This is one of those rare cases where I let my objective reviewer guard down and thought to myself “this game is going to be great. After all, it came from the mind of Ron Gilbert, so how can it go wrong?” I was basically setting myself up for mild enjoyment, because we all know over-hyping something diminishes its “wow” factor, or utter disappointment. Thankfully Scurvy Scallywags not only failed to disappoint, but it actually exceeded my lofty expectations. I’m not going to dig myself into a hole by saying this is the best game ever, but boy is there a lot to love here.
With the release of Karateka Classic on the App Store, I thought I’d check out the remake that hit the virtual store shelves in December 2012. There’s no question that this modern interpretation of the vintage karate brawler is more than just a namesake, but it’s hard to tell what the target audience is. Causal gamers will likely get frustrated by the timing in later battles, while hardcore fighters will get bored with the lack of combos and repetitive back and forth combat. About the only ones that will be truly satisfied with this updated version of Karateka are the ones that remember and love the original, but even then there are a couple of interesting twists and turns…
When it comes to certain genres like marble poppers, there’s not a lot of variation to be expected in actual game mechanics, unless you create some sort of mash up like what has become popular with match 3 games. What does set one entry apart from another is the presentation, and in that regards Sparkle 2 excels even more than its predecessor did. There are a couple of other things that make it rise to the top, though, so don’t think I’ve been unduly distracted by glittery things. In the end, the Sparkle franchise continues to be my favorite marble popping addiction.
My first thought in regards to CandyMeleon was “oh great, another one of those games”. You know, the ones where you have to feed a cute character candy all day long? Sure enough it is, but at least there is no rope cutting or fan blowing or gadget positioning of any kind. In fact, this really isn’t any sort of physics game at all. Instead it’s a good old fashioned arcade game where you have to grab the good stuff, avoid the bad stuff and last as long as you can. It’s also quite addictive once you get into it. There’s no brain power required here, and it’s a nice change of pace when it comes to games about consuming sweets.
One of the things I really admire about Chillingo is that they have a knack for digging up games that take tried and true mechanics and give them enough twists and flair to make them feel like fresh games. Such is the case with Rolling Hero. Anyone that has played games on their iOS device for a reasonable length of time has probably played one or more titles where you rotate the board to get your hero to the proper location, yet this one feels different somehow. It definitely has a cute factor that seems to permeate a majority of Chillingo’s best titles, but there’s a certain spin this game takes that keeps me wanting to come back for more. Even if I never completely put my finger on it, I guess that’s a good thing since I’m spending my time with the game.
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.
What do you get when you take two artists from a well known company and set them on their own to design mobile games? Apparently you get a family friendly cave flyer style game that takes place under water with fish. Fin Friends is one of those games that are nice, but other than some flashy graphics it doesn’t do much to differentiate itself from the pack. If you like cave flyer or infinite runner style games you’ll enjoy Fin Friends, but don’t expect to see any revolutionary game play elements here.
Ravenous Games has a decent collection of retro-looking casual games piling up in their catalog, though I’d wager that they are best known for their League of Evil series. Gravity.Duck is nothing like those games aside from the graphics style. For some reason that bothered me at first, but it didn’t take long until I got completely hooked on this one. In fact, I think I’ve played it more than both of the League Of Evil games combined. Ravenous has one again nailed the art of the casual gaming experience, and I for one am happy to indulge.
About all I knew of LIBERATION MAIDEN going into it was that the game was a shooter and that it was a port from another system. This is definitely a game that has been under-promoted in my opinion. As much as I love scrolling shooters, I’ve realized that my iOS experience with the genre has never lived up to its potential until now. Liberation Maiden certainly isn’t perfect, but it’s unlike any shooter you’ve played on your iPad to this point. The final boss battle alone almost makes the whole game worth it, as it was one of the most intense experiences I’ve had with this genre on a mobile device. The price tag is a bit hefty relatively speaking, but if you’re a die hard scrolling shooter fan you should seriously consider this one.
I’m all for the latest trends in technology. In the end, though, I just want my games to be fun. If there’s one thing the METAL SLUG series has proven over and over again it’s that you don’t need the latest 3D accelerated graphics or quad core processor to make an enjoyable game. In fact, as a whole it seems like ports of older games provide some of the most intense scrolling shooter experiences available on the iOS platform. Besides, there’s something about awesome pixel art and classic 90’s video game tunes that’s hard to beat these days.