Archive for March, 2014


Cardinal Quest 2 review (iOS / Universal)

March 29, 2014

cardinal quest 2 pic 2474

10 word description: Turn based hack ‘n’ slash roguelike adventure. 6 classes, 3 Acts.

cardinal quest 2 pic 2444

10 word review: Astoundingly addictive. Completely unnecessary IAPs. One huge surprise – it’s free.

cardinal quest 2 pic 2430

You will like this if you enjoy: Rogue style permadeath dungeon crawlers. Streamlined iOS RPGs. Free games that don’t suck.

cardinal quest 2 pic 2470

The good news: It’s a brilliant rogue style game; one of the best I’ve played, not just for iOS but when compared with any roguelike on any platform. The overall design is great; the way classes, perks and starting gear unlock based on your morale earned in each playthrough is a perfect replay hook. Graphics, well they’re not outstanding but they totally do the job for a game like this. Controls and interface – wonderful. The IAPs (to buy more morale) are completely unnecessary. 

cardinal quest 2 pic 2459

The bad news: There’s no cloud sync. Portrait orientation only, which is ok but I can see it not suiting a few people.

cardinal quest 2 pic 2457

Arcadelife verdict: What’s going on? People are starting to release free games that don’t exist purely to milk the gullible with IAPs. This game is great, so great that I feel bad having so much fun with something I got for nothing. I know what you’re thinking – the amount of morale needed to unlock the other classes must be appallingly high. But it isn’t. I unlocked the Thief class after playing 3 quick games on the initial Warrior class. I am now sticking with the thief because it’s bloody brilliant. I assume the other classes will be equally entertaining when I unlock them, but I’m in no rush, certainly not enough of a rush to feel any need to buy morale with real money.

cardinal quest 2 pic 2468

No timers, nothing that can’t be unlocked through normal play. IAPs purely for the terminally impatient or for those who feel like handing some money over to the wonderful people behind this game.

cardinal quest 2 pic 2469

Highly recommended with no caveats. Go get it. 

Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 9/10
Visuals – 7.5/10
Controls – 9/10
Content – 9.5/10
Fun – 9.5/10
Final rating – 9/10


Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.2
iTunes link

Cardinal Quest 2 website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
5th gen iPod Touch (iOS 7.1)
4th gen iPad (iOS 7.1)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.

Beach Buggy Blitz review (iOS / Universal)

March 25, 2014

bbb pic 0994

10 word description: Beach buggy themed distance racer. Unlock cars, drivers and upgrades.

bbb pic 2415

10 word review: Mario Kart meets Temple Run. Very pretty. Unessential IAPs. Fun!

bbb pic 2376

You will like this if you enjoy: Mario Kart. Temple Run. Cartoony racers that are focussed on fun. Running into seagulls and giant crabs for achievements and laughs.

bbb pic 2427

The good news: Visually, this game is outstanding. Music and sounds are pretty good too. Plenty of control options; a couple of different versions of buttons or tilt. IAPs (and free coins for viewing ads) are really only there for people who want to buy all the cars and drivers without playing the game. There is no waiting for pay-wall timers such as the “tired drivers” in Angry Birds Go. Lots of environments and randomised track sequences make each race feel fresh. iCloud sync works, tested between 5th gen Touch and 4th gen iPad. Graphics quality can be adjusted for better performance on older devices.

bbb pic 2380

The bad news: If you completely avoid the free coins (for viewing ads) it will take a while to earn enough to fully upgrade a car. This is not actually a problem, but it could annoy impatient players.

bbb pic 2421

Arcadelife verdict: Vector Unit, also responsible for the excellent iOS jet-ski racers, Riptide GP and GP2, completely rule at this kind of game. Sure, it’s a perfect example of a shallow game dressed up in glorious graphics but that isn’t something I even feel like criticising these days. It’s fun, free and you don’t get beaten up by timers and pay-walls.

bbb pic 2414

The IAPs really are optional; I only went for some of the free coins (viewing a few short app store game ads) to buy a new car and driver so I could vary the screenshots in this review. The game is completely playable and fun without any need for acquiring additional coins. As freemium goes, this is one of the best in terms of the balance between giving players a fun game and dangling the option of spending some money in front of them.

bbb pic 2424

It’s worth noting that this isn’t a normal racing game; the other vehicles are just there for a bit of scenery and to give you some cars to overtake or crash into. The point of the game is to get as far as you can before time runs out. The upgrades all contribute to your ability to get a bit further and the achievements you unlock act as a score bonus so you’re constantly improving. This game will make you happy – try it!

bbb pic 2419

Arcadelife rating

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


Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.2.2
iTunes link

Vector Unit website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
5th gen iPod Touch (iOS 7.1)
4th gen iPad (iOS 7.1)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.

Lazy Caverns review (iOS / Universal)

March 19, 2014

lazy caverns pic 0980

10 word description: 20 levels of Manic Miner (Spectrum) style single screen platforming. 

lazy caverns pic 0965

10 word review: Faithful if rather unimaginative homage, marred by frequently treacherous controls.

lazy caverns pic 0967

You will like this if you enjoy: Retro style platform games. Manic Miner. 

lazy caverns pic 0968

The good news: Graphic style is very ZX Spectrum – nice if you like that sort of thing. Levels, although not direct copies of the Manic Miner screens, are full of familiar looking hazards and features. Music is nice. 

lazy caverns pic 0975

The bad news: Controls are buttons where the touch area is just the button graphic. This leads to frequent deaths when the character doesn’t move, turn or jump because your finger was not exactly on the button image. Invisible vertical bars of touch area above the button graphics, as in most other game of this type, would be a huge improvement. 

lazy caverns pic 0970

Arcadelife verdict: Fix the controls and sort out the score display, so you see an offline high score, otherwise this is a very nice Manic Miner tribute which also rates as a decent single screen platformer on its own merits. My overall enjoyment of the game was significantly reduced by the controls’ lack of reliability. If you force a player to keep looking at his fingers to check they’re on the buttons, you have already blown it as far as I’m concerned.

lazy caverns pic 0979

Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 6/10
Visuals – 7.5/10
Controls – 5/10
Content – 7/10
Fun – 6.5/10
Final rating – 6/10


Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.11
iTunes link
Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
5th gen iPod Touch (iOS 7.0.6)
4th gen iPad (iOS 7.0.6)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.

Air Supply – SOS … Believe the lack of hype

March 14, 2014

as sos 3

First of all, you need to know that SOS in the title could mean Sheep On Skateboards. But it probably won’t, and that’s what makes the limited available information about this game just so fascinating.


The only real clue anyone has at the moment is that it looks a bit like Jetpac.


And Jetpac totally ruled.


When you’re down the pub later, nudge the person standing next to you at the bar and ask them, “What do you know about Air Supply – SOS?” I bet you a fiver they know less than I do. Forget Titanfall, start believing the hype for AS-SOS.



Devious Dungeon review (iOS / Universal)

March 6, 2014

devious dungeon pic 0927

10 word description: Dungeon themed platform action. Pixel art, levelling, quests, boss fights.

devious dungeon pic 2316

10 word review: Splendid, streamlined fast-paced mini-RPG. Precise controls, constantly entertaining.

devious dungeon pic 0928

You will like this if you enjoy: Run ‘n’ gun platform games, although this is more run ‘n’ whack as it’s all about melee weapons. Dungeon crawling where the crawl is a sprint. Previous Ravenous games; this is arguably their best yet.

devious dungeon pic 2342

The good news: Responsive, reliable controls. Detailed, varied pixel art. Lots of different enemies with their own attack and defence styles. Choice of health, damage or critical change increase at each level-up. Player-friendly pricing at the upgrade shop, making the acquisition of IAP coins entirely optional. Gameplay that feels polished and very entertaining right from the start. Well conceived method of progression through dungeon levels. Cloud sync between devices. A lot of fun!

devious dungeon pic 0939

The bad news: It’s hard to pick on any aspect of this game as bad. Maybe the control customisation that has been added to recent Ravenous games could be included, but it isn’t necessary. Gameplay could conceivably be described as repetitive, in much the same way as any action RPG, but that’s kind of the whole point of this genre.

devious dungeon pic 0936

Arcadelife verdict: Devious Dungeon is a great game. I was worried that it would just be Random Heroes with swords or just another pretty excuse to bombard the player with IAPs. It’s neither of those things. What it feels like is a game that was created from a list of player suggestions for massive improvements to Random Heroes combined with a distillation of everything that is fun in platform games and action RPGs.

devious dungeon pic 2330

It starts encouragingly, dropping you into the starter dungeon with enough attack power and health to race around slaughtering pretty much everything you meet, giving you enough cash (from drops and destructible items) to soon be able to afford a new weapon or armour. The variety of enemies is surprising, the random dungeon levels fun to explore.

devious dungeon pic 2344

Everything has a clear purpose, there’s no filler, from the simple key/portal exploration hook to the coin collecting, sensibly priced upgrade shop items, attribute choice at level-up and the option to refill your health for a small cash contribution every few levels. Devious Dungeon wants you to have fun rather than bullying you into buying IAP gold. Dying, often a punishable offence in an RPG, rather than taking away XP or gold actually gives you a cash bonus depending on your performance, a kind of death benefit for your next foray into the dungeon.

devious dungeon pic 0946

If you’re a fan of PC games such as Rogue Legacy, UnEpic or even Spelunky, you’re going to love what Ravenous have done with Devious Dungeon. This is a touch-screen action platform RPG done right. All I can add is to say get it. Get it now.

devious dungeon pic 0950

Arcadelife rating

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


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

Ravenous Games website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
5th gen iPod Touch (iOS 7.0.6)
4th gen iPad (iOS 7.0.6)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.

Out There review (iOS / Universal)

March 5, 2014

out there pic 0919

10 word description: Randomised Roguelike survival space travel game. Gather resources, find answers.

out there pic 2266

10 word review: Compelling journey of choices. Persistent upgrades would improve the experience.

out there pic 2245

You will like this if you enjoy: Rogue style gameplay – how far can you get this time before you die? Random encounters in deep space. Turn-based games. Resource gathering.

out there pic 2255

The good news: The graphical style is very nice. Restrained audio adds to the atmosphere. Good variety of random events. Challenging gameplay that always keeps you needing something, whether it is fuel, oxygen or metal for hull repairs. Rare finds, such as a new ship, are infrequent enough to always be a very welcome surprise. 

out there pic 2308

The bad news: If you treat it as a game of chance, looking only at the numbers, it will feel far more repetitive and shallow than it actually is. For some players, the random nature of events may feel unfair, particularly after a string of games where the dice rolls, I mean planetary resources, were constantly low. There are no persistent upgrades, which is possibly the most significant missed opportunity.

out there pic 2236

Arcadelife verdict: Before I start banging on about how good this game is – because it is – I’ll focus on the on thing that would make it far more compulsive and even improve its appeal to the more casual gamer: permanent upgrades. For example, why not have a growing fleet of starter ships that you can add to by finding new ships (already in the game) and unlocking them as optional ships for the start of subsequent games? Another idea – add the option to send newfound alien technology (already in the game) back to your point of origin where it becomes an optional add-on for the start of each subsequent game. Simple ideas, but they would drastically improve the replayablity as there would be a sense of progression rather than just getting a better run of random events every now and then.

out there pic 2246

As it is, Out There is an addictive, fun variation on the Roguelike style of game. Figuring out the best strategy for resource gathering, learning how the game works and stumbling across new ships is really where the most fun can be found. Disappointment comes in several forms, the most obvious being the abundance of cool looking upgrades and the lack of time (due to running out of everything essential) available to actually make and use any of them.

out there pic 2252

Overall, this game is good enough to be an easy recommendation but also a very easy game to improve. Permanent upgrades, come one – you know it would make the game so much better. 

Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 8/10
Visuals – 8/10
Controls – 9/10
Content – 7.5/10
Fun – 7/10
Final rating – 8/10


Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.01
iTunes link

Out There website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
5th gen iPod Touch (iOS 7.0.6)
4th gen iPad (iOS 7.0.6)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.

Godfire: Rise of Prometheus – coming later this year

March 4, 2014


It’s hard not to get excited about this one…


Hailed as “a next-gen for action-adventure games for mobile”, Godfire is currently in development with a fairly loose “later this year” launch being promised. The official website is still very much in teaser mode but there is enough media available to hint that this one could be something special.







Devious Dungeon (iOS) coming this week

March 3, 2014


This looks like it should be fun, or annoying, depending on how significant the IAPs are going to be.

Devious Dungeon is a medieval action platformer with randomized dungeons. Fight your way through each level locating the key to open the portal. Slay enemies, earn experience, level up, and collect loot!

The game should be on the app store Wednesday 6th or Thursday 7th, depending on where you live. I’ll be reviewing it here soon.