Archive for January, 2013

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Happy 2nd Anniversary Arcadelife

January 31, 2013

I almost forgot! Arcadelife – 2 years old today. Yeah, I appreciate the irony that most of the reviews look like they were written by a 2 year old.

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Plague Inc. review (iOS / Universal)

January 31, 2013

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10 word description: World annihilation strategy sim. Evolve the ultimate plague. Game Center.

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10 word review: Compulsive, addictive, challenging and all sorts of terribly infectious fun.

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You will like this if you enjoy: Strategy /conquest sims where you play the bad guy. World Destruction Fantasies. Games that reward (and occasionally punish) experimentation and lateral thinking.

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The good news: Very nice interface. Surprisingly good graphics considering it’s primarily a game of statistics and number balancing. Very, very addictive. Plenty to unlock, including genetic modifications that can be tailored to suit your style of play and/or the current challenge. Some imaginative and tough achievements to earn. Great use of sound, with subtly ominous music and evocative spot effects and audio cues. Wonderfully dark sense of humour and some nice topical jokes in the newsreel. IAPs are completely unnecessary to enjoy playing. All unlockable content can be obtained through beating various stages of the game.

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The bad news: The theme – destroying the world with very realistic plague symptoms – probably won’t appeal to everyone. You just have to adapt your sense of humour! There are a couple of minor issues tapping DNA bubbles near the edges of the screen on the smaller devices.

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Arcadelife verdict: Yes, I know this review is late and the game has been out for ages. I’ve finally unlocked everything (without using a single IAP) and I think this is one of the best games I have ever played on iOS. It’s certainly one of the most addictive. The challenges presented by the different plague types are varied and you can’t keep repeating the exact same strategy over and over again. When you eventually unlock the first special plague – the Neurax Worm – several aspects of the game are significantly different.

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I’ve had a huge amount of fun with this game, from inventing loads of stupid names for the plagues to enduring edge-of-the-seat tension during several end-game races to beat a quickly developing cure. And, yes, the cheat plagues that are available after beating Neurax Worm on Brutal difficulty are as much fun as they sound.

Zero % cure development on Brutal difficulty. Good old Elvis!

Zero % cure development on Brutal difficulty. Good old Elvis!

There’s an update coming that will add a zombie plague to the game – I can’t wait to try that one out!

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Arcadelife rating

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

BEST GAME EVER

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.4.2
iTunes link

Ndemic Creations website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (iOS 6.0.1)
4th gen iPad (iOS 6.0.1)
The unintentional jokes are often the funniest

The unintentional jokes are often the funniest

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Banana Kong review (iOS / Universal)

January 28, 2013

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10 word description: Endless auto-runner. Collect bananas, swing from vines, dodge enemies.

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10 word review: Fun and endearingly addictive. High quality for an endless runner.

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You will like this if you enjoy: Let me have a wild guess here – endless runners?

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The good news: Graphics, sounds, level design, power-up evolution, even the controls are getting close to  Excellent territory. If you even remotely like endless games or auto-runner platform style games it’s a fair bet that you will love this one. Runs well on 1st gen iPad and 4th gen Touch.

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The bad news: I could live without the IAPs, but then I can play the game quite happily without even considering them so it’s hardly a negative point. No iCloud sync for progress and unlocks, not that I could see anyway.

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Arcadelife verdict: Great game, even though it raises the same degree of speculation that I had with Rayman Jungle Run – they could have made a great old-school platform game with this engine and these assets, so why didn’t they? Judged on its own merits, Banana Kong is a fine addition to the endless genre on iOS and should more than satisfy the majority of runner fans.

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Arcadelife rating

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

EXCELLENT

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0.4
iTunes link

FDG Entertainment website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (iOS 6.0.1)
4th gen iPad (iOS 6.0.1)
1st gen iPad (iOS 5.1.1)
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Banana Kong gift code (UK)

January 26, 2013

I recently received a gift code for Banana Kong (iOS / Universal) from a friend (Thanks!) but I had already bought the game.

If you would like this code – note: it will only work on the UK appstore – send an email to arcadelife@planetshooter.com. First response gets the code.

And if anyone was wondering what happened and why there haven’t been any reviews for a few days – my PC broke and I had to get a new one.

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Balloon Loons review (iOS / Universal)

January 21, 2013

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10 word description: Floating collect-em-up with balloons and rabbits. 45 levels.

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10 word review: Joust, reimagined by very cheerful people. A lot of fun.

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You will like this if you enjoy: Joust – seriously, the basic gameplay is very similar. Arcade games with an emphasis on fun. Games without IAPs or adverts.

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The good news: The gameplay is very good and fun, which is important despite what a lot of app store games would have you believe. Graphics are pretty although not jaw-dropping. Music is decent, sound effects and audio cues for power-ups are amusing and suitably silly. Plenty of control options. Runs perfectly ok on 1st gen iPad and 4th gen Touch.

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The bad news: On the smaller screen (iPhone/Touch) using the control buttons can obscure some of the action at the bottom of the screen. No iCloud sync for playing on more than one device. I suppose the lack of pay-to-win IAPs might disappoint a few drooling imbeciles who have more money than sense, but that’s just good news for the rest of us.

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Arcadelife verdict: I’ve been waiting a while to review the big version 2.0 update and it has definitely been worth the wait. Balloon Loons plays a lot like Joust, as you fly/float around, attempting to pop the enemies’ balloons from above. There’s far more variety to the environments, enemies and power-ups, and the gameplay is jovial and entertaining. Ultimately, it’s a fun arcade style game with no pretensions at being serious or anything more than what it is. It also has no IAPs or adverts, which is really refreshing these days! Recommended.

Arcadelife rating

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

VERY GOOD

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

Balloon Loons website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (iOS 6.0.1)
4th gen iPad (iOS 6.0.1)
1st gen iPad (iOS 5.1.1)
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jtpck review (iOS / Universal)

January 18, 2013

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10 word description: One-touch auto-flier (with jetpack). Avoid hazards, collect characters.

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10 word review: Captivating casual game. Beautiful, clean visuals. Outstanding soundtrack. Highly recommended.

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You will like this if you enjoy: Auto-runners. Endless distance games.

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The good news: Everything about this game is eminently likeable. The addiction comes from always knowing that you can beat your last run and never feeling frustrated. Very well designed and wonderfully presented.

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The bad news: Couple of small things: The pause button (bottom left) is right where I like to use my thumb to control the game; it’s being moved in an update. No iCloud sync.

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Arcadelife verdict: Like Jetpack Joyride, reimagined in a nu-retro style without the IAP bullshit. The control method is simple and immediately familiar. I’m having a lot of fun with this game and I suggest that you go and get it if you haven’t already done so.

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Arcadelife rating

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

EXCELLENT

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0.0
iTunes link

Zack Banack website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (iOS 6.0.1)
4th gen iPad (iOS 6.0.1)
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Infestor review (iOS / Universal)

January 17, 2013

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10 word description: 60 level action platformer. Infest humans for unique powers. Game Center.

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10 word review: Falls far short of its own potential. Overall quite disappointing.

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You will like this if you enjoy: Platform games, I suppose, although this isn’t a great example of the genre.

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The good news: It can be completed very quickly, despite some annoying bugs.

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The bad news: Short, unimaginative levels. Bad control button positioning (particularly on iPad) with no option to customise it. Bugs that cause the block-pushing human to explode for no reason or stick permanently to a pushed block. Way too little is done with the rather intriguing concept of possessing humans with your Infestor blob. The same bland background and tile-set is used in every level. A flat, forgettable gaming experience. iCloud save doesn’t seem to work, at least not for me. Achievement notifications repeat. One achievement doesn’t unlock when the conditions are met.

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Arcadelife verdict: I’m not a huge fan of speedruns, star-ratings for levels, collectable items in hard-to-reach areas, unlockable content and high-score leaderboards … however (and it’a a pretty big however) this game is seriously in need of one or more of those, if only to add some kind of purpose beyond reaching yet another level exit. Alternatively, make the levels a bit larger and include primary and secondary goals. I can’t believe I find it so easy to spot what’s missing, what could have been, but the people who spent their time developing this game didn’t.

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Well, it’s yet another missed opportunity on the app store and I’m sure it’s not going to be the last. Just shrug, forget it and move on.

Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 7/10
Visuals – 7/10
Controls – 3/10
Content – 3/10
Fun – 2/10
Final rating – 4/10

DISAPPOINTING

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

Ravenous Games website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (iOS 6.0.1)
4th gen iPad (iOS 6.0.1)