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, 27 May 2015 11:48:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.8 9 Clues 2: The Ward HD in Review – Creepy Is As Creepy Does http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/24/9-clues-2-the-ward-hd-in-review-creepy-is-as-creepy-does/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/24/9-clues-2-the-ward-hd-in-review-creepy-is-as-creepy-does/#comments Sun, 24 May 2015 23:54:34 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74442 I’m sure I say this far too often but it’s rare that I play something from G5 that I don’t like.  However, when the next thing that pops up after the G5 logo is Artifex Mundi I get particularly excited.  This combo seems to produce some particularly high quality fare, and 9 Clues 2: The … Read more]]>

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I’m sure I say this far too often but it’s rare that I play something from G5 that I don’t like.  However, when the next thing that pops up after the G5 logo is Artifex Mundi I get particularly excited.  This combo seems to produce some particularly high quality fare, and 9 Clues 2: The Ward HD is no exception to the rule.  Game play is extremely well balanced, the game looks and sounds great, and the story is top notch.  In fact, this particular tale managed to throw a few twists in, which is something pretty rare for a hidden object style adventure.  If this is your cup of tea than this game shouldn’t be missed, and if you’re not familiar with or have tried to distance yourself from the genre, this would be a great place to start.

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You play a detective who, along with your partner, gets called to a creepy asylum tucked away on an island.  Nothing could go wrong there, right?  You get greeted by a head practitioner that knows nothing of the call and a professor that decides to take a fatal dive out of his second story window, and things go downhill from there.  The story is told via a myriad of cutscenes throughout the game, as well as from notes, newspaper articles and other printed media scattered around the asylum.  The pacing is just right to keep you both on your toes and wanting to know what comes next.  Additionally, unless you decide to way overthink things there should be a few surprises in store for you as you delve deeper into the game.

Game play itself is divided into the standard three elements: object based puzzles, hidden object scenes and mini-games.  It’s really well balanced in my opinion, which means it is mostly object based puzzles and the mini-games are basic enough that even if you find them annoying (which I did in a couple of instances) you should be able to complete them without too much difficulty.  As for the hidden object scenes, if you don’t care much for that style of game play you can actually bypass the scene with a rousing game of Mahjong – assuming, of course, you find Mahjong interesting.  There were a few occasions where I got stuck on something for a bit and wandered away from a room before I was done with it, but for the most part the puzzles provide just the right amount of thought and are never over-taxing.

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Maneuvering through the asylum is pretty simple.  Tap twice to travel to a new room, and tap on an object to pick it up.  Tap an inventory item and then part of the scene to use that item, or simply drag it from your inventory to the desired location.  Controlling a mini-game varies by mini-game, but it usually involves some sort of tap or drag event.  One neat feature of this series of games is event reconstruction, where you have to identify nine areas in a scene that appear to have been disturbed.  Once you find them all you have to put them in order of occurrence, and then the detective will narrate the event as she has deduced that it took place.  Besides simply completing them game there are several achievements to unlock if you so desire, and there are also three difficulty levels to play at if you’re one who likes to experience the adventure several times.

For the most part the visuals are top notch.  The scenes are well rendered, the hidden object screens do a good job of concealing the items without truly hiding them, and the cutscenes as a whole are nicely drawn.  The one thing that bugs me is the character animation.  It reminds me of the way they used to animate the Spider-man cartoon in the 60’s, and for me it just doesn’t work.  The sound effects are pretty good, and they did a great job of matching the voiceovers the visual representations of the characters.  The background music does a good job of staying there, but when you do notice it definitely sets the proper tone for a romp through the looney bin.

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I never get tired of bragging on a good game, and this is an extremely good game.  Once I started playing it was pretty much all I wanted to do on my iPad until I completed it, and then I was kind of hoping for some more in an unlocked bonus story or something.  I sadly didn’t get the chance to play through the first 9 Clues game, but now I’m thinking I really should go back and give it a try.  That is, of course, unless they’re already working on chapter 3!

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App Summary
Title: 9 Clues 2: The Ward HD Developer: G5 Entertainment
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req:  iOS 6.0
Price: Free App Size: 884.29MB
  • Intriguing story
  • Extremely well balanced game play
  • Great visuals
  • Nice voiceovers and background music
  • Same old mini-games
  • Character animation a bit odd

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Lifeline… In Review – The Next Evolution Of Adventure Games? http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/21/lifeline-in-review-the-next-evolution-of-adventure-games/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/21/lifeline-in-review-the-next-evolution-of-adventure-games/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 02:47:11 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74434 Before I virtually put my foot in my mouth, I want to make it clear that I admire developers that try to do something different.  The App Store is so full of “been there, done that” games that even if I’m not keen on a particular game, if it’s a concept I’ve not played much … Read more]]>

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Before I virtually put my foot in my mouth, I want to make it clear that I admire developers that try to do something different.  The App Store is so full of “been there, done that” games that even if I’m not keen on a particular game, if it’s a concept I’ve not played much or at all in the past I’m thankful I got to try it.  Such is the case with Lifeline from Big Fish Games and 3 Minute Games, the irony of the latter being that this doesn’t even come close to being a 3 minute game.  I’ve only played one other adventure game like this that I can recall, and while the story here is much more defined an interesting, I almost feel like I’d rather just be reading this as a book than interacting with it in the limited capacity that I’m capable of.

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The condensed version of the story is that you are some unknown controller communicating with what you presume to be the sole survivor of a craft that has crash landed on a distant planet.  Basically he tells you what he sees, and occasionally asks for your input on what to do.  When he decides that something will take more than a second or two to complete he lets you know and you see the message “Taylor Is Busy”.  At that point you can turn off the game and go about your business, and when there’s something new to report the game will drop you an instant notification letting you know that Taylor’s once again in need of some direction.

The story is fairly well written, and you get a pretty good feel for the kind of person Taylor is by his comments and how he reacts to his dire situation.  If I were to turn this into a movie I’d probably try to wrangle Ryan Reynolds into the leading role.  The notification aspect is neat as well, though I imagine this would be much easier to appreciate if you owned an Apple Watch, which Lifeline happens to be compatible with.  As for game play, when you get to “guide” Taylor you only get two options every time, and even though he might occasionally argue he always ends up doing what you tell him to.

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So far there has only been one time where they stretched the boundaries of this concept a bit by having Taylor pose the question if a particular amount of rads (radiation) would cause permanent damage or not.  I did look up the answer on the internet, but since it’s basically a yes or no response that you give him, the game has no way of determining if you really researched the question or not.  Add to that the fact that there is no inventory to speak of and the game feels to much like the old Choose Your Own Adventure paperbacks, which is fine if there weren’t already a couple of other companies that tackle that genre so much better than this.  Sometimes there’s something to be said for using technology to enhance a style of game play beyond what was capable in physical form.

There are no graphics aside from the splash screen, but at least the text is laid out nicely and easily readable.  The sound effects basically consist of little blips between each message.  This is one area that I think could have been spruced up a bit – even though you’re experiencing this whole journey over a com-link, there’s no reason you couldn’t necessarily hear background noises over said link.  There might not be too many occasions to take advantage of this, but it would be better than nothing.  The background music is subtle but stirring, and helps with the notion of keeping you on edge waiting to find out what Taylor’s going to do next.

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I do think there is some merit to this style of game play.  Lifeline certainly ups the ante from the previous game that I played like this by providing a solid, fleshed out storyline to accompany your choices.  However I think to truly satiate the adventure gaming crowd developers will need to figure out some way to practically add inventory management to these games and maybe even some combat if the overall scenario warrants it.  Without a little more interactivity you might as well just read a book instead.

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App Summary
Title: Lifeline… Developer: 3 Minute Games, LLC
Reviewed Ver: 1.2 Min OS Req:  iOS 8.0
Price: $2.99 App Size: 19.07MB
  • Interesting story
  • Good music
  • Limited interactivity
  • No inventory
  • Sound effects not used effectively

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The Fool HD in Review – You’d Be Foolish Not To Try It http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/18/the-fool-hd-in-review-youd-be-foolish-not-to-try-it/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/18/the-fool-hd-in-review-youd-be-foolish-not-to-try-it/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 14:58:29 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74428 Some people say there’s a fine line between being a hero and a fool, and the main character in The Fool HD from Big Fish Games did his best to try and prove it.  Given the macabre, horror style entries BFG has been turning out so much of lately this was a nice change of … Read more]]>

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Some people say there’s a fine line between being a hero and a fool, and the main character in The Fool HD from Big Fish Games did his best to try and prove it.  Given the macabre, horror style entries BFG has been turning out so much of lately this was a nice change of pace both in story and general atmosphere.  In fact, overall it was a rather fun, well designed adventure.  It certainly has the same minor misgivings that most hidden object adventure games do these days, but it was a joy to play from beginning to end.

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You are a nameless one, just another in a long line of wannabe adventurers trying to gain the princess’ hand in marriage.  Unfortunately you decide to buck the system resulting in your newly betrothed being whisked away by a ticked off dragon.  Now you must journey to the vile beast’s castle and finish what you claimed to have done the first time, both ridding the kingdom of the dragon and bringing your lovely bride home.  The story is lighthearted and will sometimes make you smile, even if it is a bit cliché.  It does a good job of keeping you entertained and providing a reason for visiting the different realms that you do.

If you’ve played any hidden object games on your iDevice already then you know the drill where game play is concerned.  Tap to move between locations, tap to pick up objects, and drag to use inventory items with other objects on the screen.  There are a couple of times where you actually have to drag to interact with an on-screen object, but “out of the norm” manipulation like that is still a rarity in this game.  The mini-games are all pretty much tap or drag affairs, and as usual there are a couple that are hard to manipulate, but overall I actually enjoyed the diverse selection of mini-games that were offered.  In fact, the general balance between object puzzles, hidden object scenes and mini-games was just about perfect in The Fool.

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Visually the game is very appealing.  The backgrounds are nicely drawn and quite detailed, and there’s pretty much always something going on animation wise to keep things from getting stale.  The character designs look really good as well.  The sound effects serve their purpose, but there was a lot of missed opportunity for cool ambient noises in certain locations.  The voiceover for the narration was well done, but sadly we didn’t get to hear any of the other players in this fun story.  On the other hand, the musical score was extremely well written.

There’s a good chance I might have missed out on this one had I not caught the April Fool’s day sale, and I’m so thankful I didn’t.  As happy as I am when I manage to score a great game for 99 cents, this is definitely worth the normal asking price for the full version.  A fun story, excellent game play and great aesthetics make The Fool HD one adventure definitely worth taking.

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App Summary
Title: The Fool HD Developer: Big Fish Games, Inc
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.1 Min OS Req:
Price: Free App Size: 456.34MB
  • Lighthearted, amusing story
  • Great game play balance
  • Nice visuals
  • Well written music
  • Some mini-games hard to maneuver
  • No voiceovers aside from narrator

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Armadillo Gold Rush in Review – Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’… http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/15/armadillo-gold-rush-in-review-rollin-rollin-rollin/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/15/armadillo-gold-rush-in-review-rollin-rollin-rollin/#comments Sat, 16 May 2015 01:53:55 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74421 When I first saw the press release for Armadillo Gold Rush I thought maybe I had missed something, because I was sure I had already played this game.  Well, it turns out I had – 7 years ago when I reviewed it for the PocketPC!  Back then I gave the game a 9 out of … Read more]]>

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When I first saw the press release for Armadillo Gold Rush I thought maybe I had missed something, because I was sure I had already played this game.  Well, it turns out I had – 7 years ago when I reviewed it for the PocketPC!  Back then I gave the game a 9 out of 10, and I have to say my feelings towards it haven’t changed much.  Things certainly don’t always age well, but this little armadillo is definitely no worse for the wear.

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Why he needs it I don’t know, but your goal is to help the armadillo gather all the gold coins that are scattered around the 75+ levels the game contains.  The problem is that this little guy likes to roll, and once he gets started there’s no stopping him unless something gets in the way.  If it’s a rock or hedge it’s no big deal, but things like spiked balls, water and lava are certainly not his friends.  Thankfully you can find plenty of miscellaneous objects like crates, non-spiked balls and more to both protect you from aggressive obstacles and help you cross over the more passive ones.  There are also things like sticky pads to stop your roll when there’s not a solid surface in sight.

With this many levels you’re bound to run across some that you don’t like, and others can be just plain evil because you keep dying or getting stuck.  For the most part, however, the level designs are extremely well done.  It’s very rarely a straight zip through the park, either.  You might have to go around a level several times to get everything you need, or criss-cross back and forth to flip levers so you can open gates or turn off bothersome devices.  Some levels even require you to perform mini-games like “playing golf” or pushing a ball across the entire level.  You can tell that a lot of thought went into the level design, and that’s a big part of what makes the game so enjoyable.

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Upon level completion you’ll be awarded with up to three stars in three different categories: time, number of moves and overall score.  The funny thing is that you can do really poorly on the first two and still earn three stars on the score, but thankfully you can revisit a level at any time to recover any stars you missed the first time around.  You also don’t have to finish an entire level set to unlock the next one, and once a level set is unlocked you can play any level in that set.  The game offers five leaderboards ranging from total overall score to the sum of the least moves taken for each level.  There are also a whopping 42 achievements to earn.  That’s just in case getting all 9 stars in each level isn’t quite enough satisfaction for you!

I really like the visuals.  While they may not be the most advanced and they certainly aren’t 3D, there’s a nice “modern old school” charm about them.  Everything is nicely detailed and there are little bits of animation where necessarily to keep things from feeling completely static.  The sound effects aren’t that great, however, and while there’s a nifty banjo track that plays during menus and such, there’s no actual in-game music.  Ironically, it’s not just the good things about the game that haven’t changed over the last seven years!

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Armadillo Gold Rush may have it’s origins as a seven+ year old PocketPC game, but it certainly holds up well enough today.  At a time when the App Store is overrun with just about every time of action / puzzle game there is, this one still feels like a breath of fresh air.  There are plenty of levels to keep you busy, numerous achievements to earn, and multiple three star ratings per level to aspire to.  The audio department could use a bit of a lift, but otherwise this is a top notch puzzle game worthy of your time and effort.

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App Summary
Title: Armadillo Gold Rush Developer: AppAbove Games LLC
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.9 Min OS Req:  iOS 4.3
Price: $2.99 App Size: 85.09MB
  • Easy to learn
  • Plenty of well designed levels
  • Lots of achievements and 5 leaderboards
  • Great visuals
  • Lackluster sound effects
  • No music during the levels

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Orbix in Review: ‘Round and ‘Round The Core We Go… http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/12/orbix-in-review-round-and-round-the-core-we-go/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/12/orbix-in-review-round-and-round-the-core-we-go/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 20:48:33 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74401 Welcome to Orbix, the game about protecting your core from all those who would try to destroy it.  The “core” is a set of glowing circles in the center of the screen, and it’s where you derive your energy from. Lots of triangle shaped ships will try to infiltrate your defenses and take the core … Read more]]>

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Welcome to Orbix, the game about protecting your core from all those who would try to destroy it.  The “core” is a set of glowing circles in the center of the screen, and it’s where you derive your energy from. Lots of triangle shaped ships will try to infiltrate your defenses and take the core out, and if enough of them sneak through you’ll be out of power and the game will be over.  The enemies will come at the core in different movement patterns and speeds, but basically they are all the same.  It doesn’t really matter when you’re losing power, though.  You’ll simply be focusing on taking them out so you can last as long as possible.

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To protect the core you have a single ball that rotates around it.  Tap the right side of the screen to get the ball to rotate clockwise and the left side of the screen for a counterclockwise spin.  It’s all pretty intuitive unless you’re like me and accidentally reverse direction just before you collide with a bad guy.  Of course there is one rather interesting wrinkle in this whole thing: power ups must enter the core in order to be activated, and the ball you control can destroy them just as easily as it can destroy an enemy space ship.  In other words, you can be your own worst enemy in this game.

If you are lucky enough to let a power up through you’ll be treated to things like increased rotation speed, a bigger ball, and double ball action.  It does pay to remember what icons equate to which power ups, though, because there are a couple that are bad like reversing the direction of your controls or shrinking your ball.  Feel free to destroy those before they “help” you.  For those that like “last ditch efforts” you do have two one use items that you can activate at any time: a shield and a battery that completely recharges your core.  Use sparingly, but don’t be afraid to tap when you’re about to die.  The game does support Game Center for challenges and a leaderboard, but there are currently no achievements.

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The graphics are pretty simple, but they look sharp and there are enough little twinkles to keep things interesting.  The sound effects are probably the weakest part of the audio-visual presentation, but they suit the needs of the game.  There’s only one musical track, but it’s actually pretty neat and definitely maintains a high energy.

Orbix is one of those games that are perfect for when you have a few minutes to kill waiting in line or something like that.  There’s not a lot of variety to the game play, but it is fun trying to get the power ups and last just a little bit longer each time.  It would be nice to see more types of ships and a couple of different game modes, but for what it has Orbix provides a nice little diversion every now and again.

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App Summary
Title: Orbix Developer: Christian Ghelardoni
Reviewed Ver: 1.2 Min OS Req:  iOS 7.0
Price: $0.99 App Size: 18.08MB
  • Simple mechanics
  • Nice visuals
  • Cool background music
  • Lack of game play variety
  • No achievements or unlockables
  • Lackluster sound effects and only one song

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Graven: The Purple Moon Prophecy HD in Review: No Green Clovers Or Blue Diamonds Here… http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/06/graven-the-purple-moon-prophecy-hd-in-review-no-green-clovers-or-blue-diamonds-here/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/06/graven-the-purple-moon-prophecy-hd-in-review-no-green-clovers-or-blue-diamonds-here/#comments Wed, 06 May 2015 18:10:32 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74394 When a developer or publisher has released a decent number of titles, it’s likely that even the most devout fan won’t be interested in all of them.  Thankfully, while that is the case even for a company like G5, they turn out so many good titles that it’s easy to ignore the not so good … Read more]]>

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When a developer or publisher has released a decent number of titles, it’s likely that even the most devout fan won’t be interested in all of them.  Thankfully, while that is the case even for a company like G5, they turn out so many good titles that it’s easy to ignore the not so good ones.  Graven: The Purple Moon Prophecy is definitely one of the good ones, and for not having an unlockable bonus story there was a surprising amount of game play.  If you decide to embark on this journey be prepared to be captivated until the very end.

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You are a noted archeologist that gets called in to help locate some ancient druidic stones.  What starts as a seemingly innocent search for a great scientific discovery quickly becomes a tale of betrayal, redemption and the ultimate challenge of saving two unsuspecting worlds.  Taking cues from the best fantasy plots, the story of Graven is told through cut scenes and dialogs with various characters you meet throughout your journey.  It’s the kind of tale that would make an intriguing summer blockbuster, and while it may not be the most original it should keep you hooked from the moment you arrive in the strange town of Brittany.

On the off chance you haven’t played an adventure game before, the mechanics are pretty standard.  Tap on an area you wish to move to, tap on an item in a scene to interact with it, and tap on an item in your inventory and then somewhere on the scene you’re in to use that item.  Some scenes have areas you can zoom in on, and others contain hidden object areas or mini games for you to play.  Besides your standard list of items to find, some “hidden object” scenes require you to locate an object and use it elsewhere in the scene, repeating the action until you’ve found a useful object.  In other cases you’ll actually be locating a bunch of parts to a single object that will then be added to your inventory.  The mini games are rather diverse, and while there’s a good chance you’ve seen them in one form or another, they were all well balanced and at least for me easy enough to get through without the need to bypass them.

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If you do require help there is a hint button that can be used to show you where you need to go next or what object you might be looking for.  On the harder settings the hints take more time to recharge, but there are clovers hidden all over the place that instantly recharge the hint meter for you.  There is also a journal that keeps track of important clues, lists your current objectives and even provides a map that lets you jump instantly to any discovered location.  The down side to the latter is that you might not realize a hidden object scene has opened up if you don’t wander through each scene again.  There are 19 achievements you can earn, and the game allows multiple profiles so each person that uses your device can have their own experience and earn their own achievements.

As one might expect from a top tier G5 game, the graphics are excellent.  Well drawn, detailed backgrounds are a delight to explore, and the cut scenes are nicely rendered even where the people are concerned.  The one thing I don’t really care for is the type of hidden object scene where your list is simply the silhouettes of the objects, because it’s often hard to tell what you’re looking for.  The sound effects certainly serve their purpose, and the developers did a good job of selecting people for the voiceovers.  There’s also some decent music that at times almost sounds more appropriate for a horror themed game.  As long as it’s good I’m certainly not complaining, though.

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In case I haven’t given it away yet, I enjoyed this game.  Sometimes as I get closer to the end of an adventure game, even one I really like, I tend to be ready for it to be over.  I never felt that way with Graven.  I’m not sure I’d want to see a sequel, as the game did an excellent job of telling a self contained story, but there’s no question I’d be in for the ride if one did appear.

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App Summary
Title: Graven: The Purple Moon Prophecy HD Developer: G5 Entertainment
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req:  iOS 6.0
Price: Free App Size: 927.86MB
  • Decent fantasy storyline
  • Plenty of well balanced puzzles and mini-games
  • Excellent visuals
  • Quality voiceovers and music
  • Nothing of note

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Maya The Bee: Flying Challenge in Review – Kid Friendly, Infinite Flying Fun http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/03/21/maya-the-bee-flying-challenge-in-review-kid-friendly-infinite-flying-fun/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/03/21/maya-the-bee-flying-challenge-in-review-kid-friendly-infinite-flying-fun/#comments Sat, 21 Mar 2015 20:02:32 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74328 Looking at the screen shots for Flying Challenge I had a feeling this was going to be geared towards kids.  Spending some time with the game has basically confirmed that suspicion, though that’s in no way meant to be a negative towards the game.  It certainly has all the hallmarks of your typical infinite runner … Read more]]>

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Looking at the screen shots for Flying Challenge I had a feeling this was going to be geared towards kids.  Spending some time with the game has basically confirmed that suspicion, though that’s in no way meant to be a negative towards the game.  It certainly has all the hallmarks of your typical infinite runner (or in this case flyer), but it tones things down a bit for the sake of the little ones.  None of that stopped me from wanting to keep playing the game instead of taking my son down to the bus on the morning when I was writing this review.

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You control Maya – and eventually Willy if you’re willy-ing to spend a buck via IAP to buy him – in a quest to help Mrs. Cassandra collect some flowers for a lesson she wants to teach.  There are 10 plants to collect altogether, and you shouldn’t be surprised if you go many rounds between finding each one.  Thankfully that’s not all there is to do, however.  At the beginning of each run you’ll be presented with three missions to complete, some of which are actually kind of challenging.  Maya’s even nice enough to recycle missions as you complete them, which is a good thing since there’s no way to skip a mission you deem especially difficult.  The other thing you can do is collect honeycombs which serve the dual purpose of keeping your meter full so you can continue to fly and providing you the in-game currency needed to upgrade three different skills.

To control your selected bee you can either tilt the screen or use a one finger touch control.  Now I never claim to be an expert at playing games, but the touch control seems to elude me on this one.  On the other hand, the tilt control is one of the best calibrated I’ve seen in an infinite travelling style game.  Besides the missions the game does offer a Leaderboard via Game Center, but there are no achievements either related to the missions or otherwise.  The biggest problem I have with this game is it lacks the diversity of power up and character unlocks that I’ve come to expect from this style of game play.  In fact, the only additional character you can unlock you have to pay for, and the same goes for the one “unlockable” world.  What’s worse is that besides redecorating the obstacles, introducing a new world into the mix doesn’t even add anything to the game play.  I think the standard game is decent if a bit lacking, but I’m not really seeing much point in investing in the IAP unless you have to have a second playable character.

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The graphics in Flying Challenge are very nice.  The 3D scrolling images in the foreground look decent and rarely manifest clipping issues, and the static background does a good job of providing depth while avoiding the draw-in issues that are common with engines that try and simulate a vast viewpoint.  The main character is pretty cute, too.  The sound effects are okay, and the voiceover is cute for a while but can get on your nerves quickly, which means the kids will probably love it.  The soundtrack is well written but appears to be comprised of only one or two songs (I think it’s just one fairly long one).  It would be nice if each world at least had its own theme.

Maya The Bee: Flying Challenge is what I would call an introduction to infinite games, and that it does pretty well.  The environment and the cute bee should entertain the kids, and there’s actually enough substance that parents might like to take it for a spin once in a while.  Hardcore infinite runners that thrill at the likes of Temple Run will probably be disappointed, however.  The lack in variety of obstacles to avoid, limited power ups to upgrade and no characters to unlock via in-game currency severely limit the long term replay factor.  There’s plenty of potential here, and hopefully it will get explored more fully in the future.

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App Summary
Title: Maya The Bee: Flying Challenge Developer: Bulkypix
Reviewed Ver:  1.1 Min OS Req:  5.0
Price: $0.99 App Size:  57.6 MB
  • Lots of missions to complete
  • Nice visuals
  • Good music
  • Touch control is flaky
  • Limited power ups and no character unlockables
  • Different environments don’t impact game play
  • Voiceovers get annoying

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Mind Snares: Alice’s Journey HD in Review – Creepy Visions Make Nifty Games http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/03/01/mind-snares-alices-journey-hd-in-review-creepy-visions-make-nifty-games/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/03/01/mind-snares-alices-journey-hd-in-review-creepy-visions-make-nifty-games/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 03:32:17 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74298 If you’ve been adventure gaming on your iPhone or iPad for long I’m sure you’ve run across a G5 adventure or two.  The name Artifex Mundi might not sound quite as familiar, but they had their hands in both the Nightmares from the Deep series and Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden, both of which I’ve … Read more]]>

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If you’ve been adventure gaming on your iPhone or iPad for long I’m sure you’ve run across a G5 adventure or two.  The name Artifex Mundi might not sound quite as familiar, but they had their hands in both the Nightmares from the Deep series and Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden, both of which I’ve given high regards to.  Their latest combined effort is Mind Snares: Alice’s Journey, and having just finished it I’d say it deserves the Artifex Mundi branding.  Excellent visuals, theatrical quality music and an odd storyline do a great job of keeping you entranced to the very end.  Either this version wasn’t the collector’s edition or the typical bonus adventure was strangely absent this time around, but there was more than enough main game play to make up for that missing element.

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You play the role of Alice, a run down middle class laborer who is basically unhappy with her life.  On your way to a client you run off the road, and the journey that ensues is one of weird dreams and enlightening quests.  Alice certainly has a vivid imagination, as her black robed spirit guide takes her through a “living doll” factory, the salvation of a half dying tree and the quest to feed some old hag her supper.  Through it all you’ll have to complete plenty of object quests, solve a few mini-games and explore several hidden object scenes.  The game is broken up into an intro and four main chapters, and of them I think I liked chapter one the best as it had the most enjoyable ratio tasks: object puzzles took center stage, mini games came next and hidden object scenes were minimal.  As the game progressed the amount of hidden object scenes increased, and while I have nothing against them I’m finding that I much prefer the object based puzzles like adventure games of old.

Control is just what you’d expect from this style of game.  Double tap where you want to move, tap to pick up objects and interact with the scene, and tap or drag to use inventory items with something on the screen.  The mini games are all fairly basic and require little beyond simple tapping or dragging.  While conceptually some of the games were different then I’ve seen in the past, it would have been nice if there were a bit more innovation in interacting with the device itself, like tilting or maybe even using the camera.  The game has the standard difficulty settings that alter things like the time between hint recharges and whether or not “hot spots” sparkle so they are easier to find.  The game does have several achievements you can earn, and what it thankfully doesn’t have is any of those “collect 50 of these throughout the game” type objects.

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As usual the visuals are top notch, with finely detailed backgrounds, well rendered hidden object scenes and cool looking characters.  And as usual the main drawback is that the lip syncing always seems a bit off.  The sound effects are decent enough, and the voice acting is actually pretty good.  I also think they did a really good job with the music.  It’s not distracting, and when you actually take the time to listen to it you’ll hear that it’s quite well written.

Overall I really enjoyed Mind Snares: Alice’s Journey.  I don’t get to do a complete play through on games very often any more, but this one kept me going until the end was right there.  I would have liked to have seen the balance of game play styles stay consistent based on the first chapter, but other than that I have no complaints.  If you are an adventure game fan, and especially if you’ve played other Artifex Mundi games, you’ll definitely want to check this one out.

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App Summary
Title: Mind Snares: Alice’s Journey HD Developer: G5 Entertainment
Reviewed Ver:  1.0 Min OS Req:  5.1.1
Price: Free App Size:  779 MB
  • Interesting story
  • Lots of game play
  • Great visuals
  • Excellent music
  • As game progresses the balance of game play elements gets worse

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Satellina in Review – Simple Yet Engaging http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/02/18/satellina-in-review-simple-yet-engaging/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/02/18/satellina-in-review-simple-yet-engaging/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 01:52:30 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74269 There are a multitude of games in the “dodge everything” or “dodge this while avoiding that” genre of causal games, but few have managed to be anywhere near as intriguing as the Tilt To Live series.  With Satellina there’s a new contender to the throne, and the game play is actually unique compared with any … Read more]]>

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There are a multitude of games in the “dodge everything” or “dodge this while avoiding that” genre of causal games, but few have managed to be anywhere near as intriguing as the Tilt To Live series.  With Satellina there’s a new contender to the throne, and the game play is actually unique compared with any other games of this style that I’ve played before.  Combined with simple yet sharp visuals and a great soundtrack, this is basically a “can’t miss”.  The main gripe I have with the game is its length, or unfortunate lack thereof.

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The goal of the game is to clear each of the 50 boards in under two and a half minutes.  You can change the color scheme, but using the default theme you’ll do this by first collecting all the green items, then collecting all the yellow (which will turn to green), and finally consuming the red (yep, they change to yellow and then green respectively).  This sounds easy enough, right?  Well, the levels are lumped into groups of 5, and within a level group once the clock starts ticking it doesn’t stop.  If you touch one element of the wrong color you have to start that level over, so if you run into a particularly challenging level it can quickly eat into your two minute thirty second time window.

To top it off, you’ll have to clear every level in under 2:30 in order to truly beat the game.  Oh, and once you’ve mastered all that you can play the grand tour, which takes you through all 50 levels with one timer.  Controlling the game is a simple matter of dragging your finger across the screen, and you can either keep it right on your avatar if you feel that gives you tighter control or at a distance if you think it gives you a better view of the action.

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Having said all of that, I think I completed the entire game, including the grand tour, in about 45 minutes.  That’s not to say you can’t go back and try to better your score in a particular set of levels, and it is actually entertaining to do that for a while, but I really hope they have plans for more levels, because this is one game that definitely needs it.  The game does keep track of your score compared to other players, though it does this internally and not through Game Center.  It would be nice to have some sort of achievements even if they are trivial to provide incentive to keep playing.  Some multiplayer options would be cool as well, like say a competition where the game randomly picks five levels and see which player completes them more rapidly.

The visuals are simple but effective.  All the objects are circles that actually kind of look like a power button icon, and you are represented by a white crosshairs.  The background is a solid color which is there just for the sake of having a background.  The sound effects are basically superfluous, though there is a noise to indicate that you’ve cleared all objects of the “safe” color.  The music is quite nice, on the other hand, and there is a separate track for each level group.  The game is even kind enough to switch between tracks as you advance through the level groups in Grand Tour mode.

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Satellina is a good game, and every time I’ve gone back to it for final analysis before finishing up this review I’ve enjoyed playing it.  The music is great, the levels are varied and some are rather challenging, and trying to master some level groups to get the best score can be quite a rush.  I just wish there was more to the game.  I don’t know what the developers have in store for the game’s future, though the ? in the last level group circle indicates that there’s additional content coming.  Hopefully it will come soon and be as strong as what the game currently has to offer.

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App Summary
Title: Satellina Developer: Peter Smith
Reviewed Ver:  1.0.3 Min OS Req:  iOS 4.0
Price: $1.99 App Size:  40.7 MB
  • Cool variation on “dodge and consume” style game play
  • Levels are often challenging
  • Great music
  • Current content is too short
  • No replay incentive other than high score

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Crazy Chicken Director’s Cut in Review – Second Verse, Better Than The First http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/01/28/crazy-chicken-directors-cut-in-review-second-verse-better-than-the-first/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/01/28/crazy-chicken-directors-cut-in-review-second-verse-better-than-the-first/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 07:51:07 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74254 The chickens are back, and I’m still not 100% sure what to make of the series.  As a mid-tier movie buff I like the setting of this game much better, especially since it focuses on sci-fi and horror movies.  On the other hand, there is only 1 game play mode instead of the three offered … Read more]]>

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The chickens are back, and I’m still not 100% sure what to make of the series.  As a mid-tier movie buff I like the setting of this game much better, especially since it focuses on sci-fi and horror movies.  On the other hand, there is only 1 game play mode instead of the three offered by the original game, and the number of achievements is significantly less.  I still think of the two offerings I’d rather play this one, but it probably isn’t going to be enough of a step above Crazy Chicken Pirates to satiate the hunger of those that got bored with the original.

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As with its predecessor, the top priority in Director’s Cut is to shoot the chickens.  Whereas the original offered three game play modes which admittedly mainly differed in determining what resulted in the game being over, this one offers only one option: you play until you run out of bullets.  The game toggles between a scene full of sci-fi sets and one that boasts spoofs of all your favorite horror films, and in order to transition from one to the other you must shoot a certain number of 3 different types of targets.  Of course the total number of targets increases with each transition, and so far I have seen no way to earn extra bullets aside from actually completing a scene and transitioning to the next one.  As a result, it almost seems inevitable that you will eventually not have enough bullets to complete a scene, especially if you make one or two mistakes (or decide to shoot something else just for the sake of it).

Thankfully the need to shoot everything in sight to find out what you can score on is still present in this game.  In addition to that, however, there are some instances where you have to solve a simple puzzle in order to get a chicken to a position where you can take them out.  And, if you happen to be a fan of either of the covered genres, you’ll appreciate trying to find all the hidden (or not so hidden) references to the films you know and love.  The game only has one leaderboard and 40 achievements to earn, so while it’s not quite as Game Center centric as the original there’s still plenty to work towards.  But, much like its predecessor, the game can get a bit repetitive after a while.  Even if they stuck to the same 2 genres and charged IAP for them, it would be nice to see a couple more scenes added over time.  That shouldn’t be too hard given the plethora of source material to choose from.

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The visuals are right in line with the first game, which is to say that they are cartoonish, detailed and quite enjoyable.  There’s a certain undeniable charm in seeing a chicken dressed as classic horror icons, and the sci-fi world is pretty cool as well.  The sound effects are decent and the music is well written, but it would have been nice if the audio gelled a bit more with the specific content instead of feeling generic. Still, I’m glad there at least was music at all, which is a step up from their previous effort.

The mobile touch screen paradigm is the perfect place for a shooting gallery style game, so it seems only fitting that the Moorhuhn franchise would find its way to iOS devices.  While not the best of the genre for said devices, the Crazy Chicken series certainly provides some decent entertainment with its colorful characters and plenty of extras to shoot at.  If you haven’t taken one for a spin yet I’d certainly recommend giving Crazy Chicken Director’s Cut a try.

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App Summary
Title: Crazy Chicken Director’s Cut – Moorhuhn series Developer: Teyon
Reviewed Ver:  1.0.0 Min OS Req:  iOS 5.0
Price: $0.99 App Size:  64.0 MB
  • Plenty to shoot at
  • Great themes with loads of colorful characters
  • Good music
  • Tends to get repetitive
  • Only one game play mode
  • Needs sound effects that relate to specific events going on

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The Secret Of Raven Rock in Review – Don’t Worry, I Won’t Tell http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/01/05/the-secret-of-raven-rock-in-review-dont-worry-i-wont-tell/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/01/05/the-secret-of-raven-rock-in-review-dont-worry-i-wont-tell/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 06:08:04 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74229 The Secret Of Raven Rock was the last game I played in 2014, so I figured I’d make it my first review for 2015.  As adventure games go it doesn’t have the most original or intriguing plot, but the game play is interesting enough that you want to keep coming back to find out what … Read more]]>

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The Secret Of Raven Rock was the last game I played in 2014, so I figured I’d make it my first review for 2015.  As adventure games go it doesn’t have the most original or intriguing plot, but the game play is interesting enough that you want to keep coming back to find out what you’ll discover next.  The puzzles are well balanced, the mini games don’t keep you hung up for too long, and the game actually tries to take advantage of some of the features of the device like multi-touch and tilting.  Overall it was a fun experience and worth the time investment for iOS adventure game fans.

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The basic premise is that you arrive home after an extended absence only to find the village abandoned and a weird vibe in the air.  Now you must figure out where your people went and who the mysterious warlock is that you’ve heard rumors about.  At least this gives you a reason to do what you’re doing, but this “disappearing town” shtick gets kind of old because it means there are no NPCs to interact with, and to me that’s half the fun of an adventure game.  Still, if you can get past that hang up there’s plenty to do in Raven Rock and an odd mystique that drives you to do it.

Navigating the world is pretty typical: tap where you want to move, tap to pick up items and drag to use items somewhere in your current scene.  At least, that’s what the game would have you believe.  As it turns out, there are times where you have to drag things to move them, hold things with one finger while tapping objects with another, and even an instance where you get to use the camera.  I like how they’ve integrated more than just simple tap mechanics into the game, though it would have been nice to know that such mechanics existed so I wouldn’t have torn out quite as much hair.  Still, I’ve already forgiven the developers and applaud them for thinking outside the box.  There’s also a map, and while it’s not completely interactive, at least it lets you jump to the start of any major section of the game.

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In addition to the bounty of object based puzzles there are also plenty of mini games to dig into.  There’s a nice variety, though sadly they still had to have at least two of the “slide tiles to make a picture” type, which are among my least favorite given that there is no recourse to skip a puzzle after a given amount of time.  Just like with the object based puzzles, there are times where you must use multi-touch and even an occasion that requires you to tilt the device to complete the puzzles, so while the types of puzzles might not always have been to my liking, I give them credit for not just making another simple tap everywhere type game.  If there was one true complaint I had it’s the fact that the game tends to be a bit unstable, as it crashed on me several times over the course of playing.  Thankfully I never lost any real progress.

Raven Rock looks really good.  All the backgrounds are crisp and nicely detailed, and for the most part it’s easy to tell what all the objects are.  The graphics do get a bit fuzzy when you transition between scenes, but I’ll take it because I like the whole transition effect.  It gives you more of a sense that you’re moving between areas instead of just suddenly being in a new place.  The sound effects do a decent job of conveying what’s going on around you, so at least it doesn’t feel completely dead.  The music is pretty good, and in certain locations they do a great job with ambient sounds – hanging around in certain locations can give you the creeps, especially if you forget the game is running!

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The Secret Of Raven Rock is certainly not without it’s issues, but along with Escape From LaVille it has provided a strong, enjoyable conclusion to my year as far as adventure games go.  And, despite the fairly clichéd story, the cliffhanger at the end has me hoping that they are working on a sequel for the new year.  I just hope the next installment comes with a slightly more stable engine.

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App Summary
Title: The Secret of Raven Rock Developer: Raven Rock Games
Reviewed Ver:  1.1 Min OS Req:  iOS 7.0
Price: $1.99 App Size:  96.0 MB
  • Plenty of puzzles and mini-games
  • Used mechanics beyond simple tap and drag
  • Really nice visuals
  • Good music and ambient noises
  • Story was pretty generic
  • Game crashed several times

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Escape From LaVille1 in Review: Beware The Green Mist http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/12/15/escape-from-laville1-in-review-beware-the-green-mist/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/12/15/escape-from-laville1-in-review-beware-the-green-mist/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 03:04:09 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74203 As I start to write this review the sequel to Escape From LaVille has been released for just a few days.  I never got the chance to play the first one, however, so I figured I should do that before diving into the sequel.  I’m glad I did.  Not only does it directly set up … Read more]]>

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As I start to write this review the sequel to Escape From LaVille has been released for just a few days.  I never got the chance to play the first one, however, so I figured I should do that before diving into the sequel.  I’m glad I did.  Not only does it directly set up the second game, but it’s actually a very entertaining adventure game.  Best of all, while the ending is brief, it’s one of the best ones I’ve run across in a mobile adventure game in a while.  It certainly left me surprised and stunned.

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You are Forest Campbell, and you have been sent to LaVille to try and figure out what wiped out the entire town.  Your investigation leads you to an old mansion with a weird green light that seems to emanate from the porch, and once you enter your adventures are only beginning…

It amazes me how many old mansions are filled with traps and puzzles, but I guess if they weren’t we’d have nothing to adventure around in, right?  This is a “pure” adventure game in the sense that all you’ll find is object and logic based puzzles rather than a collection of hidden object screens.  The puzzles are pretty straightforward and well thought out, and while I did have to access the help a couple of times I think there was really only one instance where I wouldn’t have figured out the solution with a little more patience.  There was really only one mini game that consisted of rotating some tiles in a picture, and it was fairly easy to figure out.  The interface was fairly basic adventure fare that requires you to tap to move and pick up objects.  In this particular interface, however, you tap inventory items and then tap where you want to use them instead of dragging them onto the scene.  Everything was extremely responsive and I never had trouble executing what I wanted to do.  If anything I might say the game could have been just a smidge longer, but I don’t think you’ll feel disappointed in any way.

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The graphics were good, though I think I did myself a disservice by playing the iPhone version of the game on my iPad.  I cheated a bit and used shots from the iPad version for this review, and they certainly look much crisper than what I saw when I played.  Still, for being scaled up to fit my device the visuals were certainly detailed enough and everything was readily discernible.  The sound effects weren’t bad, though we didn’t get treated to any voice-overs since this was a solo outing with no NPC interaction.  Musically the audio delivered with a soundtrack that fit the ominous tone of your explorations.

Escape From LaVille 1 is another fine example of how to do an adventure game right on iOS devices.  The interface was solid, the story was intriguing (though they could have used a better translator), and the audio and visuals did a decent job of taking you into Forest Campbell’s world.  You can quibble about the length of the game, but equal parts of me say it was a bit short and it was just the right length.  If you like adventure games you should enjoy this one.  Now if you’ll excuse me I’m on to part two…

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App Summary
Title: Escape from LaVille 1 Developer: Gabriele Pellistri
Reviewed Ver:  1.2 Min OS Req:  iOS 5.0
Price: $0.99 App Size:  87.8 MB
  • Good story with twist ending
  • Balanced game play with minimal mini games
  • Pleasant visuals
  • Good music
  • Might have been a bit short
  • Text could have been translated better
  • Needed some voice-overs

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