Posts Tagged ‘Universal’

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Dragonfly Fleet review (iOS / Universal)

April 23, 2014

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10 word description: Insect themed multi-mode vertically scrolling shoot-em-up.

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10 word review: Addictive arcade action with great controls and two-player modes.

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You will like this if you enjoy: Retro style shoot-em-up games. High scores. US military band music.

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The good news: Compulsive high-score chasing gameplay. Great controls, particularly in solo mode. Rousing military band music.

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The bad news: Brown background is a bit brown.

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Arcadelife verdict: I’m laughing (right now, I really am) because once again I’ve got the top score in one of Keith’s games. First to a million points – they can never take that away from me.

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What can I say about DF? It needs another background colour. Come on Keith, give us an unlockable blue background when we reach 500,000 points! Apart from that, it’s pure shooter genius on your iPad (or iPhone) and the high-score chasing is just as much of a hook as it is in the Toxic Frog games, only this time with shooting. Did I mention that there are four different modes, including a co-op team mode (that can be played solo if you’re incredibly clever) and a versus mode.

Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 7.5/10
Visuals – 7.5/10
Controls – 9.5/10
Content – 9/10
Fun – 9/10
Final rating – 8.9/10

LOTS OF BUGS (TO SHOOT)

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 2.0
iTunes link

Ramble Interactive website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
5th gen iPod Touch (iOS 7.1)
4th gen iPad (iOS 7.1)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.
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Bullet Pea review (iOS / Universal)

April 19, 2014

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10 word description: Retro platformer. 15 levels. 4 game modes. 25 GC achievements.

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10 word review: Tight, fun touch-screen platformer. A true hidden gem.

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You will like this if you enjoy: Retro platformers. Bugaboo The Flea (wikipedia link).

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The good news: Innovative and dependable control method, more like the kind you would expect in a golf game but it works well here. Good level design. Varied level graphics. Four different and consistently entertaining game modes. Lots of achievements and 180 collectible jigsaw pieces. No IAPs.

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The bad news: It will probably go unnoticed and sell maybe 3 copies, despite anything I say about how good it is.

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Arcadelife verdict: This is a great platform game with a control method that avoids d-pads, buttons and tilting. The default mode is great and the game would have been fine with just that one mode; the inclusion of three additional modes (with nothing requiring an IAP to unlock) is wonderful.

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Predator mode is the one that most reminded me of Bugaboo The Flea, with each level being patrolled by a bloody great Cthulhu looking head, a massive insect or some other floating monster. If you beat three levels of that mode, you get a chase mode where an evil twin chases you around each level, killing you if it touches you. The final mode is a time trial that I have to admit I haven’t unlocked yet.

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Overall – Bullet Pea is a very cool game and you should get it.

Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 8/10
Visuals – 7.5/10
Controls – 9/10
Content – 8.5/10
Fun – 8/10
Final rating – 8.5/10

VERY GOOD

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0.1
iTunes link
Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
5th gen iPod Touch (iOS 7.1)
4th gen iPad (iOS 7.1)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.
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Dragonfly Fleet preview – iOS multi-mode shooter

April 7, 2014

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If you have ever wanted to go head-to-head in a shoot-em-up game on your iPad (or iPhone) against a friend (or your 6 year old son), I’d like to introduce you to Dragonfly Fleet, the upcoming iOS shooter from Ramble Interactive. There are four modes, two each of solo and 2-player. Dragonfly Fleet’s Solo Flight mode plays like a traditional vertically scrolling shooter, complete with delightful relative touch control and a dynamic choice of left or right side fire button.

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In Team Flight mode, there are two playable dragonflies with touch control limited to a small area around the player insect. Although this is co-op mode, care must be taken as your dragonflies can be damaged by player shots and collisions.

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Gridshock is a variation of the shooter theme, with a grid of destructible blocks covering most of the screen in addition to the randomly spawning enemies. The 2-player version of this mode is called Faceoff, with your opponent facing you across the grid.

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Although I don’t have a release date to share, Dragonfly Fleet is looking very finished and should be on the app store soon. I’ll be posting a review of this game as soon as it is released.

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Monument Valley review (iOS / Universal)

April 6, 2014

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10 word description: Manipulate impossible architecture. Guide silent princess through a beautiful world. (From app store description).

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10 word review: Short, easy but utterly captivating. A beautiful iOS gaming experience.

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You will like this if you enjoy: M.C. Escher. World manipulation puzzle games. Gorgeous graphics.

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The good news: Lovely graphics, animations and effects. Good controls. Very atmospheric and emotive. Genius blend of 3D visual trickery and level design.

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The bad news: Short. Easy. Linear.

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Arcadelife verdict: Forget the fact that this game is short, easy and linear. Where many other puzzle games force you through tiresomely repetitive, forgettable levels, where all you want to know is “when will this ever end?”, Monument Valley is a game that makes you wonder, “What is this game going to show me next?”

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It’s a great experience, a glimpse at just how clever and beautiful video games can be.

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Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 10/10
Visuals – 10/10
Controls – 9/10
Content – 6/10
Fun – 8.5/10
Final rating – 9/10

Monumental

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.03
iTunes link

Monument Valley website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
5th gen iPod Touch (iOS 7.1)
4th gen iPad (iOS 7.1)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.
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Cardinal Quest 2 review (iOS / Universal)

March 29, 2014

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10 word description: Turn based hack ‘n’ slash roguelike adventure. 6 classes, 3 Acts.

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10 word review: Astoundingly addictive. Completely unnecessary IAPs. One huge surprise – it’s free.

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You will like this if you enjoy: Rogue style permadeath dungeon crawlers. Streamlined iOS RPGs. Free games that don’t suck.

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The good news: It’s a brilliant rogue style game; one of the best I’ve played, not just for iOS but when compared with any roguelike on any platform. The overall design is great; the way classes, perks and starting gear unlock based on your morale earned in each playthrough is a perfect replay hook. Graphics, well they’re not outstanding but they totally do the job for a game like this. Controls and interface – wonderful. The IAPs (to buy more morale) are completely unnecessary. 

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The bad news: There’s no cloud sync. Portrait orientation only, which is ok but I can see it not suiting a few people.

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Arcadelife verdict: What’s going on? People are starting to release free games that don’t exist purely to milk the gullible with IAPs. This game is great, so great that I feel bad having so much fun with something I got for nothing. I know what you’re thinking – the amount of morale needed to unlock the other classes must be appallingly high. But it isn’t. I unlocked the Thief class after playing 3 quick games on the initial Warrior class. I am now sticking with the thief because it’s bloody brilliant. I assume the other classes will be equally entertaining when I unlock them, but I’m in no rush, certainly not enough of a rush to feel any need to buy morale with real money.

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No timers, nothing that can’t be unlocked through normal play. IAPs purely for the terminally impatient or for those who feel like handing some money over to the wonderful people behind this game.

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Highly recommended with no caveats. Go get it. 

Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 9/10
Visuals – 7.5/10
Controls – 9/10
Content – 9.5/10
Fun – 9.5/10
Final rating – 9/10

SUPER

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.2
iTunes link

Cardinal Quest 2 website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
5th gen iPod Touch (iOS 7.1)
4th gen iPad (iOS 7.1)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.
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Beach Buggy Blitz review (iOS / Universal)

March 25, 2014

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10 word description: Beach buggy themed distance racer. Unlock cars, drivers and upgrades.

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10 word review: Mario Kart meets Temple Run. Very pretty. Unessential IAPs. Fun!

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You will like this if you enjoy: Mario Kart. Temple Run. Cartoony racers that are focussed on fun. Running into seagulls and giant crabs for achievements and laughs.

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The good news: Visually, this game is outstanding. Music and sounds are pretty good too. Plenty of control options; a couple of different versions of buttons or tilt. IAPs (and free coins for viewing ads) are really only there for people who want to buy all the cars and drivers without playing the game. There is no waiting for pay-wall timers such as the “tired drivers” in Angry Birds Go. Lots of environments and randomised track sequences make each race feel fresh. iCloud sync works, tested between 5th gen Touch and 4th gen iPad. Graphics quality can be adjusted for better performance on older devices.

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The bad news: If you completely avoid the free coins (for viewing ads) it will take a while to earn enough to fully upgrade a car. This is not actually a problem, but it could annoy impatient players.

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Arcadelife verdict: Vector Unit, also responsible for the excellent iOS jet-ski racers, Riptide GP and GP2, completely rule at this kind of game. Sure, it’s a perfect example of a shallow game dressed up in glorious graphics but that isn’t something I even feel like criticising these days. It’s fun, free and you don’t get beaten up by timers and pay-walls.

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The IAPs really are optional; I only went for some of the free coins (viewing a few short app store game ads) to buy a new car and driver so I could vary the screenshots in this review. The game is completely playable and fun without any need for acquiring additional coins. As freemium goes, this is one of the best in terms of the balance between giving players a fun game and dangling the option of spending some money in front of them.

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It’s worth noting that this isn’t a normal racing game; the other vehicles are just there for a bit of scenery and to give you some cars to overtake or crash into. The point of the game is to get as far as you can before time runs out. The upgrades all contribute to your ability to get a bit further and the achievements you unlock act as a score bonus so you’re constantly improving. This game will make you happy – try it!

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Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 9/10
Visuals – 9.5/10
Controls – 9/10
Content – 8.5/10
Fun – 8.5/10
Final rating – 9/10

PRETTY FUN

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.2.2
iTunes link

Vector Unit website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
5th gen iPod Touch (iOS 7.1)
4th gen iPad (iOS 7.1)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.
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Lazy Caverns review (iOS / Universal)

March 19, 2014

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10 word description: 20 levels of Manic Miner (Spectrum) style single screen platforming. 

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10 word review: Faithful if rather unimaginative homage, marred by frequently treacherous controls.

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You will like this if you enjoy: Retro style platform games. Manic Miner. 

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The good news: Graphic style is very ZX Spectrum – nice if you like that sort of thing. Levels, although not direct copies of the Manic Miner screens, are full of familiar looking hazards and features. Music is nice. 

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The bad news: Controls are buttons where the touch area is just the button graphic. This leads to frequent deaths when the character doesn’t move, turn or jump because your finger was not exactly on the button image. Invisible vertical bars of touch area above the button graphics, as in most other game of this type, would be a huge improvement. 

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Arcadelife verdict: Fix the controls and sort out the score display, so you see an offline high score, otherwise this is a very nice Manic Miner tribute which also rates as a decent single screen platformer on its own merits. My overall enjoyment of the game was significantly reduced by the controls’ lack of reliability. If you force a player to keep looking at his fingers to check they’re on the buttons, you have already blown it as far as I’m concerned.

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Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 6/10
Visuals – 7.5/10
Controls – 5/10
Content – 7/10
Fun – 6.5/10
Final rating – 6/10

ALMOST MANIC

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.11
iTunes link
Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
5th gen iPod Touch (iOS 7.0.6)
4th gen iPad (iOS 7.0.6)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.
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Devious Dungeon review (iOS / Universal)

March 6, 2014

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10 word description: Dungeon themed platform action. Pixel art, levelling, quests, boss fights.

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10 word review: Splendid, streamlined fast-paced mini-RPG. Precise controls, constantly entertaining.

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You will like this if you enjoy: Run ‘n’ gun platform games, although this is more run ‘n’ whack as it’s all about melee weapons. Dungeon crawling where the crawl is a sprint. Previous Ravenous games; this is arguably their best yet.

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The good news: Responsive, reliable controls. Detailed, varied pixel art. Lots of different enemies with their own attack and defence styles. Choice of health, damage or critical change increase at each level-up. Player-friendly pricing at the upgrade shop, making the acquisition of IAP coins entirely optional. Gameplay that feels polished and very entertaining right from the start. Well conceived method of progression through dungeon levels. Cloud sync between devices. A lot of fun!

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The bad news: It’s hard to pick on any aspect of this game as bad. Maybe the control customisation that has been added to recent Ravenous games could be included, but it isn’t necessary. Gameplay could conceivably be described as repetitive, in much the same way as any action RPG, but that’s kind of the whole point of this genre.

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Arcadelife verdict: Devious Dungeon is a great game. I was worried that it would just be Random Heroes with swords or just another pretty excuse to bombard the player with IAPs. It’s neither of those things. What it feels like is a game that was created from a list of player suggestions for massive improvements to Random Heroes combined with a distillation of everything that is fun in platform games and action RPGs.

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It starts encouragingly, dropping you into the starter dungeon with enough attack power and health to race around slaughtering pretty much everything you meet, giving you enough cash (from drops and destructible items) to soon be able to afford a new weapon or armour. The variety of enemies is surprising, the random dungeon levels fun to explore.

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Everything has a clear purpose, there’s no filler, from the simple key/portal exploration hook to the coin collecting, sensibly priced upgrade shop items, attribute choice at level-up and the option to refill your health for a small cash contribution every few levels. Devious Dungeon wants you to have fun rather than bullying you into buying IAP gold. Dying, often a punishable offence in an RPG, rather than taking away XP or gold actually gives you a cash bonus depending on your performance, a kind of death benefit for your next foray into the dungeon.

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If you’re a fan of PC games such as Rogue Legacy, UnEpic or even Spelunky, you’re going to love what Ravenous have done with Devious Dungeon. This is a touch-screen action platform RPG done right. All I can add is to say get it. Get it now.

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Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 9/10
Visuals – 8.5/10
Controls – 9/10
Content – 8.5/10
Fun – 8.5/10
Final rating – 8.5/10

GREAT

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0
iTunes link

Ravenous Games website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
5th gen iPod Touch (iOS 7.0.6)
4th gen iPad (iOS 7.0.6)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.
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Out There review (iOS / Universal)

March 5, 2014

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10 word description: Randomised Roguelike survival space travel game. Gather resources, find answers.

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10 word review: Compelling journey of choices. Persistent upgrades would improve the experience.

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You will like this if you enjoy: Rogue style gameplay – how far can you get this time before you die? Random encounters in deep space. Turn-based games. Resource gathering.

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The good news: The graphical style is very nice. Restrained audio adds to the atmosphere. Good variety of random events. Challenging gameplay that always keeps you needing something, whether it is fuel, oxygen or metal for hull repairs. Rare finds, such as a new ship, are infrequent enough to always be a very welcome surprise. 

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The bad news: If you treat it as a game of chance, looking only at the numbers, it will feel far more repetitive and shallow than it actually is. For some players, the random nature of events may feel unfair, particularly after a string of games where the dice rolls, I mean planetary resources, were constantly low. There are no persistent upgrades, which is possibly the most significant missed opportunity.

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Arcadelife verdict: Before I start banging on about how good this game is – because it is – I’ll focus on the on thing that would make it far more compulsive and even improve its appeal to the more casual gamer: permanent upgrades. For example, why not have a growing fleet of starter ships that you can add to by finding new ships (already in the game) and unlocking them as optional ships for the start of subsequent games? Another idea – add the option to send newfound alien technology (already in the game) back to your point of origin where it becomes an optional add-on for the start of each subsequent game. Simple ideas, but they would drastically improve the replayablity as there would be a sense of progression rather than just getting a better run of random events every now and then.

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As it is, Out There is an addictive, fun variation on the Roguelike style of game. Figuring out the best strategy for resource gathering, learning how the game works and stumbling across new ships is really where the most fun can be found. Disappointment comes in several firms, the most obvious being the abundance of cool looking upgrades and the lack of time (due to running out of everything essential) available to actually make and use any of them.

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Overall, this game is good enough to be an easy recommendation but also a very easy game to improve. Permanent upgrades, come one – you know it would make the game so much better. 

Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 8/10
Visuals – 8/10
Controls – 9/10
Content – 7.5/10
Fun – 7/10
Final rating – 8/10

PRETTY GOOD

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.01
iTunes link

Out There website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
5th gen iPod Touch (iOS 7.0.6)
4th gen iPad (iOS 7.0.6)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.
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Devious Dungeon (iOS) coming this week

March 3, 2014

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This looks like it should be fun, or annoying, depending on how significant the IAPs are going to be.

Devious Dungeon is a medieval action platformer with randomized dungeons. Fight your way through each level locating the key to open the portal. Slay enemies, earn experience, level up, and collect loot!

The game should be on the app store Wednesday 6th or Thursday 7th, depending on where you live. I’ll be reviewing it here soon.

 

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