Guardian Sword in Review – Match 3 / RPG And So Much More

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

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

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Since the dawn of the match 3 / RPG hybrid Puzzle Quest has always been king of the throne.  In fact, I think it was the game that introduced me to this wonderful mash up of genres.  Now Backflip Studios has released Spellfall – Puzzle RPG, and while I’m hesitant to say that this contender has usurped the crown, it’s pretty amazing in its own right.  The battles are fast and furious, the rewards are plenty and the rune system is a really nice bonus.  The combat effects are among the best I’ve seen in this style of game, and the overall polish is quite impressive.  Chalk up another win for Backflip.
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Oceanhorn in Review – If We Can’t Have Zelda, I’ll Take This

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Games like Diablo certainly popularized the concept, but in my opinion one of the earliest examples of a good action / RPG was The Legend Of Zelda.  There have been many installments in the franchise, but more importantly there have been a ton of wannabes made in an attempt to provide the same type of game to non-Nintendo platforms.  Some of them have succeeded to a limited degree, but Oceanhorn is one of the few to do so in both mechanics and spirit, and probably the only one for the iOS platform so far.  Apparently you don’t need a tri-force for this type of game to be fun. Continue reading…

Puzzle Blade in Review: 2 Minute Match 3 RPG Fun

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One of the best mash-ups conceived so far (at least in my opinion) is the idea of an RPG that uses a match 3 board for combat.  Of course like any good thing there is almost an overabundance of them now, and there are just as many ones that make you go “blah” as ones that captivate you like Puzzle Quest.  Fortunately, Puzzle Blade is one of those that fall on the side of captivating the player.  The developer has managed to put a fresh spin on the concept and made sure that anyone short of a person suffering from A.D.D. should enjoy it, assuming you’re into the genre in the first place.

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QuestLord in Review – Retro Done Right

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When I was in high school I spent a lot of time playing games like Bard’s Tale and Might & Magic (back when they were RPGs and not strategy games).  After spending some time with QuestLord I remembered why I used to like these games so much.  Sure 3D open ended worlds are nifty – I guess – and there’s no question that action / RPGs have their place in this fast paced mobile world.  Still, there’s something to be said about old fashioned tile based world exploration, and it manages to engross me just about every time.  QuestLord is no exception to that rule.

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Dungelot in Review – Rogue-like At Its Best

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Back in the day, by which I mean a time I barely remember and which many of you probably weren’t born yet for, there existed a game called Rogue that quite possibly started one of the first trends of copycats, known as rouge-likes.  The games were simple in some ways such as consisting of only ASCII graphics, but complex in others like having a myriad of commands to remember and randomly generated dungeons that were revealed as you moved through them.  While I actually enjoyed several games of this type, I’m happy to see that modern variants such as Dungelot have revamped graphics and streamlined control schemes.  Unfortunately one challenging feature still remains in many modern rogue-likes: death is death.

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Dungeon Story in Review – Have I Heard This Tale Before?

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.

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Ultima V for iPad – hook, line, sinker

Imagine how disappointed this Ultima idiot was to discover that Ultima V for iPad is nothing but a fan page – sort of. Its author links to various Ultima sundries: Ultima news, fonts, upcoming games, maps, and does it in the classic Ultima style, that promises something dark – something role playing – under the surface. Real Ultima fans still append Dragon to their name. The bloke who made Ultima V for iPad, for example, is Edric Dragon; I’m shigzeo Dragon. I’ve had that nickname for years. I’m sure it’s the same for Edric. What other game series can boast such nerdy fans? And honestly, my lead in is rubbish: I love Edric Dragon’s site. Bookmarked it.

Edric Dragon pointed out something I somehow missed: Exult for iOS. (Exult is a reverse-engineered Ultima 7 engine for modern operating systems. I’ve blogged about it before.) If there is ANYTHING I’m waiting for (apart from soul-pleasing employment), it’s Ultima 7 for iPad. Edric, as much as he is a fisherman, has rekindled hope.

Defender Chronicles II: Heroes of Athelia in Review – Skeletal Genocide on an Evil Scale

As someone who spends quite a bit of time with the many forms of iOS, I see roughly as many Tower Defense games in a month as there are base foot soldiers in any given TD game. However, every so often one of them is good enough to break through my defenses and march straight into my good books. Such is the challenge facing Gimka Entertainment with their offering of Defender Chronicles II: Heroes of Athelia.

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