TouchMyApps » Review 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 Wed, 02 Sep 2015 16:33:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.10 Castling in Review – You Got Your Chess In My Puzzle Game… http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/09/02/castling-in-review-you-got-your-chess-in-my-puzzle-game/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/09/02/castling-in-review-you-got-your-chess-in-my-puzzle-game/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 16:33:21 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74706 When I was younger, most notably in high school, I liked to play chess once in a while.  The problem with a game like chess is it’s not easily accessible like checkers or most card games, so it can be hard to find folks that want to play with you.  Earlier this year my kids … Read more]]>

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When I was younger, most notably in high school, I liked to play chess once in a while.  The problem with a game like chess is it’s not easily accessible like checkers or most card games, so it can be hard to find folks that want to play with you.  Earlier this year my kids started to gain an appreciation for the game, so when I came across Castling I thought it might appeal to both them and me.  The brilliance of Castling is that while it never presents a full game it teaches you how to move all the pieces, and it throws a nice bit of good old fashion puzzle strategy into the mix as well.  Add to that the entertaining representations of the different pieces and you have an instant classic for both chess lovers and puzzle gamers alike.

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Just like in the game of chess, the object in Castling is to take out the king.  In this case, however, you must literally remove him from the board, unlike this game’s inspiration where you can simply “contain” him to win the game.  Typically this means getting one of your pieces onto the same square as the king, though on rare occasions there are other ways to eliminate the royal thorn in your side.  The trek won’t be easy, as the king often has some evil henchmen surrounding him.  Thankfully the opposition will only attack and not move around the board, so as long as you stay clear of a piece’s attacking pattern you’re okay.  Of course there are times when you may actually want to get attacked, though you always have to keep one of your pieces alive.

Besides the king and his minions, the path to victory is paved with many other obstacles.  Sometimes the path will be obscured with drawbridges that must be lowered by positioning a piece on a button.  In the second level set you’ll have to deal with ice, which is a slippery proposition, and sometimes even cracks under your weight.  In the third group of challenges you’ll have to have a keen eye for color, as certain gates can only be traversed by pieces of a certain hue.  Luckily you’ll be able to merge and split pieces as well as simply have them land on color changers in order to get the exact shade you’re looking for.  There is also a set of eight levels that just tests you to see how much you’ve learned from the first 60.  In order to navigate this wonderful world of “not quite chess” you just have to drag a piece from where it rests to where you want it to go.  The game is even kind enough to show you all the available moves you can make.

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Castling is comprised of 60 levels spread across 3 worlds with an additional 8 level bonus which you unlock by completing the rest of the levels or posting on Facebook or Twitter about the game via in-app buttons.  Each level has three stars to collect and a special medal you can earn by completing a more challenging goal such as beating the level in a certain number of moves.  There are 21 achievements to earn via Game Center, but there’s no leaderboard since the only thing you could really compete on is overall time to complete and the game doesn’t time you in the first place.  This is a feature I really appreciate, by the way.

The backgrounds aren’t overly detailed or diverse, but the game looks good.  I particularly like how they’ve rendered the different chess pieces.  I could almost picture them making an animated movie with these characters not unlike such films as Cars or Finding Nemo.  It would be an unexpected subject for sure, but the depictions of the various pieces give them such character.  The sound effects help in that regards as well, especially when your pieces cheer after a victory or the various players start to yawn if you haven’t moved for a while.  There are some other miscellaneous effects throughout the game that provide some nice distraction in the background but don’t really seem to fit with the game.  It’s like someone left a “sounds of nature” CD running in the background.  There’s a halfway decent music track that plays during the menu, but sadly there is no music while you’re actually playing a level, which as I’ve said many times is a particularly bad thing when the game is slower paced like Castling.

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Castling is a great puzzle game that’s blends the movements of chess with a completely different style of play.  Pure chess fiends might not find it as much of a thrill, but casual players as well as general puzzle freaks like myself should really enjoy it.  The puzzles are well thought out and often challenging without ever being impossible, and the atmosphere is cute but doesn’t feel too childish.  Some music during the levels would be nice, and maybe just a bit of animation in the background.  Otherwise this is a solid, worthwhile puzzle game.

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App Summary
Title: Castling Developer: Oddlabs
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req:  iOS 7.0
Price: $0.99 App Size: 31.22MB
  • 60+ well designed levels
  • Nice blend of chess and puzzle solving
  • Cute character pieces
  • Nice sound effects for pieces
  • Background effects seem random and superfluous
  • No music during the levels

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Light In The Dark in Review – A Glowing Puzzle Game http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/08/26/light-in-the-dark-in-review-a-glowing-puzzle-game/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/08/26/light-in-the-dark-in-review-a-glowing-puzzle-game/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 22:12:36 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74685 Light In The Dark is one of those puzzle games where you have to light things up using various colors.  It’s been done before, but what makes this one work is the cute atmosphere.  Of course it doesn’t hurt that there are some well designed levels to go along with the kooky story and silly … Read more]]>

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Light In The Dark is one of those puzzle games where you have to light things up using various colors.  It’s been done before, but what makes this one work is the cute atmosphere.  Of course it doesn’t hurt that there are some well designed levels to go along with the kooky story and silly characters.  I’m not a huge fan of this particular type of puzzle game, but Light In The Dark has managed to win me over for now.

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In Light In The Dark you control these odd but cute creatures that have lost their kids inside a crazy temple full of rooms with quirky designs.  To make matters worse the tykes have all fallen asleep, and the only way to wake them up and bring them home is to bathe them in the light that emanates from the adults’ bodies.  Don’t let the child like premise fool you, though.  There’s definitely plenty of challenge to be had for adults in this game, and the silly characters that appeal to kids are just a bonus for anyone with children that need to move beyond basic educational games.

To move the critters you simply drag them with your finger.  This also applies to movable crates and mirrors, both of which can be used to block and redirect beams of light as appropriate.  With mirrors you might also have the opportunity to spin them which requires tapping on them to get the rotation handles, and then dragging those handles in the direction you want to rotate the mirror.  The controls are pretty user friendly, but there are times where you try and grab something and the game seems to not do what you’re expecting it to.  Given the precise nature of the game it can be frustrating occasionally, but it’s certainly not a pervasive problem.

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The world you get with the game is comprised of 5 tombs that each contains 20 levels and 4 bonus levels.  It seems like each new level offers some new mechanic or at least a different combination of mechanics, and whether or not you like some of the levels it’s obvious they put a lot of thought into the design.  Initially the babies and the adult are all the same color, and then you get multiple adults and babies of different colors so you have to make sure the colors don’t cross.  Then there are babies that are a combination of colors and white babies that have to be touched by the light of every adult in the room.  Add to that the mummies that don’t like light on them at all, switches that are manipulated by the presence and absence of light, and so on and you can see how getting everything lined up just right can be tricky on some levels.

The game rewards you with up to three stars per level, but of course you actually have to get those by shining light on them as well.  Stars are needed to unlock bonus levels and additional tombs, but thankfully once you’ve unlocked a tomb you can start on it without finishing the previous one.  On the down side, within a tomb you do have to finish a level before moving on to the next one.  In addition to saving the babies and collecting stars you get a best time and lowest number of moves for each level.  I guess this is for your own personal gratification, because there are no leaderboards that I’ve found which take advantage of these two values.  There are, however, 54 achievements via Game Center, so if you’re like me that’s actually a better reward.

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If you hadn’t seen this coming yet, the visuals in this game are cute.  Everything is well drawn, the visuals have plenty of details, and the animation makes the main characters look perky and even helps the mummies seem not so bad.  The sound effects are decent overall, and the cheerful squeals the kids make when they wake up in the glow of their parents’ light really encourages you to keep on pressing on.  The music is fun for a while, but I’m pretty sure it’s the exact same tune on every level, so it does get old before too long.

As puzzle games go, the bending light through a maze style challenge ranks pretty low on my desire list, but Light In The Dark has managed to capture my time anyway.  The cute atmosphere, challenging puzzles and constant addition of new elements gives you a reason to keep on coming back.  Now if those kids could just stop wandering away…

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App Summary
Title: Light in the Dark Developer: Dreamgate Studios
Reviewed Ver: 2.0.2 Min OS Req:  iOS 6.0
Price: $1.99 App Size: 92.41MB
  • Lots of levels to master
  • New puzzle elements added frequently
  • Family friendly atmosphere
  • Cute graphics and sound effects
  • Controls are occasionally finicky
  • Can’t skip challenging levels
  • Only one musical track

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Devious Dungeon in Review: Random, Side Scrolling Fun http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/08/13/devious-dungeon-in-review-random-side-scrolling-fun/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/08/13/devious-dungeon-in-review-random-side-scrolling-fun/#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2015 11:53:48 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74662 Ravenous Games is probably best known for their League Of Evil series, which is definitely an entertaining collection of platform games.  Personally, though, I actually get more enjoyment from Devious Dungeon.  Sporting the same cool pixel graphics as most of their other offerings, Devious Dungeon is a side scrolling rogue-like that provides random level generation, … Read more]]>

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Ravenous Games is probably best known for their League Of Evil series, which is definitely an entertaining collection of platform games.  Personally, though, I actually get more enjoyment from Devious Dungeon.  Sporting the same cool pixel graphics as most of their other offerings, Devious Dungeon is a side scrolling rogue-like that provides random level generation, loot collection and stat and weapon upgrades without all the hardcore stuff like needing to eat or weapons that get worn out and break.  It seems like the type of game that should get old after a while, yet every time I go back to play it I’m just as captivated as the time before.

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The plot is pretty basic – go down in the catacombs and clear them out.  In a game like this it works just fine because the lack of plot makes it real easy to pick up and play for a few minutes or a couple of hours, depending on your mood at the time.  The mechanics are equally simple.  Arrows allow you to move left and right, while two buttons provide you with the ability to jump and swing your sword.  It’s just enough to give you something to do without having to worry about forgetting all the commands or special moves between sessions.  The controls work quite well and make even the tightest of jumps fairly easy to execute.

So what exactly do you do in Devious Dungeon?  Well, your primary business is to slay lots of monsters and collect a bunch of loot.  Killing monsters gets you some experience and some coins, assuming you can catch them.  You also get coins from various statues and crates littered throughout the levels, so make sure you take out everything that you can destroy.  Most levels even contain a hidden area where you’ll find either a chest full of gems that earn you lots of coin or a tome that gives you a large amount of XP.  I really like the fact that as you level up the tomes increase in the amount of experience they give you, even if you go back and play earlier levels.  I also appreciate the fact that the game encourages you to explore every nook and cranny of a level, despite the fact that you might have found the key that opens the exit portal.

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Like most RPG style games, experience helps you level up.  When you gain a level you get one point to spend on stamina, strength or dexterity.  You can also buy potions that permanently increase certain stats as well as amulets and rings that bolster your stats as long as you’re wearing them.  And of course there are weapons and armor that fortify your attack and defense capabilities respectively.  I find it interesting that unlike most games where you can have multiple types of say a weapon or armor that do different things for you, in Devious Dungeon each object tree (weapon, armor, amulet and ring) is linear, with the next unlocked item is always better than the previous one.  The only question you have to answer at that point is which tree do you unlock the next rung in first?  In addition to simply completing the game there are 24 achievements to earn via Game Center as well as plenty of quests to complete which reward you with additional gold.  There is certainly plenty to keep you busy in Devious Dungeon.

If you’ve played any of the Ravenous Games offerings, especially from the League Of Evil series, then you know what to expect from the graphics, and Devious Dungeon does not disappoint.  Of course even if you’re just a pixel art lover you’ll be able to appreciate the crisp foreground objects and subdued backgrounds.  The characters are well rendered, and larger versions of creatures don’t just feel like resized sprites.  Even the main character goes through visual changes as you swap armor and swords.  The sound effects are decent, and while the individual creatures could use some distinct noises, you’ll always know when a particular ranged attacker is firing.  I also like the fact that wooden versus metallic objects make different sounds when you crush them.  The only thing that’s really missing aesthetically is a diversified soundtrack.  The music isn’t bad, but there appear to be only two main songs: one for all of the levels and another for when you visit Olaf’s camp to buy weapons or get healed.

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I’ve read in the past where people have felt that all of Ravenous Games’ offerings start to feel similar after a while, but honestly other than the jumping mechanic, Devious Dungeon provides a completely different experience from League Of Evil and really from most of their other games.  The random dungeons, myriad of quests and multitude of upgrades to collect give you plenty to do, and even in the sometimes tediousness the simplicity of the game incubates it never really gets boring.  Despite not actually being devious, Devious Dungeon is certainly plenty of fun.

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App Summary
Title: Devious Dungeon Developer: Ravenous Games Inc.
Reviewed Ver: 1.1 Min OS Req:  iOS 5.0
Price: $1.99 App Size: 41.93MB
  • Lots of levels to conquer and loot
  • Plenty of quests to complete
  • Simple, effective control scheme
  • Great pixel visuals
  • Can get tedious at times
  • Needs a more diversified soundtrack

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Red Game Without A Great Name in Review: At Least The Game Is Great http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/08/07/red-game-without-a-great-name-in-review-at-least-the-game-is-great/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/08/07/red-game-without-a-great-name-in-review-at-least-the-game-is-great/#comments Fri, 07 Aug 2015 14:23:50 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74651 Red Game Without A Great Name suffers from one major problem: it doesn’t have a good name.  I’m assuming this isn’t a turn-off for those of you that are already reading this, otherwise you probably wouldn’t be wasting your time in the first place.  I’m afraid it might prevent many from trying this game, however, … Read more]]>

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Red Game Without A Great Name suffers from one major problem: it doesn’t have a good name.  I’m assuming this isn’t a turn-off for those of you that are already reading this, otherwise you probably wouldn’t be wasting your time in the first place.  I’m afraid it might prevent many from trying this game, however, which would be an absolute shame.  This game is unique, challenging and often makes me want to pull my hair out.  Unlike something along the lines of Flappy Bird, though, this frustration is completely worth it.

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Your task is simply to deliver a secret message, and just like the fabled postmen you must complete that task regardless of rain, sleet, snow… well, you get the picture.  Of course so far weather hasn’t actually played a factor in the game, but maybe that will be coming eventually.  It’s not like the game needs it, given the extreme challenges the game already provides.  You see, in order to get the mail where it needs to go you’ve devised a rather clever mechanical bird that can teleport from one spot to another.  The problem is that aside from the teleporting the bird is constantly in motion, and it’s always travelling the same direction unless something causes it to do otherwise.  Oh, and did I mention the level is moving as well?

This constant movement turns the game into an interesting combination of reaction and memorization, and even when you know the level like the back of your hand there’s still no guarantee that you’ll pull a move off the same way twice.  Naturally there are also all of the standard obstacles like walls that simply stop your movement (but not the level’s), barbed wire strands that stop you permanently, and gates that try to crush you.  Occasionally things will pop up to alter your journey, like jets that change your direction, gas clouds that cause you to speed up and glowing masses that give you the power to destroy cracked walls.  When it comes to these “aids”, the trick is in determining when they are useful and when they will just make your trip harder.  I will give you a hint: usually the cracked walls are either hiding something or give you a bit of protection from danger, so be sure to check each of those out at least once.

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To teleport the bird you simply drag a line from it to where you want it to go.  Conceptually this is a great idea and more often than not it works fine, but when you’re in a hurry to make your next move it’s easy to accidentally not select the bird, in which case any dragging you’re doing is worthless.  Also, while the line drawing method is good for more lengthy movements, it’s not great for small, precision tweaks in your flight path.  Each level has three cogs to collect, and if you’re like me and gotta have them all then you’ll probably drive yourself nuts on some levels trying to get the one that’s in a tight spot.  The game also keeps track of your deaths on each level, so once you’ve gotten all the cogs you can go back and try and better that ranking if you wish.  The game is even kind enough to record a video of all your attempts in a given run, so you can depress yourself even more when you realize you managed to kill yourself 33 times in just under seven minutes!

The visuals are great. While it’s not all about red like one might expect given the name, there’s definitely a limited color palette.  This combined with the simpler yet still detailed shadow like design of the graphics makes for a rather appealing and slick looking world.  The one issue I have is that sometimes things are so dark that it’s hard to tell what’s going on, which can make already challenging areas much more difficult.  The sound effects aren’t bad, though I do get tired of hearing the screech the bird makes when it dies after a while.  The music is easy to listen to and has a nice, jazzy beat to it.

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Red Game Without A Great Name has two potentially off-putting issues for casual gamers: it can be insanely difficult at times, and the simple controls often feel problematic.  Unlike so many other games on the App Store today, though, the difficulty is tempered by the fact that there are levels you can actually finish, giving you a real sense of accomplishment.  Combine that with a fresh game mechanic and some cool graphics design and you have a great entry in whatever genre you wish to label this as.

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App Summary
Title: Red Game Without A Great Name Developer: iFun4all
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.3 Min OS Req:  iOS 6.0
Price: $2.99 App Size: 94.70MB
  • Refreshing game mechanics
  • 60 levels to conquer
  • Great visuals
  • Jazzy, upbeat music
  • Levels can get really frustrating
  • Controls don’t work well for pinpoint accuracy
  • Sometimes visuals can be too dark

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MISSING: An Interactive Thriller in Review – FMV Done Right? http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/08/05/missing-an-interactive-thriller-in-review-fmv-done-right/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/08/05/missing-an-interactive-thriller-in-review-fmv-done-right/#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 17:53:09 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74646 In the 80’s and 90’s there was a movement in videogames to enhance the stories with FMV, or Full Motion Video.  From an animated perspective the genre is best personified by Dragon’s Lair, while “live action” video enthusiasts might fondly recall games like Night Trap or The 7th Guest.  The concept as a whole was … Read more]]>

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In the 80’s and 90’s there was a movement in videogames to enhance the stories with FMV, or Full Motion Video.  From an animated perspective the genre is best personified by Dragon’s Lair, while “live action” video enthusiasts might fondly recall games like Night Trap or The 7th Guest.  The concept as a whole was more miss than hit, and as it became more practical to render cool 3D cutscenes that flowed seamlessly with the game the concept sort of faded into obscurity.  Now that video technology is tightly integrated with mobile devices we’re starting to see a resurgence in this format of storytelling, and the detective / room escape game Missing actually manages to handle the situation fairly well.

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Right off the bat I’ll warn you that this game is pretty short, so if you’re looking for an in-depth experience you might want to steer clear.  On the other hand, if you’re the type that’s always craving something different and likes to see old ideas revitalized in a fresh way, you’ll definitely want to check out Missing.  The video sequences are well staged, and it’s actually interesting how they transition into certain puzzles.  There are also sequences during the videos where you have to react with taps ala Dragon’s Lair, though those could have been a little more challenging.  Finally you’ll encounter situations where the game plays more like a first person point and click adventure.  These experiences tend to break the immersive nature of the game a bit, and sometimes it can be hard to spot the objects you need to complete a certain puzzle, but overall they provide a level of interaction that you won’t find in most FMV based games.

The majority of the game is you by yourself as a kidnapped victim trying to escape, and the one sequence where you take on the helm of a detective and interact with a cop is fairly brief, but the acting seems decent enough.  For the most part it does feel a bit more polished than most of the FMV fare that came out in the 80’s and 90’s, so at this point we’ll call it a B+ / A- production instead of the typical B-movie filler that was the hallmark of the first generation of this genre.  The visuals outside of the video sequences are good, though as mentioned earlier it can be difficult to discern where the items are that you need to pick up.  The off-screen voices seem a bit stiff, but the overall sound effects are decent enough.  The music is actually pretty good and provides some nice background ambiance.

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If this is where the FMV genre is headed I think we’re in for a treat.  Hopefully the next installment of Missing will be a bit longer with some more interaction, but while this offering may be short it’s pretty sweet.  If you’re one of those gamers that loves concept over quantity and have been looking for something new in the world of adventure games, you’ll definitely want to give Missing a try.

Notes: This game was reviewed on an iPad 2 running iOS 8.3 and a promo code was provided for review purposes.

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App Summary
Title: MISSING: An Interactive Thriller Developer: ZANDEL MEDIA
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.19 Min OS Req:  iOS 7.1
Price: $1.99 App Size: 505.22MB
  • Transition between video and puzzles is well done
  • High production value in videos
  • Story keeps you engaged
  • Nice music
  • Game is pretty short
  • Hard to find objects in puzzle sequences

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Stupid Zombies 3 in Review – Still Just Standing Around To Get Shot http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/07/26/stupid-zombies-3-in-review-still-just-standing-around-to-get-shot/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/07/26/stupid-zombies-3-in-review-still-just-standing-around-to-get-shot/#comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 16:55:19 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74608 I’m still one of those people that believe there’s almost nothing better than a good zombie game, and from what I’ve seen so far Stupid Zombies 3 certainly qualifies.  It’s been a while since I played the first one, and I’m not even sure if I played part 2 or not, but based on my … Read more]]>

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I’m still one of those people that believe there’s almost nothing better than a good zombie game, and from what I’ve seen so far Stupid Zombies 3 certainly qualifies.  It’s been a while since I played the first one, and I’m not even sure if I played part 2 or not, but based on my time with the third chapter I think it’s fair to say that the series gets better with every iteration.  Zombie slaying, bouncy physics and an RPG toting granny really work well together.

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If you’ve ever played a zombie game, you know what the basic premise of Stupid Zombies is.  Your territory has been overrun with the undead, and it’s up to you to clean it up.  Thankfully you have weapons to help you do just that.  Better yet, your ammunition has this uncanny ability to ricochet off of things, making the kills much more stylish and entertaining.  You even get a nice line of sight guide to help you make the tough shots, or at least get them started correctly.  Aiming is a simple matter of dragging your finger roughly to where you want to make your shot and then letting go of the screen to fire.  If you decide you want to “recalibrate” then just drag your finger back to your active character to cancel the in progress shot.  The controls are intuitive and work quite well.

The game is divided into 100 levels that span the breadth of your zombie riddled city.  Each level has several body count requirements to meet, is comprised of multiple screens worth of area, and gives you a limited amount of ammo to work with.  Besides the natural barriers provided by the various ruined walls that litter the landscape there are other obstacles like panels that move up and down and construction zombies which tote around signs that block a single shot.  Thankfully you can use some of the junk that’s lying around to your advantage: tires and crates make good zombie killers.  You’ll also run across some barrels that are quite explosive.  There are three characters to control throughout the course of the game, but you don’t get to choose who goes when.  That’s determined by the level that you’re on.  Each character has a unique weapon, and mastering these different tools will be the difference between success and failure.  I hope that the distribution of these characters shifts as the game progresses, because so far it seems to mainly focus on the guy, which doesn’t give you much of a chance to familiarize yourself with the other weapons.

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If you meet your goals before you run out of ammunition you’ll earn somewhere between 1 to 3 stars based on your score.  Each level has its own leaderboard via Facebook, and there are 6 achievements to earn through Game Center.  If you do fail your mission you can gain an additional 2 shots by spending some gold, but gold is a rare commodity that is given only one at a time as a daily reward.  That doesn’t seem so bad except that it cost 9 gold bars for two extra shots.  Of course you can spend some IAP to get more gold, but based on my performance on level 20 so far I’d probably waste all my excess on that level and be stuck again a few levels down the road.  This is my main complaint with Stupid Zombies 3 – it feels like I’m going to be punished for not being particularly skilled at this style of game play by either playing certain levels ad museum or by eventually being forced to spend more IAP than I want to in order to move forward.

The visuals are rather nice.  Backgrounds have nice details and change as you crawl through the city, while the different occupants – both the undead and your “crew” – are well designed.  I do wish there were a bit more animation, as the zombies feel a bit lethargic, but then I suppose they are zombies.  The sound effects are decent, but the zombies themselves don’t really make a whole lot of noise.  Additionally, the music only plays during the map and menu sequences, which is a shame since it’s actually pretty good.  Overall the aesthetics were fairly underplayed in this game.

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Whether or not the physics in this game are anywhere near accurate, if you’re a fan of physics based games you should enjoy Stupid Zombies 3.  Even if you’re sick of the deluge of zombie based games this one is free, so you should give it a try.  Just pretend the zombies are politicians or something.  There are plenty of interestingly designed levels, and while not overly animated the world looks good.  The sound effects and music could use some bolstering, however, and you need to keep in mind that eventually you’ll start to feel the pains of this being a F2P game where their income is derived from you buying IAP.  If you can live with that you’ll get plenty of enjoyment from this title.

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App Summary
Title: Stupid Zombies 3 Developer: GameResort LLC
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req:  iOS 7.0
Price: Free App Size: 84.24MB
  • I love shooting zombies
  • Challenging level designs
  • Solid artwork
  • Free… mostly
  • They don’t switch up the main characters enough
  • The sound is mediocre
  • No music during game play
  • Some levels are nearly impossible to beat without buying extra shots

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Guardian Sword in Review – Match 3 / RPG And So Much More http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/07/19/guardian-sword-in-review-match-3-rpg-and-so-much-more/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/07/19/guardian-sword-in-review-match-3-rpg-and-so-much-more/#comments Sun, 19 Jul 2015 17:34:21 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74595 I’ve always made the assertion that there’s room for one more match 3 hybrid on my device as long as the game keeps me entertained.  Guardian Sword has done so much more than that so far – it has become an addiction.  Rather than just mindlessly slogging through battle after battle this game actually has … Read more]]>

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

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You play an adventurer named Guts that is on a quest for a weapon known as the Guardian Sword.  Of course whether or not he plans on using it for good is the question this story is hopefully going to tell.  Along the way you’ll meet some interesting characters, tangle with diverse minions and take on some powerful bosses.  You’ll also have to explore tunnels, unlock gates and flip switches almost like you were playing a Zelda game.  Then there are skills you can acquire, special tiles you can collect to aid you in your match 3 battles, and ancient relics that have awesome abilities like turning you into an owl to get over uncrossable gaps.  This game has almost as much to do on the map screen as it does in combat, which makes it more in depth than most of its peers.

Each minion battle sees you taking on 3 bad guys, while the boss battles are one on one against some of the toughest hombres in the land.  The match 3 mechanic has you dragging your finger across as many of the same tiles in a row as you can.  Your main weapons are a sword for melee damage and a crossbow for long range torture, and once you finally get magic you’ll trigger that by making matches with the mana tiles.  Any special tiles you’ve discovered will be used when you match them with their corresponding color tiles on the board, though you can only take four of them into battle at any given time.  The same applies to skills, though those are triggered by hand simply by tapping on the icon for the skill.  Each skill requires a certain amount of mana and has a cooling down period before it can be used again, and for the most part they take the place of making a match.

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Battles earn you experience, coins and sometimes an item as well.  Items will be things like healing potions or anti-stun herbs that can be used during battle.  Coins are used to buy additional items or upgrade your weapons and armor.  You’ll also collect gems which can be used to forge your equipment into even stronger equipment or to continue if you’ve been defeated in battle.  Finally you have skill points which can be used to build up certain aspects of your character.  There’s a lot to collect and customize which gives you the opportunity to experiment in how you’ll play the game.  One other great feature is the ability to have a teammate.  Teammates will join you at various points in the story and will level up as you use them.  On the plus side they do their thing automatically, but you can only have one “equipped” at a time.

The visuals in Guardian Sword are really cool.  The maps look good, the characters are well drawn and the animation is pretty slick.  The sound effects are decent for the most part.  It would be nice if the different creatures actually made unique noises to compliment their differing designs.  The music is nice enough to listen to, and each area has its own track to listen to.

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There are plenty of match 3 / RPG hybrids out there, with one or two popping up seemingly every day.  Because of that, it takes something special in the genre to get noticed any more, and Guardian Sword is just such a game.  The combination of skills, special tiles and teammates that you can have is enormous, and when you through in several different stats you can update the depth for this type of game is incredible.  The graphics are great, and story is actually humorous at times.  As a whole this is certainly one of the best recent releases in the mash up genre, if not one of the top released so far.

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App Summary
Title: Guardian Sword Developer: Picsoft Studio
Reviewed Ver: 1.1 Min OS Req:  iOS 5.1.1
Price: Free App Size: 119.10MB
  • In depth skill / special tile / teammate system
  • Lots to do on the map besides match 3 combat
  • Actually has a story
  • Great graphics
  • Nothing significant

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Game of Dragons HD in Review – Certainly No Game Of Thrones http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/07/10/game-of-dragons-hd-in-review-certainly-no-game-of-thrones/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/07/10/game-of-dragons-hd-in-review-certainly-no-game-of-thrones/#comments Fri, 10 Jul 2015 22:36:30 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74574 I always say that even a company with an overflowing catalog of high quality games will end up with some that don’t quite live up to the standards you’d expect.  G5 Entertainment is one such company, and Game Of Dragons HD is one of those games.  The game is not terrible mind you, but it … Read more]]>

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I always say that even a company with an overflowing catalog of high quality games will end up with some that don’t quite live up to the standards you’d expect.  G5 Entertainment is one such company, and Game Of Dragons HD is one of those games.  The game is not terrible mind you, but it is pretty mediocre, and in a genre that’s saturated with lots of fun games that’s not a good place to be.

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The game starts out like too many where a stranger that seems to know all about you gives you a magical trinket and warns you of things to come.  Then you get whisked away to a land that you never knew existed but is a huge part of your life, and you suddenly have to save both this new found world and your own.  If you love fantasy than there’s probably nothing here you haven’t heard or read before, and the characters frankly aren’t really interesting enough to put much stock into.  One of the key components of a successful adventure game is engaging the user in the story, and for me it just wasn’t happening with Game Of Dragons.

Game play itself is broken down into the standard 3 components: hidden object searches, puzzles that require you to use items you find along the way, and mini-games that generally act as a complex key to unlocking an additional area of the game.  While you fortunately never had to play the same hidden object scene twice, there still seemed to be a lot of those areas given the relatively small scope of the game.  On the plus side it was nice to see hidden object scenes often result in finding more than one inventory item, but on the flip side there were several times where it was more expedient to just vigorously tap the screen then actually search out the items you needed.  The object based puzzles where decent, and I appreciated the fact that you could actually merge inventory items, which is something not too many games take advantage of.  The mini games were nice in that they weren’t too taxing and there was never a need to skip them (unless you didn’t like them), but for the most part some random tapping or dragging was enough to solve them, rather than needing to actually think about how to solve them.

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You can have multiple save slots so more than one person can play at the same time, and there are also two difficulty modes, but I’m not really sure that it’s worth playing a second time through, especially if you play the more difficult mode the first time.  The game offers several achievements, and while I don’t normally care about such things in this type of game I was almost excited when I thought I was going to have them all.  Unfortunately I missed it by two achievements, and I really didn’t have the desire to go back and correct the situation.  There’s also some bonus material, but instead of additional game play it’s basically art that you can use as wallpaper.  I tried using one of the images for my lock screen but apparently it didn’t save at the appropriate resolution for my iPad 2 and the image ended up being cropped.

Like the rest of the game, the visuals are serviceable but not great.  While the detail is decent enough the colors often seem a bit muddy, and it can be hard to tell what some things are, both in the backgrounds of regular scenes as well as in general on hidden object scenes.  The renderings of the different characters aren’t that great either, and the baby dragons look more like they belong in a kids’ game than an epic tale of betrayal and victory.  The sound effects work pretty well, though sadly there are no voiceovers, and the music is decent at first but tends to get repetitive.  At least there seems to be a different tune for each area.

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Game Of Dragons is certainly not the worst hidden object adventure that I’ve played, but I’m not going to downplay it: this is near the bottom of the list in terms of G5 releases that I’ve reviewed over the years.  The story is stale, the aesthetics are lackluster and the game play just kind of trudges along.  If you’ve extinguished all of G5’s AAA titles then you might want to plow through this one, otherwise I’d strongly suggest checking out some of my other reviews to find out which G5 games really shine through the pack.

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App Summary
Title: Game of Dragons HD Developer: G5 Entertainment
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req:  iOS 6.0
Price: Free App Size: 603.29MB
  • Not the worst hidden object game I’ve played
  • No repetition of hidden object scenes
  • Some game mechanics were used that don’t show up enough in adventure games
  • Story wasn’t engaging
  • Mini-games didn’t provide any challenge
  • Visuals weren’t up to G5′s high standards
  • Music got boring rather quickly
  • No voiceovers

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Air Race Speed in Review – No Opponents But Still A Blast http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/07/08/air-race-speed-in-review-no-opponents-but-still-a-blast/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/07/08/air-race-speed-in-review-no-opponents-but-still-a-blast/#comments Wed, 08 Jul 2015 17:16:08 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74568 Typically I’m not a big fan of racing games that don’t have bullets flying and power ups galore, and it’s even less likely that I’ll play such a game when there are no opponents to be found.  There are certainly exceptions to the rule, however, and Air Race Speed has become one of them.  Despite … Read more]]>

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Typically I’m not a big fan of racing games that don’t have bullets flying and power ups galore, and it’s even less likely that I’ll play such a game when there are no opponents to be found.  There are certainly exceptions to the rule, however, and Air Race Speed has become one of them.  Despite often being frustrating, what makes this shine are the tracks, and with 36 of them it should take you a while before you’ve either mastered them or gotten bored.  It might not have all the bells and whistles like ammunition or car upgrades, but it manages to get the adrenaline pumping, and that’s the best thing that can be said for a racing game in my opinion.

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The goal of Air Race Speed is simple: get the best time you can in each of the 36 different tracks the game provides.  Sounds easy enough, but I guarantee the tracks will do everything in their power to make sure you don’t complete your mission.  Every track is full of twists and turns, and many of them have mini-mazes, which I personally despise mainly because I can’t navigate them quickly and I can never remember the short path to take through them.  Thankfully no matter how often you crash you can simply continue to try and beat the track.  The problem is that every time you crash you’ll be taken back to the last checkpoint you cleared, AND 3 seconds will be added to the clock in addition to the time you’ll have to make up flying part of the course over again.  3 seconds doesn’t sound like a lot, but when your ranking is based solely on time every second matters.

To control your craft you just tilt the device, and if you want to go faster you can hit the boost button.  Boost is unlimited, but sometimes you might find it too difficult to navigate a particular area if you continually depress the boost button.  On the other hand, if you avoid it in hopes of having much better control of your device, you could have issues making the times necessary to earn more stars.  There is a calibrate option though it doesn’t really seem to do much, and other than deciding to use the boost or not there are no sensitivity options that I’m aware of.

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There are currently 3 tiers of tracks as well as several bonus levels.  Each track carries a 3 star ranking based on time, and unlike many similar games you can definitely complete a course without earning any stars.  This is okay to unlock additional tracks, but if you want to earn better ships you need to get as many stars as you can.  The last level of each tier is endless, and instead of ranking based on time you rank based on total distance travelled in one run.  You get three lives on these levels, but it appears that only your highest distance of the three is used instead of a sum of the runs.  On the bonus levels, not only are you ranked on time, but in order to successfully complete each level you must fly through all the rings on that level.  There are 40 achievements to earn, and there is actually an individual leaderboard for every single course in the game.

The visuals are just as amazing as the track designs themselves.  I was flying through one of the most recent ones I unlocked and there were scorpions floating in some of the tubes!  Of course you have to be careful because if you spend too much time admiring the scenery you’re bound to crash.  Even the ships look really good, though I wouldn’t say there is anything overly exciting about their designs.  The sound effects are pretty much limited to crashing and the sound of pillars smashing together every once in a while.  A little more ambient noise might have been nice.  The music is decent for what it is, but however you’d describe the style doesn’t really suit me, so I keep it on more so that I can have noise than anything else.

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I like racing games, but typically the ones that attract my attention let me blow things up or lay down some cool power ups.  Air Race Speed is definitely an exception to that rule, and despite having no one to race against in the game I find myself easily hooked every time I launch it.  The visuals are top notch, the tracks are varied and sport some excellent design, and the three star ranking system gives you reason to keep coming back for more.  If I can’t destroy stuff while I’m zipping along the track, this is the next best thing.

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App Summary
Title: Air Race Speed Developer: QubicGames
Reviewed Ver: 1.1 Min OS Req:  iOS 6.0
Price: $2.99 App Size: 245.03MB
  • Lots of well designed tracks
  • Plenty of achievements and leaderboards
  • Excellent visuals
  • Good music if you like the style
  • No way to really tweak the controls
  • Nothing to race against or blow up
  • Lackluster sound effects

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Triangulae in Review – Don’t worry, there’s no math involved http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/07/03/triangulae-in-review-dont-worry-theres-no-math-involved/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/07/03/triangulae-in-review-dont-worry-theres-no-math-involved/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 14:41:40 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74560 Triangulae is a puzzle game that seems to be following this delightful new trend of not being a 2048 clone or physics puzzler or “insert your favorite popular puzzle genre here”.  In fact, I’m pleased to say that I don’t think I’ve played anything quite like it before.  It’s got all the bases covered with … Read more]]>

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Triangulae is a puzzle game that seems to be following this delightful new trend of not being a 2048 clone or physics puzzler or “insert your favorite popular puzzle genre here”.  In fact, I’m pleased to say that I don’t think I’ve played anything quite like it before.  It’s got all the bases covered with three different game play modes for different types of players, the mechanics are simple to master while the game itself isn’t, and there’s enough challenge to satisfy most typical gamers.  Puzzle gamers, prepare to add another gem into your collection.

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If you adhere to the “easy to learn, difficult to master” mantra of game playing, Triangulae is right up your alley.  The playing field is a grid full of tiles, each one containing a triangle.  Your job is to slide the tiles around until you fill a square with four triangles, one pointing in each of four directions.  You can slide a tile at any time regardless of whether it has one, two or three triangles in it, so you don’t just have to move the solo triangles.

Triangulae has 3 different game play modes.  In Classic mode you keep playing until you’ve exhausted all possible moves.  Every time you fill up a square it gets cleared and replaced with a single triangle, and for every ten squares you fill you lose one spot on the board.  Occasionally a tile will be highlighted, and if you fill that tile expediently you’ll receive a power up (or possibly down) that seems to last until you advance to the next level.  Timed mode is Classic mode with the power ups and loss of spots replaced by a 60 second timer.  Finally you have Persistence mode where you have to fill in as many of the 16 spots on the board as you can, but once you’ve filled a spot it you can’t get rid of it or move it.  Thankfully you always know what piece is coming up next, so the game can be as strategic as you want it to be – although the timer in Timed mode might prohibit that a bit if you’re like me and don’t think quickly.

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You score for filling up a tile, you score bonus points if you can complete multiple tiles consecutively without a non-completion move in between, and you also score extra points in Classic and Timed modes if all four triangles in a tile are the same color.  Unfortunately, while each game play mode has its own highscore table, it’s all local rankings only.  That’s the game’s biggest drawback.  It would be nice if the scores could be placed on some social network like Game Center or Facebook so you could compare yourself to other players.  It doesn’t really diminish the fun of the game at all, but it robs you of your ability to brag… or be humiliated.

The visuals have that iOS 8 “minimalist” look that many developers like to flaunt, but in this case it looks quite nice.  There isn’t much in terms of bells and whistles where the graphics are concerned, but they do fill the screen with triangle confetti when the game is over and as you complete squares faces will appear on each of the triangles.  The sound effects are okay, but certainly nothing memorable, and while I really like the music, it would be nice if there was more than one track to listen to.

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If you’re a puzzle game fan that’s look for something out of the norm, look no further.  Triangulae is a simple to play yet challenging game that breaks away from the pack to provide a unique gaming experience.  You won’t find any fancy 3D visuals or orchestral soundtracks here, but then you don’t really need them either.  Welcome to a new generation of mobile puzzle gaming.

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App Summary
Title: Triangulae Developer: Ricardo Fonseca
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.3 Min OS Req:  iOS 7.1
Price: $1.99 App Size: 10.74MB
  • Unique game play
  • 3 different game styles for different types of players
  • Slick, minimalistic visuals
  • Nice music
  • No social integration
  • Needs some variety in the soundtrack

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Fix The Candy in Review – Sweet Success In A Puzzle Game http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/06/23/fix-the-candy-in-review-sweet-success-in-a-puzzle-game/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/06/23/fix-the-candy-in-review-sweet-success-in-a-puzzle-game/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 19:14:51 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74526 I have to admit that I have this really bad stigma towards games that are priced at $2.99 on the App Store.  I don’t know why, but to me that seems to be the price point that has been settled on for a wide variety of games that should honestly be free… or maybe shouldn’t … Read more]]>

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I have to admit that I have this really bad stigma towards games that are priced at $2.99 on the App Store.  I don’t know why, but to me that seems to be the price point that has been settled on for a wide variety of games that should honestly be free… or maybe shouldn’t have even made it to the App Store in the first place.  Thankfully I decided to ignore that quirk in my judgment with Fix The Candy, which has turned out to be an incredibly fun game.  Unfortunately there’s only one save slot, so I’ve had to keep shooing my kids away until I get the game completed on my own.  Oh, the trials I endure for a good game!

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The idea is that a bad earthquake has torn the magical kingdom of Candy World apart and splintered all the candy in the process.  Your job is to put all the candy back together by dragging the sweet shards onto each other to form a whole.  You have to be careful, though, because anything you touch with the candy that is not a like piece of candy will destroy it (and if it’s a different type of candy you’ll also destroy that piece of candy as well).  Additionally, if you let go of a piece of candy before you’ve joined it with another like piece of candy then you can kiss that candy goodbye.

It already sounds a bit nerve wracking, right?  Well just to make sure things aren’t so easy, there are all kinds of obstacles.  Walls, moving walls, walls with spikes (and of course moving walls with spikes) will all restrict the areas in which you can move.  And just in case that doesn’t feel modern enough for you, there are laser walls to contend with as well.  Don’t forget about the creatures that like to eat candy.  Some of them will actively seek out the candy which adds additional pressure to the already ticking clock.  Others will grow bigger when they consume a piece of candy.  Thankfully you have a few tricks up your sleeve, like pipes that let you pass through the walls and a magnet that can assemble a whole piece of candy by dragging one shard on it.

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Control is a simple matter of tapping a piece, dragging it to another like piece and letting go.  While this seems easy enough, there have been a number of times where I thought I was on a piece and started dragging only to realize it hadn’t registered the fact that I picked up the piece.  Also, dropping off the piece seems to be somewhat sensitive as again there were several occasions where I thought I was in the right place only to watch my pieces go poof in a puff of smoke.  It’s certainly not enough of an issue to keep me from playing, but seeing as it’s the only controllable mechanic in the game it could be a bit smoother.  The game has a leaderboard, though last time I checked there was one person on it which leads me to believe it’s not working right.  At the moment there are no achievements to earn.

The graphics are cute, with colorful candies and quirky critters.  The different styles of candy are distinct enough that even when they get smaller they’re easy to tell apart.  There really isn’t much to the background, but at least there are some nifty special effects when your candy gets destroyed.  The sound effects are decent enough, and the music is fun for a bit, although the single musical track gets kind of boring after a while.

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Fix The Candy is a nice combination of puzzle game and twitch fest.  Even with the timer it rarely gets frustrating, and it’s both simple enough for younger kids to understand and challenging enough to keep older kids (both in age and spirit) entertained.  The biggest down side is that with only 60 levels some skill and a little persistence will have you wanting more before long.

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App Summary
Title: Fix The Candy Developer: Evelyn Labs
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req:
Price: $1.99 App Size: 86.95MB
  • Simple, fun game mechanics
  • Entertaining for both young and old players
  • Cute, colorful visuals
  • Control can be a bit touchy
  • 60 levels go by quickly
  • The single background song gets boring pretty fast

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The Silent Age: Episode Two in Review – If Sierra Still Made Adventure Games… http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/06/16/the-silent-age-episode-two-in-review-if-sierra-still-made-adventure-games/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/06/16/the-silent-age-episode-two-in-review-if-sierra-still-made-adventure-games/#comments Tue, 16 Jun 2015 12:24:41 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74519 When I reviewed chapter one of The Silent Age over two years ago, I felt that it was one of the best examples of a traditional Sierra style point and click adventure game, nicely updated for modern touch screen devices.  If anything, the second and final chapter of the game cements that notion.  Having reread … Read more]]>

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When I reviewed chapter one of The Silent Age over two years ago, I felt that it was one of the best examples of a traditional Sierra style point and click adventure game, nicely updated for modern touch screen devices.  If anything, the second and final chapter of the game cements that notion.  Having reread my original review I would say that most of the niggling negative points are still there, but the game is still so captivating that it doesn’t really matter.  Unlike the first time around where I was still left desiring more I am fully satisfied with the resolution to this tale, and I only hope this time that the developers will continue to make adventure games that are as good a quality as this one.

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Chapter two literally takes place right on the heels of the original story.  I won’t share any details so as not to spoil either chapter for you, but I will say that this game does a nice job of tying up all the loose ends.  One might even say that there are a couple of times where it feels like there is too much explanation, but at least it never reaches Final Fantasy cut scene levels and you can skip the long parts if you want.  This time around there was a lot more interaction with other characters, so add a check to the “improvements” column.

The interface hasn’t changed, so you’ll basically tap to do everything – tap to move somewhere, tap to pick up an item or tap an item and then somewhere on the scene to use that item.  There didn’t seem to be as much “hunt and peck” action this time around, and the puzzles were still balanced enough that the provided a challenge but didn’t force me to look elsewhere for the answers.  The ability and necessity to switch between multiple years in order to complete certain puzzles is still the game’s biggest asset and is done just as well this time around.  Sadly, the game still feels rather linear in terms of level design, but I suppose not everything is going to change to my liking.

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The visuals maintain the high quality of the first installment.  There’s something about them that seem detailed and simple at the same time, and it’s a style that I hope they continue with should the studio produce any more adventure games.  The sound effects once again do the game justice, but we still never get to hear the voice of Joe the janitor or any of his contacts.  In my original review I commented that the music was good when it was there, and I’m guessing the same holds true for this installment since it doesn’t the soundtrack didn’t seem to be any more prevalent this time around.

Overall my feelings towards chapter two of the silent age mirror how I felt with chapter one a couple of years ago.  There are some small improvements this time around, but it basically feels like an extension of the first half, just as one might expect it to.  I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, but I do hope that some of my suggestions see the light of day in future products that House on Fire develops.  Of course even if they just maintain the quality displayed in The Silent Age I’ll be more than happy to try whatever comes next.

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App Summary
Title: The Silent Age Developer: House on Fire
Reviewed Ver: 2.0.16 Min OS Req:  iOS 7.0
Price: Free App Size: 120.10MB
  • Excellent continuation of an intriguing story
  • Well balanced puzzles
  • Good use of time jump mechanics
  • Great visuals
  • Decent sound and music
  • Levels feel to linear
  • Still no voiceovers

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