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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Oddhop in Review – Peg Solitaire Done Right

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Sometimes, in what I suppose is an attempt to quell your frustrations that your order is taking too long, restaurants will happily supply you with the “peg game” at your table.  You know, the one you want to throw across the room before too long because you can never get it down to just one peg, at which point you read the description and find that you’re “one peg shy of being a moron”.  Luckily, unlike its inspiration Oddhop has a bit of class and doesn’t resort to name calling should you happen to not clear away all of the pegs (which in this case are cool looking monsters).  Oh, and this variant of the peg game is a whole lot more fun as well.  I just wish there was something nifty to listen to in the background as I was contemplating the best way to clear off each stage.
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Super Phantom Cat in Review – This Platformer Is The Cat’s Meow

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I’ve always loved side scrolling platform games, which I think is one of the reasons I’m such a fan of the 8 / 16 bit console eras.  It’s still one of my favorite genres to indulge in today as long as the game is done right, and Super Phantom Cat is definitely hits the mark in that regards.  The characters are great, the levels are designed well, and the controls are spot on.  The visuals have a look that borrows from bygone days of gaming but adds a touch of modern sensibility, and the soundtrack is just what you’d expect from this type of game.  There’s very little to criticize with this platforming adventure.
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Symmetrica – Minimalistic arcade game in Review: Please Say It Ain’t Over!

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I don’t typically get into what I consider “twitch” games, mainly because I’m just not that good at them.  As a result, levels that to me seem like they should be easy and interesting often become frustrating and make me just want to shut off the game.  I would consider Symmetrica a “twitch” game, at least to an extent, and there were times that some levels became frustrating.  In the end, however, the difficulty was well balanced enough that I never wanted to chuck my device across the room, and when I finally did complete certain levels I felt a sense of accomplishment rather than simply sighing in relief that I could move on.
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Deadly Puzzles: Toymaker HD in Review: Not Your Children’s Playthings

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If I mention the likes of Big Fish Games or G5 Entertainment you’ll know what I’m talking about in an instant, especially if you’re a hidden object game fan.  Artifex Mundi, on the other hand, might not ring any bells.  If it doesn’t you should look them up, because their iOS games have received some of my highest accolades where hidden object / adventure games are concerned.  Knowing that, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that I was excited to see them start publishing under their own moniker on the App Store.  I finally had the chance to check out one of their titles, Deadly Puzzles: Toymaker, and it’s fair to say I couldn’t put it down (well, except when I had to go to work).  It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, as it forgoes the now standard object puzzle elements for a straight hidden object / mini game combo, but it just goes to show that in the right hands such a combination still works.  With this as an example I can’t wait to dig into more of their iOS titles. Continue reading…