Archive for August, 2013

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NinjaBoy (iOS) – FREE!

August 25, 2013

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I don’t generally do announcements when iOS games go free. NinjaBoy (iOS / Universal) is now free, although I don’t know how long it will remain free. If you haven’t got it, which I expect is the case, go and get it now.

Here’s the original Arcadelife review of NinjaBoy, where I scored it 95/100. The game also gained a special mention in the “Best Platformer” category of the Arcadelife Awards 2012.

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Spelunky (2013) – PC – not quite a review

August 16, 2013

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I played a lot of the original Spelunky (Spelunky World website link) and I was excited to find out there was an updated version coming out. The new version (on Steam here) has the same Roguelike platforming as the original with improved visuals and a lot of small additions and enhancements to the gameplay. Unlockable characters, shortcuts to later levels that you have to earn and a larger variety of enemies are some of the highlights.

Spelunky 2013-08-16 19-58-49-02The shortcut to the second zone (jungle) has to be earned by completing the mine level 3 times and agreeing to provide the tunnel worker with various items so that he can complete his shortcut cavern. It’s a great reward when you eventually get it, as it allows immediate access to the jungle with your full quota of lives.

Spelunky 2013-08-16 21-13-24-64Spelunky in both forms is a great deal of fun, but once you get this version I don’t think you would ever have any reason to go back to the original.

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Spelunky 2013-08-16 21-08-13-98

Spelunky 2013-08-16 21-06-56-60

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Righteous Kill 2 review (iPhone / iPod Touch)

August 15, 2013

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10 word description: Crime investigation themed hidden object game. 37 levels. 16 mini-games.

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10 word review: Decent, serious looking. Some issues object hunting on small screen,

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You will like this if you enjoy: Hidden object games. Crime investigation themed games.

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The good news: The procedural police investigation theme is a nice break from the usual mix of supernatural / comedic hidden object games. Mini-games are pretty good, breaking up the sequence of object-searching levels. Nice variety of locations. Hints recharge quickly. No consumable IAPs. Game is free to try, with single IAP to unlock full version.

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The bad news: I struggled a bit with some of the hidden objects on the small screen. I assume the iPad version of this is not as much of an eye-strain on the darker levels. Occasionally, the tap detection on small objects is also a bit too finicky.  

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Arcadelife verdict: Pretty good game; kept me interested for a lot longer than I needed to assess it for this review. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a huge hidden object fan, but I’ll play one if it is clever enough or different enough to keep my attention. Apart from my issues playing on the small (compared to iPad) screen, I enjoyed Righteous Kill 2 and I’d recommend it to anyone after a hidden object / puzzle game that has a more serious theme than usual.  

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Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 8.5/10
Visuals – 7.5/10
Controls – 8/10
Content – 8.5/10
Fun – 7/10
Final rating – 8/10

INTRIGUING

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

G5 Games website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
5th gen iPod Touch (iOS 6.1.3)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.
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Gurk III review (iPhone / iPod Touch)

August 14, 2013

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10 word description: 8-bit style party based RPG. Classes, quests, levelling. Turn-based combat.

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10 word review: Completely unoptimised interface, antiquated visuals and grinding. Therefore quite fun.

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You will like this if you enjoy: Very retro RPGs with much of the gameplay and progression based around random encounters and the exploiting thereof.

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The good news: Dispensing with pretensions, or even any attempt to make use of the iPhone screen, it does what it sets out to do. Although the interface looks clunky, like a port from a much older phone, navigating it and doing what you need to do is a breeze. Everything – heroes, items, enemies – has a decent, well written description.

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The bad news: There’s enough about this game – looks, interface style, repetitive encounters – to put off anyone who isn’t already a retro RPG fanatic.

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Arcadelife verdict: If you thought Kairosoft couldn’t be bothered with the interface for Game Dev Story, you’re going to have the same immediate emotional reaction to this game. The critical issue is this: does the game offer enough in the way of entertainment to make the lacklustre interface irrelevant? I’m going to perch precariously on the fence here, as I usually tend to do, and say that this depends very heavily on how much of a fan you are of this kind of RPG. It isn’t an action RPG, although there are lots of fights, and it doesn’t have the deepest levelling process ever, auto-allocating stat increases for each member of your party.

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Ultimately, I’m not going to put off anyone who likes this kind of game, because they will like this game. Trying to encourage someone who hates retro turn-based RPGs to buy it would be a complete waste of time. At this point, you’re probably wondering why I bothered in the first place. There’s the answer. You read it, you filled a few minutes of your day. All I can hope is that you enjoyed reading it enough to come back again some time.

Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 6/10
Visuals – 7/10
Controls – 8/10
Content – 8.5/10
Fun – 6.5/10
Final rating – 6/10

OLD SCHOOL

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

Larva Labs website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
5th gen iPod Touch (iOS 6.1.3)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.
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Deus Ex: The Fall review (iOS / Universal)

August 12, 2013

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10 word description: First person shoot/stealth/stun-em-up. Original story in Deus Ex universe. 

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10 word review: Excellent on iPad. Slightly less fun on iPhone/iPod Touch.

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You will like this if you enjoy: Deus Ex. Splinter Cell, if you’ve never played a Deus Ex game. Stealth games. Hi-tech RPGs.

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The good news: (Based primarily on the iPad experience)… Great visuals, very nice music, controls that feel about as good as they could be for a first person game on touch screen. Great “Deus Ex” blend of story, exploring, action, sneaking around, hacking locks and computers, upgrading, fun abilities, loads of weapons and weapon upgrades. High level of polish. New Story + for that extra incentive to replay it all. Lots of GC achievements. Customisable HUD. Fast saving and loading – save manually anywhere you like. IAPs can be ignored, they are completely unnecessary.

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The bad news: Controls can feel awkward on the smaller screen of iPhone/Touch. After playing on an iPad, the experience is significantly less impressive on a smaller device, although it’s still a very good game. It occasionally crashes for no apparent reason. No cloud sync between devices. It’s a bit short, particularly if you’re expecting the traditional globe-trotting Deus Ex experience. The vanishing bodies (including stunned) are probably a concession to device limitations, but they make the game a bit too easy at times and also remove the tactical choice of “kill or stun?” as a stun will remove a body just as effectively as a kill.

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Arcadelife verdict: Judging this as an iPad game, it’s very good. I’ve completed it once, started again in New Game + mode and I’m having a great time with it. The controls occasionally trip me up, for example if the game interprets my hesitant sneaking towards a frag mine as a “double tap to move” and my character accidentally runs towards the mine, yeah, that can be a bit of a shock. Most of what I expect from a Deus Ex game is here, enough to make this an easy recommendation for any iPad owners who fancy a bit of story driven stealth and shooting.

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Arcadelife rating

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

GREAT

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

Deus Ex: The Fall website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
5th gen iPod Touch (iOS 6.1.3)
4th gen iPad (iOS 6.1.3)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.
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Mikey Hooks review (iOS / Universal)

August 8, 2013

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10 word description: 2D platformer sequel. Speedruns, coin collecting, hazards, outfits, Game Center.

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10 word review: This is what the first game should have been like.

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You will like this if you enjoy: 2D platform games with an emphasis on speed-running, but also plenty to do for those of us who don’t see Game Center leaderboards as the sole reason for playing video games. 

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The good news: Judging it against its predecessor, this is a significant improvement. Reliable, responsive controls that can be customised. Hazards and player death! Yay! Spike pits! Clean, cheerful, functional graphics. A good mix of speed-runs, coin collecting, secret (shorts) hunting. iCloud sync works. Offline (preset) target scores to beat for those of us who don’t care about Game Center. Story and Race modes. Runs perfectly well on older devices including 1st gen iPad and 3rd gen Touch.

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The bad news: The emphasis is still quite heavily on speed running and the story mode can easily be completed in under an hour. That isn’t going to be “bad news” for anyone who loved Mikey Shorts, I just thought it needed to be mentioned. 

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Arcadelife verdict: Mikey Hooks, while staying true to the style and overall feel of Mikey Shorts, adds just enough to narrowly avoid looking more like Mikey Shorts Part 1.5 than a new game in its own right. It’s fun. For me, it’s a hell of a lot more fun than Mikey Shorts and I happily played the story mode through to the end in a few quick sessions. The levels still display an element of copy/paste in their layout but the addition of the hooking mechanism and the incentive to replay the levels in different ways (speed runs, coin collecting and shorts hunting) goes a long way to improve the experience.

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The best additions, of course, are the hazards and the potential to actually fail a level. The countless costumes and hook colours add a bit of variety, but they’re just as unnecessary as they were before. The IAP for double coins, a coin magnet, extra lives and retro graphics is similarly unnecessary.

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Overall, a fun platformer sequel that will please fans of the original and should also pull in a few of us who didn’t really appreciate Mikey Shorts.   

Arcadelife rating

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

A HOOK, BUT STILL SHORT

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

BeaverTap Games website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
5th gen iPod Touch (iOS 6.1.3)
4th gen iPod Touch (iOS 6.1.3)
3rd gen iPod Touch (iOS 5.1.1)
4th gen iPad (iOS 6.1.3)
1st gen iPad (iOS 5.1.1)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.
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Kid Tripp review (iOS / Universal)

August 6, 2013

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10 word description: Fast paced, retro styled, challenging (hard!) auto-runner platform game.

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10 word review: Equal parts joy and rage; personally I really like it. 

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You will like this if you enjoy: Hard platform games that require consistent pixel-perfect timing. Retro styled platform games.

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The good news: Reliable and responsive controls. Great “that looks like…” graphics. Very hard, and yet (eventually) you will ace every level, if you have the patience and skill required. Nice tunes.

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The bad news: No 5th gen widescreen support yet – boo-hoo, I just bought one. Still looks good, though. No iCloud sync. Too hard for the casual crowd.

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Arcadelife verdict: I love games like this, even though I haven’t even made it all the way through yet. The immediate “difficulty turned up to 11” challenge will be too much for some people to cope with, but that’s kind of the whole point. You play this game to fail, fail, fail, swear, fail, laugh, fail, try again, fail and, eventually, succeed. If you like League of Evil – the first one – you get the same air-punching satisfaction every time you nail one of Kid Tripp’s particularly sadistic levels.

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Overall, rather a niche auto-runner platforming experience but a must-buy for anyone who gets their kicks getting their butt kicked by video games.

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Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 8/10
Visuals – 7.5/10
Controls – 10/10
Content – 8/10
Fun – 8/10
Final rating – 8/10

GOOD

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

Not Done Yet Games website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
5th gen iPod Touch (iOS 6.1.3)
4th gen iPod Touch (iOS 6.1.3)
4th gen iPad (iOS 6.1.3)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.