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.
There were some pretty interesting releases this week, and I think this list presents a decent cross-section of the lot. After bringing us a quirky puzzle game in the form of Tiny Story!, On5 takes us in a totally different direction with Indie Pixel. In this online only game you are a pixel, and you must work together with other players to form certain shapes before time runs out. If you prefer a more serene approach to things you might want to give Cloud Spin a try. This high flying adventure will test your skills if you want, but you can just as easily enjoy it by indulging in Free Flight mode and just enjoying your surroundings. Then there’s American Greetings, who didn’t so much provide the community with a solid set of games as they offered gamers a new way to pay. Buy an App Coin to unlock the game, and even folks without an iTunes account can “gift” specific games to their friends.
Gamers are always clamouring for that next big thing that they’ve never played before. I would hope that at least once in a while something new would come along, but I don’t hold my breath for it. Instead, my main concern is that developers focus on ways to take the styles of game play that we have grown to love and make them even more interesting. Personally I feel Rejected Games has done just that with An Alien with a Magnet. I find myself loading it up even when I had the intention of playing something completely different, simply because I want to take it for another spin. You might almost say it has a magnetic quality about it. But we don’t go for those bad puns around here.
Hero of Many is an intriguing game. I have as yet to encounter most of what is talked about in the iTunes description for the game, or at least in mass amounts, yet I find myself mesmerized every time I load it up and start playing. This game is about exploration as much as anything else, and if you’re the kind of player that needs to blast something every five seconds you might have a hard time latching on to Hero Of Many. On the other hand, if you prefer a relaxing experience that has a little bit of gameplay thrown into the mix as well, Hero Of Many will be both satisfying and unlike much of anything else you’ll play from the App Store.
One of the best mash-ups conceived so far (at least in my opinion) is the idea of an RPG that uses a match 3 board for combat. Of course like any good thing there is almost an overabundance of them now, and there are just as many ones that make you go “blah” as ones that captivate you like Puzzle Quest. Fortunately, Puzzle Blade is one of those that fall on the side of captivating the player. The developer has managed to put a fresh spin on the concept and made sure that anyone short of a person suffering from A.D.D. should enjoy it, assuming you’re into the genre in the first place.
These last few weeks there have been so many interesting looking new releases that the only way I could really do this article justice would be to spend a week playing them all before even beginning to write the piece. Since that’s not going to happen, I will as always do my best to bring you an interesting cross-section of the latest offerings. PlayFirst returned to their most lauded franchise this week with the release of Diner Dash Rush. Basically it’s Flo meets Facebook as you still have to happily serve as many customers as possible, but now you have a short time limit and can compete against your friends. Ravenous Games is back with the third installment of their popular retro side scroller series, League Of Evil 3. It’s just like you know and love, but this time with spinning wall blades and level replays thanks to the Everyplay video service. Sugar Rush is a crazy new “Facebook to iOS” game from Full Fat. A 60 second time limit, the board closing in from both top and bottom and some insane multipliers make for one wild ride.
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.
If you’re familiar with me, at least when it comes to my reviews, you know that I’m a big fan of Tin Man Games and their Gamebook Adventures. I remember this sort of thing when the books were actually printed and you had to use real dice for combat and pen and paper to keep track of your inventory. There are clearly so many advantages to an electronic version of this form of entertainment, and to date Tin Man Games has one of the best interfaces available. It doesn’t hurt any that their stories are generally quite interesting as well. So far The Forest of Doom has been no exception to the rule, though I will say that as a whole this one seems much harder than any of the ones I’ve played in the past. I guess that means I’ll just have to put more effort into beating it.
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.