I really wanted to hate this game. Everything from the icon, to the design, to the introductory “story,” to the overly simplified controls initially made my skin crawl. I could only expect for this feeling to continue on as I trudged through next few hours of gameplay. It wasn’t until the fourth or fifth run through that I realized my cynicism had become, dare I say it, sugar coated. My frustrations began to find grounding in the fact that I wasn’t doing as well as I knew I could as opposed to a true aversion to the game itself. This is when I realized that I had more of a sweet tooth than I would have ever guessed.
There was a time when I was really into the original Diablo, and like many players I thought I was going to wear out my mouse with all the button mashing. Mad Acorn is that game for my iPod Touch. In fact, sometimes I get worried that I’m going to leave a finger indentation on the screen where my thumb is most active. Then I forget about my concerns as the next wave of bad guys roll by. I’ve never been a fan of Tap Tap Revenge style games, but when a game in an established genre tightly integrates music into the mechanics, that’s a whole different story. Not to mention that Mad Acorn is the cream of the crop in that regards.
There’s nothing wrong with cheap. I eat cheap. I wear cheap. I make cheap jokes. And for the longest time, Jaben shipped mainly cheap amps to my cohort: the masses, God bless ‘em. But Jaben have gotten off that kick. They’ll ring the charity bells in another season. Today is the day of the Porta Tube+ valve headphone amp/DAC for your iPad/Mac, a delightful machine for bourgeois ears, and sound fit for a king.
The name of that kingdom? GoVibe.
When I first saw Rune Raiders I had a feeling it would be something different, and it turns out it really is. You’ll find it often referred to as a RPG, but it’s a slick little strategy game that might best be described as Fire Emblem for the iPhone, and that’s not even a good analogy. Suffice it to say that if you like the atmosphere of a dungeon crawl, the need to think instead of simply slash your way to victory, and game design that doesn’t fit the standard mold, Rune Raiders is a good choice for you.
I hated dolling out a mere GRAB to the Ortofon eQ7. But good build quality, acceesories, and sound alone didn’t do the trick. It could have been easier to wear, and the cable could have been a LOT better. It could have been the eQ5.
You’d think by now that “infinite runner” games might be a bit stale. Well, maybe you wouldn’t, but I certainly have thought that from time to time. As I play through GoNinja I’m once again reminded that this theory isn’t necessarily true. Depending on the atmosphere, a perpetually moving protagonist on a constantly scrolling and somewhat generic background can still be entertaining. Apparently, a merciless ninja slicing down everything that crosses his path is just such a scenario. It works just fine for me, at least.
In January of last year a unique new puzzle game called Cardboard Castle hit the App Store. If I were to quickly summarize Valentin – The Valiant Viking I’d say it was a “spiritual successor” to Cardboard Castle, even though it’s not by the same developers. The game has a similar knack for silly solutions to thoughtful puzzles and the visuals were clearly inspired. Still, Valentin does an excellent job of standing on its own two feet, and it throws a wrinkle or two into the mix to make sure it is a completely different game.
It seems like so many in the puzzle genre revolve around physics based gameplay that it’s nice once in a while to load up a game like BrainJewel. After playing this offering from TribePlay for a little bit you suddenly realize how nice it is to simply fling stuff at other stuff and get points for it. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that physics games aren’t fun, nor am I claiming that this isn’t a good game, because neither statement would be true. I’m just suggesting that if you’re going to tackle a title like BrainJewel, you might want to have a game around that won’t require nearly as many brain cells when you need to take a break every once in a while.
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.
Last week I half-arsedly introduced two accessories made specifically for the iDevice audiophile, the Venturecraft Go-DAP Unit 4.0 and the Cypher Labs AlgoRhythm Solo. Both are able and willing to replace larger, more expensive and decidedly untransportable HiFi gear, but only one is worthy of doing so.