Archive for June, 2011


Platinum Calculator review (iOS / Universal)

June 30, 2011

“So you’re living by numbers
And numbers you answer to”

A calculator app that needs a loading screen ... hmmm

10 word description: Calculator; glass buttons glow when pressed; key history on screen.

10 word review: Nice looking calculator, slightly marred by a few odd features.

The key history would be improved if it removed unnecessary leading zeroes

You will like this if you enjoy: Having more than one calculator app on your iOS device…

Buttons glow when pressed. It looks nice in a screen shot but when you're using it the glow is mostly hidden under your finger...

The good news: It has the potential to be your favourite iOS calculator.

Shame. And I was really hoping this would be the calculator that could divide by zero.

The bad news: Initial load takes 4 seconds. Compare this with the virtually instantaneous load of the default Apple calculator app. No memory function. The sounds of the number keys are much quieter than the maths symbol keys. The key history gets confusing because it doesn’t reset when you start a new calculation. Repeating “=” doesn’t work like any other calculator I’ve ever seen – example… Enter 2+2. Press “=”. You get 4. Now press “=” again. You get 4 again. Every other calculator I’ve ever used would repeatedly add another 2 every time you pressed “=”, and that is what I’m used to. Making a calculator that behaves differently is probably not a good decision. Although it looks good, it doesn’t quite live up to the app store description regarding its appearance. Trivial nitpicking – the key history division symbol is a /, whereas the calculator key symbol is a ÷

The key history easily becomes a confusing jumble... particularly when deliberately messed up by a silly reviewer

Arcadelife verdict: This could be my favourite iOS calculator if a few niggling issues are fixed. It doesn’t need to be overloaded with new features, that isn’t the point of this app, but what is there needs a bit of attention to get it as perfect as possible. This shouldn’t be hard to do; I’ll watch the updates with interest…

How many screen shots does anyone need of a calculator app?

Arcadelife rating: 66/100

Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.00
iTunes link

Sharp Agency website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 4.3.3)
iPad (OS 4.3.3)

Reflection Connection review (iPad)

June 29, 2011

“Mirror, mirror split in two
Look at me – who are you?”

10 word description: Casual puzzler. Strategically place mirrors to reflect beams of light.

10 word review: Great basic concept, missing some kind of campaign mode. Entertaining.

Light can reflect from either side of the mirror - do this for higher scores...

You will like this if you enjoy: Elements of games such as The Incredible Machine, Enigmo, etc. if only because they seem to use the same tiny, failing part of my brain.

PISL - I played this 4x4 board a thousand times and that's the closest I ever came to a swear word

The good news: Looks good, basic game mechanic is well conceived and nicely implemented. Score is based on strategic placement as well as speed.

Randomly plonking mirrors down is often the least successful strategy

The bad news: I think it could do with a campaign mode. The basic game lets you pick a board size and play, then do it again. And again. It isn’t being pushed as an arcade high-scoring game, but beating your own score is the only real achievement to be had. The largest board sizes end up being slightly silly, as the dozens of icons around the edge are hard to tell apart and the board itself quickly becomes a bit of a tangled mess.

You will try the largest board size once, because it's there, and probably never go back to it

Arcadelife verdict: The basic game concept is very good. It’s simple to understand but challenging to beat, fairly satisfying when you do! I think some kind of campaign mode is essential and should be very simple to implement. Overall, it’s great to see games like this coming out on the iPad and I hope this one develops into something special. The overall score reflects (ouch, sorry) what I feel is missing. If there was a campaign mode, the score would be up in the high 80s, maybe the 90s.

Arcadelife rating: 70/100

Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0
iTunes link

Pixani / Reflection Connection website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
iPad (OS 4.3.3)

Push Cars HD review (iPad)

June 28, 2011

“I’m gonna get me a car
And I’ll be headed on down the road”

10 word description: Logic puzzle game; select car directions – escape city or collide.

Some cars want to leave the city unscathed, others want to crash ... into anything

10 word review: Addictive and very polished; puzzle elements gradually increase. Fun game.

You will like this if you enjoy: Logical puzzle games. Note – this isn’t a line-drawing or reactions type game. You select a direction for each car, then start them off and watch what happens… hopefully what you wanted to happen.

Soon, faster cars are introduced. This creates a variety of interesting problems...

The good news: There’s a high level of polish and a great feel of a finished game here. The cars have their own abilities, personal goals and a lot of character thanks to the full screen cartoon intros/infos for each vehicle. Playing the puzzles is very entertaining, far more than I expected. I often hit a wall with puzzle games and give up due to frustration, but I keep going with this one because the game mechanics and the clever puzzle designs are really very good.

Later levels start to introduce road signs that allow you to control the direction of a passing car ... once

The bad news: Sometimes, when a car and a road sign are very close, it’s possible to accidentally move one when you tap the other. As this all happens in an unlimited amount of time before you start the cars moving it isn’t really an issue, although it may be more of a problem on the smaller iPod/iPhone screen – I haven’t played that version.

All the vehicles have their own abilities, desires and cartoon personalities

Arcadelife verdict: This is one of the best puzzle games I’ve seen for quite a while. Everything about it is very polished, including things like the “zooming in” 3D feel as a level starts and details like the shadows of clouds and planes passing by on the ground. Anyone who even slightly enjoys puzzle games on their iPad should be perfectly happy with this game.

So far, so good

Arcadelife rating: 94/100

Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0.1
iTunes link

Push Cars website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
iPad (OS 4.3.3)

Interstellar Cupcake review (iPod/iPhone)

June 27, 2011

“Calling occupants of interplanetary, most extraordinary craft”

10 word description: “You’re a cupcake, flying through space in a rocket ship!” (Lifted verbatim from the app store description. Why try to improve on that?)

10 word review: Simple, casual endless flyer. Collect stars, dodge baddies. Various characters.

These should be mostly unlockable rewards instead of immediately available. My opinion. And I'm right.

You will like this if you enjoy: Casual (and rather easy) endless flying games. Aero Bear comes to mind, that was fairly similar.

The good news: Pick-up-and-play casual game with decent graphics and gameplay.

Shields are one of several random power-ups to collect from different coloured stars

The bad news: It could (should) be smoother. Having all the playable characters available at the start is a huge missed opportunity for unlockable content and associated replayability.  There are a few bugs with the high-score table. First, if your score is over 9999 (mine is, of course) you lose the leading digit(s), so, for example, my score of 27801 is displayed in the right position on the table, but as 7801. You can only input 8 characters as your name, but if you delete any characters off the end and enter something shorter, the old deleted characters are still there. See screenshots…

Boo! Arcadelife - denied!

Note - 27801

Reduced to 7801, but still top place. The name is all messed up too...

Arcadelife verdict: It’s playable and rather fun, but feels like it should be running a lot smoother considering how basic it is. I’d recommend locking all but one of the different playable characters and making them rewards for attaining scores or achievements. Sort out the minor bugs with the high-score table and that’s pretty much everything fixed.

Here's a tip - don't try to colonize space with sentient confectionery

Arcadelife rating: 68/100

Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0
iTunes link

Nesesita / Interstellar Cupcake website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 4.3.3)

1-bit Ninja review (iPod/iPhone)

June 26, 2011

“This is the end of everything.
You are the end of everything.
I haven’t slept since I woke up and found my whole life was a lie…!”

10 word description: Run & jump 2D platform challenges. Gameboy style graphics. Unlockables.

Level 1 is hard. It doesn't get any easier

10 word review: Platform gaming in its purest form. Very hard, well designed.

How did I get up here? Well, that's part of the fun

You will like this if you enjoy: Mos Speedrun; League of Evil; Gravity Runner; Very, very hard platform games.

The 3D swipe mode can show you hidden paths that are invisible in the 2D view

The good news: The simplified controls and brutally well designed platform challenges create the perfect hardcore platform experience for touch-screen devices. Despite requiring an intimidating number of retries to collect all the “Big Bits” in each level, this adds to an immense feeling of satisfaction when each level is completed. The Gameboy style graphics are great and the inclusion of a 3D rotation option to spot hidden paths is inspired. Controls are perfect. If you fail a jump, YOU failed a jump, not the controls.

The subtle Gameboy styled graphics are consistently good

The bad news: Casual gamers should stay well away. The amount of stupid comments on the UK app store and a well known touch-screen gaming forum, complaining about “no back button” are testament to the number of people who just can’t handle this level of challenge. If you buy this game after reading the app store description, where it clearly states that there is no back button, please don’t bother complaining that there is no back button. It makes you look a bit silly.

Yeah, I really am that good

Arcadelife verdict: Brilliant. The platform gaming challenge that the iOS devices needed. It even has built in replay recording function for all those perfect runs that you achieve…

If you're reminded of those old isometric games on the ZX Spectrum, like Knight Lore, you're not alone

Arcadelife rating: 95/100

Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.01
iTunes link

Kode80 / 1-bit Ninja website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 4.3.3)

Reflection Connection (iPad) press release

June 25, 2011

Arcadelife is currently playing Reflection Connection from Pixani Games, an iPad only puzzle game that was released on June 15th. Look out for the Arcadelife review very soon! Meanwhile, here’s the press release from Pixani and some screens from my iPad…

iPad game “Reflection Connection” picked as New & Noteworthy

First offering from Pixani Games gets nod from Apple

Media, PA – June 23, 2011 – Just days after its release in Apple’s App Store, “Reflection Connection,” the first iPad game created by fledgling company Pixani Games LLC, has been promoted to the coveted New & Noteworthy section in both categories where it is offered: Puzzles and Board Games.

“We’re very excited and grateful,” says Mike Lorenz, Pixani’s Lead Designer. “We were hoping Apple would see what our beta testers saw, and it looks like they did. From the very beginning, our testers absolutely loved Reflection Connection. One of them told us it’s the first game since Tetris that had him so addicted to something so simple.”

Reflection Connection is a unique game, infusing a mixture of casual playing and positional strategy. Players place mirrors on a board to reflect beams of light to connect identical pairs of gems. As more beams of light are created, less of the board is left for new ones, so some planning is often required.

“What’s great about this game,” adds Lorenz, “is you can choose to solve small boards, which play very quickly, or choose larger boards which can take ten minutes apiece. There’s even a mode where everyone in the room with an iPad syncs to the same board to see who can solve it fastest. I’ve seen this in action, and it’s a ton of fun, especially when kids play against adults.”

Reflection Connection is now available as an iPad app for $1.99 in the United States. Pixani is currently working on an iPhone / iPod Touch version. The game was written using Ansca Mobile’s Corona SDK.

For more information on the game, including a demonstration video, visit For more information on the Corona SDK, visit

Pixani Games LLC is an independent games studio based near Philadelphia, PA. Mike Lorenz co-founded the company in 2011 to create enjoyable games, much like the ones he played growing up. Lorenz won First Prize in the Ansca Corona 48-hour competition in February 2011 for his entry “Princess Pixani and the Monkeys of Rainbow Island”, completed from start to finish in 48 hours real time.


Globs review (iOS/Universal)

June 23, 2011

“Get some colours on, get some colours on”

10 word description: Match colours, merge Globs and get big points. Normal & Time mode.

10 word review:
Colourful, casual and incredibly simple game. Didn’t really grab me.

You will like this if you enjoy: Casual colour matching games. Note – this isn’t a Match-3 game, even if it sounds like one.

The good news: Very easy to get into; fairly relaxed play, even in timed mode.

The increased number of globs doesn't make the game any more challenging. It just takes a bit longer.

The bad news: Too easy and it feels very limited with only two modes which are almost identical due to the very generous time limit in Time mode.

You can go and make a cup of tea and the timer bar (bottom of the screen) won't move much more than this

Arcadelife verdict: It’s ok for what it is, but those looking for anything beyond a casual, relaxed colour-matching game should probably try one of the other thousands of games available on the app store. Apparently 70 million people have “enjoyed the online version” of Globs. I’d hazard a guess that the word “enjoyed” might be a bit of optimism on the part of the marketing department.

Thanks, you're welcome

Arcadelife rating: 40/100

Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0
iTunes link

Crawl Space / Globs website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 4.3.3)
iPad (OS 4.3.3)

Order & Chaos Online – Rift daily quests

June 20, 2011

This is the second post about daily quests in Gameloft’s MMORPG, Order & Chaos Online. In the first one, I listed the daily quests in The Great Desert, now we move on to the ones in Sinskaald Rift.

Click on the images, particularly the maps, to see the full size iPad screen image.

Sinskaald Rift Daily Quests

“Heretic Strongpoint”

General location – Top of the main stairs in Suspended City
Quest giver/receiver – Lyulfe The Mercyslayer
Quest reward (cash) – 2g 63s
XP – 16200
Other – none

Fairly easy, very quick. Get the quest, run down the steps and then down the ramp outside the Suspended City, cross the path and you are immediately in an area full of the target enemies. Kill 3 each of the Heretic Elites and the Heretic Darkmages (the only two types in the area, conveniently) and you’re done.

“From Dusk Until Dawn”

General location – Stranger’s Roost
Quest giver/receiver – Ukamir Greymoss – wanders around in a small area in the middle of the buildings
Quest reward (cash) – 2g 44s
XP – 15600
Other – none

I’d recommend taking the 3 daily quests from Stranger’s Roost, doing this one first and the next two on your way back, just to save time.

This quest involves a fairly long walk along the north edge of the map into a beach area full of Fishfolk. Your targets are 6 of the Wrestler type Fishfolk. There are more than 6 in the area and they’re fairly easy kills.

Stranger's Roost - There are 3 daily quests here

This is where the Wrestlers are...

“Bulette Crisis”

General location – Stranger’s Roost
Quest giver/receiver – Anryn Sandthroat – inside a small building
Quest reward (cash) – 2g 34s
XP – 15300
Other – This quest takes you into the PVP zone.

This quest should be done at the same time as the next one, “Beer Shortage” as the target enemies are in the same place. Fairly simple, kill 10 Rabid Scorch Bulettes. I counted 6 that appear in the target area. They respawn quite quickly. If you work your way around in a circular path, also killing the Elite Livingrocks to get the quest items for “Beer Shortage” there will always be something to kill, unless the place is crowded with people doing the quests…

Two daily quests come from these two blokes in this shack, situated in Stranger's Roost

This is where you can carry out the 'Bulette Crisis' & 'Beer Shortage' daily quests

“Beer Shortage”

General location – Stranger’s Roost
Quest giver/receiver – Manet Trimice – inside a small building
Quest reward (cash) – 2g 25s
XP – 15000
Other – This quest takes you into the PVP zone.

See the map above (for Bulette crisis) to see where to go to find the Elder Livingrocks. Normal Livingrocks also drop the quest item (you have to collect 6 of them) but the Elder versions are in the same area as the Rabid Scorch Bulettes so it makes sense to kill ’em all at the same time. The drop rate for the quest items isn’t great, so that’s another reason to double up the quest killing while you’re in the area.

This is what you need to collect - 6 of them.

“What’s Out There?”

General location – Farstrider Outpost
Quest giver/receiver – Taddeo
Quest reward (cash) – 2g 82s
XP – 16800
Other – none

Taddeo is standing near a stone watchtower. The quest involves walking a reasonably short distance to a nearby area populated by bird women and weird brown blokes in long coats. Typically, you need to kill 8 each of them, return to Taddeo and collect your gold and XP.

“Master of Black Beach”

General location – Bulrinto Outpost
Quest giver/receiver – Ruth the Fireye
Quest reward (cash) – 3g 3s
XP – 17400
Other – none

The first of two daily quests from Bulrinto Outpost, both taking place in the same general “Black Beach” area to the north west. The quest giver is inside a building on the right hand side as you walk into the camp from the south. The quick way to reach the target zone is to go across two of the high bridges (north exit from the camp) and then jump down to the beach area. The only creatures on the beach are the targets for this quest. You need to kill 8 of them.

“Black King”

General location – Bulrinto Outpost
Quest giver/receiver – Irleud Herbtear
Quest reward (cash) – 4g 4s
XP – 23200
Other – none

Fairly simple. Go to the same general Black Beach area as the previous quest, cross a small stretch of water and kill the elite level 60 BIG BLACK DRAGON. Easy, right?

This is where to find him...

I’m not posting any pictures of the dragon. That would be a slight spoiler and you don’t want that, do you?

Rift Daily Totals

XP – 119,500

Cash – 19g 55s


Order & Chaos Online – Desert daily quests

June 18, 2011

As I’m currently in the “no more quests” gap between level 57 and 60 in the iOS/Universal MMORPG, Order & Chaos Online, I thought I’d post a list of the daily (repeatable) quests in the desert and rift maps that add a lot of much welcome XP to the fairly endless grinding.

Click on the images, particularly the maps, to see the full size iPad screen image.

Desert Daily Quests

“Resistance of Eristar”

General location – West of End of Sand
Quest giver/receiver – Jirasacles
Quest reward (cash) – 1g 44s
XP – 10,000
Other – none

Get the quest from a character called Jirasacles on the path that leads into the desert zone approaching from the most northerly teleport point, End of Sand.

Quest location is the small yellow scroll icon next to the player marker (small blue arrow that looks like the player ship in Asteroids). Quest enemies are immediately to the west, along the path heading to Camp of Sacrathar

The target enemies, Nomads, are along the path and inside the perimeter of Camp of Sacrathar. 10 of them need to be killed to complete the quest.

“Demon Loot”

General location –  Sdukar
Quest giver/receiver – Oziwods
Quest reward (cash) – 1g 59s
XP – 10500
Other – choice of plate helmet or plate boots. The helm sells to a vendor for just over 38s

Get the quest from Oziwods. He wanders around near the Northwest exit inside the small town of Sdukar. There may be prerequisite quests to complete before this daily quest becomes available, I can’t remember. The quest is to collect 3 demon weapons that drop from various demons very near Sdukar. The drop rate is not 100% but it is very high and you will often get a weapon from the first 3 demons that you kill.

“Shell Necklaces” (Possibly not the proper quest title)

General location –  Lake south of Antoria
Quest giver/receiver – Oireus
Quest reward (cash) – 1g 83s
XP – 11250
Other – none.

The quest giver is on the end of the wooden jetty that sticks out into the lake. The quest involves walking quite a long way to a location on the west coast and collecting 6 necklaces that are dropped (100% drop rate) by elite berzerkers and Ankar Nobles (mages). I always carry enough teleport wings so I can quickly port back to Antoria as a short cut when cashing this quest in.

Quest giver is near the player marker. The target enemies are at the bottom left corner of that screenshot, just left of the big "back" yellow arrow icon.


“Take a crimson emblem from the Priests of Sacrathar” 

General location –  A tiny camp south/SE of Sdukar
Quest giver/receiver – Kuduin
Quest reward (cash) – 2g 8s
XP – 12000
Other – A choice of one item from 3 rings and a necklace.

The quest giver’s small camp is hard to find and isn’t somewhere that you will be directed to or will pass by while completing other quests. There are two quests in the camp that have to be completed before the daily quest becomes available. The daily quest involves looting a single emblem from a Priest (or Priestess) in a nearby enemy location. The drop rate is low but, because you only need one emblem, it is possible to get it from the first Priest that you kill, although rather unlikely. There are 5 priests. One is wandering around, two are standing by a big symbolic thing, one is inside the ground floor of a building and one is on the roof of a nearby building. The quest pointer will get you close enough to find them easily. They respawn quite quickly, so if you kill all 5, the first one will probably have respawned by the time you kill the last one.

The player marker shows you exactly where you need to be to get this quest

Priests or Priestesses can drop the Crimson Badge. That's the thing you need for the quest...

This shows the location of the enemy that dropped the badge (player marker) and the completed quest marker back at the camp


Desert daily quests – totals

XP – 43,750

Cash –  6g 94s (plus a bit of loose change and whatever you sold the items for, assuming you didn’t equip them)

The rift dailies will be posted soon.


Galaga 30th Collection review (iOS/Universal)

June 17, 2011

“It’s all about the game, and how you play it
All about control, and if you can take it”

10 word description: Modernised remakes of Galaxian, Galaga, Galaga ’88 and Gaplus. Universal.

Galaxian is free. Get it now before someone realises how wrong this is

10 word review: Splendid package! This is how to remake retro classics. Recommended.

Galaga. No further comment is necessary

You will like this if you enjoy: Updated retro shooter classics, particularly on your iPad. What is on offer here is so much better than Namco’s previous efforts such as Galaga Remix.

The good news: This is how retro remakes should be done. Everything here is spot-on, from the reworked game mechanics (faster, flashier and more fun) through the plentiful achievements to the completely unnecessary but also quite cool HUD enhancements that can be turned off if you don’t like them.

Galaga '88 - bloody big beetles in outer space

The bad news: The file bloating intro video is pointless. It adds nothing to the game package and is barely worth watching once. If it is removed in an update, nobody will miss it.

At last ... I've achieved something

Arcadelife verdict: Brilliant. If you don’t trust me, download the game for free and you get the full version of Galaxian … for absolutely nothing. Maybe you won’t ever need the other 3 games, but I think you might.

Arcadelife rating: 91/100

Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0.0
iTunes link

Namco/Bandai website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 4.3.3)
iPad (OS 4.3.3)