Archive for March, 2012

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Pablo’s Planet review (iPod/iPhone)

March 30, 2012

“I see her face in outer space, Oh I want her
She kind of launched a flying saucer
Right inside my head”

10 word description: Blast rockets at Dr Bleach’s evil henchmen. Power-ups. Game Center.

10 word review: Tilt ‘n’ swipe shooter with IAPs. Screen feels rather cramped.

You will like this if you enjoy: Tilting to control one flying saucer while swiping (not tapping) at other flying saucers.

The good news: I’m sitting here trying hard to think of what stands out as being really good about this game, and …

The bad news: … I couldn’t think of anything.

Arcadelife verdict: How you interpret the bad news section above is entirely up to you. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with Pablo’s Planet, but the rather strange mixture of tilt control, shooter gameplay and Fruit Ninja style swiping to target enemies never really feels quite right. Upgrading is a bit of a grind, with the predictable IAP option to bypass the chore of actually playing the game. This isn’t one I’ll be going back to.

Arcadelife rating

Visuals – 6/10
Audio – 6/10
Controls – 5/10
Content – 6/10
Fun – 3/10
Final rating – 50/100

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

ChumpChop website link

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

March 29, 2012

“I saw a motorcrash, a proper motorcrash”

10 word description: Smash Box Cat into cars and create traffic mayhem. Game Center.

Read the words inside that box. If you're not laughing, that's a shame

10 word review: I’m really not worthy of reviewing this bizarre, wonderful game.

This is squirrel cat. Don't ask me, I just work here

You will like this if you enjoy: Bonkers video games from a time when everyone was a lot happier.

A larger, powered up version of Box Cat

The good news: It’s very silly, but in a Bill and Ted way,  not a UK Government way. Giant square cats are awesome; we all know that.

A 38x combo - that's unspeakable carnage right there

The bad news: You’re not a giant square cat and you can’t run into traffic and smash cars around. I just thought I’d point that out.

Of course...

Arcadelife verdict: The way I feel, this is the best game that I could be playing today. Wrap your head around this concept: You guide a large square cat back and forth, left and right, across a busy road, smacking cars into one another and causing combo car crashes. (My best so far is a 51 x combo in rush hour mode). There’s no reason for any of this and it remains bafflingly ridiculous, the craziness escalating exponentially with every weird new cat character that you unlock. In my view, this is an essential game.

Arcadelife rating

Visuals – 6/10
Audio – 7/10
Controls – 8.5/10
Content – 8/10
Fun – 9.5/10
Final rating – 90/100

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

Box Cat website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 5.0.1)
iPad (OS 5.0.1)
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Coco Loco review (iOS / Universal)

March 28, 2012

“Going loco, down in Acapulco…”

10 word description: Projectile physics puzzler; 75 3-star challenge levels. Game Center.

10 word review: Fairly interesting Angry Birds imitator, but still the same game.

Blocks explode and there are numbers all over the place, but so what?

You will like this if you enjoy: The very familiar gameplay of Angry Birds / Crush the Castle. Any game that has currently popular fluid physics and cute characters.

The good news: It’s a hell of a lot better than I’m making it sound. It looks very nice and the water/jelly fluid effects are excellent. Plenty of levels, now with another 15 added in update 1.04.

The bad news: It’s only ever going to be compared to Angry Birds and, as such, will have trouble making an impression as a game in its own right. Too serious and cynical? Maybe, but just have a look at the app store reviews if you don’t believe me. My own personal gripe with these games – you play a level over and over until you get it “just right” (3-stars), move on and forget all about it. I’m still not completely sure whether that’s fun or a chore.

Yes, I got 3 stars on all the levels. But did I have fun doing it and does that really matter?

Arcadelife verdict: It’s flashy, pretty, there’s liquid splattering all over the place and it’s all rather forgettable. I don’t feel a burning desire to keep playing it, although what is there is technically very impressive and hard to fault as an example of how to take the Angry Birds model and add popular fluid physics into the puzzles. A lot more could have been done with the component parts of this game, rather than just an obvious AB imitation, but that’s how it is with 90% of the games on the app store and my opinion is hardly going to change that, is it?

Ultimately, if you take a one-trick pony and give him a pink neon saddle and flashing hooves, most people will still see that he’s the same old one-trick pony.

It's all fluid physics and exploding stuff, but there's virtually zero opportunity to think laterally or solve a puzzle in any way other than the rigidly prescribed 3-star method.

Arcadelife rating

Visuals – 9/10
Audio – 8/10
Controls – 8/10
Content – 8/10
Fun – 5/10
Final rating – 75/100

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.04
iTunes link

Chillingo website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
iPad (OS 5.0.1)
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Hyperbowl review (iOS / Universal)

March 27, 2012

“And I say again…
And I said before…
And I say once more – This is the last time!”

10 word description: Be the ball. Authorised version of Hyperbowl for iPhone & iPad. (Taken from app store description).

10 word review: A good idea, marred by trundling gameplay and odd physics.

You will like this if you enjoy: Swiping a bowling ball along with your finger and seeing it shoot ten feet into the air when it touches a flower.

The good news: There’s a good game in there somewhere.

The bad news: It’s all too slow, blocky and unconvincing. After a couple of rolls I just wanted it to be over. I tried other lanes (countries) and it was the same story. Tedious score animations every shot – why? Pop-up “Play/Options/Quit” menu as soon as you go into the lane choice screen – why?

Arcadelife verdict: Speed it up, add options to turn the score animations off and not have the “Play/Options/Quit” menu pop-up every time you go into lane choice. While you’re at it, add a “go back to lane choice” option to the pause menu. Fix the weird physics and at least add an option so we don’t have to always play ten frames. The concept is excellent; the execution on idevices, well, not so much. Setting the roll speed slider to maximum improves the game slightly, but also raises the question – why not just have it set like that by default?

Arcadelife rating

Visuals – 6/10
Audio – 5/10
Controls – 8/10
Content – 7/10
Fun – 3/10
Final rating – 58/100

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 3.0
iTunes link

Hyperbowl website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 5.0.1)
iPad (OS 5.0.1)
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DayDream Dave review (iOS / Universal)

March 26, 2012

“I’m not going to cry, I bet he hit that water high”

10 word description: Jump, bounce, fly, float and ride the skies. 40 levels.

10 word review: Not just another endless jumping game; surprisingly entertaining and varied.

You will like this if you enjoy: Casual bouncing / jumping games, although this isn’t one.

What's this? A boss fight!

The good news: Very nice graphics. Controls are ok once you figure out what you’re supposed to be doing. Three optional control methods: tilt, virtual pad and a relative touch option that I prefer. Good blend of falling, bouncing and flying and some added puzzle elements as you progress through the levels. No IAPs.

The bad news: It will suffer because of the shortcomings of similar, lesser games and the fact that the screenshots make it look less interesting than it is. Also, there’s no music and the sounds are a bit generic and bland.

Arcadelife verdict: There’s quite a lot of cute looking, varied entertainment in this game. The basic objective in most levels is to collect enough rubber rings before you eventually reach the water, otherwise you fail the level. Dave falls unless he is bouncing off something, flying with one of several collectable power-ups, or responding to your attempts to make him jump in mid-air. It could be the next big casual game, but it won’t be because life just isn’t fair. Have a nice day.

Arcadelife rating

Visuals – 8/10
Audio – 4/10
Controls – 8/10
Content – 7/10
Fun – 7/10
Final rating – 68/100

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0.1
iTunes link

DevWilliams website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 5.0.1)
iPad (OS 5.0.1)
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Fantasy iTeam 11-12 for iPad review (iPad)

March 25, 2012

“But I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don’t belong here”

10 word description: Dedicated iPad version of popular mobile fantasy football game FiT.

10 word review: If you’re into fantasy football, you probably need this app.

You will like this if you enjoy: Football. Fantasy football.

The good news: Even someone who has zero interest in football (e.g. me) can get set up, choose a team and start scoring points very easily. The presentation, interface and functionality all appear to be of a very high quality. There are all sorts of mini-leagues and head-to-head competitions. The lists of players and all the individual statistics are clear and very detailed.

The bad news: There are buttons and links to Betfred all over the place. Even if I was interested in football, the constant invitations to waste money betting on it would start to irritate me very quickly.

Arcadelife verdict: Much as I inexplicably became temporarily hooked on Championship Manager back in 2000, there is a kind of RPG style “my stats are better than your stats” appeal here that almost transcends the subject matter. Almost. I can’t pretend to like football and I can’t genuinely drum up much enthusiasm for picking a team of random players in the vague hope that they manage to score or stop a goal on any given weekend. However, if you’re one of the many millions of people who enjoy confronting fellow football loving co-workers on Monday morning with a jolly laugh and “We won, you lost” style haranguing, and you also own an iPad, get yourself onto iTunes and download this freebie, as it’s guaranteed to make your entire day.

Arcadelife rating

Visuals – 8/10
Audio – n/a
Controls – n/a
Content – 8/10
Fun – ?/10
Final rating – 2:0 at half time

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0.2
iTunes link

Fantasy iTeam website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
iPad (OS 5.0.1)
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Action Driver review (iOS / Universal)

March 24, 2012

“I feel high on fear, I could live with danger
I could live forever, will you be my driver?”

10 word description: Take a spin on the chaotic roads in Action Driver. (copied from the app store description).

10 word review: Endless running with fast cars and explosions. Gotta love that!

You will like this if you enjoy: Donut Games. Endless runners. Racing the same randomly generated road of hazards over and over again.

The good news: Another classic pick-up-and-play, 5-minute-burst casual game from Donut. Looks, sounds and gameplay are pretty much all near the usual standard for a Donut game. Two different control options. Lots of achievements.

The bad news: It won’t change your life and it’s not as imaginative as their previous game, another variation on the endless runner theme, Fishbowl Racer. Anyone with an aversion to endless runner style games won’t like this.

Arcadelife verdict: Pretty good. I played it for a solid 30 minutes (I know, because I got an achievement for doing it) and didn’t get tired of it, although I did keep getting better. There’s plenty of action and a variety of hazards and enemies, most with their own associated Game Center achievements. If you are a Donut Games fan, or you want to cram as many endless runner style games as possible on your iOS device, this would be well worth getting.

Arcadelife rating

Visuals – 8/10
Audio – 8/10
Controls – 8/10
Content – 7/10
Fun – 7.5/10
Final rating – 77/100

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.00
iTunes link

Donut Games website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 5.0.1)
iPad (OS 5.0.1)
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Hunters 2 review (iOS / Universal)

March 23, 2012

“I got a blade like lightning, silver bullets in my gun”

10 word description: Sequel; 2D top-down turn-based strategic sci-fi combat. Game Center.

10 word review: Everything has been turned up to 11, including the challenge.

You will like this if you enjoy: Hunters: Episode One (yes, I know that’s blindingly obvious, but it’s also incredibly relevant). Turn-based action with a small squad versus larger numbers of enemies. Strategic combat where one of your best weapons is your mind.

The good news: Graphics have been considerably improved, from what was already quite a pretty game in H:E1. Music and sounds do the job and create a nice atmosphere. The campaign mode is an excellent, necessary addition; you now have a great reason to perform lots of daily contracts – levelling up and earning money for better gear to use in the campaign. New alien enemies – Yay, it’s a bug hunt! Many other minor tweaks and enhancements that combine to make this game a fuller and even more engaging experience than H:E1. Performance on my 1st gen iPad is very good. A list of new features and enhancements was included in the Hunters 2 First impressions post on Arcadelife.

The bad news: Hardcore mode will make you cry if you turn it on for your first run through the campaign.

Arcadelife verdict: For anyone who enjoyed Hunters:Episode One, Hunters 2 should already be installed on your iOS device. For newcomers to the game, a previous love of turn-based strategy isn’t essential to enjoy this one but you will probably have an advantage in the early stages of the campaign if you already appreciate basic tactics such as not walking through an unexplored doorway on your last action point.

As a sequel to H:E1, Hunters 2 addresses the issues and requests of players as well as delivering a new graphics engine and adding some polish and additional features to what was already a solid foundation of gameplay and interface. As a standalone title, Hunters 2 has plenty of content in its campaign and daily contracts, provides a serious challenge and includes enough character customisation and gear manufacturing to keep any turn-based gaming fan happy.

Arcadelife rating

Visuals – 9/10
Audio – 8.5/10
Controls – 9/10
Content – 9/10
Fun – 8.5/10
Final rating – 90/100

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0.1
iTunes link

Rodeo Games website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
iPad (iOS 5.0.1)
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Swordigo review (iOS / Universal)

March 22, 2012

“Well, there is a reward,
To live and die by the sword”

10 word description: Run, jump and fight your way through a vast world. (Copied from the app store description).

10 word review: An incredibly good game, virtually flawless. A lot of fun!

You will like this if you enjoy: Action platform RPGs with loot, levelling, a huge map, plenty of exploring, perfect controls and exciting boss fights.

The good news: This is probably the best game I’ve played on iOS this year; the screen customisation alone is enough to make me cry with joy. The controls are perfect, will never let you down, and you can put the buttons wherever you want. All the individual elements are excellent (enemies, level design, puzzles, boss fights, weapons, levelling upgrades, etc.) but it’s the way they all work so well together that makes this game great. Graphics and sound – both splendid. iCloud sync works perfectly (tested by me between my iPad and 4th gen Touch). No in-app purchases!

The bad news: One thing. One tiny thing that doesn’t really matter, but you might notice it – the story (Search for the pieces of the one weapon that can destroy the returning evil blah blah blah) is a bit of a cliché. Please note – that does not matter. This game is excellent.

Arcadelife verdict: Stunning, flawless and way too much fun. If you have a friend with an iOS device, and they don’t know about this game, go and tell them about it. Or send them a text, or an email, whatever. Tell them to buy it; hell, tell them I told them to buy it. It doesn’t matter. They need this game and so do you. And, of course, Swordigo is by the same people who made Soosiz, so the excellence is hardly surprising.

Arcadelife rating

Visuals – 9.5/10
Audio – 9.5/10
Controls – 10/10
Content – 10/10
Fun – 10/10
Final rating – 98/100

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0.1
iTunes link

Touchfoo website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 5.0.1)
iPad (OS 5.0.1)

 

 

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Draw Something review (iOS / Universal)

March 21, 2012

“I used to have a life, then I played Draw Something”

10 word description: Two player Pictionary style game – guess word from player’s picture.

10 word review: Simple and definitely entertaining. Would benefit from ‘whole alphabet’ mode.

You will like this if you enjoy: Words with Friends (as an example of a two player turn-based iOS game). Pictionary. Drawing a rubbish picture and congratulating yourself disproportionately when your friend guesses the word almost instantly.

The good news: The basic concept is perfectly suited to turn-based play on an iOS device and, because it’s turn-based, you can dip in and out of it whenever you want. If you buy the ad-free version, you get 400 in-game coins that you can use to unlock more drawing colours – Yay!

The bad news: It is frequently too easy, due to the limited number of letters to choose from when guessing the word(s). An optional ‘full alphabet’ mode should be added, with a normal iOS keyboard word entry system. This would vastly improve the challenge of the game and would also stop my clever friend (Hi Ben!) correctly guessing the word before the picture has even started to appear. For other people, the bad news might be a combination of their attention deficit syndrome and friends who can’t be arsed to draw a picture more than once a day; this game does rely 100% on the other player for your enjoyment and entertainment.

Arcadelife verdict: It’s a fun game, providing you have good people to play with. There’s no real competition, as you’re working together with the other player to alternately do the drawing and the word identification. If you enjoy playing the free version of this game, I’d recommend buying the ad-free version. It’s good to get rid of the adverts and there’s also the 400 in-game coins that you will acquire when you upgrade. And remember, as impressive as some of your drawings might be, the truly pathetic ones (like mine) are often the funniest.

Arcadelife rating

Visuals – 8/10
Audio – n/a
Controls – 9/10
Content – 8/10
Fun – 8/10
Final rating – 83/100

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.4.1
iTunes link

OMGPOP / Draw Something website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 5.0.1)
iPad (OS 5.0.1)