I’m realizing more and more that Real-Time Strategy is a sort of niche genre. Seems the difficulty keeps a lot of gamers from diving into it, which is a shame, because, well, for one, RTS titles are a perfect fit for the iOS, and two, there’s some extremely console quality depthy gameplay to be had. One prime example of this is Omni Systems first iOS release, Eufloria. Originally released back in February of this year, Eufloria was originally only released for the iPad, but with an update that hit Thursday, the HD version was made Universal, and alongside it, an iPhone/iPod only build was also released. Luckily, the HD build is compatible with the 3rd Generation iPod Touch and up, so gamers who already own the HD version don’t need to double dip.
Starting it off, Eufloria has 3 different gameplay modes; Story Mode, Skirmish Mode and Dark Matter Mode. Story Mode includes 25 levels, and can be played on either Relaxed or Challenging difficulties. Skirmish Mode contains 8 separate arenas, and Dark Matter Mode lets you replay Story Mode levels on a harder difficulty, providing more of a challenge.
Granted, the words difficult and challenge have already been tossed around a couple times, but Eufloria is a fantastic title for newcomers to the Real-Time Strategy genre. Actually, I’d have to say that it’s probably one of the best, if not the best title for newcomers to start out with. The UI is fantastic, as the minimal graphics carry over to the controls, making it one of the simplest to control titles within the genre.
The goal of the game is to completely wipe out the opposition in each stage by taking over each asteroid that is, or can be, controlled by the enemy. To move your creatures, you’re able to either tap on the asteroid that they’re flying around, and then drag to the asteroid you want to attack, or you can tap on an asteroid, and use the icon at the bottom of the screen to enter movement mode, which lets you choose, by tapping, which asteroid you want to move to. Once you’ve got your destination selected, you’re able to alter how many creatures you send to that asteroid by dragging, counter-clockwise, in the green circle that appears. Then just hit ‘OK’. If you’d like to scout an asteroid before sending a massive amount of your creatures to it, there’s an icon at the bottom of the screen aptly named ‘X1’. This sends just one creature to the selected asteroid.
Once you have taken over an asteroid, you’re able to build trees, which sprout more creatures, or build defensive bomb type objects, by tapping on the icons at the bottom of the screen. You can also change the type of creatures that that asteroid produces by tapping on another icon, and altering the gauges for Strength, Speed and Energy. The last icon sends a beacon to another asteroid, sending all of your produced creatures straight to it.
Graphically, Eufloria is one of the more beautiful, atmospheric titles available in the AppStore. The minimal environments, matched with the fantastic ambient soundscapes create an incredibly immersive world, one that’s very easy to fall into while playing. Zooming in on the asteroids, you can watch the trees that produce your fleet grow, as well as see the bustling creatures. Zooming out leaves you with an expanded view of the environment, and little dots for your fleet. The animations are very well done, and with the amazingly simple user interface, it all fits together perfectly, and seamlessly, to create one hell of a great game.
Now that Eufloria HD is Universal, and has an iPod/iPhone only build, it’s very easy to recommend to all gamers, especially fans of the RTS genre, but even for gamers that aren’t really into strategy games. It provides a fantastic gameplay experience, and ranges from casual to hardcore, with basically endless replay value. Being one of the best RTS titles available, on any gaming platform, $4.99 for the Universal build, and $2.99 for the iPhone version is a steal. With GameCenter integration sporting 20 achievements and iCloud support, along with more levels and a new game mode or two promised with future updates, it’s definitely a game worth picking up and supporting. Here’s hoping online skirmish battles will be part of the promised updates, because right now, that really seems to be all that Eufloria is missing.
We’ve said before that we absolutely love just about all of the ports that have found their way to the AppStore. One of them that happened to slip under our reviewing radar was released back in 2009 on XBLA. After making its way to Windows Phone 7, it was eventually ported over to the iOS late last year. Getting an 8.5 on IGN, as well as being an Editor’s Choice, and receiving an 80% on Game Rankings, I was really excited when I first saw the trailer, after hearing that it was coming to the AppStore. Rocket Riot, developed by Codeglue, a Dutch development company who had previously released titles for the Pocket PC, J2ME (Java 2 Micro Edition), Nokia, generic Smartphones, as well as previous iOS titles, had also had their hands in Toki Tori, the fantastic puzzle platformer, and had a good 8 years of game development under their belts at the time (now, almost 10).
Published by Chillingo, Rocket Riot got quite a bit of attention, but still remains a sort of hidden gem of the AppStore, with it’s best position on the AppStore charts at #16, in the Neatherlands, and then fading away into the backlog of lost and forgotten iOS games about a month after it’s release.
Not to say that Rocket Riot is a game that’s worth forgetting. It was released mid-November of 2011, basically right before the craziness of the December AppStore, when just about every game went on sale, and developers scurried to get their games released before the 2 week shut-down Apple has at the end of the year. Unless you’re a major company and have a game that’s extremely hyped up, chances are your game is going to basically tank if you release it around this time.
Now, to the game. Rocket Riot is a sort of dual-stick shooter that’s built up like a sort of arena-type platformer (along the lines of Scorched Monster, BlibBlob, Bloo Kid, and to a lesser extent, Super Crate Box, Muffin Knight and Spellsword). You’ll control one of hundreds of available characters, which you can unlock as you progress throughout the game, as you chase after the evil pirate Blockbeard. The controls might take a little getting use to, with a sort of invisible joystick for movement on the left side of the screen, and an invisible tap-n-drag control for shooting your projectiles on the right. Firing works very well, however, being able to swipe frantically in the direction you want to shoot your missile launcher feels natural, and is a perfect fit for the game.
There are two other control schemes available, with the joystick option, you still need to drag on the left side of the screen to move, but to fire, you can just hold down on the screen, moving the joystick to the right around to auto-fire in that direction. The last control scheme uses the iDevice’s tilt option to move, while utilizing the default swipe to shoot controls for firing your weapon. The controls do work well enough, though I would have preferred an actual static joystick for movement.
There’s 48 story mode levels, each with their own completion objectives, usually just killing a set amount of enemies that randomly appear throughout the stage, but also thrown into the mix are levels that have you find a football, and bring it back to the uprights at the other end of the stage, given objects which you’ll need to destroy before being taken out by the level’s enemies, boss battles, and more, making for a nice variety of gameplay throughout the campaign. Also included is an Extra Levels Mode, which contains 6 especially challenging stages with either ‘kill every enemy’ or ‘destroy this object’ objectives.
As you start blasting away at the environments, which are all completely destructible, various power-up boxes will appear randomly, before the environment starts rebuilding itself. These items can either boost up your shot, change your shot, give you extra defense, or be a total pain in the butt. Ranging from super big missiles, to shooting various sports balls and from missiles that drop straight down to a ‘bang’ flag that does absolutely no damage at all, and more, learning what boxes to pick up and which ones to avoid is extremely important, especially when trying to ‘3 Rocket’ (rockets are in place of stars for the level rankings, dependant on how long it takes you, how many shots you fire and how much of the environment you destroy) each stage.
The graphics stand out as being a highlight of the game. 8-bit stylized pixels are put together in a 2.5D-like environment, with a modern look. It’s something I’ve yet to see done in an iOS game, or any other console game for that matter. The animations for explosions fill the screen with small pixels, making for some very hectic feeling gameplay. The music and sound effects also add to this quite a bit, giving the game a great arcade look and feel.
GameCenter is supported, including 9 separate leader boards; Total Points, Pirate Levels, Warehouse Levels, Army Levels, Chips Levels, Mansion Levels, Lab Levels, Space Levels and Bonus Levels, along with 12 achievements, which will take even the most hardcore gamers quite a while to unlock (Shoot every type of enemy at least once, shoot 20 enemies in 60 seconds, get 50 long shots, destroy 1,000,000 blocks and more). With it’s content, polish, and the incredibly entertaining gameplay, it feels perfectly priced at $2.99. Being Universal helps out with that as well. Granted, it is a Chillingo publication, and from the long period of games that haven’t been updated since their release, it’s still a great game, with no bugs that I’ve come across, and basically endless replay value, especially if you want to try and better your times in the extra levels, or compete for better scores on the leaderboards. Rocket Riot is definitely a hidden gem that you’ll want to snag if you’re a fan of Dual-Stick Shooters, Arcade/Arena Score Chasing titles, or a fan of XBLA ports (I know you’re out there! I’m one of you…).
Crazy Rings by Cervo Media, released as Riot Rings, is a fantastic bubble popper. Using zoo animals as marbles, and including boss-like fights, along with the amount of polish, 3 Gameplay Modes and replay value enhanced by GameCenter support all make Crazy Rings one of the best Zumaesque titles on the iOS. Now, still a year later, Crazy Rings can be found on both my iPad and my iPod, and with the added Freeplay and Zen gameplay modes, chances are it’ll never leave my devices, and will be transferred over to every new device I happen to get. If you’re a fan of the genre, this is definitely one game you’ll want to make sure and check out.
**Note: This review was written after playing Version 1.1
Riot Rings is a new Zuma-type bubble popper from Cervo Media GMBH. In it, you’ll match up groups of 3 or more different animal bubbles to clear out multiple rings thought over 100 levels and 3 different gameplay modes. Right off the bat, I want to say that Riot Rings is now my favorite Zuma type game, knocking The Temple Zumas out of the #1 spot. Cervo Media has taken the bubble popper game, and expanded it in a pretty original way. Instead of trying to clear out the bubbles before they get to the end point, you try and clear out the bubbles before the key on one end, and lock on the other end of the ring touch each other. To make it even more interesting, animals are flung into the rack from the outsides of the screen along with the animals that you fling into the rack from the middle of the screen.
The controls are pretty much like every other Zuma-type game out there, where you touch where you want your bubble to go. And like all other Zuma-type games out there, this is easier said that done. There’s various twists and turns in the rings that give you some pretty awkward angles to shoot at.
Also, sometimes there’s inner and outer rings, causing you to sometimes wait for one ring to pass before you can hit an outer ring, or you will have a ring around your shooting area, with more rings on other parts of the screen, or even sometimes shake, constantly move, speed up, or shrink in completely, causing you to miss your target, or even worse, causing the key and lock to come together. There are, however, power-ups, which can help out big time. There’s a power-ups ranging from pieces of chicken that clear out big sections of the racks, to needles which can slow down the movement. These, put together with bosses, stones, and really so many different mechanics, that I can’t name or describe them all, makes Riot Rings easily one of the most interesting and fun Zuma-type games available in the AppStore.
The graphics are top notch, very polished, and retina display supported. The clouds hovering above some parts of the screen add a lot to the feel of the game, as do the great animal sounds. The controls are very tight and responsive, there’s GameCenter leaderboards, 3 star time-based rankings to try and snag, and re-playable levels along with Endless and Zen Modes to play after you’re done with the Campaign.
Riot Rings is great for all ages, and even my wife has started to obsess over it, and there’s 3 available profiles so that multiple gamers can play on one device. I can not say one bad thing about this game. It’s done extremely well, adds a lot of gameplay mechanics to the tired Zuma-like gameplay, and you’re bound to see something new every time you play. For $0.99, it’s a steal. The iPad version is $2.99, which is still a great price for all the content and gameplay you’ll get out of this game. I really can not recommend it enough, even if bubble popping isn’t your thing, this game is sure to show you a great time, and give you tons of hours of entertainment.
Chillingo. Just saying the word brings hundreds of games to mind. They’ve ranged from casual to hardcore, puzzlers to action, adventure to arcade titles, they’ve basically released something for everyone, and I still find myself being surprised fairly often by the games they shove into the AppStore’s virtual shelves. Case and point? One Tap Hero, the new Puzzle Platformer from Coconut Island Studios (developers of the physics puzzler, Finger Balance and the score-chasing toilet paper dragging game, iDrag Paper).
I should say that I know there are some gamers out there, platformer fans, who are worried about a ‘one tap plat former’ – but with games like ChocoRun, Wind-up Knight, 1-Bit Ninja, the newer titles Bitless and Sunshine, and the onslaught of Endless Runners with platforming elements that have made their way onto the iDevice, I was pretty excited to check out another addition to the genre. Knowing that like-minded titles can range from fairly easy with simple level designs to hardcore with crazy level designs and enemies/hazards everywhere, I wasn’t sure what to really expect, but I knew right away that it had the potential to be a great game. Even then, I was still surprised while making my way through the game.
One Tap Hero is the story of a little ghost looking creature who’s, in a way, chasing after his abducted girlfriend. While out in a field one day, a wizard appeared, turned his girlfriend into a zombie like teddy bear, and now, as you collect stars from each of the levels, you’re slowly turning your sweetheart back into the normal cutesy little creature she use to be.
As the name suggests, One Tap Hero is controlled by tapping an action button. That’s right, everything in the game is controlled this way; jumping, climbing ladders, switching levers, stopping at certain spots and more. Your character constantly moves throughout the level, bouncing off of walls, while you try and collect all 3 stars in a level, and make it to your girlfriend. The amount of different things your character could do with just one tap actually kind of threw me off guard, but with some great level designs, and well thought out gameplay, it never got too cluttered up, wanting your character to do one thing, but having him doing another was something that just does not happen throughout the game.
One Tap Hero’s Story Mode contains 4 separate environments, each offering up new mechanics and atmospheres, and having 20 stages, along with 5 bonus levels which can be unlocked by collecting hard to snag keys throughout some of the stages. Each level has a possible 3 star ranking, along with coins which you can try and collect, which adds to your total score, as well as another challenge to try and master. You can also spend your coins in the game’s shop, which lets you purchase different outfits, keys to unlock bonus levels, and bombs which you can use to take out the ninja enemies later on in the game. Also, these days, almost every time you see a shop in a game, you can bet there’s going to be IAPs, and there are; 1,500 coins for $0.99, 5,000 for $1.99, 15,000 for $2.99, 30,000 for $3.99 and each bomb costs $0.99, but you don’t NEED to purchase anything extra to enjoy and complete the game.
The graphics and animations do a great job of helping to draw you into the world of One Tap Hero. Levels are placed on top of various backdrops, and I will admit, as much as I love retro graphics, it’s nice when a platformer strays away from this. The animations are nice and smooth, and do a great job of keeping players immersed in the game. Completing this is a wonderful relaxing soundtrack, matching the gameplay and environments perfectly, and complimenting the atmosphere quite a bit.
Coconut Island has also done a fantastic job with the level designs. Even though the games difficulty isn’t really up there on the charts, that doesn’t mean that the levels are simplistic by any means. With perfectly placed pits, platforms, stars, coins and hazards, alongside levers that move entire sections of stages, spikes, rotating worlds and more, it’s very clear that a crazy amount of time has gone into the level designs, especially later on in the game.
GameCenter integration adds the final touches, with 4 leaderboards, one for the total score of each world and 43 achievements, there’s enough content and replay value to keep gamers busy for a while. Priced at $0.99 and being Universal, One Tap Hero is another great Chillingo publication. Coconut Island has done a great job with just about every single aspect of the game, and compared to their previous titles, it‘s clear that they‘ve learned quite a bit in their so-far short developing life-cycle. Though, it would be nice if there was more of a challenge, and the constant back and forth with the difficulty levels as you progress through the game would have been much better as a constant upward climb in difficulty. Power-ups would have also been a great inclusion, especially later on when the enemies make an appearance. But even so, One Tap Hero is another great addition to the Single Tap Platformer genre, and one that casual as well as hardcore gamers can enjoy. Now let’s just hope that this Chillingo game will be updated and that ’Coming Soon’ world actually does come soon.
It’s no secret that here at The App Shack, we’re HUGE OrangePixel fans. Though we enjoy some games more than others, there’s no denying that the OrangePixel developers are masters of retro platforming. So there’s no surprise that we get extremely excited whenever we hear some news about a new OP title. This time, they’re reaching back to their Run’N’Gun title, INC, for inspiration, and giving us Gunslugs, described by OP as a ‘chaotic, run’n’gun, rogue-like inspired action game’. Sounds good, no?
OrangePixel has also just uploaded another video for the game early this morning, check it out;
Granted, Gunslugs is still in it’s beta stages, but it’s already looking like one hell of a great game. Not only does it look incredible, but Gunslugs will also be the very first OrangePixel game to include procedurally generated levels, making each and every game different. Not only that, but you’re only given one life (which is where the ‘rogue-like inspiration’ comes from) to take out as many enemies as you can.
As you might have guessed, we’ll share more information as it becomes available throughout the development process, and you can expect to see Gunslugs hit the AppStore before the end of the year! We seriously can’t wait!
iBlast Moki is easily one of the best physics puzzlers available in the AppStore, winning quite a few awards, and being named the best puzzle game by IGN in 2009, it was no surprise to see a sequel released a couple years later, and Godzilab nailed it. iBlast Moki 2 contains more of the same great things that made the original so great, including the great physics, fantastic level design, and awesome level creator, along with cool new bombs and gameplay mechanics. It’s also no surprise that after a year, you can still find the game on our devices. Though the hype has gone down quite a bit, with the release of Godzilab’s newest title, Happy Street, they made both the original and the sequel for iBlast Moki available for FREE, either reminding everyone how great the game was, or giving everyone who missed it the first time around another chance to pick it up. Now, with just about everyone who owns an iDevice having iBlast Moki 2, the user created levels have started getting more attention, and there’s still tons of new, unseen, and great content to be played, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you found iBlast Moki 2 on our devices in another year. It’s simply one of the best puzzle games available for the platform.
**Note: This review was written after playing Version 1.0
iBlast Moki needs no real introduction, the physics-puzzle game from Godzilab is one of the most popular on the iOS, snagging the #2 game spot of all time on metacritic. So when iBlast Moki 2 was announced, everyone was eagerly anticipating this sequel, and for good reason. In iBlast Moki, you use bombs and other items to get Moki’s into the portal at the end of each level. The physics are amazing, the level design is top notch, and the environments are varied, and extremely vibrant. The sequel includes even more kinds of bombs and items to help the Moki’s reach the portals, the same amazing physics, even more interesting level design, and more vibrant environments, and it takes advantage of retina and HD display. There’s also a level editor and a level sharing service thrown in for endless hours of entertainment and fun.
In iBlast Moki 2, you’ll encounter some very interesting bombs, and you don’t need to play for hours to get into the new game mechanics. They are thrown at you almost from the beginning. Paint bombs that each have different characteristics, ropes, and balloons are some of the first you’ll see. There’s also objects that you can stick your Moki’s to in order to get them to the portals at the end of the levels. In the game, it’s your job to place bombs throughout the levels, and set them to go off at specific times in order to fling the Moki’s to the end while collecting all the flowers in each stage, and doing it as fast as you can.
Your regular bombs are the ones that you’ll really have to play with trial and error getting the timing just right, making them explode at just the right time to send your characters off in another direction. This is done easily because the level resets every time you press the stop button in the lower left corner. The paint bombs, however, are more about where you place them, and timing isn’t really an issue with these. You’re given red, green, and orange bombs. The red acts as a bouncy liquid, and once your characters or any other objects touch it, they bounce up into the air. Green bombs act as glue, making your characters stick to whatever objects get covered in the liquid when the bomb goes off, and orange bombs act as turbo speed bombs, drawing your Moki to them, and shooting them forward at faster speeds.
Because iBlast Moki 2 is a physics-puzzle game, the physics are a huge part of it, and Godzilab has done an amazing job with them. Everything feels real, and sometimes it might seem like you’ll have to be a physics major in order to get the solutions on the first or second time through the level. I actually would not be surprised if Godzilab had some physics majors help them with this aspect of the game, as they’re done so perfectly. This, coupled with the superb level design, add a ton to the challenge of getting up on the high-score board that’s in-game in the pause menu. The top 3 scores for each level are shown, and if you’d like, you can pay 1 Moki coin, which you earn throughout the game, to see these top solutions. This, is something that’s already upsetting people. Some gamers work for hours on a level trying to get the best score they can, and then their solution, if one of the best, is saved to the server, and accessible to everyone for 1 Moki coin. Godzilab has commented on this issue, and said that they will come up with a fix for it in a future update, but until then, the best solutions for each level are there, ready to be seen by everyone, unless you play offline. This is the only bad issue I can find with iBlast Moki 2 though.
With 90 levels spread across 6 different environments, and a level editor that lets you share and download created levels, there’s pretty much endless gameplay. A cut-throat leaderboard helps immensely with the replay value, and like I’ve said, some people will spend hours with one level, and some might even spend weeks creating one. iBlast Moki 2 could very well end up being the best puzzle game in 2011, maybe even the best puzzle game for the iOS, period. The scoring mechanics are great, the graphics are cute and polished, physics are perfect, level design is mind bending, and the gameplay is endless. For $3, it’ll be pretty much impossible to find a better puzzle game out there. It’s highly recommended to fans of the genre, and new-comers to the scene alike, and is on sale for launch, so you can grab it now for a buck! The universal version is $3, and should shoot up to $5 soon. If you don’t have it yet, make sure you get it soon, because it’s going to be a game that you end up buying eventually after hearing everyone you know talk about it.
**Note: iBlast Moki 2 HD is priced at FREE for a limited time, so if you don’t have it yet, you should definitely pick up this great physics puzzler!
Before I get started on this review, I should really let it be known that Temple Run – yeah, didn’t click with me. I tried to like it, I really, really did, but I just didn’t see what all the fuss was about. Needless to say, all of the Temple Run clones hitting the AppStore since, I’ve liked even less. That is, until now. Simutronics, developers of the awesome Tower Defense title, Tiny Heroes, have just released the free2play title, One Epic Knight, and I’m hooked.
Following the typical Temple Run type gameplay, One Epic Knight’s theme is based more off of dungeon crawlers, with your main character running through a castle filled with enemies, traps, hazards, blockades, and of course, loads and loads of loot. The controls are done by swiping on the screen, being able to move left, right, jump and slide all by swiping in their respective directions.
With One Epic Knight being free2play, like other f2p titles, I was worried about the IAP model the developers would decide to use. Would the game have ads? Would the items in the shop be incredibly high priced? Would I feel like players who bought currency through IAP had an advantage over me on the leaderboards? The answer to all of these questions – NO. In fact, I’m still surprised that Simutronics made One Epic Knight available for free. If I would have paid $0.99-$1.99 for it, I wouldn’t have regretted it at all. I actually wound up purchasing a couple dollars worth of currency just to help support the developers. Though, once I saw the IAP model, I was kind of caught off guard.
$0.99 will get you 3,000 coins. That really isn’t much, considering once you pay about 2,000 to upgrade the loot in the shop, you’ll be able to easily snag between 700 and 1,200 coins per game. Not to mention the extra coins you get for completing objectives. The next amount you can pay? $4.99, and that’ll give you 20,000 coins. It just strikes me as odd that there’s no $1.99 or $2.99 IAP option, and that the amount given is so small. Granted, I still would have thrown down a couple bucks if it was just a ‘Donate’ IAP, but I really think increasing the amount of currency given, and maybe adding a $1.99 IAP would push players to purchase them more.
Anyway, as you’re running through the castle, you’ll be able to pick up weapons and shields. As you encounter various enemies, like blobs of green goo, and insane hatchet wielding ghouls, you’re able to use these items to smash through them. Both of these items also increase your score multiplier, which tacks on points for running, collecting coins, and for destroying enemies and objects. After you upgrade both of these items in the shop, they’ll start giving you currency for each time you use them, which definitely helps to gather up some coinage. You’ll also come across lines of currency, gems and treasure chests, all helping you gain enough coins to upgrade items and purchase one time use items from the shop.
Also scattered throughout the castle are large chunks of meat and mana crystals. If you can manage to snag the meat hanging from the ceiling, you’ll go into Rampage Mode, which lets you smash through enemies, objects and hazards so long as you’re still eating the meat. Once it’s about to wear off, you’ll start flashing, and sparks will appear around you. If you can collect 4 mana crystals, you’ll go into Mana Madness mode which boosts you forward for a certain distance, blasting through all hazards and enemies. If you look hard enough, you’ll also be able to find hidden areas, usually behind broken walls, boarded up doors, and under small holes. Some of these areas contain an insane amount of loot, so it’s a good idea to keep your eyes open.
The graphics are cartoony, but fairly detailed, and the animations for each moving object are great. I was actually pretty surprised that the game ran smoothly on my 4th generation iPod Touch. I did experience some issues with some unresponsive controls, but this was only occasionally, and nothing game breaking, though, when it did happen, it was pretty frustrating because it almost always resulted in an unnecessary death.
Priced at FREE and being Universal, there’s no real reason not to check out One Epic Hero, even if you and the Temple Run genre haven’t really clicked in the past, and if One Epic Hero does manage to grab a hold of you, there’s GameCenter integration including 38 achievements along with 5 separate leaderboards including boards for Highest Score, Longest Distance Traveled, Most Loot Collected, Most Critters Slain and Most Obstacles Smashed, all adding to the already high replay value of the game. It would be nice to see some more enemies, and maybe even some boss battles. A huge enemy that gets knocked back, spits loot and shields/weapons for you to pick up, and can either be hit or dodged, but needs to be hit a certain amount of times before moving on would fit in perfectly with the game. It also wouldn’t hurt to see more power-ups. But as it is now, Simutronics has done a fantastic job doing something different with the Temple Run model, and as I already said, I’m pretty surprised One Epic Knight is available as a free2play title. With Tiny Heroes and One Epic Knight now under their belt, I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
Omni Systems Limited first iOS title, a port of the 2009 PC title, Eufloria, is a perfect match for the iDevice’s touch screen. Unfortunately, the game was only available for the iPad. That is, until today. Omni Systems second update for Eufloria is a big one. Not only did the HD version go Universal, but for the lower end iPod and iPhone devices, an iPhone build was also released.
There were also quite a few tweaks and improvements including iCloud support Retina Display for the new iPad and more, check it out;
>Universal Build: iPhone 4+ supported
>Game session in progress saved (it nearly killed us, but we did it!)
>iPad Retina support
>View Achievements option added
>Significant speed improvements
>iPad 1 stability improved (we still recommend rebooting your iPad if you have issues)
>Super seedlings not used for planting or terraforming if regular seeds available
>Hint system improved
>Game Center Groups supported: Achievements shared between Universal and iPhone only apps
>Tree planting, terraforming and other asteroid visual improvements
>L8 and L12 difficulty reduced, other minor level tweaks
>Tree, flower and laser pod attributes updated when terraformed
>Fixed rare overlapping tree count on asteroid panel
>Fixed rare tree cap issue
>Fixed rare level won/lost detection bugs
>Rewritten and improved level scripts
>Improved in-game text display handling
>Many other fixes and optimisations
For those of you who haven’t been able to play, or just haven’t bought it yet, Eufloria is a fantastic Real-Time Strategy title with beautiful graphics, a deep Story Mode with 25 levels and two difficulty settings; Relaxed and Challenging, along with 8 Skirmish Arenas, and an incredibly awesome & challenging Dark Mater Mode. There’s also GameCenter integration with 20 achievements.
Eufloria’s control system is a perfect fit for the touch screen, has a fantastic ambient soundtrack, which you can check out below, and loads of replay value. It’s easily one of my top 3 favorite RTS titles available in the AppStore, and now, everyone with an iPod Touch or iPhone can experience this mind-blowing game!
There have been quite a few additions to the Speedrun Platformer genre in the AppStore over the last year and a half; Leage of Evil, Mos Speedrun, Commander Pixman, Meganoid, Stardash, Little Acorns and more have provided some great challenges for the more hardcore platform gamers. Well, this Wednesday, casual gamers will be invited to take part in the fun as well, with the release of BeaverTap Game’s Mikey Shorts, a casual speedrun platformer that doesn’t have insanely strict times, but still provides a challenge for the more hardcore players. I was lucky enough to help beta test this fantastic game, checking out every little nook and cranny, and believe me when I say I haven’t had this much fun with speedrun platformer since I got into Mos Speedrun. We were also lucky enough to be able to pull the duo away from their busy lives for a couple minutes and ask them a couple questions about this supremely awesome title.
Now, I don’t really know the details behind it all, but I do know that the two of you met on Touch Arcade while battling it out on OpenFeint and GameCenter for top scores in Hook Champ and Mos Speedrun. Are there other titles that brought you two together? When did you two start really talking about starting up BeaverTap Games?
We were both invited to beta test for Rocketcat Games in early 2010. While competing against each other in Super Quickhook, we started communicating via email and found that we were both interested in making an iOS game at some point. By the end of the year, we finally got around to making it a reality.
How long did it take you two to create Mikey Shorts, your first foray into the iOS development scene?
We’ve been working on the game in our spare time for over a year and a half, but we really stepped it up in the months before release.
Mikey Shorts is another great addition to the Speedrun Platformer Genre. However, having more lax times for the levels opens the game up to a more casual audiance. What made you two, being the hardcore speedrun mongers that you are, decide to drift away from the strict time limit challenge that most games within the genre have?
We love competing with other people more than just passing a level. We wanted to give every player a chance to do well in the game and show them that earning three stars on a level isn’t impossible. For the more experienced players, trying to rank high on the leaderboards should provide an extra challenge.
Are there any games that directly influenced Mikey Shorts, and are there any development teams that influence how the two of you have decided to build up and run BeaverTap Games?
We were influenced by classic console platformers, but we also looked at some of our favorite 2D platformers such as Hook Champ, Super Quickhook, Mos Speedrun, and League of Evil. We’re following the lead of a lot of developers that communicate with their players and are open to feedback.
Like other genres, there are a lot of different aspects that are incredibly important when creating a platformer; Controls, physics, level design, inertia, ect… is there any one thing that really gave you two a hard time, drove you crazy or that you guys found especially challenging while you were developing Mikey Shorts?
The controls pretty much make or break a platformer on a touch screen device. We spent a lot of time fine tuning the button placement to make sure the majority of players feel comfortable from the start. We also allow the player to customize the placement of the buttons.
It’s pretty clear that the two of you take iOS gaming very seriously. Is the iDevice your main gaming platform, or do you guys prefer playing console games?
With so many great games, we both consider iOS our gaming platform of choice.
What engine did you guys decide to use to create Mikey Shorts, and why did you decide to go this route?
We chose to use the cocos2d framework because of the community support. There are a lot of tutorials and friendly people willing to help out developers. We use the Box2D physics engine because it’s well documented and used in many cocos2d tutorials.
Now that you’ve got one game release under the belt of BeaverTap Games, what’s in store for the future? Are you guys already kicking around some more ideas for your next game, or are you going to primarily focus on expanding Mikey Shorts for the time being? Do you think there’s any chance iOS gamers will see a Mikey Shorts 2 in the future?
We’re going to focus on trying to make Mikey Shorts even better with updates. Then we’ll continue Mikey’s adventure in a sequel!
Again, we would like to thank BeaverTap Games for taking the time to answer these questions, and we can not wait to check out the final build of Mikey Shorts this Wednesday night. You know we’ll be posting up a review of the game this Thursday, so if you want to know more about Mikey Shorts, make sure you check back then for a full, in-depth review of the game. You can also check out the trailer below, as well as head on over to the BeaverTap Official Site!
Cubes Vs. Spheres, the second iOS release of ShockPanda Games, hit the AppStore August 18th of last year. Since then, it’s gone through only two updates, but those two updates added quite a bit to the game. 3 endless survival levels and an extra difficulty, insane, filled with 10 new levels. Each stage offers up a challenge to get a perfect, or star, rating, done by hitting a certain score, and not taking any damage throughout the stage. The endless levels also add quite a bit of replay value, and that’s why it can still be found on both my iPod, and my iPad to this day. The core gameplay is so incredibly fun, that even though all you’re doing is blowing up boxes with spheres, I find myself playing it for hours on end. It’s definitely one title that everyone should check out.
**Note: This review was written after playing Version 1.0.
Cubes Vs. Spheres is a new 3D physics attack game by ShockPanda Games, creators of Space Bunnies, a personal favorite of mine. In it, you’re job is to fling spheres into cubes, protecting the circled area around your sphere chute. You’re given 30 levels, 10 in each difficulty of Easy, Medium, and Hard. The goal is to blow up cubes as they make their way towards you using different spheres that you can buy in the between levels shop; trying to produce huge combos by hitting cubes with bits and pieces of cubes that your spheres smack into and getting 3 stars, and a P, for “Perfect”, by not letting the cubes hit your area that‘s marked off within a circle.
The game’s graphics are very minimal, but this makes it so that the engine can handle huge waves of cubes coming at you. The minimal graphics work so well, and look so polished, that it’s hard not to see how impressive they are while you’re playing. The level designs are great, and the structures in which the cubes come off of, and out of once they come towards you get more and more impressive as the move on. I found myself just scrolling around the levels sometimes checking out the structures, not paying attention to the cubes, and ended up with huge waves of them coming at me. It’s really a great looking game.
You’re given 6 different spheres, that come out of a chute inside of your area. They are selectable at the bottom of the screen, and do not appear until you decide which sphere you want to fling at the cubes. There’s your regular sphere, which you can upgrade to split into 3 and 5 other spheres by tapping on the screen after you fling it at cubes, a fire sphere that explodes on impact into about 8 smaller spheres, a big black sphere that squashes cubes, and can smash through them, hitting cubes behind it, a sphere that locks on to the closest cube to your area, a freeze sphere that slows down cubes, and a decoy that draws cubes to it, exploding after a certain amount of time. You end up unlocking these with credits earned throughout the game, and need to keep buying them in order to use them. This isn’t a real problem though, because you’ll earn enough credits in each level for about 15 different spheres or more, and helps add to the strategic side of the game.
There are only 3 different cube enemies in the game. Red cubes, which you will see a lot of, black cubes, which are mixed in with the red cubes, and are more powerful, and harder to destroy, and sometimes cubes that are almost invisible. There are not very many of the invisible cubes throughout the game, but you will be checking the sides of each level just to make sure you know when they’re there or not. It would have been nice having more types of enemies, maybe enemies that are immune to some of your power-up spheres. Seeing a flaming cube that could melt your freeze spheres ice, or an assassin cube that could take out your decoy would have been awesome. But with the three enemies in the game, you get enough variety to keep you busy, and with the cubes moving differently each time you play the levels, you’ll never have the exact same experience twice. This randomized intelligent movement is great, and coupled with the GameCenter leaderboards, 3 star and P rankings, and achivements, add immensely to the replayability of the game.
The physics in a game like this are very important, and ShockPanda Games has done an amazing job getting it just right. Seeing each cube explode when it’s hit with a sphere or bits of an exploding cube is awesome, and really nice eye candy and the spheres feel like they actually have some weight to them. The music in Cubes Vs. Spheres is fitting, minimal but kind of catchy, and fits with the atmosphere, but the effects for throwing spheres and hearing them bounce kind of made them sound like hippity hops that were filled to the extreme, and about to blow up. You are given two control schemes, one is tilt to turn, and the other is swipe to turn. Both work very well for this type of game, but there were a couple of times the screen would end up shooting upwards when I tried to fling my ball forward using the swipe controls. Not often, but it did happen.
I’m giving Cubes Vs. Spheres 4.5 out of 5 stars, because even with it only having 3 different enemies, and experiencing a cube getting stuck way in the back of a level, unreachable, and having to replay that level, it’s an awesome game. Very well made, very polished, challenging, and a blast to play. The replayabilty is off the charts, and it’s one game that will never leave my device. For $0.99, including retina display, and being Universal, it’s a great deal. ShockPanda has definitely put a lot of time and effort into this game, and with them taking part in the Touch Arcade thread, I have no doubt that this game will get even better with only a few updates.