TouchMyApps » Chillingo 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, 17 Oct 2014 21:42:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.4 Rolling Hero in Review – Chillingo’s Still On A Roll… http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/05/18/rolling-hero-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/05/18/rolling-hero-in-review/#comments Sun, 19 May 2013 01:20:32 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72637 One of the things I really admire about Chillingo is that they have a knack for digging up games that take tried and true mechanics and give them enough twists and flair to make them feel like fresh games.  Such is the case with Rolling Hero.  Anyone that has played games on their iOS device … Read more]]>

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One of the things I really admire about Chillingo is that they have a knack for digging up games that take tried and true mechanics and give them enough twists and flair to make them feel like fresh games.  Such is the case with Rolling Hero.  Anyone that has played games on their iOS device for a reasonable length of time has probably played one or more titles where you rotate the board to get your hero to the proper location, yet this one feels different somehow.  It definitely has a cute factor that seems to permeate a majority of Chillingo’s best titles, but there’s a certain spin this game takes that keeps me wanting to come back for more.  Even if I never completely put my finger on it, I guess that’s a good thing since I’m spending my time with the game.

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Even animated ball like creatures fall in love, and it seems that evildoers wish to keep you apart from your girlfriend.  You’ll need to roll your way through 48 levels to get her back, and it’s certainly not going to be easy.  Each level has a portal that you must unlock by collecting the key, and there are plenty of things standing in your way.  The evil boss’s henchmen and spikes spell instant death.  A timer makes sure you stay punctual or you’ll have to start over.  Your worst enemies, however, are momentum and falling off the board. One thing I find interesting about this game is that they give you a lot of leeway towards getting back on the right path if you take an accidental leap.  You’ll still have plenty of reset moments as you realize that you’re not going to recover from a ledge plunge, however.

There are several things to help you along the way like potions that make you grow big and small, buttons that temporarily disable spike traps, shields that protect you from all the evilness around you and trampolines that give you a boost in what is hopefully the right direction.  What I find a bit odd is that several of these elements are introduced and then all but forgotten as you progress through the game.  I was particularly looking forward to some of the level designs that would incorporate the big and small potions, but so far the only one I’ve seen in three worlds is the one where the potions are introduced.  At least the elements that are taken advantage of are used well, as there is some interesting and sometimes crazy level design to keep you occupied.

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To manipulate the world you tap left and right to rotate the surroundings accordingly.  It doesn’t take much to get the ball rolling, so to speak, so be sure to keep in mind the force of momentum when you decide too late to try and turn back the other direction.  If you use your control sparingly you’ll master the game, otherwise you’ll be playing space cadet more often than unlocking portals.  In addition to simply exiting each level there are flowers to collect for bonus points.  You can also collect letters to spell the phrase “rolling hero” which will unlock a bonus world for you to explore.  Rolling Hero also takes advantage of Game Center to provide 13 achievements and leaderboards that you can rank on.

The graphics are pretty cartoony, which fits the whole premise of the game quite well.  Things are animated when necessary and the backgrounds are a bit more realistic and detailed to add a nice contrast.  At first I wasn’t too keen on the audio, but the more I listened (especially the last time I played) the more I realized they were cartoon like sound effects which compliments the visuals nicely.  I always appreciated the sighs when you accidentally died.  The music is not bad but not really thrilling either, until you get to the lava world.  Then the soundtrack really picks up.  On the plus side, each world does have its own theme.

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There’s not really much left to add other than to say chalk up another winner for Chillingo.  It’s nice to know that you can rely on a publisher to turn out one solid game after another.  They might not all be the most original efforts, but there aren’t too many games from these guys that I haven’t enjoyed.  Just remember that in Rolling Hero, gravity and momentum are not always your friend.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Rolling Hero Developer: Chillingo Ltd
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $0.99 App Size:
  • Interesting, challenging levels
  • Easy control scheme
  • Colorful world
  • Decent soundtrack in later worlds
  • Need more variety of special items in various levels
  • Music is somewhat lackluster through most of game

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Infographic: Pixel People by the numbers http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/02/14/infographic-pixel-people-by-the-numbers/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/02/14/infographic-pixel-people-by-the-numbers/#comments Thu, 14 Feb 2013 13:52:50 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=71935 To celebrate both the successful launch of Pixel People and Valentine’s Day, Chillingo and LambdaMu Games have released a fact-filled Pixel People Infographic. The highly addictive town building sim (which Eric touched on in the recent New Games roundup) is the latest on the block to drain the iOS population of their productivity. If you’re already deep into … Read more]]>

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To celebrate both the successful launch of Pixel People and Valentine’s Day, Chillingo and LambdaMu Games have released a fact-filled Pixel People Infographic. The highly addictive town building sim (which Eric touched on in the recent New Games roundup) is the latest on the block to drain the iOS population of their productivity. If you’re already deep into the game, you’ll appreciate the numbers found within, like how in the past 2 weeks, 232 years were spent playing Pixel People, or 19,680,022 clones were spliced. And as a V-Day’s special, all in-game Utopium prices have been slashed for a limited time. If you’ve yet to check it out, you have nothing to lose (other than your time) as the sim builder is completely free to play.

Here’s a video trailer introducing Pixel People:

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Chillingo celebrates Holidays with App Store freebies http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/12/18/chillingo-celebrates-holidays-with-app-store-freebies/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/12/18/chillingo-celebrates-holidays-with-app-store-freebies/#comments Tue, 18 Dec 2012 23:02:42 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=71422 Unsurprisingly, as we get closer to the Christmas holidays, the App Store has been seeing a ton of price drops on quality apps and games. Chillingo, one of the biggest publishers on the platform, is celebrating the holiday season with 15 iOS games you can download for free. Leading the way is ORC: Vengeance, an awesome … Read more]]>

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Unsurprisingly, as we get closer to the Christmas holidays, the App Store has been seeing a ton of price drops on quality apps and games. Chillingo, one of the biggest publishers on the platform, is celebrating the holiday season with 15 iOS games you can download for free. Leading the way is ORC: Vengeance, an awesome action RPG that was recently named in Apple’s Best of 2012 under the “Showpiece Games” category. Others in the list include Endless RoadPony Trails and Spice Bandits, a superb Tower Defense and one of my favorites in the genre [read about the making of Spice Bandits here]. The complete list of free Chillingo games after the break.

ORC: Vengeance: $2.99 –> FREE
With stunning visuals, a narrative-driven campaign, and deep engaging combat, ORC: Vengeance is one of the year’s most loved dungeon crawlers. That’s why it’s a must-have gift for gamers!

Endless Road : $0.99 –> FREE
Put your skills to the test in one of 2012’s most visually unique endless runners. Explore this artisticly-crafted road where branching paths take you through a world that builds itself before your eyes and falls apart in your rear-view mirror.

Pony Trails: $0.99 –> FREE
Saddle up and explore a portable getaway on horseback. Explore scenic trails, snap pictures of the wildlife, and care for your trusty steed in this adorable and pleasantly relaxing pony-sim.

Sky Hero: $0.99 –>FREE
Fall valiantly from a top your fortress and save your honor from a surprise attack! Steer messenger John past deadly saws, cannons, bombs, and fiery bosses in this endless faller.

Commando Jack: $0.99 –> FREE
Lock and load for the year’s most explosive, gun-totting game. Lead Commando Jack and his troops into battle to save the world from an alien invasion — now updated with even more modes, levels, weapons and much more.

Spice Bandits: FREE
Spice up your holiday with this seasonal tower defense treat. Protect your ship as your alien crew mines for spice in over 55 levels. Break out into an all-out war with 8 player online battles.

Storm the Train: FREE
Deck the halls with guns and ammo. Storm the Train won fans over this year with its all-action rampages and relentless firepower. Now updated with even more challenges, there’s no better time to hop aboard.

Zooniverse: FREE
Build and manage the zoo of your dreams. Maintain your park by opening attractions tailored to each visitor and combine species to create exciting new hybrids.

Super Knights: FREE
Addictive, colorful, and downright fun, Super Knights is the perfect slice of pick up and play gaming. Master the grappling mechanic and go on a glorious quest to grab as many gems as you can fill your suit of armor with. Oh, and try and save some princesses on the way.

Critter Escape: FREE
Help this critter escape this holiday in the App Store’s cutest stealth game – now even more festive! Find Gift Boxes in over 120 levels now blanketed in thick white snow.

Word Derby Free: FREE
Keep in touch with your friends this holiday and challenge them to a game of Word Derby. Meet up at the starting gate and race in this cartoony asynchronous multiplayer word game for up to three players.

Madcoaster: FREE
Go on a bumpy ride through the artic, Egyptian deserts and tropical rainforests in Madcoaster, one of 2012’s most addictive platformers. Steer an out of control rollercoaster through madly designed courses and collection coins to top your high scores.

Pocket Festival: FREE
Relive those summer festival memories with Pocket Festival, a music event designed by you. Book the best bands, attract the biggest crowds, play tracks from your own music library, and keep the festivities rolling.

Air Vacation: FREE
Take to the skies in Air Vacation, your own flying paradise. Travel the world in your fully customizable Airship Hotel and keep your guests with on-board nightclubs and golf courses.

The Last Driver: FREE
Prepare for the impending apocalypse with this post-apocalyptic driving game. Get behind the wheel of your car and speed through a ravaged cityscape battling robots, dinosaurs, natural disasters, and try to survive the end of the world.

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Coin Army in Review – Tossing Change Can Be Destructive http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/12/07/coin-army-in-review-tossing-change-can-be-destructive/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/12/07/coin-army-in-review-tossing-change-can-be-destructive/#comments Fri, 07 Dec 2012 17:02:15 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=71226 Have you ever played one of those games in the arcade where you drop a coin in and hope to be able to push enough coins that are in the machine forward so that they fall out and you win a “jackpot” as it were?  Yeah, you know those machines that are almost as annoying … Read more]]>

Have you ever played one of those games in the arcade where you drop a coin in and hope to be able to push enough coins that are in the machine forward so that they fall out and you win a “jackpot” as it were?  Yeah, you know those machines that are almost as annoying as the “grab something with a claw” ones?  Well, it turns out that’s what Coin Army is.  Amazingly enough they’ve managed to present the concept in such a way that not only is it not annoying, but it can actually become addictive.  Just make sure you play responsibly so that you don’t end up paying an arm and a leg for IAP.

You start with a certain number of coins and you basically flick them until they are all gone.  Coins will regenerate over time, much more quickly while playing than when the game is off, but it is still certainly possible to run out.  You can earn coins when they get pushed “over the edge” as it were or when you level up and there are a few other random situations that result in extra coins as well.  You earn gems when you complete missions among other things, and gems can be used to buy power ups to aid you in your battle.  You can also potentially win power ups on the battlefield, though once a power up drops into play it must fall over the edge just like coins in order for you to use it.

So what’s this battle nonsense all about?  The thing that makes Coin Army stand out from most other “coin dozer” style games is that you are actually tossing the coins at things like tanks, planes and snipers.  Most take multiple hits to defeat, and as you best the enemy you’ll start to level up.  You’ll also build up a frenzy meter which when full makes you temporarily stronger so it takes you less hits to kill everything.  Unfortunately the enemy will fight back by tossing coins back at you, but you have a button on each side of the screen which raises a shield to cover that half of the screen.  There is also almost always a general on screen that awards you with one spin of the slots when killed.  This is another way to earn coins, gems and power ups.

Missions are the equivalent of Game Center achievements except that the work like most infinite runner style games where you can only work on three at a time.  Also, there is no leaderboard based social integration like Game Center or OpenFeint, though you can tweet your progress or post it on Facebook.  If you get impatient waiting for funds to recharge you can buy gems via IAP which can in turn be used to buy coins in the game.  There are currently only 4 areas to unlock, though once you’ve beaten an area you can continue to play it if you’d like.  There’s no mention of a cap on leveling up, but I’d imagine that stops at some point.

The visuals are pretty snazzy.  I love the vehicle and soldier design, and I’ve always been a fan of fixed perspective 2D games that use the technique where it looks like things are coming in and out of the screen.  There are also nice little effects like the “hole” in the screen when a coin gets by your shield.  The sound effects sound like a warzone where the battle is being fought with large metal coins, so I guess that works out just right.  The music has a nice military theme to it and is quite catchy.

I’m not a big fan of this type of game in a physical arcade, and I’ve never really found an electronic version that I’ve enjoyed either.  But Coin Army is a completely different story.  I’m sure it’s the mix of cool visuals, bouncy music and simple combat that make the difference, though the whole power up thing doesn’t hurt any.  Just remember that it can get addictive, so if you’re not careful you could wind up shelling out a lot of cash for IAP (of course if that’s your style then go for it, because the developers certainly deserve it).

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Coin Army Developer: Chillingo Ltd
Reviewed Ver:  1.0.1 Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: Free App Size:  34.8MB
  • Makes a lame game concept fun
  • Easy to get into
  • Cute visuals
  • Lively music
  • Ads can get annoying
  • Designed to consume IAP
  • No Game Center integration

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One Tap Hero in Review – One Tap Is All You Need http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/10/01/one-tap-hero-in-review-one-tap-is-all-you-need/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/10/01/one-tap-hero-in-review-one-tap-is-all-you-need/#comments Mon, 01 Oct 2012 14:30:23 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=70076 If it weren’t for the fact that other publishers release great games as well, I could easily spend my game time just playing titles from Chillingo.  The advantage to being latched on to a publisher is that you’re more likely to get a wide variety of game styles to choose from, and in this case … Read more]]>

If it weren’t for the fact that other publishers release great games as well, I could easily spend my game time just playing titles from Chillingo.  The advantage to being latched on to a publisher is that you’re more likely to get a wide variety of game styles to choose from, and in this case we have a one touch platformer with a hero that looks like something out of a little animated segment you might see in between live footage on a kids’ program from the 80s.  Growing up with the gaming industry and watching the need of designers to try and cram more buttons and triggers onto a controller, it always amazes me when someone can make a fun and challenging game where you have one control.  That’s why I like One Tap Hero so much.

It seems an evil wizard has a weird fetish about turning your girlfriend into a bear, and it’s up to you to keep trying to change her back.  You’ll have to flip switches, jump over pits, hoist yourself up onto ledges, dodge boulders and much more in the 100 levels you must traverse to ultimately free your girlfriend from her ursine curse.  Much like the concept of an infinite runner, your character is basically always on the move, unless there’s something blocking his path.  For everything else all you can do is tap the screen.  It’s not about where you tap on the screen, but rather where your character is on the screen when you tap.

Controlling your character is quite responsive.  The only issue I’ve had is that sometimes things are too close together.  For example, you might try tapping to flip a switch and end up climbing up an elevator (don’t know if that one really exists, but you get my drift).  Otherwise the levels are quite well designed and often rather devious.  There are three stars to collect on each level, as well as coins scattered throughout the land.  Some levels have keys that you need to unlock bonus levels, and occasionally a level has a bonus item that’s worth extra coins.  Once you’ve played a level with a key or bonus item, if you didn’t get the items you’ll see little markers on the level select to indicate what you missed.

The coins can be used to buy several different costumes or keys if you don’t feel like getting them from the levels.  Thanks to IAP you can also buy coins and a bomb that will automatically complete a level for you and award you all three stars.  It would be nice to have a few more things to spend your coins on, but at least there’s some reason for collecting them.  If collecting three stars or trying to improve your score isn’t enough incentive to replay levels, there are also several achievements to earn.

The visuals are all about colorful and cute.  They went with a “tiny but detailed” motif, with cool character designs and nice animation.  I’d highly suggest skipping over the leaf costume, however, as it’s almost more disturbing than your character running around without clothes!  The sound effects just enhance the cuteness of the game, though the echo when your character dies can be a bit haunting.  The music is well done and there are several different tunes throughout the game, including a really neat one in the credits (where you’ll also see my name – go check it out).

One Tap Hero is another shining example of a publisher knowing what’s good to publish.  The game is fun, challenging and great to look at and listen to.  My only real gripe is that it has some issues on my iPod Touch 4 with crashing, but then so do half the games I play these days.  One Tap Hero is still perfectly playable even on my device, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: One Tap Hero™ Developer: Chillingo Ltd
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 3.1
Price: $0.99 App Size:
  • Simple mechanics but diverse game play
  • Challenging but fair levels
  • Cute visuals
  • Good audio
  • Occasional crashing on iPod Touch 4

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Worm vs Birds In Review – It’s Not An Angry Birds Clone! http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/08/06/worm-vs-birds-in-review-its-not-an-angry-birds-clone/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/08/06/worm-vs-birds-in-review-its-not-an-angry-birds-clone/#comments Mon, 06 Aug 2012 12:32:08 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=69260 Team 17 made the idea of militaristic worms amusing, and of course we have Rovio to thank for the prolifiration of birds in way too many physics based games.  Now Chillingo brings the two together in its latest published puzzle game, Worm vs Birds.  I was a bit worried this was going to be another … Read more]]>

Team 17 made the idea of militaristic worms amusing, and of course we have Rovio to thank for the prolifiration of birds in way too many physics based games.  Now Chillingo brings the two together in its latest published puzzle game, Worm vs Birds.  I was a bit worried this was going to be another Angry Birds style game, but instead it plays a lot like Stupid Zombies, and quite frankly has me just as hooked as that one did.  Three star junkies can rejoice as well, because this game really makes you work hard at earning that last star on some levels.

You play an oddly gigantic worm that has decided to avenge all of his fallen brethren by ridding the world of as many nasty avians as possible.  Thankfully you have a useful cannon and some deadly snails at your disposal.  Your task is to clear each level before your ammo runs out.  If you’re really lucky, or very persistent, you’ll eventually be able to clear a level with one shot, which in most cases is the only way to get three stars.  You simply need to finish a level to move on to the next one, but you’ll need stars so unlock additional worlds and eventually Nightmare mode.

For most types of ammo you’ll simply drag a line from the cannon to where you ultimately want to fire.  Unlike many cannon based games I’m not sure that there’s any control over power here, but rather just an initial determination of trajectory on your part.  There are a couple of exceptions to this rule, such as the air strike snail that allows you to tap where you want to the strike to start from, and the GPS snail that allows you to tap where you want to target.  Additionally, one of the level sets has an extra button that lets you toggle between night and day, and another level set requires you to tap a jump button occasionally to keep some baby worms out of harm’s way.

There are currently 4 level sets with a total of 60 levels, and there is a decent balance between easy and difficult levels.  As mentioned earlier one level set has a day / night feature, and you’ll need to use this in order to be able to see certain birds that only appear at night.  Of course you still have to aim when it’s daytime!  Another level set has little worms that have gotten mixed in the fray, and the level ends immediately if you shoot one of them.  There’s also a nightmare mode that challenges you to make it through 60 levels in one try.  Yep – if you fail at one level you have to start back from the beginning.  Crystal is the social game network of choice for achievements here, and you can also use Twitter and Facebook to let the world know of your progress.

The character graphics are cute.  The birds keep themselves busy while you’re shooting at them, and even the snails waiting to be shot out of the cannon are animated.  The backgrounds are decent as well.  The only thing I didn’t care for were the platform graphics, which for some reason seemed a bit blah to me.  The sound effects are pretty standard, though I do like the noises the birds make, especially since each one has a unique sound when getting pummeled with snails.  The music is pretty good at first, and in small doses stays that way for the most part.  I wouldn’t recommend sitting on a given level for any length of time, tough, as the tunes will start to grate on you after a while.

Worm vs Birds is another physics puzzle game triumph for Chillingo.  It’s aesthetically pleasing, well balanced and offers a good variety between level layout and different ammo types.  Nightmare mode is a nice touch and sure to keep even skilled players busy for a while.  If anything I’d like to have a bit less repetitive music, and a way to cancel once you’ve selected special ammo would be appreciated as well.  Overall, though, I’d definitely recommend Worm vs Birds to puzzle fans in general and definitely to fans of Chillingo games.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Worm vs Birds Developer: Chillingo Ltd
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 3.2
Price: $0.99 App Size:
  • Simple, challenging game play
  • Nice variety in levels
  • Great character design
  • Social network integration
  • Music gets repetitive
  • Can’t cancel special ammo selection

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Knights Of The Round Cable in Review – Round and Round We Go… http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/07/28/knights-of-the-round-cable-in-review-round-and-round-we-go/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/07/28/knights-of-the-round-cable-in-review-round-and-round-we-go/#comments Sat, 28 Jul 2012 17:17:08 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=69143 There’s a popular saying that “there is nothing new under the sun”.  The video game industry is a prime example of this, as most popular games these days can be broken down into a handful of categories, and it’s not uncommon to see the word “clone” in a review.  Still, with all the games that … Read more]]>

There’s a popular saying that “there is nothing new under the sun”.  The video game industry is a prime example of this, as most popular games these days can be broken down into a handful of categories, and it’s not uncommon to see the word “clone” in a review.  Still, with all the games that are released on the App Store each week, there are a few that feel fresh due to atmosphere, mechanics or some other aspect of the game.  Knights of the Round Cable happens to be one such game. 

You start out as Sir Duncan, but as you climb up the ranks you’ll be able to recruit (in other words, buy) additional knights to use, each with some special ability.  Your job is to visit as many castles as possible, raiding each of all the jewels you can grab before your time expires and you have to move on to the next locations.  And, if you happen to rescue a princess or two in the process, I guess you’re a better player for it.  As you do all the things you’re supposed to do you’ll earn coins, and these coins can be used to unlock new knights or unlock and upgrade power ups.  Of course you can always expedite this process by buying coins via IAP, but what’s the fun in that?

Like any good siege, this one will be fraught with perils.  These come mainly in the form of creatures flying back and forth between the castle’s towers, ready to take a bite out of your health.  Occasionally one or more missiles will drop from the heavens as well.  Each hit removes a heart, and when they are all gone the game is over.  Sometimes a heart will show up on the field that you can collect to replenish a lost one.  Other power ups include a magnet and a “last chance” bomb that you can activate as you’re losing your last heart to destroy everything on the screen and get a second chance.

So I suppose you want to hear about the special game play mechanic now.  There are several pegs scattered throughout each castle, and every knight has a grappling hook he can use to twirl around the pegs.  The game consists of two buttons: 1 to launch and release the hook, and the other to change the direction of rotation.  It’s a simple yet ingenious scheme, though it can take some getting used to, especially when it comes to determining the right distance for your rope so that as you’re spinning around you can actually gather up gems.  There are also things like speeding up and slowing down to take into consideration, and then you have some knights that handle things differently (for example, one knight’s ability is zero gravity).  It certainly makes for quite an entertaining and diverse experience each time you play.

The graphics are cute and the characters certainly have some personality.  The backgrounds are pretty detailed and there are nice little effects throughout like trails behind the knight as he flies around the screen.  It’s also fun to watch the knight crash and burn after losing all his hearts or the jewel stealing birds explode at the end of each level.  The sound effects are decent and do a good job of conveying the cartoonish feeling of the world.  The music isn’t bad, but there appears to be only one theme.  It would be nice if they could at least have a couple of tunes that rotate out each level.

Knights Of The Round Cable is a great game and as far as I’m concerned another triumph for the publishing gurus at Chillingo.  There are times when it feels like the knight is not doing what I want, but that could be just as much me as the game itself.  For the most part it’s an absolute joy flinging my valiant hero through castle after castle, hoping that one of these times I’ll actually do better than my current best.  But, there’s always next time…

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Knights of the Round Cable Developer: Chillingo Ltd
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 3.1.3
Price: $0.99 App Size:
  • Great game play mechanic
  • Plenty of missions
  • Cute visuals
  • Fun sound effects
  • Sometimes feels a bit sluggish
  • Certain missions feel unbalanced challenge-wise
  • Needs better variety of music

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Jar On A Bar in Review – There’s A Dr. Seuss Joke Here Somewhere… http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/07/16/jar-on-a-bar-in-review-theres-a-dr-seuss-joke-here-somewhere/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/07/16/jar-on-a-bar-in-review-theres-a-dr-seuss-joke-here-somewhere/#comments Mon, 16 Jul 2012 15:43:45 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=68991 Physics based puzzle games are here to stay, and the desire to have a cute mascot is apparently not going away any time soon either.  Thankfully Jar on a Bar has a third element that will hopefully ultimately make it a good seller – it is very addictive.  The game even goes beyond that, however, as … Read more]]>

Physics based puzzle games are here to stay, and the desire to have a cute mascot is apparently not going away any time soon either.  Thankfully Jar on a Bar has a third element that will hopefully ultimately make it a good seller – it is very addictive.  The game even goes beyond that, however, as it takes a familiar concept and adds some mechanics that make it a whole new experience.  I would be willing to say that it is probably the best game I’ve played in its genre.  So let’s find out just what it is…

If you’ve ever played one of those games where you have an object on top of a pile of stuff, and you have to clear said stuff away so that you can get the object safely to the ground, then you’ll think you’ve played Jar On A Bar.  Yes there is an object – in this case a fish in a jar – and you have to remove objects to get the fish to river below.  The first object you’ll get to play with is wood, and instead of tapping to make it go away you simply flick the boards out of the pile one by one (or in multiples if you’re daring or clumsy).  The more stealthy players might choose to slowly slide some of the boards away.  The thing is, because of this flick and drag nature, the boards don’t always go completely off of the screen.

Eventually you get ice, and that requires a tap.  If you’re skillful enough you can tap multiple ice blocks at once, and there are times that you need to, but I struggle with that (purely my own fault, I believe, and not a deficit on the control’s part).  Some of the other things you’ll run into are missiles which launch on a timer and can drastically alter the “landscape”, teleports that can be manipulated ahead of time to insure safety, and metal bars with teeth, some of which close and others that don’t.  The variety of objects in the game is quite interesting, and it makes for some dynamics that I’ve never seen before in this style of game.  That’s probably why I enjoy it so much.

If you spill too much water out of the jar, or you inadvertently do something like drop the jar on the metal teeth, the level is automatically over.  As long as the jar makes it to the river with some water in it, the fish will jump out and the level is won.  You can earn up to three stars, and in an interesting twist you can earn partial stars, but you only need part of one star to finish the level.  On the other hand, you’ll need plenty of stars to unlock subsequent level sets, so earn them when you can.  You’ll also earn seashells which can be used to purchase consumable items like a shield or wings, and if you need the fast track shells can be purchased via IAP.  The game supports Game Center for leaderboards and achievements, and you can even play the title screen if you want.

The visuals have a cartoon like quality about them, which is especially evident in the opening scene that looks like a lost clip from The Little Mermaid Disney film.  The backgrounds could stand to have some more motion, but the main character is particularly well animated, especially when he’s worried by the moves you’re making.  The sound effects suit the game well, though it does sound like the fish has a hot tub in that jar of his.  The music is fun for the first few minutes, but then it gets really old.  If nothing else, it would have been nice if each world had its own theme.

This one of those games where I can truly say that it breaks some ground in its style of game play.  The flick and drag mechanics alone give the game a unique feel, and when you add things like missiles, teleports and bombs the game is on a whole different level than its competitors.  If you’re a fan of this type of game you won’t want to miss out.  And if you’ve been waiting for the genre to have that “something more”, Jar On A Bar is that something you’ve been waiting for.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: Jar on a Bar Developer: Chillingo Ltd
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.0
Price: $0.99 App Size:
  • Mechanics unique to the genre
  • Interesting 3-star system
  • Cute main character
  • Cartoon like graphics
  • Some levels seem impossible without special items
  • Multi-touch can be tricky
  • Repetitive music

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The Act in Review – This is awesome… it’s over? http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/06/25/the-act-in-review-this-is-awesome-its-over/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/06/25/the-act-in-review-this-is-awesome-its-over/#comments Mon, 25 Jun 2012 14:36:10 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=68711 Many gamers, myself included, might liken The Act to a modern day Laser Disc epic, and at first glance that seems to be a fair assessment.  For better and for worse that is not really the case, however.  Aside from the visual aspect it doesn’t play like any laser disc game I’ve ever tried, and it … Read more]]>

Many gamers, myself included, might liken The Act to a modern day Laser Disc epic, and at first glance that seems to be a fair assessment.  For better and for worse that is not really the case, however.  Aside from the visual aspect it doesn’t play like any laser disc game I’ve ever tried, and it is far from epic.  The kicker is that it was actually a great experience.  Unfortunately, I was a bit more than surprised when it was suddenly over.  Not that I didn’t see it coming, but I just couldn’t believe how soon it came.

The Act is an animated cliché.  Boy nearly loses job trying to keep brother out of trouble, boy sees girl and falls in “luv”, boy pretends to be something he’s not to impress girl, boy gets caught, boy “makes it right” in end and all trail of into the sunset… Okay, that’s not quite how it goes, but it’s the basic gist.  And if you think I’ve spoiled anything, it just means you haven’t watched enough sit-coms on TV or seen enough “rom-coms” on the silver screen.  There’s nothing you haven’t seen here before, but you’ll still laugh in all the right places, and if you’re sentimental enough you might even get the urge to tear up a time or two, though no event will tug on your heartstring too much.

What makes this game so appealing is the presentation.  The entire game is like a long cartoon, which is where the correlation to games like Dragon’s Lair (TMA Review) comes in.  Unlike those classics, however, you control this game via a “slide rule” of sorts.  And, instead of initiating a single action like in Dragon’s Lair, you are attempting to make your character act or react to an often emotional as well as physical situation.  In other words, you’re controlling your character’s personality, not just his individual choices.

When it’s time for you to take control, a clacker will appear on screen with the word Play, and then you drag your finger left or right depending on how you want Edgar to act.  Sometimes it simply affects how he is doing something, while in other occasions it completely changes what he is attempting to do.  There is even one sequence where it becomes a mini-game of dodging things.  In the end the correlation between your action and what Edgar is doing is much more seamless than the old games like Dragon’s Lair.

On the flip side, it isn’t nearly so obvious in a couple of the sequences what you are supposed to do.  For the first couple of playable opportunities you get a hint after you fail, but then you’re on your own for the tough ones.  Still, even if you have to experiment a few times with some of the interactions, the whole game won’t take you more than half an hour.  That was my main disappointment with The Act.  It was definitely an act, and I was waiting for a couple more to finish out the play.  Sadly they didn’t come.

The visuals are incredible, but that’s not surprising when you’re literally controlling a cartoon.  The character designs are excellent, the backgrounds are wonderful, and some of the expressions in certain situations are priceless.  There are no voices in this game, and even the sound effects are minimized, but if you’ve seen the movie The Artist you’ll know how powerful the combination of music and character expression can be, and that’s all that’s needed here to tell a story that you’ll instantly love.

This game is as beautiful as it is frustrating.  It looks amazing, the music is perfect, and I don’t think I’ve laughed this much playing an iOS game in a long time (if possibly ever).  The interaction is unlike anything I’ve played before, though a couple of sequences were frustrating because it was very hard to determine what to do.  In the end, though, the main issue with The Act is the game’s length, or extreme lack thereof.  If substance over quantity is important to you, then you definitely need to check this out. Otherwise, be warned that you’ll be shocked at how quickly the game is done.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: The Act Developer: Chillingo Ltd
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.0
Price: $2.99 App Size:
  • Engaging story
  • Interesting game play mechanic
  • Incredible visuals
  • Neat music
  • Too short

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Light The Flower in Review – Let There Be Light… And Fun http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/05/21/light-the-flower-in-review-let-there-be-light-and-fun/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/05/21/light-the-flower-in-review-let-there-be-light-and-fun/#comments Mon, 21 May 2012 14:21:49 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=68201 I’ve always preferred games that make you think a bit to those that test your twitch reflexes, and portable touch screen devices have proven to be a perfect match for puzzle games.  I have to say that the sub-genre of light bending conundrums has been among my least favorite, however, in large part due to … Read more]]>

I’ve always preferred games that make you think a bit to those that test your twitch reflexes, and portable touch screen devices have proven to be a perfect match for puzzle games.  I have to say that the sub-genre of light bending conundrums has been among my least favorite, however, in large part due to the fact that it usually doesn’t take long before I get stuck and can’t move on.  Light The Flower showed me that it has as much to do with the presentation as anything.  Sure there are times where I still get stuck, but in the end it’s always worth the struggle to hear the content reactions of a satisfied flower.

Your task is simple: a bunch of house plants are sad and it’s up to you to cheer them up.  Thankfully all they want is a little bit of sunlight, but delivering it might not be as easy as you’d think.  Each room has one or more windows to let the light in and one or more plants to absorb it.  In between the windows and plants are plenty of everyday household objects.  To get around these objects you’ll have to position mirrors around the room to appropriately reflect the light.  You might also have to trigger a switch or other item, and most flowers also require you to pass the light through a filter so that the resulting beam matches their color.  And then there are the three stars to collect on each level.

Everything you need to do can be accomplished by moving mirrors around the screen.  Tap on a mirror and drag to reposition it, or use two fingers to grab the “handles” on the sides of the mirror to rotate it.  Sometimes rotating the mirrors can be a finicky affair, and you have to be careful where you drag mirrors because it’s possible to get a mirror inadvertently locked into place because it’s caught in the scope of another mirror’s handles.  All in all the controls work, though I’m thankful I’m playing this on an iPad because I think it would be more difficult to rotate on the smaller iPod Touch screen.

The game currently has 5 houses with 12 levels each.  You can earn up to three stars on a level by make sure the rays of light hit the stars on their way to the flowers.  To unlock the next level in a house you must beat the current one, and to unlock a new house you have to earn a certain number of stars.  The game has achievements, but like many of Chillingo’s products it uses Crystal instead of one of the big two social networks.

I realize Chillingo’s collection of games comes from a variety of different developers, but they tend to be some of the highest quality in terms of graphics, and Light The Flower is no exception.  The houses are detailed and I like how they start off “lightless” and fill with color after you move your first mirror.  The flowers are full of personality, which actually helps you to feel sorry for them when they aren’t getting any light.  The sound effects compound this empathy as each flower has its own positive and negative reaction when they are basked in light and then it is taken away.  The music is good and does an excellent job of promoting the laid back atmosphere of the game, but it seems like there is only one track.

Now I’m not saying I’m going to run out and grab every “light and mirror” game that exists on the iOS platform.  Games like Light The Flower do help validate in my mind the fact that Chillingo knows how to pick a decent IP, however.  They seem to have a knack for publishing games that will tickle my fancy, even in genres that I’m not particularly fond of.  If you love brain teasers and can’t resists cute, giggly flowers that can even make manly men smile, you really should give Light The Flower a try.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Light The Flower Developer: Chillingo Ltd
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 3.0
Price: $0.99 App Size:
  • Getting 3 stars is a decent challenge
  • Charming visuals
  • Cute sound effects
  • Universal app
  • Controls sometimes finicky
  • Only supports Crystal for social networking

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Sticky Sheep in Review – Sheep Spinning Madness http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/04/05/sticky-sheep-in-review-sheep-spinning-madness/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/04/05/sticky-sheep-in-review-sheep-spinning-madness/#comments Thu, 05 Apr 2012 16:16:35 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=67487 I’m beginning to think developers are purposely making the tough puzzle games cute.  They do it to lull us into a false sense of security because of course a cute looking puzzle game is going to be easy.  It has to be for the kids that will invariably be drawn to it, right?  I can’t … Read more]]>

I’m beginning to think developers are purposely making the tough puzzle games cute.  They do it to lull us into a false sense of security because of course a cute looking puzzle game is going to be easy.  It has to be for the kids that will invariably be drawn to it, right?  I can’t think of a more charming premise than a disgruntled sheepdog that dons a motorcycle helmet and goes all Evil Knievel to get the sheep he’s supposed to be rounding up to respect him.  Yet some of these levels can be quite maddening.

In Sticky Sheep, you control the poor sheepdog that gets no respect, and it’s your job to get all of the sheep to one of the targets that exist on each level.  You’ll do this by flinging yourself into them and causing them to roll to their destination.  Fortunately these sheep bounce pretty well, and what ends up happening is that you turn the corrals into outdoor pinball machines.  Of course it doesn’t hurt that some of the many items that might litter a level are bumpers.  In addition to that you might have switches to flip, gates to open or simply dodge, rocks to maneuver around and a variety of other things.

Ultimately each sheep must come to a stop so that at least part of it is touching a target.  Since this is a physics game it’s quite possible to knock the sheep away from the target at the last moment with another sheep or even yourself in a bad ricochet moment.  Other than that, your main factor for failure that exists on every level is that you only have a certain number of moves that can be made.  Additional obstacles include things like electrified fences and most of the objects listed in the previous paragraph.  Thankfully you at least don’t have to fight with a ticking clock.  Each level has coins to collect, and you must get all of them to earn a gold star.  You only have to earn a star of some color to unlock a new level, and there will always be three levels in a world unlocked at any given time.

You control the dog by tapping on him and then dragging in the opposite direction you want him to go.  The farther you drag the more power he’ll have when you let go.  Sometimes this can be a problem if the direction you want to drag puts your finger too close to the edge of the screen, but all that does is cancel your move and you start over again.  You can zoom in and out by pinching which is nice and easy, but it would be great if the game would stay zoomed out until you explicitly zoom in again.

As I mentioned before, the graphics are cute.  Everything is colorful and well animated where appropriate.  There are nice little touches like the sheep eating when they get bored or sparks flying from the electrified fences.  The sound effects do a great job of complimenting what’s on screen.  There are nice background noises that give the world some life beyond what’s immediately happening as well.  Interestingly enough, you never hear from the dog even though the sheep are more than happy to bleat out every once in a while.  The one thing sadly missing from this whole affair is any sort of background music.

There’s no question that a plethora of puzzle games exist on the App Store, and many of them are quite good.  My take on the situation is that there’s always time for one more puzzle game as long as it’s fun and challenging, and Sticky Sheep certainly meets that criteria.  The first few levels are a bit slow, but once you get out of the training levels you’re sure to get hooked on the adventures of a pinballing sheepdog.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Sticky Sheep™ Developer: Chillingo Ltd
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 3.0
Price: $0.99 App Size:
  • Cute concept
  • Fun, challenging levels
  • Charming visuals
  • Good sound effects
  • No music
  • Sometimes tricky getting full power for desired direction

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Little Acorns in Review – Collecting Nuts Is Cute And Tough http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/03/16/little-acorns-in-review-collecting-nuts-is-cute-and-tough/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/03/16/little-acorns-in-review-collecting-nuts-is-cute-and-tough/#comments Fri, 16 Mar 2012 13:26:21 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=67141 Little Acorns is one of the latest platform games from the publishing masterminds at Chillingo, and I’m beginning to think that there are a lot of closet Mega Man fans out there.  Not that the premise or atmosphere is anything like those games, but Little Acorns can get tough!  Thankfully it’s fun as well, though there are … Read more]]>

Little Acorns is one of the latest platform games from the publishing masterminds at Chillingo, and I’m beginning to think that there are a lot of closet Mega Man fans out there.  Not that the premise or atmosphere is anything like those games, but Little Acorns can get tough!  Thankfully it’s fun as well, though there are times when playing a level repeatedly can get frustrating, especially when it’s one small spot on the level that’s giving you grief.  I honestly wasn’t quite sure about this game when I started playing it, but I’d say that Little Acorns is another solid platform game release from one of the leaders in iPhone game publishing.

You play a squirrel trying to gather acorns to store for your family.  Each year is broken down into the four seasons with five levels for each season and the last level of the year is a boss.  There will be plenty of bad guys to stand in your way throughout the levels, most of which can be dispatched by jumping on them.  You can also get rid of some of the foes by twirling into them as you release from swinging on a rope.  If you hit them at the wrong time they will simply stun you for a second, which causes you to move slower.

There are also all kinds of environmental hazards to deal with.  Some platforms will crumble under your feet, while others require you to break through them by swinging or using a special hat.  Water is deadly, and some gaps are so big they require you swing across them.  The biggest obstacle, however, is the fact that every level is timed.  In some levels you can collect clocks to earn a bit of bonus time, but when the timer runs out you have to restart the level.

In order to complete a level you must collect all the acorns on the level.  Once collected five fruit will appear and you get a bonus for collecting all of them and escaping before time runs out.  Certain levels even have you collecting your kids in addition to everything else.  Besides all of that and the clocks you can collect special helmets that will do things like let you jump farther, run faster or become temporarily invincible (which also lets you destroy some bricks).  Hats are only good for a couple of seconds but they will reappear after a while.

There are buttons to run left and right and a button for jumping.  When you’re close to a “swing point” you can press jump again and the squirrel will throw a rope to the swing point.  On the rope you can swing back and forth with the run buttons, and pressing jump will release you from the swing point and additionally execute a spin jump if you’re going fast enough.  The controls work pretty well, though sometimes jumping can get pretty tricky depending on what’s around the platforms where you’re trying to jump.

Little Acorns is cute, which might lead you to a false sense that the game is easy.  The characters are blocky and suspiciously missing any appendages (at least for critters like the squirrel and porcupine).  The backgrounds are alternately detailed and simple where necessary, and as for each level where you get all the bonus fruit you’ll unlock a costume part that your squirrel can wear.  The sound effects are a mixture of cheesy and good, but overall manage to work together quite well.  I especially dig the organ riff when you die.  The music is decent enough and they were kind enough to provide a different tune for each season.

In the end there’s certainly enough to like about Little Acorns.  I don’t know that there’s much of anything new here, but it has certainly kept me entertained up to this point.  The cuddly exterior might make it especially frustrating for the younger set, who could find the game a bit more difficult then what they expect, but more experienced gamers should quite enjoy the challenge.  If you like platform games, you won’t regret adding this one to your collection – just don’t expect it to be the next evolution in the genre or anything.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Little Acorns Developer: Chillingo Ltd
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 3.0
Price: $0.99 App Size:
  • Plenty of challenging levels
  • Cute visuals
  • Decent soundtrack
  • Jumping can be tricky
  • Nothing really new

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