Archive for May, 2014

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Uncanny X-Men: Days of Future Past review (iOS / Universal)

May 29, 2014

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10 word description: Side-scrolling platform fighter; 5 playable X-Men; Upgrades; No IAPs.

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10 word review: Leisurely pace and low challenge but generally fun – no IAPs!

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You will like this if you enjoy: X-Men; Scrolling beat-em-up games / run ‘n’ gun games. Buying a popular franchise mobile video game once and never being asked to spend any more money on it ever again – wow, I know, what a mind-bending, revolutionary concept!

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The good news: Two decent control options. Pretty good graphics throughout. Overall impressive presentation. Good range of playable characters that can be swapped at any time, even mid-mission. Plenty of levels. No IAPs, despite the in-game “XP” currency and loads of unlockable skills, etc.

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The bad news: No iCloud sync – this really put me off playing on more than one device. Come on GlitchSoft, add this feature and the game will be about as good as it’s possible to get for a mobile game. Initially, the action feels kind of slow with floaty jumping and weak enemies. Although that feeling never completely goes away, the game never really feels too slow or too easy.

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Arcadelife verdict: It’s bizarre that I’m more excited about something that is missing from a game than anything that’s included. In this case, it’s pretty obvious – no IAPs. It’s even the first thing that is mentioned in the app store description so I’m clearly not alone on this one. These days, for a major franchise tie-in mobile game to be released as “pay-once, never spend anything ever again” offering, that’s a huge surprise. Coming in a close second on the surprise-o-meter: this game is actually pretty good.

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The gameplay does start off feeling rather slow, with Wolverine (first playable character and arguably the most overpowered once you unlock all his skills and abilities) running in slow-motion with some very floaty jumping. After a few levels, the moderate pace and the floaty jumping start to feel normal rather than a hindrance. Saving up XP points to unlock skills is never a chore; I had enough to unlock all of Wolverine’s skills, plus his third alternate costume, within the first few levels. There’s always the option to go back and improve your star rating (or find hidden lore books) which is a great way to earn some extra XP points.

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As soon as a character is unlocked, that character can be chosen to play any level. You can even pause the game at any time in a level and swap to any of your unlocked characters.

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The platforming is mostly just basic jumping, with a couple of challenging ascents thrown in occasionally, usually in order to reach a hidden lore book or XP booster pad. The fighting is consistent and fairly simple, with unlockable attack skills assigned to reasonably reliable left/right/down swipes on either the fixed position attack button (my preference) or anywhere on the right side of the screen if you prefer a button-free approach.

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Overall, this is a nice X-Men game that proves you really can have a major franchise tie-in on iOS without pay-walls or pay-to-win nonsense. If you’re going to buy one game purely on principle this year to prove that gamers still actually want to play proper games on iOS – you won’t regret making your point with this one.

Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 9/10
Visuals – 8.5/10
Controls – 9/10
Content – 9/10
Fun – 8.5/10
Final rating – 8.9/10

UNCANNY

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0.3
iTunes link

Glitchsoft – X-Men 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.
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Abyss Attack review (iOS / Universal)

May 22, 2014

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10 word description: Underwater themed vertically scrolling shoot-em-up. Bosses, IAPs, Game Center.

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10 word review: Gorgeous visuals, tight controls, tons of upgrades. IAPs and crashes.

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You will like this if you enjoy: Shooters. Very pretty shooters.

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The good news: Presentation and graphics are very good. Relative touch control is perfectly responsive. Randomised enemy sequences keep each session feeling fresh. iCloud sync between devices.

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The bad news: The game feels like it was designed around the IAPs; personally, I think a shoot-em-up plagued with pay-to-score-higher IAPs is fundamentally flawed. It crashes a lot (on iPod 5 & iPad 4), particularly when creating a relic.

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Arcadelife verdict: Abyss Attack is a lot of fun, a truly stunning looking shooter that comes with plenty of challenge and a great feeling of progression as you upgrade weapons and travel through different levels. However, the way that it is drowned in IAPs, with several items that can only be acquired via IAP, just feels wrong. As it is currently free, there’s no reason not to try it out… unless you don’t think you will be able to resist the urge to pointlessly throw real money at it.

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I’ve dropped half a point from the score for the crashes.

Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 9/10
Visuals – 9.5/10
Controls – 9.5/10
Content – 8/10
Fun – 8/10
Final rating – 8/10

GORGEOUS

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.1
iTunes link

Chillingo 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.
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2-bit Cowboy review (iOS / Universal)

May 9, 2014

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10 word description: Western action platformer, styled after classics of the Gameboy era. (from app store description)

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10 word review: Detailed, enjoyable retro run+gun fun. Essential for platform fans.

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You will like this if you enjoy: Platform games. The Gameboy aesthetic. Shooting scorpions, bats, piranha and bottles. Monochrome graphics.

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The good news: Responsive, reliable controls. Detailed, interesting environments. Evocative Spaghetti Western music. Competent level design. Great blend of exploration and shooting. Coin doubling IAP is completely optional.

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The bad news: Sometimes you can get stuck to a corner when wall-jumping, but this can often give you a temporary tactical advantage, so not really that bad.

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Arcadelife verdict: 2-bit Cowboy is a whole load of fun, from the clever pun of the title to the original blend of unoriginal component parts. Let’s see… 2D platform game, Western theme, Gameboy graphics, cosmetic costumes bought with collectible coins, mini-quests in each level. None of those is a stand-out, jaw-dropping feature but the way they are all brought together, with a great deal of obvious care and attention to detail, makes this an addictive and entertaining iOS game that is easy to recommend.

 

Arcadelife rating

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

VERY GOOD

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

2-bit Cowboy 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.