Monthly Archive: November 2011

Don’t Run With A Plasma Sword – PREVIEW/REVIEW

We’ve all experienced the thrill of endless games on the App Store.  Looking way back at games like Cube Runner, it’s easy to see that we have come a long way. Xperimentalz Games’ newest creation, Don’t Run With A Plasma Sword, boasts some unique features for an endless runner.
The first thing you will notice when you load up DRWPS is its awesome, retro style.  Artwork is very crisp, and the story of the game is told in a “comic-book” fashion.  There is a good sense of humor as well with some funny lines on loading screens.  In terms of music, the soundtrack and the sound effects are a perfect mix of a spooky superhero theme and retro.  The upbeat tunes match perfectly with the genre and create an addicting experience.
One of the most important aspects of platformer style games is the controls. After playing for a while, it’s apparent that Xperimentalz put some good thought into it because they nailed the controls. The left side of the screen is reserved for jumping (top half of screen) and sliding (bottom half), while the right side is reserved for attacks. This layout is perfectly comfortable for me and hasn’t cost me any deaths. (that’s a GOOD thing)

Moving deeper into the game, there are a total of 28 story levels spread across 4 chapters. Levels are randomly generated, meaning enemies, platforms, obstacles and power-ups are different each time. Your goal in each level is to run a certain distance while jumping, stabbing, and sliding your way through anything that gets in your way.  Each chapter features its own boss battle which proved to be pretty challenging. Bosses ranged from giant UFOs to evil robot-stilt-wearing mastermind. Basically, to beat a boss you have to dodge all of his attacks and wait until you have an opening to attack. It sounds simple but timing and reactions are crucial to these levels especially.  There is also an endless level to go along with each of the 4 chapters. These are randomly generated like the story levels, but your goal is to run as far as you can.

Character Upgrades Rock!

DRWPS sports a slick RPG-upgrade system as well. Character upgrades like additional attacks, extra health, and double jumping are available, as well as cosmetic stuff like different colored swords or clothes. There are some IAPs included, but I can’t stress enough that they are completely optional. Don’t shy away when you hear “IAP”. They are simple point packages that speed up the upgrade process. Honestly, if you play the game enough to enjoy it, then there won’t be any need to buy extra points.
To add to the replay value, Xperimentalz has integrated GameCenter and Openfeint Leaderboards and Achievements. There are leaderboards for every level along with a total of 36 achievements.
Xperimentalz Games has created what I believe is a unique breed of endless running game. How often do you get to play a game that isn’t called “Star Wars” where you run around with a light saber? I can assure you that Don’t Run With a Plasma Sword will be worth every penny that it costs. Grab your sword and save the world! Don’t Run With A Plasma Sword will be launching on November 30th for $0.99.

Run, Jump, Kill – 0.99 (Grass Fed Games)

Platformers are anything but a rarity in the AppStore these days. About a year ago, that was not the case. Fans of the genre have been flooded with platform after platform game, and couldn’t be more happy with most of them, even though the very unique and original plat former is still kind of hard to find. Luckily, there are still developers out there with quite a bit of imagination and skill. Grass Fed Games is new the AppStore, but their first iOS title, Run, Jump, Kill, is one that platform fans should definitely check out.

You’ll play as the king of a kingdom that has been ravaged while your brother, Lord Locke, was put in charge for your vacation. Your loyal subjects are no-where to be found, there’s hordes of crazy monsters running around, and your trusted friend Follo is the only one who can help guide you to your brother so you can find out what all has happened. It’s a hack-n-slash platformer fest that’s incredibly enjoyable. While it lasts.
Getting through the game should take about 45 minutes. But as a lot of games that have come out recently, the length of the game should not be what you focus on, at least not entirely. The gameplay that is here is extremely entertaining, with nice physics, and great controls, which, as most platform fans know, is immensely important.
The graphic styling is fairly original, and pulled off very well. The colors over the virtual controls really clash with the environments, but after 5 or 10 minutes, it actually starts to feel like the colors fit. Everything looks hand drawn with quite a bit of detail, and same with the backdrops. The graphics are really a big highlight for the game, but it’s a shame that they do not support retina display. If they did, the game would be downright beautiful. The story is presented with dialogue below images at the beginning, after boss battles, and at the end of the game. The images used for the story are also incredibly well done, and in some cases, would make awesome wallpapers. There’s not too many different enemies, but the ones that are here are designed very well, especially the bosses, who are big, angry, and really just look badass. Also, the movement and additional animations are all done exceptionally well, especially with their projectiles.
Now, even though there’s not much variation with the enemies, the amount of them that you will face is great. There’s more than a couple spots that have around 8 ground enemies, a larger enemy, a couple enemies that spawn enemies, and 3 or 4 flying enemies on the screen all at once. Most of the enemies do drop items, generally just point pick-ups, but sometimes, you’ll grab a green hit point. With so many enemies in each level, it’s actually pretty hard to die. There’s also characters that fly across the screen, to make them drop their item, you’ll need to jump up and slice ‘em, almost always getting an extra life. You’ll also come across statues that you can attack, and these will give you one of two different weapons, both of which are throwing weapons, one looks like a shield, and the other is an ax type weapon, both of which let you get away with killing multiple enemies at once, and make cutting through enemy projectiles very easy.
The levels, while designed fairly well, are lacking. There are springs, but they’re really linear, which is a shame, because hidden areas, and some exploration would fit within the game so perfectly, it would be borderline magical. But while you’re playing, you will be constantly wanting to know what’s coming next, what the next boss will look like, and what you’ll have to do to kill him, Run, Jump, Kill is a very hard game to put down.
For $0.99, Run, Jump, Kill is a decent hack-n-slash platform game that while it doesn’t give you loads of content, it is very satisfying to play. It would do well to add GameCenter support, with a leaderboard and achievements, to help with the drive, and add some replay value to the game though. But what makes the entire game even more impressive is that it’s all made with GameSalad. Usually, I’m the first one to turn my head right when that word is uttered, but with Run, Jump, Kill, I wasn’t really completely sure that it was made with GameSalad until I asked the developer. There is the typical GameCenter loading circle in the corner, but aside from that, this is unlike any other GS game I’ve ever played. Nice physics, great controls that are responsive and work very well, no lag or framerate issues, incredible graphics, and the game is just a blast. Hopefully we’ll see more added to the game with future updates, but I, for one, will be watching Grass Fed Games very closely from here on out.
Run, Jump, Kill gets a score of 3 out of 5.

Space Tripper – 3.99 (True Axis/PomPom)

The Tilt To Live and Shmup genres have been mashed together a few times, and have had extremely nice results. FlipShip and Blue Attack come to mind right off the bat. Though it’s no surprise really, as the whole Tilt To Live genre is basically bullet hell without any bullets, dodging and weaving through enemies like you would a bullet onslaught in a Cave title. True Axis (Jet Car Stunts) is the most recent publisher to see the potential with this genre, as they’ve released PomPom’s title, Space Tripper, their highly anticipated iOS port of the PSN and PC game, Astro Tripper.

In Space Tripper, you’ll shoot and dodge your way through 14 levels, split up across 4 different worlds, of wave-enemy battles, with quite a few boss fights, and even a task or two to mix things up, all building up to a final boss battle that could very well cause your heart to explode from adrenaline. One of the first things you might notice about Space Tripper, if you’ve never played it before, is that it is set up more like a shooter than a Tilt To Live type game, making it more reminiscent of Blue Attack than FlipShip or any other TTL genre’d title. However, if you go into the game thinking it’s going to play like your typical shooter, you’ll be in for quite a surprise, and maybe even disappointment.
Space Tripper is controlled by tilting your iDevice, which is where the Tilt To Live comparisons come into play. There are no touch, or relative touch for that matter, controls, which might throw some people off, and in some cases, might result in a few lost sales. But if you go into the game thinking of it more like a TTL type game with more shmup elements than any other TTL title, chances are, you’ll end up pleasantly surprised. There’s also controls for flipping your ship left and right, which is done by tapping on the right side of the screen, and changing your shot from straight on to a much wider shot, by tapping on the left side. The tilt controls are extremely tight, and work very well within the game. There’s tilt sensitivity options if you’d like to try and make it tighter, and an option to set up calibration, which, for some reason, is often forgotten in tilting games, which the only reason I’m bringing it up. The graphics in Space Tripper are ported amazingly well. Even though there aren’t as many particle effects as you’ll find in the PSN version, it definitely doesn’t look dull. A lot of the environments are almost reminiscent of R-Type, as are a lot of the enemies, though everything is done with 3D models, and very modern, it just has that old-school feeling about it all.
The level design is something that really should be brought up as well. The levels are not very big, but do scroll left and right as you move along, and a lot of the designs would be perfect for an FPS multiplayer area battle, with different levels, and great layouts. In a lot of the levels, you’ll end up spending your time on one side of the level, trying to take out an enemy that’s the cause for a ton of spawning enemies, while on the other end, the same enemies are forming an army while waiting for you to finish off the opposite side. This is where the 3D modeling for the levels can be used to your advantage, as you can fly over to the side holding the army, and come up over the edge of a ramp, swing from the bottom to the top portion of the screen, and then back off onto the ramp again, causing all of the enemies projectiles to either fly over you, or hit the bottom portion of the ramp, and then go back in for another strike.
You will need to be careful with how you handle all of the enemies though, as you won’t always have enough time to play cat and mouse with them, because all of the levels have a time limit. This adds to the already fairly high difficulty, and to the adrenaline you’ll pump out while playing Space Tripper. You’re given 3 lives in the beginning, and if you waste those, you’ll have an option to reset your score for one life. Don’t be fooled, even veteran Tilt To Live and Shmup players will have a fairly hard time with the game on Normal difficulty. The game is incredibly fun however, which will give you that ‘one more time’ thought over and over again, until you’ve wasted an hour of your life hammering away at a couple levels. The game is saved once you beat a world though, so you can come back and start a world with the lives that you had when starting that world, even after a game over, and once you finally do beat the game, you can try out the Hard and Very Hard difficulty settings, as well as the Score Attack and Challenge Modes that all provide an insane amount of replay value. On top of that, there’s OpenFeint and GameCenter integration, containing 21 different leader boards, one for each level in Score Attack Mode, one for each difficulty of the Campaign, and one for each of the 4 endless Challenge Levels. Not to mention the 8, incredibly hard to achieve, achievements.
Gamers have been waiting for this iOS port of Astro Tripper for quite some time, and even if you’ve got Astro Tripper, the gameplay in Space Tripper is different enough with the tilt controls that it’s basically a new gameplay experience. You’ll need to change your strategy, as tactics that are memorized, and fairly easy to pull off with a controller, are not to easy to pull off on a device utilizing tilt controls. $3.99 for this Universal game is a great deal, and one that any arcade, old-school, shmup, Tilt To Live, or adrenaline fanatic should jump on immediately. PomPom has definitely shown that they are the equivalent of Cave Inc. within the Tilt To Live genre.
Space Tripper gets a perfect score of 5 out of 5.


Orange Pixel’s latest action platformer, INC, has just gone through a bug fixing update. It fixes many of the problems gamers were experiencing when first starting up the game, along with a couple others. The bugs where your character would just fall through the floor when you first started up the game, and players experiencing the no bullets issue have been fixed, as well as fixing the cloudsaving progress issues, and the bug where it would keep saying “Level Up” even after your character got to level 3, the highest level he can reach. This run’n’gun platformer is now fixed and ready to rock, so now you don’t have any reason to skip out on the amazing Orange Pixel’s latest title!
This exciting arcade game where you try and get as many ninjas across a ledge as you can has gained a small following of gamers since it’s release last month. Alien Worm, the development team, put together a small competition recently, giving gamers the opportunity to submit ideas for new hats to be put into the game. A couple of these ideas made it in, and are now in the version 1.05 build of this crazy game. 6 new hats have been added, as well as a new environment to play in. Be sure to snag this modern casual take on an old classic.
Blowup!!, the block matching/destroying arcade puzzle game from Cravemob has recently been updated as well. The 1.0.3 version contains 3 new songs, Twitter and Facebook support, bonus music tracks for levels that you 100% complete, some difficulty adjusting, and bug fixing. This addictive puzzle game is one that incorporates music into the gameplay quite well. If you’re a fan of music or puzzle games, this is one title you should really consider checking out.
Most Triniti Games end up going free eventually. God of Fight is the most recent addition to their ‘gone free’ list. The game is basically a clone of Knights Rush, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Knights Rush is a great game. There are a couple of different gaming mechanics within God of Fight, enough to warrant a download while it’s free anyway. Be sure to grab it while you can!
Big Blue Bubble’s sequel to their popular title, Burn The Rope, Burn The Rope: Worlds, has just gone free. The biggest issue people had with the game was seeing the “Remove Ads” IAP. But what they didn’t realize is that the Ads are ONLY shown during the Daily Levels, not through the regular modes of the game, just like in the original title. Sales have suffered because gamers thought they would be paying for a game that had ads in it all the time. Hopefully going free will show people what they’ve been missing out on.
Fabrice Noui’s expanded take on Risk-type gameplay, Empires, has just gone free for thefirst time. This strategy game about conquest is one of the best Risk influenced games we’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. If you’re a fan of the old-school game, or just a strategy fanatic, Empires is a game you shouldn’t miss out on!
4:20 Digital’s interesting arcade game, Chain Surfer, has also just gone free. See how many tricks you can do while rocking back n forth on a chain. Sound dull? We thought so too, until we actually tried it out. The addictive gameplay will have you coming back for more time and time again, trying to pull off more and more tricks, and trying to better your score while moving up the leaderboards. Snag this one while it’s free!
The Ikaruga inspired shoot-em-up by Vidia, Kyotokei – Polarity Shooter, has gone free for the first time since it’s release a month or two ago. The awesome old-school gameplay will probably having you longing for a real Ikaruga port for the iOS, but until shmup fanatics see that day, and probably have a heart-attack because of it, Kyotokei is a great substitute. You’ll fly around level after level, absorbing enemy bullets by changing your character’s color. It recently got updated with GameCenter, bringing the replay value up quite a bit too. If you’re a fan of shmups, Kyotokei is a game you NEED to have on your device, and now you can, for FREE!
Image & Form International’s popular line drawing/tower defense game, Anthill: TTD, has just gotten it’s Version 2.0 update. With it, comes the oh-so-cool Infinity Mode. You can now see how far you can make it in the world of ants while competing for scores in an insanely hectic up-the-difficulty every minute of gameplay Mode, and now you can snag it for just $0.99! Don’t miss your chance to grab one of , if not THE BEST, line drawing defense-strategy game available, to date.
Recently, Ayopa Games published two titles. W.E.L.D.E.R. is one of those two. Making it to the AppStore Game Of The Week, Ayopa has decided to drop the launch sale price of $1.99, down to $0.99! W.E.L.D.E.R. is easily one of the best word games to ever hit the AppStore, and was a steal at two bucks, but now, at $0.99, it’s officially hit the ‘must buy’ list for many gamers. Cascading match-3 type strategy gameplay mixed with crazy Scrabble game mechanics makes W.E.L.D.E.R. a game that just about anyone can enjoy, and get hooked on.

SEGA’s card-based strategic defense game, Samurai Bloodshow, has just gone on sale for $0.99! Now you can experience one of the most hardcore real-time defense games available for the iOS. Not only will you get a crazy long, 200 stage, campaign mode, but you’ll also be able to play multiplayer over wi-fi and through GameCenter! Battle it out with gamers around the globe, while collecting the best character cards you can! Definitely a great deal at the low price of $0.99!

Ravenmark: Scourge of Estellion – 2.99 (Witching Hour Studios)

Strategy gaming is a genre I’m fairly new to. Not to say that I’m not fully immersed in it. Over the last 3 months, I’ve buried my head into quite a few RTS and Turn-Based Strategy titles. More often than not though, I felt as if they didn’t offer enough depth. There has always been the desire to have more control over an aspect of the game, or wishing that the story was deeper, the history of the characters revealed a bit more, and so on. Enter Ravenmark: Scourge of Estellion, developed by Witching Hour Studios.

At it’s core, Ravenmark is a very well fleshed out turn-based strategy game based on rock-paper-scissors mechanics. Each of the 4 different groups of fighters has a group that they‘re strong and another that they‘re weak against. But it’s everything that’s added on top of the core gameplay that makes Ravenmark a strategy game that stands out amongst the crowd.
The game focuses on Calius Septim, a young, but very smart member of the Estellion army. His older brother, Rebus, is constantly pushing him to his limits, while Calius’ superior officer has it in for him. Before each battle, you’ll get a short dialogue scene, moving the story forward, and letting you know why you’re moving to where, and what’s going on around you, but there’s also a Codex that you can read through, giving some background on the characters, the fighters you’ll be using, the lands that make up and surround Estellion, and quite a bit of the social, and spiritual information for the world you’ll be playing in, all expanding significantly on the story.
The gameplay is done in a turn-based manor, first with you giving all the orders, and then watching all of those orders be carried out. However, there are tons of different little aspects you’ll need to pay attention to, or else you could end up loosing big time. As stated already, each of the 4 different groups of troops you’ll be using has another group that they’re strong against, and weak against. Swordsmen trump spear-men, spear-men, cavalry, cavalry beats the archers, and archers over swordsmen. With this make-up, it sounds easy enough, right? Not exactly. You’re given a certain amount of Command Points per turn, with each unit requiring a command point to be given an order, and you will almost never have enough command points. Thankfully, there’s quite a few ways to deal with the lack of command points. You’re able to combine groups of the same troops, for instance, 3 groups of archers can all move next to each other, and then combine, making one formation. Doing this also gives that group of troops a special ability. In this case, archers are given double attacks, meaning all 3 groups are able to attack twice.
You’ll also command higher ranking officers, each of which has a special ability which can be used right away at the beginning of a battle, but then will need to recharge over a certain amount of turns before it can be used again. You’re also able to give Standing Orders to your troops, which helps save on command points, because once you give them an order, they’ll perform that order until it’s complete. You can command troops to keep moving forward, or follow an enemy until the enemy or the troops are dead, or keep them standing in one place, regaining HP. As if that wasn’t enough, you’ll need to keep an eye on what order all of the units move in. If you’re not careful, you could end up moving a group of troops to an area where an enemy just was, because that enemy was able to move before you. You’ll also need to keep track of which way your troops are facing, or else an enemy could wind up attacking you from behind, getting an extra bonus.
The graphics are extremely well done, with some of the best UI controls I’ve had the pleasure of having in a strategy game. The music, sounds, animations, everything within the game that’s surrounding the core gameplay and story is top-notch, and very easy to use, understand, navigate, and all comes together to form one of the best turn-based strategy games I’ve ever played. $2.99 is an amazing price for what the game has to offer, and is highly recommended for any and all fans of the genre, as well as newcomers. The tutorials are done very well, and you learn everything gradually, with the game essentially showing you exactly how to do each action, there’s not a whole lot of reading if that’s a turn off. Ravenmark is another game that shows that the iOS is capable of handling a hardcore title with plenty of substance and depth, and a game that gives iOS gamers wishing for more serious games to hit the AppStore another title to add to their list of definitive iOS games, as well as gives more hope for the future of iOS gaming.
Ravenmark gets a perfect score of 5 out of 5.

Chicken Rescue Update

End Boss+Ayopa Games
Last week, we had the chance to review End Boss’s game, Chicken Rescue (published by Ayopa Games), and, even though it’s a great game for kids, had a couple of negative things to say about it. After we checked, it seemed that a lot of other players felt the same way about quite a few of the issues we brought up. Thankfully, End Boss and Ayopa listened, and have given gamers a much improved Chicken Rescue. Along with adding 20 new levels, they’ve given us a whole new virtual stick for controlling movement. The areas of the rock ramp and cart have been expanded, making it easier to use them and reach extra areas in the levels. More checkpoints in the later levels, a pulsing dash button, a new dashing tutorial, and to top everything off, performance improvements, making the game run smoother all around. We’re very excited to get back into the game, as all of the frame-rate issues, and lag that we came across here and there are gone, and the new joystick is a lot easier to use. This, along with the inclusion of extra checkpoints later on in the game and easier to use ramps should also make the game easier for children. So a big THANK YOU to End Boss and Ayopa for putting this update out so quickly after the release, and facing most of the issues that customers have brought up head on. We know that developers and publishing studios that do this are, these days, a kind of rarity, and nothing that we at The App Shack take for granted. Be sure to check out Chicken Rescue, available in the AppStore. Especially if you’ve got little ones!

Bunny Reaper – 0.99 (Assyria Studios+Molly Proffitt/Daily App Dream)

I don’t know what it is, but seeing cute little animals get butchered in video games is something I find extremely entertaining. There’s aren’t too many games on the AppStore that feed this little guilty pleasure of mine, but when they do come around, I enjoy them as much as I can, which is probably a little too much. When I saw the trailer for Bunny Reaper, developed by Assyria Studios (The Glowing Void, Future Racer, and more) with help from artist Molly Proffitt, and published by Daily App Dream, I couldn’t stop laughing. A platformer that had you play death, and go around and kill cute little bunnies. The gaming gods have heard my prayers yet again.

In Bunny Reaper, you’ll control a little Grim Reaper, who has the job of taking little bunnies when their time has come, and then making it to his underworld portal safely so he can move on, doing his job again and again. You’re given platform controls, left and right buttons on the left, and jump and attack buttons on the right. There’s also a zoom out button in the top right, which lets you see the entire level. You can also move your character when you’re zoomed out, which comes in handy quite a bit. To make things a little more interesting, you are able to turn back time. But, you can only do this after you fall off of a platform. A clock icon will show up at the top of the screen, and holding it down will send you back in time, so that you can reverse yourself back up to the platform that you fell from. This does add quite a bit of interesting gameplay to Bunny Reaper, but also takes away a lot of the challenge. Knowing that you can just tap a button to place yourself back up at the top of a level, instead of having to climb all the way up again takes away the pressure of needing to nail your jumps.
We’ve said time and time again that within platformers, physics and controls can make or break a game. Bunny Reaper has some physics that will take a little getting use to, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You might feel as though the game is a bit “floaty” at first, with the reaper able to jump a little higher and fall a little slower than you might think, but when you take into consideration the layout of the levels and get into the levels where you’ll need to cross from one side of the screen to the other, by going into the edge of the world, and coming out the other side, landing on a platform that doesn’t exactly match up with the platform you’re on, the floaty physics really come in handy.
As for the controls, the jump button is a little delayed, though we have suggested to the developer that this can be a problem, and they have said that they are working on fixing it. Actually, the developers have been very supportive and responsive to any issues or suggestions we might have had. Coming across developers like this is always appreciated, as too many times, gamers are ignored with their issues and thoughts about games.
The graphics in Bunny Reaper are done in a silhouette styling. The backgrounds change color as you move on through level groups of 10, and always have clouds floating around. There are some levels with snow, which looks pretty nice, and adds to the atmosphere of the world, as does the extra environmental growths on the second world’s platforms. Each world has enough of a different look to give the game just enough variety so it won’t get boring. However, there are only 2 enemies that you’ll face, and one of them, the bunnies, can not hurt you. The other, heart monsters, are kind of like snapping plants. Seeing more enemies in a future update would be great. The animations are very well done though, and are a big part of the entertainment in the game. When you kill a rabbit, it will essentially explode, sending blood EVERYWHERE, even raining down on your character, and have the soul of the rabbit fly upward. The heart monsters shoot out green goo when you slice them in half, which looks pretty neat. It would be perfect if the bottom part of the reaper’s outfit moved more while you were jumping, but that’s just me being picky.
Bunny Reaper is $0.99, which gives you the first 20 levels. The last 20 levels can be unlocked with an in app purchase of $0.99, so the full game is about $2. It is supported with GameCenter, and has 57 achievements, but no leader board, and a lot of the achievements are “finish level 1” “finish level 2” and so on, so there’s not a whole lot of replay value to be gained from the GameCenter integration. And though the game is fairly violent, it’s also very simple. The first 20 levels will give you about an hours worth of gameplay. There is a puzzle element, with trying to figure out how to reach each level’s exit, but zooming out once or twice will give you the answer pretty much right away. For it’s price, I’m personally very entertained, and also very impressed with the developers interaction with gamers on the Touch Arcade forums, which counts for quite a bit in my book. If you’re looking for a fairly gory, just plain fun to play game, Bunny Reaper is probably just up your ally. But if you’re looking for a game with substance, and don’t have much of a sense of humor, or hate seeing video game violence towards virtual animals, chances are, you won’t like this game at all. It seems more like a game my daughter would take to school and show off to her friends, while hoping to make her other classmates think she’s weirder than she really is. But then again, I had those days back in high school too.
Bunny Reaper gets a score of 3 out of 5.

Blueprint 3D – 0.99/2.99 (FDG Entertainment)

3D Motion Picture Puzzler. Chances are you haven’t heard of the genre. Don’t feel bad, it’s relatively untouched within the AppStore, and aside from Flash games, finding a Motion Picture Puzzle game can be quite the task. On the iOS, Pictorial is available for free, and has been a very good example of a 3D Motion Picture Puzzler. What you might not know is that Pictorial is an unofficial iOS port of the Flash game, Starlight. The developers of Starlight are from FDG Entertainment (Blosics, Cover Orange, Beyond Ynth, Bobby Carrot, and more), who are also the developers of a wonderful new motion picture puzzler game; Blueprint 3D.

You’ll be given 240 different pictures to try and solve. When the picture first pops up, it looks like a bunch of broken lines, shapes, and really, just a jumbled mess. You’ll need to rotate the picture by dragging your finger across the screen until you see something that’s starting to resemble an actual object. Once you get the picture, you’ll need to use two fingers to rotate the image so that it’s right-side-up, and then move on to the next picture.
It might not sound too fun or entertaining, and about as challenging as making toast, but FDG Entertainment has done a great job making the game just right. Yes, there are 240 different pictures, and yes, you might just be able to solve every single one of them in about an hour. But here’s where the challenge comes in. See, the game keeps track of how long it takes you to solve each picture, but the clock keeps counting as you move from picture to picture, making it so that your total time is the time it takes for you to complete the level pack. The amount of time it takes also effects your scores.
GameCenter is supported with 8 different leader boards, one for each level pack, and one for your total score ranking, as well as having 27 achievements. As always, this helps bring the replay value up quite a bit, while competing with your friends and gamers around the world for a top score always helps add some challenge and replayabilty to the game.
There are 7 different level packs at the moment, each with different backgrounds, graphics, and atmospheres, giving them all a different sort of feel. Architecture, Electronics and Military are a few, with new and old architectural wonders, computer parts and electronic devices, along with weapons and armor images to rotate together. Each level pack has images that fit the theme, and with Blueprint having 7 different packs, there is quite a bit of variety while going through the game.
Like EPOCH, and couple other recent releases in the AppStore, Blueprint will not take long at all to complete, but what gameplay is there is done extremely well, and is loads of fun. I’m not too sure how many of you out there are hoping for more games that are short and sweet, but done so well that every second you spend playing them is just about, if not more, fun than going through 40 hours of an RPG, but we’d love to see more of them hit the AppStore. At the low price of $0.99 for the iPhone version, and $2.99 for the HD build, with all the leader boards, achievements, and new level packs that are on the way, it’s a great price for what you’re getting. Sure, there are more polished games, games that have more content, or more action packed into them, but if you’re looking for something that hasn’t been reproduced a hundred times, and carries with it loads of entertainment, Blueprint 3D will be a great game to check out. You can also check out Pictorial for free, and Pictorial HD has just gone free for a limited time if you’d like to check out what sort of gameplay you’ll be getting yourselves into.
Blueprint 3D gets a score of 4 out of 5.

Anthill: Tactical Trail Defense gets it’s INFINITY MODE update!

On October 9th of this year, Image & Form released their line drawing tower defense game, Anthill: Tactical Trail Defense. It’s one of the very few games that has gotten a perfect score here on The App Shack. The mix of strategic line drawing mixed with base defense took a hold of us and would not let go. Since the release, I&F have developed quite the following for their title, with over 3,000 iTunes reviews from around the globe giving them an average of 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. One of the most requested features has been a Survival or Infinite Mode, and with their 2.0 update, they’ve given it to us! Not only does it add a ton of replay value to the game, but it’ll test every player who has a copy of it, putting each and every one of us against each other in the GameCenter leaderboard for the mode. Not only can you go up against your friends, but you can see how you stack up against the best of the best. Yes, this is essentially what the level-by-level leaderboards did, but with an Infinite Mode, there’s no limit on the score you can get, and with the Mode getting progressively harder the longer you last, it’s a true test of skills. Be sure to update, or if you don’t have Anthill: TTD yet, you should get it while it’s on sale (for $1.99 at the moment! 66% off, and it’s UNIVERSAL!). You will not regret it.

New Updates!

Candy Boy
Candy Boy, the puzzle platformer by Colorbox has just gotten another update. This time they’ve improved the controls, and added a new Christmas level pack! The new level pack contains 20 new levels, and you can play it without beating the previous world. So this is a great new addition to the game, for both gamers who have and who have not beaten the full game yet. It’s great when developers get in the Christmas spirit a little early!
A couple months ago, we got the chance to review a swiping beat em up by the name of Kung-Fu Zombie Slaughter. In the game, you run around each level killing wave after wave of zombies, getting weapons as you progress in the game, and facing fiercer, quicker, and meaner enemies along the way. Version 1.1 has just recently gone live, and with it comes a few new features, though still no GameCenter, like we were hoping.
-Every zombie now has unique skills
-5 different enemy kinds
-Various bugfixes
So now each zombie has unique skills which you’ll have to learn fairly quickly in order to defeat them all, and a couple new zombies are thrown into the mix as well. Even though it’s no online leaderboard, it does add quite a bit of variety to the game, and it’s hard to complain about that.
About a week ago, we reviewed a new sci-fi/RTS game by the name of Blue Libra. A bit like Galcon, but with quite a bit of depth to it, Blue Libra has turned into one of our favorite strategy games here at The App Shack. Last night we were surprised with the Version 1.4 update hitting the AppStore. Here’s what’s been added;
–Extended campaign by additional maps
–Added zoom (two finger zooming gesture)
–Added retina support for battle (must be enabled in options)
–Added option for turning off/on screen movement during drawing movement path
–Fixed crash bug related to AI
We had a chance to check out the 1.4 version this morning, and the new zoom feature makes the game a lot easier to play by allowing gamers to see the entire level map at any time while playing. The new campaign levels are also a great addition, as are the new retina graphics. Definitely a nice update to an already great game.
The CB Labs platformer that was released at the end of September this year just got it’s very first update, and it’s one that a lot of players have been eagerly awaiting. Along with some bug fixes, you can now share your scores on FaceBook and Twitter. Though that’s not what players have been excited about. Timmy is now able to be controls with… LEFT AND RIGHT VIRTUAL CONTROLS! That’s right, no more finicky joystick movement here kiddies. CB Labs has given us some buttons, and they work extremely well. Be sure to snag this update quick, because those GameCenter scores are going to start shooting up now!
The new world game, W.E.L.D.E.R., by Highline Games, while still in it’s launch sale phase, has gotten an un-expected update, and quite a few things have been done to this awesome game.
–New “Word Quotas Completed” leaderboard: try to complete all 12 levels more times than your friends!
–Additional bonus swaps between levels: receive up to 8 extra swaps for your next level, if you’re REALLY good that is!
–Updated social messaging functions.
–Thanks for all your word suggestions! Keep sending suggestions to No proper nouns are allowed, and words without definitions are generally met with skepticism, but we welcome your feedback!
–Tap the new “?” in the Special Swaps area on iPhone (near bottom of screen) to see an explanation of all Special Swaps you currently have available.
–Fixed ‘Weld with Friends’ achievement.
–Fixed bug where additional Palindromes can be counted.
–Fixed crash when making a selection across an empty space.
–Fixed a bug where you can get a Game Over if you left the game at the end of a Level.
–Other minor bug fixes, stability enhancements and interface improvements.
So make sure you grab this update soon, because it makes the game a lot better, even though it was already a great game. W.E.L.D.E.R. has quickly become one of The App Shacks favorite word games.