TouchMyApps » Featured 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, 14 Apr 2014 11:45:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.3 NinJump Rooftops in Review – This Time It’s Horizontal http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/10/31/ninjump-rooftops-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/10/31/ninjump-rooftops-in-review/#comments Thu, 31 Oct 2013 20:56:50 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73317 Backflip Studios has had a number of interesting properties over the years, but for me the most endearing title in their collection has to be NinJump.  The game took the infinite runner and turned it on its side as well as introducing the concept of defeating 3 similar enemies in order to temporarily gain a … Read more]]>

Backflip Studios has had a number of interesting properties over the years, but for me the most endearing title in their collection has to be NinJump.  The game took the infinite runner and turned it on its side as well as introducing the concept of defeating 3 similar enemies in order to temporarily gain a power related to that enemy.  The ninja’s back, though this time he’s headed to the rooftops in what feels just slightly like a more traditional infinite runner.  That doesn’t make it any less addictive, though, and I fear it might suffer the same fate as the original: removal from my device so I can actually find the time for something else.

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If by some chance you’re not familiar with the infinite runner concept, the basic premise is that your character is always running and you have to perform one or more actions to help keep him safe from all the pitfalls in his way.  In the case of NinJump Rooftops all you can do is tap to jump.  If you tap longer you’ll jump higher, and when you have the right power up you’ll get three jumps instead of two.  There are other power ups as well, like a magnet to attract coins to you and sushi that temporarily turns you into Super Ninja who is much bigger and invincible.  Power ups take effect immediately, and you can have one of each if you can grab them all while the others are still active.

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You always have three different missions to work on and each mission will earn you some coins when completed.  Coins are also littered throughout the level for you to pick up at your whim.  In addition to coins you can collect jades and nindrops, though those items show up much less frequently.  Coins can be used to upgrade power ups and buy boosts at the beginning of each run, while jades will get you a couple of different costumes and allow you to continue where you left off when you die.  Nindrops give you the chance to play the NinJump version of pachinko after your run where you can win bonus prizes like coins, boosts and jades.  At this point there are is no social integration for achievements or leaderboards.

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The best part of the game is the bonus dash.  If you strike down three of a particular opponent in a row you’ll become temporarily invincible and get carted off by a large version of whatever it is that you attacked.  Unfortunately some villains are much rarer than others, so I’ve only seen three of the dashes so far.  The challenging part is getting more than one dash in the same run because it’s real easy to accidentally strike an opponent that you didn’t mean to simply because you’re in the middle of a jump.  This also makes it quite a trick to hang on to two of a particular type of opponent until you can find the third to make a bonus dash.  I think there should be some sort of prize for the player that manages to see every single dash available.

The visuals are similar to the original which means the game looks really sweet.  The background is multilayered with plenty of details throughout each level.  The characters are well designed and smoothly animated.  The sound effects do a good job of bringing the action to life and I particularly like the different noises that the ninja makes.  The music has a nice oriental ring to it, at least matching our Hollywood perception of what such music should sound like.

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I’ll be the first to admit that I have a certain predisposition towards infinite runners as it is.  However, I still get different levels of enjoyment from the genre depending on the quality, and this is one of the most entertaining ones I’ve played in quite some time.  I love what Temple Run did by providing a different viewpoint for such games, but there’s still something to be said for the side scrolling 2D perspective, and NinJump Rooftops captures that essence perfectly.  The control is super responsive, even without achievements there is plenty to work towards, and trying to get each of the bonus dashes is a particularly intriguing challenge.  Even though the switch from vertical to horizontal sort of took away what made NinJump stand out from the crowd, Rooftops proves that orientation alone does not make the game.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: NinJump Rooftops Developer: Backflip Studios
Reviewed Ver: 1.1.0 Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: Free App Size: 48.5 MB
  • Same addictive qualities as original
  • Ultra responsive control
  • Super dashes are awesome
  • Great visuals
  • Good music
  • Sucks up lots of time

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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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Mikey Hooks in Review: He’s A Real Swinger http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/08/30/mikey-hooks-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/08/30/mikey-hooks-in-review/#comments Fri, 30 Aug 2013 14:55:34 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73066 Mikey’s been a busy boy.  He’s still looking for shorts and fighting bad guys, and now he’s added grapple hooking to his repertoire.  This sequel to the game Mikey Shorts feels very similar to the first installment, but sometimes that’s okay, as is the case here.  The levels are quick, the challenge builds up nicely over … Read more]]>

Mikey’s been a busy boy.  He’s still looking for shorts and fighting bad guys, and now he’s added grapple hooking to his repertoire.  This sequel to the game Mikey Shorts feels very similar to the first installment, but sometimes that’s okay, as is the case here.  The levels are quick, the challenge builds up nicely over time, and you can decide whether you want to make it about the stars, the cash or simply getting to the finish line.  Plus there are a whole lot of costumes to collect for those of you that like collecting things.

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The aliens are back, the humans are once again captured, and apparently Mikey is the only one savvy enough to break them free and thwart the attack on Earth.  In typical platform fashion you’ll run, jump and slide to get through and around all the obstacles thrown before you.  The aliens are protected on one or more sides by spikes, and while killing them is mainly reserved for the ones that you can actually slide into, you’re safe around any of them as long as you don’t touch the pointy protrusions.  In addition to the aliens you’ll have to deal with platforms that move and disappear, electricity and throwing stars that just happen to be floating up and down, as well as whatever else the game throws at you.  On the plus side there are plenty of coins to collect and hearts to replenish your health should you get dinged but something you shouldn’t have touched.

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The controls consist of arrows to move left and right as well as a button to slide and button that lets you jump when you tap once and use your grappling hook when you tap twice.  You can actually position the controls wherever you want on the screen, though they can still be a bit cumbersome on the iPad which is mainly the fault of the iPad’s form factor.  The controls are actually rather responsive, and the grappling hook feature is one of the best implementations of this mechanic I’ve seen on an iDevice so far.  I just wish the reset button weren’t at the top of the screen when everything else I normally do during the course of the game is at the bottom.

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You can earn up to three stars on each of the non-story levels depending on how quickly you fly through the maze.  You also get to see how many coins you collected out of the maximum for the level, though I’m not sure if you get anything special for collecting all the coins in a given level.  Thankfully you do get to keep any coins you grab in a level before you die because there are more than 200 items in the shop to buy.  If you’re a collector you’ll have plenty to work towards.  There are also 32 achievements to earn and 25 leaderboards to rank on.  Depending on your skill level you might easily coast through some of the levels, but if you take advantage of all the bonuses you can get a lot of play time out of this game.

This game has some great pixel art.  Some of the background area tends to be a bit plain, but there is still a decent amount of detail to be seen throughout the levels.  The characters are cool, Mikey and his costumes are cute, and it’s even fun to see the costumes fall off of Mikey should he lose all of his hearts.  The sound effects are pretty standard for this type of game, but the music does a good job of rockin’ out in the background.  Each world seems to have its own theme which is always nice.

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Mikey Hooks is a nice progression for the series with the addition of the grappling hook which makes for some interesting level design.  However, I hope they push things even further if they decide to make a third installment.  Mikey Hooks has been great fun, and I might even convince myself to try and collect a sizeable portion of the disguises, but I don’t want to see this franchise end up like League Of Evil where each iteration doesn’t feel enough different from the next.  If you like platform games, though, and especially if you are fond of retro inspired fare, you won’t want to pass this one up.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Mikey Hooks Developer: BeaverTap Games, LLC
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $1.99 App Size:
  • More fun Mikey action
  • Grappling hook is nice addition
  • Lots to collect to keep you coming back
  • Nice retro visuals
  • Good soundtrack
  • Controls a bit uncomfortable on iPad
  • Need more diversity in game play

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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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Scurvy Scallywags in Review – Much More Than Match 3 http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/07/02/scurvy-scallywags-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/07/02/scurvy-scallywags-in-review/#comments Tue, 02 Jul 2013 13:58:37 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72801 This is one of those rare cases where I let my objective reviewer guard down and thought to myself “this game is going to be great.  After all, it came from the mind of Ron Gilbert, so how can it go wrong?”  I was basically setting myself up for mild enjoyment, because we all know … Read more]]>

This is one of those rare cases where I let my objective reviewer guard down and thought to myself “this game is going to be great.  After all, it came from the mind of Ron Gilbert, so how can it go wrong?”  I was basically setting myself up for mild enjoyment, because we all know over-hyping something diminishes its “wow” factor, or utter disappointment.  Thankfully Scurvy Scallywags not only failed to disappoint, but it actually exceeded my lofty expectations.  I’m not going to dig myself into a hole by saying this is the best game ever, but boy is there a lot to love here.

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The backdrop of the game is a Broadway musical, which would only be more brilliant if the other developer were named Sullivan.  You take on the role of captain of a pirate ship, and you must recover the 16 verses of the Ultimate Sea Shanty.  In order to complete your mission you’ll travel to a variety of islands to gather goods and fight vile creatures, all in the guise of a match 3 game.  The brilliance here is that your characters as well as all the bad guys and the items that you need to collect appear on the board, and you must match items and shift the board to get everything you need.  As you make matches the board shifts in the direction you swiped to make the match, so take your time and consider your moves so you don’t accidentally swipe yourself into a bad situation.

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To build up your power you must match 3 or more swords, and you can only defeat a monster if your power is greater than or equal to theirs.  If you get sucked into a battle where your power is inadequate you’ll lose a heart.  When all of your hearts are gone you can resurrect yourself by spending some gold, otherwise it’s game over – thankfully though this only means you lose your stats and island progress; all skills, gold and items collected remain intact.  Special items like treasure chests, presents and items to fulfill quests must be picked up by swiping your pirate on top of them.  To engage a creature you swipe to switch places with them.  When combat is complete (assuming you had enough power) they will leave a treasure chest and you will earn experience that helps you level up.  With each new level you can increase one stat and you unlock new skills that you can purchase and use.

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Selecting the right skills is essential to doing well later in the game.  You can only have 5 “active” skills selected at a time, but I’m pretty sure you can swap them out whenever you’re on the main map.  An active skill requires you to tap it in order to use it, at which point it has a cool down of a certain number of matches before you can use it again.  Treasure chests earn you up to three random gifts, which may include parts required to build ships.  Each ship gives you some sort of benefit during game play.  I’m sure there are a few things I’ve left out, but there is so much fun stuff here you won’t mind discovering it all on your own.  The game does support Game Center for achievements, though honestly this is one of those games where you really don’t need it.

The graphics are fun.  The pirates look cool and you can get a bunch of different outfits that you can mix and match for your character.  There are several different tile sets depending on what you are exploring so it should never get boring.  The sound effects are right on, and I like the fact that the different objects you match actually have distinct noises.  The music is great.  It’s one part Broadway and one part pirate with just a dash of Scooby Doo thrown in to spice things up.  This is definitely one of the better audio / visual presentations for a match 3 game.

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If you like match 3 games, you will definitely want to check this one out.  If you’re into grinding to complete quests or achievements, Scurvy Scallywags is for you.  About the only way you could not like this game is if you prefer the same old same old and don’t have a sense of humor.  Well, okay, I suppose if you really don’t like match 3 games then Scurvy Scallywags might not float your boat, but then you’ll just be missing out on a great game.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: Scurvy Scallywags Developer: Beep Games, Inc.
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.2 Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: $1.99 App Size: 88.5 MB
  • Awesome Broadway musical pirate theme
  • Unique match 3 game play
  • Cool skills
  • Fun visuals
  • Wonderful music
  • Skill cool down time can be a bit extreme

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Sparkle 2 in Review – Lame Name, Incredible Game http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/06/14/sparkle-2-in-review-lame-name-incredible-game/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/06/14/sparkle-2-in-review-lame-name-incredible-game/#comments Fri, 14 Jun 2013 14:14:12 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72725 When it comes to certain genres like marble poppers, there’s not a lot of variation to be expected in actual game mechanics, unless you create some sort of mash up like what has become popular with match 3 games.  What does set one entry apart from another is the presentation, and in that regards Sparkle … Read more]]>

When it comes to certain genres like marble poppers, there’s not a lot of variation to be expected in actual game mechanics, unless you create some sort of mash up like what has become popular with match 3 games.  What does set one entry apart from another is the presentation, and in that regards Sparkle 2 excels even more than its predecessor did.  There are a couple of other things that make it rise to the top, though, so don’t think I’ve been unduly distracted by glittery things.  In the end, the Sparkle franchise continues to be my favorite marble popping addiction.

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Te basic premise is that you have a series of objects, in this case orbs, which travel from point A to point B.  You have to stop them by launching additional orbs into the groups to make matches of three or more.  Matches disappear, gaps close up, and if you’re lucky more matches will occur to cause a chain reaction.  Ultimately you must eliminate each and every group on a level before you can safely move on to the next.  Every few levels you will earn a new enhancement that can be used in one of three slots on your slinger, and these can be changed out at the beginning of each level.  Try various combinations to see what works well together with your playing style.  There are also some cool power ups that mostly help you eliminate some of the excess orbs on the board, though a couple of them just affect the speed of the groups.  Power ups are dished out for every three shots you fire in a row that result in matches.

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The only thing you have to worry about it tapping where you want to fire.  Amulets are used simply because you have slotted them, and power ups are activated when you shoot them with an orb.  Tapping is ultra responsive, so if you’re trying to switch active orbs in your slinger, make sure you actually tap on the slinger instead of close to it.  I’ve misfired many a time because of that, which is strictly my fault.  Story mode contains 90 levels that will entertain and challenge you, and after you’ve played a certain number of those you’ll unlock Challenges mode, where you can play certain key levels at three different difficulty settings.  There’s also a Survival mode where you try to earn up to five stars on several different levels by playing for as long as you can.  Throw in a few achievements and there is certainly plenty to do.  All they need to figure out now is some sort of cool two player mode.

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The graphics are great when you consider that you’re basically dealing with a bunch of orbs and some fancy special effects.  I’m not sure what else they could add, though the cut scenes could be a little more interesting visually.  The sound effects work really well with the action, and the spell sounds and voiceovers are especially well done.  Hands down, though, the best part of the audio / visual experience is the music.  I’m positive many of the tracks are remixes or simply borrowed from the original, but whatever the origin this is some of the best music for a casual game I’ve ever heard.  If you were in a different room and heard the music blaring you might think someone was watching a movie.

If you like this style of game play there’s no question that you’ll want to get Sparkle 2.  If you’ve never played a marble popper type game before, the Sparkle series is probably one of the best places to start.  The action is fast and furious, the visuals are quite nice, and the soundtrack is amazing.  If this doesn’t get you hooked on the genre, I don’t know what will.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: Sparkle 2 Developer: 10tons Ltd
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $2.99 App Size:
  • Same fast paced, addictive action as the original
  • Lots of enhancements to earn and mix / match
  • Sharp, flashy visals
  • Killer soundtrack
  • Nothing significant

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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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The Silent Age in Review – No Marty McFly Here! http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/04/20/the-silent-age-in-review-no-marty-mcfly-here/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/04/20/the-silent-age-in-review-no-marty-mcfly-here/#comments Sun, 21 Apr 2013 04:56:13 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72378 Now that developers are comfortable with the iOS platform and have realized how well it works for adventure games we’re starting to see a lot more original content come to Apple’s mobile devices.  One of the latest entries in the genre is The Silent Age, and it’s clear the folks behind this game know a … Read more]]>

Now that developers are comfortable with the iOS platform and have realized how well it works for adventure games we’re starting to see a lot more original content come to Apple’s mobile devices.  One of the latest entries in the genre is The Silent Age, and it’s clear the folks behind this game know a thing or two about what made the old Sierra classics great.  If I had to come up with a down side, it’s that the game was over just as it was reaching its peak.  Thankfully the developers are already hard at work on a sequel, though, so even that little inconvenience will be rectified at some point.

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You woke up on this particular morning and went to work just like every other day. Who knew that you’d go from mild mannered janitor to time traveler extraordinaire on a quest to save the world from itself?  The story sucks you in from the very beginning and doesn’t let go until the final cut scene is done.  In fact, I was a bit sad when the game ended, because I really wanted to know why the future became the world it had become.  The one thing that was a bit lacking after the initial few minutes of the game was character interaction, but I suppose that’s what happens when you become a fugitive on top of everything else.

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The game uses pretty standard touch screen adventuring mechanics.  Tap the screen to move, tap on an item to interact with it or tap on an inventory item and then an item on the screen to use the two things together.  I will admit that there were a few occasions where a screen simply turned into a hunt and peck fest, and once in a while it didn’t seem like there was much guidance as to what to do next, but for the most part the game flowed nicely and there was never a time that I was so stuck that I needed a hint.  While it is by no means a new technique, I think the developers did a really good job of utilizing the need to go back and forth between two time periods in order to solve certain puzzles.  If there was one thing I didn’t care for it was the fact that the screens were all linear in the sense that you could only move left and right.  Even the old Sierra games understood that the world was more engaging when you added a sense of depth with the ability to move in and out of the screen.

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Visually The Silent Age is a treat.  It has a look that is both highly detailed and somewhat simplistic at the same time, and it pulls it off quite well.  Given the stylized look they did a good job of making the future seem bleak graphically speaking.  It really has a modern Sierra Online feel to it.  The sound effects are well done, though I do wish the characters had some voice to them.  The music is certainly good when it’s there.  I do hope there’s a more complete soundtrack in the second installment of the game.

The Silent Age is a prime example of how to make a good point and click – or tap – adventure game, regardless of the platform.  The story is interesting, the puzzles flow nicely and don’t get you too frustrated, and the game looks and sounds good.  While I was disappointed when it ended it felt like it was a pretty good length, and it certainly left me wanting a sequel.  There were a few niggling points where I could see some improvement, but overall I was very happy with my time spent in The Silent Age.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: The Silent Age Developer: House on Fire
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.0
Price: Free App Size:
  • Captivating story
  • Good puzzle design
  • Stylish visuals
  • Nice audio elements
  • Scene design too linear
  • No voiceovers
  • Needs more music

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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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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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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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Team Awesome in Review – A Diversion With Superheroes http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/12/05/team-awesome-in-review-a-diversion-with-superheroes/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/12/05/team-awesome-in-review-a-diversion-with-superheroes/#comments Wed, 05 Dec 2012 17:07:44 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=71174 Fans of the game Diversion from Ezone.com are going to feel a sense of déjà vu here, assuming you haven’t already with the several other Diversion-derived projects they’ve released in the last couple of years.  Thankfully the formula’s still addictive, and there are enough differences to be found in Team Awesome that it still seems like … Read more]]>

Fans of the game Diversion from Ezone.com are going to feel a sense of déjà vu here, assuming you haven’t already with the several other Diversion-derived projects they’ve released in the last couple of years.  Thankfully the formula’s still addictive, and there are enough differences to be found in Team Awesome that it still seems like its own game.  Unfortunately (depending on how you look at it) you won’t find any deep game play here, but if you’re looking for a simple diversion that could turn into an addiction, Team Awesome is your game.

You control Team Awesome, a group of innocent bystanders given extraordinary powers thanks to a freak meteor shower.  In true superhero style you’ll have to stop car thieves, help old ladies across the street and more all in the name of justice.  It’s more 1966 Barman than 2012 Avengers, but sometimes you need a bit of that as well.  The game is currently comprised of 40 different episodes, each of which has three goals you need to accomplish.  So far one has always been collecting a certain amount of money in one run.  The next is do a certain number of something in one run like capturing X number of car thieves.  The final task will be doing something X number of times throughout the course of playing but not necessarily on one run through.

The game is a simple one touch affair.  Tap to jump and hold to fly and everything else will be taken care of simply by running into stuff.  It seems to simple to be entertaining, yet like many one touch games it’s more about the atmosphere, which Team Awesome has in spades.  As you run through the level you’ll collect money which can be used to unlock and upgrade power ups.  Collected money and accomplished tasks provide you XP so you can level up, which in turn makes additional episodes unlockable at a reduced rate (you always have to pay to unlock a new episode, but they are more expensive if you buy them before their corresponding level).  You start out with Awesome Dude, and you can unlock three more superheroes with collected coins as well.  And naturally you can buy coins via IAP if you’d like.

Visually the game looks much like its predecessors, due in no small part to the fact that I’m sure it’s the same engine used by Diversion and its cousins, albeit possibly supped up a bit.  Still, the varied locations are pretty cool, my favorite so far being the nuclear waste factory.  There are plenty of neat little effects like steam rising from grates and pigeons flying away as you pass them and there are also lots of nice details in all the objects.  The sound effects suit the game quite well, especially when it comes to the floating speaker that acts as a narrator.  I just wish the actual superheroes would have some catch phrases.  The music is decent enough, though it doesn’t quite feel like a superhero soundtrack.

At first glance that does seem like a skinned Diversion clone, but it has more than enough charm to stand on its own.  In fact, I think I might actually like it better than Diversion.  Of course it doesn’t hurt that I’m a big superhero fan since my teenage years.  Whatever the case, if you like infinite runners and think the comic book superhero backdrop is cool, Team Awesome will definitely work for you.  If you’re a Diversion fan that thinks you’ve had your fill, I’d still urge you to give it a try.  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Team Awesome Developer: Ezone.com
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $0.99 App Size:
  • Simple mechanics
  • Addictive game play
  • Cool superhero motif
  • Awesome visuals
  • Some goals extremely hard to meet
  • Music doesn’t really fit

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