Monthly Archive: January 2012

Zombie Bunnies – 0.99 (Lavafish Studios/Coding Design)

Squirmee and the Puzzling Tree was one of my favorite puzzle games from last year. Lavafish Studios did a fantastic job with the mechanics, graphics, gameplay, and bringing a totally new and original title to the iOS. Not only did they bring a fantastic game to the iDevice, but also sent out update after update making the game better each and every time, and doing this while sales suffered. Well now Lavafish has just released their second iOS title, Zombie Bunnies, and as was with Squirmee, this one is completely original, and extremely polished, with loads of fun gameplay.
Gameplay: 5/5
In Zombie Bunnies you’re given a list of 5 objectives which you must complete all of in order to move on to the next set. These objectives are typical of games set up in this fashion, with Destroy 20 Vehicles, Collect 100 Bunnies, Reach Threat Level 5, Unlock Franky Bunny, and so on. You’ll need to blast away, hitting people, cars, buildings, birds, trees, and more, all of which add to your threat bar. Once you fill up this bar, you’ll progress to the next threat level. As you’re doing this, your health will be slowly depleting, and you’ll need to collect the energy , as well as ammo (bunny) pickups that are given and scattered randomly throughout the game. As you keep progressing, you’ll be able to unlock more bunnies, which also gives you more gun types. The second bunny you’ll get will give you a weapon that shoots zombie rabbits that comp off people’s heads. The third bunny drops bombs, and the last bunny shoots big meteors that can take out buildings and vehicles very easily. You’ll learn fairly quickly that in the later levels, switching between these types of guns will be necessary to climb up the leaderboards, complete achievements, and get through all 99 of the Threat Levels. Also, as you reach Threat Levels (every 5), you are able to start from that point in future games, which means you can be thrown right into the action, jumping ahead of all the boring easy levels as your skill increases.
Controls: 5/5
The controls work very well within the game, with the left half of the screen for movement, and buttons on the right side for switching your gun, and firing the projectiles. For movement, all you need to do is either drag your finger slightly, and then keep holding down, or roll your finger around. It might sound like it wouldn’t work well, but here, it works great. Actually, after playing for about 10 minutes, I couldn’t imagine there being a virtual joystick for movement, as it would cover lots of the action on the bottom left side.
Graphics: 4/5
The environment which you’ll be playing in does not change much. There’s trees, loads of buildings, and even more people. But the graphic style of the game is great, and the animations are fantastic, especially for when people’s heads are eaten, and they fall to the ground. The character models for the bunnies you’re able to control are all great, and as you move on in the game, more and more enemies are added to the mayhem, each having very distinct outfits and looks, making them easy to tell apart.
Overall: 9.5/10
Lavafish Studios has done a fantastic job making a casual arcade game that gets progressively harder, building up to a difficulty that will keep even the most hardcore action fans challenged. With GameCenter leaderboards for highest score, total number of people killed, and furthest distance, along with 32 achievements, and only being $0.99, it’s a great buy that will offer up hours of entertainment, and depending on whether or not you’re a high-score chaser, Zombie Bunnies might just end up staying on your device for months.

Kids vs. Goblins delayed, but will be Universal

As you may have grasped from our posts about it, we can’t wait till Kids vs. Goblins comes out. It is basically a line drawing strategy game with fantasy elements.  The game was originally pegged for a release this Thursday, but it was decided that they would take a little extra time to make it Universal and optimize it for the smaller screen.

Stolen Couch, the developers of KvG announced this through their Twitter

“Kids vs Goblins will be delayed by a little bit. Don’t be sad! Be glad! The game will now be universal!”

If you want more details about what the game is about you can check out our previous article here.

‘Niko’ Review – $1.99 (by Sulake)

‘Niko’ is a unique platformer published by the Sulake Corporation, also known as the makers of Habbo Hotel, which is integrated into the game with badges and medals. ‘Niko’ is released with six free levels, with a 1.99 purchase for the full game, which contains over 30 levels in total. In it, you take control of Niko, a lovable little character, in his quest to rescue his friends from the Otherworld. Along the way he can also release the mysterious Sun Sprites, who have been trapped in the Otherworld along with his friends.

iPhone Screenshot 1

Controls: 5/5

What makes or breaks a platformer is how good its controls are. Often times when a developer experiments with new control types it ends up reflecting poorly on the game. Luckily for the player, the controls work great. There are two options in the controls. One utilizes tilt to move left and right with two buttons to drag to jump. The other one, my personal favorite, is left and right arrow buttons on the left side of the screen with a draggable button on the right. To jump in the game, you simply drag the button down for power and sideways to jump directionally. A dotted line indicator allows for precision jumping as well. Another nice touch is the ability to drag off the character to jump as well. The drag-to-jump mechanic works surprisingly well, and combines perfectly with the game’s ingenious level design.

Graphics and Animations: 4.5/5

The graphics of ‘Niko’ look very good, with a pseudo-3D effect on the otherwise 2D graphics. The animations are also great, particularly the jumping animation, which has you spinning like a ball through the air. At times I almost wish it allowed you to do this when running as well, but I think that would make it look too much like Sonic. Some of the art may take a little time to grow on you, but it does look nice, particularly the Niko character on the menu screens.

Content: 4/5
Though the game does have decently large levels, it does feel a tad bit low on content. With 30 levels, you might go past them a little quick. However, with a 3 star rating to attain each level and 3 switches to find, it does make up for itself. Game Center achievements and leaderboards are also available, along with Open Feint, allowing you to compete against people around the world. Overall there’s a decent amount of content here, but I think a little bit more would make it better.

Overall: 4.5/5

‘Niko’ combines several game elements to make an enjoyable game experience for even someone who isn’t a fan of platformers. There’s no risk in just trying it out either: Niko comes in a free to play model, with six levels completely free before a $1.99 purchase for the full game. Sulake and Fabrication Games team up to bring us an inventive and enjoyable platformer.
**Review reposted due to site glitch**

‘Run Roo Run’ Review

            Run Roo Run
is a charming little game by 5th Cell (developers of Scribblenauts)
that sets the short story of a loving kangaroo mother attempting to get her
joey back (even though it looks like a loving couple). Roo’s poor joey has been
kidnapped and shipped off to Sydney, and it’s your job to trek across Australia
to save the poor joey. The game uses a basic one-touch control to make Roo jump
on, off, and over obstacles to reach his goal.


            Run Roo
Run’s core gameplay is all about timing. By using its simple, but magnificently
executed one-tap-does-all controls, you maneuver Roo to leap across obstacles, jump
onto springy tires, and latch onto swings and umbrellas to reach the goal. Make
a mistake, and you’re back at the start. It’s a simple tap to make Roo jump,
and he’ll automatically latch onto objects you’re supposed to hang onto. It’s
just another tap to make him jump off. If you mess up your timing, guide arrows
are in places where you jumped, so you’re able to time accordingly to where
poor Roo took a hit. What’s fascinating about the game is that each level
covers the length of only one screen, which makes each level take around 4
seconds to complete on a successful run. While it seems easy enough, the
extreme levels require specifically timed taps in order to complete the level.
This is the heart of the game. It’s the basic, yet challenging one-tap timing
that brings out the best. The normal levels are easy enough for the casuals,
and the extremely levels satisfy the hardcore. And no matter what level you
beat, it’s always a satisfying feeling.

Art, Sound &
graphics are crisp and clean, with each of the obstacles outlined for the
player’s clarity. Add this onto the cute kangaroo you’ve got jumping around,
and you’ve got yourself a future plush toy.
contrast, the sound design is decent. There are times when Roo’s squeals will
grate your ears a little bit, but it’s nothing that detracts from the game
itself. The music is done well, though I’d like to see a stronger musical score
for the levels.


            The overall
game is fairly short, with 20 worlds at 15 normal levels and 6 extreme levels,
for a total of 420 levels that last an average of 4 seconds a piece. The
extreme levels will take several tries to get down, but it shouldn’t take more
than few hours to gold star all 420 levels. 5th Cell has decided to
release 10 new levels for (what appears to be) 18 weeks, so this should add
some time to the life of the game. For a normal 99 cent game, it’s still a
little short, but it does well enough.


really no reason not to buy Run Roo Run. Even though it’s on the short side,
the addictive nature of the simple one-touch gameplay is enough to separate it
from the simple distractions to a game that will be a strong contender for the
end of the year awards. Run Roo Run is truly a gem.

Gameplay: 5/5
ASD: 4/5
Length: 3.5/5

Call of Cthulu: The Wasted Land and Shogun coming tonight!

We have been looking forward to both of these releases and were caught off guard when they appeared in the NZ AppStore this morning.  Call of Cthulu: The Wasted Land is a turnbased strategy/ action roleplaying game set in World War I. Shogun is a classic bullet hell shoot em up inspired by Japanese arcade games. Both will come out at 11:00 p.m. U.S. time.  Here is the info from each respective iTunes page:

Call of Cthulu: The Wasted Land

‘Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land is a turn-based strategy/role-playing game based on the award winning Call of Cthulhu RPG. Set in the midst of World War One, the game pits your team of investigators and soldiers against an ancient enemy, one older than humanity itself… Can your team of investigators keep their grip on sanity long enough to stop these diabolical plans? The fate of humanity is in your hands…

Developed in conjunction with Chaosium and based their multi-award winning Call of Cthulhu RPG.

All visuals are enhanced for retina and iPad displays.

Build your team up to match your gaming style; will you shred your foes with massed rifle fire or blast them with powerful spells gleaned from forbidden tomes? It’s your choice!

Integrates to Game Center and Open Feint with challenging achievements to unlock.”
FREE (Missions can be bought via iAP)
“Shogun: Rise Of The Renegade is a shoot’em up inspired by japanese arcade games of the 90’s.

We created this game as a tribute to the old-school manic shooters (aka bullet hell) but enhanced with a modern, touch based game-interface and easy to read graphics.

The first mission is free, others are available via in-app purchases.”

Writers Wanted! No EXP. Required

The site is currently running a two man shift which isn’t hardly enough to keep you happy with all the latest in iOS news.  That is why we are now opening three new writer slots to anyone who wishes to apply.  Here are the benefits of working with us and what you would be doing.

  • FREE iOS games from all sorts of developers such as Crescent Moon Games, Telltale Media, and Ravenous Games.
  • No deadlines. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to write something up then its no problem at all. We do ask that you post at a reasonable rate though. 
  • NO Experience required. All we ask is that you have a understanding of the English Language, Grammar and how to form complete sentences.
  • Cover what you want to. We don’t force you to write anything about a certain subject. Got a game you want to review? Go for it!
  • We provide you with your own email address so that you can contact developers in a professional manner and ask if you can write a review of their game.
We need two game reviewers and one news reporter.  The game reviewers would obviously review new games and the news reporter would report on interesting tidbits in the iOS community.  News reports generally take less time than reviews so it would be perfect if you have a constantly busy schedule.

Contact me at and let me know if you are interested. Also please specify if you would like to be a reviewer or a news reporter.

‘Paper Monsters Review’ – Bringing Mario Style Gameplay to iOS

Paper Monsters is a highly polished platformer in the vein of classic games like Super Mario Bros.  The graphics are spectacular and are reminiscent of Little Big Planet.

Gameplay: 5/5
As is typical of platformers your objective is to go from the left side of the stage to the finish line at the far right of the level.  Foreground and background objects are worked into the equation, allowing for a sense of immersion. As you move across the level you run into enemies and natural occurrences that can harm you.  To transfer to another part of the level all you have to do is jump into a pipe which is obviously a throwback to the Mario Bros.  Through these pipes you can travel to the platforms in the background making it a little more complex when trying to get to a specific spot.  You will usually be rewarded for your exploration by a golden paperclip, one of three that can be found in random places around the level.  Also found around the level are gold coins and treasures. Gold coins can be found in present boxes and can be redeemed in the in-game shop. Treasures, are also found in present boxes and if found give you an achievement from Gamecenter.  Another nifty feature is the ability of your hero to change into a specific vehicle once he enters a gold pipe. For example, later in the game you can use a small yellow submarine to navigate the underwater portions of the level.  This vehicle is not allowed to be brought outside of these specific stages. There is also a small endless runner mini game found in the main menu that allows you to collect coins without having to go through a full level. 

Controls: 4/5
You can choose one out of two types of control: Virtual Joystick or Classic Touchpad. Virtual Joystick is a 4 direction joystick that is fairly versatile and tight.  Whenever you touch the left side of the screen it reappears if you happened to lift up your thumb.  This can be fairly annoying if trying to get a jump exactly right, but works wonderful for everything else. Classic Touchpad is my personal favorite because of the fact that it is immovable and to walk you just slide your finger across it in the direction you want to go.  To jump you just tap the left side of the screen and to double jump you tap twice.  

Length: 3.5/5
The game spans a total of 4 chapters which each have four levels making for a total of 16 levels overall.  I have reached Chapter 3 and gained three golden paperclips for each level. So far it has been a breeze to pass through the levels and have never really needed to restart a level due to error. The difficulty never really feels like it ramps up.  A new Valentines Day themed level pack is scheduled to be released sometime in February. 

Overall: 4/5
Overall, Paper Monsters is a great platformer with throwbacks to both Super Mario Bros. and Little Big Planet.  The music and the art direction are superb and really bring together the whole experience. Though it may be a little content light the developers seem adamant to push out new updates constantly. Definitely a steal at $0.99.

Fantasy Chronicle – 2.99 (Kemco)

Kemco, a Japanese development company specializing in Turn Based RPGs, has just released their newest iOS port, Fantasy Chronicle. If you’re familiar with Kemco’s last releases, Symphony of Eternity, Alphadia and Eve of the Genesis, you probably already know that Kemco is right up there with Square Enix when it comes to the quality of their stories, combat mechanics, depthy equip+upgrade systems, the music used in their titles, and, of course, the gameplay. Fantasy Chronicle is no exception, and, in fact, is their most polished, and well thought out English translated iOS release to date.
Story: 5/5
Fantasy Chronicle tells the story of 8 characters; The main character, Light, his foster sister, Fina, their ‘Grandma’, Ohma, Alterbo, a sargent in the army, Holos Over, a young girl, Corona, a magical rabbit, Mr. Poo, a girl who looks a lot like Fina, Retea, and Ray, a woman from the Dark Clans. There are other minor characters which you’ll come into contact with throughout the game, but these are the 8 that play a major roll throughout the majority of the game. I don’t want to give too much away, because like Kemco’s previous releases, the story is a huge part of the game. However, in Fantasy Chronicle, the story is a bigger part of the game than any of their previous English iOS ports. There’s a lot more going on with the characters, a lot more growth with each of them, as well as more twists, turns, drama, conflict, obsession, revenge, and everything that makes fantastic dramatic writing. The translation is also superb, as we have come to expect from Kemco. No Google Translations here. There are a couple of words that shouldn’t have been capitalized, and maybe a comma missing here and there, but aside from that, the story, and everything every single one of the characters within the game says is understandable, and grammatically correct.
Light, the main character that you will start off playing with first, is an orphan, being raised by a woman named Ohma. Living with Light and Ohma, is a young woman named Fina, who is about Light’s age. Light, wanting to follow in the footsteps of Alberto, a friend of the family, and presumably someone whom Ohma has also raised, joins the volunteer army known as Holos Over. After a couple days of training, the village in which Light has grown up in, Selka, is destroyed, with no trace of Ohma or Fina left behind, and all that’s certain is that whoever destroyed Selka is the same person or group who destroyed another village because of the symbol found amongst the ruins. You’ll go on Light’s journey to find out what happened to Fina and Ohma, and discover the truth behind who’s at fault for the destruction of his village, as well as the destruction of other villages throughout the land.
Gameplay, Controls & Music: 5/5
The gameplay in Fantasy Chronicle is typical of Turn-Based RPGs, in that you’ll be able to wonder around in towns, and other areas, as well as having a world map. You’ll start off being able to visit your hometown, and then as you explore through forests, and go down other paths, you’ll start to unlock and open up other areas within the world map that you’ll be able to jump to. Each town has a handful of places which you can visit, the Inn, Item Shop, Workshop, Town Square, Guild, Private House, Church, ect. But you will spend most of your time within the Workshop and Guild, as this is where you’ll get your missions, and upgrade equipment. Most of the time, the game plays like older Final Fantasy games, with your characters needing to speak to certain individuals in order to progress through the story, so you will also be spending a lot of time talking to the people in each of the towns, learning about the world, and triggering more story sequences.
There are some areas which do have quite a bit of grinding, but as you’ll quickly learn, what grinding there is is heavily rewarded with the story sequences that break it up. In relation to Kemco’s previous releases, the grinding is not as heavy as it is in Alphadia, but it is there. Good thing about it, though, is that with the extremely well designed combat system, the grinding could actually be considered a welcome addition, with the game having very few battles that can be won by pressing the ‘auto’ button. As for the controls, you can choose between using the touch controls, or having a virtual button set-up on the screen. There is a quick button change between the two in the lower right corner of the screen. This control set-up is great, and should really be used more in iOS games, as there are certain sections which feel better with the touch controls, and others that are better with the virtual buttons. For instance, the virtual buttons are great for exploration, and moving throughout the menus, as well as jumping from place to place on the world map, where as the touch screen controls are fantastic for the combat, upgrade, shop, and mission screens, and being able to switch between the two just by touching the lower right corner makes deciding what controls you would prefer for different sections extremely easy. The music is exceptional, and fits with the game to a “T”. There is not one section of the game where the music does not fit the mood for what’s happening. Numerous times multiple musical selections are used for one dialogue sequence, changing as the mood does.
Graphics: 4.5/5
The graphics are typical of your usual retro looking RPG. In fact, you could say it looks extremely generic. However, the up-close character images during dialogue, and their models, as well as every single one of the enemy sprites/models, is done exceptionally well, adding a lot to the feel of the game. Each of the environments that you’ll traverse through are put together extremely well. With some places given a nighttime look, and others being underground, it really would have been nice to see some lighting effects used, even if in a 2D fashion. However, what the classics have shown us is that graphics are a very small part of the genre as a whole, and even though showing off some new insane graphical style would have added to the game in a cosmetic sense, it’s really the story, combat, upgrades, equips, and music that make an RPG game great, though graphics are a big cherry on top, they are not required. Don’t get me wrong, Fantasy Chronicle does, in no way, have bad graphics, in fact, I think almost all of the enemy’s models, as well as the characters hand drawn images all look fantastic and add a lot to the feeling of the game, but if you’re tired of the typical 2D “retro” RPG look, Fantasy Chronicle will in no way impress you.
Combat, Upgrade & Equip System: 5/5
This is where Fantasy Chronicle really shines. The combat, upgrade, and equip systems and mechanics. With the combat, you’re able to choose 3 characters from your party to fight, with each of the three characters able to have with them, a guardian beast. These beasts grow stronger, accumulate experience with each of the characters, and also grow a bond with the characters which you pair them up with. The longer you have a beast and character paired up, the stronger the bond between the two. This bond is used in combat, as you can set each of the guardian beasts to attack, share the damage from enemies, or focus on healing. You are also able to pair up characters, having them join special attacks for a set amount of SP (magical power), increasing the attack that you can use. With the upgrade system, you are able to collect minerals from each of the areas that you’ll explore, from both exploring, as well as from defeating monsters. After you open up a little bit of the game in the beginning, you’ll also be able to use more characters in the Workshops to go and mine for minerals while you’re out exploring, fighting, and in general, progressing throughout the game, and be able to collect it when you come back to the Workshop in each of the visited towns.
Using these minerals, you’ll be able to upgrade items. There are also books scattered throughout the world of Fantasy Chronicle, which you’ll be able to collect, and use to turn current items into different, more powerful items. Along with the minerals, you’ll be able to find swords and armor scattered throughout the world, which you can then bring back to the Workshops, and have them disassembled so that you can gain materials that way too. With the upgrade system, your characters, as well as guardian beasts, become stronger with each level, as well as learn certain spells as they level up. The bond you create with the characters and the guardian beasts also grows, making the extra skills your guardians have stronger as well. Once you start experimenting with the whole combat and equipping systems, you’ll learn how deep they really are, giving you a lot of control over what happens in battle, and what items you equip your characters with. Planning within each of the areas for what types of enemies you’ll face and what elements they might have will also become a big part of what you use to upgrade your equipment, and what equipment you take along with you into battle.
Overall: 5/5
Kemco has shown that they know and have what it takes to compete with the best of the best within the Turn-Based RPG genre, and Fantasy Chronicle is probably their best release to date, being the most polished, well-presented, title they’ve ported to the iOS as of yet. Right now, with it’s price at $2.99, it’s a must buy for RPG fans. The combat system is one of the best I’ve seen, the story is amazingly well written, extremely engaging, and well translated with characters that you’ll become very attached to. Once you start playing, don’t be surprised if you find it hard to start up any other games on your device until you reach the end. Kemco has shown what they’re made of with their previous English iOS releases, but with Fantasy Chronicle, they’ve managed to set a new standard; not only for what fans of the genre should expect from other companies, but for what Kemco can truly bring to the table.

‘Star Warfare: Alien Invasion Review’ – $0.99 [Universal]

Star Warfare: Alien Invasion is a dual-stick, first person shooter game where you are matched up against hordes of vicious aliens through a 30 stage campaign.  You can also play these levels in co-op with your friends through GameCenter.
Gameplay: 4.5/5
The object of the game revolves around one fairly simple objective: Kill as many aliens as possible. In singleplayer you are treated to 5 different arenas that each have 5 levels of difficulty to play through. After you complete a level you gain some virtual currency which you can use towards buying new weapons or pieces of armor.  You can also choose to select survival mode for each the arenas allowing you to test how long you can stay alive. This is a great way to earn a large sum of money.  In co-op you can play through these arenas with your friends or choose to attempt to beat one of the three bosses. These bosses are very tough and only experienced players with decent armor and good weapons should even attempt these missions.  There is a max of three players that can join your game.  If they die they are booted from the game if they do not have a revive potion.  Then the remaining players are allowed to keep on playing until they die since all co-op missions are survival.

Controls: 4/5
The controls are two control sticks, one for moving and one for aiming.  You tap the right stick to fire and are allowed to aim while firing which is extremely useful in intense situations.  To change the direction that you are looking in, swipe the screen above the dual sticks.  I have not had any issues with the controls on the iPad but have not had a chance to test it with my iPod yet. They definitely serve their purpose well.

Graphics: 4/5
Nothing to complain about here. The graphics look very professional and are quite good.  They fit in well with the mood the game is setting.

iAP: 3/5
This is where the game loses some of its selling points as it does have a rather large collection of iAP’s. You can choose to buy a material called mythril which can be redeemed for more in-game money or for exclusive weapons.  Though there are a fairly good amount of weapons ripe for picking the really kick ass ones cost a small fortune in mythril.  With packages of Mythril up to $99.99 dollars in price it is rather clear that they hope to make a lot of money off of these iAP’s.  Luckily you don’t necessarily need mythril to complete the game and are really only used for cosmetic purchases and unique weapons.  I wouldn’t put off buying the game just because of the in app purchases as the core game experience is really good.

Overall: 4.5/5
Overall this is an awesome FPS shooter with intense alien action and a co-op mode that lets you join forces with your friends. This is definitely a worthwhile purchase at the small price of $0.99.

Telltale Media starts New Year’s sale a little late

Telltale Media joins the price slashing celebration a little bit too late as all of the other games previously on sale are no longer available for the lower price.  In my opinion this is a smart move because there is no other competition and it will be easier for the game to rise up in the ranks.  Here is the list of the price drops:


  • Telltale Favorites

& Max: The Penal Zone Episode 1

& Gromit: The Last Resort

iPad (HD) &

Hector: Badge of Carnage

o        Episode 2: Senseless Acts
of Justice

o        Episode 3: Beyond
Reasonable Doom

o        Episode 2: Senseless Acts
of Justice

o        Episode 3: Beyond
Reasonable Doom

Puzzle Agent Series

 Puzzle Agent  (iPad)

Agent 2

o        Puzzle Agent

o        Puzzle Agent