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.
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.
Heavy Sword reminds me of a cross between Super Mario Bros and The Legend Of Zelda. Now some of you might be thinking “isn’t that basically Zelda 2 for the NES?” That’s probably fair enough, but since I never played that title I’m sticking with the correlation. The problem is that this really isn’t as interesting as either of those games separately, let alone what a good combination of them could be. That alone I could live with, since either of those franchises is hard to live up to. What is troubling me, however, is the fact that the game keeps freezing up on me.
Back in the day, by which I mean a time I barely remember and which many of you probably weren’t born yet for, there existed a game called Rogue that quite possibly started one of the first trends of copycats, known as rouge-likes. The games were simple in some ways such as consisting of only ASCII graphics, but complex in others like having a myriad of commands to remember and randomly generated dungeons that were revealed as you moved through them. While I actually enjoyed several games of this type, I’m happy to see that modern variants such as Dungelot have revamped graphics and streamlined control schemes. Unfortunately one challenging feature still remains in many modern rogue-likes: death is death.
Remember Karateka? You know, that classic 8-bit side-scroller fighter that made your jaw drop back in the 80′s? Well Jordan Mechner, the man behind the game and who later made Prince of Persia, has brought Karateka back to life with the help of Jeff Matsuda’s artwork (The Batman) and music by Grammy-winning composer Christopher Tin (Civilization IV). The remake first arrived on XBLA in early November and has now arrived on iOS.
Fans of the game Diversion from Ezone.com are going to feel a sense of déjà vu here, assuming you haven’t already with the several other Diversion-derived projects they’ve released in the last couple of years. Thankfully the formula’s still addictive, and there are enough differences to be found in Team Awesome that it still seems like its own game. Unfortunately (depending on how you look at it) you won’t find any deep game play here, but if you’re looking for a simple diversion that could turn into an addiction, Team Awesome is your game.
I first tasted of the intrigue that Phosphor Games could produce as I wandered the creepy halls of Dark Meadow. It had its issues, but overall it was a captivating game with wild creatures and a unique control scheme. That was, of course, until I played Infinity Blade and realized that I had suffered Déjà Vu in reverse. Now Phosphor Games has released Horn, and while the fantasy theme is reminiscent of Infinity Blade, it actually has a lot more to it then either of the aforementioned games in terms of things to do besides combat. At first I was a bit skeptical about it just because I was afraid it would be a clone of the Chair Entertainment Group’s franchise, but every time I load up Horn I manage to get lost in its mystery and grandeur.
The week that DARIUSBURST SP came out I included it in my weekly “10 App Store Games To Watch” list and hoped that it would be half as good as another Taito “retread” called RayForce (TMA Review) . Well, after spending some time with the game I’d wager to say it’s actually better. At the very least they’ve handled the “too easy” issue amicably, but Dariusburst has a third game play mode, two fighters which need to be unlocked before use and a branching level system – all of which greatly extend the replay value. Sure the initial run through can still be fairly short, but there’s a lot more reason to keep playing this one after you’ve beaten it.
At times it seems developers just miss that creative spark in terms of writing, leaving us stuck with stories full of cardboard characters and clichés. But every once in a while a streak of genius may turn such a seemingly boring tale into something new and original. And depending on the viewpoint EPOCH falls neatly into the latter category. Or not.
There’s no question Super Crate Box is a silly game. You basically run around one of three levels collecting crates and killing monsters to stay alive. It’s like a side view FPS with no fancy graphics and no point. The funny thing is that it is also one of the most addictive games I’ve played in quite a while, and that says a lot since I’ve spent almost every day for the past week playing Treasures of Montezuma 3. There’s something about the simplicity of the game combined with the retro pixel graphics that to me makes it a whole lot more interesting than the previously released Muffin Knight, a game clearly inspired by this one. All I know is I’m glad to be part of the crate collecting revolution.