second thoughts.  Once I went back to it after a day or two, however, something clicked and I realized how brilliant the game was.  I’ve always been more interested in Sierra and LucasArts style adventure games with lots of convoluted object puzzles and silly dialog than pure puzzle based games like Myst, but something about The Room captured my attention and wouldn’t let go.

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The entirety of the game takes place in a single room, and as a point of fact centers around a single entity, at least as far as I’ve seen.  The object is a large ornately carved box designed by your professor friend, and your task is to unlock all of its mysteries and figure out what the professor was studying before he disappeared.  In some ways you’ll really want to learn more about what he was studying, but truthfully you’ll be so intrigued by figuring out what the answer to the next puzzle is that you will forget there’s a reason behind what you’re doing.  That is, of course, until you find the next note that the professor has left.

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What makes this game stand out from basically any other puzzle / adventure game you’ve played before is how well it makes use of the features on your device.  The game is 3D, but that’s not just for looks.  You’ll constantly be rotating your view point and zooming in to explore the box and all that it holds.  Puzzles might require you to tilt the device to accomplish something.  A roll top lid actually expects you to use your finger to swipe as if you were rolling the lid.  Drag a drawer to open it up.  Flick a switch to reposition it.  This is one of the most interactive puzzle games I’ve ever seen that doesn’t require you to don virtual reality gear.  There are even some puzzles that require you to use multiple fingers to manipulate more than one thing at the same time.  And just wait until you have to start zooming in on and manipulating inventory items!

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Equally compelling is the hint system.  Each hint has multiple levels, and so far none of them have really outright given me the answer to anything.  They’re really meant more to strongly guide you in the direction that you need to go, which is the way a hint system should work.  If I had one gripe about the whole thing it’s that there are times where I just had no idea what to do without a hint, but since the hints aren’t too revealing I don’t mind that very much.

The game looks great.  I don’t know that I’d go so far as to say “eerily” realistic like the iTunes description, but the visuals certainly transcend most iOS games in terms of detail, especially when it comes to puzzle games.  You occasionally run into the typical 3D redraw issues when zooming in on certain areas, but for the most part everything is rendered exceptionally well.  The background is more ambiance than music, and that I would describe as eerie for a different reason.  It often reminds me of the noises one might hear in a Japanese horror film like The Grudge.  The sound effects all fit in nicely with whatever it is you are manipulating, whether it be wood, metal or whatever else.

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The Room is an amazing game.  It turns being locked into a room and focusing on one main object an engaging process.  I would certainly not want to see all adventure games go this route, but if a developer snuck one of these into the App Store every once in a while I certainly wouldn’t complain. One thing I hope more developers do take away from this product is that it doesn’t need to be an action game in order for you to take advantage of all the nuances the device has to offer.  If you like your adventure with a heavy dose of puzzles and a little story to tie everything together, you really don’t want to ignore this game any longer.

Kiss It Rating- 5/5

App Summary
Title: The Room Developer: Fireproof Games
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: $1.99 App Size:
  • Wonderful puzzles that take advantage of things like multi-touch and tilt
  • Excellent visuals
  • Great sound
  • Sometimes difficult to figure out what to do next

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Sporos in Review – Puzzling And Relaxing All In One http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/03/02/sporos-in-review-puzzling-and-relaxing-all-in-one/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/03/02/sporos-in-review-puzzling-and-relaxing-all-in-one/#comments Sat, 02 Mar 2013 22:47:34 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72043 Sporos is one of those games that makes you wonder why they haven’t done something like it before.  The game is like a chain reaction puzzler except that instead of trying to destroy objects and clear the board you’re attempting to fill the board with the few objects you’re given.  It’s a clever take on the … Read more]]>

Sporos is one of those games that makes you wonder why they haven’t done something like it before.  The game is like a chain reaction puzzler except that instead of trying to destroy objects and clear the board you’re attempting to fill the board with the few objects you’re given.  It’s a clever take on the genre, and if it’s been done before I must have missed it.  Whatever the case I’m glad I’ve been introduced to the idea now, and Sporos is certainly a great starting point for getting acquainted with this type of gameplay.

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So where you’d normally start out with a full playing field, in Sporos all the tiles are empty.  At the top of the board are multiple pieces, each of which has several lines drawn in them.  The lines indicate in which directions spores will be created once you play the piece.  You have two objectives: use all the pieces and fill all the tiles.  Spores that are created can overlap each other, but you cannot place a piece on a tile that already contains a spore.  What’s really neat is that you can drag a piece to a tile and until you let go to place the piece it will show you all the tiles that will be filled in if you use the piece.  If you decide you don’t want to use a piece just drag it back to the top, even once you’ve placed it on the board.

I’ve only seen one deviation in the gameplay at this point, which is tiles that redirect the flow of spores when they are encountered.  While it might be nice to have more specialty tiles (and maybe they do come later since there are 500 levels), it impresses me how well the game holds my attention with what it has.  It also makes me look forward to getting to new level sets in the hopes that they will bring new features.  One thing that’s really refreshing about Sporos is that there are no time limits and you don’t get penalized for taking your time to think.  It’s nice when a game actually encourages you to plan your attack, as it were.  There’s no score to be had, but there are 19 achievements to earn, several of which revolve around acquiring stars.  I’m not sure what drives a three star rating, but if you don’t get three stars on a level you can simply go back to the menu and select the level again to “reset the counter” so to speak.

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The visuals are fairly simple, yet they can be quite mesmerizing.  There’s just enough movement taking place to keep you from falling into a daze, and the neon spores are a nice contrast the more basic colors of the background and tiles.  The music is very soothing and also sounds vaguely familiar.  It really enhances the hypnotic effect of the presentation.  The sound effects sound like popping bubbles, which is another soothing noise, at least for me.  I guess once you’ve beaten the game you can use the sights and sounds to lull you to sleep on a rough night!

This is one of the best puzzle games I’ve played in a long time. It gives you a feeling of satisfaction without the frustration of believing that you only beat a level because you got lucky.  It’s an original concept that sets itself apart from the crowd in a good way.  And it has an incredible presentation without resorting to another cute leading character (and don’t get me wrong, I like cute leading characters).  If you’re looking for something different to play, look no further than Sporos.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: Sporos Developer: AppXplore Sdn Bhd
Reviewed Ver:  1.1 Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $0.99 App Size:  7.5MB
  • Original concept
  • Gives you time to think
  • Plenty of levels
  • Aesthetics are mesmerizing
  • Universal App
  • Nothing significant

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Block Blasters in Review – This Is Why You Shouldn’t Play With Bombs http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/01/23/block-blasters-in-review-this-is-why-you-shouldnt-play-with-bombs/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/01/23/block-blasters-in-review-this-is-why-you-shouldnt-play-with-bombs/#comments Wed, 23 Jan 2013 22:25:15 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=71783 I love physics puzzle game, but there is certainly more than a fair share to choose from.  Still, if one seems to offer something new or do something proven really well I’m more than happy to give it a shot.  In the case of Block Blasters you get to use various forms of explosives to shuffle … Read more]]>

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I love physics puzzle game, but there is certainly more than a fair share to choose from.  Still, if one seems to offer something new or do something proven really well I’m more than happy to give it a shot.  In the case of Block Blasters you get to use various forms of explosives to shuffle the board around, so who wouldn’t want to give that a go?  Unfortunately, while the game is conceptually intriguing, in practice it’s more burdensome than anything else.  Imprecise controls, frustrating puzzles and annoying sound effects highlight what should have been a fun little puzzle game.

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The red blocks have invaded, and it’s up to you to boot them out while keeping the green blocks safe.  Thankfully you have a limited supply of bombs and dynamite at your disposal, but skillful hands and a sharp mind will guarantee that the resources you have do the trick.  Tap to place a bomb and you’ll immediately see the effects as blocks go flying.  Tap to place a pack of dynamite and you get three seconds to either mock the blocks or do something else.  The nice thing is that the game is real time, so you can set a pack of dynamite and then use a bomb while the dynamite is counting down.  If you do it right you can even redirect a block in mid air with another bomb.

There is no scoring or achievements in Block Blasters.  All you have as a measure of “completion” in the game besides actually finishing each level is collecting the three stars that reside on every level.  The way the game starts out that doesn’t seem like it’s going to be an issue.  Unfortunately before long it becomes a bit troublesome, especially once the green blocks are introduced.  You know, the ones you have to protect?  They are still impacted by the events that transpire, and if one of them crosses the boundary on either side of the screen the level is lost.  There are eventually stone blocks that get tossed around but don’t get destroyed with one blast and gold blocks that barely move on impact.

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Normally I would welcome the challenge, but I find it so difficult to set the explosions precisely where I want them that I’m often just thrilled to pass a level.  Combine that with the fact that there is no reset button on a level and I very rarely find myself caring about going back to collect all three stars once I’ve passed a level.  For someone that thrives on collecting stars, that’s never a good sign.

The graphics are pretty standard for this type of game.  The red and green blocks are cute, though not nearly as animated and some other puzzle games I’ve played recently.  In fact, the whole visual setup seems pretty stiff, and there is no animation in the background at all.  The sound effects are actually kind of irritating, which makes this the second game in a week where I’ve felt compelled to turn the sound off.  At least the other game had some decent background music, though, whereas this one has none.

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Unfortunately, in the end I wasn’t very impressed with Block Blasters.  It’s a fairly run of the mill physics puzzler to begin with, and when you throw in troublesome controls and lackluster aesthetics, I find it very hard to recommend giving the game a try.  In a fledgling game market it might be a different story, but with all the physics puzzle games at your disposal, there are much better options than this.

Slap It Rating - 2/5

App Summary
Title: Block Blasters Developer: G3zar Studios
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 5.1
Price: $0.99 App Size:
  • Certainly not the worst game I’ve played
  • Bombs hard to place precisely
  • Graphics aren’t very animated
  • Sound effects are annoying
  • No background music

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Pudding Monsters HD in Review – No Bill Cosby But Still Fun http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/01/10/pudding-monsters-hd-in-review-no-bill-cosby-but-still-fun/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/01/10/pudding-monsters-hd-in-review-no-bill-cosby-but-still-fun/#comments Thu, 10 Jan 2013 12:11:44 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=71680 Cut The Rope was one of the first games to be billed as an “Angry Birds killer”, and while I don’t believe it quite made it to that status, there’s no denying the game’s impact on the mobile puzzle game genre.  The developers are back with an entirely different concept in Pudding Monsters, but the … Read more]]>

Cut The Rope was one of the first games to be billed as an “Angry Birds killer”, and while I don’t believe it quite made it to that status, there’s no denying the game’s impact on the mobile puzzle game genre.  The developers are back with an entirely different concept in Pudding Monsters, but the important thing is that the game is just as entertaining as Cut The Rope.  Gamers looking for a challenge might be a bit disappointed, as the current level sets are a bit on the easy side overall, but those looking for a cute casual gaming experience are sure to love the whole package.

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Pudding Monsters is one of those games where you slide playing pieces around the screen to try and get them to certain spots.  The pieces in this case are all manner of different jiggly creatures, and they’ll only stop when there is an object or another creature in the way.  Objects simply stop the creatures, and in the case of ice blocks break on contact.  When a creature collides with another creature they merge to become a bigger creature and lose any type of “powers” the original creatures had.  The one exception to this is the eyeball, which can’t merge with another creature until it has rolled in some goop to become a creature itself.  There is also a replicator object that instead of stopping creatures creates clones of them as they pass through.

Your primary objective on each level is to merge all of the creatures into one big one, and while I haven’t experiment much with the concept yet I believe there is more than one way to solve some of these puzzles.  The secondary objective is to make sure that by the time you’ve merged all the creatures, part of the resulting monster is resting on top of each of the three stars found on a given level.  There are 24 base levels and a bonus level to each pack, and currently there are 3 level packs.  I’ve managed to get 3 stars in all but the bonus level of the last pack, which is why I caution that this might not be the most difficult puzzle game on the market.  Casual players should have no problem getting into it, though, and kids will love it.

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The controls are simple – touch a monster and swipe it in the direction you want to go.  There is nothing else to interact with because the creatures themselves handle the rest.  The only problem I’ve ever had with the controls is accidentally hitting the reset button once or twice, but that’s just me being clumsy.  Besides earning three stars on each level there are 20 game center achievements to get, a couple of which might take some thought to accomplish.  Unfortunately there’s not much replay factor beyond that, but there’s more than enough fun trying to accomplish the goals in the first place.

Like Cut The Rope, the atmosphere in Pudding Monsters is best described as cute.  The visuals are quite colorful and there are amusing little details including various objects like school buses sticking out of the creatures’ heads.  It’s fun to watch the critters dance around while they are waiting for you to do something as well.  The sound effects are decent enough, though if you get too many of certain types of monsters on the screen at once it can get a bit annoying.  Sadly there is only one musical track spread across the three worlds, but it suits the game well and never really gets boring.

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As a gamer that likes puzzle games but tends not to be very good at them, I appreciated the thoughtful yet mostly easy level sets.  The concept itself was a nice variation of a time tested style of play, and the atmosphere was just right to draw you in and make you smile.  I hope there are more level sets soon, and now that we’ve gotten the basic stuff out of the way some more challenge would be fine, but whatever comes down the road you can bet I’m ready for more Pudding Monsters madness!

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: Pudding Monsters HD Developer: ZeptoLab UK Limited
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $0.99 App Size:
  • Simple, addictive game play
  • Colorful graphics
  • Cool background music
  • Tad on the easy side
  • Lacks replay value

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Super Dragon in Review – Cool, But Not Really Super http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/01/04/super-dragon-in-review-cool-but-not-really-super/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/01/04/super-dragon-in-review-cool-but-not-really-super/#comments Fri, 04 Jan 2013 23:39:25 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=71622 Super Dragon is another physics based puzzle game, but at least it doesn’t have the same “topple buildings and defeat the opponents within” type feel that the Angry Birds movement spurred.  This time around you play a dragon that simply wants to get his teeth back so he won’t be laughed at by all his friends.  … Read more]]>

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Super Dragon is another physics based puzzle game, but at least it doesn’t have the same “topple buildings and defeat the opponents within” type feel that the Angry Birds movement spurred.  This time around you play a dragon that simply wants to get his teeth back so he won’t be laughed at by all his friends.  Naturally, though, your teeth end up in all sorts of precarious spots, and it’s to you and your fireballs to figure out how to get them back without knocking yourself out in the process.

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Yep, in this game you have the potential of being your own worst enemy.  Well, technically it’s the ton of furniture and old appliances that will eventually do you in, but you will certainly help the process along.  It seems your teeth always end up on top of a pile of stuff that would make any self respecting hillbilly proud, and in order to get to your chompers you need to clear away as much of the stuff as possible.  On each level you’ll have a certain number of fireballs that you can launch by pulling the dragon’s tail and dragging to aim.  When you let you go you can sit back for a bit and watch the resulting carnage ensue.  The trick is to destroy enough stuff so that your teeth can fall to where you are waiting.

The problem is that these things hurt when they knock you on the head.  If too many things strike you in the head before the teeth get to you the round is over.  If the teeth fall “out of bounds” or get stuck somewhere when you run out of fireballs, the round is over.  Falling ice can freeze you, which can be a bit problematic.  Then there are the three rainclouds on each level.  They can pour rain on you to douse your flames, generate lightening to fry your body or turn into little tornadoes to deflect your shots, none of which are a good thing.  Getting these clouds earns you stars so you can unlock level sets, so you need to time things so that your fireballs strike the clouds when they are behaving.  Timing can be quite tricky on some of these levels.

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Then there are the hats.  A football helmet deflects some of the falling debris, while an umbrella helmet protects you from the rain for a while.  There are several others that can come to your aid as well, and if you’re lucky you’ll find them tucked in present boxes on the levels.  Otherwise you can head over to the shop to purchase them, but this is a costly proposition because you have to buy the hats in groups of 5 and the cheapest bundle is 250 coins.  So far I’ve found that I don’t earn very many coins on any given level.  Of course IAP can help you there.  In my opinion the hats should just make life a bit easier or they should not be so costly to acquire, because there are some levels that seem nearly impossible without them.  I also feel I should mention that there is a two player mode, but to date I have not been able to try it because as soon as Game Center finds me a random opponent I seem to get disconnected immediately.

The graphics are cute, and it’s fun to watch all the stuff breaking apart and falling down.  And even though you really start to feel sorry for the poor dragon, it is amusing watching him get a cartoon-style goose bump on his head, fried to a crisp and more.  The sound effects do a great job of augmenting the silly nature of the game, especially when the dragon cries out because he knows he’s not getting his teeth.  Sadly there is little music, and the riff that does play during the menus is only two or three bars long so it gets repetitive way too fast.

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I like the concept behind Super Dragon, and it definitely has a fun atmosphere.  It doesn’t feel like just another clone of something else, and there’s certainly plenty of challenge to be had.  I just think they need to tone the difficulty down a bit or make it easier to acquire hats so that the game doesn’t become a matter of dumping enough IAP into it to be able to purchase the right hats to win.  I’d also love to see a stable multiplayer mode as I’m curious to see how that feature actually plays out.

Tap It Rating - 3/5

 

App Summary
Title: Super Dragon Developer: Fifth Wonder
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $0.99 App Size:
  • Lighthearted atmosphere
  • Not just another clone
  • Plenty of levels
  • Cool graphics and sound effects
  • Very difficult to get hats
  • Couldn’t play multiplayer
  • The little music that exists is dull

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Dungeon Story in Review – Have I Heard This Tale Before? http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/11/14/dungeon-story-in-review-have-i-heard-this-tale-before/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/11/14/dungeon-story-in-review-have-i-heard-this-tale-before/#comments Wed, 14 Nov 2012 16:51:47 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=70761 The concept of combining the RPG with match 3 mechanics seems to be pretty popular, though few entries come close to either Puzzle Quest for a more hardcore experience or Dungeon Raid for the casual folks.  Still, many of the options at least offer a few things that make them worth giving a chace, and … Read more]]>

The concept of combining the RPG with match 3 mechanics seems to be pretty popular, though few entries come close to either Puzzle Quest for a more hardcore experience or Dungeon Raid for the casual folks.  Still, many of the options at least offer a few things that make them worth giving a chace, and Dungeon Story is no exception.  While there are no quests to speak of, it’s more persistent than Dungeon Raid in that you can build up your character between plays.  It still provides a more casual experience than Puzzle Quest, however, because even if you get “stuck” in a dungeon all you have to remember between sessions is that when you come back there is another monster to fight.

I suppose there are quests in the sense that you must recover an artifact from each dungeon in order to progress to the next one. Other than that, the game is basically a matter of defeating monster after monster until one gets the better of you.  Then you take your winnings, upgrade some skills and equipment, and then go at it again.  It almost seems too simple and grind-ish to be fun, yet I find it hard to tear myself away each time I load the game up and start to play.  I think it’s the simplicity that draws me in. For the most part the interface feels like the myriad of generic MMOs that grace the App Store.  Everything is pretty much fancy text with a few buttons here and there to trigger some actions.  Once you get to the battle screen it’s more graphical because it would be a bit difficult to represent a match 3 battle with text.  The match 3 mechanic used works like Dungeon Raid where you select 3 or more of the same type of icon to get what you need.  The one exception is magic – you can mix both fire and ice to produce combo spells.  There are also swords for physical combat, coins for money and hearts for health.  Simple progress bars represent things like the amount of health you and your opponent have left and how much experience you’ve accumulated towards your next level up.

One thing I really appreciate about this game is that every update brings new features that while seemingly subtle can add a great impact to the game.  One update added a feature that shows you how much the combined total of your selection yields.  For example, if you have four swords selected it shows the amount of damage you’ll do to your opponent.  Another recently added feature is a merchant that pops up every few rounds to let you upgrade a skill instead of having to wait until your current run is over.  Of course I’m still on my first game since that update, so it will be interesting to see if the upgrades are permanent.  A display that shows your current amount of cash in the merchant stages would be nice, but that’s just a minor niggle. I’ve pretty much laid out for you what the visuals look like.  I will admit that I’d love to see portraits of the characters instead of simple progress bars, but I’ve actually pretty much gotten used to that by now.  The sound effects are actually pretty decent, with each type of item making a different noise when you select it.  While the monsters aren’t nearly as diverse with their growling and howling, there are still a few different noises to mix things up a bit.  The main thing missing is any sort of background music, which does get pretty noticeable from time to time.

There aren’t a whole lot of surprises in Dungeon Story, and if you’ve played a few games of this style before then you might have a sense of “been there, done that”.  In the end, though, I still find this an entertaining variant on the theme that has kept me engaged every time I’ve played it.  Sure a graphical face lift would be nice, and I definitely wouldn’t mind some music, but change it too much and the game will probably start to feel exactly like everything else out there! Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Dungeon Story Developer: Pantazis Deligiannis
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: $0.99 App Size:
  • Quite entertaining despite “been there, done that” feel
  • New features are constantly added
  • Randomized dungeons means there’s always something to do
  • Lots of grinding
  • Presentation is lackluster
  • Doesn’t particularly stand out among peers

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King Oddball in Review – KISS Would Be Jealous http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/10/03/king-oddball-in-review-kiss-would-be-jealous/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/10/03/king-oddball-in-review-kiss-would-be-jealous/#comments Wed, 03 Oct 2012 15:09:55 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=70110 Far be it from me to judge, but I honestly didn’t expect a game about a giant rock chucking other rocks with its tongue to really be any good.  Enough levels that I’ve lost count later and I’m seriously hooked on King Oddball.  The silly premise and cool visuals are enough to draw you in, … Read more]]>

Far be it from me to judge, but I honestly didn’t expect a game about a giant rock chucking other rocks with its tongue to really be any good.  Enough levels that I’ve lost count later and I’m seriously hooked on King Oddball.  The silly premise and cool visuals are enough to draw you in, while the simple mechanics and challenging levels will keep you coming back for more.  I’m already a big 10 Tons fan, and this game not only furthers that relationship but it has cemented a place firmly in the top 3 titles of theirs that I like.

You are an evil alien rock king trying to take over the world by hurtling rocks – possibly your minions, I suppose – at the armies of every nation.  Apparently the best way to do this is with your freakishly long tongue, so while you slowly rock back and forth with boulders attached to the end of your unsightly appendage you can tap the screen to “fire” at the enemy.  You get three rocks per level though you can earn more, and the level is beaten only once you’ve demolished all enemy presence.  You can, of course, destroy anything else that gets in your way as well.  Just make sure the good guys all fall.

The key to this game is timing and chain reactions.  You have to know when to let the rocks go, and since you only potentially have three on each level you’ll need to take out multiple targets with each toss.  Besides, it’s actually quite medicinal watching boulders bounce off of everything in just the right manner to remove many obstacles at once.  It doesn’t take long for things to get challenging, with indestructible barriers, barriers that cause rocks to really bounce, and things that simply take more than one try to break.  Some enemies will even start coming equipped with force fields.  On some levels you’ll get dynamite boxes to help in your demolition efforts, but generally it’s just you, the rocks and your sense of timing.

Beyond just the mechanics, the whole presentation feels different than most physics puzzle games.  You select levels by jumping around a world map, with multiple possible levels available at one time.  Once you’ve completed a level you can’t revisit it, though several of the map areas have special squares that you can return to for various reasons.  There are no achievements until you “unlock” them by hopping on a square in the second level set, and even the scoring system is a simple verbal ranking like “nice” or “superior” instead of a three object system like most games use these days.  In short, King Oddball is a refreshing change from the norm.

The graphics certainly do the game justice.  The king looks great, though regal probably doesn’t suit him.  The various vehicles and humans look good, and there are nifty little special effects when things get blown up or bricks and other obstacles are destroyed.  The background is a combination of silhouetted buildings with almost painted looking skies and works quite well.  The sound effects are just about what you’d expect from a bunch of boulders being tossed around and heavy machinery exploding all the time.  I love the music, though I don’t really even know how to describe it.  As a whole the aesthetics in King Oddball are polished and spot on.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I really like this game.  Yeah, there are a few levels that make me want to grab my iPod Touch with my tongue and chuck it at something.  Even those aren’t insurmountable though, and in the end there’s great satisfaction from completing them.  If physics games are your thing there’s no doubt you’ll want to try this, but if you’re one of those who just hasn’t gotten into the Angry Birds and clone phenomenon, I think you’ll enjoy King Oddball too.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: King Oddball Developer: 10tons Ltd
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $0.99 App Size:
  • Silly premise
  • Highly addictive game play
  • Nice visual
  • Jazzy music
  • Will run out of levels eventually

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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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