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 Fri, 03 Jul 2015 14:41:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.8 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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You Must Build A Boat in Review – Awesome Match 3 Rouge Like Action http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/06/12/you-must-build-a-boat-in-review-awesome-match-3-rouge-like-action/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/06/12/you-must-build-a-boat-in-review-awesome-match-3-rouge-like-action/#comments Fri, 12 Jun 2015 20:52:57 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74497 This is a sequel to a game that I don’t recall the name of off hand, but I’m pretty sure I own it and have not actually played it.  After spending some time with You Must Build A Boat I realize I really missed out the first time around, even if the game were only … Read more]]>

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This is a sequel to a game that I don’t recall the name of off hand, but I’m pretty sure I own it and have not actually played it.  After spending some time with You Must Build A Boat I realize I really missed out the first time around, even if the game were only half as good as this one.  The best I can describe the experience as is a side scrolling rogue like with real time match 3 battles and a boat building sim to boot.  The real time nature of the game frustrates me to no end at times, but the overall package is so polished that I instantly fall in love with it again.  Also, this is one of the rare games I’ve ever played that actually makes you feel good when you die by displaying “You Win” at the end of a run, even if you didn’t meet any of your goals.

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As the title of the game suggests, the overriding goal of your travels is to build a boat.  You start out with basically a deck and a place to sleep, and as you progress through the game you’ll meet various characters that require their own rooms to be added to your ship.  Just so you don’t feel completely taken advantage of, however, each new resident will offer you some sort of service in return for your hospitality.  These include things like upgrading weapons, training captured creatures to work alongside of you and letting you sell back all the worthless junk you find in treasure chests.  It’s basically like having your own floating adventure game city always with you.

The dungeons themselves are a combination of a “window” to the dungeon at the top of the screen as well as a match 3 area below that.  Your character is constantly running towards the right of the screen, but any time a monster or treasure chest gets in the way you’ll have to stop and deal with it.  You get rid of chests by matching keys, and monsters can be dispatched by matching swords or staffs or by using spells or weapons that are revealed when matching seemingly innocent, empty crates.  There are also traps that will periodically show up that require specific object matches to get rid of.  What you need to keep in mind here is that if you aren’t running forward you will be pushed backwards, and if you end up getting pushed off the left side of the screen the run is over.

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There is plenty of loot to be found along the way, either in the form of gold coins or junk that can be sold to get coins.  Occasionally you’ll be lucky enough to score some silver as well.  All of this can be used to upgrade your sword, staff and shield.  If you want to recruit monsters to fight for your cause, on the other hand, you’ll need to match plenty of the arms and brains that you find on the playing field.  Each dungeon has plenty of quests to complete, and your rewards for beating each one will vary from some gold to unlocking monsters you can recruit to finding rare and useful items.  There is no Game Center integration, but like the olden days you’ll get much satisfaction from actually completing the game.

Speaking of old school, I love the visuals in this game.  Granted the pixelization often makes it hard to tell what things are, but that’s part of the graphics’ charm.  Of course if you’ve played games back in the days of Atari or the Commodore 64 then these images should look right at home to you.  The sound effects are actually pretty decent and don’t come off like standard match 3 hybrid type sound bytes.  The music is enjoyable enough, reminding me of NES / SNES era tunes.

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If you’re already a fan of match 3 / rouge like hybrids, there’s no reason you shouldn’t already be playing this game.  If you’ve never tried them or are burnt out on the concept, You Must Build A Boat is great way to get hooked (possibly for something other than the first time).  My inability to keep up with the action at times aside, there’s not a whole lot here not to like.

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App Summary
Title: You Must Build A Boat Developer: EightyEight Games LTD
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.1617 Min OS Req:  iOS 6.0
Price: $2.99 App Size: 56.07MB
  • Plenty of action and places to explore
  • Lots of upgrades and monsters to recruit
  • Awesome pixel graphics
  • Decent audio elements
  • Real time combat can get frustrating
  • Multiple swipes sometimes required to move row or column
  • Can’t always discern what creatures are

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Leo’s Fortune in Review – iOS Platforming At It’s Best http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/06/03/leos-fortune-in-review-ios-platforming-at-its-best/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/06/03/leos-fortune-in-review-ios-platforming-at-its-best/#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 01:50:59 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74485 As far as I’m concerned the platform game genre reigned supreme in the days of 8 bit and probably even 16 bit consoles.  Many have tried to capture the feel of such games on the iPad, and a few have managed to succeed.  The biggest obstacle usually ends up being how to control the main … Read more]]>

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As far as I’m concerned the platform game genre reigned supreme in the days of 8 bit and probably even 16 bit consoles.  Many have tried to capture the feel of such games on the iPad, and a few have managed to succeed.  The biggest obstacle usually ends up being how to control the main character of the game.  The developers behind Leo’s Fortune have managed to make both an outstanding platform game from a design perspective and one that controls extremely well.  If you haven’t tried this game yet you’re really missing out.

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You play Leo, who is basically a Tribble with a personality and a disproportionately large moustache.  You were once well respected in the land, but now that a thief has stolen all of your riches you are looked on as a fool.  It is up to you to track down the thief, collecting all of the gold he has left to taunt and bait you along the way.  The game consists of 5 acts for a total of 19 regular levels and 4 bonus levels.  Compared to some games it may not seem like an overabundance, but trust me when I say it will take you some time to master the main levels, especially if you want to earn 3 stars on all of them.  The bonus levels are basically to test your speed as they challenge you to zip around a track as many times as you can in a certain amount of time.  The bonus levels are nice for a diversion I guess, but they don’t really compel me to play them like the standard levels do.

Speaking of which, there is some killer design in the main levels, at least from what I’ve seen so far.  I say that because each level has a 3 star ranking: one for collecting all the coins, another for beating the level without dying and a third for finishing the level under a certain amount of time.  The way I am I find myself continually replaying the older levels instead of continuing on because I really, really need all those stars.  While the one for coins has never really been an issue, it turns out not dying and getting through the level fast tend to be mutually exclusive for me, if I can even get either of them on a given level.  Not only are the levels laid out in such a way that you want to explore (even though you basically don’t have the time to), some of the puzzles are fiendish in their simplicity vs. time allotment ratio.  In other words, they aren’t necessarily difficult unless you try to do them fast.

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You can move Leo left or right and cause him to either inflate or squish depending on your needs.  There are two methods for controlling him.  The first is through a set of on screen buttons, and the second has you using one finger to slide back and forth for left / right movement while the other finger slides up to inflate and down to squish.  While the second one is actually pretty effective, I still find it easier to use the on screen buttons.  The game offers 26 different leaderboards, so you can definitely get your rank on.  There are also 37 achievements to earn on the off chance that working for all those stars just aren’t enough for you.

The graphics in Leo’s adventures are beautiful.  The landscapes are extremely well drawn, there are gobs of detail throughout, and the main character looks cool and is well animated.  A lot of times that means the audio portions of the game don’t fare as well, but for Leo that’s not the case.  The sound effects are very well done and I love the accent of whoever does Leo’s voice.  The music is nicely written and suits the game.  As a whole the aesthetics blend together to form a vibrant universe for your exploration pleasure.

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Platform games have always been one of my favorite genres, and now players have another reason to enjoy this style of game play on their iOS devices.  Slick visuals, great level design and some of the best platform gaming controls to date help Leo’s Fortune rise above the crowd compared to its peers.  I do wish it weren’t quite so tough to earn some of the stars, especially in the earlier levels, but at least that gives me more incentive to keep on playing!

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App Summary
Title: Leo’s Fortune Developer: 1337 & Senri LLC
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.6 Min OS Req:  iOS 7.0
Price: $4.99 App Size: 73.84MB
  • Some great puzzles and level design
  • Solid controls
  • Lots of leaderboards and achievements
  • Great visuals
  • Well done audio
  • Bonus levels not so interesting
  •  3 stars difficult to achieve even on early stages

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A Day In The Woods in Review – To Grandmother’s House We Go http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/31/a-day-in-the-woods-in-review-to-grandmothers-house-we-go/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/31/a-day-in-the-woods-in-review-to-grandmothers-house-we-go/#comments Sun, 31 May 2015 23:30:33 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74474 When I first read the description for A Day In The Woods I got a bit nervous.  The iTunes description pegs it as a “stylish re-imagining of the traditional sliding puzzle game”, and I started having flashbacks of cheap plastic molding and the need to physically rip some tiles from their tracks and position them … Read more]]>

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When I first read the description for A Day In The Woods I got a bit nervous.  The iTunes description pegs it as a “stylish re-imagining of the traditional sliding puzzle game”, and I started having flashbacks of cheap plastic molding and the need to physically rip some tiles from their tracks and position them in the proper place forcefully in order to beat the puzzle.  Thankfully there is really very little similarity between this game and those frightful little toys.  Instead what we have is a delightful puzzle game that expands on the Red Riding Hood universe and challenges the mind to look beyond the trees for the forest (okay, I’m reaching with that pun, but it had to be done).

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The task is to help Red get through the woods to grandmother’s house.  As it turns out, this journey is a lot longer than any story has ever given it credit for, and it’s also apparently filled with a lot of imposter houses.  Nevertheless, you must aid Red in reaching each house and knocking on the door so you can get some sort of snide remark from the dwelling’s occupant, who usually doesn’t want to be bothered.  You can’t control Red directly, however, nor of that matter any other object or obstacle in the game.  Instead, you must use a magical sprite, constantly swapping tiles between the sprite and whatever object you wish to actually move.

Long before the wolf comes into play you’ll have to deal with bears and trapdoor spiders.  Thankfully you’ll have things like campfires, beehives and poor, fluffy rabbits to deal with these vile creatures.  Each has their own set of rules for how they interact with each other and with you, and as this is a family friendly game you’ll be spared the gruesomeness of watching innocent red get devoured by some hungry beast.  In fact, if there’s something you can’t get too close to the game just won’t let you do it.  This does mean you’ll have to work your way around things at times, though, and since one of the goals is limited number of footsteps, you’ll have to be creative in your movements.

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The game is comprised of 60 levels, and each level has 3 stars you can earn: one for simply completing the level, another for collecting all the flowers and berries on the level and a third for finishing the level on or below a certain number of moves.  Thankfully you can always earn one star.  The trick becomes trying to collect all the goodies on a level and still making it to the cabin door under the required number of moves.  It is quite possible on each level, but as my sorry scoreboard suggests it’s not all that easy.  There are no leaderboards to rank on or achievements to earn, but for a game like this being able to earn all three stars on a level is reward enough.  One thing that is kind of neat is that as you earn stars you’ll be able to unlock new accoutrements for the sprite as well as additional backdrops for the scenery.

Speaking of which, the graphics in A Day In The Woods are really neat.  At first things seem a bit washed out and lacking in detail, but when you realize that the characters and tiles are supposed to look like hand carved wooden pieces everything takes on a whole new dimension.  Granted the bits of animation detract from that illusion, but they are welcome none the less.  The sound effects work quite well and are much appreciated, especially since there is no music playing during the game itself.  This is really the single biggest flaw with this game, especially given the slow, methodical nature of the game play itself.  It’s easy to notice the lack of background music.

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A Day In The Woods is a breath of fresh air on the App Store.  It’s engaging, it’s challenging, and it doesn’t feel quite like anything else I’ve played.  The visuals do a great job of capturing the board game nature of the product, and the sound effects actually help bring a little life into this imagining of the Red Riding Hood tale.  If they would just add some music this game would be an A+ instead of an A.

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App Summary
Title: A Day In The Woods Developer: RetroEpic Software
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.0 Min OS Req:  iOS 6.0
Price: $4.99 App Size: 159.10MB
  • Great concept
  • Challenging but manageable levels
  • Cool board game look
  • Nice sound effects
  • No music

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Proto Raider in Review – ASCII To A Whole New Level http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/28/proto-raider-in-review-ascii-to-a-whole-new-level/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2015/05/28/proto-raider-in-review-ascii-to-a-whole-new-level/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 19:12:31 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74462 I love a good platform game as much as the next guy, but if the developers aren’t careful everything starts to feel like another Super Mario clone.  Thankfully Proto Raider isn’t even close to causing such confusion.  Basic one button mechanics and single screen arenas keep the levels intimate, while awesome “hi res” ASCII graphics … Read more]]>

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I love a good platform game as much as the next guy, but if the developers aren’t careful everything starts to feel like another Super Mario clone.  Thankfully Proto Raider isn’t even close to causing such confusion.  Basic one button mechanics and single screen arenas keep the levels intimate, while awesome “hi res” ASCII graphics give the game a feel like none other you’ve seen.  If you’re up for a deceptively simple challenge, this is the game for you.

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There’s not really a story to this game, but it won’t matter once you get into it.  You basically need to collect treasure, avoid obstacles and occasionally fight a bad guy or two.  You tap to start each level and then tap to jump when appropriate – or slide if the gravity upgrade is in effect.  Everything else is pretty much handled by the game.  It always seems like it would be too basic to be challenging, yet some of the levels will take you several tries to master.  The game has this “if I try it the same way one more time it will work” effect, when in reality I slight change in logic is needed to solve the level.  That’s what makes this style of game work despite being limited to a single screen per level.

The screens are filled with all kind of obstacles.  Standard jumps can prove fatal when not timed right, and waterfalls provide a nice downward pull that literally keeps you jumping to escape.  Boats keep you protected from falling into the water, assuming you step right so that you land on the boat in the first place.  Poison, flames, drowning – these are but a few of the things will force you to restart a level.  Thankfully you can pick up tools to help you out along the way: scuba gear to traverse deep pools, antidote to protect you from poison, picks to get you through inconvenient rock piles and much more.  You just need to make sure you get to the tools before you plunge head first into the obstacles.

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You can collect up to three treasure chests per level, and while you don’t need to get all of them you will need a certain number to transition between major areas.  Unfortunately you’ll never get to spend that loot.  There is also no score awarded at the end of any level, and while there is Game Center integration there are no leaderboards or achievements.  Basically, this is one of those old school affairs where you’re forced to derive pleasure from the simple fact that you actually beat every level.  And trust me, once you’ve conquered some of these challenges that might just be enough.

If you’re one of those folks that’s fallen prey to the “3D is the only way” mantra then you won’t get the beauty of the graphics in this game.  If you remember the days of text bases MUDs or know what I’m talking about when I say ZZT then you’ll be amazed by how the developers have upped the ante on ASCII imagery.  Sure they’ve taken some liberties that weren’t truly available on character based displays, but in the end it’s pretty spectacular have they’ve managed to capture a vibrant world by combining the output of a standard keyboard in various ways.  The sound effects don’t really live up to the standards of the rest of the aesthetics, but in the scheme of things it doesn’t really matter.  To back up the wonderful visuals is a soundtrack that would be easy to listen to even if you weren’t playing the game.

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If you’re a platform game junkie like me then you really need to give Proto Raider a try.  The unique visuals and killer soundtrack will keep you senses busy while the single tap mechanics and one screen levels will challenge the brain and reflexes.  Those seeking high scores and massive amount of unlockables probably won’t be satisfied, but anyone else will have a hard time not getting hooked.

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App Summary
Title: Proto Raider Developer: UAB “Puzzle Lab”
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.2 Min OS Req:  iOS 6.0
Price: $2.99 App Size: 44.53MB
  • Simple mechanics
  • Challenging one screen game play
  • Excellent ASCII visuals
  • Great soundtrack
  • No visceral incentives like score or achievements
  • Sound effects are kind of lackluster

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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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