Monthly Archive: January 2012

‘Star Marine: Infinite Ammo Review’ – $1.99 (Glitchsoft)

Star Marine: Infinite Ammo is an frantic shoot n’ run game in the vein of the classic arcade games Contra and Metal Slug.  Glitchsoft brings back the old vibe but with some baggage of the 21st Century.
Story: 4/5
The game starts off with a short intro that explains why you are on the ship and that you must escape. To do that you must fight through hordes of alien invaders. The story is obviously not the strong suit of the game, but do you really need a good reason to kick some alien ass?
Controls: 4/5
Controls are a tricky thing to master in all iOS games and as a result the games sucess really depends on how well these are implemented. You are given an eight direction D-Pad on the right side of the screen and a slider bar on the left side. The slider bar allows you to move right, left and to duck.  The jump button is located next to the D-Pad which could be a problem if not for the floaty phsyics. Since the game is set on a space ship, your jumps take an abnormally long time to pull off which allows you fire at enemies below or at high up explosives with relative ease. The controls in general are decent and allow you to control Arc(your character) fairly well.
Graphics: 5/5
The graphics are very retro and suit the game perfectly.  They definitely harken back to the old arcade cabinent days and are very well defined on the screen despite the lack of retina display integration.  On the iPad the game is very blurry in 2x mode so your best bet is to wait for Universal to be added in an update.  They plan on doing this if the game really takes off.
iAP: 2/5 
The iAP level is on a scale of how obtursive they are in relation to the game experience. Unfortuantely for this modern interperation of Contra it is crippled by its rather in-your-face iAP.  In Contra you could use the Konami code to get 30 extra lives while in this game you can pay for them.  Also availble for in app purchase are health packs for when your health gets low, and wings for when you fall into the abyss by accident. If you dont have these items you have to restart the whole level which makes this game quite the grind fest if you dont pony up the cash.  You can also pay for these items using gems, the currency you can get from playing the game. (You can also buy packs of gems) Also dependant on these gems are weapon purchases and upgrades. So if you suck at the game you are going to go through tons of gems buying extra revives and new weapons to tackle the fast enemies/strong bosses.
Overall: 4/5
Star Marine: Infinite Ammo is certainly a worthwhile investement if you loved all those classic arcade games or are just hankering for a good shooter. Though the iAP hamper the immersion factor of the game they are not ultimately necessary to complete the game. At the price of two Big Macs you dont want to miss this. 

Jazz: Trump’s Journey – 2.99 (Bulkypix + Egg Ball)

Recently, Bulkypix has been on a hot-streak. Their newer publications of Save the Furries, Funny Hell, Another World, Mamba Nation Battle, Terra Noctis, and more, have thrown them right back into the hot seat, letting iOS gamers know that they know exactly what a top-notch, high-quality title is. Carrying on this streak of awesome releases, Jazz: Trump’s Journey, a co-production between Egg Ball and Bulkypix, just went live this week, and it does not disappoint.
You’ll play as Trump, a famous jazz musician who takes you on a journey through his memories of how he managed to get known in the 1920’s New Orleans Jazz scene. And not only is the game influenced by the music of the time, but also by the art, with the environments, characters, buildings, and backgrounds all influenced by paintings from 1920’s New Orleans. Another influence for the game is the biography of Louis Armstrong, whom the main character, Trump, even slightly resembles. There’s several aspects within the game that directly match Armstrong’s life; being raised by his grandmother, spending time in a prison where the in-mates were able to play music, and of course, playing the trumpet. The music you’ll hear throughout the game was recorded by live studio musicians, and with each band member that you team-up with throughout your journey will add to the soundtrack. Cut-scenes, which play out like old silent films, are also found within the game, with the characters talking to one-another, and then being taken to a screen where you can read the dialogue. Sadly though, the dialogue is filled with grammatical and capitalization errors. I know that there are quite a few gamers who feel that imperfect grammar is something that takes away from the immersion of games, which is very understandable. It can get very frustrating having to stop and re-think what it is that you‘ve just read, or missing out on a dialogue section because you were trying to understand what a character was saying, which is a problem during the silent film influenced cut-scenes, because the dialogue screens don’t stay on the screen for long.
As far as the controls are concerned, you’re given your typical platformer layout; left and right movement buttons in the bottom left corner, and a jump button in the bottom right. The left/right buttons are spaced pretty far apart, it would have been great if there was an option for gamers to set all the buttons wherever they wanted them, especially for playing on the iPad, which, right now, I can only assume would be fairly difficult with the spacing as it is now. There are other buttons that come into play as you progress through the game, and come across different environment pieces. When you get onto a ladder, or a rope, up and down movement buttons will appear above the left and right buttons, along the left side of the screen. There’s also a button for playing your trumpet once you find it, and doing so stops time for all objects with a musical icon outlined in green on them. There are other objects which are not effected by the time stops, and those have the same icon, only it’s outlined in red.
You can change direction mid-air, but only if you’re not wall jumping. This can lead to some frustration when needing to perfectly time your jumps, or when trying to cut back after jumping off of a surface you didn’t mean to. But the wall jumping does open up a lot of level design options, and here, the developers have done a great job utilizing that. Actually, the level design, and how each of the objects work together throughout the game to give players a bit of challenge, as well as adding in puzzle elements to the mix, has made for some of the best level design I’ve seen in an iOS platformer. All 13 of the levels utilize the wall-jumping, and are fairly large. Even though there’s only 13 levels, the game is decently sized for an iOS platformer.
Each of the levels has quite a few checkpoints, which you are able to backtrack to if you feel that you’ve missed something, or want to reset a puzzle. This can be done by pressing the icon in the top left corner. However, there are some checkpoints that do not register, and you could end up being sent back more than one checkpoint. It doesn’t happen often, and has never happened during spots where there was a sign in the background saying that you could go back to a checkpoint, but it does happen occasionally.
Even with it’s flaws, Jazz: Trump’s Journey, is a fantastically done, well made platformer. The art and music help to create an immersive environment which, as you progress through the game you’ll be able to very clearly see, was handled with extreme care. The inclusion of puzzles, especially later on in the game, makes for some pretty challenging sections, but also expand the gameplay quite a bit. With Jazz supporting GameCenter achievements, being Universal and only $2.99, it’s a great purchase for fans of the genre. It’s definitely a game that will stick with you for years.

Coming Tonight – Soul Calibur, JAZZ, Ash II: Shadows and tons more!

The App Store is finally starting to pick up speed and tonight the flood gates are opening as tons of quality titles are launching simultaneously. Check out the fine selection below.

Soul Calibur – $12.99 [Universal]

Soul Calibur is the port of the 1999 Dreamcast version of the game and is debuting to the tune of thirteen dollars.  Though the typical Apple gamer may balk at the price tag, fans of the fighting series are probably mashing the buy button as it releases around the world. 

JAZZ: Trump’s Journey – $2.99 [Universal]

Set in New Orleans during the era of jazz music, JAZZ certainly seems to embody how the city looked like back then. With a unique musical twist this platformer certainly looks like a great time. Check out our review of it here:

Ash II: Shadows – Silver ($2.99) Gold ($4.99) [Universal]

The popular JRPG Ash, now has a sequel which is surprisingly published by Konami. There are two versions called Silver and Gold. Apparently Silver gets you half off all future content updates presumably available by iAP. Gold, while being a bit more expensive, promises free content updates forever.

Time of Heroes – $0.99 [Universal]

Looks like an interesting turn-based combat game with an interesting story.  Coming from Smuttlewerk studios, we are sure this is a top of the line game.

Niko – $1.99 [Universal]

Free to try platformer with full game unlock for $1.99. Looks like it differentiates itslef from the other platformers with an unique control system. 

Puzzlejuice – $2.99 [Universal]

Another of the many word game that have been taking the Appstore by storm over the past few weeks. From the description it seems like a combination of Bejewled, Tetris, and Spell Tower. Certainly looking forward to this one.

Also a number of other releases came out earlier today before the massive rush. Here are the ones that looked worthwhile to download:

Caverns of Minos – $1.99 [Universal] 

Coming from the master of retro games, Llamasoft, this will tide you over till the rest of the releases come out and probably for the rest of your weekend! Just got it and am really loving it so far.

OVERTURN – $3.99 [iPhone only]

(Footage of Wii version)
Adapted from the Wii to the touchscreen interface, Overturn certainly looks like an interesting game.  My only worry is that the controls may not be the best. Other than that looks great!

Now it’s your turn to have your voice heard! Let us know in the comments which of these games you would like to win and we will try to secure a code for you. First person to ask for a specific game gets it IF we receive the code. You are more likely to win if the game is not as well known or from indie developers. One entry per person. 

Unstoppable Gorg Landing This Thursday!

It’s finally official. Unstoppable Gorg will be landing on the App Store this Thursday. If you don’t know anything about this game, then you must be living under a box. It’s a new tower defense game that allows you to move your satellites once you place them. Check out the trailer below to get a sense of what I’m talking about.

The game will be released on the following platforms:
Thursday January 19, 2012
PC & Mac (through Steam)
First half of 2012
Xbox LIVE Arcade
Price: TBA
Make sure you keep an eye out for the game once it releases!

Soul Calibur for iOS coming out on January 19th

Soul Calibur for iOS has just been approved by Apple and will be released on the 19th of January. The publisher Namco Bandai, claims that the graphics will be on par with the 1999 Dreamcast version of Soul Calibur. While we’re sure that the graphics will be good, ports of classic games are easy to mess up.  That’s because the virtual controls sometimes ruin the feel the game used to have on the console version.  As soon as we have a pre-release copy we will be sure to inform you the state of the port and what you can expect.  The game will work on any device with the 4.3 update currently installed. 

Apparently there are 6 game modes which work hand in hand with the GameCenter leaderboard system. 
Those modes are:

Arcade Battle
Appears to be a Campaign mode where you discover the story of characters and unlock new ones. It is probably just like the arcade version.

Time Attack
I assume that you select your character and then your opponents character and try to defeat him in the quickest time possible.
Has a Gamecenter leaderboard.

In this mode you compete in a endless tournament against many fighters.  See how many enemies you can defeat before you inevitably die. 
Has a GameCenter Leaderboard.

EXTRA Survival
Apparently this is also a survival mode but what distinguishs it between the other Survival mode is unknown. Has a Gamecenter Leaderboard

Museum is probably where you can check out all the characters you have unlocked and admire them.

In Practice mode you can obviously practice your moves and try to get insane combos going. Should be useful for beginners to the game.

Kiriku, Shanfa, Maxi, Mitsurugi, Taki, Void, Sofita, Nightmare, Asutarosu, Ivy, Hwang Sung Kyung, Yoshimitsu, Lizardman, Siegfried, Rock, Sonmina, Cervantes de Leon and Edge Master will all be included in the game.
Screenshots and Gameplay Video:

Drag ‘n Dash Scratches Your Paper Monsters Itch

I’ve been anxious all week for news on the upcoming platformer from Crescent Moon Games and Robots vs Wizards, Paper Monsters. As you know, Paper Monsters was submitted this past week. The waiting game is always tough so any new info shines a light at the end of the tunnel.  A few days ago, we got more than just new info.  A fully playable, web mini-game called “Drag ‘n Dash” along with a new trailer for Paper Monsters surfaced on the game’s official website. Before you jump over to PaperMonsterLand and give the mini-game a spin, stick around and check out the new trailer here.  We’ll be here with a review of Paper Monsters as soon as we get our hands on it, and that shouldn’t be too far away. Until then enjoy the dragon dashing!

Hands-on Preview: Dungeon Crawlers (Ayopa Games)

Dungeon Crawlers, an upcoming tactical RPG from Ayopa Games and Drowning Monkeys, shows quite a bit of promise. From what we’ve seen so far, this game is just as much about dungeon crawling as it is about laughs.

The cast of characters consists of an alchemist, a priest, a barbarian, and a drunken dwarf warrior. It’s a strange party, but it goes well with the quirky personality of the game.  If you think about the style of the game for a bit, it seems somewhat reminiscent of “The Ghostbusters”.  This makes sense, since you are clearing out dungeons of ghouls, gunges, goblins and more.  The humor in the story is what really makes the game a blast to play, and you definitely shouldn’t find yourself playing this game stone-faced.

From what I’ve seen so far, gameplay is standard turn-based dungeon crawling.  There are two modes, exploration mode and combat mode. In exploration mode, you are free to “explore” the level without any limitation on the number of moves you can make. Movement is simple, tap where you want to go and a path will be drawn. Tap again to confirm the path and you are on your way. When you run into a mob, you automatically enter combat mode. This works just as any other turn based game would.  Move your characters around and choose an attack. You can only make one move/attack per turn, so some thought will be required.

There are also some RPG elements implemented such as character leveling, and different unlockable skills. As you kill mobs you eventually level up, earning points to spend on upgrades. This gives the game depth that can’t be found in many dungeon crawlers.

If you’re looking for a dungeon crawler that will make you laugh while you loot, you don’t have long to wait. Dungeon Crawlers will be launching January 26th for $1.99 as a universal game. Here’s the nitty gritty details about the game along with the awesome trailer.

Tactical turn-based combat. Deliberate and exciting turn-based combat. Consider your moveand then leap into action with your characters, letting lose sword and spell to down your dungeon-dwelling prey.
Four unique playable characters. Control an egg-headed alchemist, portly priest, burlybarbarian, and drunken dwarf warrior.
Five chapters of dungeon crawling goodness: Each chapter is a unique multi-level dungeonwith distinct environments, deadly enemies, and shiny loot.
Did we mention loot? Laden your Dungeon Crawlers team with gold and gear. You’ll makethem obnoxiously wealthier and obscenely deadlier.
A multitude of monsters to massacre. Battle goblins, skeletons, mummies, slimes (Aegon callsthem “gunges”), oozes, banshees, and more.
Challenging and rewarding boss battles. Throw down against the deadliest of bosses in eachchapter, including the wily Goblin King, terrifying Banshee Queen, and the dreaded Death KnightShyamalan.
Trophies and Achievements: Supports Game Center with over a dozen achievements and alsoboasts in-game collectible trophies (more loot) to show off your dungeon crawling prowess.
Unity-powered stylized graphics: Adds fully rotatable, full-blown 3D with a cartoony style to thetactics RPG genre.
iOS 5 Support, including iCloud syncing and AirPlay mirroring

Lunar Racer – [0.99] (Noodlecake Studios)

Coming off the success of Super Stickman Golf, everyone had high expectations of Lunar Racer. I think those expectations were met, but it didn’t go much farther than meet them, unforunately. Those who are not fans of racing will still enjoy this, much like the non-fans of golf (me) enjoyed Super Stickman Golf.

You, the racer, start off in a transport ship, along with three opponents. When the light turns green, you are all dropped out of the ship and onto a planet, to which you are pulled by gravity. The difficulty of the opponent racers is just right for what it should be, and even on your first race you don’t feel left behind. Each race lasts about 60-90 seconds and is hectic all the way through. There are powerups to be had throughout the track, which randomly give the player or opponent more nitro, a space car seeking rocket, a spike that can be dropped behind you, a bubble shield, or a space car seeking rocket that hits everyone in front of the shooter. Each time a victim is hit, it gets stopped, whether it be mid air or on ground, and resumes after 1-2 seconds.

The controls are extremely simple and easy to pick up. Nitro is used by tapping the right side of the screen, and to be pulled back to the planet faster, when in the air, tap the left side of the screen. Any game focused on tilt controls isn’t generally asked for, or wanted on an iPad because of the size; but the devs have made the default sensitivity just right. The tilting sensitivity is high, but perfectly done, I had no want to adjust them, whatsoever. Which is a good thing, because, unforunately, there are no customization options, spare the ability to mute the sound and/or music.

Lunar Racer has a total of twelve tracks to unlock, all spread out into different planets/environments. To unlock said tracks you must get a certain total amount of stars. Stars are earned by gettings first (three stars) second (two stars) or third (one star) on any given track. Sadly, two of the tracks can only be unlocked by gettting five or ten wins in multiplayer, which is only local at the moment. So if you don’t have a friend who would help you out, or another device, you’re out of luck. Each track varies greatly by terrain and environment, and gives the racer a whole new experience each race.

If you’re good enough to get three stars on a track in Amateur Tour, you unlock Pro Tour which has much smarter and seemingly faster opponents. The challenge presented in Pro Tour is highly welcomed since the opponents in Amateur Tour get easy to beat after playing for a couple of hours.

Multiplayer is included in the game, but unfortunately its only local multiplayer at the moment. The developers have said, on twitter, that they are working on global, online multiplayer; however. If done right, much like Super Stickman Golf, online multiplayer would make this game just so much more fun, not that it even needs it.

At the start of every race you are given a set amount of nitro, this nitro is a key element to winning a race so you, as the racer, must put it to good use to earn more nitro by doing flips, or by doing perfect landings.

One of the many things that make this game good, is the insanely extensive garage. From what I’ve seen so far, there are at least ten body types, five different colors, and ten different wheels. Comsetic upgrades are bought with coins and go up in price for each successive one you buy. Here is a list of things that you can change with your space car – all cosmetic.

– Body Type
– Body Color
– Canopy Color
– Wheel Type
– Nitro Animation

In order to buy things from this garage, you collect coins which float around in the track, in each race there are 50-200 coins, depending on the track. If you complete at least one of three unique challenges in each track, you get a multiplier which can potentially give you 4X the coins you collected. 2X for completing one challenge, 3X for completing two, and 4X for completing all three. The first time you manage to complete all three challenges, whether it be in seperate races or all in one race, you are rewarded with a bonus round. Bonus rounds put you on a planet with stars all round, and unlimited nitro. An average bonus round can get you around 600 stars. The game also features (although some may not call it a feature) an in-app purchase store with which you can buy more cosmetic stuff, although obviously not needed.

Achievements and leaderboards are done through both GameCenter and OpenFeint, a feature most devs today are putting in their games. Leaderboards show who have the fastest time for each level. Lunar Racer has a total of 22 achievements which can be obtained by doing a specific number of spins, firing a number of rockets, and other feats that can be accomplished by simply playing the game normally.

Varying tracks, a crazy amount of cosmetic stuff to do to your car, and gameplay that will have you wanting for more, are very good reasons to pick Lunar Racer up – now!

Buy Lunar Racer

**Guest Post by Raptor from TouchArcade**

‘Land Air Sea Warfare HD Review’ – Command 3 different kinds of units in tactical warfare

Land Air Sea Warfare or LASW for short is a RTS game that allows you to command hundreds of units in your quest to outwit your strategically thinking AI opponent.  Real Time Strategy games like Starcraft and others have always left me in the dust as there were so many complex features and buildings availble to build. Luckily LASW simplifies the formula and makes moving and building units easy to understand and fast to execute.  Within a good 5 minutes of experimenting I was slowly starting to understand the way the game worked. Instead of writing a good five paragraphs lamenting about what you have to do and can do in this game I have decided to make the review a First Person view on how the game works and what beginners can expect. Let me know in the comments if we should start writing reviews this way.

Round 1- Noob Difficulty: 1 Opposing Force
Total time: 35 minutes

  • You start off with one building, your HQ. From there you can build powerplants, defenses, and factories for land, sea and air vehicles.
  • Powerplants are necessary because they provide you with  power which you need for your units and to build buildings. 
  • It is generally a good idea to build up your defenses early lest the enemy catch you with your pants down. This literallly happened to me because I figured I would leave my iPad alone and let my vehicles be built while I went to use the bathroom. Lo and behold the enemy showed up and messed up a few of my buildings and powerplants. Primary lesson: Defense is the best offense
  • Resources accumulate automatically from your HQ which is a mining station.
  • You can set a specific units to a group so it is easier to select. Comes in handy during battle.
  • Great user interface, works perfectly on the iPad. I can imagine it would be way more difficult to play on the smaller screen of the iPhone.
  • Lots of power units makes for faster advancement in the game.
  • Died by foolishly attacking enemy base whithout any back up units.
Round 2- Easy Difficulty: 1 opposing force
Total Time: 18 minutes
  • Building up Air units early allows you to discover where the enemy is and what the land looks like.  Should be the first factory you build.
  • Ground units are extremely inefective when the base you were planning on attacking with them is on the water…
  • Also if you build a water factory in a pond that doesnt lead to an ocean you basically just wasted your resources.
  • You can upgrade the Tech of your HQ to unlock new units from your factorys and to choose from.
  • The enemy can also upgrade their Tech level.
  • With a new Tech level everything gets more intense because in order to build the new units fast you have to produce lots of energy.
  • It is a good idea to seal off your base from the outside forces with your power units on the inside of the fence.
  • You can buy guns to defend your base with while your main forces are off fighting a long way away.
  • I’m starting to get a hang of the game by now and finish way quicker than my original round. 
Round 3- Hard Difficulty- 3 opposing forces
50 minutes or so
  • While In the options menu you can select certain factors that limit the gameplay. For example, If you select Air Only you can only build and use air units in battle. 
  • Took out the first team(China) rather quickly while they were busy building power plants. 
  • Turns out they rebuilt their HQ in a different area but foolishly decided to place it near to my base of operations. 
  • While I was busy with China, Russia decided to upgrade to Tech 2 and left me scrambling.
  • While it did take forever to upgrade I managed to hold them off with an Apache or two.
  • Started experimenting with the toggles for units. For example you can form patrols or tell your units to explore.
  • Russia keeps on beating up my air support. Luckily I manage to distract them with my remaining land units. 
  • Built up some defensive turrets and had a easier time dealing with them.
  • Its not a good idea to waste your entire air force on trying to attack the HQ.
  • At this point its useless to try to defeat Russia. I had no air force and a severely depleted land crew. Defeat was the only option.
Overall if you are a fan of RTS or thinking critcally then this is the perfect game for you. LASW is hands-down the finest RTS experience on the iOS gaming platform. Though the price may be a bit steep at a whopping $7.99(while sale lasts) it’s truly worth every penny. 5/5 stars.

Combat Arms Zombies (Nexon Mobile)

Zombie games run wild on the App Store, but that’s not to say that they are growing old. Combat Arms: Zombies, by Nexon Mobile, is the newest addition to the zombie genre.  Expanding on the PC version of Combat Arms, Nexon Mobile comes close to rivaling the thrilling action of the CoD Zombies series but falls short in the end.
For those of you familiar with Combat Arms, the biggest thing to note is that this is built somewhat like a free-to-play game. The biggest difference is that it does not include all of the annoying aspects of a free-to-play game. No ads, no forced IAPs, none of that. Instead you get a wide arsenal of weapons to unlock/buy and various other equipment to help you survive against the horde. What do I mean by “wide arsenal”? I mean 300+ authentic weapons. BOOM.

Since this is a First Person Shooter with Zombies, it is a given that the gameplay is wave-based. Obviously, zombies like to play fair and give you a little break after you get done killing their friends. They would never mob you incessantly (sarcasm?). The wave-based gameplay that drives most zombie games is wonderful in practice, but in Combat Arms it can be a bit of a fun-block. The thing about the waves in Combat Arms: Zombies is that the early rounds are just plain boring. Even if you have never played a game before they are boring. To make matters worse, the difficulty settings don’t affect the number of zombies, only the toughness of the zombies and the number of waves. No matter how you look at it, every time you play the game you will have to play through the early rounds before you actually get to the good part. Fortunately, the good part is really GOOD. Access new areas, kill new zombies (the boss zombies look really freaky), and have a jolly good rampage.

Unfortunately, there is no multiplayer support at the moment, and we can only hope that this will be added in the future. As a game built on the Unreal Engine 3 (which is relatively new on iOS), Combat Arms: Zombies plays far better than several others of its kind. The graphics are amazing and the 5 control schemes allow for anyone to play comfortably. Of course, improvements are always welcome and in particular I would love to see more maps, more zombie types, more guns, multiplayer, and a way to skip right to the action. If you want to shoot some zombies, grab Combat Arms while it is still available at the Holiday Price ($4.99)