TouchMyApps » Review http://www.touchmyapps.com All Things iPhone and iPad for those who like to Touch. iOS App reviews, News, New Apps, Price Drops and App Gone Free Mon, 14 Apr 2014 11:45:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.3 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]]>

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Toast Time in Review – When Breakfast Fights Back http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/03/21/toast-time-in-review-when-breakfast-fights-back/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/03/21/toast-time-in-review-when-breakfast-fights-back/#comments Fri, 21 Mar 2014 21:14:56 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73653 The idea is simple: protect the clock from a swarm of aliens for a designated number of seconds.  The thing is you’re just a toaster, so you do what toasters do best.  Each tap of the screen has you ejecting a nicely cooked piece of bread with the intention of either flinging yourself to a … Read more]]>

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The idea is simple: protect the clock from a swarm of aliens for a designated number of seconds.  The thing is you’re just a toaster, so you do what toasters do best.  Each tap of the screen has you ejecting a nicely cooked piece of bread with the intention of either flinging yourself to a more accessible spot or taking out a slimy critter before it gets too close to the clock.  You start with your basic slice of white bread, but you can change your weapon by shooting creates that appear from time to time on the screen.  Crates also help you unlock new weapons and outfits, so be sure to get as many as you can per level.

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There are 5 different worlds, each with nine levels to conquer.  You can just save the clock to beat a level, but in order to earn three stars you have to work at getting a nice high score.  In addition to the campaign mode there is an ironman survival mode where you have to play through all the levels in succession until you fail to save the clock.  This mode can only be beaten when you play through all 45 levels in a row without losing.  There are seven leaderboards to compete on: one for each world, one for all worlds combined and one for beating the ironman mode.  There are also 9 achievements to earn, and while this doesn’t sound like much some of them should prove to be quite a challenge.

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The graphics have an original Gameboy feel about them, though there is some color strewn throughout the levels.  The game does a decent job of making blocky look good.  The sound effects aren’t bad, but I do really like the music.  At first I thought there was a theme per level set, and there are definitely multiple themes, but I’m not sure if the music is chosen at random or there are just multiple themes per level set.  Either way the music is probably the best part of the aesthetics.

While I can’t say that I ever recall playing a game quite like this “back in the day”, Toast Time does an excellent job of capturing the feel of retro video games.  There are a decent number of levels to complete, plenty of weapons and outfits to unlock, and if you really get bored there’s the ironman survival mode to tackle.  All in all this is the perfect offering for those that enjoy the “simple to pick up, challenging to master” type of game.

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App Summary
Title: Toast Time Developer: Force Of Habit
Reviewed Ver: 1.01 Min OS Req: 5.1
Price: $2.99 App Size: 20.3 MB
  • Simple, challenging game play
  • Plenty to unlock
  • Nice retro visuals
  • Great music
  • Outfits don’t affect game play

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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]]>

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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]]>

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Crazy Chicken: Pirates in Review – More Tame Than Crazy http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/01/29/crazy-chicken-pirates-in-review-more-tame-than-crazy/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/01/29/crazy-chicken-pirates-in-review-more-tame-than-crazy/#comments Thu, 30 Jan 2014 05:17:15 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73530 While some developers have come a long way towards making playable FPS games on touch screen devices, the shooting gallery style game is really a much more pleasant experience for said hardware.  One franchise in particular that has always brought entertaining installments to this genre is Moorhuhn, aka Crazy Chicken depending on where you live … Read more]]>

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While some developers have come a long way towards making playable FPS games on touch screen devices, the shooting gallery style game is really a much more pleasant experience for said hardware.  One franchise in particular that has always brought entertaining installments to this genre is Moorhuhn, aka Crazy Chicken depending on where you live in the world.  One recent edition to the franchise is Crazy Chicken: Pirates for iOS devices, which as of the writing of this article has been subtitled Christmas Edition for the holidays.  It has all the wackiness you’d expect if you were familiar with the brand, and three different game play modes to boot.

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Despite having 3 different game play modes, Crazy Chicken: Pirates basically has one overriding goal: shoot as many chickens as you can.  Defense mode is the most basic in the sense that you only have one screen and besides the chickens the only thing you have to shoot is falling presents.  Chickens will come from both directions and you lose a heart each time a chicken exits the screen on the opposite side.  Every 15 presents you shoot earns you an extra life, but they won’t last long.

In Classic and Arcade modes you have multiple screens that not only offer up poultry to pulverize but provide you with skulls to collect, coins to capture, diamonds to dredge up and other miscellaneous items to use as target practice.  There are counters for the diamonds, coins and skulls, but I honestly don’t know what happens when you collect all of a particular item.  Both Classic and arcade modes are timed, the big distinction being that Classic mode only gives you 90 seconds, whereas Arcade mode gives you extra time when you shoot chickens.

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To shoot you simply tap the screen, and on levels with multiple scenes you just swipe left or right to get to other parts of the island.  Like I said, from a control perspective this is the perfect fit for a touch screen.  There are 59 achievements to earn, and while there is a “current objective” when you begin each game you can complete each achievement at any time.  There is a leaderboard for each game play mode as well as a special one for the Halloween update, which I assume will become active again if the game is still around for Halloween next year.  The biggest thing missing from this game is a clear explanation of anything.  You actually have to select a game play mode and then pause the game to find out what the mode is actually about, and there are no clues given as to what, if anything, you earn for collecting things like diamonds, coins or skulls.

The visuals are extremely well done.  The animation is good, the design for the chickens looks great, and there are all kinds of nifty details if you can spare the time to look around.  The sound effects are a bit lackluster, mostly comprised of gunfire and the sounds when the chickens die.  I do like the tapping when one of the chickens “knocks” on the inside of your screen.  Unfortunately there is no music unless you’re on the menu screens, which is kind of a shame.

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I remember having a lot of fun with this series on my PC, and I was fully expecting the same enjoyment from this iOS installment.  Maybe I’ve grown a bit more finicky over the years, but it just felt like there wasn’t quite enough there this time around.  It’s certainly enjoyable trying to find all the little things you can shoot, and the chickens are quite humorous to watch, but after a while it gets extremely repetitive.  Add to that the lack of explanation from certain achievements to what collecting the “special” items gets you and the game just doesn’t rise to the top where it should be.  If you like shooting gallery style games you’ll still get a kick out of it, but it sadly rests squarely in the middle of the pack.

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App Summary
Title: Crazy Chicken: Pirates (Christmas Edition) Developer: Teyon
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.6 Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: $0.99 App Size: 69.7 MB
  • Lots of things to shoot
  • Three different game play modes
  • Plenty of achievements
  • Love the chickens!
  • Not much variety in game play
  • Way too light on explanation
  • Lackluster sound and no music

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Nightmares from the Deep: The Siren’s Call HD in Review – Davey Jones Is Still A Fish Out Of Water http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/01/19/nightmares-from-the-deep-the-sirens-call-hd-in-review-davey-jones-is-still-a-fish-out-of-water/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/01/19/nightmares-from-the-deep-the-sirens-call-hd-in-review-davey-jones-is-still-a-fish-out-of-water/#comments Sun, 19 Jan 2014 21:36:05 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73520 I’ve been pondering how to keep this review from sounding like a simple retread of the first installment, but that might be a bit of a losing battle.  Thankfully that’s not entirely a bad thing because the original Nightmares From The Deep was definitely one of my favorite G5 offerings, and so far the sequel … Read more]]>

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I’ve been pondering how to keep this review from sounding like a simple retread of the first installment, but that might be a bit of a losing battle.  Thankfully that’s not entirely a bad thing because the original Nightmares From The Deep was definitely one of my favorite G5 offerings, and so far the sequel has been just as entertaining.  The protagonist Sarah Black is back, as is the slimy sea serpent Davey Jones.  The backstory is different, but ultimately it’s still you against evil incarnate with a healthy dose of exploration, puzzle solving and mini-games coming your way.  Are you ready to match wits with the stuff of legends once again?

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This time around you’re trying to save an island-bound village whose mayor made a pact with the devil and has now gone mad with power.  You’ll make friends with a rebel fish-man and set out to rescue Caliope and reclaim her siren powers so that you can defeat the Kraken and whip Davey Jones into shape once and for all – or at least force him to slither away until your next adventure.  A bulk of the story will be communicated through your fish-man ally and journals you find scattered throughout the world, though the annoying treasure chest and its goblin-like guardian do return for this second installment.  There are plenty of rooms to explore and like most adventure games these days you’ll find yourself traipsing back and forth to certain locations several times before fully completing some tasks.  The game does actually offer maps, and if you’re playing in casual mode it will mark the map to show locations where you can actually do something.

In order to fully explore the vibrant world there are plenty of object based puzzles to solve.  Occasionally you’ll run into a situation that requires a bit more than what’s in your inventory to conquer, at which point you’ll enter into a mini-game.  None of the games so far have been overly difficult to solve, really acting more as a diversification element than anything else.  Finally there are several hidden object scenes, which in this case are broken up into three distinct types.  The first is your typical “find a list of objects”, while the second requires you to find all the silhouetted parts to a single object.  The last hidden object style is much like a mini-adventure as you have to find items and then use them elsewhere in the screen until you find the object you’re ultimately looking for.  I really like this last type of hidden object screen and hope to see it more in future games.

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To navigate between rooms you can double tap the direction you want to go, or you can actually pull up the map and double tap the location on the map to which you’d like to travel.  Pretty much anything you need to do in the game will be some combination of tapping and dragging which naturally works great on the touch screen but doesn’t really take advantage of anything unique to the device.  Once you’ve completed the main story you can play it again on a different difficulty setting if you want or you can continue the story with a bonus adventure that gets unlocked the first time you win the game.  There are 29 achievements to earn and 3 different types of “secret” objects to collect, but these seem pretty superfluous given that this is, in fact, an adventure game.  The thrill should come in seeing the story to a close (though I’ll admit the ending wasn’t quite as interesting as that of the original game).

Graphically the second Nightmares is on par with if not maybe slightly better than the first installment.  There are plenty of details in the backgrounds and surprisingly enough the hidden object scenes are often challenging without being overly crowded.  The character models are really well done also, rounding out the visuals quite nicely.  The sound effects are pretty decent, and the voiceovers for the most part are well acted and don’t sound stiff.  The music is pretty good when you notice it, but I usually found myself too engrossed in the game to care.

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I’m not too surprised, but this is another fine adventure game from G5 and Artifex Mundi.  The developer does a great job of telling a story, and is quite skilled at balancing the game play elements so it never gets boring.  I was a bit annoyed that they revisited the concept of collecting the coins to open a treasure chest, and the extras to find like birds and octopi seemed a bit overkill, but by and large I enjoyed traveling with Sarah Black just as much this time around.  If there’s ever a third Nightmare you can bet I’ll be there.

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App Summary
Title: Nightmares from the Deep™: The Siren’s Call HD Developer: G5 Entertainment
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: Free App Size: 896 MB
  • Interesting story
  • Balanced, fun game play
  • Excellent video and quality audio
  • Another dwarf-protected treasure chest!
  • Secret collectibles seemed unnecessary

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Air Supply – Infinite in Review – New Spin On An Old Classic http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/01/16/air-supply-infinite-in-review-new-spin-on-an-old-classic/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/01/16/air-supply-infinite-in-review-new-spin-on-an-old-classic/#comments Thu, 16 Jan 2014 07:53:22 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73513 If you’ve played the original Air Supply (and shame on the infinite runner lovers that haven’t) then a lot of this will feel familiar.  Sam is back, but his perspective has changed a bit, or more appropriately he’s finding himself going around in circles.  Air Supply – Infinite is just as fun as the original, … Read more]]>

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If you’ve played the original Air Supply (and shame on the infinite runner lovers that haven’t) then a lot of this will feel familiar.  Sam is back, but his perspective has changed a bit, or more appropriately he’s finding himself going around in circles.  Air Supply – Infinite is just as fun as the original, and the best part is it maintains the unlock system that kept me going back to the original for more.  I’ve always maintained that even the best developers will falter once in a while, but so far Quantum Sheep has not let me down.review-air-supply-infinite-2

You are Spaceman Sam, and you have been commissioned by your future self to recover the eight infinity cups.  To do this you’ll have to run around 7 planets and a black hole until you get enough speed going that you can reveal the hiding place of the missing cups.  Unfortunately there are some nasty aliens that will try to keep you from achieving your goal, but you’ll be okay as long as you keep jumping over them.  Occasionally a UFO will show up and emit a tractor beam that temporarily holds you in place, but the ground aliens keep coming so make sure you continue jumping.  You’ll also have asteroids that show up from time to time and reverse the spin of the planet for 10 seconds.  Oh, and then there’s the problem with running out of air.

Thankfully refills are consistently falling through the atmosphere, and running into a transparent one adds one bar back to your oxygen while running into a solid one completely refills your tank.  There are also smart bombs that destroy everything bad that’s currently on the screen and give you some air at the same time.  Additionally, the floating S symbol will temporarily slow things down, the freezer pauses an alien in its tracks for a bit, and the shield will destroy any bad thing that crosses your path for a short time.  You’ll see stars in the mix as well, but all those do is help you unlock new characters to play as.  Speaking of which, collecting oxygen and smart bombs help you unlock new musical tracks and new graphics colors respectively.  And, just in case you can’t get the infinity cup on certain planets you can unlock new planets simply by accumulating revolutions around the planets you’ve already unlocked.

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The default control is simple: tap to jump and double tap to launch a smart bomb.  There are other configurations, but aside from the occasional accidental smart bomb discharge I’ve not had any problems with the initial settings.  Besides unlocking all the choices for characters, planets and such, which really is the best part of the Air Supply series, there are 25 achievements to earn.  There’s even a “longest run” leaderboard if you’re interested.  You can also tweet your scores if you really want to.

The visuals look like something you might find in an early 80’s computer game, which is of course the whole charm behind them.  There isn’t a lot of detail to the game, and most of the animation is actually in the background, which can get a bit overwhelming at later stages.  The sound effects and music also reflect the retro nature of the game, the difference being that some of the sound effects can get a bit annoying and have to be taken as a package, whereas some of the musical tracks are pretty cool and you can pick the one you want to listen to.

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In the end this is basically Air Supply – 1 Bit Run with your character going around in circles instead of following a linear path, but that’s okay.  The biggest down side to the original was running out of things to unlock, so now I get to experience it all over again.  And you know what?  It’s just as entertaining this time around.

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App Summary
Title: Air Supply – Infinite Developer: Quantum Sheep
Reviewed Ver: 1.2 Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: $0.99 App Size: 19.2 MB
  • Same Air Supply addiction
  • Lot of items to unlock
  • Plenty of achievements to earn
  • Cool retro video and audio
  • Can get repetitive
  • There’s little draw once everything is unlocked

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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]]>

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Santa Rama: Christmas Mania in Review – Monetize The Children? http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/25/santa-rama-christmas-mania-in-review-monetize-the-children/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/25/santa-rama-christmas-mania-in-review-monetize-the-children/#comments Wed, 25 Dec 2013 21:05:07 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73491 Honey Tribe Studios has an interesting way of making social commentary, first on the plight of bees and then on the state of humanity as it revolves around money.  Their latest effort focuses specifically on the Christmas season, and while it may not be a message you want to hear it’s sadly true.  It’s also … Read more]]>

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Honey Tribe Studios has an interesting way of making social commentary, first on the plight of bees and then on the state of humanity as it revolves around money.  Their latest effort focuses specifically on the Christmas season, and while it may not be a message you want to hear it’s sadly true.  It’s also an entertaining game, at least in small bursts.  Can you help turn the tide of commercialism this holiday season?

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The crux of this game is that kids have become so caught up in advertising and the “gotta have” mentality that permeates the last couple of months of the year that they don’t get what Christmas is really about.  Just like moths to the flame they are attracted to the glow at the bottom of the screen, which I assume is meant to be the radiant energy of a TV screen.  It’s your job to snap them out of it by tapping on them before they reach the point of no return (aka the bottom of the screen).  You do have a couple of power ups including a clock that temporarily slows the children’s movements, a book you can use to block individual children and turn them to reading, and an activity bar that stretches from one side of the screen to the other and turns the kids towards more profitable activities for a short period of time.

A single tap converts most kids, while the bigger one takes two taps to persuade.  Holding down on the screen will activate the reading power up if you have it, while swiping across the screen from left to right will fire up the activity bar.  The clock is simply activated as soon as you tap on it when it goes floating by.  You’ll also see interlocked hands floating by from time to time that can be collected and used to bolster the duration of a power up and the frequency with which power up refills show up.  There are 2 leaderboards, one for high score and the other for overall score, and a “whopping” 5 achievements to earn.  There are also plenty of ads to help support the game (after all, the game IS about advertising).

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The graphics have a decent stylized look to them.  Much like in McBank the characters start out grey until you “rescue” them from their entrapment.  The sound effects are cool because each character plays a different tone when you free them.  There’s only one song that plays in the background, but I really enjoy it despite hearing it over and over again.

For the majority of you this will not be the type of game you’ll play for hours on end, but I don’t really think it was meant to be.  Play it when you’re next in line at a slow checkout lane or just want to do some mindless tapping for a few minutes.  It may get repetitive after a while, but the quirky theme, cool music and funny cartoons will keep you sufficiently entertained.

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App Summary
Title: Santa Rama: Christmas Mania Developer: shazad yousaf
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: Free App Size: 31.1 MB
  • Interesting Christmas message
  • Cool visuals and fun music
  • Funny cartoons when you lose
  • Gets repetitive quickly
  • Tapping fast kids isn’t always responsive
  • Lots of ads (yeah, I get the irony)

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Darklings: Gesture Based Action and an Odd Adventure http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/17/darklings-gesture-based-action-and-an-odd-adventure/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/17/darklings-gesture-based-action-and-an-odd-adventure/#comments Wed, 18 Dec 2013 02:53:05 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73472 The minute I began playing Darklings, I had a lot of questions. What is a Darkling? Where is my character and what on earth is going on? Out of all the iPad games I’ve enjoyed, this was definitely one of the strangest. That isn’t, of course, to suggest that it’s bad – in fact, I … Read more]]>

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The minute I began playing Darklings, I had a lot of questions. What is a Darkling? Where is my character and what on earth is going on? Out of all the iPad games I’ve enjoyed, this was definitely one of the strangest. That isn’t, of course, to suggest that it’s bad – in fact, I found the game surprisingly intuitive once I’d figured out more about the strange character at the bottom of the screen. This $0.99 iPhone/iPad game was created by MildMania, and is definitely on par with dark and quirky games like Limbo. When you load the app, you find yourself in control of a small character called a Lum, and it’s your goal to save him from surrounding monsters that have come to attack. Your character exists in a lonely looking universe where it’s constantly night time, and you’re surrounded by endless models.Adding to the mystery and spooky element of the game is the soundtrack. I immediately noticed the audio of the game when loading, and enjoyed it from the very beginning. Despite the initial confusion over the character and the purpose of the game, the soundtrack was superb and I quickly became engrossed in the story. Your ghostly little character, or ‘Lum’ needs to use his powers to get rid of all the evil Darklings. The dark characters surround your Lum and must be fought off using magical powers.

 

As you progress through the game, you can also play with new Lums that each has different powers. With your character, your ultimate aim is to survive, reaching new levels and bosses as you progress. The storyline may well be simple, but it’s definitely fun. I was immediately engrossed, not only because I love survival games, but also because I have never seen gameplay like this before. In order to fight off the Darklings, your Lum must replicate the shapes on the heads of each of the evil Darkling characters. I should say, rather, that it is the player that has to replicate the shapes. Here you will find no directional arrows, you won’t navigate through a landscape like a traditional game either – you will have just one role. You will use your finger as if it were a pencil, and trace the shape on the screen, which sees your Lum jump into the character of the related Darkling. You’ll also see stars appearing around your character throughout the game. It’s important that you collect the stars with your finger and draw a line to your Lum. This increases the amount of time you have on the game, and collecting five big stars can give you helpful little extras! If you run out though, as always with inexpensive games, you can purchase more for a small fee from the shop. You can also share your results with your Twitter followers and Facebook friends for new stars.

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While it’s definitely intuitive and enjoyable, it’s not the most comfortable way to play the game. If you’re lucky enough to have the current iPad Air, or perhaps even the iPad Mini, you’ll probably fine. If you have an older generation iPad however, then you’ll probably find the game uncomfortable, owing to the extra weight. Unless you’re ambidextrous, you’ll have to keep your iPad in one hand while you draw away with the other – that can be quite tiring after spending some time on the game! I must also be honest about the fights with bosses. While generally the gameplay feels seamless and smooth, it begins to lag a little bit when you’re fighting the bigger Darklings. You’ll probably find yourself drawing your patterns numerous times over before anything registers, which can be quite annoying when you’re counting on a win to progress!

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All in all though, I have to rate Darklings quite highly. It’s definitely a welcome new addition to the App Store, and one of the most intuitive games I’ve played in a while. The gameplay is flowing, the soundtrack very nice and visuals are superb. The levels seem endless, you can play different characters and you can enjoy an impressive range of challenges. It’s well worth the small fee of $0.99!

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Darklings Darklings - $0.99

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Vampire Ventures in Review – No Blood, But It Doesn’t Suck http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/12/vampire-ventures-in-review-no-blood-but-it-doesnt-suck/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/12/vampire-ventures-in-review-no-blood-but-it-doesnt-suck/#comments Thu, 12 Dec 2013 16:14:10 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73462 When I first saw this game I liked the screen shots but I thought it was basically going to be a “been there, done that” sort of match 3 game.  In some ways it really is, but it packs in so many cool features from other games in the genre that it doesn’t really matter.  … Read more]]>

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When I first saw this game I liked the screen shots but I thought it was basically going to be a “been there, done that” sort of match 3 game.  In some ways it really is, but it packs in so many cool features from other games in the genre that it doesn’t really matter.  Throw in great music and a story that ties everything together and you end up with one of the best match 3 games to hit the virtual iOS shelves in quite some time, if not ever.

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You play Val, a vampire on a quest to rescue her father from the clutches of some evil fiend that seems to desire your destruction.  As a progressive vampire family that drinks strawberry juice instead of blood you can’t imagine who’d want to hurt you, but you’re sure to find out as you travel through 75 levels across a variety of locations.  Along the way you’ll encounter a variety of play styles including clearing away designated tiles, causing a variety of objects to fall off the bottom of the screen, and clearing a path so that you can move an object from one location to another.  The last mode is cool because there are buttons that let you rotate the board 90 degrees in either direction so that you can get the tiles to fall to your advantage no matter how the path twists.

Occasionally you will have to fight some bad guys as well, which is also accomplished via a match 3 board.  The difference here is that you and the villains will be making matches on the same board at the same time, so you have to be quick and pay attention to what they are doing at the same time.  In grand super hero cartoon style, the first character to push their opponent’s ray back in their face wins the battle.  There’s a lot to tackle, but thankfully at certain milestones you’ll collect talismans that give you the ability to do things like clear all the tiles of a certain color, remove all tiles in a selected area and even make diagonal moves for a short period of time.  Some talismans require you to match tiles that are the same color as the talisman, others just require matches of four or more of a tile, and some give you one use and then you have to win them with the spin of a wheel in order to use them again.

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The game uses a simple tap or swipe mechanic to swap two tiles for a match.  Some talismans require you to drag their energy to a target location on the board, while others require basic taps to activate.  Overall the control scheme is easy to use and quite responsive.  Beyond the 75 level campaign there is no infinite level but there are both relaxed and time modes as well as the ability to add additional tiles to each level where you must clear away designated tiles.  This at least adds some replay value.  The game offers 3 profiles so multiple people can play on the same device and iCloud support so you can play across multiple devices.  There are 15 achievements to earn and one leaderboard to compete on which ranks you based on your overall score for the game.

Vampire Ventures is not the fanciest looking match 3 game around, but the visuals are still pretty nice.  The characters remind me of something out of a PBS cartoon, and there are some nice special effects when you use the various talismans.  The sound effects are okay, and I do like the voice they used for Val in the cut scenes that appear between many of the levels.  The most impressive part of the aesthetics is definitely the music.  Sometimes bouncy, sometimes series and occasionally bordering on moody, I could easily see this score being used in a Hollywood soundtrack.

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When I first played Kitten Sanctuary I felt like Clockwork Pixels knew their way around the match 3 concept pretty well, and Vampire Ventures just validates that theory.  Multiple play styles, useful power ups and a story to tie everything together all help this game stand out from the crowd.  Now if they’d just throw in an infinite play mode the replay value would be incredible.

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App Summary
Title: Vampire Ventures Developer: Clockwork Pixels
Reviewed Ver: 1.02.0 Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $1.99 App Size: 89.8 MB
  • Multiple play styles fend off repetitiveness
  • Profiles and iCloud support provide flexible playing options
  • Music is incredible
  • No infinite mode
  • Achievements on first come, first serve basis

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Tilt To Live 2: Redonkulous In Review – Only The Name Is Silly http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/06/tilt-to-live-2-redonkulous-in-review-only-the-name-is-silly/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/12/06/tilt-to-live-2-redonkulous-in-review-only-the-name-is-silly/#comments Fri, 06 Dec 2013 21:55:53 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73430 A game has to be pretty special to make up words for its name and not have you go “now that’s silly”, and Tilt To Live 2: Redonkulous is just such a game.  It takes everything the original did and does it even better: intense action, crazy weapons and sometimes maddening achievements.  There are plenty … Read more]]>

review-ttl2-1 A game has to be pretty special to make up words for its name and not have you go “now that’s silly”, and Tilt To Live 2: Redonkulous is just such a game.  It takes everything the original did and does it even better: intense action, crazy weapons and sometimes maddening achievements.  There are plenty of “dodge the enemy” style games on the App Store, but the Tilt To Live series are among the only ones that handle the genre nearly flawlessly. review-ttl2-2 The goal of Tilt To Live 2 is simple – destroy as many dots as possible without coming into direct contact with them.  To do this you just tilt the device to move your little ship around the screen.  You can use a couple of pre-defined orientations or configure your own, and just like with the original the control works perfectly.  As for the dots, they will do everything in their power to run into you, thereby ending the game.  Joining the dots are skewers that you basically have to dodge but at least give you warning that they are coming and bosses that require you to strike targets floating around them instead of assaulting them directly. Thankfully you don’t have to rely completely on twitch based reactions as you’ll have a nice variety of weapons at your disposal.  Some are pretty basic like the ability to launch spikes in several directions or set of minor nukes to clean up a localized area.  Some are cute like the blob disguise that doesn’t actually hurt any dots but lets you pass through without being noticed.  Some are just plain cool like the “laser sword” (read: light saber) that temporarily lets you slice and dice the enemy. review-ttl2-3 There are currently two game play modes: Classic and Code Red.  Each has their own set of awards to earn, and for each three awards you move up a level in the given mode.  Not only is it a nice self esteem boost, but it also unlocks new weapons for you.  In addition to the achievements there are also 7 leaderboards to feed your competitive nature.  The random nature of the game along with 48 achievements to earn provide incredible replay value, and the simple yet addictive action will slyly coax you into continually coming back. The visuals are fantastic, combining basic designs for the dots and ship with cool special effects involving all the different weaponry.  The sound effects really make the world of Tilt To Live pop, and the music is wonderfully upbeat.  The tunes really get your adrenaline pumping, and I love how the music changes over to a mellow, elevator style music when you are wearing the disguise. review-ttl2-4 As I re-read my review of the original Tilt To Live way back from 2010 I see that I was quite enamored with it.  After spending some time with the sequel I absolutely remember why.  Back then this series really made me appreciate the “dodge ‘em all” style of game play, and now it’s still the leader of the pack.  My recommendation for the sequel is the same as for the first one: if you don’t already own it, go buy it.  You won’t regret it. kiss-icon

App Summary
Title: Tilt to Live 2: Redonkulous Developer: One Man Left
Reviewed Ver: 1.1 Min OS Req: 6.0
Price: $2.99 App Size: 91.1 MB
  • Awesome, intense action
  • Really cool weapons
  • Lots of challenging achievements
  • Slick visuals
  • Cool sound and music
  • Some achievements aren’t completely intuitive

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