Monthly Archive: March 2012

Wednesday Night Releases – Chaos Rings II, MotoHeroz and more!

There’s a great variety of games coming out tonight including some from prized developers Square Enix and Ubisoft. As you probably know all of these games will be coming out around 11:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time in the U.S. or much earlier depending on if you live in the eastern hemisphere such as New Zealand where the games are first available. Links included in the article lead to the app in the NZ market not the U.S. one.

Pretty decent roundup tonight eh? Leave a comment down below on which ones you would like to see us review for you. Happy Pi Day!


Last year, a new-comer to the iOS gaming world, Pavel Tsarev gave gamers one of the best Asteroid-Crawler-Dual-Stick-Action-Adventure games to ever grace the iDevice. I was lucky enough to help out with spreading the word early on, but sadly, the game did not get noticed by too many people. Even with a freebie give-away late last year, iDaTank is still pretty unknown in the iOS gaming world.
And now you are lucky enough to be able to snag this amazing hidden gem of a game for free. If you’re interested in knowing more about the game, you can check out The App Shack’s iDaTank Review (it also happens to be the very first game I ever reviewed for TAS, woohoo!), and watch the trailer below. Hopefully iDaTank will grab you like it grabbed me, and make you want to tell everyone you know about the game.

SZC: Beyond Dead – Update + Promo Codes!

Last month, Monster Robot Studios released their Metroid inspired action platformer, SZC: Beyond Dead. It got mixed reviews, but one of the biggest issues gamers seemed to have with the game was the controls.
Since then, MRS has done some major re-working, and this morning, Version 1.0.1 of Beyond Dead hit the AppStore. And it makes a huge difference in the gameplay.
Here’s what’s included in the 1.0.1 Update;
Duel Joysticks – You can now aim in all directions, enabling you to run one way while shooting in another.

1 Hit Kill Shots for Level 1 Zombies. This lets you clear out groups of enemies fairly quickly, instead of needing to run away from them while pumping round after round into the group.

The camera moves more smoothly, improved loading times, and other small fixes have also been added. Not to mention, the awesome new icon!
With this update, players can now make their way through the First Episode of Beyond Dead without getting too frustrated. The loading times for the Map and Pause Menu are still kind of long, and in a game like this, it’s essential that bringing up the map is quick and easy. Hopefully when GameSalad updates its engine in the next couple months, it will fix these loading times significantly. But at least you can make it through the game without struggling with the controls.
It’s very clear that Monster Robot Studios is committed to making Beyond Dead the most enjoyable experience they can, listening to player’s feedback, and optimizing the game as much as possible given their tools. Granted, it will probably never be seen as the essential Metroid like game for the iOS, but it’s definitely one that’s worth getting if you’re a fan of the Metroidvania genre.
As long as we’re on the subject of getting the game – Monster Robot Studios has been kind enough to give us 5 Promo Codes for Beyond Dead.

There’s also a contest going on in the Touch Arcade Forums, if you weren’t lucky enough to snag one of the 5 codes listed, where you can try and come up with a name for one of the bosses in Beyond Dead and win a Promo Code for the game. If you get one, you can also write up a review for the game in iTunes, and have a chance to win a $10 iTunes Gift Card! Check it out here –
**All pictures taken from the Monster Robot Studio’s website**


Last year, we were fortunate enough to be able to review a fantastic tap-arcade game, Explodables. It was the first release from iOS new-comer, Mark Peach. Even though it’s one of the best tap based arcade games available in the AppStore, it didn’t get much attention. Sadly, like so many great games, it was pushed down under a slew of sales and high-profile games. But since it’s release, Mr. Peach has given the game quite a bit of attention with updates, fixes and additions, sticking with it, even though sales were pretty much non-existent. It’s hard to not respect that kind of commitment these days with quite a few developers either abandoning, removing so that they can re-release as a freemium game, throwing ads into their paid game, or just pulling a game all together if sales aren’t where they want them to be.
Well, now, with Mark awaiting the birth of his son, who was due to see this miraculous world on the 29th of February, he has decided to make Explodables FREE, either until the most recent update goes live in the AppStore, or his son is born, whichever happens first.
So make sure you don’t miss this opportunity to snag one of the few games to get a perfect 5 out of 5 stars here on The App Shack. It’s definitely a game that’s worth checking out. Maybe let your friends know, and help out a developer with an amazing game, both deserving of loads of support from the iOS community.

‘Fancy Pants’ Review

Ported from its famous flash game, enter Fancy Pants! Fancy
Pants tells a quirky story of Fancy Pants Man and his little sister who gets
kidnapped by pirates, and it’s your job to parkour across several levels to get
her back, where along the way, you’ll be collecting little squiggles, bottles,
stars, and more.


Fancy Pants is a platforming title that also encourages
exploration, as each level is riddled with secrets and content. The biggest
draw for Fancy Pants is the content in each level: as you go around exploring
the each huge level, you’ll find short time trials, “arcade” games, etc. In
each level, there are three stars, a bottle and a number of “squiggles” to
collect to try and get a 100% rating, as well as NPCs and reward rooms. Fancy
Pants gets most of its appeal from the sheer amount of things you can do in a
Conceptually, Fancy Pants is great. However, when I began
playing, I felt very little incentive to actually play. One issue I had was
that it was a platforming title that failed to execute the platforming part
well. Fancy Pants is too floaty, too slow, and too difficult to fine-tune
control; he needs to first accelerate to begin moving, and there is a
significant “slide-time” where he slides after you stop moving. Frankly, for
platforming titles, you need to feel in control of your character, and more
than once, I felt as if the game had more control than me. Second, the buttons
to control Fancy Pants are either too small or unresponsive at times. In
addition, when swimming, your left-right arrows turn into a four-directional
d-pad, which is crammed into the bottom left corner. For someone whose thumb is
slightly larger-than-average, I found this extremely annoying, as I’d go
directions were I intended not. Finally, I have a large problem as to how
killing enemies are handled. A standard “jump-on-the-head” does not kill unless
you are holding up. I have no idea why they decided to force this upon the
player. When you unlock the pencil weapon, standard combat also includes using
the pencil to strike enemies. However, one strike never kills – you need to
charge up your attack. It’s not a bad idea, but when executed, I can say that
waiting for your attack to charge up is just a little more interesting than
listening to my physics teacher drone on about who-knows-what.
Basically, Fancy Pants fails as a platformer, but manages to
deliver with its exploring. The game did have its shining moments, but those
are overlooked by the lack of excitement during the majority of its


Fancy Pants does a great job with it’s presentation, with it’s
fun and quirky themes to it’s way of handling the “menu”, which is actually a
home where you open doors to access where you want to go. In addition, you’ve
got over 120 different customizable outfits for Fancy Pants, so be sure to
enjoy that!


No slow downs, short loading screens for the amount of
content in a level, and crystal clear graphics. The graphics don’t push the
system at all, but sometimes, less is more.


The music is extremely pleasant, and I found myself enjoying
the tunes a whole lot. Also, the sound effects are done really well; it’s a
very simple, clean game.

Like I mentioned earlier, the game is jam-packed with
content for each level. With a myriad of levels to 100%, which will be no easy
task to find everything, there’s nothing that will keep you more occupied for a
longer period of time, should you play it.


Fancy Pants presents itself nice and clean, with its simple
yet charming style. However, the game hits quite a few snags when it attempts
to deliver gameplay, as the fact that it has poor platforming as a platformer
is extremely dishearten. But, if you can overlook those flaws and enjoy the sheer
content of the game, Fancy Pants is something that you can have fun with.
Gameplay: 3/5

Presentation: 4/5

Graphics: 4.5/5

Sound: 4/5

Replay: 5/5

Overall: 3.5/5

‘Call of Cthulu’ Review

Call of Cthulu is a H.P. Lovecraft inspired turn-based strategy game which thrusts you into the untold story of World War I. Not to spoil the story too much, you play on the side of the Allies, alongside such characters as Professor Brightmeer, Sid Brown, and several others, to take out the cultists leading the German army. The gameplay is based on Call of Cthulu RPG, and while the game is heavily story-based, it feels much more like a normal Turn Based Strategy game than an RPG.

iPhone Screenshot 1

Controls/Interface: 3.5/5

For a Turn Based Strategy game to work, it has to have quality controls and a workable interface. In ‘Call of Cthulu’, the controls work solidly, though they feel somewhat unintuitive at times. To move your character, you tap on them and then tap the place you want to go. Attacking requires you to select your character then tap and hold on the enemy you want to shoot at. These mechanics work fairly well, though will occasionally not do exactly what you to (i.e. it will infrequently take several tries for a tap to be recognized). One minor annoyance with the mechanics is that you can’t move around or select anything else while your character is in motion; you have to wait for the character to get all the way there and stop to select another character. This is only really annoying when you have to move your characters over a longer distance. The only glaring problem with the controls, however, is that when you accidentally make a mistake or realize you went too far, there’s no undo button available. Any minor control pains and nuances could be heavily alleviated and eased with this addition. Especially with the importance of action points, even the smallest mistake can feel brutal. Other than that fact, the controls usually work very well and feel solid enough. There are also several options like rotating the field of play that can make the game feel more intuitive. The interface feels fairly good as well, albeit a little bit scary to inexperienced players. Especially on the character screen, the sheer number of skills and numbers can leave the player confused and uncertain of what to do. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as most of the skills are easy to understand, albeit a bit difficult to interpret their usage in-game. Though they work decently for the game, the controls and interface still have some room for improvement.

iPhone Screenshot 2

Graphics/Music: 4/5

The graphics in the game look fairly nice. However at times, the graphics do appear a little on the blurry side; even on retina-enabled devices they don’t look perfect. However, they do get the job accomplished and feel particularly fitting for the game. Some graphical effects like smoke and twitching makes the game feel more vivid and real, even at times when the game is stalled. The music and sound effects fit the game very nicely as well. The music feels very ghostly and somewhat sinister, with thunder and thumps in the background. Sound effects are as they’d be expected to be, with nothing really out of the ordinary. The music to the game leaves little to be desired, but the graphics do have a small margin for improvement.

iPhone Screenshot 3
Gameplay/Story/Extras: 4.5/5
In short, the game is fairly fun and enjoyable. It’s very satisfying when you hit an enemy, and the idea of accuracy and missing makes the game feel a good deal more fresh and different. It also makes the game much more exciting and thrilling, keeping you on your toes throughout the game. Another nifty trick is the speed-up button, which allows you to quickly speed through movements and enemy turns. The storyline also feels exciting and interesting. To those that hate RPGs, its not overbearing, but to those that do it provides an alternate approach to the First World War. This whole idea is carried out very nicely throughout the course of the game. While the game plays much like other turn-based-strategy games, it brings enough new to the table to make it feel both fun and unique.

Overall: 4/5
‘Call of Cthulu’ provides a solid and enjoyable TBS experience. For any fans of strategy games, it’s a nifty addition to one’s collection. However, frustration will be multiplied for those that are very inexperienced in the genre or dislike it altogether. However, for what it does, Call of Cthulu is a very enjoyable and fairly unique approach to the genre.