Archive for November, 2011

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Zepi:Dark HD review (iPad)

November 30, 2011

“But I’ll be close behind
I’ll follow you into the dark”

10 word description: Reflex game; tap matching objects, create chains. Multitouch, Game Center.

10 word review: Simple, addictive and attractive looking game. My favourite graphics set. (The ‘graphics set’ comment is a reference to the other Zepi games that are also available).

My favourite graphic option out of the ones on offer here

You will like this if you enjoy: Casual “tap to chain” style games. Games that you can learn in seconds and then spend ages trying to do better, and better…

The idea is to chain as many together as possible, not to quickly clear them as soon as they appear. Well, if you want a high score anyway...

The good news: Three graphic set choices, all pretty. Simple gameplay and controls. Creating the big chains (the ones where you get bonuses, etc.) is a constant challenge.

That's ... not bad

The bad news: It’s very, very simple. Ok, that isn’t bad news, but it might be if you’re hoping for a complex game of hidden depths and strategies.

But this is much better!

Arcadelife verdict: My favourite Zepi game – the graphics shouldn’t be the reason for this but, as the only real difference between the Zepi games is the graphics, then I’ll go for that.

game Over ... now I have to try for 100,000

Arcadelife rating: 78/100

Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.1
iTunes link

Ostin Games / Zepi Dark HD website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
iPad (OS 5.0)
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Island Tribe 2 HD review (iPad)

November 29, 2011

“Living on an island, Oh boy we’re having fun”

10 word description: Strategic resource/time management sequel. 3 episodes, 30 levels. Game Center.

All this, and no in-app-purchases - Hurray!

10 word review: Fun, colourful, entertaining and polished. Arcade mode can be tricky!

Clear obstructions and build or repair things. The fog clears as you progress around the level

You will like this if you enjoy: Time/resource management games: Island Tribe (the first one), My Kingdom for the Princess, Roads of Rome, etc.

The good news: Looks very pretty, lots of nice effects & animations, intuitive and familiar controls (even though I haven’t played the first Island Tribe game), casual and arcade modes, plenty of levels.

The bad news: Complete newcomers to the genre may find it initially quite hard to figure out some aspects of the game, although most of the information is there if you watch the little pop-up messages and tips.

Arcadelife verdict: Very good! I’ve been having a lot of fun playing this one and it’s easy to recommend to any time/resource management fans. Casual mode opens it up even more, as you seem to be able to mess up quite significantly without managing to fail a level. Arcade mode is another story, and the mad pirate who runs around sabotaging buildings and destroying bridges can be a right pain in the neck.

The pirate is about to do something I'll regret...

Arcadelife rating: 89/100

Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0
iTunes link

Realore website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
iPad (OS 5.0)
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Road Warrior – upcoming iPhone/iPad game

November 28, 2011

Mobjoy (Undead Attack, Smelly Cat, Tap A Lot) are going to release their seventh game for iOS, Road Warrior, in early December – a ‘cars meet guns’ game, which is in the final development stages. This will be a universal iOS release.

Described by Mobjoy as “A thrilling racing game inspired by many successful games, such as Blizzard’s Rock n’ Roll Racing, Death Rally and Extreme Road Trip; and even the cult movie Mad Max.

Surprisingly, it’s played in a 2D side-view with tracks that look more like those of an endless runner style game than a racer, but there’s no denying the game looks fun and action-packed. Some of the quoted features include:

– Intensive Aerial Stunts: earn cash and speed boosts according the your stunts. The better your stunts get, the bigger is your advantage over other racers.

– Guns: five different weapons are available to equip your car. They have unique behaviors, which should be used wisely.

– Multi-paths levels: all 9 levels have multiple paths specifically designed to favor certain types of cars. Learn shortcuts and car attributes to take the maximum out of every vehicle.

As is fairly usual in this kind of racer/shooter, doing well in races earns you cash that you use to upgrade your vehicles and buy new ones. Hopefully this won’t just be another exercise in IAP abuse and the upgrades and new cars will be achievable by just playing the game. Hopefully.

It certainly seems like one to look out for next month – and that’s only a couple of days away. Here’s a video that shows the game in action. If you want to skip to the actual racing, it starts around 01:05.

And here’s a link to the Mobjoy / Road Warrior website.

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Ravenmark review (iPod/iPhone)

November 25, 2011

“Mighty Raven Dark
Blashyrkh’s Mighty Raven Dark!”

"Ravenmark: Scourge of Estellion" - to give you its full title

10 word description: Fantasy turn-based strategy in an original world. 15 missions.

One of the early levels is an ambush, which gives you a bit of a starting advantage

10 word review: Epic visualisation of story enhances solid strategy game. Polished experience.

Mostly, Ravenmark avoids blatant fantasy clichés. The characters are all fairly stereotypical, but that's not necessarily bad.

You will like this if you enjoy: Battle for Wesnoth, Highborn, etc. Turn-based strategy battles.

The codex contains detailed information about units, lore, etc.

The good news: Intuitive and accessible turn-based gameplay. Characters and story have an epic feel, considering there’s a relatively small amount of exposition in the intro scenes. Battle results rely heavily on your decisions – learning from your mistakes is the entertaining part. The control scheme is tight and issuing orders doesn’t feel like a chore.

Your basic strategies will need to include reference to the extended rock-paper-scissors unit effectiveness

The bad news: You won’t get victory handed to you on a plate and you won’t win on your first try, every time. Some learning is required, as is a moderate attention span. Arguably not bad points, but worth mentioning.

Each unit action is depicted in a static scene with statistical information and description of any effects or outcomes

Arcadelife verdict: It’s very good, and nowhere near as impenetrable as some turn-based strategy games can be. Although it’s fairly easy to get into, and the order-issuing is a breeze, the battles are complex and require actual strategy (surprise!) to overcome the often deviously capable AI enemies. Overall, a very worthwhile challenge for any TBS fans, and probably a much better introduction to the genre than many similar offerings on the app store.

It doesn't take long for battles to become rather large and challenging

Arcadelife rating: 85/100

Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.01
iTunes link

Witching Hour website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 5.0.1)
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FinalStrike 3D review (iOS / Universal)

November 24, 2011

“Will I be right or wrong
A kick, a punch, a final strike”

10 word description: Helicopter combat, 15 missions, 4 different helicopters, multiple weapons & enemies.

10 word review: Arcade shooter with decent visuals, good controls and tough challenge.

You will like this if you enjoy: The shooting elements of Mega Drive (Genesis) classic Desert Strike.

When you get close enough, the mission targets are highlighted with this reticule thingy

The good news: The 3D graphics are pretty good. Controls work well and there’s a tilt or d-pad option. Blowing stuff up is fun. Nice particle effects on explosions.

The bad news: Might be a bit too simplistic for some. The difficulty, although welcome, could also deter the more casual gamer.

Arcadelife verdict: Pretty good, really. Better than I expected and admittedly a lot of fun flying around blowing stuff up and shooting tanks.

I'm about half a second away from the Game Over screen

Arcadelife rating: 78/100

Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0.2
iTunes link

Final Strike website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 5.0.1)
iPad (OS 5.0)
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New page added to Arcadelife – “Great FREE iPhone games”

November 23, 2011

As the title says, I’ve started a new page on the site which lists free and lite games that I think you need to play … The link is over there on the right hand side of the page, or you can click THIS LINK.

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Snap Trap review (iPod/iPhone)

November 22, 2011

“It’s a rat trap Billy but you’re already caught”

10 word description: As mouse, navigate mazes to collect cheese and avoid traps.

10 word review: Fun trap-dodging; gets tricky quickly. Plenty of levels.

You will like this if you enjoy: Maze games. 2D collect-em-ups with challenging puzzle elements.

The good news: Clear, simple yet attractive graphics. Control method is pretty good. New trap/puzzle features are introduced frequently. Tricky enough to be very challenging without being too frustrating.

The bad news: The control method, while working fairly well, could be improved. Frequent, short load times whenever you select anything or move from one screen to another.

Arcadelife verdict: I like the concept; it’s not 100% original, obviously, but the graphics are decent and the puzzle/trap elements are entertaining and there are plenty of them. Overall, it’s a well designed and attractive action/puzzler that feels intuitive to play and doesn’t look like loads of other iOS games.

Arcadelife rating: 78/100

Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0
iTunes link

8Bit Grenade / Snap Trap website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 5.0.1)
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Penny Shoel HD review (iPod/iPhone)

November 20, 2011

“What do you do? Shove it, you can shove it”

10 word description: Dutch version of shove ha’penny. Unlockable skins. Game Center.

The intro scenes are the best looking bits of the game

10 word review: Frequent load pauses, rather basic gameplay, but it’s fairly entertaining.

The starter skin couldn't be less thrilling to look at if it tried

You will like this if you enjoy: Playing shove ha’penny on your iPhone.

This is fairly representative of a typical game

The good news: Intuitive controls and gameplay. Graphics are decent enough. Unlockable skins add incentive to keep improving your score.

Unlocking cheese world gives you this green skin and cheesy pucks

The bad news: Load times intrude whenever you move from one screen to another or select any option. The puck physics aren’t exactly the best ever.

The end result is still the same

Arcadelife verdict: It’s ok if you can live with the load pauses and very basic gameplay, but I can’t pretend I got particularly excited about this one.

Arcadelife rating: 59/100

Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.4
iTunes link

Lump Apps website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 5.0.1)
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Saturday night … it’s Skyrim night

November 19, 2011

Sorry there’s no review today; I’ve been busy doing non-gaming real life stuff and I just need to relax a bit, out in the frozen wilderness of Skyrim. I’m currently level 18, just starting to get into the quests of the two slightly less lawful factions … and it’s a ton of fun, of course.

Some recent screenshots…

 

 

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Snoopy’s Street Fair review (iOS / Universal)

November 18, 2011

“From out of the skies a hero arose
A funny looking dog with a big black nose”

10 word description: Help Snoopy, Charlie Brown and Peanuts gang organise street fair.

You start off in a fairly empty street, with the objective of making a load of money by running a street fair

10 word review: Dodge the IAPs and enjoy a Peanuts themed tycoon game.

The loading screen shows what you might be able to accomplish ... one day

You will like this if you enjoy: Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Tycoon games (Fruit Juice Tycoon 2 seems a good comparison). Smurfs’ Village – same company, same IAP model.

Tapping on a customer's thought bubble will show you what they think of the fair, and other random thoughts they may be having

The good news: Really good graphics; almost perfect Peanuts visualisation (at least on iPad where I’ve mostly been playing it). Plenty to do and it’s all fun to watch, with lots of animations going on all the time. The in-game money seems to come rolling in fairly quickly, at least quick enough to buy quite a few stalls in the first half hour.

This is as far as you can zoom in. The graphics and animation are really very good

The bad news: I’m the wrong person to review this type of game because I can’t see the point of blowing real money on virtual items, mostly consumables, in any videogame. I know, I know … the model works and these games make lots of money, but that doesn’t mean it’s right and I’m wrong – the world just isn’t that simple, I’m afraid. The bad news here, at least from my perspective, is that a great looking game – that could have been sold for a flat fee without all the rather crazy IAP bundles – will only be fun for me up to the point where spending real money becomes a necessity, when I will just stop playing it. Would I buy this game if it had no IAP and was priced realistically? Yeah, probably, because it’s a very good game.

If this doesn't strike you as utterly crazy, you need to go and get this game right now. You're going to love it

Arcadelife verdict: I think I covered it in the bad news section. I like the game, and I’ll play it until I hit the IAP wall, then I’ll give up. I’m not saying people are stupid spending real money just to keep playing this kind of Freemium title, just that I’d feel stupid if I ever considered doing it.

Organise a street fair to make loads of money ... Alternatively, licence a popular cartoon strip for a videogame and fill it with IAPs

Arcadelife rating: 80/100

Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0.1
iTunes link

Snoopy’s Street Fair website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 5.0)
iPad (OS 5.0)