Finding Teddy 2 – PC (no, it’s not a review yet)

March 24, 2015

Look what I found:

finding teddy 2 icon

This is how they describe it:

Finding Teddy 2 is a 2D Adventure / Action game with a Pixel Art Retro finish. Help Tarrant in a quest, in which you will have to fight, use your sense of direction and hearing to accomplish your mission.
•Very long playing time, over 20 hours for the main quest. Dozens of hours for the secondary quests!
•Beautiful Pixel Art Finish that takes us back to the 8-16 bit era, with modern effects.
•Unique use of music with the Musicom.
•A high level challenge and difficulty that all Gamers will love.
•An Action / Adventure type game which is all too rare nowadays.



Pixel Heroes: Byte & Magic review (iOS / Universal)

March 9, 2015

pixel heroes pic 3512

10 word description: Turn-based, 3-member party, roguelike RPG quest-em-up.

pixel heroes pic 3554

10 word review: Very retro, genuinely amusing, old skool addictive loot-tastic fun.

pixel heroes pic 3572

You will like this if you enjoy: Side-scrolling pixel graphics, turn-based RPGs with a ton of loot, loads of fights, big bad bosses and a sense of humour that consistently hits the mark. 

pixel heroes pic 3517

The good news: Very entertaining. Fun! Makes the tired clichés of pop culture and self referential humour feel surprisingly fresh and relevant. Controls are pretty much flawless (on iPad). Graphics are as retro-pixellated as the game title promises, and the animations are woefully inadequate in a so-crap-it’s-genuinely-funny way. Loot, levelling, healing, and fighting are all handled so effectively that it takes a while for you to actually acknowledge just how well it all works together. Loads of character classes, an almost infinite number of 3-man teams to choose. Lots of achievements and unlockable characters. No IAPs. No grinding.

pixel heroes pic 3574

The bad news: Someone isn’t going to like the uber-retro graphics. Too bad, go play some freemium crap instead. Screen layout is a bit ‘could be better’ on iPhone 6, looking like something that happened a few years before widescreen was invented; I don’t care, I play it on my iPad.

pixel heroes pic 3559

Arcadelife verdict: Here’s the game that made me take a short break from writing my latest Neo-Noir Vampire novel because I wanted to review it so badly. Pixel Heroes is fantastic and deserves to be played and played and played. There are so many stand-out moments, from the bizarre mid-journey encounters and the wonderfully mad bosses to the frequently hilariousrandom comments by the playable characters. Even the advert is genius. Just buy this game.  

Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 8.5/10
Visuals – 8/10
Controls – 10/10
Content – 9.5/10
Fun – 9/10
Final rating – 9/10


Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1
iTunes link

www.headupgames.com website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
iPhone 6 (iOS 8.1.3)
4th gen iPad (iOS 8.1.3)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.

Best iOS games 2014

December 29, 2014

While not exactly restricting myself to games that I’ve reviewed in 2014, these are all iOS games that I have played and, most importantly, enjoyed in 2014. Categories have been assigned where they serve a purpose, otherwise you can assume that these games are great just because I say they are.

To put the list into some kind of perspective, I really like RPGs and platform games. Just in case you were wondering.

Hands-down, no argument, my absolute iOS Game of the Year 2014: Battleheart Legacy

battleheart legacy pic 1224

Why? Because it’s insanely addictive, massively replayable and a huge amount of fun. It’s arguably unfinished, with a virtually non-existent story, and gameplay that devolves into a grind-fest almost immediately, but the core RPG mechanics, constant action, diverse playable characters, and hugely entertaining arena mode make it easily my favourite and most-played iOS game of the year.

UK App Store verdict: 4.5 stars from 147 ratings.

Closest second place ever and one of the best iOS platform games of all time: Goblin Sword

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Why? I’ll refer you to this quote from the Arcadelife review: “Much like dating a really cute lingerie model and finding out that you not only like the same movies but that she also has a twin sister who is “up for it”, Goblin Sword is so much fun that you’re going to have to keep checking that you’re not dreaming while you play it.” It is classic platforming and an absolutely essential game for anyone with even the remotest interest in the genre. The attention to detail alone is worthy of an award. And, yes, I know that the review for this game says it’s the best iOS game I played this year, and it was, but Battleheart Legacy got the award. Sometimes life just isn’t fair.

US App Store verdict: 4.5 stars from 714 ratings.

The best game you never played. Naturally, I’m the best player in the world on it: Revenge of Toxic Frog

toxic frog 2 pic 1834

Why? The developer thinks I’m mad because of what I do with his games, specifically how I apply high scoring strategies that he had never imagined, to the extent that he included an achievement in this game for scoring 500,000 points – called The Arcadelife Cup. Not that anyone will ever know, because nobody else plays the game. Ok, a few people do, but that’s really not enough.

App store verdict: Not enough ratings to have one.

Best Metroidvania games of the year: Traps n’ Gemstones and Space Expedition: Classic Adventure

traps n gemstones pic 1394
space expedition pic_1659

Why? Because they are two different examples of just how great this kind of game can be, not just on a touch screen device but on any platform. Admittedly, Space Expedition is short, but so is Monument Valley, and…

Most gorgeous and jaw-dropping puzzle game of 2014: Monument Valley

monument valley pic 2493

Why? Imagine if Rubik’s cube was actually fun, and had atmosphere, character, and the aesthetics of an Escher style modern art masterpiece. And more than one level. There you go. Pretty good game too, although kind of easy.

Best retro homage in a sub-retro style: Air Supply – SOS

AS SOS title

Why? Jetpac + sheep = awesome. And you just need to play it. Seriously. Although it isn’t serious, just very good.

Best “Endless” game: Doug Dug

doug dug pic_3468

Why? If you’re after a game with depth… ok, yes, I know, I have been waiting weeks to write that. This game is pure gold because it does something that iOS games have been avoiding for way too long: it gives you a genuinely retro game experience where the only way you can beat your previous score is to get better at playing the game. No unlockable hats, boots, pets or coin doublers. No pay-to-win IAPs, or any ****ing kind of IAP. Just the game and your skill, or lack thereof. If you’re a high-scoring strategist, this game is for you. It also has one of the most inspired implementations of a relative touch control method I’ve ever had the good fortune to experience. I play this game a lot.

Best port of a retro shooter: R-TYPE II

r-type-ii pic 0860

Why? Ha ha ha, do you really need me to answer this? Of course, that update where they made the player ship invincible… bit of a colossal screw-up, but what can you do? Still a fantastic game and a truly wonderful iOS version.

Trippiest dual-stick shooter of the year: Inferno 2


Why? Despite having the least inspiring app store icon ever (see above), Inferno 2 manages to outdo not only its predecessor in the trippy neon graphics stakes but also delivers the kind of insane bullet-hell action that keeps you playing long after all sense of feeling has left your thumbs. Look, this is what I’m talking about:

inferno 2 pic 3404

Second opinion – I asked a friend for his list of the best games from 2014 (where they were different from mine) and this is what he came up with:

Leo’s Fortune
Skyforce 2014
Candy Crush Soda Saga
Valiant Hearts

That’s it from Arcadelife for 2014 – See you next year if I’m not too busy writing novels.



November 28, 2014

If you’ve been wondering what I’ve been doing, or why the reviews appear to have dried up, I’ve been writing something else.

It’s a steamy contemporary romance – strictly adults only, sorry kids!

Click the image to go to the amazon.co.uk kindle store where you can read a sample and then buy it in a wild, compulsive pre-Christmas surge of enthusiasm. Possibly. If you want to look it up on any other amazon (.com, etc.) just search for Kissing The Scorpion.

If you want to find out more, check out the author’s website here: jwtapper.co.uk


Splot review (iOS / Universal)

November 10, 2014

splot pic 3453

10 word description: Bouncy platform challenges, 7 worlds. 56 levels. 150 playable Splots.

splot pic 3448

10 word review: Walks the thin line between frustration and fun. Very addictive.

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You will like this if you enjoy: Speed-run platformers. Bouncing.

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The good news: Polished, pretty, good control method, loads of levels, no IAPs.

splot pic 3418

The bad news: Occasionally frustrating. Gold levels are for masochistic nutters.

splot pic 3419

Arcadelife verdict: Bought it, liked it. Due to other commitments, I don’t have time to say much more. It’s a fun game, very slick. You should get it.

splot pic 3447

Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 10/10
Visuals – 9.5/10
Controls – 9/10
Content – 8.5/10
Fun – 8/10
Final rating – 9/10


Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.02
iTunes link

Splot website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPad (iOS 8.1)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.

Inferno 2 review (iOS / Universal)

October 19, 2014


10 word description: Twin stick action-RPG shooter sequel. 80+ levels. 50 enemy types.

inferno 2 pic 1633

10 word review: Bullet hell Gauntlet in a Pac-Man style maze. Recommended.

inferno 2 pic 3404

You will like this if you enjoy: Inferno+, dual stick shooters, arcade games, neon particle explosions.

inferno 2 pic 3395

The good news: Lovely visual style that enhances all that was great about the original Inferno+. Atmospheric soundtrack and effects. Reliable controls. Weapon and power upgrades that encourage choice and experimentation. Varied level objectives and boss fights that never lose focus on the core elements that make the game so much fun. No IAPs, just a lot of fun. Runs fine on 1st gen iPad.

inferno 2 pic 1634

The bad news: The overall experience on the smaller screen (e.g. iPod Touch) is not as ultra-cool as it feels on the iPad. Hardly surprising.

inferno 2 pic 3398

Arcadelife verdict: A great sequel that doesn’t stray too far from the fundamental gameplay and design decisions that made Inferno+ such a cool game. For anyone (like me) who formed long-term emotional relationships with Asteroids and action RPGs, Inferno 2 will simultaneously flick so many pleasure switches that you’ll be falling in love with video games all over again.

inferno 2 pic 3408

Arcadelife rating

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


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

Radian Games website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
5th gen iPod Touch (iOS 8.0.2)
4th gen iPad (iOS 8.0.2)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.

Air Supply – SOS review (iOS / Universal)

September 25, 2014

AS SOS title

10 word description: Jetpac reinvented. Multiple playable characters, boss fights, UFOs, 100 levels..

AS SOS pic 1

10 word review: Insane action. Probably pretty much how Jeff Minter remembers Jetpac. 

AS SOS pic 2

You will like this if you enjoy: Having your faith in video games restored.

AS SOS pic 3

The good news: Relentless Jetpac-inspired shooting action. Trademark Quantum Sheep visuals. Precise, responsive, well-positioned controls. Absolutely loads of unlockable playable characters, colours, music and perks. Perks! Mad – and I mean utterly bonkers – bosses. No IAPs, of course. Great music.

AS SOS perks

The bad news: Sheep are NOT molluscs.

AS SOS al_ultimate

Arcadelife verdict: SOS is Quantum Sheep at the top of his game. This is not Jetpac through rose-tinted specs, this is Jetpac’s hyperactive great-grandson pogo jumping all over your rose-tinted specs and partying hard with recreational pharmaceuticals. And giant, cuddly space-sheep. While it certainly owes its basic gameplay mechanics to the ZX Spectrum classic (Jetpac), SOS swaggers up like the best cover version of your favourite song and just demands to be played until either your thumbs or your battery are exhausted.

AS SOS al_exo

Now get out into space and rescue those sheep!

Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 9/10
Visuals – 9/10
Controls – 9.5/10
Content – 9/10
Fun – 9/10
Final rating – 9.1/10


Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 3.3
iTunes link

Quantum Sheep website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
5th gen iPod Touch (iOS 7.1.2)
4th gen iPad (iOS 7.1.2)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.

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