I’ve always preferred games that make you think a bit to those that test your twitch reflexes, and portable touch screen devices have proven to be a perfect match for puzzle games. I have to say that the sub-genre of light bending conundrums has been among my least favorite, however, in large part due to the fact that it usually doesn’t take long before I get stuck and can’t move on. Light The Flower showed me that it has as much to do with the presentation as anything. Sure there are times where I still get stuck, but in the end it’s always worth the struggle to hear the content reactions of a satisfied flower.
There’s a bit of irony in the game’s title, because I’m pretty sure going down in a hailstorm of bullets is anything but blissful. The slightly odd name aside, however, once you start playing DoDonPachi Blissful Death you’ll feel right at home if you’re a fan of Cave. If you peruse their titles on the App Store you’ll note they primarily do one thing, but they do that well – scrolling shooters. To be even more specific, their area of expertise seems to be the “bullet hell” shooter, though from that perspective Blissful Death is a bit milder than most of its type. That’s good news for me, because I’m terrible at bullet hell games.
Sometime ago, I’d reviewed a keyboard/case combo from ZAGG – the ZAGGmate – for my iPad 1. Thanks to its slick and slim design, along with the capable bluetooth keyboard, it became a constant companion whenever I traveled with the iPad. The one downside was that the tablet’s back was left exposed to potential drops and falls – a trade-off for its sexy form factor. So as an alternative, ZAGG introduced the ZAGGfolio, a folio-styled case that not only houses a much improved keyboard, but also offers front and rear protection for the iPad when closed.
Seeing how I’d become quite reliant on the ZAGGmate, I was eager to pick up a case with similar functionality for my new iPad. And now that I’ve had 3 weeks of hands-on time with the ZAGGfolio, I’ve once again found myself growing very fond of this combo case, thanks in large part to the drastically improved typing experience offered over its predecessor.
Apparently the need to add “cuteness” to puzzle games isn’t going away any time soon, but that’s okay with me as long as the game is fun to play. Thankfully that is the case with Cannon Cat, the premiere offering from new iOS developer Loqheart. It would probably be more accurate to label the game action than puzzle, though there are definitely situations that will require a bit of thought if you want to score all the fish in a level. However you want to classify the game it’s enjoyable and quite habit forming.
When games set the bar so high in a particular genre, much like The Treasures of Montezuma 3 did for match 3 games, I often wonder if new variants are even going to be worth trying. I was especially nervous about this one because I had played its canine sibling, Puppy Sanctuary, on the PC and didn’t really care for it. I’m happy to report that not only is Kitten Sanctuary a much more interesting game than its puppy partner (or I didn’t give the other enough of a chance), but it can actually be quite addicting. The whole Tamagatchi style interludes aren’t even that bad.
I’ve never been so frustrated with tiny men lacking in necks, arms, and legs. Oddly enough I also can’t remember the last time I fell quite so in love with them. Such is life in the land of Quarrel Deluxe: at times an exhilarating dose of brain-busting competition, and at others… phone-throwingly frustrating. What is Quarrel, you ask? It’s an unfortunately overlooked game cast into a world in which games just like it have already planted their flags. There is little room to move on the map over which apps such as Words With Friends already rule. However, if Quarrel were to advance on their territories it would do so with the word value of SCRABBLE, and all the war strategy of RISK.
I’m beginning to think developers are purposely making the tough puzzle games cute. They do it to lull us into a false sense of security because of course a cute looking puzzle game is going to be easy. It has to be for the kids that will invariably be drawn to it, right? I can’t think of a more charming premise than a disgruntled sheepdog that dons a motorcycle helmet and goes all Evil Knievel to get the sheep he’s supposed to be rounding up to respect him. Yet some of these levels can be quite maddening.
Letters from Nowhere HD has a different story, different mini-games and different scenes to explore, but in the end it’s still your traditional hidden object game. Thankfully that suits me just fine, and even though it doesn’t stray to far from the formula it manages to suck you in anyway. The story gives you just enough to make you want to know more, and there are enough gimmicks that the hidden object scenes feel fresh even though you’ve played them a million times before. Even the mini-games are passable, both figuratively and literally. Letters From Nowhere doesn’t break any new ground, but it does what it does really well.
Fischer Audio have updated their best-selling DBA-02. And what an update it is. The DBA-02 MKII is a delightful earphone replete with comfort and an accessory kit that is the envy of the earphone world. How about its sound, you ask? I’ll be singing praises soon enough.
First, let’s yabber about WOWs.
Little Acorns is one of the latest platform games from the publishing masterminds at Chillingo, and I’m beginning to think that there are a lot of closet Mega Man fans out there. Not that the premise or atmosphere is anything like those games, but Little Acorns can get tough! Thankfully it’s fun as well, though there are times when playing a level repeatedly can get frustrating, especially when it’s one small spot on the level that’s giving you grief. I honestly wasn’t quite sure about this game when I started playing it, but I’d say that Little Acorns is another solid platform game release from one of the leaders in iPhone game publishing.