TouchMyApps » Shooter 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 Tue, 29 Jul 2014 22:08:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.3 Liberation Maiden in Review – Nothing Old School About This Shooter http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/03/17/liberation-maiden-in-review-nothing-old-school-about-this-shooter/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/03/17/liberation-maiden-in-review-nothing-old-school-about-this-shooter/#comments Sun, 17 Mar 2013 19:30:22 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72195 About all I knew of LIBERATION MAIDEN going into it was that the game was a shooter and that it was a port from another system.  This is definitely a game that has been under-promoted in my opinion.  As much as I love scrolling shooters, I’ve realized that my iOS experience with the genre has never … Read more]]>

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About all I knew of LIBERATION MAIDEN going into it was that the game was a shooter and that it was a port from another system.  This is definitely a game that has been under-promoted in my opinion.  As much as I love scrolling shooters, I’ve realized that my iOS experience with the genre has never lived up to its potential until now.  Liberation Maiden certainly isn’t perfect, but it’s unlike any shooter you’ve played on your iPad to this point.  The final boss battle alone almost makes the whole game worth it, as it was one of the most intense experiences I’ve had with this genre on a mobile device.  The price tag is a bit hefty relatively speaking, but if you’re a die hard scrolling shooter fan you should seriously consider this one.

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The setting is New Japan, which has been taken over by invaders with very powerful weaponry.  You are the teenage daughter of the president, who must step into his shoes after he is assassinated.  You’ll take control of your giant mech, head straight for the enemy and not come back until the ultimate evil is destroyed.  There are only 5 chapters, but the first four consist of destroying three “lesser” spikes and one “greater” spike, which are basically rather defensive energy points, as well as completing one or more sub-missions.  It seems like there is plenty to do, though in the end it felt a bit short on content (or maybe it just made the time fly by too fast).  You will be in for quite a ride when it comes to the final boss battle, so be warned.

Instead of the normal shooter that has left and right control and possibly forward and back, Liberation Maiden takes place in a full 3D world so you get a virtual joystick to control your mech.  Sometimes this means you can lose sight of your target, but thankfully they included a strafe control that when active treats the joystick as a simple left / right control to rotate you around a particular spot.  I just wish it were easier to activate and deactivate the feature, because it is very useful.  You eventually have two different main weapons to choose from: missiles that work by dragging your finger to select targets and then releasing to launch, and a laser that you press and hold to fire.  Maybe I was just using it wrong, but I found the laser cumbersome and primarily stuck to the missiles.  Finally you have a blade that when charged can unleash nifty damage on everything in the area.  Again it’s not the most user friendly to activate because you must swipe the screen to use it, which takes you away from the overall control of your mech for a moment.

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Once you have completed each level in story mode you can replay the level an infinite number of times in Stage Attack mode, trying to better your score or simply seeing how it plays at a different difficulty level. There are also 20 achievements to earn, some of which might require you to take more than one pass through the game.  While there may not be many levels, there is certainly plenty to do if you’re one who doesn’t mind flying through familiar territory multiple times.

The visuals in Liberation Maiden are quite impressive.  An anime quality intro kicks things off right, and a nicely detailed 3D landscape dotted with villainous crafts provides a decent level of eye candy.  It’s especially easy to appreciate the graphics when you’re taking on one of the bosses, particularly the final confrontation.  The only thing I wish they would have taken more advantage of was weather effects.  I was disappointed during the “zero visibility” raid through fog that turned out to be not so much.  The overall sound effects were pretty standard fare for this type of game, but they did a great job casting the voices for the president and her advisor.  The music was very entertaining, most notably in the first and last stages.

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I’m not at all suggesting that old school vertical shooter developers abandon their intentions.  However, it’s nice to see a game like Liberation Maiden every now and again that chucks conventions to the wind and brings gamers a unique experience.  I wasn’t completely on board with the controls, and I wish there would have been a couple more levels before I had to start repeating my efforts, but overall this was a solid experience that I had a hard time tearing myself away from.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: LIBERATION MAIDEN Developer: Level-5 Inc.
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: $4.99 App Size:
  • Unique shooter experience
  • Incredible final boss
  • Excellent visuals
  • Well written music
  • Blade / strafe controls could be more user friendly
  • Needs a couple more levels
  • Weak ending

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Metal Slug 2 in Review: Who Needs 3D? http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/02/22/metal-slug-2-in-review-who-needs-3d/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/02/22/metal-slug-2-in-review-who-needs-3d/#comments Sat, 23 Feb 2013 02:57:21 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=71984 I’m all for the latest trends in technology.  In the end, though, I just want my games to be fun.  If there’s one thing the METAL SLUG series has proven over and over again it’s that you don’t need the latest 3D accelerated graphics or quad core processor to make an enjoyable game.  In fact, as … Read more]]>

I’m all for the latest trends in technology.  In the end, though, I just want my games to be fun.  If there’s one thing the METAL SLUG series has proven over and over again it’s that you don’t need the latest 3D accelerated graphics or quad core processor to make an enjoyable game.  In fact, as a whole it seems like ports of older games provide some of the most intense scrolling shooter experiences available on the iOS platform.  Besides, there’s something about awesome pixel art and classic 90’s video game tunes that’s hard to beat these days.

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The plot goes something like this… wait, there’s a plot?  If you can remember “shoot the bad guys and free the POW’s”, then not much else matters.  What I’ve always loved about these games is you pretty much hold down the trigger and run.  Anything that needs to be blasted will be summarily demolished, and everything else will be left alone.  When you get close enough to the enemy you’ll go commando and take them out with your knife.  Along the way there will be plenty of POWs to free, and in addition to thanking you for their rescue they will provide you with some sort of bonus, whether it is a power up, bombs or simply something to give you more points.  There are also fun quirks like one level where picking up the food left behind will temporarily bloat you and make you slower, and another level where mummies’ visibly bad breath will turn you into a dead-head as well.

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I believe every level has a vehicle you can commandeer at some point, my favorite conceptually being the weapon toting camel but practically being the jet fighter.  If you can actually keep the vehicle long enough to get to the boss it makes that battle so much easier, not to mention the fact that you’ll get lots of bonus points if you actually beat the boss with the vehicle.  The game only has six levels, but even on easy mode I’m still working to beat them all, and that’s with 3 lives on each of the 20 continues you’re given.  I don’t know what the other difficulty settings are like, but I imagine Very Hard could even give seasoned players a run for their money.  Arcade mode lets you attempt to run through all six levels in a row, while Mission mode gives you the chance to practice on any level you’ve beaten in Arcade mode.  There’s also a two player mode, but I haven’t had the chance to double team it with another player yet.

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To move your solider you have a virtual joypad, and to shoot, jump and throw bombs you have three buttons.  You can actually position these controls anywhere on the screen you’d like.  I’ve never had a problem with responsiveness on any of the buttons, and only occasionally does it seem difficult to fire in the correct direction with the virtual joypad, which usually involves trying to fire down.  I will say that with the default button layout my hands actually did start to tire around the middle of level 5.  There are leaderboards thanks to Game Center, and for those who don’t feel that completing the game is enough of an accomplishment there are also 16 achievements, one of which is beating the game without using a continue.

Of course as fun as the action is, what makes this game stand out is the visuals.  Sure it has that 90’s pixel art look to it.  But this game is still one of the most detailed of its kind that I’ve seen.  Enemy soldiers laugh when you bite the dust, only to look shocked and scared after you show up again out of nowhere.  Your solider even huffs and puffs with relief when a level is complete.  The background is full of little extras and everything is exquisitely animated.  The sound effects simply augment everything that’s going on.  The only thing missing there is possibly some chatter when you see people talking on the side of the street.  The music is pure 90’s video game gold, and I’m pretty sure each level has its own theme.

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I’m not suggesting that modern developers can’t make a good run and gun, but just as someone designing a competent vertical shooter should play 1942, anyone that cares about the quality of their run and gun games must take on the Metal Slug series.  Sure there have been other amazing series – Contra comes to mind – but Metal Slug is the one I always find myself drawn back to when I need a quick “blast ‘em all” fix.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: METAL SLUG 2 Developer: SNK PLAYMORE
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $3.99 App Size:
  • Intense, addictive action
  • A good sense of humor
  • Amazing visuals
  • Great music and sound
  • Progress in arcade mode isn’t saved
  • Firing down can be challenging

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Latest Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour video shows off killer graphics http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/10/16/latest-modern-combat-4-zero-hour-video-shows-off-killer-graphics/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/10/16/latest-modern-combat-4-zero-hour-video-shows-off-killer-graphics/#comments Tue, 16 Oct 2012 13:30:52 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=70270 Gameloft has released the first Dev Diary video for Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour, the highly anticipated FPS and one of the most popular in the genre for iOS and Android. The next installment in the series utilizes the Havoc game engine, which you can thank for its spectacular graphics. One twist that should please … Read more]]>

Gameloft has released the first Dev Diary video for Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour, the highly anticipated FPS and one of the most popular in the genre for iOS and Android. The next installment in the series utilizes the Havoc game engine, which you can thank for its spectacular graphics. One twist that should please gamers is how they’ll only only be able to play as US soldier, but also the president-kidnapping villain, Edward Page. MC4 will also offer a new specialization systems feature that will allow you to choose from several ‘perks’, those of which provide various bonuses to complement different styles of play.

While other details aren’t fully revealed as yet, we do know that the game will support the iPhone 5. This should help make playing a first person shooter slightly more comfortable on a hand held device. And hopefully MC4 will support the Duo Gamer as well, particular for those who plan on getting the dedicated dual stick controller. As for the release date, expect it to drop for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices in the fall. Check out the insightful dev diary below.

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DoDonPachi Blissful Death in Review – A Shooter By Any Other Name http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/05/10/dodonpachi-blissful-death-in-review-a-shooter-by-any-other-name/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/05/10/dodonpachi-blissful-death-in-review-a-shooter-by-any-other-name/#comments Thu, 10 May 2012 13:21:29 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=68069 There’s a bit of irony in the game’s title, because I’m pretty sure going down in a hailstorm of bullets is anything but blissful.  The slightly odd name aside, however, once you start playing DoDonPachi Blissful Death you’ll feel right at home if you’re a fan of Cave.  If you peruse their titles on the App … Read more]]>

There’s a bit of irony in the game’s title, because I’m pretty sure going down in a hailstorm of bullets is anything but blissful.  The slightly odd name aside, however, once you start playing DoDonPachi Blissful Death you’ll feel right at home if you’re a fan of Cave.  If you peruse their titles on the App Store you’ll note they primarily do one thing, but they do that well – scrolling shooters.  To be even more specific, their area of expertise seems to be the “bullet hell” shooter, though from that perspective Blissful Death is a bit milder than most of its type.  That’s good news for me, because I’m terrible at bullet hell games.

There’s not much of a story to the game, unless you count the few lines of non-English text before your plane is dropped into the battlefield or the cool looking but nonsensical slide show that follows each level.  The reality is that in a game like this that doesn’t matter so much.  As long as you get the fact that you basically need to blow up everything you can you should be good.  Granted it’s not much for the motivational department, but not meeting an untimely death thanks to a hailstorm of bullets should be enough to keep you moving.

You can select between two different ships and three dolls.  To be quite frank I don’t notice too much difference between the ships, which could be my lack of playing talent.  As for the dolls, one boosts your shot power, the second your laser power and the final one affects both.  This you will be able to tell a difference in.  There are plenty of bad guys to contend with, and while there isn’t really anything out of the ordinary for this type of game, there is a nice variety of crafts to keep you occupied.  The bosses also aren’t all that original, but they do their job and entertain.

You control the ship by dragging your finger across the screen.  There are no virtual d-pad options or anything like that.  Firing is automatic, though I suppose you could simulate “rapid manual fire” by pressing the fire off button repeatedly.  You can switch between regular shots and your laser with the push of a button, and unlike many of these games your laser doesn’t run out.  There is also a bomb which clears the screen, and when you do enough damage with your laser you can collect an item to turn your bomb button into a hyper button.  When activated the hyper will temporarily emit a beam that basically blows through everything like butter.  Unlike the standard laser, this does run out.

The visuals are pretty slick, though they look more SNES inspired than ultra modern.  Not that there’s anything at all wrong with that.  While the ships aren’t necessarily anything original in design they still look good on the screen, and the backgrounds are nicely rendered.  Of course, as with most bullet hell games, it’s often hard to appreciate what’s behind the scenes as the foreground layer is full of ammunition.  The sound effects are fairly typical for this type of game.  The music is actually pretty decent, but often gets masked by the noises.  I’d suggest leaving the sound effects on but cranking them down so you can appreciate the tunes more.

There’s never been a moment while playing Blissful Death that a felt “wow, there’s something new”.  At the same time, for as often as I’ve played the first few levels (I died a lot and passed level 4 only once), I’ve never gotten bored either.  Blissful Death is a nice, solid effort by the folks at Cave that will placate those who enjoy the genre for what it is, but probably not satisfy the ones looking for a revolution in each new experience.  There are better scrolling shooters available on the iOS platform, but I’ve played way too many that are far worse.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: DoDonPachi Blissful Death Developer: CAVE CO.,LTD.
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $4.99 App Size:
  • Solid action
  • Lots of destruction
  • Nice visuals
  • Good music
  • Been there, done that
  • Even novice is challenging

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Gameloft’s N.O.V.A. 3 crash lands onto the iPhone and iPad http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/05/09/gamelofts-n-o-v-a-3-crash-lands-on-the-iphone-and-ipad/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/05/09/gamelofts-n-o-v-a-3-crash-lands-on-the-iphone-and-ipad/#comments Wed, 09 May 2012 19:42:54 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=68065 While Gameloft has been fairly quiet with new App Store offerings of late, the publisher has dropped the big one today with the release of the highly anticipated N.O.V.A. 3 – Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance. The first two N.O.V.A’s are widely considered to be among the best FPSes on iOS and the third instalment raises the … Read more]]>

While Gameloft has been fairly quiet with new App Store offerings of late, the publisher has dropped the big one today with the release of the highly anticipated N.O.V.A. 3 – Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance. The first two N.O.V.A’s are widely considered to be among the best FPSes on iOS and the third instalment raises the stakes further by using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 3. Among some of its technical highlights include “real-time shadow and lights, particle system and ragdoll physics”. Compared to the similarly styled Crysis games, N.O.V.A 3 takes place 4 months after the hit sequel and features 10 levels across the galaxy, multiple weapons and powers and 6 multiplayer modes that supports up to 12 players.

The game appears to be iDevice friendly as it supports even the iPhone 3GS, iPod Touch 3rd gen and iPad 1. N.O.V.A 3 (a 1.57 GB download) has already been released on the New Zealand App Store and should be making its way across other stores (including US) later in the day. Video trailers and more info after the gap.

N.O.V.A. 3 - Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance Gameloft, N.O.V.A. 3 – Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance - $6.99

Description

The most immersive and impressive sci-fi FPS franchise on smartphones is back! Fight for mankind’s survival in the greatest space shooter on mobile devices!

Four months have passed since Kal ruined the Volterites’ plans by sabotaging their war factories, and stopping the extraction of the Judger Artifacts. However, following the assassination of President Folsom, the government surrendered the colonies to the Volterite Protectorate in order to prevent civil war between the increasingly pro-Volterite citizens.
Kal Wardin has been laying low since Folsom’s death, nut now he has received a desperate plea from Yelena to come to Earth. Once again, the hero must rise to save mankind!

• An epic storyline: Humanity finally returns to Earth after years of exile! Fight in 10 immersive levels across the galaxy, from a war-torn Earth to a frozen Volterite city.
• Multiple weapons and powers: Run, shoot, drive vehicles, and pilot a mech to defeat hordes of enemies.
• Join 12-player battles in 6 multiplayer modes (Capture the Point, Free-for-All, Capture the Flag, etc.) on 6 different maps.
• For the first time, multiple allies can jump inside the same vehicle and spread destruction on the battlefield.
• Discover the new FPS benchmark for graphics and gameplay on iOS (real-time shadow & lights, particle system, ragdoll physics, etc.)

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EPOCH in Review – Go save the princess, you tin can! http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/01/26/epoch-in-review-go-save-the-princess-you-tin-can/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/01/26/epoch-in-review-go-save-the-princess-you-tin-can/#comments Thu, 26 Jan 2012 10:02:21 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=65755 At times it seems developers just miss that creative spark in terms of writing, leaving us stuck with stories full of cardboard characters and clichés. But every once in a while a streak of genius may turn such a seemingly boring tale into something new and original. And depending on the viewpoint EPOCH falls neatly … Read more]]>

At times it seems developers just miss that creative spark in terms of writing, leaving us stuck with stories full of cardboard characters and clichés. But every once in a while a streak of genius may turn such a seemingly boring tale into something new and original. And depending on the viewpoint EPOCH falls neatly into the latter category. Or not.

Epoch is somewhat of a cross between Infinity Blade (TMA Review) and a shooting range. In the distant future, robots have taken the weight of humanity’s shoulders quite literally by decimating the entire population. After years of peaceful servitude a mysterious virus has turned the docile butler and gardener bots into bloodthirsty lunatics. You play as presumably the sole sane surviving android – though not just any hunk of scrap. Our protagonist is the bodyguard of the princess and following its main directive, it sets off to find what happened to her. This is presented through glimpses of the preceding events via intercepted transmissions.

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Although obviously inspired by Infinity Blade, Epoch can in no way be called a rip-off. It takes the swipe based combat mechanic and merges it with the good old shooting range genre. You take charge of your daring bot as waves of not so friendly robots try to destroy you. Interestingly enough, instead of fully controlling the aiming, you simply mark the target and the shooting is done automatically. As such, you have to focus on avoiding enemy fire, timely reloads and use of the special abilities. A level usually consists of several vantage points, between which you can alternate to keep the damage to a minimum.

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In addition to the main weapon, grenades, rockets and special abilities become available as you progress through the game . These have the advantage of dealing damage without exposing you to enemy fire, though they do come with a cooldown timer. The abilities complement your style of play, whether by self-healing, giving you limited bullet-time or firepower boosts. Weapons and armor can be one of 5 types (think elements in Infinity Blade) and choosing the correct one to avoid enemy resistances in a particular level is often the key to success. All of this goodness is either acquired as salvage after a mission or available for purchase in the store. Money is also awarded for completing levels with bonuses for destroying hidden crates.

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Visually Epoch is superb – the graphics are detailed and atmospheric, with rich special effects showing the full power of the Unreal engine. The controls are perfectly balanced with a mix of swipe gestures and virtual buttons. With perfect performance on my iPhone 4, it’s definitely one of the most polished titles I’ve laid my hands on. And to top it off, it’s universal so you can enjoy it both on the iPad and iPhone for one low price. No save game syncing between devices though, which is a downer.

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Epoch is an original twist on the gameplay mechanic introduced by Infinity Blade. With amazing graphics, intuitive controls and addictive gameplay it will certainly provide a fun and satisfying experience. The downside is that it’ll not last too long as the game has only a handful of levels, which are far from enough to fully unlock the story bits and the equipment available – leaving you feeling cheated out of a conclusion. But while it lasts, Epoch’s a great game!

With this I declare EPOCH. officially touched!

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: EPOCH. Developer: Uppercut Games
Reviewed Ver: 1.1.0 Min OS Req: 4.0
Price: $0.99 App Size: 234.80MB
  • Stunning visuals
  • Polished and addictive gameplay
  • Intuitive controls
  • Universal
  • Short
  • No save game syncing between devices
  • Poor incentive to start over

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RayForce in Review – Awesome but short and pricey… http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/01/19/rayforce-in-review-awesome-but-short-and-pricey/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/01/19/rayforce-in-review-awesome-but-short-and-pricey/#comments Fri, 20 Jan 2012 06:00:34 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=64879 I’m always on the lookout for the perfect scrolling shooter and I’m beginning to think such a beast doesn’t exist.  Fortunately, while not as a whole unblemished, RayForce has many of the qualities I’d expect in my ideal candidate.  On the other hand, it has a couple of big discretions that actually push it back below … Read more]]>

I’m always on the lookout for the perfect scrolling shooter and I’m beginning to think such a beast doesn’t exist.  Fortunately, while not as a whole unblemished, RayForce has many of the qualities I’d expect in my ideal candidate.  On the other hand, it has a couple of big discretions that actually push it back below some of my favorite iOS jaunts.  So enough with the opening paragraph rhetoric already, let’s find out what this game is all about!

Rayforce is actually a remake of a 1993 arcade game released by Taito, and from the opening sequence where you take out fighters being launched from star-destroyer style craft ala Star Wars, you know this game is going to be different.  The first feature you’ll come to appreciate is the segments like the opening battle where the game actually uses layering as something more significant than just a visual effect.  If you are skillful enough you can clear away some waves of enemies before they reach the main level so that they can never attack you.  Sometimes you even have to destroy enemies on a different level which requires your targeted missiles (your main guns don’t reach other levels).

The game has 7 levels and two modes: arcade and iPhone.  I’ve played through them both, and to be perfectly honest I’m not really sure what the difference between them is, though I thoroughly enjoyed both runs through.  The levels are well designed and there are a couple of pretty interesting adversaries along the way.  I especially liked the bosses, which proved that you can be challenging without completely flooding the screen with bullets.  Control consists of moving the spaceship with your finger and nothing else if firing is set to auto.  If you set firing to manual you can stop and start your main gun by pressing the shot button and launch your missiles by pressing the laser button.  If your expecting some button mashing action, however, you still won’t get that on manual mode.

The biggest problem with the game is that it’s too short.  Unless you have willpower and refrain from hitting the continue button, you’ll breeze through the action in about 20 minutes.  This ties in directly with the next thought, and that is that Rayforce is too easy.  An easy option is fine, but there should be difficulty settings for the more discerning user.  Maybe have the option to limit the number of or completely remove continues.  They also need the option to resume a level if you have to quit the game.  I know you can start at any given level, but then you lose out on the feeling of playing “all the way through”.  Of course, given how little time it takes to complete the entire game, I suppose this isn’t really necessary.  In that case, just give me an “extended” version of the game with longer levels!

The game looks good.  The backgrounds are pretty slick, and it’s clear that some thought went into much of the ship design.  You can play the game in full screen or “original” mode, and while the graphics are certainly crisper in the cropped mode they are also harder to see simply because they are smaller.  I think original mode on an iPad would be the ideal setting.  The one thing I really don’t like is the color scheme, which often tends to hurt my eyes.  As has become my standard sentiment, the audio is pretty much what you’d expect from this type of game.  There are some muddled Tron-like voices from time to time that are kind of cool, but they’d be even better if you could understand more clearly what they say.  The music, on the other hand, is great.  Each level has its own theme, and they do a good job of conveying a multitude of different moods.

The layered game play was certainly the high point of Rayforce, and almost makes it worth playing for that element alone.  Unfortunately, it’s kind of hard to justify spending $11.99 for a half hour to hour’s worth of game play, even if it is as fun as Rayforce.  I know this is supposed to be a faithful recreation of the arcade phenomenon, but an extended mode with additional game time is almost mandatory.  And, given the fact that there are a number of stellar shooters on the App Store for $2.99 or less, a price reduction certainly seems in order as well.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: RayForce Developer: TAITO Corporation
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.0
Price: $11.99 App Size:
  • “Layered” concept is really cool
  • Intense, fun action
  • Well designed visuals
  • Great music
  • Levels are too short
  • No settings to make game harder
  • Color schemes not so great
  • Too expensive

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Act Of Fury: Kraine’s Revenge in Review – A Shooter With No Shooting? http://www.touchmyapps.com/2011/12/14/act-of-fury-kraines-revenge-in-review-a-shooter-with-no-shooting/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2011/12/14/act-of-fury-kraines-revenge-in-review-a-shooter-with-no-shooting/#comments Wed, 14 Dec 2011 15:13:26 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=62432 Judging by the iTunes description for Act of Fury I had a feeling it was going to be something different, and boy was I right.  It’s a scrolling shooter.. kind of.  The thing is, while it looks the part and controls like one, you don’t actually shoot anything.  Instead, you use the powers imbued in … Read more]]>

Judging by the iTunes description for Act of Fury I had a feeling it was going to be something different, and boy was I right.  It’s a scrolling shooter.. kind of.  The thing is, while it looks the part and controls like one, you don’t actually shoot anything.  Instead, you use the powers imbued in you by a failed experiment in order to destroy things that you get close to.  Between the unique game play mechanic, the variable upgrade system and the need to revisit old levels in order to progress further in the game, Act Of Fury takes scrolling shooters in a direction that I rather like.

You take on the role of Kraine Severe, and if I had to guess I’d say some very bad people were attempting to turn you into the ultimate weapon.  They certainly gave you the powers to accomplish their goal, but your lack of allegiance has turned you into a driven force, and that force seeks vengeance for the monster these villains have turned you into.  It seems that your “weapons” are limited to a swirling mass of energy that surrounds your body, though, and you have no way to expel them towards your foes.  That means you have to get up close and personal to destroy the bad guys.  At least that way they can see your face when they die.

Each level is filled with tanks, helicopters and various other military vehicles that will try and destroy you.  Eventually you’ll start running into buildings that have weapons on top of them which can take you out as well.  When you get in close enough to an enemy to damage it, the enemy will start flashing red, and on normal mode that enemy won’t be able to attack you.  This protection is either much weaker or non-existent on hell mode, though, because the bad guys dented me pretty well even when I was up close.  If you position yourself just right or your field of influence grows you can actually cripple multiple subjects at the same time.  You can also use exploding buildings to damage vehicles if you time things right.

Destroyed vehicles and buildings leave green gems which help heal you and red gems which fuel your fury meter.  Once fury mode is activated, you are simply more powerful for a short period of time.  When you beat levels you’ll earn stars which can be used to buy extra lives or health or purchase enhancements to your powers.  The nice thing about upgrades is if you decide you want to try a different combination you can deactivate an upgrade to get the stars back and use them on something else.  You can earn up to 3 stars for normal mode and 3 stars for hell mode on each level, and it appears that all earned stars can be used for upgrades regardless of which mode you’re playing.

The graphics are pretty typical for a vertical scroller.  That’s not to say they are bad, because they are in fact really well done.  The bad guys look good, the explosions are cool, and the backgrounds have a slick console style look to them.  It’s just that they are fairly similar to several other shooters out there.  Though he’s a bit small, I do really like the look of the main character and the fact that the energy cloud changes its look as you upgrade his powers.

Much like the visuals, the sound effects are pretty standard fare.  It is kind of odd hearing moans and groans every time the main character gets hit (he is just a man, after all), but at least it’s something different than what you’d expect.  Even the music sounds like a continuation of the soundtrack to several other vertical shooters I’ve played.  However, I the songs are well written and I’ve really enjoyed listening to them.

If you’re looking for the next great audio / visual masterpiece of shooters, this isn’t it.  The aesthetics are good, but nothing truly out of the ordinary.  On the other hand, if your desire is to play a game where the mechanics stand out from the pack and power up configurations actually make a difference in how a level plays out, then Act Of Fury is just the game for you.  Absolute newbies might balk at the need to repeat the initial levels several times to get all the stars you need to move on, but average gamers will enjoy the thoroughness of normal mode and hardcore shooters will be able to sink their teeth into hell mode for a respectable challenge.  With Act Of Fury the iOS platform has another vertical scroller victory on it’s hands.

App Summary
Title: Act of Fury: Kraine’s Revenge Developer: Forge Reply
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 3.0
Price: $1.99 App Size:
  • No shooting in a scrolling shooter… at least for you!
  • Plenty of challenge without being impossible
  • Decent audio and visual elements
  • Cool protagonist concept wasted on cliche bad guys
  • Sometimes level layout forces your hand to block view

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Shadowgun in Review – An FPS For Players Like Me http://www.touchmyapps.com/2011/10/05/shadowgun-in-review-an-fps-for-players-like-me/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2011/10/05/shadowgun-in-review-an-fps-for-players-like-me/#comments Wed, 05 Oct 2011 13:56:10 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=58710 I’ve been playing electronic games for a long time, but it’s really taken me until my iPod Touch to appreciate what the first / third person shooter genre had to offer.  Up until now my favorites have been Dead Space (TMA Review) and Modern Combat: Sandstorm (TMA Review), but now I’m adding Shadowgun to that list (I just … Read more]]>

I’ve been playing electronic games for a long time, but it’s really taken me until my iPod Touch to appreciate what the first / third person shooter genre had to offer.  Up until now my favorites have been Dead Space (TMA Review) and Modern Combat: Sandstorm (TMA Review), but now I’m adding Shadowgun to that list (I just haven’t figured out where yet).  There’s enough depth to keep the game interesting, and at the same time it’s simple enough that people like me who aren’t very good at FPS games can still enjoy it.  Don’t get me wrong – even on the easy setting I still repeat my share of sections before getting them right.  It’s just that it’s not all that bad having to do so.

You play a Shadowgun (mercenary) named John Slade, and your mission is to hunt down the evil Dr. Simon and stop his army of mutant nightmares.  Thankfully you’ll have the assistance of some nifty weaponry as well as your talented android S.A.R.A.  Unfortunately, everything else is pretty much against you.  There are ten action packed levels filled with mutants, machines, traps and more all with the intent of killing you on sight.  The villains aren’t all dimwits, either.  They’ll hide behind walls and barricades to avoid your bullets.  Some creatures are so quick they’ll evade your targeting and force you to come out of hiding, opening you up to other shooters.  The big guns are just ruthless in their onslaught of bullets.  And these are just the basics…

Thankfully you can use the environment to your advantage as well, often making battles look like one of those amusing firefights from 80’s cop shows where it’s “hide, shoot, repeat” until someone gets lucky.  The thing is, if you’re a good shot (which I’m not), the targeting is precise enough that you can use the slightest sliver of an exposed arm or head to your advantage, even from a distance.  The stronger a weapon is the less ammunition you have, but learning to swap weapons and use them to your advantage in the middle of a firefight will pay off big.  In addition to combat there are often switches that need to be thrown, panels that need to be hacked via a “remember the sequence” type interface, and various other things to do that while superficial, at least give you more than just shooting to add to your resume.

To control Slade you have a virtual joystick in the lower left corner for movement.  The right side of the screen acts as both aim and fire.  Dragging your finger around the screen will allow Slade to look, while pressing a button fires the current weapon.  It works well for the most part, but it does make aiming and firing at the same time a bit challenging.  The worse problem, however, is that you might inadvertently fire at the wrong time if you’re not careful where you’re dragging.  This is both bad for your limited ammo and a wakeup call to otherwise oblivious bad guys.  There’s a button for reloading, or you can let Slade automatically do that when the current clip runs out.  To switch guns you tap the icon in the upper right corner and then pick from the drop down menu.

Despite enjoying the game as a whole, there’s no question that probably both the highlight and one of the most immediate draws to this game is the visuals.  There have been a few games that have really impressed in terms of graphics, but I would say that Shadowgun is the best in terms of 3D, “console quality” imagery.  Nothing ever feels “flat”, and thanks to the relatively tight quarters in most places you never have to worry about draw-in as you’re scanning the surroundings.  It’s actually kind of fun surveying the terrain and looking at all the details, as long as nothing is rushing you.  The creatures themselves look pretty slick and sometimes intimidating, and even John Slade is fairly sharp.  Everything is well animated, and while there are some clipping issues (apparently an issue that no 3D engine has been able to resolve), they aren’t nearly as prevalent as many other 3D games.

Sound effects are pretty much what you’d expect from an FPS.  What did impress me was the voice acting.  It’s actually quite good, and really helps the story come alive as the various characters talk to each other.  On the other side of the spectrum, I was a bit disappointed with the music.  Music mainly plays when you’re engaging the enemy, and then it’s just sort of repetitive background noise that does do a good job of pumping up the adrenaline, but isn’t very interesting.

Personally I have found Shadowgun to be an immensely enjoyable experience.  However, it feels like they might have simplified the control scheme and battle situations a bit to cater to a wider audience, which in reality might actually alienate some of the veteran First Person / Third Person Shooter gamers that are looking for a more in-depth experience.  Granted I’ve only played the easy level, so maybe the other difficulty settings make up some of that ground.  Any way you look at it I can only speak from my experience, and that experience says this is one of the best in the genre to grace the iOS platform.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: SHADOWGUN Developer: MADFINGER Games, a.s.
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.2 Min OS Req: 4.2
Price: $7.99 App Size:  219 MB
  • Simple but engaging game play
  • Controls are fairly intuitive
  • Visuals are superb
  • Voice acting spot on
  • Universal app
  • Aiming / firing can be tricky
  • Might be too basic for veteran gamers

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TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON in Review – Freedom is the right of all sentient beings http://www.touchmyapps.com/2011/07/29/transformers-dark-of-the-moon-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2011/07/29/transformers-dark-of-the-moon-in-review/#comments Fri, 29 Jul 2011 16:24:13 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=55542 The recent reboot of the Transformers franchise left me with mixed feelings. On one hand I definitely enjoy the new look and feel of the robots themselves. On the other, while the first movie was at least half-decent, it pretty much went downhill thereafter. And what to expect from the licensed game accompanying the latest movie … Read more]]>

The recent reboot of the Transformers franchise left me with mixed feelings. On one hand I definitely enjoy the new look and feel of the robots themselves. On the other, while the first movie was at least half-decent, it pretty much went downhill thereafter. And what to expect from the licensed game accompanying the latest movie -TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON – was a mystery for me.

TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON is a rather traditional dual-stick shooter, built around the famous franchise. The story closely follows the latest movie, from Sentinel’s awakening on the Moon in the tutorial to the discovery of the Ark, to the Autobots’ attempts to rescue their compatriot and beyond. If you’ve already seen Michael Bay’s latest creation, you know what it’s about. If not, I won’t spoil anything for you.

The basic shooting part of the iOS game is presented reasonably well: you control either the almighty Optimus or faithful Bumblebee and run around levels decimating Decepticons and collecting Energon. The latter, by the way, can be used to upgrade either the core parameters or the weapons themselves between levels or if you come across Optimus’ trailer. But Transformers wouldn’t be Transformers without the ability to, well, transform… At any time you can switch to the vehicle mode… which unfortunately is completely useless apart from the few specially designed parts of levels, conveniently marked by glowing blue arches because of poor controls and weak weapons.

It would seem at least the basic combat part of the game would be its redeeming quality. The upgradable and changeable ranged weapons certainly offer ample gameplay variety. The melee attack option is however could use a serious overhaul; there’s no way to change the weapon, and the low damage and locking controls for a single 3-tap combo makes it a pain to use. The special attack is similarly unbalanced, with Optimus’ being next to impossible to target and Bumblebee’s seemingly having no effect whatsoever. The saving grace is the target mode, which I ended up using for about 90% of my Decepticon hunting – with a flick of a finger you’ll enter a kind of a bullet-time mode where you can choose several enemies to be auto-attacked by a bunch of powerful missiles.

One aspect of Transformers Dark of the Moon that is difficult to criticize is the solid visuals. The graphics are detailed, all robots are immediately recognizable and the effects provide amble fireworks to go along with the shooting. The controls unfortunately are a whole other can of worms. In vehicle mode I almost sent my iPhone 4 flying at the wall a couple of times. And even in the more traditional dual-stick shooting mode, the tendency to lock the controls each time you do a special attack or try to do some melee bashing is enough to drive you bonkers.

By all accounts TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON tries to be an advanced dual-stick shooter set in a famous franchise with some cherries thrown on top. The reality though is that despite the developer’s attempt to jam in plenty of features, the game could certainly have used more tweaking to its controls and gameplay balance. Ultimately, if you’re a fan of the series you’ll probably enjoy taking charge of the legendary characters. For the more casual player however, it’s simply difficult to recommend Dark of the Moon at this stage without further updates, especially when there are currently much better dual-stick shooters out there.

With this I declare  TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON officially touched! Tap It Rating - 3/5

App Summary
Title: TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON Developer: Electronic Arts
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.0 Min OS Req: 3.0
Price: $2.99 App Size: 175.03MB
  • Extensive weapons selection with upgrade opportunities
  • Detailed recognizable graphics
  • Play as the legendary Optimus or Bumblebee
  • Transform into vehicle mode
  • Poor weapon balancing
  • Difficult to manage vehicle controls
  • Frustrating lock of controls when doing special or melee attacks

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Bug Chucker in Review – It’s Angry Bugs…In Space! http://www.touchmyapps.com/2011/05/13/bug-chucker-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2011/05/13/bug-chucker-in-review/#comments Fri, 13 May 2011 17:11:32 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=52291 I don’t know about you, but I hate bugs. Passionately and of all shapes and sizes. For people like me the App Store has a myriad of bug-killing games. But Cyan, the legendary makers of Myst (TMA Review) and Riven: The Sequel to Myst (TMA Review) have gone one step further and actually made it … Read more]]>

I don’t know about you, but I hate bugs. Passionately and of all shapes and sizes. For people like me the App Store has a myriad of bug-killing games. But Cyan, the legendary makers of Myst (TMA Review) and Riven: The Sequel to Myst (TMA Review) have gone one step further and actually made it a fun and entertaining artillery puzzler out of the concept of flinging bugs into space. Ready, aim, chuck!

Bug Chucker is an original spin on the artillery puzzle genre. It doesn’t go much into detail of what’s going on in the game itself, but from the App Store description it appears that the bugs’ last, best hope for peace – the Galactic Bugship S.S. Treehugger – is under attack from the evil Sawz, the robotic minions of Lord Lahguh. With no solution in sight the selfless bugs are ready to sacrifice themselves for the salvation of the Great Tree.

The premise of Bug Chucker is quite simple: use the bugs to destroy the enemy saws. But as the war is set in space you won’t be able win out on the simple parabolic trajectory, common in almost all other artillery games. Instead you’ll have to take into careful account the various planets, debris and even black holes to allow your bugs to reach their targets. A unique feature is the detailed physics model implemented in Bug Chucker. Every single piece of debris follows the rules of physics to the letter, which allows for some interesting gameplay possibilities. This is especially true after the more advanced bugs become available.

And though these don’t offer any revelations (i.e. you can simply trigger the Beetle to explode or the Grasshopper to accelerate), the original placement and physics give this quite traditional artillery ammo a completely new perspective. For example, a clever way of solving a puzzle might be to trigger the explosion at just the right time to shift some space debris towards a black hole, which will in turn destroy those pesky enemies in its wake. Finally a feature worth noting is that a level ain’t over until you say it’s over, so feel free to let the score continue to pile up as more of the floating debris is destroyed.

Instead of the cute cartoony graphics found in the genre of late, Bug Chucker is all business and features detailed Sci-Fi renderings of the environment in full Retina glory. It even plays natively on both the iPhone and iPad as a universal app. The music quite surprisingly is in a redneck country style but oddly enough, it ties in nicely during gameplay. And the controls work rather well, with a unique decision not to do a complete flip when turning the device upside down. Instead only the interface elements are rotated, meaning that you can choose whether you want the cannon on the left or right side of the screen.

At first glance Bug Chucker seems to be just another Angry Birds wannabe. But Cyan wouldn’t be Cyan if they didn’t have something up their sleeves, and thankfully they managed to stick whole galaxies of fun up there. Bug Chucker turns out to be an original and beautifully designed artillery puzzler with an accurate physics model set in space. It does have some minor flaws (the lack of an in-game story intro and any kind of social network integration come to mind), but they are completely overcome by the sheer fun of chucking bugs into space.

With this I declare Bug Chucker officially touched!

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Bug Chucker Developer: Cyan Worlds
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.4 Min OS Req: 3.1
Price: $0.99 App Size: 33.91MB
  • Excellent physics model
  • Original gameplay
  • Universal app
  • Intuitive controls
  • No in-game story intro
  • No Gamecenter or Openfeint support
  • Quite difficult to get more than one star for a level

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Death Rally in Review – So, where’s the ammo? http://www.touchmyapps.com/2011/04/20/death-rally-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2011/04/20/death-rally-in-review/#comments Wed, 20 Apr 2011 16:22:54 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=51066 Few titles have left me with more fond memories than the good old Death Track – one of the first racing/shooting games ever. Unsurprisingly its top-down remake in the late 90s -Death Rally – immediately became my favourite pastime for hours on end. So when I heard that Remedy was bringing this classic to the … Read more]]>

Few titles have left me with more fond memories than the good old Death Track – one of the first racing/shooting games ever. Unsurprisingly its top-down remake in the late 90s -Death Rally – immediately became my favourite pastime for hours on end. So when I heard that Remedy was bringing this classic to the iDevice, I was thrilled beyond imagination. My only concern was how Death Rally would transfer to the touchscreen.

Death Rally is a genre all in itself, uniting top-down racing and shooting. You play a reckless driver having been hunted down and forced to compete in the brutal Nascar offspring in exchange for his life and freedom. The goal – to attract the attention of the mysterious Adversary and beat him in his own game, preferably sending him to kingdom come in the process.

Wreaking havoc at high speed is what Death Rally is all about. The basics involve racing around the track against 5 AI controlled players. The one who comes first is naturally the winner. The rest – sore losers. If they reach the finish line at all that is. Yep, finally you can let loose all the rage that has a habit of building up when the opponent overtakes you on a turn. Your car has a machine gun with unlimited ammo that fires automatically and a special weapon with limited, but replenishable supply of ammunition. And on the road you will find destroyable crates with repair, ammo and cash bonuses, as well as spare parts.

Speaking of spare parts, Death Rally features quite an extensive, if somewhat simplistic, car upgrade system. After each race you are awarded cash based on how well you did and you can spend it on repairs or upgrading the vehicle and/or currently selected weapon. A mild frustration here – you can only spend cash on the currently selected car/weapon, making it a bit difficult if you want to get a fully upgraded car park. New weapons and cars are unlocked one by one as you collect the spare parts on the levels, making for a slow but steady progression.

The levels themselves are semi-random, with about 8 available at any given moment with various difficulty levels and modes. Though there are only around half-a-dozen different tracks, the game mixes them up by throwing in different modes (reverse, sideways) and challenges (specific car/weapon, head to head, etc). In the end you won’t find yourself bored with the scenery.

The graphics in Death Rally are amazing, with detailed environments and superbly colourful vehicles. I did miss the ability to choose a custom colour for your car from the original, substituted by a choice of several presets for each car. I also missed a minimap of sorts as the race track is not so obvious on some levels, making it easy to run into walls. The most controversial design choice for me were the controls; there is simply a virtual joystick that has your car turning towards where your thumb is pointing. After experiencing the abundance of controls modes in Reckless Racing (TMA Review), Death Rally’s seems rather limited.

Regardless of the minor flaws, Death Rally is a unique and addictive blend of racing and shooting action that will hold your attention for quite some time. The experience offered is currently unmatched on the App Store and if you’re hungry for some high-speed destruction, Death Rally is definitely the choice for you. And did I mention that it’s universal?

With this I declare Death Rally officially touched!

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: Death Rally Developer: Remedy Entertainment Ltd
Reviewed Ver: 1.1 Min OS Req: 3.2
Price: $2.99 App Size: 80.39MB
  • Superb addictive action
  • A wide selection of cars and weaponry
  • Excellent Retina-quality graphics
  • Lack of a satisfying finale
  • A semi-automatic weapon/car progression system with limited customization options
  • Only a single control scheme

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