TouchMyApps All Things iPhone and iPad for those who like to Touch. iOS App reviews, News, New Apps, Price Drops and App Gone Free Wed, 06 May 2015 18:10:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Graven: The Purple Moon Prophecy HD in Review: No Green Clovers Or Blue Diamonds Here… Wed, 06 May 2015 18:10:32 +0000 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]]>


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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10 App Store Games To Watch [4/2/15] Tue, 05 May 2015 17:07:36 +0000 It’s time for another installment of my picks for iOS games that you might want to check out.  Did you miss me?  Anyway, I managed to stay a bit more current this time around, as 8 of the games actually came out this year while the other two are just stragglers from the end of … Read more]]>


It’s time for another installment of my picks for iOS games that you might want to check out.  Did you miss me?  Anyway, I managed to stay a bit more current this time around, as 8 of the games actually came out this year while the other two are just stragglers from the end of 2014.  Under The Sun – A 4D puzzle game takes the concept of getting from point A to point B in a certain number of moves and adds a unique “passage of time” element to the mix.  Star Drift and Super Monster Mayhem: Rampage put a fresh look on a couple of popular genres, and X-Match proves that grids are good for something besides 2048 clones.  The rest of the list provides some decent entertainment as well.


Bob’s Space Adventure [2/16/15] – Imagine the game Asteroids except that you control a spaceman instead of a ship, and that’s pretty much Bob’s Space Adventure.  Well, that and instead of shooting just asteroids you also have to take out lots of goofy aliens.  And, you have to monitor your fuel (unless you buy the infinite fuel upgrade) because if you don’t you die.  Oh, I suppose I should also mention that you can upgrade your weapon and your suit as well as unlock and upgrade power ups that you can then pick up while you’re zooming around space.  If that weren’t enough you can select up to three boosts at the beginning of each run which you can outright pay for or watch videos to acquire if you’re too cheap to even spend your in-game money.  There are even missions you can accomplish to earn gems and Game Center achievements to earn.  I suppose in the end it’s not really a whole lot like Asteroids, but I imagine that caught someone’s attention at least!  This is one of those games I’m honestly not sure I would have gotten around to playing without a bit of nudging from the developer, and now I have a hard time putting it down every time I load it up.

Bob's Space Adventure Red magnet Studios B.V., Bob’s Space Adventure – Free


Super Monster Mayhem: Rampage [3/4/15] – If you remember the old arcade game Rampage as fondly as I do then Super Monster Mayhem will light a spark somewhere in your subconscious.  The game is actually a variant of the seemingly popular woodcutter genre of casual game, but the urban setting and giant monsters are a definite nod to rampant city destruction of days gone by.  Also, instead of knocking layers of the building out like you’d expect from a woodcutter variant, in this game you actually scale the structure as you do your damage.  Swipe right or left to dodge signs that will permanently knock you out, and tap the screen to earn coins by damaging the building or boost your health by taking out innocent civilians.  Besides the permanent death of the signs you can also loose health by playing with fire or getting shot by one of the many cops in the building.  The game has 6 achievements via Game Center and a leaderboard, though the latter always seems to say “no scores”.  Your hard earned coins can be used to buy new monsters to pound the cityscape with.  Super Monster Mayhem can be quite engaging in small spurts, though more fleshed out Game Center options as well as creatures that actually make a difference in game play would take this game to the next level.

Super Monster Mayhem: Rampage eRepublik Labs, Super Monster Mayhem: Rampage – Free


Taichi Panda [3/5/15] – No, this is not the long lost spin-off to Kung Fu Panda.  In fact, the panda is only one of three different characters you can select to take part in this online hack ‘n slash adventure.  There are plenty of realms to explore, all full of goblins, skeletons and main other creepy crawly things that want to kill you.  Destroy the enemy, collect coins and loot and level up to become the ultimate taichi fighter.  Use discarded equipment to enhance what you already have equipped and refine your equipment using special stones to make it even more powerful.  Recruit, upgrade and evolve pets for the ultimate force that simply follows and does your bidding.  There’s a rather extensive single player campaign, and if you get bored with that you can take on players from around the world in one on one arenas or join with them to take on multi-user dungeons with great challenge and even greater rewards.  One might almost speculate that there is too much to do in this game, if such a thing could be said.  There are still several sections that are locked on my main menu, which apparently means I have even more to look forward to.  The game is free to play, and with several severs in operation you’re sure to find a home somewhere.

Taichi Panda Snail Games USA Inc., Taichi Panda – Free


Switch & Drop [2/18/15] – Welcome to a different kind of match 3 game.  In Switch & Drop you swipe left and right to rotate the blocks within the falling row.  It only takes three blocks to make a match, but getting 4 or more in a row will create special blocks that can clear out a more expansive area of the playing field for you.  Also, once matched blocks have cleared away it’s possible for others to tumble down and create chain reactions.  If you’re really lucky you might even be able to manipulate the remainder of the falling row once part of it has come to rest on the blocks at the bottom of the screen.  The game starts off simply requiring you to earn a certain score, and eventually you’ll unlock blitz mode which adds a timer element.  I believe there’s at least one other game play mode, but at the moment I’m struggling to pass the first blitz mode level.  If you have the patience to persevere, however, I think you’ll find much reward in conquering the game’s excess of 100 levels.  Plus, while completely superfluous to actual game play, it’s kind of cool watching the different grid-based objects get filled in on the map as you earn stars on each level.

Switch & Drop Chillingo Ltd, Switch & Drop – Free


Proun+ [11/26/14] – I’ll be the first to admit that I like upgrades, power ups and the whole nine yards when it comes to racing games, but in the end none if it matters if the game doesn’t have a cool set of tracks.  Proun+ offers one of the best and most unique sets of tracks I’ve run across in a racing game in quite some time.  Each one is like a work of art, and while sometimes it can be hard to actually tell where the track is, it doesn’t really matter as you’re speeding through the surreal environments.  Throw in a cool jazz / rock soundtrack and you’ve got quite the ambiance.  The details run something along the lines of 11 individual tracks that can each be raced in 5 different difficulty settings and 3 unique game play modes: normal race, point mode where you must earn a certain score by rolling through point gates and endless mode where you keep going until you run into an obstacle.  Stars are earned based on certain milestones based on game play mode, and difficulty settings are unlocked when the previous one is complete.  Despite the complete lack of upgrades and power ups there is plenty to play for, and you’re not going to see track layouts like these in any standard racing game.

Proun+ Engine Software, Proun+ – $3.99


Don’t Drown! [3/19/15] – It seems like such a simple mandate.  After all, it’s not common to wake up going “gee, I think I’ll let myself drown today”.  Unfortunately the constantly rising waters and randomly placed, inconvenient platforms seem to have a different plan in mind.  Your job is to avoid getting stuck at the bottom of the water chamber for as long as you can by tapping left or right to move your avatar between the platforms that are continually popping up.  Along the way be sure to pick up as many coins as you can as well as any gems you see floating by because the gems actually contain power ups like coin magnet and double score.  Collected coins can be used to upgrade the power ups as well as buy new avatars.  I don’t believe the different characters affect the game play at all, but some of them are pretty cool looking.  The game does offer one leaderboard via Game Center, but at this time there are no achievements to earn.  There’s nothing revolutionary about Don’t Drown, but it handles its genre quite well and the Mario Bros style music can be quite catchy!

Don't Drown! Batuhan Can, Don’t Drown! – Free


Faraway Kingdom – Dragon Raiders [10/7/14] – I’ve tried many of these “play and wait” style games and quite frankly they all tend to feel the same to me after a while.  There’s something about the combination of elements in Faraway Kingdom that seems to resonate a bit differently, however.  On the surface (pun mostly intended) it’s a city building sim, but that currently seems to be limited pretty much to adding houses for your heroes to live in, which is just fine with me.  Directly below the city is a series of dungeons you can unlock and send exploration parties to, and aside from collecting the treasure at the end of the battle these are pretty much hands off experiences.  Send a party in and let them do there thing, and in the mean time you can take care of business elsewhere.  Finally you have the raiding parties which go to lands beyond your city walls and conquer all sorts of creatures, ultimately looking for the nasty red dragon.  These trips are a bit more interactive as you can unleash special abilities on your foes, though the brunt of the combat is still handled by the computer.  Through all of this your pool of heroes levels up and expands, and you can beef them up even more with equipment you buy and find along the way.  The 8 bit style graphics are great, and the music is well written.  If you’re ready to save a kingdom from the underground up, Faraway Kingdom just might be for you.

Faraway Kingdom - Dragon Raiders Smilegate West, Inc., Faraway Kingdom – Dragon Raiders – Free


Star Drift [2/24/15] – Imagine a scrolling shooter with the simple control scheme of a Flappy Bird style game and you have Star Drift.  You basically hop from sector to sector blasting bad guys, collecting power ups and not taking names.  The basic power ups are rapid fire, spread shot and traction, each of which has several levels of upgrade.  In an interesting twist the power ups actually have a “shelf life”, though if you have multiple levels of a given power up you only go down to the next level when the time runs out.  Along the way you collect currency that allows you to buy upgrades between levels.  Even if you have enough money for more you can only buy one upgrade per level, so you have to decide what’s most important to you.  Besides the standard power ups you’ll have the chance to buy things like missiles (highly recommended) or an upgrade that levels up all owned upgrades to their maximum level.  Besides the standard levels you’ll occasionally run into a scenario where you’re actually getting chased by a ship and just have to dodge it for a certain length of time, and you also might pick up viruses that temporarily disable all of your weapons.  A leaderboard and 24 achievements round out the game play package, while slick visuals and a good soundtrack wrap it all up in a pretty bow.

Star Drift Squarehead Studios, Star Drift – $0.99


Under the Sun – A 4D puzzle game [2/25/15] – A stranger is stranded on a series of bizarre islands, and all he wants to do is get to the fire before nightfall.  The problem is that these islands have a rather warped sense of time, and each step the stranger takes ages him dramatically.  Not only that, but the entire contents of the island can change in the blink of an eye: plants grow and wither, bridges and ladders rot and fall apart, and the tides rise to engulf the land.  Each island only allows so many steps before your character grows old and dies, so choose your actions wisely.  Thankfully there is no timer to stress you out or rob you of time to think, and if you happen to make some bad decisions you can reverse time to whichever step you’d like to start again at.  The world is currently divided into 10 areas with 6 levels each, and you must pass 3 levels to unlock the next area.  Completing an area awards you with a treasure chest (which you can’t currently open), and you can play the levels within an area in any order to let your brain rest from the particularly difficult ones.  This is old school puzzle gaming at its best, and should provide a nice challenge for anyone that likes to actually think about games instead of just blasting their way to victory.

Under the Sun - A 4D puzzle game Stegabyte, Under the Sun – A 4D puzzle game – Free


X-Match | unique puzzle [2/6/15] – At first glance you might think this is just another 2048 clone, but don’t let the author know you’re thinking that!  The reality is that while it has a slight similarity to that genre of game play, X-Match really is a whole different ball game.  Instead of sliding tiles across the board you simply tap on a square and any like numbered tiles that are in line with that square horizontally or vertically will merge to form a bigger number.  Once the resulting number grows beyond 8 it will form an X, and combining two or more Xs is how you get your score.  There are a couple of other nuances as well, but you’ll figure those out as you play.  The game currently offers two game play modes, but if you’re skill isn’t any better than mine you might not see the second one since you need to score 100 points on Normal mode to access Mutant mode.  If you’re looking for a challenging puzzle game that’s grid based and not a 2048 clone, X-Match is definitely worth a try.  I just hope they decide to add a soundtrack in a future update.

X-Match - observation & discretion challenge. Latest recommended unique & ingenious puzzle Liqing Pan, X-Match – observation & discretion challenge. Latest recommended unique & ingenious puzzle – Free

Well that wraps up another edition of games to watch on the App Store. As always, if there’s something you’ve played recently that you feel should be part of this list, please leave a reply to this post. Previous weekly installments of our App Store Games Roundup:

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Maya The Bee: Flying Challenge in Review – Kid Friendly, Infinite Flying Fun Sat, 21 Mar 2015 20:02:32 +0000 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]]>


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.


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.


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.


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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10 App Store Games To Watch [3/13/15] Fri, 13 Mar 2015 06:25:00 +0000 Everyone order their Apple Watches yet?  Personally, I think I’ll stick to something with a slightly bigger screen that doesn’t have to sit on my wrist for the time being.  Not that I’ve got that out of the way, how about we talk iOS games?  I’m reaching back into the archives again, in one case … Read more]]>


Everyone order their Apple Watches yet?  Personally, I think I’ll stick to something with a slightly bigger screen that doesn’t have to sit on my wrist for the time being.  Not that I’ve got that out of the way, how about we talk iOS games?  I’m reaching back into the archives again, in one case going all the way back to 2012.  But, the way I figure it, if the game still captures my attention then it is still worth playing.  Hopefully you’ll feel the same way about any number of these selections.


Planet Quest [2/12/15] – I don’t really fancy myself a rhythm game addict as I’ve never gotten into the likes of Guitar Hero or such games.  However, give me an oddball specimen like Planet Quest and my white, middle aged non-rhythmic sensibilities take over.  The best I can tell you’re a near sighted alien on a quest to collect foreign animal species, though as it turns out all you manage to gather are goofy humans dressed in furry costumes.  The trick is that you have to collect your specimens on the beat of the music, though if you’re slightly off you’ll at least get an okay and the “pleasure” of keeping the human’s costume.  Just be sure you don’t miss, or worse yet slip up and try to suck up a flower wearing freak.  All that’s required to play the game is your ability to tap the screen and some concept of timing, though how good you are at mastering those things will be determined by your ranking on the leaderboard and how many achievements you earn.  The down side is that the developer decided to go with their own online system, so you’ll have to register an account or show up in the rankings with some anonymous user name.  The graphics are lots of fun, the music is great, and whether you have any musical inclination or not there’s a good chance you’ll get addicted to this one.

Planet Quest OutOfTheBit Ltd, Planet Quest – Free


Top Tank [11/16/14] – The best way I can think of to describe Top Tank is to call it the arcade version of Scorched Earth.  It’s you against an army of tanks, with a few helicopters and fighter planes thrown in for good measure.  Controlling your tank is simple – press the fire button and hold until your turret is at the angle you want and then release to fire.  You can do the same with the special weapon button if you have one equipped.  The thing you have to keep in mind is that the enemies are constantly moving, so what might be a good angle at the time possibly won’t work once the projectile gets to its supposed target.  Also, if a tank gets too close it’s very difficult to get rid of it.  There are statistics at the end of each run like how many kills you made and your largest combo (number of kills without missing), and the game also has one leaderboard and 11 achievements through Twitter.  In addition to that, for every so many miles you travel you’ll unlock a new location to obliterate.  The biggest problem with the game is lack of variety – there are only a couple of different special weapon types and you only get one tank to choose from.  The game is still pretty fun, but a good dose on unlockables would make this one a real standout.

Top Tank Fun Fetched, Top Tank – $0.99


Cards and Castles [4/11/14] – Cards and Castles is a CCG with a twist: instead of battling using the cards themselves as is typical these days, in Cards and Castles you drag the cards onto a playing field and they transform into units or structures that you then use in a more traditional turn based game of warfare.  You start out with a basic deck and over time you’ll earn cards as you progress through various scenarios.  You can also buy cards in the store using CP (card points) or BP (bit points).  Interestingly enough it appears that you can only buy BP via IAP, though theoretically that means you can get just about anything by playing the game enough.  There are several single player scenarios to work through, and when you feel up to it you can take on the world in one on one battles either live or asynchronously.  From what I can tell you can even bring a friend in when you’re struggling with one of the levels on a scenario.  This is a well done mash up of genres that is worth taking a look at if you’re a fan of strategy based games.

Cards and Castles Bit Mass LLC, Cards and Castles – Free


I Hate Fish [1/8/15] – Welcome to flappy worm on steroids.  Not only do you get an “up” button, but you also get the option to accelerate and if you acquire certain weapons you can launch them on command – as long as your charger is full.  The game is comprised of several stages, each of which has three goals to accomplish.  Thankfully you can clear each goal individually if it’s easier for you, and in some cases it might be the only way you can get all three.  Not that it’s such a bad thing because each run through you can collect additional money which lets you unlock cool new weapons and upgrade what you already have.  The game features 39 achievements through Game Center, and at this point there are no leaderboards.  This is also a great game for kids, as the graphics, sound and music all resonate “cute and energetic”.  Besides, what youngster wouldn’t love a worm in a submarine?

I Hate Fish Fingersoft, I Hate Fish – Free


Star Marine: Infinite Ammo [1/11/12] – This is an oldie, and quite frankly the first time I played it I dismissed it as feeling kind of cheap.  I recently saw it featured in an article on retro gaming for iOS devices, and playing it again I realize I might have been too rash with my first reaction.  The game starts out feeling like Contra in space, but apparently before too long you end up on an alien planet at which point it would be like Contra with a guy dressed in a space suit.  Each level is filled with plenty of nasty alien creatures to destroy, and when you earn enough points from said destruction you’ll earn a gem.  You can also get gems from beating a nice collection of challenges.  These games can be used to buy new weapons or upgrade the weapons you have as well as to replenish your supply of angel wings, stimpacks and nukes which are used to lift you out of pits, restore health and destroy everything on screen respectively.  In addition to the main campaign there are several bonus missions that can be played once you’ve unlocked them by completing certain levels of the main mission.  This is a must have for platform lovers and those that remember what a 16 bit console was.

Star Marine: Infinite Ammo GlitchSoft, Star Marine: Infinite Ammo – $1.99


Dino And Jack – The Lost Bones [2/25/15] – Make no bones about it, Dino and Jack is a cute infinite runner.  I won’t bark up the wrong tree and say that the game does anything particularly unique for the genre, but I still find it hard to tear myself away from the game once I start.  If you’re ever in the dog house and need something to pass the time for a while, why not take little Jack for a run and collect some bones while taking out flies, mosquitoes, fish and assorted other creatures that don’t mind taking a bite out of you.  This is a game where your bark is definitely worse than your bite, but when that’s not powerful enough you have banana, bee and coconut guns at your disposal, all of which can be upgraded with the bones you collect.  There are a few other aspects of your character that can be upgraded as well, and if you’re feeling stylish you can purchase hats, fancy colars and even a doggie makeover to get the ladies howling.  The game does offer a leaderboard and 45 achievements through Game Center, and completing the achievements earns you keys which can be used to revive in the game when you die.  The kids will love the cute graphics and fun sound effects, and even you adults might find it addictive after a while.

Dino And Jack - The Lost Bones Gamicals, Dino And Jack – The Lost Bones – Free


Candy Crush Soda Saga [11/11/14] – I really didn’t give Candy Crush Saga much of a try, but as I was installing some games the other day this one came up in a search I did so I thought I’d give it a shot.  So far the basic game mechanics pretty much mirror most other match 3 games.  I’ve run into three different goals so far, and I do like the one where you have to get the gummy bear above a candy rope line by clearing a path for it to float up.  Where this game gets exciting, however, is when you start mixing power ups.  There’s one power up that gets rid of every candy of whatever type you swap it for, and then there’s my favorite power up – the gummy fish.  When you get this one it will swim to a crucial piece in your puzzle and clear it way for you.  Combine the two and you get a hailstorm of fish nibbling away at your board.  Even if you complete the goal for a given board there are 3 stars to earn, so in many cases there will be incentive to try a board again for that high score.  There’s no Game Center here but you can connect with your friends via Facebook.  Cute characters will draw in the kids and challenging levels will keep the adults busy for a while as well.

Candy Crush Soda Saga Limited, Candy Crush Soda Saga – Free


Max Axe – Epic Adventure! [10/30/13] – This isn’t the first weapon flinging adventure for iOS, and I’m certain it won’t be the last.  It is one of the most entertaining ones I’ve played so far, though.  You are Max, and your quest is the destruction of basically everything you have the power to destroy.  Luckily the areas you visit are full of slimes, dragons, trolls and various other assorted nasty creatures, as well as plenty of shrubs, stumps and other landscape that you can demolish.  Your weapon of choice is the axe, which you can upgrade to do more damage.  You can also get better gloves to throw farther and nifty helmets that protect you from more blows.  Collect coins and gems to purchase these and other upgrades, and find ancient artifacts to increase special power ups.  Complete quests to unlock new items to buy and set your own destiny by choosing between various paths as you stroll along in your quest.  There’s plenty to explore, tons of monsters to crush and numerous quests to complete.  You can even slay your friends’ ghosts if you connect with Facebook.

Max Axe - Epic Adventure! Crazy Labs, Max Axe – Epic Adventure! – Free


Infinity Dungeon [12/21/14] – At first I wasn’t really too sure about this game.  It’s another casual side scrolling dungeon crawler where your hand to hand character automatically attacks but you control special attacks and abilities via four buttons near the bottom of the screen.  Every creature you defeat earns you gold and in some cases you might even earn a gem, both of which are used to upgrade 5 different traits between the two characters.  If you earn enough gems through play time or by completing special offers (or buying them via IAP) you can even buy a few special super cool items to help you on your quest to conquer the dungeon.  Every time you defeat a level you’ll leave a dwarf there to mine you some extra gold, and as funds permit you can expand the amount of gold that can be mined before the cart must be emptied.  Thanks to Game Center there are three different leaderboards to rank on as well as 25 achievements to earn.  This is definitely not going to satiate anyone looking for a deep RPG experience, but if you want something that you can load up and play for five minutes or an hour as time permits, Infinity Dungeon will certainly do the trick.

Infinity Dungeon! Dai-Hyun Kwon, Infinity Dungeon! – $0.99


Three Crush [1/7/15] – Ready for another 2048?  This game certainly takes its cues from that puzzle classic, but it also throws in a couple of features that make this one outshine much of its competition.  As always the goal of the game is to swipe tiles of the same number into each other to create tiles of a bigger number.  In this case, once you get past 48 the tiles come with some nifty pictures of monsters on them as well.  Of course the loose premise behind this is that you’re trying to impress the League of Numbers, presumably so you can gain entrance to this “exclusive” club.  One thing you’ll notice early on is that the numbers don’t cap quite as soon as many of these games – the biggest monster I’ve uncovered so far is worth 6K and I’ve still got eleven monsters to unveil.  Where the game gets real interesting is if you match 3 or more of the same number you’ll create gems which can be used to eliminate entire rows or even clear the grid and bump everything up a level.  You can only use three of each color gem per game, but they definitely come in handy in a jam.  Currently the game only supports Facebook for social networking, but at least you can still compare scores and invite your friends to join the fun.

Three Crush Jandas, Three Crush – Free

Well that wraps up another edition of games to watch on the App Store. As always, if there’s something you’ve played recently that you feel should be part of this list, please leave a reply to this post. Previous weekly installments of our App Store Games Roundup:

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Swipe to Kill: Designing An HTML5 Mobile Game Thu, 05 Mar 2015 05:48:06 +0000 Fancy yourself a game developer, but don’t know where to start?  Looking for development tools with little monetary overhead that support multiple mobile platforms?  Do you like match 3 / RPG style games?  Gregory Ellis might just have the solution for you… if you’re willing to help give his project a bit of a Kickstart!  … Read more]]>


Fancy yourself a game developer, but don’t know where to start?  Looking for development tools with little monetary overhead that support multiple mobile platforms?  Do you like match 3 / RPG style games?  Gregory Ellis might just have the solution for you… if you’re willing to help give his project a bit of a Kickstart!  The name of the game is Swipe To Kill, and the goal behind the project is for the developer to provide a complete tutorial along with fully documented source code so you can develop your own game of this style in no time flat.  Since the format of choice is HTML5, CSS and JavaScript there’s nothing to buy unless you want a special editor that supports the syntax for these common web development paradigms, and you could probably even find a few of those for free as well.  To find out what you can do to support this developer’s aspirations check out the Kickstarter page here: Swipe to Kill: HTML5 Mobile Game & Development Tutorial.

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Mind Snares: Alice’s Journey HD in Review – Creepy Visions Make Nifty Games Mon, 02 Mar 2015 03:32:17 +0000 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]]>


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.


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.


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.


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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10 App Store Games To Watch [2/19/15] Fri, 20 Feb 2015 05:00:45 +0000 As I continue to delve through my backlog of games it amazes me how many hidden gems there are.  Of course there are still lots of new games coming out there are cool as well.  This article’s collection includes everything from retro turn based RPGs to hybrid runners / collectable card games.  And as always, … Read more]]>


As I continue to delve through my backlog of games it amazes me how many hidden gems there are.  Of course there are still lots of new games coming out there are cool as well.  This article’s collection includes everything from retro turn based RPGs to hybrid runners / collectable card games.  And as always, everything on this list is here because I’ve played it and enjoyed it enough that I felt it was worth writing about.  Hopefully you’ll feel the same once you’ve taken some of these games for a spin.


Zombie Highway 2 [8/8/14] – Everyone’s favorite 3D vehicular zombie mauling franchise is back for another outing, and it certainly hasn’t lost any muster.  If you’re not familiar with the dreaded Zombie Highway, it’s basically you in a vehicle trying to plow down as many of the undead as you can before either they take you out or you run into something because you’re too busy dealing with the zombies.  Your options are to run over the zombies, scrape them off your car using your surroundings or shoot them off with your weapon of choice.  There are six different vehicles to unlock as well as 15 types of weapons to acquire, each with something to upgrade.  Money is used to perform upgrades and to commandeer new weaponry while coins let you unlock new rides early or rewind the game.  Yes, if you die too young you can rewind slightly and try to avoid whatever caused your imminent demise – but keep in mind you can only use this trick so many times in a given run and it gets more expensive each time.  Of course if the simple thrill of decimating hordes of zombies isn’t enough for you, the game does have a highest distance leaderboard via Game Center as well as 55 achievements to earn.

Zombie Highway 2 Auxbrain, Inc., Zombie Highway 2 – Free


Monster Kingdom 2: Rise of the Grembles [11/13/14] – There was a time when Pokemon style games were actually hard to come by, but now they seem almost as plentiful as match 3 games, especially considering that many of them use the match 3 mechanic for combat.  Thankfully this one takes the more traditional rock-paper-scissors approach with each monster representing a certain element that is better than one type and worse than another.  You start off with one monster to train, and can capture more along the way using spirit cubes.  Monsters can be leveled up and they can evolve, and you can also level up their abilities.  When you win battles you will be rewarded with lots of goodies, some of which can be equipped to your monsters to increase their stats even further.  Items can be fused or bolstered with gems to make them more powerful.  Explore the single player campaign or take on other players live in the arena.  If you’re feeling a bit more friendly you can trade with other players to get the perfect equipment for your playing style.  There are several achievements to earn, though the game uses its own system instead of Game Center.  I don’t know if this is the best choice for Pokemon clones out there, but right now it’s certainly an enjoyable one for me.

Monster Kingdom 2: Rise of the Grembles Zhurosoft, Monster Kingdom 2: Rise of the Grembles – Free


Platform Panic [12/16/14] – I’m a big fan of games that manage to make single screen experiences engaging.  Platform Panic ups the ante by randomly stringing the screens together, so no two runs through are exactly the same.  The down side is that the distinct number of styles of screen seems to be a bit on the small side, but the developers get around that by flipping the orientation and changing things slightly like adding an extra explosive or something of that nature.  Your score is determined by the highest number of rooms you visit in one run, and the coins you collect are used to buy new characters.  There are 9 characters to collect altogether, and most of them will seem familiar if you have much of a past playing console games.  You’ll have to do quite a bit of playing to earn enough coins to get all the characters, which initially seemed a bit frustrating and not worth the effort.  Thankfully the first update introduced upgrades that provide your characters with power ups, so now the thrill comes in unlocking each character and finding out what it brings to the game.  Of course there is also a leaderboard to see who has conquered the most rooms in a single run as well as 8 achievements to unlock.  Not only is this a fun little time waster, but it’s also a nice bit of nostalgia for platform buffs.

Platform Panic Nitrome, Platform Panic – Free


Hero Pop [1/8/15] – This is a cute take on the whole balloon popping genre.  Instead of a random tap fest there’s a bit of logic and puzzle solving involved in this game.  To clear balloons you have to make matches of three or more, and if you can make a match of five or more balloons you’ll create a super balloon that can unleash various cool powers on the gaming field depending on the color of the balloon.  Each level has one or more goals to complete in order to pass the level, and most levels only provide you with a certain number of moves.  As you finish levels you earn coins which can be used to purchase power ups to start the level with.  Once you master a group of levels you’ll have to complete three special quests to move on to the next set of levels, and the coins can also be used to bypass these special quests (which are a tad bit tougher than the normal levels).  You can connect to Facebook to rank your progress, but you can also trade with your friends to get extra lives or keys to unlock the quests before their time.  There is even a leaderboard and 22 achievements through Game Center if you’re not much into Facebook.  This is a freemium game, so expect to spend some time waiting for certain things if you choose not to shell out any IAP.

Hero Pop Chillingo Ltd, Hero Pop – Free


Bit Dungeon [12/14/12] – If the general crop of rogue-like games on the iOS platform seem a bit tame to you, bit Dungeon might be a “bit” more to your liking.  The biggest challenge is that it forces permadeath on you instead of making it an option or not even having it at all.  In addition to that you only get one slot for each type of item, and that’s the slot that you use to equip said item.  This makes you really think about what you want to keep and throw away instead of just picking up everything you run across in the dungeon.  Every level is a 9×9 grid with a boss room at the end, but the contents of each room is randomly generated, as to an extent is the way in which rooms are connected.  Besides equipment and health and mana potions you can collect souls which can be used to buy equipment or additional lives should you happen across the ghostly imp that’s selling such things.  The graphics and sound have a great 8 bit feel, and despite the diminutive nature of the main character everything you equip him with changes his appearance.  The one thing that’s kind of frustrating is that the game locks up for a fraction of a second every once in a while, but that hasn’t deterred me from playing several runs through.

bit Dungeon Tom Heinecke, bit Dungeon – $0.99


Super Scrapped Robot [7/13/14] – I probably picked this up roughly around the time it came out, but it was a recent article about “retro games you should be playing now” that made me finally give it a try.  Turns out I shouldn’t have waited so long to give it a shot.  You play a robot that gets tossed in the trash and decides to escape from his ship and go on a quest for hats.  It’s a dual stick shooter which means plenty of bad guys to decimate, many of which fortunately enough look like cats.  Each level contains a subterranean cavern that houses both that level’s boss and hat.  Finding the entrance might mean playing a mini game, defeating a crowd of bad guys to rescue a hapless victim or flipping a switch somewhere else on the level, just to name a few options.  There are 11 achievements to earn, and if you support the game via IAP you’ll unlock the ability to challenge other players.  The IAP also provides you with options to tweak the game’s difficulty as well as the ability to change color palettes, and in an interesting twist you can choose what you want to pay even though based on the description all levels provide the same unlocks.  The game looks and sounds like a modern Gameboy game, so those that remember the era will get a nice feeling of nostalgia as well.

Super Scrapped Robot bureaubureau, Super Scrapped Robot – Free


Monsu [10/1/14] – Monsu is a 2D side scrolling infinite runner with levels.  I know that sounds a bit contradictory, but the idea is that you can play a particular level for as long as you can keep going, collecting all the diamonds and points that you can.  Once you’ve died you will have either completed the goal for that level in which case you can move on to the next, or you’ll have to repeat the level and try to do better.  For each level you complete you’ll get a nice little bonus, and on every fifth level you’ll earn a fairly decent prize, including the occasional bonus card.  That’s where Monsu gets interesting.  In addition to the typical bonuses like shield and magnet, there are a total of 44 cards that you can collect that fall into three different categories.  You can have one card from each group active at a given time, and the cards provide cool power ups like a dinosaur to ride, a hornet that mows down enemies and a bauble that increases the longevity of other power ups by a certain amount of seconds.  The best part is that each card can be upgraded to level 5 to make them even more powerful and useful (except for the duck, which apparently isn’t useful at all).  You can compete in tournaments with Facebook friends to earn prizes, and there are 14 achievements for you to conquer that will net you some cool gems to spend.

Monsu Boomlagoon, Monsu – Free


Dungeon of Genesis [12/3/14] – If you remember what it was like to play “3D” dungeon crawlers before the concept of a 3D engine even existed then this game is for you.  Fans of any of the old games like Bard’s Tale or Might and Magic should appreciate it, but to me it most closely resembles the original Wizardry series.  You create a party of up to six characters with a system that seems quite limited by today’s standards, and then you descend into the dungeon to conquer all the nasty critters until you get to level 30 to defeat Geordeen, the demon king.  Though there are plenty of levels there is only one dungeon, and the “town” consists of a few locations accessible by a scrolling menu on the main screen.  On a slightly more modern note the graphics are pretty decent and the music is good and sometimes just a bit eerie.  And, in a twist that I don’t think I’ve seen before, daily bonuses don’t penalize you for missing days between logins (so if you’ve only played 4 times in two weeks, you’ll still get the day 5 bonus when you log in for the fifth time).  This definitely won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and modern gamers might find it lacking in the “essentials” for a good dungeon crawl, but old timers and nostalgia buffs really should give it a try.

Dungeon of Genesis Akihiro Moriwaki, Dungeon of Genesis – Free


Neonize Premium [8/28/14] – If you’ve always felt that Simon was an interesting but slightly mundane memory game, Neonize is the cure for that.  Just like in Simon, you’ll be presented with a sequence that you have to match.  In this case the sequence is the direction from which you’re being attacked, as you are a spacecraft in the center of a hostile area.  You keep playing until an enemy craft gets close enough to touch you.  If you accidentally fire in the wrong direction you can correct yourself, but you can’t shoot again until the first bullet has cleared the screen, so don’t count on this safety net to be very useful.  Score is based on the number of ships you destroy, but you can build up a multiplier by blasting ships on the beat – once you miss the beat, however, the multiplier is gone.  There are 44 achievements to earn through game center and 24 medals for the taking, and while I haven’t done a total compare I’m assuming that all of the medals correspond to achievements with an additional load of achievements to earn.  There are also three leaderboards to rank on: score, endurance and number of hits.  Neonize does a nice job of taking the concept of a memory game and adding a little kick to it.

Neonize Premium Defenestrate Studios LLC, Neonize Premium – $0.99


Warship Solitaire [1/15/15] – If you were to take Battleship, combine it with the Picross puzzle concept and toss out multiplayer mode you’d have Warship Solitaire.  The bad news is that there is little frill – music only plays during the menus and sound effects are basically non-existent (well, unless you crank the volume way up).  Thankfully, the game doesn’t really need any bells and whistles.  Using a simple set of rules and a few predefined squares in a grid, your job is to find each of the 6 battleships hidden in the water.  You get 10 hints to help you along the way, and you can buy additional hints via IAP or use your favorite social media to ask for help.  The game has 5 level sets that contain 25 puzzles each, so there’s enough to keep you busy for a while.  There are 10 achievements to earn through Game Center, and you can also share your victories as you conquer each level.

Warship Solitaire Nexx Studio, Warship Solitaire – $0.99

Well that wraps up another edition of games to watch on the App Store. As always, if there’s something you’ve played recently that you feel should be part of this list, please leave a reply to this post. Previous weekly installments of our App Store Games Roundup:

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Satellina in Review – Simple Yet Engaging Thu, 19 Feb 2015 01:52:30 +0000 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]]>


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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Robot School. Learn To Code – Even Programming Can Be Fun Sun, 15 Feb 2015 23:43:24 +0000 Do you have children that are interested in learning how to program?  Maybe you just feel like your son or daughter has potential and want to trick them into it?  Robot School. Learn to Code might just be the tool for the job.  Aimed at children 7 and older, the software is presented as a … Read more]]>


Do you have children that are interested in learning how to program?  Maybe you just feel like your son or daughter has potential and want to trick them into it?  Robot School. Learn to Code might just be the tool for the job.  Aimed at children 7 and older, the software is presented as a puzzle game where you have to help a robot make its way back home, but in order to do so you’ll have to program it to get around all kinds of sticky situations.  According to the developer Next is Great, here are the basic selling points:

  • The app is suitable for children aged 7 and above
  • It offers a child-friendly way to learn procedures, loops and conditional instructions, while making programming fun and accessible, regardless of prior experience
  • The app has 45 levels for children to work through, unlocking new powers and achievements as they go
  • The code created in the app can be then previewed in Apple’s Swift programming language and shared on Facebook
  • PSST … it is a great logic game for grown ups too!

If you’d like to see the game in action, here’s a Youtube video: Robot School is in session

And for the first three to grab them, the developers were kind enough to offer some promo codes:

If you happen to take one please drop the developer a note to say thanks, or at least consider rating it on the App Store.  And if the codes have already expired I apologize, because it took me a little while to get this post up.

Robot School. Learn to Code Next is Great, Robot School. Learn to Code – $2.99

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Romance And Games? G5 Seems To Think So… Tue, 10 Feb 2015 12:37:05 +0000 Looking for some tales of love but not interested in “chick flicks” or the latest romance novel?  The fine folks over at G5 games have put together a collection of 5 of their most romantic offerings to get you through this sappy holiday.  They were even nice enough to put all of the games on … Read more]]>


Looking for some tales of love but not interested in “chick flicks” or the latest romance novel?  The fine folks over at G5 games have put together a collection of 5 of their most romantic offerings to get you through this sappy holiday.  They were even nice enough to put all of the games on sale to help make your decision a little less strenuous.

Royal Trouble: Hidden Adventures (Full) G5 Entertainment, Royal Trouble: Hidden Adventures (Full) – $0.99
Royal Trouble: Hidden Adventures HD (Full) G5 Entertainment, Royal Trouble: Hidden Adventures HD (Full) – $1.99
Spirit of Wandering - The Legend (Full) G5 Entertainment, Spirit of Wandering – The Legend (Full) – $0.99
Spirit of Wandering - The Legend HD (Full) G5 Entertainment, Spirit of Wandering – The Legend HD (Full) – $1.99
Vampires: Todd and Jessica's Story G5 Entertainment, Vampires: Todd and Jessica’s Story – Free
Vampires: Todd and Jessica's Story HD G5 Entertainment, Vampires: Todd and Jessica’s Story HD – Free
Mystery of the Opera (Full) G5 Entertainment, Mystery of the Opera (Full) – $0.99
Mystery of the Opera HD (Full) G5 Entertainment, Mystery of the Opera HD (Full) – $1.99
Romance of Rome (Full) G5 Entertainment, Romance of Rome (Full) – $0.99
Romance of Rome HD (Full) G5 Entertainment, Romance of Rome HD (Full) – $1.99

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Crazy Chicken Director’s Cut in Review – Second Verse, Better Than The First Wed, 28 Jan 2015 07:51:07 +0000 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]]>


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.


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.


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.


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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10 App Store Games To Watch [1/14/15] Wed, 14 Jan 2015 22:14:21 +0000 Welcome to 2015!  Last year was a great one for iOS games, and I fully expect this one to be even better.  For the first roundup of 2015 I tried to include games that were a bit closer to the article’s release date, but you’ll see one that snuck in which has a bit of … Read more]]>


Welcome to 2015!  Last year was a great one for iOS games, and I fully expect this one to be even better.  For the first roundup of 2015 I tried to include games that were a bit closer to the article’s release date, but you’ll see one that snuck in which has a bit of mileage on it.  The way I figure it, if the game is still selling in the App Store it’s still worth reporting on.  Sit back, relax and get ready to start downloading some new games!


Peggle Blast [12/1/14] – There’s something about the pseudo random nature of Pachinko style games that has been as much a turn-off as an interest to me.  In this case, however, I’m willing to make an exception.  Unlike this recent deluge of “casual” games that believe it’s best to make things impossible, Peggle Blast actually gives you a chance to succeed at each level.  That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll beat each one on the first try, but you won’t get frustrated because you can never win, either.  Each level has one or more goals to achieve, and there are plenty of ways to get bonus points.  There are also different boosts you can select at the beginning of each round to help your game play.  On most levels you can even earn extra balls by racking up a certain score or through the extra ball bucket on the bottom of the screen.  Most importantly, though, is the fanfare at the end of each level when you do well.  It’s lots of fun and really makes you feel good.  I also love the different characters and their facial expressions, especially when the ball is getting ready to strike the last peg for your goal.  This is definitely a game to play when you want a pick me up after a hard day’s whatever.

Peggle Blast Electronic Arts, Peggle Blast – Free


Owen’s Odyssey [12/9/14] – Owen takes this week’s coveted “thank you for not being Flappy Bird” slot with game play that’s sort of like Flappy Bird in two directions.  The titular character is a boy with a helicopter beanie that gets stuck in a dangerous castle due to inclement weather.  Cheesy story aside you have a challenging platform game that has only two mechanics: tap the right side of the screen to flap forward and the left side of the screen to do a back-flap.  The trick is finding the right combination of movements to avoid all the nasty things like lava and patch-eyed penguins while still managing to collect all the coins on each level.  You might even find an extra guy lurking about every so often.  You can also earn an extra life if you complete a level under a certain time constraint.  There are only 40 levels, and the levels are actually fairly short, but they are challenging enough that the average player will still feel like they had to work for their victory.  Game Center provides a leaderboard and 43 achievements, though 40 of them come from the first time you beat a level in the designated time interval.  The graphics and music have a NES look and feel, and while it can get frustrating repeatedly dying on a level you previously completed, the overall package makes it worth pressing on.

Owen's Odyssey Brad Erkkila, Owen’s Odyssey – $0.99


Looney Tunes Dash! [12/18/14] – Okay, let me get my biggest complaint out right away: where’s the animation with the rings and either Bugs or Porky’s head popping through?  Anyway, there’s no question that the Looney Tunes characters are one of the most beloved cast of cartoon crazies around, and this finite runner actually manages to do them some justice.  You start as Bugs Bunny in the famous time period known as Rabbit Hunting Season, and eventually you’ll unlock other characters and play through various well known episodes of the classic cartoons.  Besides being chased by the appropriate nemesis various other characters will pop up along the way to either help or hinder you.  Of course you’ll also have various location based obstacles to avoid as well as coins and power ups to collect.  There are even collector’s cards to find on each level set that depict the character you’re playing in certain famous scenes centered around that character.  The graphics do a good job of capturing the characters’ personas, the voices are pretty well done, and the overall atmosphere feels like a cartoon that you can control.  Thank goodness not all licensed properties get handled poorly when translated to the mobile video game screen.

Looney Tunes Dash! Zynga Inc., Looney Tunes Dash! – Free


Raystorm [6/21/12] – This game is old in a couple of ways.  It first hit the App Store in 2012, and it’s actually an iOS port of a game that came out in 1996!  So why include it in the roundup now?  Well, I just recently got the chance to actually play the game, and honestly I feel it’s better than most of the “new” scrolling shooters that come out for iOS devices.  Despite being almost 20 years old the graphics look great, and the music is top notch.  The levels are extremely well designed and have a surprising feeling of depth, especially when you get into Earth’s orbit and take on an entire space fleet on your own.  There are 2 different game modes each with multiple difficulty settings, and you can choose manual fire if you want to make things a bit more challenging.  Game Center provides a leaderboard and 31 achievements for those that need the “I’m an iOS game” feel.  The biggest complaint I have from a game play perspective is that they don’t seem to limit the continues, even on the hardest level.  Sure you don’t have to tap the screen to continue, but that option should be greatly diminished on the hardest difficulties.  The price tag might be a bit hard to swallow, but it’s a great scrolling shooter experience that’s enjoyable even after playing through it multiple times.

RAYSTORM TAITO Corporation, RAYSTORM – $8.99


Nut Run [12/11/14] – This is a silly game.  Despite the name the acorns you run across are few and far between.  There is a single leaderboard, no achievements and nothing to unlock or power up with.  There’s a single location with no variety in visuals and one chip tune song that plays throughout every run.  Still, every time I load up the game I have a hard time trying to stop playing it.  It’s the very definition of addictive simplicity.  The game is basically a 3D version of the lumberjack sub-genre, except instead of chopping down the tree you’re simply rotating it to avoid the limbs (you are a squirrel, after all).  The funny thing is that the guy who came up with the game is just as interested in promoting the story behind the game as the game itself.  So what’s the scoop?  Apparently he’s a lawyer from Australia who decided to recruit a couple of self taught coders to do the technical work for him.  Just goes to show that anyone with an idea and some ambition can make their dreams come true, even if they don’t want to acquire the skills themselves.  Did I mention that the game is addictive?

Nut Run Nathan Khoury, Nut Run – Free


Cars: Fast as Lightning [10/8/14] – Admit it: no one ever though a movie about cars with people-like personalities was going to be good, and everyone was pleasantly surprised at the outcome.  As luck would have it Gameloft has managed to make a fairly interesting game out of the whole experience with Fast as Lightning.  All your favorites are here, though I don’t know what more you could need than the ever lovin’ Mater, and as you progress through the game you can unlock and race with the ones you want.  Play through solo races and complete tasks in order to earn experience and money, or take it to the internet and compete in weekly competitions in order to earn in-game prizes.  Upgrade your car to make beating your opponents easier, then modify the track so the races are cooler and you earn more experience.  You even have the chance to construct Radiator Springs in time management style game play.  The visuals look pretty sharp and when the characters do speak you’d think you were in the movie universe.  The controls are simple enough for younger kids to handle yet still provide an enjoyable enough experience for adults – you know, the kids at heart.  The game is free to play, so maybe it’s time you paid a visit to Radiator Springs.

Cars: Fast as Lightning Gameloft, Cars: Fast as Lightning – Free


Epic Fall [12/10/14] – I’ve played a lot of infinite falling / infinite jumping games (ala Doodle Jump), and this is actually one of the most creative I’ve run across in a while.  You play an Indiana Jones type character that gets caught while raiding a tomb and must make his escape.  The only way is down, which of course happens to be littered by all kinds of nasty things that hurt you when you hit them.  Thankfully you have your trusty side arm, and all you have to do is shoot the obstacles you can destroy and shoot something else to steer you away from the indestructible things.  As luck would have it this is a physics based game, so every substantial obstacle you hit will help guide your path, though it might not always be in the direction you want to go.  Shoot bullets to get extra ammo, shoot coins to spend on upgrading your weapon or buying a new costume and collect treasure chests to find items that will unlock some very special suits.  Gain enough experience with your selected weapon and you can unlock a new one so you can start the upgrading process all over again.  There is a leaderboard based on largest number of meters fallen and 18 achievements to earn, just in case all the upgrades and outfits aren’t enough to work towards.  If you’re a fan of the genre you definitely don’t want to pass this one up.

Epic Fall Alexander Kiselev, Epic Fall – Free


The Sleeping Prince: Royal Edition [9/5/14] – Don’t let anyone ever tell you that sleeping is a waste of time.  It seems that the kingdom has been placed under a spell which has caused all the inhabitants to fall asleep except for you.  Now you must use all your skills to guide the heroic prince on a journey to restore awakeness to the kingdom.  Of course he’s napping as well, so you’ll have to fling him through the land, using whatever you can find along the way to propel him to new heights and reach the end of each level.  Bouncy platforms, movable rings and rubber band sling shots are but some of the tools that will help you accomplish your tasks.  Each level has three goals: a time limit to beat, 3 stars to gather and gems to collect.  The gems are used to buy boosts at the beginning of a level or to acquire the services of your fellow landfolk once you’ve awoken them from their slumber.  Stars, on the other hand, allow you to unlock more levels in the game.  You can retry the levels as often as you like, but to earn the gold medal you must achieve all three goals in the same play through.  The graphics are great, and the music has a nice, upbeat tone to it.  This is one of those games that both kids and parents can equally enjoy.

The Sleeping Prince: Royal Edition Signal Mobile LLC, The Sleeping Prince: Royal Edition – Free


Temple Tap [11/8/14] – I like the concept behind the whole Simon game play mechanic, but I usually don’t stick with that type of game too long because frankly my memory isn’t that great.  As such I’m not exactly making much headway with Temple Tap, but I like the premise behind it which gives me a bit more incentive to push on.  You’re a purveyor of fine antiques that stumbles upon the key to a temple filed with flashy treasures.  Unfortunately the path to each room is protected by a series of tiles that must be tapped in the right sequence.  One twist to the formula is that eventually you might have to tap two tiles at once.  I haven’t discovered anything more yet, but that’s what happens when you can only make it to level 10.  What I do know is that at the end of each level you make it through you earn either a coin or a gem which gets you some cash that you can then use to unlock idols to help your game play.  Some idols work continuously, others are good once a level and the most powerful ones can only be used once for each play through.  You get three mistakes per level, but if you fail a level you have to start back from the beginning.  If you enjoy “remember the sequence” style games then Temple Tap offers enough of a change from the norm that you’ll definitely want to check it out.

Temple Tap Heroic Stand, LLC., Temple Tap – $0.99


Tap Titans [12/17/14] – When I first saw my son playing this game I thought “that looks kind of silly, but I like the graphics”.  I decided to try the game myself and it turns out that it can be rather addictive, given that it’s “just” another one of those tap repeatedly type of games.  What sets this one apart to me (besides the theme) is the fact that there are actually small goals you can achieve, instead of simply saying “tap the screen one million times”.  You start out with one brave hero fighting a titan at a time, and as you win battles you’ll collect coins so that you can upgrade your heroes and unlock new ones.  Each round is comprised of 9 minion fights followed by a mini-boss, and once you’ve cleared enough mini-bosses you can move on to the next world.  You’ll always be able to beat the minions but you only get 30 seconds to take out a boss, and believe it or not that may not always be enough.  If you fail to conquer a boss just keep working on additional minions until your characters are powerful enough.  There’s really no way to lose Tap Titans, it’s more a matter of how long it takes you to ultimately win, assuming there is such a thing.  The icing on the cake is that the game “plays” while you’re away, so expect a pile of cash waiting for you every time you return.

Tap Titans Game Hive Corp., Tap Titans – Free

Well that wraps up another edition of games to watch on the App Store. As always, if there’s something you’ve played recently that you feel should be part of this list, please leave a reply to this post. Previous weekly installments of our App Store Games Roundup:

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