TouchMyApps » Featured 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 Spellfall – Puzzle RPG in Review – You Better Watch Out, Puzzle Quest http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/08/27/spellfall-puzzle-rpg-in-review-you-better-watch-out-puzzle-quest/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/08/27/spellfall-puzzle-rpg-in-review-you-better-watch-out-puzzle-quest/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 20:51:05 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74029 Since the dawn of the match 3 / RPG hybrid Puzzle Quest has always been king of the throne.  In fact, I think it was the game that introduced me to this wonderful mash up of genres.  Now Backflip Studios has released Spellfall – Puzzle RPG, and while I’m hesitant to say that this contender … Read more]]>

review-spellfall-1

Since the dawn of the match 3 / RPG hybrid Puzzle Quest has always been king of the throne.  In fact, I think it was the game that introduced me to this wonderful mash up of genres.  Now Backflip Studios has released Spellfall – Puzzle RPG, and while I’m hesitant to say that this contender has usurped the crown, it’s pretty amazing in its own right.  The battles are fast and furious, the rewards are plenty and the rune system is a really nice bonus.  The combat effects are among the best I’ve seen in this style of game, and the overall polish is quite impressive.  Chalk up another win for Backflip.

review-spellfall-2

There is actually a story going on here, though to be perfectly frank I don’t remember what the whole point of the mission is.  It’s not like a “one and done” intro thing either because there is text at the beginning of each combat filling you in just a bit more on everything that’s going on.  In the end it won’t matter for most people because one of the pluses of Spellfall is that you can play for as little at a time as you want and you never feel like you’re missing anything the next time you load up the game to play again.  The basics are that you’re trying to conquer evil and in order to do so you must explore a series of different locations.  You’ll meet some interesting creatures along the way, and while it seems like they only introduce 2 or 3 new ones per area, given the number of areas that kind of pacing should still result in a nice range of foes to fight.

As you might have gathered, combat takes place in a match 3 scenario.  Instead of the usual breakdown of physical and magical attacks, defense and coins, however, Spellfall is all about the magic (though there are still coins to be matched).  You have four elements to work with, and most monsters will have a particular weakness to one of the elements.  Matching 4 of a kind will create a special tile that can wipe out a row or column, and matching 5 or more in a line will create a bonus attack tile.  If you match one of these tiles then when that turn is done your character will launch a special attack based on that particular element type.  There are also runes that match each element type, and if you have one of those runes and it is active it will get slightly charged each time you match the corresponding element.  When runes are fully charged they can heal, poison, shuffle tiles and more.  I do wish runes would charge as long as you had the equipped, but that’s a minor quibble and could actually make things a bit too easy.

review-spellfall-3

Monsters only get to attack once every so many rounds, but they make up for it by unleashing some deadly attacks.  If you’re victorious you can earn Exp Points which help you level up, Rune Points which enable your runes to level up, Collected Coins (those you match up during play) and Victory Coins for winning the match.  Should you fail you’ll still earn Exp Points and Collected Coins, but obviously winning is preferable.  Money can be used to buy weapons, armor and runes as well as to heal your character between battles and unlock rune slots on weapons or armor.  Thankfully runes don’t become permanent attachments to your other equipment, but sometimes to get the more powerful duds you might have to give up using some runes for a while.  That’s the single biggest point of frustration in this game – it takes a while to earn money unless you want to supplement your coffer via IAP, so you have to be real careful what you spend your loot on.  Add to that the fact that the items store is randomly supplied and items don’t stay in the store very long and you might miss out on something you really wanted.  Of course this is how they drive you to spending your cash, but since it doesn’t really hamper you from playing the game that’s okay with me.

The visuals in Spellfall are great.  The characters are very well designed so that even the creatures you’re used to feel fresh.  The animation is fluid, the creatures’ attacks are varied and interesting, and the bonus attacks your mage makes can certainly impress.  The sound effects are all pretty good, though your character does sound a bit wimpy when he gets hit.  The music has a nice fantasy tone to it, and while it’s nothing earth shattering it’s just nice to have there for the few seconds when you breathe between battles.  Otherwise you probably won’t even notice it.

review-spellfall-4

The match 3 / RPG hybrid continues to thrive, and while the basic tenets of each game is the same developers are still trying hard to add features that make their entry rise above the crowd.  Spellfall does an admirable job with that.  Quick, intense combat along with a constantly rotating inventory keep you on your toes while the deep runes system lets you customize your character to your style of play.  The whole thing is wrapped up in a slick graphical bow and topped with a wonderful incentive to keep you coming back: play for 20 days to get a special prize.  I’m working hard to see what mine is!

kiss-icon

App Summary
Title: Spellfall – Puzzle RPG Developer: Backflip Studios
Reviewed Ver: 1.2.0 Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: Free App Size: 78.9 MB
  • Easy to pick up and play
  • Deep, diverse rune system
  • Excellent visuals
  • Nice sound effects
  • Doesn’t hammer you about IAP
  • Runes have to be active to be charged
  • Often one fight forces you to wait or dump a bunch of money into recovering health

appstoreicon

Read more]]>
http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/08/27/spellfall-puzzle-rpg-in-review-you-better-watch-out-puzzle-quest/feed/ 0
Munin in Review – Puzzling Pleasure with a Twist http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/08/14/munin-in-review-puzzling-pleasure-with-a-twist/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/08/14/munin-in-review-puzzling-pleasure-with-a-twist/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 09:21:48 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74006 There seems to be this intense push for “console quality gaming” on mobile devices, but if I wanted that I’d just buy a console.  What I like about Munin is it takes advantage of the hardware to be the best mobile game it can be without trying to be anything else.  It can get frustrating … Read more]]>

review-munin-1

There seems to be this intense push for “console quality gaming” on mobile devices, but if I wanted that I’d just buy a console.  What I like about Munin is it takes advantage of the hardware to be the best mobile game it can be without trying to be anything else.  It can get frustrating at times, but you’ll always feel like you’ve accomplished something when you’ve completed a level, and you won’t feel like you’ve missed anything should you not get back to the game right away after quitting to enjoy real life for a while.  If you’re a fan of puzzle games, Munin should be at the top of your list to try.

review-munin-2

I’m not really sure how important a story is in puzzle games, but in case you’re interested you play a servant of Odin who was once a magnificent crow.  Thanks to Loki you’ve been transformed into a human, and you must travel the realms to gather up all your feathers and return to your avian state.  If nothing else it gives you a reason for what you’re doing.  Naturally your task won’t be easy as the locations you visit have been well designed to keep you from the plumage you seek.  Fortunately you have the ability to rotate sections of the scene 90 degrees at a time, theoretically making the job of retrieving your feathers a bit easier.

Yes, this is a platform game with a quite literal twist.  It’s been done before in various ways, but this is by far one of the most intriguing.  The intro level set just gets you used to the rotating room mechanic (you can also move your character around and jump via on screen buttons just like a typical platform game).  Once you’ve completed the first leg of your journey you’ll get to pick between three different level sets, which is itself a nice feature.  Each level set introduces a new mechanic: filling areas with water so you can swim to and reach higher areas, rolling boulders to fill gaps and break walls while making sure you don’t crush yourself in the process, and animating various platforms by manipulating souls that are trapped within the walls of the levels.  I look forward to seeing what other novelties await as I unlock the rest of the level sets, as well as potentially seeing already established mechanics combined.

review-munin-3

As mentioned previously, there are arrows for moving your character left, right, up and down, as well as a button to make her jump.  They work well for the most part, but trying to accomplish an angled jump (up / left or up / right at the same time) can be rather difficult.  To rotate a section you simply tap anywhere within that section, as long as your character isn’t standing in that section when you try to rotate it.  Occasionally I end up accidentally rotating a section when I’m trying to hit a movement control, but as long as you pay attention that can be avoided.  The game has no Game Center integration or 3 star rankings or anything like that, so you need to be able to handle simply beating a level as its own reward.

Sadly, the graphics are the weakest part of the game.  They aren’t bad, with plenty of details and some nice particle effects when it comes to the water.  The main character looks pretty stiff where animation is concerned, however, and she is very tiny.  Also, a lot of the background elements tend to lean on the dark side, which sometimes makes it difficult to determine where passages, walls or other important items are.  On the other hand, the audio elements are top notch.  The sound effects and ambient noise are very well done, and the different musical tracks provide a wonderful boost to the overall ambiance of the game.  There are definitely some movie soundtrack quality pieces to be found here.

review-munin-4

Munin is a great concept wrapped up in a stellar execution.  The puzzles are challenging but as long as you preserve you should be able to conquer most of them before pulling any hair out.  The atmosphere of the game is great as well, despite less than wowing visuals.  This game definitely belongs in any puzzle lover’s iPad collection.

grab-icon

App Summary
Title: Munin Developer: Daedalic Entertainment GmbH
Reviewed Ver: 1.2 Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $2.99 App Size: 262 MB
  • Great mechanics
  • Challenging puzzles
  • Sticks to a single screen
  • Wonderful music and sound effects
  • Controls can be slightly finicky
  • Visuals sometimes hamper game play

appstoreicon

Read more]]>
http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/08/14/munin-in-review-puzzling-pleasure-with-a-twist/feed/ 0
Sky Force 2014 in Review – Everything Old Is Awesome Again http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/08/05/sky-force-2014-in-review-everything-old-is-awesome-again/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/08/05/sky-force-2014-in-review-everything-old-is-awesome-again/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 01:44:35 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73981 I’ve loved shmups ever since I started going to arcades, and since I’ve been reviewing mobile games I’ve always tended to compare them to the venerable classic 1942 from Capcom.  Sure that game didn’t have some of the niceties that modern shooters do, but it always provided solid game play and encouraged repeat performances by … Read more]]>

review-sky-force-2014-1

I’ve loved shmups ever since I started going to arcades, and since I’ve been reviewing mobile games I’ve always tended to compare them to the venerable classic 1942 from Capcom.  Sure that game didn’t have some of the niceties that modern shooters do, but it always provided solid game play and encouraged repeat performances by basically requiring you to memorize the enemy formations in order to master the game.  Welcome to 2014 and the tenth anniversary release of Sky Force from infinite dreams.  There was a reboot of 1942 launched in 2010, but as far as I’m concerned this is the true modern successor to that beloved game.  8 intense levels, plenty of upgrades and 3 difficulty levels make this a game you can play over and over again.  Now all they need is the trademark “flip” button and Sky Force 2014 would be about perfect.

review-sky-force-2014-2

I could try to over-complicate things, but if you’re a shmup fan you know the drill: shoot everything and try to survive.  You have 8 levels over which you can hone your skills, and the good thing is that if you can memorize patterns you’ll eventually be able to conquer each level basically blindfolded.  The bad thing is that won’t matter once you advance to the next difficulty setting on a given level, because while the patterns basically stay the same you’ll find the enemies harder to kill and the bullets a lot more frequent.  Each level has three difficulty settings, and each difficulty has four goals: kill 70% of the enemies, kill 100% of the enemies, rescue all the hostages and fly through the entire level without getting hit once.  As you can imagine, you probably won’t be completing all of the goals at the same time for any given combination of level / difficulty setting.

Along the way you’ll collect stars, and you’ll definitely want to make an effort to snag as many of these as possible.  In between missions you’ll be able to upgrade 5 standard components of your ship as well as three specialty items including a laser weapon, shield and everyone’s favorite: the screen clearing bomb.  Most upgrades start off reasonable, but as you get further into the game it will cost a lot of stars to make your ship as powerful as it can be.  The thing is, I don’t mind the challenge at all, because it gives me a reason to keep coming back to play the game.  Of course if for some reason everything I’ve mentioned to you just isn’t quite enough to keep you busy, there are also 25 achievements to earn and a leaderboard on Game Center that I believe is the sum of your highest score on each of the levels you’ve completed, though I wouldn’t quote me on that if I were you.

review-sky-force-2014-3

So here’s the down side to the game, if you can even call it that.  The game is free… no, that’s not it yet.  Because the game is free, you’re limited to 10 lives, and when those lives are gone you have to wait for them to replenish (thankfully you only “use up” a life if you die during a mission, and not just because you play a mission).  It also takes time for upgrades to take effect, unless you want to spend precious extra stars to speed up the process.  Of course you are perfectly welcome to buy stars via IAP if you’d like.  Personally I’ve found this to be one of the less intrusive freemium models I’ve run across, and quite frankly I’m cheap enough that I haven’t been bothered a bit by having to wait for things to replenish.  I run through my 10 ships at night and let hanger refill while I’m sleeping so my troops are fresh the next day.  It’s a flawless system in my book.

Along with all of the intense action, Sky Force 2014 boasts some really slick visuals.  Everything is well designed and extremely detailed, and the animation is top notch.  It’s rather a joy watching your enemy spiral into the sea, smoke and flames following their descent.  I love how some of the taller structures actually feel like they’re coming towards you, though I do have to remind myself sometimes that you can’t actually run into them.  The sound effects are fairly standard for a shmup, but they do a nice job of complementing the action.  There are voiceovers for things like getting health restored and collecting a weapon upgrade during a mission, and a rescued hostage shouting “yea-hah” always makes me crack a smile.  I’m a bit disappointed in the music, mainly because I expected it to be as varied as the different locales in each mission, yet to me it doesn’t seem much different between each level.  I’ve also noticed that if you have one or two games that you didn’t completely shut down, the sound will often not work at all.

review-sky-force-2014-4

There will always be a special place in my heart for 1942, but I suppose at some point you have to move on.  Sky Force 2014 has finally given me the reason to do so.  Great level design, 3 difficulty settings per mission and a host of upgrades to claim make this one of the best shmup experiences I’ve had, mobile or otherwise.  The wait for upgrades to kick in and lives to replenish are minor annoyances, but in the end it actually works out because it forces me to go play something else for a while.  If you’re a fan of the genre I don’t know how you could lose with this selection.

kiss-icon

App Summary
Title: Sky Force 2014 Developer: Infinite Dreams Inc.
Reviewed Ver: 1.20 Min OS Req: 7.0
Price: Free App Size: 137 MB
  • Great level design
  • 3 difficulty settings per mission
  • Tons of upgrades to work towards
  • Plenty of achievements to earn
  • Excellent visuals
  • Have to wait for upgrades to be applied and lives to refresh
  • Not enough variety in music

appstoreicon

Read more]]>
http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/08/05/sky-force-2014-in-review-everything-old-is-awesome-again/feed/ 0
Nun Attack Origins: Yuki’s Silent Quest in Review: Silent, Deadly and Fun http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/07/29/nun-attack-origins-yukis-silent-quest-in-review-silent-deadly-and-fun/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/07/29/nun-attack-origins-yukis-silent-quest-in-review-silent-deadly-and-fun/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 22:07:25 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73958 We were introduced to the nuns in 2012 with the RPG Nun Attack, which I sadly did not get the chance to play.  The following year brought us Nun Attack: Run & Gun, a runner with potential that ultimately fell flat for me.  Now we have Nun Attack Origins: Yuki’s Silent Quest, and unlike some … Read more]]>

review-yukis-quest-1

We were introduced to the nuns in 2012 with the RPG Nun Attack, which I sadly did not get the chance to play.  The following year brought us Nun Attack: Run & Gun, a runner with potential that ultimately fell flat for me.  Now we have Nun Attack Origins: Yuki’s Silent Quest, and unlike some origin stories introduced into established franchises, this one actually works.  Silent Quest takes a puzzle like approach to the nun’s adventures, and it provides a decent amount of challenge with frustrating the player.  It is lacking a bit in variety, but otherwise provides for a solid puzzle game experience.review-yukis-quest-2
In this tale of the nun known as Yuki you must help her rescue the children from her childhood village that have been captured and reconstruct the village after nefarious villains have destroyed it.  Your mission will take you through 60 hand crafted levels full of miscreants and scared kids, as well as 15 bonus levels overflowing with bread!  The bonus levels are like a mini version of Fruit Ninja, except instead of fruit you’ll be slicing through loaves of bread, and rather than solely using your finger you’ll need to guide Yuki to do the slicing.  There are still bombs that will prematurely end the level for you, though.

As for the main levels, each one has three tasks: rescue 3 children, complete the level using a certain number of moves or less and finish the level under a certain amount of time.  The tasks are all attainable (with the exception of level 29 for me), but good luck getting them all in one try.  Thankfully the game lets you earn each goal individually.  The first time you reach a goal on a given level you’ll earn a shuriken and when you have enough you’ll be able to rebuild part of one of the buildings in your village.  To finish the game you have to get through all 60 levels, but to truly complete the game you need to rebuild the village.  It seems like a pretty noble cause to me.

review-yukis-quest-3
To control Yuki you simply draw a line from her to where you want her to go.  A “guiding light” will appear between your finger and Yuki which will turn either green or red for any bad guy it passes over – green means they are good to attack and red indicates they will defeat you.  Control seems pretty solid, though there have been a few times where the location I ended up wasn’t quite what I was pointing to, or at least that’s how it appeared to me.  That potential quirk aside, the biggest problem with the game is the lack of variety.  Sure the levels are all configured differently, but in the 30+ levels I’ve played so far the background theme has been the same, and there are basically two types of bad guys so far, the only difference being one seems to be a bit jumpy and the other doesn’t.  Earning three shurikens on each level and ultimately rebuilding the village are your only rewards as there is no Game Center integration, but that’s actually okay in this game.

The visuals in Yuki’s Silent Quest are pretty nice.  Everything is fairly detailed and well animated, if not just a bit small.  I like how some of the bad guys are jittery and the slow motion action for the final attack on a given board.  Sound effects, on the other hand, are kind of weak.  The bad guys don’t really make any noise, and surprisingly neither do the frightened kids.  Even the sound Yuki makes when getting hit is more like a man than a woman.  There is decent music, but only in the menu section.  Why can’t we have tunes during the game itself?

review-yukis-quest-4
Overall I’m quite pleased with this installment of the Nun Attack franchise.  A cool game mechanic, challenging levels and the feel good desire of rebuilding the village make for a solid package.  I do hope that another level set will be added at some point to enhance the variety, and it would be nice to hear some better audio, but otherwise Yuki’s Silent Quest is certainly an enjoyable one.

grab-icon

App Summary
Title: Nun Attack Origins: Yuki’s Silent Quest Developer: Frima
Reviewed Ver: 1.3.3 Min OS Req: 7.0
Price: $1.99 App Size: 65.6 MB
  • Fun Slash n Dash mechanic
  • Challenging but fair levels
  • Nice visuals
  • Lack of variety
  • Audio not so hot

appstoreicon

Read more]]>
http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/07/29/nun-attack-origins-yukis-silent-quest-in-review-silent-deadly-and-fun/feed/ 1
Blowfish Meets Meteor in Review: A Brick Breaker, And So Much More http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/06/04/blowfish-meets-meteor-in-review-a-brick-breaker-and-so-much-more/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/06/04/blowfish-meets-meteor-in-review-a-brick-breaker-and-so-much-more/#comments Thu, 05 Jun 2014 06:30:43 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73880 The brick breaker genre has never been a particular favorite of mine, but just like with most other styles of game play, if a certain offering is well designed I can definitely be entertained.  Such is the case with Blowfish Meets Meteor, which would have caught my attention with the name alone.  Smart level design, … Read more]]>

review-blowfish-meets-meteor-1

The brick breaker genre has never been a particular favorite of mine, but just like with most other styles of game play, if a certain offering is well designed I can definitely be entertained.  Such is the case with Blowfish Meets Meteor, which would have caught my attention with the name alone.  Smart level design, power ups that serve a purpose rather than just being bombarded at you and a wacky atmosphere make this one of the best brick breakers I’ve played.  The main down side is that some levels can be frustratingly challenging, even to the point where I couldn’t earn a single gem in the three gem rating scheme.

review-blowfish-meets-meteor-2

You play a loving father who must rescue his mermaid daughters after a catastrophic incident resulted in all of them getting captured.  Surely that won’t take long, you think.  Apparently this guy has a lot of kids.  Anyway, the kids have been imprisoned in cells made out of bricks, so you have to use your trusty meteor fragments along with a sizeable clam shell to bust them out from their captivity.  Oh, and did I mention the manatee and oversized piranha?  If I haven’t done a good enough job of making it evident yet, this game is not the norm when it comes to atmosphere for a brick breaker game.  And that’s just one of its charms.

The basic mechanics are that of a brick breaker: move the dad back and forth so that he can keep the meteor fragments bouncing up towards the top of the screen.  And yes, there are some bricks up there to break.  Sometimes, though, there might be just as many sticks of dynamite as there are bricks.  In other cases you might find giant piranha or schools of smaller fish providing obstacles to your ultimate goal, which is clearing a path so that each of the trapped mermaids can get free and swim to the dome at the bottom of the screen.  You also have to protect the dome from any falling objects because one hit is grace, but two hits means you start the level over.  On some levels you might get a power up such as a sticky paddle or a temporary shield, but this is more the exception than the rule and is determined by what you must accomplish in the level.  What really makes this game shine is that levels were extremely well thought out, and it never once feels like a traditional brick breaker in terms of boring rows of bricks.

review-blowfish-meets-meteor-3

The world appears to be divided into at least 5 areas, and so far each has been comprised of 9 subordinate levels and one boss level.  In most cases you just have to rescue the daughters (and occasionally beat a boss) in order to progress to the next level.  To earn gems, however, you are judged on several criteria like damage sustained and number of bricks broken.  This will get you the red and / or green gems, but you must complete a specific task to earn the blue gem.  Out of the 18 levels I’ve completed so far I’ve only managed to acquire all three gems on three of them, and in a couple of cases I didn’t even get one gem right off the bat.  This is my main gripe – I personally feel the goals are often too difficult to achieve, especially early on in the game.  Blowfish Meets Meteor is integrated with Game Center where you can find 60 different leaderboards, so those that like to climb ranks should be extremely happy.  There are also 11 achievements, many of which suffer the same difficulty curve as the gem based goals.

The graphics are great, with well designed and animated characters atop nicely detailed backgrounds.  A couple of the levels have a cool sunset silhouette type look as well.  I could easily picture this being a Cartoon Network offering from a visual perspective.  The sound effects are pretty decent, though the grating cry of the mermaids when the dome is shattered or they get eaten by a piranha almost makes you not feel sorry for them.  The music is quite nice and does a good job of setting a peaceful mood despite the “dire” circumstances.

review-blowfish-meets-meteor-4

While I’m no more of a brick breaker junkie than I was before playing Blowfish Meets Meteor, I definitely like this game.  The level design is far superior to most of its peers, and I love the fact that the main goal is to rescue the mermaids, not to remove every brick from the screen.  The visuals are colorful, the music is good and the overall atmosphere is fun.  Some of the goals are discouragingly tough, but fans of the genre and those that normally shy away should both find something to like here.

grab-icon

App Summary
Title: Blowfish Meets Meteor Developer: Sky Tyrannosaur, LLC
Reviewed Ver: 1.06 Min OS Req: 6.0
Price: $2.99 App Size: 93.1 MB
  • Unique level design
  • Not just about brick breaking
  • Cartoon like atmosphere
  • Goals can be frustrating
  • Mermaid cries are annoying

appstoreicon

Read more]]>
http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/06/04/blowfish-meets-meteor-in-review-a-brick-breaker-and-so-much-more/feed/ 0
Disco Zoo in Review – Zoo Management To A Funky Beat http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/04/04/disco-zoo-in-review-zoo-management-to-a-funky-beat/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/04/04/disco-zoo-in-review-zoo-management-to-a-funky-beat/#comments Fri, 04 Apr 2014 19:38:50 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73721 There have been a decent number of zoo simulation games on the App Store, but they usually feel like a city builder with animals.  Disco Zoo offers a completely different experience as your focus is on acquiring the animals and you don’t have to worry about building extraneous structures or training critters to do anything.  … Read more]]>

review-disco-zoo-1

There have been a decent number of zoo simulation games on the App Store, but they usually feel like a city builder with animals.  Disco Zoo offers a completely different experience as your focus is on acquiring the animals and you don’t have to worry about building extraneous structures or training critters to do anything.  It’s a freemium game, and I could see how one could easily get caught up in it and sink a bunch of money into buying coins or disco bux, but so far I’ve managed to put quite a bit of time into it without emptying my wallet.  This well balanced game play is actually making me want to give them some of my cash.

review-disco-zoo-2

You are the curator of a zoo and it’s your job to build up from the ground up by bringing animals to it.  There are seven different areas to collect animals from including a Jurassic zone, but only the Farm is available at the beginning.  The other areas can be unlocked by spending disco bux or acquiring a certain number of animals and spending coins.  Coins also allow you to go on rescues and are earned simply by owning animals and from generous zoo patrons.  You have to be sure your animals stay awake, though, because sleeping creatures don’t earn any money.  Disco Bux are sometimes awarded for doing things around the zoo, but if you want to earn these in any great number you’ll have to spend some real money.

Collecting animals takes place on a 5 x 5 grid and is sort of like playing Battleship.  You get 10 attempts which consist of picking a tile to see what’s underneath it.  If you uncover all the tiles for a particular animal you get to keep that animal.  As it happens each animal has the same pattern every time, so as you start getting used to them it makes it easier to uncover the animals based on logic rather than guessing – assuming you find a starting point, of course.  Some tiles will contain nothing, but in addition to the animals you might find coins or on rare occasions Disco Bux.  If you use all your attempts and still have animals left to find you can expend Disco Bux to continue the search, but I wouldn’t advise that unless you have mythical or rare animals to search for.

review-disco-zoo-3

In the zoo itself you can collect coins that visitors toss out and you can also search for escaped animals in other pens.  If too many animals fall asleep at the same time you can start a disco party to wake everyone up and get the whole place hopping instead of just the rabbits.  The main reward system is watching the critics give each of your sections a higher rating as you accumulate more animals.  There are only two leaderboards in Game Center, neither of which are all that exciting, and no achievements to earn.  However, that by no means detracts from the addictive quality of the game, which I have to confess I’m having trouble pinpointing.  All I know is that right now I’m hooked.

The graphics are cute, with a highly pixilated look that still manages to convey some cool details.  On the zoo screens you get to watch the animals walk around their habitats and see the patrons make a variety of different comments.  The sound effects are kind of Sims-ish but serve their purpose, while the music is well done and diverse – so far each group of animals has had its own theme during the rescue operations.

review-disco-zoo-4

Sometimes a genre or sub-genre just needs a developer to think outside the box to make it interesting, and for zoo simulators that was Nimble Bit.  From actually collecting the animals to simply watching them play around in the zoo, this game is a lot more appealing than its peers.  I even broke down and bought 10 Disco Bux via IAP, even though I know I’ll go through them a lot more quickly than I’d like.  It’s definitely worth it for the entertainment I’ve received from Disco Zoo so far.

kiss-icon

App Summary
Title: Disco Zoo Developer: NimbleBit LLC
Reviewed Ver: 1.1.1 Min OS Req: 6.0
Price: Free App Size: 57.3 MB
  • Unique method for capturing animals
  • Don’t feel pressured to buy IAP
  • Cool pixel visuals
  • Good music
  • Disco Bux are scarce
  • Strangely addictive

appstoreicon

Read more]]>
http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/04/04/disco-zoo-in-review-zoo-management-to-a-funky-beat/feed/ 1
Galaxy Run in Review: Out Of This World Fun http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/03/10/galaxy-run-in-review-out-of-this-world-fun/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/03/10/galaxy-run-in-review-out-of-this-world-fun/#comments Mon, 10 Mar 2014 16:02:32 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73596 Galaxy Run is a one screen, one button platform game from Spiel Studio, the folks that brought us the cool “launch an object” game Propel Man.  Generally I get into this style of game play pretty easily, and I like the progression of game mechanics Galaxy Run employs as well as the space motif.  The … Read more]]>

review-galaxy-run-1

Galaxy Run is a one screen, one button platform game from Spiel Studio, the folks that brought us the cool “launch an object” game Propel Man.  Generally I get into this style of game play pretty easily, and I like the progression of game mechanics Galaxy Run employs as well as the space motif.  The main problem I have with the game is that there seems to be a strong lack of difficulty, at least in the initial sets of levels that come with the game.  Thankfully the bonus worlds start to fix that problem, but I think the initial six worlds could use a bit of balancing.

review-galaxy-run-2

Your job is to help Rez get home after he crash lands on an alien planet.  All you have to do on each level is make sure he gets from point A to point B without falling into a pit, impaling himself on spikes or electrocuting himself.  Of course your basic method for doing this is simply tapping the screen to jump.  Thankfully each new level set brings a new mechanic to the table like double jumping, moving fast and even swinging on ropes.  Some actions like double jumping require you to pick up the power up first, while others happen automatically like stepping on an accelerator that causes you to run.  Some of the mechanics work a bit differently than you might be used to from other games, like swinging which is activated automatically when you’re close enough to a swing point and stops as soon as you tap the screen.

The initial game is divided into 6 sets of 20 levels apiece.  You have to complete the first 15 levels to move on to the next set, and then you can work on the last five, known as the “extreme” levels, at your own pace.  Once you complete the initial 6 level sets you unlock the bonus levels, which currently provide another 12 sets of levels for your platforming pleasure.  As long as you complete a level you can move on to the next, and once you complete the basic levels of one set the next set is unlocked, but earning stars on a given level is based on the amount of time it takes to complete a level.  Sadly, aside from having to replay on occasional level a few times in order to score three stars, you generally won’t run into any issues until you start getting into the bonus levels.  I think I completed the initial 6 worlds (minus the extreme levels) in less than an hour.

review-galaxy-run-3

As mentioned before, all you need to do is tap.  The trick is making sure you tap at just the right moment to do whatever actions you need in order to complete a level.  The game seems pretty responsive, though as I mentioned with the rope jumping some mechanics take a bit of getting used to because they work differently than you’d expect.  The game offers 65 achievements to earn and a leaderboard for each level set as well as various totals leaderboards, so there is plenty to work towards in Galaxy Run.  The game also supports Facebook and Twitter, which I presume is for communicating high scores and achievements with your followers.

I like the visuals in Galaxy Run, though things do tend to be a bit small because the levels have to fit on one screen.  Still, there’s a decent amount of detail and some nice animation, which can especially be appreciated when poor Rez gets fried by a laser.  The sound effects aren’t great, but thankfully they don’t get too annoying.  The music has its moments although it’s hard to appreciate when you go through most of the levels as fast as you will.

review-galaxy-run-4a

As far as this style of platform gaming goes, Galaxy Run is a pretty decent little game.  Folks that aren’t so good with this type of game or prefer their platformers a bit easier will feel right at home.  If you like a bit more of a challenge and are willing to tough it out through the first few level sets the difficulty later on will be more to your liking.  With 360 levels and tons of achievements there’s certainly plenty to do, and a recent update is supposedly adding 3 new levels a day to each of the three worlds.  Add to that a level editor that the developers are working on releasing and Galaxy Run is definitely a worthwhile investment.

grab-icon

App Summary
Title: Galaxy Run Developer: Spiel Studios
Reviewed Ver: 1.65 Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $0.99 App Size: 48.6 MB
  • Easy to learn
  • Lots of levels
  • New elements introduced in every level set
  • Nice visuals
  • Levels are rarely challenging

appstoreicon

Read more]]>
http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/03/10/galaxy-run-in-review-out-of-this-world-fun/feed/ 0
Shadow Blade in Review – Old School Action With Modern Looks http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/02/06/shadow-blade-in-review-old-school-action-with-modern-looks/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/02/06/shadow-blade-in-review-old-school-action-with-modern-looks/#comments Fri, 07 Feb 2014 05:50:44 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73539 Amongst all of my past console excursions, the one that I remember with the most fondness was my time spent playing my Nintendo Entertainment System.  A franchise that kept me entertained if not a bit frustrated was Ninja Gaiden, the tale of a ninja named Ryu that kicked butt and liked to do back flips.  … Read more]]>

review-shadow-blade-1

Amongst all of my past console excursions, the one that I remember with the most fondness was my time spent playing my Nintendo Entertainment System.  A franchise that kept me entertained if not a bit frustrated was Ninja Gaiden, the tale of a ninja named Ryu that kicked butt and liked to do back flips.  At first glance one might feel that Shadow Blade is a modern interpretation of this classic series, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  After spending some time with the game I’m not so sure if it’s meant to be an homage to or simply inspired by the old favorites, but either way the game is quite entertaining.  It also manages to pretty much conquer the issues most action games have with controls on a touch screen device.

review-shadow-blade-2

There are no cutsecnes in the game or story panels hidden away in some obscure help menu, so you really don’t know why you’re doing what you do.  What you do figure out early on, however, is that you’re a cool ninja with some decent skillz that likes to collect shiny lights and glowing green Japanese symbols.  To complete a level you just need to find the exit, but to master a level you must collect three shurkiens: one for finishing the level below a certain time, another for collecting all the shiny lights and a third for uncovering the two glowing green symbols somewhere within the level.  These goals must be completed simultaneously in order to get all three shurkiens, so don’t think you’ll leisurely stroll through collecting goods in one round and then just fly through the level to earn that third elusive timing star.

Along the way you’ll face all the usual platforming pratfalls like deadly spikes, platforms that spin, platforms with deadly spikes that spin and more.  There are also plenty of enemies to take out before they get the drop on you.  Thankfully you’ve apparently been trained well because you can double jump, flip between walls to climb high, and smash through ice walls by attacking while in mid air.  You can also kill your opponents in several different ways, the most efficient of which is executed when you sneak up behind them.  Keep in mind that while it make take you multiple hits to down a foe, they will take you out in one, as will the unfortunate circumstance of running into anything that you shouldn’t.  At least there are checkpoints along the way so you don’t have to start over, but these can really mess you up if you’re trying for that timer star since the timer doesn’t reset to where it was when you first activated the checkpoint.

review-shadow-blade-3

There are two ways to control your ninja: gesture based and with a virtual joystick.  I gave the gesture controls a try for a few seconds, and they might not be bad once you get used to them, but the virtual joystick works so well that I’ve not looked back again.  There are arrows for moving left and right as well as buttons for jumping and attacking, and aside from the occasional misstep that I think is inherent to touch controls I’ve not had a single issue doing what I’ve needed to unless I just haven’t had the skill to do it.  The game is made up of three chapters with 10 levels each and a hardcore mode with 9 levels.  Unfortunately, without and leaderboards or Game Center achievements there’s little cause to replay anything once you’ve earned the maximum number of stars available on a given level.

The game looks great.  The backgrounds have a gritty feel to them and are nicely detailed.  The characters are well designed and the animation is well done.  The game doesn’t get overly bloody or anything, but it might be a bit gruesome for the younger set.  The sound effects are decent and while there’s not a lot of ambient noise there are a couple of nice touches like the sound of the train in the background of certain scenes.  The music isn’t bad, but from what I can tell there’s only one track that plays throughout all the levels.  Either that or it all sounds the same to me.

review-shadow-blade-4

Shadow Blade is a prime example of platforming done right on a touch screen device.  The bite size levels make it more than tolerable if you have to play one several times before getting it right, and the spot on controls make sure you don’t have to worry about that too often.  The game looks good and sounds decent, and the levels are actually designed pretty well.  The down side is that there isn’t much replay value, and a skilled player will probably make it through most levels rather quickly.  Some achievements and a leaderboard would certainly help sweeten the pot, and hopefully decent sales will inspire the developer to add a couple more level sets.  Despite its shortcomings Shadow Blade is a lot of fun to play.

kiss-icon

App Summary
Title: Shadow Blade Developer: Crescent Moon Games
Reviewed Ver: 1.1.1 Min OS Req: 4.0
Price: $1.99 App Size: 155 MB
  • Fun game play
  • Well designed levels
  • Tight controls
  • Excellent visuals and good sound
  • Low replay value
  • No achievements or leaderboards
  • Only one musical track

appstoreicon

Read more]]>
http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/02/06/shadow-blade-in-review-old-school-action-with-modern-looks/feed/ 0
Oceanhorn in Review – If We Can’t Have Zelda, I’ll Take This http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/31/oceanhorn-in-review-if-we-cant-have-zelda-ill-take-this/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/31/oceanhorn-in-review-if-we-cant-have-zelda-ill-take-this/#comments Tue, 31 Dec 2013 19:44:39 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73485 Games like Diablo certainly popularized the concept, but in my opinion one of the earliest examples of a good action / RPG was The Legend Of Zelda.  There have been many installments in the franchise, but more importantly there have been a ton of wannabes made in an attempt to provide the same type of … Read more]]>

review-oceanhorn-1

Games like Diablo certainly popularized the concept, but in my opinion one of the earliest examples of a good action / RPG was The Legend Of Zelda.  There have been many installments in the franchise, but more importantly there have been a ton of wannabes made in an attempt to provide the same type of game to non-Nintendo platforms.  Some of them have succeeded to a limited degree, but Oceanhorn is one of the few to do so in both mechanics and spirit, and probably the only one for the iOS platform so far.  Apparently you don’t need a tri-force for this type of game to be fun.

review-oceanhorn-2

In this game you wake up a boy and set off to become a legend as you track down the mysterious creature Oceanhorn that is somehow tied to both you and your father.  To start your journey you must recover a mysterious necklace, and during that brief quest you’ll also find your first weapon.  Much like Zelda, you tend to find the useful stuff underground in the caves and tunnels you’ll explore.  Why do they always hide everything underground?  Anyway, you also have your trusty shield and fairly early on you’ll acquire the ability to collect and use bombs, so I’m expecting to find a bow and arrow or at least a boomerang at some point.  You soon get directed to visit a new island, and as you find documentation or talk to people that reveal the history of the land new locations will be unlocked for your explorative pleasure.

Naturally this won’t be a straightforward expedition, so you’ll spend some time traveling back and forth between islands to accomplish all of your goals.  In a nod to Wind Waker you actually pilot your boat during these treks, and once you get the bombs you actually have to shoot at things as well.  On the islands you’ll battle a variety of creatures, solve basic environmental puzzles that so far tend to revolve around moving blocks around and flipping switches, and some occupants on the islands will give you quests to complete.

review-oceanhorn-3

Along the way you might find items that you can equip or that relate to quests, and in a nice twist when you find non-essential items you’ll automatically sell them for gold.  No seeking out shops to clear your inventory in this game!  Each island also comes with three overriding missions to complete, though some or so broad you can actually finish them on any island.  Completing missions and killing monsters earns you XP, and once you’ve gathered enough you’ll go up a level which enhance or unlock some new trait for you.  There seems to be plenty to do, and the multiple levels make for some expansive islands, but even with the mini-map it can be easy to get lost and turned around at times, especially when you’re trying to get to that treasure chest that you can see on the map but just can’t quite find on the actual game screen.

To move your character along you use an invisible virtual joystick on the lower left side which works reasonably well most of the time.  Its impreciseness can be felt at times when you are trying to cross narrow bridges and such, however.  Most actions are performed with the versatile action button in the lower right corner of the screen, and special items are activated via the graphical item button above the action button.  Don’t confuse this with the button that actually says “item” which brings up the menu of special items you can pick from.  You can throw certain items by picking them up and holding them with the action button, aiming by dragging the virtual control stick, then releasing the action button to toss.  This does take some getting used to, especially since there is no nifty guide ala Angry Birds to show you where you’re actually tossing the item.  There is also a menu accessible by touching the mini-map that shows things like your current missions, items you’ve collected and a log of everything you’ve read and everyone you’ve talked to.

review-oceanhorn-4

Graphically I’d say the game comes in at about the level of the Zelda series when it was on the Nintendo 64.  The backgrounds are pretty stunning at times, and there’s plenty of detail strewn throughout the levels.  Some of the monster designs are rather interesting, and there’s an obvious influence from Zelda in cases like the monster that rises from the ground and spits rocks at you (sort of a combination of two classic Zelda critters).  The sound effects are pretty good and they did a good job finding people to voice the characters, though there are times that the voices don’t necessarily match what you’d expect by looking at an individual.  The music takes me back to the days of Castlevania IV on the SNES.  That was some of the best music of the 16 bit era, and the style still holds up incredibly well as evidenced by the soundtrack in Oceanhorn.

This game does offer a few frustrations, especially when it comes to the preciseness of the controls.  However, all the good in the game far outweighs any minor inconveniences these things might provide.  I’ve always been a big fan of the Zelda series, and since Nintendo doesn’t share the closest we were ever going to get on another platform was an incredible clone.  There’s no question in my mind that Oceanhorn is that clone.  If Zelda doesn’t mean anything to you then you’re still in luck because Oceanhorn is a pretty remarkable action / adventure RPG in its own right.

kiss-icon

App Summary
Title: Oceanhorn ™ Developer: FDG Entertainment
Reviewed Ver: 1.3 Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: $8.99 App Size: 170 MB
  • Closest thing to Zelda on iOS
  • Lots of world to explore
  • Challenging and rewarding game play
  • Excellent visuals
  • Great soundtrack
  • Virtual joystick not as precise as it could be
  • Often hard to judge where you’re throwing something
  • Easy to get lost on some levels

appstoreicon

Read more]]>
http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/31/oceanhorn-in-review-if-we-cant-have-zelda-ill-take-this/feed/ 0
NinJump Rooftops in Review – This Time It’s Horizontal http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/10/31/ninjump-rooftops-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/10/31/ninjump-rooftops-in-review/#comments Thu, 31 Oct 2013 20:56:50 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73317 Backflip Studios has had a number of interesting properties over the years, but for me the most endearing title in their collection has to be NinJump.  The game took the infinite runner and turned it on its side as well as introducing the concept of defeating 3 similar enemies in order to temporarily gain a … Read more]]>

Backflip Studios has had a number of interesting properties over the years, but for me the most endearing title in their collection has to be NinJump.  The game took the infinite runner and turned it on its side as well as introducing the concept of defeating 3 similar enemies in order to temporarily gain a power related to that enemy.  The ninja’s back, though this time he’s headed to the rooftops in what feels just slightly like a more traditional infinite runner.  That doesn’t make it any less addictive, though, and I fear it might suffer the same fate as the original: removal from my device so I can actually find the time for something else.

review-ninjump-rooftops-2

If by some chance you’re not familiar with the infinite runner concept, the basic premise is that your character is always running and you have to perform one or more actions to help keep him safe from all the pitfalls in his way.  In the case of NinJump Rooftops all you can do is tap to jump.  If you tap longer you’ll jump higher, and when you have the right power up you’ll get three jumps instead of two.  There are other power ups as well, like a magnet to attract coins to you and sushi that temporarily turns you into Super Ninja who is much bigger and invincible.  Power ups take effect immediately, and you can have one of each if you can grab them all while the others are still active.

review-ninjump-rooftops-1

You always have three different missions to work on and each mission will earn you some coins when completed.  Coins are also littered throughout the level for you to pick up at your whim.  In addition to coins you can collect jades and nindrops, though those items show up much less frequently.  Coins can be used to upgrade power ups and buy boosts at the beginning of each run, while jades will get you a couple of different costumes and allow you to continue where you left off when you die.  Nindrops give you the chance to play the NinJump version of pachinko after your run where you can win bonus prizes like coins, boosts and jades.  At this point there are is no social integration for achievements or leaderboards.

review-ninjump-rooftops-3

The best part of the game is the bonus dash.  If you strike down three of a particular opponent in a row you’ll become temporarily invincible and get carted off by a large version of whatever it is that you attacked.  Unfortunately some villains are much rarer than others, so I’ve only seen three of the dashes so far.  The challenging part is getting more than one dash in the same run because it’s real easy to accidentally strike an opponent that you didn’t mean to simply because you’re in the middle of a jump.  This also makes it quite a trick to hang on to two of a particular type of opponent until you can find the third to make a bonus dash.  I think there should be some sort of prize for the player that manages to see every single dash available.

The visuals are similar to the original which means the game looks really sweet.  The background is multilayered with plenty of details throughout each level.  The characters are well designed and smoothly animated.  The sound effects do a good job of bringing the action to life and I particularly like the different noises that the ninja makes.  The music has a nice oriental ring to it, at least matching our Hollywood perception of what such music should sound like.

review-ninjump-rooftops-4

I’ll be the first to admit that I have a certain predisposition towards infinite runners as it is.  However, I still get different levels of enjoyment from the genre depending on the quality, and this is one of the most entertaining ones I’ve played in quite some time.  I love what Temple Run did by providing a different viewpoint for such games, but there’s still something to be said for the side scrolling 2D perspective, and NinJump Rooftops captures that essence perfectly.  The control is super responsive, even without achievements there is plenty to work towards, and trying to get each of the bonus dashes is a particularly intriguing challenge.  Even though the switch from vertical to horizontal sort of took away what made NinJump stand out from the crowd, Rooftops proves that orientation alone does not make the game.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: NinJump Rooftops Developer: Backflip Studios
Reviewed Ver: 1.1.0 Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: Free App Size: 48.5 MB
  • Same addictive qualities as original
  • Ultra responsive control
  • Super dashes are awesome
  • Great visuals
  • Good music
  • Sucks up lots of time

appstoreicon

Read more]]>
http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/10/31/ninjump-rooftops-in-review/feed/ 1
Cavemania in Review: Stone Age Match 3 Mayhem http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/10/11/cavemania-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/10/11/cavemania-in-review/#comments Sat, 12 Oct 2013 01:21:19 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73257 Not too long ago a game called Scurvy Scallywags came out that created a new breed of match 3 hybrids.  It was a welcome evolution from everything we’d seen so far, and I was hoping that more games would take the concept and run.  Well, not only did Cavemania run with it, the game created its … Read more]]>

Not too long ago a game called Scurvy Scallywags came out that created a new breed of match 3 hybrids.  It was a welcome evolution from everything we’d seen so far, and I was hoping that more games would take the concept and run.  Well, not only did Cavemania run with it, the game created its own finish line.  Now I’m not trying to say I love Scurvy Scallywags any less, and there are actually a couple of features in that game I like better, but Cavemania has me hooked.  I’m really not quite sure what to classify this as yet, but if you had to give it a label I suppose “strategy / RPG / match 3” hybrid would work as well as anything.

review-cavemania-2

So your job is to help a poor chieftain reunite his tribe that has been mercilessly scattered asunder.  Of course one would suppose that had the chieftain been doing his job in the first place this wouldn’t have happened, but I digress.  You’ll travel the land locating comrades, building structures and fending off predators.  Along the way you’ll have to gather resources, which is where the match 3 part of the game comes in.  The more items you match in one go the more resources you get (for example if you match 4 items you get 8 of that resource instead of just three).  You can also earn up to three power crystals by making matches of 4 or more, and you earn a prize box for every match of 5 or more that you make.  When you’re not busy making matches you’ll want to be sure that characters are next to any bad guys that are on the field, as they will automatically attack after every round.  Characters can only move one tile a turn but at least they can move independently of making a match.

review-cavemania-1

Each level has a set of tasks to accomplish in order for you to be successful, and those goals are displayed on the right side of the screen.  You only have so many slots to fill with character types that you can use, so you’ll want to pick the best ones for the tasks that you need to get done.  You also have a limited number of moves to work with, so make sure you keep an eye on the counter in the upper left corner.  You can play as many levels as you want as long as you beat them, but every time you lose a level you lose a heart, and when all the hearts are gone you either have to buy more via IAP or wait for them to regenerate.  Upon successful completion of a level you earn between 1 and 3 stars as well as coins for those stars.  If you go back and try to do better on a level you previously completed you will only get coins for extra stars you earn.  You can also collect money by matching certain items on the board.

review-cavemania-3

The money can be used to upgrade your characters’ offensive and defensive skills, as well as reduce the cost of building structures.  You can even buy boosts that will give you extra resources when you make matches.  Don’t expect the cash to be too easy to come by, however.  The three star ranking for each level also provides your “score” to place you on the Game Center leaderboards, and there are 27 different achievements to earn.  You can also connect with Facebook, though I’m not sure how that plays in other than giving them cause to display the message “beat this level before your friends do”.  Of course you can post your victories to Twitter and Facebook if you want.

The game looks great, with colorful characters and cute critters.  Everything is nicely detailed and your troops’ victory dances can be quite amusing.  The sound effects have somewhat of a Flintstones vibe to them, which I suppose is fitting giving the Stone Age nature of the setting.  The music is decent as well, with at least two or three different tracks playing throughout the various levels.

review-cavemania-4

When it comes to match 3 mash-ups, it doesn’t get much better than Cavemania.  A fun atmosphere, challenging levels and mechanics that go beyond other games of this sort make playing quite a treat.  As you get deeper into the game the levels do get rather challenging, but patience and often taking several tries usually pays off in the end.  And of course nothing says “quick boost” like IAP if you’re so inclined.  Despite the deluge of match 3 games that arrive on a weekly basis, this is one I can definitely recommend.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: Cavemania Developer: Yodo1 Games
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.9 Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: Free App Size: 79.4 MB
  • Great mash-up of genres
  • Ability to upgrade characters and structures
  • Fun, kooky characters
  • Atmospheric sound and music
  • Great victory dances
  • Have to wait for lives to regenerate if you lose too often
  • Earning coins for decent upgrades is a slow process
  • Might be tempted to pull hair out on some levels

appstoreicon

Read more]]>
http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/10/11/cavemania-in-review/feed/ 1
Mikey Hooks in Review: He’s A Real Swinger http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/08/30/mikey-hooks-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/08/30/mikey-hooks-in-review/#comments Fri, 30 Aug 2013 14:55:34 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73066 Mikey’s been a busy boy.  He’s still looking for shorts and fighting bad guys, and now he’s added grapple hooking to his repertoire.  This sequel to the game Mikey Shorts feels very similar to the first installment, but sometimes that’s okay, as is the case here.  The levels are quick, the challenge builds up nicely over … Read more]]>

Mikey’s been a busy boy.  He’s still looking for shorts and fighting bad guys, and now he’s added grapple hooking to his repertoire.  This sequel to the game Mikey Shorts feels very similar to the first installment, but sometimes that’s okay, as is the case here.  The levels are quick, the challenge builds up nicely over time, and you can decide whether you want to make it about the stars, the cash or simply getting to the finish line.  Plus there are a whole lot of costumes to collect for those of you that like collecting things.

review-mikey-hooks-2

The aliens are back, the humans are once again captured, and apparently Mikey is the only one savvy enough to break them free and thwart the attack on Earth.  In typical platform fashion you’ll run, jump and slide to get through and around all the obstacles thrown before you.  The aliens are protected on one or more sides by spikes, and while killing them is mainly reserved for the ones that you can actually slide into, you’re safe around any of them as long as you don’t touch the pointy protrusions.  In addition to the aliens you’ll have to deal with platforms that move and disappear, electricity and throwing stars that just happen to be floating up and down, as well as whatever else the game throws at you.  On the plus side there are plenty of coins to collect and hearts to replenish your health should you get dinged but something you shouldn’t have touched.

review-mikey-hooks-1

The controls consist of arrows to move left and right as well as a button to slide and button that lets you jump when you tap once and use your grappling hook when you tap twice.  You can actually position the controls wherever you want on the screen, though they can still be a bit cumbersome on the iPad which is mainly the fault of the iPad’s form factor.  The controls are actually rather responsive, and the grappling hook feature is one of the best implementations of this mechanic I’ve seen on an iDevice so far.  I just wish the reset button weren’t at the top of the screen when everything else I normally do during the course of the game is at the bottom.

review-mikey-hooks-3

You can earn up to three stars on each of the non-story levels depending on how quickly you fly through the maze.  You also get to see how many coins you collected out of the maximum for the level, though I’m not sure if you get anything special for collecting all the coins in a given level.  Thankfully you do get to keep any coins you grab in a level before you die because there are more than 200 items in the shop to buy.  If you’re a collector you’ll have plenty to work towards.  There are also 32 achievements to earn and 25 leaderboards to rank on.  Depending on your skill level you might easily coast through some of the levels, but if you take advantage of all the bonuses you can get a lot of play time out of this game.

This game has some great pixel art.  Some of the background area tends to be a bit plain, but there is still a decent amount of detail to be seen throughout the levels.  The characters are cool, Mikey and his costumes are cute, and it’s even fun to see the costumes fall off of Mikey should he lose all of his hearts.  The sound effects are pretty standard for this type of game, but the music does a good job of rockin’ out in the background.  Each world seems to have its own theme which is always nice.

review-mikey-hooks-4

Mikey Hooks is a nice progression for the series with the addition of the grappling hook which makes for some interesting level design.  However, I hope they push things even further if they decide to make a third installment.  Mikey Hooks has been great fun, and I might even convince myself to try and collect a sizeable portion of the disguises, but I don’t want to see this franchise end up like League Of Evil where each iteration doesn’t feel enough different from the next.  If you like platform games, though, and especially if you are fond of retro inspired fare, you won’t want to pass this one up.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Mikey Hooks Developer: BeaverTap Games, LLC
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $1.99 App Size:
  • More fun Mikey action
  • Grappling hook is nice addition
  • Lots to collect to keep you coming back
  • Nice retro visuals
  • Good soundtrack
  • Controls a bit uncomfortable on iPad
  • Need more diversity in game play

appstoreicon

Read more]]>
http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/08/30/mikey-hooks-in-review/feed/ 1