Monthly Archive: November 2011

Blue Libra – 0.99/2.99 (Orator Games)

Science Fiction Real Time Strategy. A genre pretty much left untapped within the AppStore, there’s only a few titles that cover the 4X gameplay, but the ones that do are premium priced for a reason; extremely deep, intuitive user interface, hours upon hours of gameplay, endless replayabilty with almost endless results, and very strategic gameplay just to mention some biggies. Luckily for fans of the genre, Orator Games has just released Blue Libra. Not exactly a 4X game, but a mix between 4X and Galcon type gameplay gives hardcore fans of the genre something for quick plays, with more strategy and depth than any Galcon game, and new-comers to the genre something to help them get acquainted with the style. And at $0.99 ($2.99 for the HD/iPad Version), there’s pretty much no reason not to check it out.

You’ll command the last of the Libra class of carriers to avenge the fall of your home world. Your main goal? Make your way across the galaxy back to your home world, destroying anyone who stands in your way. You’ll need to produce different types of ships, and take over planets and space stations, getting rid of the opposing force in each sector, upgrading your ships and main Libra carrier with multiple upgrades available in the shop, so that you can be sure to have the power and ability to take on anything that might be thrown your way. One wrong move, and you could wind up with a loss.
As for the controls, they’re fairly intuitive. Fleets are all produced by your Libra carrier, and any planets or space stations you take over. These fleets are grouped together in a circle, and can be merged by drawing a line, which automatically snaps to a straight line, no matter how wobbly you draw it, between the two. To move a fleet, simply draw a line to the planet or station you wish to move to. You can cut a whole fleet in half by slicing it, ala Fruit Ninja, and the fleet will split in half with each half having, as close to, half of all ships as it can. This does take away a bit from the strategic element, as your groups of ships can not be split up to best serve the situation that they’re going in to, but instead give “my bigger fleet will take over your smaller fleet” gameplay. This isn’t a bad thing, exactly, as there are still times in the game where you will need to decide before hand what ships to produce to best serve the mission, and how many resources to set up building those ships, but being able to decide exactly what type of ships are sent where would have added quite a bit more strategic gameplay and depth to the game. There are obstacles in some of the sectors, like asteroid belts, which slow you down significantly, and these are best gone around if at all possible, to do this, you’ll just need to draw a line around the obstacle, and stop short of where you want to move to so that the line does not snap to a straight shot. The screen automatically pans while you’re making your line, dragging on the screen, which is very handy. You can set the pan speed in the options menu as well.
There are 15 missions leading you back to your home world, and beating a lot of them will take multiple play throughs. The difficulty curve is great, and increases at a pretty steady rate. There is no online support, but with gameplay like Blue Libra’s, there isn’t much need for GameCenter. Being able to share your final tallies, like how many total ships you lost/destroyed, how long it took you to make it back to your home world, and little stats like this would be nice, but is not really considered the end goal by fans of the genre.
Again, at $0.99, there’s very little reason not to grab it, whether you’re a hardcore 4X RTS fan, or even if you’ve never played a Sci-Fi RTS before, it stretches across a wide length of skill levels, and provides simple yet still depthy gameplay. It’s definitely a title worth checking out, and one that you can easily sink hours upon hours into.
Blue Libra gets a score of 4.5 out of 5.

Acoustic Ruler Pro -0.99 (Florian Student)

Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a ruler in your pocket all the time? Well now you can! With the Acoustic Ruler Pro [0.99] from Florian Student you can measure anything, anywhere! To measure with this app you need an iOS device with a built in mic. Then you need headphones with a mic or without a mic (it doesn’t really matter there). This app is sort of hard to explain in writing. The best way to understand how this app works is to watch the 2 videos that the developer made about the 2 measuring modes. Below are the 2 videos and a quote from the App Store on how the application works.

How it works:
The app works by clocking the time delay of the emitted sound waves. There are two different operation modes: a single device operation (with headphones) and a dual device mode for measuring the distance *between* two devices. Read below to find out which modes work on your iOS device.”

Single Mode

Dual Mode

As you can see that’s pretty amazing! I feel that the videos were the best way to explain how the application works. This is definitely a must buy! My final rating is 4 out of 5 stars. Most of the time the measurements have seem to be very accurate. You can go download Acoustic Ruler Pro for just $0.99 from Florian Student here.

Gyro13 FREERIDE and a HUGE Commander Pixman Update!

Gyro13, one of our favorite games of 2011, has just released a lite version with one extremely well designed level. I know, it doesn’t sound like much, but it definitely shows off the graphics, gameplay, physics, controls, and music that can be found in the (now on sale) full version. It also contains two GameCenter leaderboards for the one level, which does add at least a little bit of replay value, seeing how well you stack up against the rest of the world in time and score. If you don’t have the full version yet, and are still wondering whether you should pick it up or not, now you can check out the Freeride version, and come to a final decision.

Commander Pixman, a space based speed run platformer with interesting physics, has just gone through a huge update. The game is now supported by GameCenter with leaderboards and achievements, 45 new levels and 5 new missions, bringing the total levels to 125. The new lite version level pack, First Blood, has been included, the timer now starts after you make your first move (disabled by default), and various fixes and improvements. This update comes right after the release of the FREE version of Commander Pixman, which features a whole level pack. Players who already have the game are in for a treat, and those of you who don’t have it, now would be a great time to get it.

$$$ -> FREE (Freebie Price Drops!)

Robot’s Sky is one of very few mech games available in the AppStore. Sadly, it has some pretty bad lag, and controls that are almost impossible to get comfortable with. Their update before this last one, they did increase the performance slightly, and told gamers that the controls were “easy” instead of doing anything to change them, but Battle 3D: Robots Sky could turn into a great game so long as the developers don’t stop working on it, and if you have an iPhone 4S or iPad 2, this game will probably run extremely well. So pick it up while it’s free, your future self might end up thanking you.
**edit** thanks to gunxsword on the Touch Arcade Forums, the addition of an “Optimize” button was pointed out, making the game run smooth if checked. With it checked, the controls also become a lot easier to get use to, making fighting with them a thing of the past. This is definitely a mech game to check out and enjoy!

There are tons of Pipe Mania clones in the AppStore, but as usual, none of them come close to the original. Developed in 1989 for the Amiga, and since then ported to almost every gaming system, gaining fans with each generation, it’s been available for the iOS since mid-2009, and is now FREE for the first time. If you’re even remotely interested, now would be the best time to pick it up.

This action RPG could use some tighter controls, but it’s still worth checking out. Take your monster through level after level beating up knights and various other medieval characters while you take revenge on the race that is responsible for your parents death. A nice upgrade system and pretty decently sized maps make the game a bit more interesting. It’s certainly worth checking out.

Tilt to move your little gun wielding hero and tap the screen to shoot, destroying blocks. Groups of same-colored blocks will be destroyed if you shoot one of the blocks. Avoid the fire balls being shot up at you. Your time increases each time you destroy a block, don’t run out of time. Sounds easy enough. This action puzzler will provide quite a bit of interesting hectic gameplay.
Triniti Interactive has been a fairly popular development studio for the last couple of years. Their GameBox apps are some of the most popular among new-comers to the iDevice, giving players 18 to 27 games for the price of one. Over the years they have also made quite a few of their games, covering a vast array of genres, free for a limited time. KungFu Warrior, a side-scrolling beat-em-up, is their latest addition to the limited-free pile. If you’re a fan of the genre, make sure you check this one out.

Miss Claire Garden – 0.99 (Chris Neveu)

It’s always upsetting when an independent developer’s amazing game doesn’t sell well enough to even recoup the money that was put into the making of the game. Even worse when it’s a solo developer, and their first game, making them think it’s not worth-while to continue making iOS games. The first time I ever really cared about this happening was with an amazing platformer that goes by the name of Miss Claire Garden, developed in 14 months by the amazingly talented Chris Neveu.

Released in January of this year, a lot of people were put off by the speed of movement for the character, Claire. This initially cause a lot of people to look the other way, figuring it wasn’t worth getting. Other gamers have said that the childish name didn’t help either. For me, I held off the first couple of days because the developer, Chris N., said that there were not going to be any updates for the game. But after watching the video up on YouTube, and sleeping on it, I couldn’t stop thinking about the game. Having a Mario 2 like platformer on my iDevice was something I just couldn’t pass up, future updates or not.
Eventually, enough people complained about the slow movement that the game was updated, increasing the speed of Claire, and changing the throwing mechanics for when she picks up enemies and chucks them. Now there was no reason not to get the game. Except that Chris Neveu had said that there were no updates coming, and people saw how slow Claire moved in the original trailer. Gamers didn’t know that the speed had been changed, even after the game was updated, no one felt the need to check to see if it had been. Sadly, the game was forgotten. The few of us who did buy the game were finally getting into it, hitting the midway point of the game, and being blown away. It was now the iOS platformer that all other iOS platformers would be compared to. Miss Claire Garden was considered the #1 platform game in the AppStore by a very select few.
But no matter how much we tried to get other gamers to check out the game, when they watched the trailer, they saw how fast Claire moved, or more appropriately, how slow she moved, and read iTunes reviews from gamers who hadn’t updated their ratings after the game was updated, let’s just say, even with some of our reputations on Touch Arcade as players who really only recommended games that were worth checking out, it was extremely hard to get people to buy Miss Claire Garden.
The graphics, gameplay, music, story, animations, the slight metroidvania type setup of the game, with players needing to grab specific power-ups in levels to go back to previously beaten levels and reach areas that were previously unreachable, the Mario 2 influenced gameplay, being able to pick up enemies, and throw them at other enemies, or carry them across the screen, placing them in a spot that gave you the opportunity to reach an unreachable area, being able to use blocks with the same reach unreachable areas effect, the insanely great level design. Miss Claire Garden went above and beyond the typical iOS platformer gameplay that iPod gamers were use to, and is still considered to be one of the very best platform games by the very few gamers that own the title.
And yet, the game is still a hidden gem, almost a full year after it’s release, the game still only has 9 ratings in the US AppStore, and Chris Neveu still has yet to make back the money that went into making the game. With it being $0.99, having 24 levels, 72 available flowers to collect, 3 in each level, collected by finishing the level, grabbing the (usually) hidden bird, and collecting 50 or more flowers in the level, adding an insanely addictive challenge to the game, and still, with all the platformers released since Miss Claire Garden’s release in mid-January, 2011, in my top 3 favorite iOS platform games, it’s an amazing deal that every fan of old-school, Mario, platform, adventure, or just amazingly great games should check out. A version 1.3 trailer was just uploaded to YouTube last month (and can be viewed below), and Chris Neveu is currently working on another game, though it’s not been said what platform it will be released for, and no info other than Mr. Neveu saying that he’s working on something in his freetime has been given out, but rest assured, after playing Miss Claire Garden, just knowing that Chris Neveu is working on another game will bring a big smile to your face.
Miss Claire Garden gets a score of 10 our of 10, and is HIGHLY recommended.

Zombie Parkour Runner – 0.99/2.99 (Break Media)

Endless Runner based level games are starting to grab a group of fans. Fatcat Rush, Mirror’s Edge, Run Fox Run, Brain In Jar, Bouncing Penguin, DoDo Fly, 1-Bit Ninja, these titles will usually upset platformer fans because, well, they’re not platformers, and cause endless runner fans to scream “those are not endless runners!”, but whether you love or hate these types of games, you can’t deny that there are gamers that thoroughly enjoy games like these, and that there are more and more of them popping up as more and more gamers get hooked by their gameplay. I, for one, and a big fan of these types of games. Maybe it’s because my favorite genre of games is platformers, and I enjoy endless runners quite a bit. Maybe it’s because they’re perfect for playing while sitting in the bathroom, who knows? Whatever the case may be, a new title has emerged, and is ready to be conquered by gamers everywhere. Zombie Parkour Runner, developed by Break Media, is the newest addition to the endless runner/platformer mesh genre.

You’ll control Kara while she jumps, zips, climbs, swings, wall-runs, and kicks some zombie butt trying to get her stolen cat back. There’s 24 levels of smooth playing parkour running that you’ll control simply by tapping on the screen. A quick tap will give you a short jump, while holding your finger on the screen will give you a long jump, then timely taps on the screen when a white silhouette of your character appears will cause you to do specific parkour tricks and spiffy zombie attacks while running through each level.
The graphics are superb, and the environments full of great looking details and objects. The animations are also very well done, and make the game flow extremely smooth. The tap controls are very responsive, and even though it sounds like just tapping on the screen to do pretty complex moves sounds easy, choosing the right path, along with tapping at the right time can prove to be pretty challenging.
Making it through all 24 levels won’t take a lot of gamers too long, but making it through all 24 levels with a 3 star ranking and grabbing the special item in each level should take more than a little while, as should finding all the hidden areas and unlockable levels. There’s also a GameCenter leaderboard for each level, along with a board for the best score in a level, and 39 achievements, all adding immensely to the high replay-value. It would be nice to see a shop where we could unlock more characters, or different outfits, maybe give all those coins another purpose besides adding to the high-scores of players, and give those gamers out there that are not obsessed with high-scores something to aim for.
If you’re a fan of the genre, Zombie Parkour Runner is a game that’s definitely worth checking out. The addition of the Parkour moves, running on billboards, swinging off of poles, going down ziplines, and more adds quite a bit to the gameplay, as do the different zombies and zombie attacks. Priced at $0.99 for the iPhone version, and $2.99 for the iPad version, it’s a great buy, and a great game that will give you hours upon hours of entertainment.
Zombie Parkour Runner gets a score of 4 out of 5.

Freebie Alerts!

**Click on the Icons to download**
Monochromania, a new Tower-Defense/action shooter game from Steven Chin, has just gone free, a couple days after it’s release. Having only sold 1 copy, it’s not surprising that Monochromania has been made free for a short period, but it is pretty surprising that it did only sell 1 copy. With it’s slick cartoony graphics, and interesting gameplay, it’s a game that’s definitely worth checking out.
Supersonic HD, by Kuuasema, has gone free to celebrate it’s new game mode, Supersonic Mixtapes, in which you can create your own tracks with music on your iPod. This is one of the better tunnel racers available in the AppStore, and even better, it’s the Universal build that’s gone free, so iPad users rejoice!
MeetingRun!, an interesting platformer game from Epsilon Studios, that earlier this year got it’s “Syntheticvoid” update, which gave it virtual controls (it’s so awesome having a game’s update be named after you…), and made it a lot more playable. If you haven’t check the game out yet, now would be a great time to do so.
Mega Bad, developed by International Game Systems, has just gone free to celebrate the release of their new free-for-launch game, Rodeo King, as well as two new theme packs. If you’re a fan of Tilt-To-Live type games, this one should be right up your ally! And better yet, if you’ve got Rodeo King on your iDevice, you’ll get a special 2,000 coin bonus for Mega Bad!
Soul, a pretty old iOS game, developed by Kydos Studio, recently got a Universal upgrade update, as well as including an auto-save feature. To let everyone know that they’re still in business, Kydos has decided to make Soul free for a limited time. This was one of the very first games I ever got after getting my first iPod Touch back in the day, and even now, it’s one of the best tilting games you can get in the AppStore. It’s creepy atmosphere, great animations, and awesome gameplay will provide an experience worth checking out, again and again.

Blowup!! – 0.99 (Cravemob)

Developers have been trying to integrate music into their games since the birth of the AppStore. Not many have been able to successfully do this, but those that have found a way generally provide a very entertaining gameplay experience. Cravemob’s latest title, Blowup!!, a puzzle game based on match-3 type gameplay and integrating music, is a very good example of how to add music to gameplay smoothly and professionally.

You’ll start off with a screen full of mixed up different colored blocks. These blocks can be removed from the play area by double tapping on them. You’ll have a certain number of “Nibble” taps, which let you remove one single block, while removing groups of 13 or more adds to your number of Nibbles. If you remove a grouping of 8 or more, you’ll add energy to your energy bar, adding time to your gameplay. Once your energy bar runs out, it’ll be game over. Where does the music come in to this, you ask? Well, as you remove the groups of blocks from the gameplay area, you’ll be able to level up. Each time you level up, a section of music is added to the track playing, which also makes it so that you’ll earn more points with each group of blocks you remove, adds more energy to your energy bar when you do remove them, and causes your energy bar to drain quicker. The amount of music you have added to the song playing is shown at the top of the screen with a percentage. Once you hit 100%, you’ll be hearing the full music track. Sounds complicated? It kind of is. But all you really need to know is, pick a color to not remove from the blocks, try and remove every color but that one color, while groups of 8 or more blocks will be given robot faces so that you can tell them apart from the other blocks, and watch your energy bar, not letting it go too low unless you have a huge group of blocks you can remove from the gameplay area to fill it up again.
There are 3 different difficulties, Nerd Punk, which is Easy, Robo Crunk, which is Normal, and Megachip Rave, which is Hard. The increases in difficulty change how quickly your energy bar drains and how much energy you get from removed blocks. There are objectives shown on the Stats screen, which are really the GameCenter Achievements, with 26 total.
The minimal integration of music into the gameplay is pretty much the best way to mix music into games that are not tap based Guitar Hero type titles. Have the gameplay revolve around the music too much, and your game suffers, and generally, will get a lot of “the music has no effect on the actual gameplay” comments and reviews, and it’ll usually be the same with games that don’t have the music integrated enough into the gameplay, for instance, WAVE Against Every Beat’s Free Play Mode, which a lot of people thought would have the gameplay go with their own music, when in actuality, it was just a gimmicky promotion of “listen to your own music while playing the game”.
Cravemob has done an extremely good job of meshing music with gameplay, and having it be more than just a gimmick to sell more copies. The matching gameplay is great for casual and hardcore players, and can be very addicting, with the difficulty going up as your skill level rises. At $0.99, it provides smooth, entertaining gameplay with a high replay value. Different Modes would have added quite a bit to the game, but as it is, it’s still very much worth checking out, and as Cravemob’s first iOS game, it’s definitely a title that will catch the attention of gamers, and hopefully provide a solid fan-base of players eagerly awaiting to see what these talented developers will come up with next.
Blowup!! gets a score of 4 out of 5.

SpinTrip – 0.99 (

Platformers for the iOS have really started booming since the extremely successful release of League Of Evil. However, as much as I love platformers, it’s not too often fans of the genre can find a game that brings something new to the table, as the AppStore is getting over-run with “retro” platforming games. Thankfully, there are a couple developers out there that know that it’ll take more than a platform game with retro graphics to really stand out, and Ablemagic’s SpinTrip, published by Clickgamer/Chillingo just so happens to be one of those stand out titles.

You’ll guide a little ‘tisu, male or female (though your choice doesn’t effect the gameplay), through the magical world of Canoo. The evil Gnats have stolen a wise sage’s Shims, and you’ll need to use the power of the Chibs to get them all back. What does that mean in an understandable language? You’ll roll your character around the levels, collecting other characters that lend you their powers so that you can reach previously un-reachable areas to collect as many items as you can while trying to make it to the end of each level.
There are 9 different Chibs that you’ll be able to roll over, snag, and use, each with a different ability, and certain amount of times you can use that ability. There’s a yellow Chib, named Leaps, who gives you 12 high jumps per collected character, a blue Chib named Swims who enables you to float on water for 10 seconds, a purple guy named Sucks who lets you use suction cups to climb up walls and on ceilings, and other various Chibs that give you different powers to help you along.
The level design is pretty impressive after the first couple of levels, giving gamers plenty to explore, and areas of levels that are only accessible if players actually do explore, finding a certain Chib that will help them reach that hidden area. Every Chib you’ll need to get through the level by going straight through it is available along the straight to the end path, so if you want to just get to the end of each level as quick as you can, you won’t be bogged down by having to explore every little area, or need to go back exploring everywhere just to find one character that will give you access to the end of the level. But each of the Chibs abilities factors into the level design, which makes it even more impressive.
As for the controls, graphics, physics, and on a more forgiving note, the animations, everything is top notch. The physics do take some getting use to, but once you become comfortable with the idea that you’re rolling your character through the levels, not making them run through each level, it gets very easy to become accustomed to. The controls, set up like your typical virtual controlled iOS platformer, left and right buttons, along with a jump button, work extremely well. Each Chib that you pick up highlights an icon at the top of the screen, and on an iPad, are found around your basic left/right and jump/ability controls. When you want to use that Chib, you click on the icon, which makes them available for use, then tap the icon next to your jump button to activate that Chib. There are three different environments that you’ll progress through, each with it’s own distinctive look, and environmental feel, and along with the perfect animations, helps add to a very smooth, and highly enjoyable gaming experience.
SpinTrip is supported by Crystal for online leaderboards, which Chillingo seems to be using more and more, but it’s also supported by GameCenter, having 2 different boards, one for your Highscore and one for your Awesomeness score, along with 4 basic “find this many” achievements, and one hidden achievement. Each of the 16 levels has a 3 star ranking you can try and snag, but sadly, your star ranking is not shown on the level select screen, so finding those one or two levels that you only got 2 stars on is almost impossible. As always with new gameplay mechanics, there will always be people that wish the game just played like a regular old platformer game, so SpinTrip will not be favored by everyone, especially if you don’t like the idea of only being able to use one ability at a time, and having to collect that ability while going through levels, while having the number of times you can use that ability re-set with each level. But if you’re looking for something new a platform game, and either sick of, or have enough run/jump/goal platformers, SpinTrip is definitely a game worth your time. The game is only $0.99, and Universal, so if you’re still not sure, it’s not going to break the bank if you decide to check it out. It certainly has the potential to become one of your favorite iOS platformers.
SpinTrip gets a score of 4 out of 5.