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RunGunJumpGun in Review – Intense, Addictive Fun

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Welcome to Flappy Bird 2.0.  The protagonist has a gun, the obstacles fight back and if you want to truly “complete” each stage you’ll need to have a reaction time that borders on crazy.  If you’re not into “retro” gaming you might be put off by the screen shots, but you really shouldn’t let that deter you from trying this game.  From the moment I first loaded it up I was hooked, and it gets better with each section and world that you unlock.  The only thing you might want to consider is either having a pile of pillows nearby or putting an Otterbox type case on your device for when you inevitably throw it out of frustration (if you are that type of person).
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Lost Grimoires: Stolen Kingdom in Review – These Golems Don’t Want A Ring

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I’ve always considered the Artifex Mundi logo sort of a stamp of quality when it comes to adventure and hidden object games, and Lost Grimoires is certainly no exception to that rule.  While this may not be the most challenging offering in its genre, the story is compelling enough to keep you until the very end and there’s enough game play that you shouldn’t feel slighted in that department.  The hidden object scenes seem a bit superfluous, though the mini-games serve the correct purpose of acting merely as an occasional distraction instead of stalling the game too often.  Overall the game is well balanced, and the addition of the concept of alchemy to help solve some puzzles is a nice bonus.
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Vulture Island in Review – Donut Games Does It Again

 

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While it seems like several developers have “mastered” the art of churning out casual games one after the other, Donut Games is one of the few companies that has managed to do it with consistently high quality.  In the last couple of years they’ve started publishing some more complex offerings as well, the latest of which is Vulture Island.  On the surface it might seem like a simple platform game, but it has an inventory system that reminds me of the classic “Dizzy” games from the golden age of gaming.  It also veers away from the traditional “beat the first level, move on to the next” trope in a way that makes it much more interesting and satisfying to complete than your average Super Mario clone.  Platform gamers should rejoice in this new take on the genre, and those that find the all too linear storytelling of a traditional platform game dull might just find something they like here as well.
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Captain Temporium in Review – Time Pilot for a New Generation

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Depending on the kind of shooter I’m playing I’ll usually mention one of two reference points from the “glory days” of gaming: 1942 or Time Pilot.  This definitely falls to the latter for comparison, as one might even assume without seeing the name that it was in fact a remake of the 1982 classic (yeah, you read that right, I’m old school).  The truth is, even if it has nothing to do with Time Pilot in any way, shape or form, I’m more than happy to label it a “spiritual successor”.  The game has the same frantic, 360 degree playing field, nicely updated visuals, and a difficulty level that would make Flappy Bird fans proud.
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Forgotten Places: Lost Circus in Review – No Scary Clowns Here

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I have already reviewed the second Forgotten Places game a while back, but I was impressed enough that I decided it was time to check out the first one.  I have to say that I’m a bit disappointed we may never see a third entry in the series, because for the most part I didn’t want to put this one down.  What intrigued me the most was that unlike some series where subsequent entries seem to vary only in content, with the Forgotten Places series the two entries feel like completely separate games.  I think the second game, Regained Castles, offers a bit more polished of an adventure game experience, but Forgotten Places: Lost Circus is still a charming adventure game in its own right.
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Isoland in Review – We Got Shipwrecks, Pyramids AND Aliens

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The adventure game landscape seems to be leaning heavily towards hidden object games or room escape style game play, so I’m always thrilled to see what I consider to be a more traditional style of adventure game. It’s even better when that game is actually fun to play, and Isoland certainly kept me going until the very end… when I was thrown a bit of a curveball. I’m not really happy with how the game ended, which I’ll explain later in a bit of a spoiler-y way (I don’t know how else to do it), but despite that I still think Isoland is definitely an adventure worth the asking price and probably more.
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Lifeline: Whiteout in Review – The Series Keeps Getting Better

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Whiteout is the fourth installment of the Lifeline series, following two outings in space as well as a wierd tangent in some mystical otherworld.  This time around we follow the progress of V. Adams, a man trapped in a snowy wilderness that has no idea who he is.  He’ll communicate his situation to you, and in turn you’ll give him advice as to what course of action to take next.  These games are very much like the old fashioned Choose Your Own Adventure books in that there is no inventory to keep track of or puzzles to solve.  Up until this installment that has been a big issue for me, because the lack of those elements really makes it feel like there are no consequences for your actions.  However, I finally ran into something in Whiteout that I had not experienced in this series before: death.  Amazingly, that makes a world of difference in how I perceive the games.
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Tiny Passengers in Review – Clay Characters Catching Cabs (sort of…)

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Tiny Passengers is about cute clay characters, budding friendships and the need to pile as many people as possible in quirky rides.  It’s primarily a quick reflex game, but even when you’re not playing puzzle mode it helps if you can plan ahead a little bit.  The atmosphere is clearly geared towards children, but as an adult I can say that the older set should get some enjoyment out of it as well.  Plus, if you happen to have kids then it’s something you can share with them on your iOS device.  The game can get repetitive over longer play sessions, but for small bursts of time it’s a nice diversion from the typical fare you’ll find on the App Store.
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Progress To 100 in Review – Puzzle Game or Mini-Games… You Decide

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Ultimately my goal is to find gaming experiences for my iPad that are entertaining.  Ideally, however, it would be nice if some of the games brought something new to the table.  That’s where Progress To 100 comes in.  Imagine taking a snarky GPS and crossing it with a “think outside the box” puzzle game, and the result would be this game.  There are literally 100 different screens (hence the name), and each one requires you to solve a different puzzle.  Most of the screens present you with some text that you have to decipher to figure out what to do on that screen.  For example, one screen might say “high five”… okay, one screen DOES say that… and you have to figure out what action is necessary to move on.  I’m trying not to give away any details, because the whole fun of this game is discovery, but I’m impressed with the variety of ways that Progress uses the features of your device.  My only real frustration was that there were a few times that I passed a screen but really had no idea why I actually passed the screen.
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Tsuro – The Game of the Path in Review – Electronic Board Gaming Done Right

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I’m not sure why, but for some reason I find it kind of amusing that as our society seems to drift more and more towards spending our entire day on electronic devices, some developers go out of their way to make that experience have the “old school” feel of classic physical entertainment.  Such is the case with Tsuro – The Game of the Path, an iOS game based off of a physical board game that does its best to imitate that board game on your pixel covered screen.  The thing is, that’s one of its strongest design elements.  That’s not to belittle the actual game play in any way, as it is an extremely fun game.  I just don’t think it would have been nearly as appealing if they would have just taken the “essence” of the game and tried to modernize it for the millennial generation.
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