TouchMyApps » rating-kiss 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 Thu, 14 Aug 2014 09:21:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.4 NinJump Rooftops in Review – This Time It’s Horizontal http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/10/31/ninjump-rooftops-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/10/31/ninjump-rooftops-in-review/#comments Thu, 31 Oct 2013 20:56:50 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73317 Backflip Studios has had a number of interesting properties over the years, but for me the most endearing title in their collection has to be NinJump.  The game took the infinite runner and turned it on its side as well as introducing the concept of defeating 3 similar enemies in order to temporarily gain a … Read more]]>

Backflip Studios has had a number of interesting properties over the years, but for me the most endearing title in their collection has to be NinJump.  The game took the infinite runner and turned it on its side as well as introducing the concept of defeating 3 similar enemies in order to temporarily gain a power related to that enemy.  The ninja’s back, though this time he’s headed to the rooftops in what feels just slightly like a more traditional infinite runner.  That doesn’t make it any less addictive, though, and I fear it might suffer the same fate as the original: removal from my device so I can actually find the time for something else.

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If by some chance you’re not familiar with the infinite runner concept, the basic premise is that your character is always running and you have to perform one or more actions to help keep him safe from all the pitfalls in his way.  In the case of NinJump Rooftops all you can do is tap to jump.  If you tap longer you’ll jump higher, and when you have the right power up you’ll get three jumps instead of two.  There are other power ups as well, like a magnet to attract coins to you and sushi that temporarily turns you into Super Ninja who is much bigger and invincible.  Power ups take effect immediately, and you can have one of each if you can grab them all while the others are still active.

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You always have three different missions to work on and each mission will earn you some coins when completed.  Coins are also littered throughout the level for you to pick up at your whim.  In addition to coins you can collect jades and nindrops, though those items show up much less frequently.  Coins can be used to upgrade power ups and buy boosts at the beginning of each run, while jades will get you a couple of different costumes and allow you to continue where you left off when you die.  Nindrops give you the chance to play the NinJump version of pachinko after your run where you can win bonus prizes like coins, boosts and jades.  At this point there are is no social integration for achievements or leaderboards.

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The best part of the game is the bonus dash.  If you strike down three of a particular opponent in a row you’ll become temporarily invincible and get carted off by a large version of whatever it is that you attacked.  Unfortunately some villains are much rarer than others, so I’ve only seen three of the dashes so far.  The challenging part is getting more than one dash in the same run because it’s real easy to accidentally strike an opponent that you didn’t mean to simply because you’re in the middle of a jump.  This also makes it quite a trick to hang on to two of a particular type of opponent until you can find the third to make a bonus dash.  I think there should be some sort of prize for the player that manages to see every single dash available.

The visuals are similar to the original which means the game looks really sweet.  The background is multilayered with plenty of details throughout each level.  The characters are well designed and smoothly animated.  The sound effects do a good job of bringing the action to life and I particularly like the different noises that the ninja makes.  The music has a nice oriental ring to it, at least matching our Hollywood perception of what such music should sound like.

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I’ll be the first to admit that I have a certain predisposition towards infinite runners as it is.  However, I still get different levels of enjoyment from the genre depending on the quality, and this is one of the most entertaining ones I’ve played in quite some time.  I love what Temple Run did by providing a different viewpoint for such games, but there’s still something to be said for the side scrolling 2D perspective, and NinJump Rooftops captures that essence perfectly.  The control is super responsive, even without achievements there is plenty to work towards, and trying to get each of the bonus dashes is a particularly intriguing challenge.  Even though the switch from vertical to horizontal sort of took away what made NinJump stand out from the crowd, Rooftops proves that orientation alone does not make the game.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: NinJump Rooftops Developer: Backflip Studios
Reviewed Ver: 1.1.0 Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: Free App Size: 48.5 MB
  • Same addictive qualities as original
  • Ultra responsive control
  • Super dashes are awesome
  • Great visuals
  • Good music
  • Sucks up lots of time

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Puzzle Blade in Review: 2 Minute Match 3 RPG Fun http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/07/10/puzzle-blade-in-review-2-minute-match-3-rpg-fun/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/07/10/puzzle-blade-in-review-2-minute-match-3-rpg-fun/#comments Wed, 10 Jul 2013 23:15:33 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72844 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 … Read more]]>

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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.

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You play a character named Puzzelynn, though truthfully the game would probably work just as well with a nameless hero.  Your job is to clear out all the evil creatures that have come to the gardens in search of the mystical puzzle gems.  You’ll use said gems to vanquish the villains, matching three or more at a time to do some damage.  If you match the color the creature emits right before it attacks you can block the attack as well.  Periodically power ups and gold will appear on the playing field, and to take advantage of them you’ll need to double tap on them instead of trying to match them.  You’ll also get a blast power up when you match five of the same color gem that will either clear an entire row or column when double tapped.

Each round lasts two minutes, but no matter how many creatures you kill you only get to keep the spoils if you survive the entire two minutes.  In addition to coins you get a score for each round which can be bolstered by several accomplishments including getting more than 10 gold by defeating a monster or beating one in under 30 seconds.  Some score bonuses are based on individual battles and others on the entire round.  Money you earn can be used to buy elixirs at the beginning of each round, or they can be used to train various skills which in turn give you experience to level up.  As you level up you’ll unlock new things to help you in your quest like new types of gems and additional elixirs.

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Control is a simple matter of dragging to swap gems and double tapping to activate a power up.  I actually like the double tap idea because that means you can be a bit more strategic about how you use your power-ups.  Keep in mind that double tapping a coin also makes the gem that it is on disappear, which can definitely affect game play.  Double tapping seems to work fine, though a lot of times gems seem to slide in the opposite direction of what I’m trying to do.  I suppose that could just be me.  The game does support Game Center for leaderboards and achievements, except there are only 9 achievements and since I had no internet connection when I first played it doesn’t appear to have updated a couple of my achievements that I should have earned right off the bat.  Still, the game is entertaining enough that you don’t really need those things to enjoy it.

The aesthetics are a funny thing in this game because they are good, but the game is so fast paced that you don’t get much of a chance to pay attention to them.  The characters are well designed and have some decent animation, and there are a few special effects thrown around here and there.  Sound is adequate enough with each creature having its own noises and the main character uttering some vocals as well.  The background music is actually pretty nice, but the sound effects tend to drown it out such that you don’t realize it’s there half the time.  Still, I’d rather have good audio / visual elements that I don’t notice much than silly pictures and bland sound that overwhelm my senses.

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Like so many styles of games in the App Store there is getting to be somewhat of a glut of this particular mash up, which makes it all the more difficult to choose ones to play.  I would say this certainly qualifies for one to look at even if you think you’ve played it all before.  The two minute sessions alone are an appealing aspect of the game, but there are enough other little differences that make it all worthwhile despite the feeling that the game play mechanic has been burnt out.  Besides which, at the time I’m writing this the game is free, so what have you got to lose besides the time you spend playing it?

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: Puzzle Blade Developer: matthew silverstein
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 6.0
Price: Free App Size:
  • Two minute game sessions
  • Nice little twists on match 3 / RPG mash-ups
  • Cool visuals
  • Good sound and music
  • Swiping not always cooperative
  • Achievements a bit buggy
  • Can’t stop to appreciate aesthetics

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Scurvy Scallywags in Review – Much More Than Match 3 http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/07/02/scurvy-scallywags-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/07/02/scurvy-scallywags-in-review/#comments Tue, 02 Jul 2013 13:58:37 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72801 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 … Read more]]>

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.

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The backdrop of the game is a Broadway musical, which would only be more brilliant if the other developer were named Sullivan.  You take on the role of captain of a pirate ship, and you must recover the 16 verses of the Ultimate Sea Shanty.  In order to complete your mission you’ll travel to a variety of islands to gather goods and fight vile creatures, all in the guise of a match 3 game.  The brilliance here is that your characters as well as all the bad guys and the items that you need to collect appear on the board, and you must match items and shift the board to get everything you need.  As you make matches the board shifts in the direction you swiped to make the match, so take your time and consider your moves so you don’t accidentally swipe yourself into a bad situation.

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To build up your power you must match 3 or more swords, and you can only defeat a monster if your power is greater than or equal to theirs.  If you get sucked into a battle where your power is inadequate you’ll lose a heart.  When all of your hearts are gone you can resurrect yourself by spending some gold, otherwise it’s game over – thankfully though this only means you lose your stats and island progress; all skills, gold and items collected remain intact.  Special items like treasure chests, presents and items to fulfill quests must be picked up by swiping your pirate on top of them.  To engage a creature you swipe to switch places with them.  When combat is complete (assuming you had enough power) they will leave a treasure chest and you will earn experience that helps you level up.  With each new level you can increase one stat and you unlock new skills that you can purchase and use.

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Selecting the right skills is essential to doing well later in the game.  You can only have 5 “active” skills selected at a time, but I’m pretty sure you can swap them out whenever you’re on the main map.  An active skill requires you to tap it in order to use it, at which point it has a cool down of a certain number of matches before you can use it again.  Treasure chests earn you up to three random gifts, which may include parts required to build ships.  Each ship gives you some sort of benefit during game play.  I’m sure there are a few things I’ve left out, but there is so much fun stuff here you won’t mind discovering it all on your own.  The game does support Game Center for achievements, though honestly this is one of those games where you really don’t need it.

The graphics are fun.  The pirates look cool and you can get a bunch of different outfits that you can mix and match for your character.  There are several different tile sets depending on what you are exploring so it should never get boring.  The sound effects are right on, and I like the fact that the different objects you match actually have distinct noises.  The music is great.  It’s one part Broadway and one part pirate with just a dash of Scooby Doo thrown in to spice things up.  This is definitely one of the better audio / visual presentations for a match 3 game.

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If you like match 3 games, you will definitely want to check this one out.  If you’re into grinding to complete quests or achievements, Scurvy Scallywags is for you.  About the only way you could not like this game is if you prefer the same old same old and don’t have a sense of humor.  Well, okay, I suppose if you really don’t like match 3 games then Scurvy Scallywags might not float your boat, but then you’ll just be missing out on a great game.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: Scurvy Scallywags Developer: Beep Games, Inc.
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.2 Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: $1.99 App Size: 88.5 MB
  • Awesome Broadway musical pirate theme
  • Unique match 3 game play
  • Cool skills
  • Fun visuals
  • Wonderful music
  • Skill cool down time can be a bit extreme

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Sparkle 2 in Review – Lame Name, Incredible Game http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/06/14/sparkle-2-in-review-lame-name-incredible-game/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/06/14/sparkle-2-in-review-lame-name-incredible-game/#comments Fri, 14 Jun 2013 14:14:12 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72725 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 … Read more]]>

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.

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Te basic premise is that you have a series of objects, in this case orbs, which travel from point A to point B.  You have to stop them by launching additional orbs into the groups to make matches of three or more.  Matches disappear, gaps close up, and if you’re lucky more matches will occur to cause a chain reaction.  Ultimately you must eliminate each and every group on a level before you can safely move on to the next.  Every few levels you will earn a new enhancement that can be used in one of three slots on your slinger, and these can be changed out at the beginning of each level.  Try various combinations to see what works well together with your playing style.  There are also some cool power ups that mostly help you eliminate some of the excess orbs on the board, though a couple of them just affect the speed of the groups.  Power ups are dished out for every three shots you fire in a row that result in matches.

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The only thing you have to worry about it tapping where you want to fire.  Amulets are used simply because you have slotted them, and power ups are activated when you shoot them with an orb.  Tapping is ultra responsive, so if you’re trying to switch active orbs in your slinger, make sure you actually tap on the slinger instead of close to it.  I’ve misfired many a time because of that, which is strictly my fault.  Story mode contains 90 levels that will entertain and challenge you, and after you’ve played a certain number of those you’ll unlock Challenges mode, where you can play certain key levels at three different difficulty settings.  There’s also a Survival mode where you try to earn up to five stars on several different levels by playing for as long as you can.  Throw in a few achievements and there is certainly plenty to do.  All they need to figure out now is some sort of cool two player mode.

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The graphics are great when you consider that you’re basically dealing with a bunch of orbs and some fancy special effects.  I’m not sure what else they could add, though the cut scenes could be a little more interesting visually.  The sound effects work really well with the action, and the spell sounds and voiceovers are especially well done.  Hands down, though, the best part of the audio / visual experience is the music.  I’m positive many of the tracks are remixes or simply borrowed from the original, but whatever the origin this is some of the best music for a casual game I’ve ever heard.  If you were in a different room and heard the music blaring you might think someone was watching a movie.

If you like this style of game play there’s no question that you’ll want to get Sparkle 2.  If you’ve never played a marble popper type game before, the Sparkle series is probably one of the best places to start.  The action is fast and furious, the visuals are quite nice, and the soundtrack is amazing.  If this doesn’t get you hooked on the genre, I don’t know what will.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: Sparkle 2 Developer: 10tons Ltd
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $2.99 App Size:
  • Same fast paced, addictive action as the original
  • Lots of enhancements to earn and mix / match
  • Sharp, flashy visals
  • Killer soundtrack
  • Nothing significant

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The Room in Review – One Location, Plenty Of Fun http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/05/24/the-room-in-review-one-location-plenty-of-fun/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/05/24/the-room-in-review-one-location-plenty-of-fun/#comments Fri, 24 May 2013 16:45:09 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72662 I couldn’t decide if I wanted to invest in The Room or not, but I was really tempted to grab it when the game went on sale for 99 cents.  A raving review in a TouchArcade forum I frequent pushed me over the edge and I made the purchase, but then I began to play it … Read more]]>

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to invest in The Room or not, but I was really tempted to grab it when the game went on sale for 99 cents.  A raving review in a TouchArcade forum I frequent pushed me over the edge and I made the purchase, but then I began to play it and started having second thoughts.  Once I went back to it after a day or two, however, something clicked and I realized how brilliant the game was.  I’ve always been more interested in Sierra and LucasArts style adventure games with lots of convoluted object puzzles and silly dialog than pure puzzle based games like Myst, but something about The Room captured my attention and wouldn’t let go.

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The entirety of the game takes place in a single room, and as a point of fact centers around a single entity, at least as far as I’ve seen.  The object is a large ornately carved box designed by your professor friend, and your task is to unlock all of its mysteries and figure out what the professor was studying before he disappeared.  In some ways you’ll really want to learn more about what he was studying, but truthfully you’ll be so intrigued by figuring out what the answer to the next puzzle is that you will forget there’s a reason behind what you’re doing.  That is, of course, until you find the next note that the professor has left.

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What makes this game stand out from basically any other puzzle / adventure game you’ve played before is how well it makes use of the features on your device.  The game is 3D, but that’s not just for looks.  You’ll constantly be rotating your view point and zooming in to explore the box and all that it holds.  Puzzles might require you to tilt the device to accomplish something.  A roll top lid actually expects you to use your finger to swipe as if you were rolling the lid.  Drag a drawer to open it up.  Flick a switch to reposition it.  This is one of the most interactive puzzle games I’ve ever seen that doesn’t require you to don virtual reality gear.  There are even some puzzles that require you to use multiple fingers to manipulate more than one thing at the same time.  And just wait until you have to start zooming in on and manipulating inventory items!

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Equally compelling is the hint system.  Each hint has multiple levels, and so far none of them have really outright given me the answer to anything.  They’re really meant more to strongly guide you in the direction that you need to go, which is the way a hint system should work.  If I had one gripe about the whole thing it’s that there are times where I just had no idea what to do without a hint, but since the hints aren’t too revealing I don’t mind that very much.

The game looks great.  I don’t know that I’d go so far as to say “eerily” realistic like the iTunes description, but the visuals certainly transcend most iOS games in terms of detail, especially when it comes to puzzle games.  You occasionally run into the typical 3D redraw issues when zooming in on certain areas, but for the most part everything is rendered exceptionally well.  The background is more ambiance than music, and that I would describe as eerie for a different reason.  It often reminds me of the noises one might hear in a Japanese horror film like The Grudge.  The sound effects all fit in nicely with whatever it is you are manipulating, whether it be wood, metal or whatever else.

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The Room is an amazing game.  It turns being locked into a room and focusing on one main object an engaging process.  I would certainly not want to see all adventure games go this route, but if a developer snuck one of these into the App Store every once in a while I certainly wouldn’t complain. One thing I hope more developers do take away from this product is that it doesn’t need to be an action game in order for you to take advantage of all the nuances the device has to offer.  If you like your adventure with a heavy dose of puzzles and a little story to tie everything together, you really don’t want to ignore this game any longer.

Kiss It Rating- 5/5

App Summary
Title: The Room Developer: Fireproof Games
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: $1.99 App Size:
  • Wonderful puzzles that take advantage of things like multi-touch and tilt
  • Excellent visuals
  • Great sound
  • Sometimes difficult to figure out what to do next

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Sporos in Review – Puzzling And Relaxing All In One http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/03/02/sporos-in-review-puzzling-and-relaxing-all-in-one/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/03/02/sporos-in-review-puzzling-and-relaxing-all-in-one/#comments Sat, 02 Mar 2013 22:47:34 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72043 Sporos is one of those games that makes you wonder why they haven’t done something like it before.  The game is like a chain reaction puzzler except that instead of trying to destroy objects and clear the board you’re attempting to fill the board with the few objects you’re given.  It’s a clever take on the … Read more]]>

Sporos is one of those games that makes you wonder why they haven’t done something like it before.  The game is like a chain reaction puzzler except that instead of trying to destroy objects and clear the board you’re attempting to fill the board with the few objects you’re given.  It’s a clever take on the genre, and if it’s been done before I must have missed it.  Whatever the case I’m glad I’ve been introduced to the idea now, and Sporos is certainly a great starting point for getting acquainted with this type of gameplay.

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So where you’d normally start out with a full playing field, in Sporos all the tiles are empty.  At the top of the board are multiple pieces, each of which has several lines drawn in them.  The lines indicate in which directions spores will be created once you play the piece.  You have two objectives: use all the pieces and fill all the tiles.  Spores that are created can overlap each other, but you cannot place a piece on a tile that already contains a spore.  What’s really neat is that you can drag a piece to a tile and until you let go to place the piece it will show you all the tiles that will be filled in if you use the piece.  If you decide you don’t want to use a piece just drag it back to the top, even once you’ve placed it on the board.

I’ve only seen one deviation in the gameplay at this point, which is tiles that redirect the flow of spores when they are encountered.  While it might be nice to have more specialty tiles (and maybe they do come later since there are 500 levels), it impresses me how well the game holds my attention with what it has.  It also makes me look forward to getting to new level sets in the hopes that they will bring new features.  One thing that’s really refreshing about Sporos is that there are no time limits and you don’t get penalized for taking your time to think.  It’s nice when a game actually encourages you to plan your attack, as it were.  There’s no score to be had, but there are 19 achievements to earn, several of which revolve around acquiring stars.  I’m not sure what drives a three star rating, but if you don’t get three stars on a level you can simply go back to the menu and select the level again to “reset the counter” so to speak.

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The visuals are fairly simple, yet they can be quite mesmerizing.  There’s just enough movement taking place to keep you from falling into a daze, and the neon spores are a nice contrast the more basic colors of the background and tiles.  The music is very soothing and also sounds vaguely familiar.  It really enhances the hypnotic effect of the presentation.  The sound effects sound like popping bubbles, which is another soothing noise, at least for me.  I guess once you’ve beaten the game you can use the sights and sounds to lull you to sleep on a rough night!

This is one of the best puzzle games I’ve played in a long time. It gives you a feeling of satisfaction without the frustration of believing that you only beat a level because you got lucky.  It’s an original concept that sets itself apart from the crowd in a good way.  And it has an incredible presentation without resorting to another cute leading character (and don’t get me wrong, I like cute leading characters).  If you’re looking for something different to play, look no further than Sporos.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: Sporos Developer: AppXplore Sdn Bhd
Reviewed Ver:  1.1 Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $0.99 App Size:  7.5MB
  • Original concept
  • Gives you time to think
  • Plenty of levels
  • Aesthetics are mesmerizing
  • Universal App
  • Nothing significant

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Metal Slug 2 in Review: Who Needs 3D? http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/02/22/metal-slug-2-in-review-who-needs-3d/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/02/22/metal-slug-2-in-review-who-needs-3d/#comments Sat, 23 Feb 2013 02:57:21 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=71984 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 … Read more]]>

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.

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The plot goes something like this… wait, there’s a plot?  If you can remember “shoot the bad guys and free the POW’s”, then not much else matters.  What I’ve always loved about these games is you pretty much hold down the trigger and run.  Anything that needs to be blasted will be summarily demolished, and everything else will be left alone.  When you get close enough to the enemy you’ll go commando and take them out with your knife.  Along the way there will be plenty of POWs to free, and in addition to thanking you for their rescue they will provide you with some sort of bonus, whether it is a power up, bombs or simply something to give you more points.  There are also fun quirks like one level where picking up the food left behind will temporarily bloat you and make you slower, and another level where mummies’ visibly bad breath will turn you into a dead-head as well.

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I believe every level has a vehicle you can commandeer at some point, my favorite conceptually being the weapon toting camel but practically being the jet fighter.  If you can actually keep the vehicle long enough to get to the boss it makes that battle so much easier, not to mention the fact that you’ll get lots of bonus points if you actually beat the boss with the vehicle.  The game only has six levels, but even on easy mode I’m still working to beat them all, and that’s with 3 lives on each of the 20 continues you’re given.  I don’t know what the other difficulty settings are like, but I imagine Very Hard could even give seasoned players a run for their money.  Arcade mode lets you attempt to run through all six levels in a row, while Mission mode gives you the chance to practice on any level you’ve beaten in Arcade mode.  There’s also a two player mode, but I haven’t had the chance to double team it with another player yet.

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To move your solider you have a virtual joypad, and to shoot, jump and throw bombs you have three buttons.  You can actually position these controls anywhere on the screen you’d like.  I’ve never had a problem with responsiveness on any of the buttons, and only occasionally does it seem difficult to fire in the correct direction with the virtual joypad, which usually involves trying to fire down.  I will say that with the default button layout my hands actually did start to tire around the middle of level 5.  There are leaderboards thanks to Game Center, and for those who don’t feel that completing the game is enough of an accomplishment there are also 16 achievements, one of which is beating the game without using a continue.

Of course as fun as the action is, what makes this game stand out is the visuals.  Sure it has that 90’s pixel art look to it.  But this game is still one of the most detailed of its kind that I’ve seen.  Enemy soldiers laugh when you bite the dust, only to look shocked and scared after you show up again out of nowhere.  Your solider even huffs and puffs with relief when a level is complete.  The background is full of little extras and everything is exquisitely animated.  The sound effects simply augment everything that’s going on.  The only thing missing there is possibly some chatter when you see people talking on the side of the street.  The music is pure 90’s video game gold, and I’m pretty sure each level has its own theme.

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I’m not suggesting that modern developers can’t make a good run and gun, but just as someone designing a competent vertical shooter should play 1942, anyone that cares about the quality of their run and gun games must take on the Metal Slug series.  Sure there have been other amazing series – Contra comes to mind – but Metal Slug is the one I always find myself drawn back to when I need a quick “blast ‘em all” fix.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: METAL SLUG 2 Developer: SNK PLAYMORE
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $3.99 App Size:
  • Intense, addictive action
  • A good sense of humor
  • Amazing visuals
  • Great music and sound
  • Progress in arcade mode isn’t saved
  • Firing down can be challenging

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Dungelot in Review – Rogue-like At Its Best http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/01/20/dungelot-in-review-rogue-like-at-its-best/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/01/20/dungelot-in-review-rogue-like-at-its-best/#comments Sun, 20 Jan 2013 20:42:13 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=71730 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 … Read more]]>

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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.

review-dungelot-2There might be a plot to this game, but if so it’s basically superfluous to any enjoyment you might get from Dungelot.  You choose a character – paladin at first and others once you’ve unlocked them – and attempt to conquer level after level of the dungeon until one gets the better of you.  The levels are randomly generated and consist of monsters, loot and occasionally someone to help you out.  You reveal the dungeon a tile at a time by tapping on them, and you don’t have to fight anything until there are no other tiles to reveal or you haven’t found the key to the next level yet.  This is actually a cool feature compared to “old fashioned” rouge-likes where you basically had to fight or run as the monsters came at you in “real time”.

Treasure consists of gold that you can use to upgrade your characters or open certain “greedy doors”.  You might also find hearts to restore some health, spells to alter stats or directly damage monsters and objects that help you while you wield them.  Physical objects can be traded in for money if you need it, and spells can be exchanged for hearts.  The exchange rate might not be what you desire, but since you only have eight inventory slots this option often comes in handy.  Thankfully multiple spells of the same type only take up one slot, though the same can’t be said of multiple objects of the same ilk.  Because of your limited storage capacity it’s also a good idea to use items instead of trying to hoard them.

review-dungelot-3Control is tap based and I have not experienced any responsiveness issues so far.  There is Game Center integration for leaderboards, and once a game is over you do get “medals” of sorts, but there aren’t any actual Game Center achievements.  Most of the replay factor comes from the fact that you have to work pretty hard to level up characters and unlock new ones, and the levels themselves are randomly generated.  The main drawback to the game is that there is no formal save.  If you leave it running in the background you can continue where you left off, but quitting the game means you have to start over.  My understanding is that is going to be remedied in a future update.  What won’t change is that the save is not for those who want to try something, end up getting killed and then want to go back and try something else.  Once you’re dead the game is over unless you have a way to resurrect.

The visuals are great.  Everything is detailed and cartoony at the same time, and there are some wonderful character designs.  There are also some nifty special effects strewn throughout the game.  The sound effects are decent enough, with some variance depending on what type of creature you’re fighting.  The music is good but actually a bit ominous at times, which doesn’t really fit the overall mood of the game.  At least it’s there and it doesn’t get boring.

review-dungelot-4This game works so well because it’s fast paced, randomly generated and despite being somewhat repetitive game play wise, it always seems like you’re discovering something new.  The lack of a true save game might be a turn off to some, but in the end the rest of the package more than makes up for this design choice.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: Dungelot Developer: Red Winter Software
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 3.2
Price: $0.99 App Size:
  • Simple, fun game play
  • Randomly generated levels
  • Cool creatures
  • Lots to discover
  • Great visuals and good music
  • Somewhat repetitive
  • Currently no save game

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Pudding Monsters HD in Review – No Bill Cosby But Still Fun http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/01/10/pudding-monsters-hd-in-review-no-bill-cosby-but-still-fun/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/01/10/pudding-monsters-hd-in-review-no-bill-cosby-but-still-fun/#comments Thu, 10 Jan 2013 12:11:44 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=71680 Cut The Rope was one of the first games to be billed as an “Angry Birds killer”, and while I don’t believe it quite made it to that status, there’s no denying the game’s impact on the mobile puzzle game genre.  The developers are back with an entirely different concept in Pudding Monsters, but the … Read more]]>

Cut The Rope was one of the first games to be billed as an “Angry Birds killer”, and while I don’t believe it quite made it to that status, there’s no denying the game’s impact on the mobile puzzle game genre.  The developers are back with an entirely different concept in Pudding Monsters, but the important thing is that the game is just as entertaining as Cut The Rope.  Gamers looking for a challenge might be a bit disappointed, as the current level sets are a bit on the easy side overall, but those looking for a cute casual gaming experience are sure to love the whole package.

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Pudding Monsters is one of those games where you slide playing pieces around the screen to try and get them to certain spots.  The pieces in this case are all manner of different jiggly creatures, and they’ll only stop when there is an object or another creature in the way.  Objects simply stop the creatures, and in the case of ice blocks break on contact.  When a creature collides with another creature they merge to become a bigger creature and lose any type of “powers” the original creatures had.  The one exception to this is the eyeball, which can’t merge with another creature until it has rolled in some goop to become a creature itself.  There is also a replicator object that instead of stopping creatures creates clones of them as they pass through.

Your primary objective on each level is to merge all of the creatures into one big one, and while I haven’t experiment much with the concept yet I believe there is more than one way to solve some of these puzzles.  The secondary objective is to make sure that by the time you’ve merged all the creatures, part of the resulting monster is resting on top of each of the three stars found on a given level.  There are 24 base levels and a bonus level to each pack, and currently there are 3 level packs.  I’ve managed to get 3 stars in all but the bonus level of the last pack, which is why I caution that this might not be the most difficult puzzle game on the market.  Casual players should have no problem getting into it, though, and kids will love it.

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The controls are simple – touch a monster and swipe it in the direction you want to go.  There is nothing else to interact with because the creatures themselves handle the rest.  The only problem I’ve ever had with the controls is accidentally hitting the reset button once or twice, but that’s just me being clumsy.  Besides earning three stars on each level there are 20 game center achievements to get, a couple of which might take some thought to accomplish.  Unfortunately there’s not much replay factor beyond that, but there’s more than enough fun trying to accomplish the goals in the first place.

Like Cut The Rope, the atmosphere in Pudding Monsters is best described as cute.  The visuals are quite colorful and there are amusing little details including various objects like school buses sticking out of the creatures’ heads.  It’s fun to watch the critters dance around while they are waiting for you to do something as well.  The sound effects are decent enough, though if you get too many of certain types of monsters on the screen at once it can get a bit annoying.  Sadly there is only one musical track spread across the three worlds, but it suits the game well and never really gets boring.

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As a gamer that likes puzzle games but tends not to be very good at them, I appreciated the thoughtful yet mostly easy level sets.  The concept itself was a nice variation of a time tested style of play, and the atmosphere was just right to draw you in and make you smile.  I hope there are more level sets soon, and now that we’ve gotten the basic stuff out of the way some more challenge would be fine, but whatever comes down the road you can bet I’m ready for more Pudding Monsters madness!

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: Pudding Monsters HD Developer: ZeptoLab UK Limited
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $0.99 App Size:
  • Simple, addictive game play
  • Colorful graphics
  • Cool background music
  • Tad on the easy side
  • Lacks replay value

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Forever Lost: Episode 1 HD in Review – Can You Picture That? http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/12/13/forever-lost-episode-1-hd-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/12/13/forever-lost-episode-1-hd-in-review/#comments Thu, 13 Dec 2012 14:43:28 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=71328 I probably shouldn’t admit this, but there’s something about wandering around an asylum that’s always been oddly intriguing to me, which I think is why I tend to gravitate towards such games.  It’s also a well visited subject, as I can recall games back as far as my Radio Shack color computer dealing with the … Read more]]>

I probably shouldn’t admit this, but there’s something about wandering around an asylum that’s always been oddly intriguing to me, which I think is why I tend to gravitate towards such games.  It’s also a well visited subject, as I can recall games back as far as my Radio Shack color computer dealing with the topic (if you don’t know what that is, congrats on being a younger gamer).  Forever Lost: Episode 1 HD is a more recent entry in the list, and it’s actually one of the best ones I’ve played in quite a while.  I do miss the fact that there are no wacky inmates to converse with, but otherwise it has managed to nail the atmosphere pretty well, and has a nice balance of object puzzle solving and mini-games to complete.  Now if I could just find the skip button for the puzzle I’m stuck on…

You don’t know where you are, the game isn’t clear that you know who you are, but you’re definitely not in Kansas any more… or are you?  You’ll have to explore every nook and cranny of the “asylum” that you realize you’re in, gathering objects, solving puzzles and completing the odd mini-game that’s conveniently been placed in the way of your progress.  Thankfully the game leans more towards object based puzzles than mini-games, and for the most part the mini-games are thoughtful but not hair-pulling.  Of course I say that as I am currently stuck on one of the mini-games, and I can’t seem to find the skip button so that I don’t have to beat my head against the wall (or maybe THAT is the puzzle?)  There is a hint system, though I’m a bit disappointed that I actually have to leave the game in order to use it.

The story is told mostly through pages scrawled in journals that you find scattered throughout the asylum, though an occasional flashback helps confuse the issues just a bit.  There wasn’t an abundance of details laid before you, but I presume that’s what the sequel will be for.  Even though you don’t get a novel’s full of journal entries or a fan-film length set of cut sequences, there’s enough to keep you wanting to press forward all the time.

To that end, “pressing forward” primarily constitutes tapping the appropriate item at the right time.  There is a few times where you actually get to drag your finger around to do something, but there are no tricks that require actions like tilting the device or anything.  One neat feature that’s unique to Forever Lost is that you can take a picture of each scene with the camera you get early on.  Beyond that you have the capability to scribble notes on each picture to help you remember important details.  I’m hoping for part 2 they might let you type on the pictures instead, since my “less than slender” fingers mostly produced markings that might make a doctor proud, but did little to help me out.

The atmosphere is extremely well crafted.  Detailed 3D rendered scenes coupled with some ominous background music set a moody tone of hopelessness and a desire to get free of your creepy confinements.  I like the fact that when you get the UV torch you can use it in any room you’re at, even though it’s only needed specifically in one room.  There are also some nifty blurred effects applied when you use a special pair of glasses in rooms where they weren’t intended to be used.  Overall it’s a nice package aesthetically, though the sound effects are actually pretty hum drum (this isn’t one of those games where there are dripping faucets or overhead lights that are shorting out around every turn).

It happens that I did finally complete the puzzle that had me stumped for a while (turns out I was over thinking it).  While I did peek at the hints a couple of times, in the end Forever Lost turned out to be a nicely balanced adventure game that most players should feel satisfied rather than frustrated with.  It’s a great foundation for what I imagine will be a two or three game story arc, and based on this first installment I expect to see some interesting things happening in the future.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: Forever Lost: Episode 1 HD Developer: Glitch Games
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $1.99 App Size:
  • Well balanced game play
  • Keeps you wanting more
  • Looks great
  • Hint system on main menu
  • Lacks atmospheric sound effects

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Fighting Fantasy: Blood Of The Zombies in Review – A 30th Anniversary Treat http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/11/29/fighting-fantasy-blood-of-the-zombies-in-review-a-30th-anniversary-treat/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/11/29/fighting-fantasy-blood-of-the-zombies-in-review-a-30th-anniversary-treat/#comments Thu, 29 Nov 2012 16:02:00 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=71101 One sign that you’re getting older is when things you remember from your childhood start having their 30th anniversaries.  Such is the case for me and the Fighting Fantasy gamebook series.  Granted I was only 10 when the first one debuted, but you get my drift.  In this year that marks the third decade of … Read more]]>

One sign that you’re getting older is when things you remember from your childhood start having their 30th anniversaries.  Such is the case for me and the Fighting Fantasy gamebook series.  Granted I was only 10 when the first one debuted, but you get my drift.  In this year that marks the third decade of the series’ existence the man himself, Ian Livingstone, has penned a new entry called Blood of the Zombies.  Thanks to Tin Man Games we can enjoy this milestone adventure on our iOS devices, and enjoy is being quite conservative.  I’d say this is probably one of the best electronic gamebook adventures yet.

You’re an innocent bystander trapped in a cell in some sort of compound where a mad doctor is turning people into zombies for some nefarious purpose.  You can’t get much more cliché then that, but you also can’t help loving every moment of it.  You’ll constantly have to decide between opening that suspicious door – they don’t really mean “keep out”, do they? – or travelling further down a darkened hallway that could lead to even greater doom.  You’ll collect a variety of items from useful weapons to a tape measure, and even find some money along the way that you can spend.  Not only does this have the most extensive inventory that I’ve seen in such a game, but I believe it’s the first one to have a store of sorts.  Ultimately, of course, you’ll get the chance to kill plenty of zombies, and if you’re lucky maybe even the good doctor himself.

The only stat you have in this game is stamina, which determines how many hits you can take before you die.  Both your starting stamina and the number of bookmarks (save spots) you have available are determined by which difficulty level you choose.  Combat seems to be a simplified affair in this gamebook as well, as so far all adversaries have only required one point of damage to kill and most only do one point of damage in return.  Your die roll determines how many bad guys are killed, and then the remaining villains attack you to inflict damage until either you or they die.

In standard gamebook fashion you’ll get one or more pages of story followed by several choices, some of which may not be available if certain criteria aren’t met or you don’t have a particular object in your possession.  You never access your inventory directly for anything other than med kits, and it appears that the only way to switch weapons is if you run out of ammo with your current one or you find a better one.  Because of the many branching paths you can play the game several times with a different experience each play through, regardless of whether you ultimately win or lose.  There are many achievements to earn as well, and an interesting little read in the extras section on how the Final Fantasy series came to be in the first place.

This is a gamebook adventure, so a bulk of it is text and interface, but what a stylish interface it is.  The default settings are clear enough, but you can adjust the font size and style if you like.  Most sections have a little illustration on the last page, and certain sections are prefaced by a picture just like you’d find in the actual books.  As you stumble across each picture in the game you can then go view it in a gallery along with a black and white version of the illustration.  There is some nice and creepy music that plays in the background, and all actions, including things like “tossing” dice and “turning” pages are accompanied by the appropriate sound effects.

If you call yourself a gamebook adventure fan and you don’t have Blood of the Zombies, I’m hereby revoking your theoretical membership to the fan club.  If you’ve somehow never managed to delve into the Choose Your Own Adventure genre, this might just be the best place to start.  I haven’t gotten to the “good” ending yet, but I’ve certainly enjoyed all the time I’ve spent trying.  I can’t wait to see what both Tin Man Games and Ian Livingstone have in store for us next (there will be a next time, I presume).

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: Fighting Fantasy: Blood of the Zombies Developer: Tin Man Games
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: $5.99 App Size:
  • Excellent writing
  • Abundant inventory
  • Simple but satisfying combat
  • Wonderful interface
  • Lots of zombies
  • Not this time

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Wonderputt in Review – 18 Holes Of Imagination http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/10/15/wonderputt-in-review-18-holes-of-imagination/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/10/15/wonderputt-in-review-18-holes-of-imagination/#comments Mon, 15 Oct 2012 14:39:39 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=70238 I’m not really a fan of electronic golf games.  In fact, the more realistic they are, the less interested I am.  Mini-golf games, on the other hand, can be quite entertaining given the right dash of something.  In the case of Wonderputt, it’s the way the holes are set up.  I’m not just talking about … Read more]]>

I’m not really a fan of electronic golf games.  In fact, the more realistic they are, the less interested I am.  Mini-golf games, on the other hand, can be quite entertaining given the right dash of something.  In the case of Wonderputt, it’s the way the holes are set up.  I’m not just talking about level design, either.  It’s great fun simply watching the course get created!  Let me explain…

Truthfully, Wonderputt is pretty standard when it comes to game play mechanics.  You drag from the ball in the opposite direction that you want it to travel, then release when you feel you’ve given it enough power as indicated by the growing arrow.  Just like any golf game each hole has a par, but beyond that you can shoot to your heart’s content until you sink the ball in the hole.  Of course you won’t get a good score that way, but that’s okay if all you care about is looking at the game and having fun.  Once you’ve completed the course you can go through it again trying to collect fragments of a rainbow, and after that it’s just a matter of getting all the Game Center achievements you might have missed the first couple of times through.

What makes this game so charming is the level design.  The entire course is constructed in one gigantic not-quite-cube type of construct.  You’ll travel from a farm to an archeological dig to a construction site and beyond, and even get launched into space.  Each hole is cleverly designed, and several of them are quite interactive.  Better yet, you get to watch as most of them are set up.  For instance, on the farm you’ll watch cows graze out a path for your ball, only to get carted off by a UFO before you can play.  The game is even cool in how it gets your ball from one hole to the next, whether it’s being blown out of a whale’s blow hole or being dropped off by a passing pigeon.  If you’ve ever played the adventure game The Tiny Bang Story (TMA Review), Wonderputt feels like what that developer would come up with if they were making a miniature golf game.

The graphics are quite impressive.  Not in a “wow look at that 3D” sort of way, mind you, but more in a “pixel art rocks” fashion.  The fact that everything is packed on a single screen means that most things are necessarily tiny, even on the bigger iPad screen, yet the details are still pretty amazing.  The animation is top notch as well.  To top it off, the sound effects are a perfect compliment to the action.  The only thing I’m not particularly thrilled with is the music.  It’s not bad, and actually rather tranquil, but it just doesn’t have the same flair as the rest of the aesthetics.

Wonderputt is a great mini-golf game.  There are no real frills when it comes to game play, but the presentation more than makes up for that.  I’ve played through the course at least four times already, and I’m not even close to being bored with it.  Now if I could just stop getting worse at certain holes instead of better!

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: Wonderputt Developer: Damp Gnat Ltd
Reviewed Ver:  1.0.1 Min OS Req: 4.0
Price: $0.99 App Size:  20.5 MB
  • Incredible level design
  • Fantastic visuals
  • Great sound effects
  • Sometimes hard to “grab” ball
  • Music nice but lackluster

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