Archive for December, 2013

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When In Rome review (iPad)

December 27, 2013

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10 word description: Casual resource/time management, Roman theme, 41 levels. 3 modes.

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10 word review: Pretty graphics, lots of levels. Familiar gameplay can feel repetitive.

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You will like this if you enjoy: Roads of Rome / My Kingdom for the Princess and others of this ilk.

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The good news: Easy to get into, very pretty visuals, plenty of content. Controls are good, with simple and intuitive order queuing / cancelling. Choice of modes to make the game as casual & relaxing as you need it to be.

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The bad news: Not a fault of this game, more an indication of how established this genre has become, the gameplay feels immediately familiar which leads to an early sense of repetition. The name of the game tends to suggest that even the developers are aware that they’re not exactly moving the genre in any particular direction.

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Arcadelife verdict: It’s hard to see where this genre can go, beyond yet another change of scenario or the addition of more and more levels. When in Rome is a great example of the genre, no doubt at all about that, but it feels like what it is – more of the same – rather than a new and exciting game.

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I’ve given this game a lower overall score than it deserves (if it was being judged purely on what it is, without taking the existing genre into consideration), because it doesn’t attempt to do anything particularly new and just sticks to an established formula. Fans of the genre, assuming they’re not as jaded and cynical as I am, will find a lot to like about When In Rome.

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Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 9/10
Visuals – 8.5/10
Controls – 9/10
Content – 8.5/10
Fun – 6.5/10
Final rating – 7/10

FAMILIAR

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

Realore.com website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPad (iOS 7.0.4)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.
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Merry Christmas

December 24, 2013

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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

From ArcadeLife

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R-Type update (iOS)

December 19, 2013

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It’s great that the buttons can now be moved around and re-sized, but the local high-score is still not retained between games and the sound controls are still backwards, with the FX slider controlling music volume and the music slider controlling sound effects. Come on, get that high-score to actually show the high score and fix those volume control icons.

R-Type is a classic shooter, one of my all time favourites, and it plays wonderfully on touch screens. Get it from the app store HERE.

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Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas review (iOS / Universal)

December 18, 2013

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10 word description: It’s GTA San Andreas for iOS. Shooting, swearing, driving, pimping. 

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10 word review: Splendid port of a classic episode in the series.

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You will like this if you enjoy: Grand Theft Auto games. Free-roaming games. Swearing and being a gangsta. Rap music. Driving games. Getting an afro and some tattoos, then walking out into the street and punching random passers-by in the face.

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The good news: It’s the full game, with graphical enhancements for iOS devices. The controls are very good. Progress can be synchronised between iOS devices via a Rockstar Social Club account. The original game, even though it’s almost 10 years old, is a large, content-rich, entertaining open world that was hugely popular in its original form and has retained all the playability and fun in its latest incarnation.

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The bad news: The adult (meaning crude, violent and offensive with lots of strong language) content is not for everyone, particularly young kids who might have access to your iPad.

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Arcadelife verdict: This is an obvious contender for “Best iOS port of the year”. If you’re old enough and broad-minded enough to be entertained by the subject matter, I can thoroughly recommend this game. The first few minutes of gameplay, when you have to make your getaway from rival turf on a pink bicycle perfectly sets your expectations for the rest of the game. It’s daft, frequently surprising and very aware of its target audience.

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Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 9/10
Visuals – 8/10
Controls – 8.5/10
Content – 10/10
Fun – 8.5/10
Final rating – 9/10

GRAND

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

GTA San Andreas website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
5th gen iPod Touch (iOS 7.0.4)
4th gen iPad (iOS 7.0.4)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.
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Dark Souls II – Again and again I come back…

December 15, 2013

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No confirmed date for the PC release yet, but it certainly won’t be before March next year. I don’t have a console (or time for epic games like this, really) but I’ll be making room in my life for the PC version as soon as it appears.

That last video is my favourite, because of the music, which is track 10 on this album, Industrial Complex by Nitzer Ebb.

And here are some pictures…

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Revenge of Toxic Frog (iOS) – coming soon!

December 14, 2013

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The sequel to one of Arcadelife’s favourite high-score chasing games – Toxic Frog from Ramble Interactive – will shortly be released on the app store (Read the Arcadelife review of Toxic Frog here). Revenge of Toxic Frog takes the fundamental mechanics of the original and cranks everything up, starting with the immediately obvious change from a fixed 4 x 6 grid to an infinitely scrolling, free-hopping lake.

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Each level has specific goals to complete in order to unlock the next level. These goals are generally quantities of items that need to be collected before the timer runs out or you meet with some kind of demise. If a level has 3 separate goals, you don’t need to achieve them all in one attempt, which is nice.

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In addition to completing goals and progressing, there is also the high-scoring, which is a key feature and forms part of the Game Centre leaderboards in addition to fireflies eaten and hops. There is only one high score, it’s up to you which level you achieve it on and how you achieve it. I found a good way to score and I’m happy to at least show you which level I exploited, I mean played, in order to do it.

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This wouldn’t be a Toxic Frog game without hazards, and Revenge has loads: Fireflies, Catfish, Owls, Spiderwebs, exploding tiki bombs…

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Once you complete all 24 levels (I’ve managed 13 so far), you will unlock a couple of marathon modes, one at night and one in the day. There’s also the option to pay to unlock those modes if you just can’t wait.

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Revenge of Toxic Frog is not just a perfect touch screen game, it’s a brilliant game all round. The original was too, and received very positive reviews. Why the heck hardly anyone played it is a complete mystery to me. You, personally, need to avoid making the same mistake this time and just buy this flippin’ game. Because I said, and because you will thank me for it.

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I’ll be posting a review on release day, or very close to it.

 

 

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Volgarr the Viking (PC)

December 12, 2013

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This has been out for a few months, but I only recently spotted it on Steam while I was browsing for platform games. It’s retro hard with a distinct lack (or scarcity, I haven’t figured that out yet) of checkpoints and a combination of level design and enemy placement that is frequently nasty.

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It reminds me of Rygar but it has a bit more variety, particularly with the spears that can be used as a ranged weapon, charged up to deal more damage or cut down multiple enemies, or be thrown at vertical walls to form a makeshift ladder.

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The lack of checkpoints and abundance of death opportunities mean it will have quite limited appeal but, if you’re after a modern take on the brutally hard action platformer genre, you’re probbaly going to enjoy this as much as I do.

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To find out more and see some videos of it in action, here’s the Steam store link: http://store.steampowered.com/app/247240/

Official description: “Remember when games were tough? Return to the Golden Age of arcades with an all-NEW hardcore action experience that pulls no punches. Volgarr the Viking possesses all the hallmarks of the true classics – simple controls, high challenge, and meticulous design – combined with hand-made pixel animation, an epic soundtrack, and buckets of…”