Monthly Archive: May 2012

Kemco’s fantastic Cyberpunkish RPG Eve of the Genesis drops down to $0.99 for a limited time!

One of our favorite Turn-Based RPG developers, Kemco, is having another sale on one of their fantasticly crafted titles. This time around, it’s the cyberpunk-fantasy Eve of the Genesis. The story takes place in the Empire of Gadalia. It’s kind of a matrix type story, with humans battling machines that ruled the empire, but were defeated 2,000 years ago. Now they’re back, and somehow able to travel through space, seemingly appearing anywhere they want to attack. Your characters are on a quest to try and find out how the machines are able to just appear anywhere they want, and eventually find a way to stop them from taking over the empire yet again.

If you’re a fan of Kemco’s titles, then you already know the quality of their games is fairly high. Eve of the Genesis is one of very few games here on The App Shack to earn a perfect 5 out of 5 stars. If you’ve never heard of Kemco, well… they’re comparable to the Square (Enix) of old, with their titles bringing back memories of playing Final Fantasy titles 3 through 7. The writing is fantastic, and the translations are just shy of perfect. There’s usually some pretty interesting equip or leveling up mechanics, and exploration for special items is something can be found in all of their titles.

So if you haven’t picked up any of Kemco’s titles yet, or have yet to pick up Eve of the Genesis because you’ve been busy playing one of their other great RPGs, now would be a great time to, with the price dropping from $8.99 down to $0.99. It’s definitely a Turn Based RPG that will have you hooked until you complete it, and have you ready to jump into another fantastic Kemco title.

Because We May – Huge sales on popular games Starting May 24th!

In a few days, a collection of developers who sell their games directly through the AppStore will be lowering the prices of their games. It’s to celebrate the fact that these developers have complete creative control over their games, and their pricing, as well as being able to have 100% (minus what Apple takes) of the money you pay for their games to go straight to supporting the developer.
So, from May 24th to June 1st, a great list of games will be dropping their prices significantly. Games like World Of Goo, Eliss, Bean’s Quest, Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery, Osmos, Waking Mars, Spirits, EDGE, Eufloria, and many, many more.
If you would like more information on this celebration, you can get it from the Because We May Website – Games for the Mac, Android, and on Steam are also going to be dropping in price, making this a HUGE all around video game sale. Make sure you don’t miss out on this week long event!

Tyler’s story is continued in Clear Vision Version 1.1 – Due out early June!

FDG’s awesome sniper game, Clear Vision, tells the story of Tyler. An ordinary guy, down on his luck who decides to take up mercenary work to pay the bills, and gets a little too carried away. The game recently surpassed 1 million paid downloads, which is a huge milestone for any iOS game, and accompanying that great milestone are thousands and thousands of iTunes reviews, giving Clear Vision an average of 5 stars. Needless to say, the game is fantastic. If you don’t have it yet, you should grab it. It’s easily the most entertaining sniper game I’ve had the pleasure of playing on my PC (via the Clear Vision flash games) and iDevices. You’re able to purchase better sniper riffles, and adjust your shots depending on distance and wind speed, which is something very few sniper games take into account.

Now Tyler’s story will be continued in Version 1.1 of this awesome game, due to be released early next month (June). Since it’s an update, it will be free for everyone who’s already purchased the game. If you haven’t snagged this fantastic gem yet, and have even the slightest bit of interest in action or arcade games, you should definitely grab it and get in on the story. It’s only $0.99, and is Universal, making it a great buy… and if you’re familiar with FDG’s other releases, you’ll know the level of quality that the game will have. Check it out!

Gene Effect gets it’s first update, includes Universal support with Retina Display for the iPad 3 and TONS more!

Lightstorm3D’s first foray into iOS gaming hit the AppStore about 2 weeks ago. Since then, Gene Effect has received 4 reviews, all giving the game perfect scores. SlideToPlay also gave Gene Effect their ‘Must Have’ award. It also won 2nd place on Touch Arcade’s Game Of The Week vote, placing right under King Of Fighters 2012. Considering it was up against some other big name games from big name companies (Including Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7, My Little Hero, Dreamworks Dragons, Brainsss, Luxor Evolved, Tractor Trails and more), it was a pretty big deal.

Lightstorm3D was fairly active on the TA Forums, as well as with gamers through e-mail, Facebook and Twitter, all the while, gathering information on what could be fixed, what players wanted, and just general suggestions. A couple hours ago the first update for Gene Effect went live, and believe me when I say – it’s one hell of an update!

Here’s what’s new in Version 1.1.0 —

-iPad HD resolution is now fully supported
-Added animated plasma effect to Jukebox that reacts to the music
-Added brightness graphics option
-Landscape left/right display switching is now supported
-Size of controls can now be adjusted in control options
-Added color grading post effect
-Added screen based light radius falloff
-Anomaly now uses color grading post effect
-Menu voice can now be turned off in sound options
-New ship warp-in sound added at level start
-Collisions now cause a short, global light failure
-Increased texture and font resolution for iPad display
-Dynamic frame rate throttling added
-Collision detection performance improvements
-Sound performance optimized
-Game HUD performance improved
-False ancient door switch order effect enhanced
-Warp gate teleportation effect enhanced
-The game no longer exits on suspend
-Removed exit button from main menu (iOS build)
-Warp gate engine’s sound volume lowered, audibel distance increased
-Post bloom settings have been adjusted to reduce artifacts
-Mission 1: More animated spiderwebs
-Time trophy limits have been increased by 2 – 6 seconds
-Increased camera distance
-Sound effect volume setting will now be applied properly
-Lens flare post effect settings will now be recalled properly
-Fixed audio click when leaving anomaly
-Tank HUDs will now properly show an empty tank after withdrawel
-Warp gate’s sound will now properly pitch up when engine starts running
-Fixed rock vertex colors that caused black gaps
-Fixed some text passages and typos
-Menu frame rate will now properly revert to 30 FPS after leaving a mission
-Text slider will now reset when changing chronicle page
-Mission 1: Fixed spiderweb causing z sorting problem
-Mission 2: Corrected floating background plants
-Mission 9: Fixed light flicker problem at scanner
-Mission 19: Fixed invisible spore plant
Now if that doesn’t get your blood pumping, I don’t know what will. Gene Effect has already found itself in the #1 spot on my Favorite Game of 2012 list, and judging by this update, will not be knocked down any time soon. It definitely brings console gaming to the iDevice, and offers up a large 8-12 hour campaign, depending on how many of the secret items, some used to upgrade your ship, you’re determined to find. After that, there’s still 4 medals and 2 awards for each of the 21 stages to try and grab, and a Hard Difficulty Mode which is unlocked after beating the game on Normal. The graphics, physics, music… everything about the game is reminiscent of a true console experience. So if you’re a hardcore gamer looking for games that push the iDevice forward in the best way, Gene Effect is definitely a title you need to check out. This first update for Gene Effect also proves that Lightstorm3D is dedicated to making Gene Effect one of the best gameplay experiences that they can. $5 for this now Universal version of the game is a steal. If you’re even remotely interested in exploration, adventure, action, arcade, or cave/mining games, GRAB GENE EFFECT NOW! If you were waiting to see if Retina Support for the new iPad was coming, you now have nothing to keep you from taking the plunge. My hats off to Lightstorm3D!
Also, the next update for Gene Effect will include grammatical fixes for all of the text in the game, so be on the look-out for that. Once that’s fixed, Gene Effect will be one of the very few perfect games available for the iOS.

Jake Escapes [Just Funny Games] – $1.99

So, you’re the best thief in the world. You’ve stolen enough goodies to keep you and your friends living like kings for more than a couple lifetimes. In fact, you’ve stolen so much, that the thrill is gone. Boredom sets in. 
Thankfully, you have a close friend who happens to be a genius scientist named Doc, and he’s just discovered that there’s a top secret alien artifact, known as G.R.A.I.L., housed in Area 51. This artifact could change the course of history. Your heart starts to speed up, and you feel that thrill once again. It’s time to push yourself to your limits, and see if you’ve really got what it takes to steal the most prized possession on the planet. 
Just Funny Games (developers of the unique puzzler, Trigonon) most recent addition to the AppStore, Jake Escapes, puts you through 17 Story Mode stages, as you try and steal the alien artifact, discover its secrets, and make your way around the world. There is also an Arcade Mode with the same 17 stages. There’s no differences between the modes that I can tell. Each of the levels have the same objectives, and same enemy layouts, which is awfully strange. 
The controls in Jake Escapes might take a little getting use to, but once you do, you’ll be able to maneuver around the face of buildings with ease. To climb up, you’ll need to swipe down, and to move left you need to swipe right and right needs a left swipe. You’re also able to move diagonally up left and up right by swiping in the opposite direction there as well. In each of the levels, there’s different enemies which you’ll either need to avoid completely, or tap on to shoot with a laser from Doc’s flying ship. Some levels will require you to shoot the enemies so that they drop certain objects, while others will just have you searching the building for an object out in the open. 
All the while, you’ve got a detective chasing you, adding some extra stress, and making you come to quick decisions on where to climb. Also adding some difficulty, there are some windowsills which are boarded up, and unable to grab. This means you’ll need to weave a path through enemies and the boarded up windows while running from the detective, and looking for the object in order to complete the level. 
Graphics-wise, the game looks great. Each of the character models are well designed, and the buildings have plenty of detail. Accompanying the nice graphics are great animations, both for Jake’s climbing, as well as the characters you’ll encounter within the buildings throughout the game. Guys tossing mannequins, artists painting, mimes and drunkin weirdos walking out on the ledges, kids throwing toys at you, and even bears ready to grab at you are all smoothly animated. The music and sound effects also go along perfectly with the graphic look and feel of the game.
A pretty big downfall for Jake Escapes is the lack of GameCenter or any other online leaderboard or achievement system. Even though they are coming in a future update, it’s always strange when a development company doesn’t include GameCenter in an action arcade game like this in the very beginning. Until the update goes through, there’s very little in terms of replayability. Also taking away from the replay value is the lack of any sort of scoring system. There’s no clock to see how quickly you complete a level, no score for taking out a kid who’s chucking toys at you, no special bonuses for multiple combos or big scores for beating the end of the game boss. It really seems pretty bare bones if you’re a huge fan of high score chasing or achievement collecting. And a nice scoring system would add immensely to the replay value, as well as general enjoyment for a game that’s set up like Jake Escapes. There’s also the no real noticeable difference between Story and Arcade Modes, giving even less drive to play through Arcade Mode once you unlock all of the levels by playing through Story Mode.
Hopefully more features can be added to Jake Escapes in the near future. Aside from the lack of all that I’ve mentioned, it really is a nice flowing, highly entertaining game with fantastic cut-scenes, a nice story, and great gameplay. Being Universal and priced at $1.99, it’s definitely worth picking up, but only if you’re willing to wait for some real replay value in a future update. The developers are closely working with players on the Touch Arcade forums, asking what features they’d like, what kind of achievements they prefer, and more, so hopefully, Jake Escapes will become a nice rounded out game when everything is said and done. But right now, it’s a little barebones to really stand out among some of the better action arcade games available for the iDevice.

Vertex Blaster Version 2.0 Hits the AppStore!

Warner Skoch’s dual stick space shooter, Vertex Blaster just got it’s 2.0 update late last night. And you guessed it, it’s HUGE. Here’s what’s new in Version 2.0;
• Full, ultra-sharp Retina support for the new iPad!
• iCade support for iPad!
• Menu navigation via iCade/iControlPad/Joypad App!
• Portait orientation support for ipad!
• Massively improved explosion particle/explosion effects!
• New game mode! Scavenge ammo from enemies in SCAVENGER MODE!
Use the new TIME WARP special power to help you collect ammo!
• Re-tuned Meteor Shower Mode! Use the new Vortex special power to help you clear asteroids!
• Share your scores to Twitter and Facebook!
• Lots of UI improvements
• Major performance enhancements, especially on older devices
• Numerous bug fixes
• New, properly-sorted Meteor Shower Mode leaderboard
If you have yet to check out Vertex Blaster, now would be a great time. The all new Scavenger Mode is a blast to play, needing to pick up dropped ammo from destroyed enemies in order to keep on blasting away gets your heart pumping very quickly. Making it even more interesting, the Time Warp Special Ability slows everything but your ship and projectiles down. This recharging power-up does a great job of interacting with the gameplay, adding a whole new level of action as well as strategy to the Scavenger Mode. The developer has also posted up a new gameplay trailer, so be sure and check it out. If it even looks remotely interesting, you should definitely pick this up. Priced at only $0.99, being Universal, and supporting iCade, Joypad, and iControlPad, as well as the new Retina Display on the iPad3, it’s a fantastic deal!

Gene Effect (Lightstorm3D) – $4.99

I’ve been a sucker for exploration games since I started gaming as a child. When I got Metroid II at the age of 10, and spent months playing it, I was hooked. From then on out, any game that had exploration as a main mechanic hit the huge part of my brain dedicated to gaming. Over the years, I’ve also become very interested in aliens and cyberpunk literature as well as manga. My father was a chemist, so science; biology, geology and math have all been a huge part of my life as well.
None of this really matters, except that Lightstorm3D has just released a game called Gene Effect, and it encompasses environmental puzzles, exploration, and an amazing back-story of researchers and miners finding teleportation devices hidden on Mars during mining expeditions around the year 2050. Basically incorporating everything I surround myself with. So it’s no wonder I’m instantly fascinated by the game.
The story starts in 2033, with the first manned NASA mission to land on Mars is started. Once they land in 2034, build a base camp, and start their 16 month stay, the crew explores a 75 mile radius around their camp, collecting soil samples. After returning, a coalition of industrial nations and private investors found the GSA – Global Space Alliance, who’s main objective is to colonize Mars, and start mining the planets resources. Some time later, teleportation devices were found while mining, and a huge expedition for more starts up. While in a mine, one of the mining crews crashes, and this is where you come in, sent into the mines to find the ship and crew. The story has a LOT more to it than that, but what fun is ruining it for our readers? There’s an entire Chronicle section within the game, which gives you quite a bit of a backstory, and grows as you unlock more information throughout the game.

The story is a huge part of the game, but the game lacks any sort of cut-scenes. So you’ll have to read if you want to find out more. This isn’t required to actually complete the game, but it definitely adds to the incredible immersion. 
Now, the gameplay can be incredibly immersive by itself as well. You’ll control your mining ship with a virtual joystick and two buttons, one for your repulsor, which you can use to blow up rocks with a seismic blast, clearing paths, and uncovering hidden objects, and another button for T-Drone (Termination Drone), which launches missiles to clear out extremely hazardous areas before entering. The physics are another fantastic aspect of Gene Effect, with great collision detection, collision speed and damage detection, weight of the mining vessel, impact reactions, falling rocks, and even gravity manipulators having been tweaked to convey realism and increase the immersion in this sci-fi world. 

Each Mission has certain objectives which you’ll need to achieve either before progressing to the next area of a level, or completing the stage. These range from collecting DNA samples, to finding different resources like Koronite (the main orange material which you’ll be collecting a ton of), and taking it to certain drop off areas within the levels, or collecting red, blue, and yellow crystal energy to start up reactors, as well as searching for sensors to unlock doors, and more. 

As you progress through the game, the story opens up drastically, as do the levels. At the beginning of the game, levels can be completed as fast as 30 seconds, but very quickly expand to levels with speed run times of 7 minutes or more, and will usually take around 20 minutes to complete your first time through. A pretty major drawback of this is that there’s no multitasking support, and no mid-level checkpoints, which means that this is not really a pick-up-and-play game. Luckily, there’s plenty of quick pick up n play games available, with incredibly immersive, sit-down for a 2 hour gameplay session games are few and far between, which definitely makes Gene Effect stand out within the AppStore.
Adding replay value to the game, each stage also has a set of medals which you can earn for getting a high-score. There’s bronze, silver, and gold medals available for each Mission, as well as medals for perfect navigation, which is completing a level without crashing into any objects, and time, which you’ll receive for completing the Mission quicker than the allotted time. If you can grab the gold medal, and get both medals, you’re awarded a special full completion medal. There are also hidden relic items in every level, and 12 hidden artifacts that you can use to upgrade your ship scattered throughout the game.

 The graphics and animations, as well as the lighting effects, are incredible. The extreme attention to detail, especially with the environments, with the plant-life, and backgrounds for the caves, as well as movement of plant-life and all of the mechanical devices within the world of Gene Effect are insanely impressive. Sadly, there’s another drawback with this at the moment. The game is only built for the iPhone/iPod Touch, which means that you’ll be playing on your iPad in 2X mode, making the game pretty pixilated. The good news is that an update which will make the game Universal is in the works for the future, as are more lighting options and performance and graphical tweaking. But as it is now, the environments look incredible, and make Gene Effect a game that you’ll want to show off to friends.

Lightstorm3D has definitely shown that they know exactly what it takes to make an amazingly immersive, incredibly depthy game with Gene Effect. The story, gameplay, graphics, controls, music, everything about the game really stands out as top-notch. Even without having GameCenter integration with no online achievements, or leader boards, it has a great amount of replay value that will drive completionists batty. Fans of exploration, sci-fi, mining, action, adventure and even puzzle games would do well to get this on their device as soon as possible. Gene Effect is definitely a game that stands out as a true console-like experience in an AppStore full of casual pick-up-and-play flash games. The $5 price of admission is well worth the journey you’ll be privileged to experience, and is highly recommended to all gamers looking for something more from the games on their iDevice. I sincerely hope iOS gamers will be able to see more from Lightstorm3D. It’s games like this that give me hope that the iDevice will grow into a serious gaming platform in the near future.

Brainsss (Lonely Few LLC) – $2.99

As the surprisingly long list of strategy games that are available in the AppStore keeps increasing, fans of the genre are in heaven. Strategy games are one of the few genres that completely and totally feel like they iDevice was specifically made for them. The latest Strategy title to hit my device is Brainss, developed by Lonely Few LLC. A game in which you run around a city hunting down humans and turning them into zombies. 
Right off the bat, there are a couple of things that bug me about Brainsss. You can’t zoom in or out. That’s right, there’s no pinch to zoom, which can be a real hassle, especially when you’re trying to control more than one group of zombies. There’s also no way to assign zombies to a specific group. So every time you want to move a zombie, or a group of zombies, it either needs to already be selected, or you’ll need to reselect it. This, coupled with no zooming out, means you can’t corner a group of humans by moving half of your zombies to one side of a building and then moving another group to the other side without having to select the first group, move them, then pan and scroll over to the other group, make sure that they’re selected, and then scroll back to where you want them to end up, and just hope that the first group didn’t drive away the humans already so that you can tap where you want your second group to go. Confusing? Yeah, confusing, and frustrating. Especially when every other RTS game has an easy select for groups of troops, and zooming in and out, and that’s what you’re use to having at your disposal while playing. 
Aside from those couple of issues, Brainsss still is fairly fun to play. The action is fast, and so long as you’re fine with moving around one huge group of zombies around the maps, and don’t care about the time limit, getting 3 stars in a level, or earning achievements, there’s some fun to be had here.
Right now, there are 5 Phases (or worlds) to play through, each having 4 different levels except for Phase 1, which has 5 and is the Tutorial Phase. Each level has an objective that you’ll need to complete in order to progress. These range from turning all humans into zombies, or finding a certain type of human, like a policeman, or scientist, and turning him into a zombie, to stopping humans from reaching a helicopter, or getting a zombie to a specific zone on the map. 
Unlike other RTS titles, there are no resources to be found and used, no skirmish mode, and no online multiplayer. You might want to call it a ‘RTS Lite’. And actually, as it plays right now, it’s more like an action game because it’s so difficult to use separate groups of zombies to pin down humans, and really go for achievements. However, if these issues are addressed, this could turn into a very nice strategy game. One that’s very fast moving, and will challenge you quite a bit, especially if you’re going to go for 3 stars, and going to try and snag all 70 (yes, that’s right, a whopping SEVENTY) achievements. 
With the game being Universal, supporting the iPad 3 Retina display, having fantastic graphics, and great comic strips that you can unlock as you progress through the levels, as well as the promise of new levels released “each week”, $2.99 isn’t a bad price at all. I just hope that the developers include some of these features that are typical of most strategy games in one of their soon to come updates. 

Legion of the Damned [Offworld Games] – $4.99

Strategy Games. Developers seem to quickly be realizing how great the touch screen and the strategy genre go together, and there’s a lot of iOS gamers who are very glad that this is finally happening. Offworld Game’s Turn Based Strategy title, Legion of the Damned was released late last year, getting lost in the onslaught of games that hit the AppStore around Christmas time. But this well thought-out, nicely voice acted TBS game is one you should definitely think about snagging. 
Legion of the Damned has some great gameplay, but this gameplay is also accompanied by a great story. The game starts off in prison, with an inmate being picked up and taken to the  execution chamber. Here, the inmate is given the chance, like all executed inmates, to be re-animated and added to nations army, The Legion. The inmate is then executed in the same manor in which he murdered an innocent girl. 
If this is sounding familiar, it should. Legion of the Damned has a great story because it’s written by the author of the book, Legion of the Damned, William C. Dietz. To give you an idea of how big this is, Dietz has written tie-in novels for huge AAA games, such as Halo, Starcraft, and Mass Effect, as well as others, and has a fairly extensive list of original titles under his belt. 
Not only does having a top-notch writer play into the story, but Offworld Games also hired 6 voice actors to do the dialogue in the game. There are some parts in which the voice acting is a little cheesy, but for the most part, it’s very well done, and coupled with the fantastic comic book type cut-scenes, adds a great level of immersion to the game. 
There are 3 modes in LotD; A 16 stage Campaign Mode, an online Multiplayer Mode that supports up to 4-players, which also supports 4-player local Multiplayer as well, and a Skirmish Mode, supporting everything that Strategy players could hope to see in a game these days. Making it even more interesting, Offworld has included a Custom Map Builder. Yeah, everything that Strategy players could want. 
The gameplay is played out on hex-based maps, with each of your  different characters utilizing different skills. In order to complete the Campaign, you’ll need to figure out how to best make all of your characters work together, filling in for the others weaknesses with their strengths. This is definitely not a ‘build the strongest character up and spam the enemy’ type of game. You’re given 8 turns to capture as many flags as you can, or take out every one of the enemy soldiers. If the enemy has more flags in their control by the end of the 8 turns, or kills you off before then, you’ll need to replay the level. 
Your main characters, the criminals-turned human-cyborgs are able to scout out the map, as well as attack the enemy, but they are fairly week defensively, and are very susceptible to mines. This is where your crawler machines come in handy, being able to defuse the mines. Moving them ahead of the group is something you’ll need to consistently do to complete the campaign levels. Then there’s your strong cyborgs, which can hit enemies without actually seeing them. However, if you send your humans forward, they can lock on to enemies, allowing the strong cyborgs to attack with full power. Each has different damage versus infantry, armor, and a fear effect. The Fear Effect results in causing the enemy to either retreat, or hold strong and fight back against you. 
As for the stages, they’re generally the same type of environment. Grasslands with some trees, and water here and there. It’s about the same level of graphics as you would find with Wesnoth or Eustrath. To zoom in and out, you’re given a tab on the right side of the screen which you can move up or down. This takes a little getting use to, as most strategy games just have you pinch to zoom. 
Right now, Offworld is working hard on fleshing out the online play with player profiles, invites, and more. Being priced at $5, but not being Universal, or including Game Center support [online play is handled by registering through the LotD site, and there’s not many online players ATM], it’s still a great buy. The skirmish and campaign modes are fantastic, and the gameplay has enough original mechanics to keep it interesting. Even if you’re not interested in the campaign or story, the skirmish mode is great, and even though there aren’t many online players, you can be sure that there the few that are there are willing to play. The game doesn’t look too bad in 2X mode on the iPad, but it’ll suffice, as the developers have said that a Universal and Retina update is also in the works. If you’re a fan of the genre, Legion of the Damned is definitely a title you’ll want to check out. Especially if you’re looking for a great story driven strategy game, as it’s easily one of the best available in the AppStore. 

Kemco’s Fantasy Chronicle goes on sale for $0.99!

Kemco, one of our favorite RPG developers here at The App Shack, has just dropped the price on one of their best Turn-Based RPG titles, Fantasy Chronicle. If you’ve never heard of Kemco, definitely take this opportunity to become aquatinted with them. They happen to release some of the most engaging, well written, immersive RPG titles I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. Personally, Kemco is my 2nd Square-Enix of old (back when they were just Square), and if you’re a fan of the genre, Kemco’s releases are must have games.

For more info, feel free to check out The App Shack’s Review of Fantasy Chronicle, which received a 5 out of 5 star rating. So make sure you pick this up, either as a new-comer or as a hardcore RPG fan. It’s one title that will have you glued to your iDevice until you complete the game.