Number of Results: 15
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.
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!
Like Point & Click titles, Board games seem to be a complete fit the iOS device. Perfect for the touch screen UI, multiplayer capabilities and none of the setting up, putting away, or deck/piece/board maintenance. One of the most recent board games to hit the AppStore is Codito Development’s (the same company that brought Tikal, Tigris & Euphrates, Ra and Medici to the iOS) Le Havre (The Harbor). The popular board game, released in 2008, that has you controlling the development of the town, Le Havre.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of playing this 2009 International Gamers Award winner, you’re in for a real treat. Le Havre has you building up as much wealth as you can over the course of 18 turns by constructing buildings, owning ships, and bringing in goods through the harbor. The tutorial is very well designed, and easy to understand, giving you the full scope of the game’s mechanics your first time through. There’s also an option to keep hints on while you’re playing, just in case you need a little extra help through your first couple of games. It’s fairly complex, and includes a bit of depth, but once you get the hang of it, it actually becomes pretty simple, and you’ll probably wonder why it took you so long to figure everything out.
There are two gameplay modes available, Local, which you’re able to set up with up to 4 AI opponents as well as other players via pass n play type gameplay, and Online Multiplayer through GameCenter. You’re able to set these modes up in one of two different ways; Short Game and Long Game. In a short game, you’re given 12 rounds, each round containing 3 turns, and are given a couple of building supplies to get you started. This mode is best for newcomers to the game, while a long game includes 18 rounds, and you are not given any building materials to start out with.
Using your basic building materials; wood, clay and iron, you’ll be able to use the buildings that the town has already built in order to create them. For instance, the town has built the Construction Rirm. You can use the Construction Firm to build up to 3 buildings per turn. Once you build these buildings, you own them. The buildings that you’ll build will help you create more food (which is required every round to feed your workers/employees), more complex building materials, like bricks and iron, and more. Also, with each building you own, your wealth goes up.
Using the dock, you’re able to collect materials and food, used to feed your workers and build. Starting a long game can take a couple of turns to get into as you collect your materials. You’ll also always need to make sure you take a turn or two to either collect food, or turn food into more processed food, which in-turn feeds more of your workers. Feeding your workers is a huge part of the game. If you can’t afford to feed your workers, you’ll be required to take a very costly loan from the bank, and that can pretty much damage your chances of winning.
Le Havre is, by far, one of the most impressive board games I’ve had the pleasure of playing on the iOS. The graphics, user interface, and just the mechanics of it all create an incredibly immersive, and very entertaining gameplay experience. Priced at $4.99 and being Universal, if you’re a fan of board games, Le Havre is one that you need to own. GameCenter leaderboards for wins, total wealth, and more, it’s one game that will take you a while to master, but is incredibly enjoyable throughout the entire learning process, and even more-so after you finally figure out the best ways to become the wealthiest man in all of Le Havre. Codito Development just can’t seem to do any wrong.
If you’ve been reading the reviewers here at TAS for a while, you’ve come to know that Point & Click games were have never really been a favorite of mine. That is, until I had the extreme pleasure of playing Machinarium, Yesterday, and Myst. And now I can add one more title to that very short list of P&C games that I’ve come to love; Telltale’s Walking Dead: The Game. A survival/horror adventure game, originally released for PC and MAC, ported over to the iOS.
Now, I haven’t had the pleasure of playing the PC version of Walking Dead, and I don’t watch the TV show, mainly because my wife hates any sort of horror entertainment. I do, however, read the comics, and have come to really enjoy them. But when I heard that Telltale was going to be the team releasing the game on iOS, I was pretty skeptical. Their previous releases have been kind of hit or miss; Back to the Future – blah, Sam & Max – loved it, Law & Order – meh, Puzzle Agent – great. But after seeing the trailer, I was ready to be impressed, and after playing the first episode of Walking Dead: The Game; I am.
For those of you familiar with The Walking Dead, the game does not follow Rick his group of survivors. Instead, an entirely new storyline has been done for the game. You follow a convict, Lee, convicted of murder, as he tries to make his way to Mason, Georgia to find his family after being in a car crash that freed him from incarceration. On his way, he runs across a little girl, Clementine, who’s parents are somewhere in Savannah, GA, and whom you try to protect, as well as others who eventually make up the group of survivors that you’ll be following.
Controlling Lee is what really makes the game stand out as one of the best Telltale games to hit the AppStore. As you meet people, and get thrown into situations with zombies, you’ll need to make quick decisions regarding dialogue and actions. Instead of feeling like the game is controlling what you do, it’s more like you’re controlling the game, having an impact over what the other characters think of you, as well as who lives and who dies. What’s even better? These choices are apparently carried over across all of the episodes, so they stick with you throughout the entire game.
The graphics and animations are extremely well done, and incredibly reminiscent of the comics. The environments and objects are very well crafted, and create an incredible atmosphere. There have been times when I encountered some slowdown and general jerkiness, even while playing on my iPad 2, though not enough to really take away from the games fantastic immersive quality. The voice acting is another aspect which I found myself consistently being impressed by. All-n-all, it’s extremely well put-together.
Priced at $4.99 for the first episode, and giving players the option to purchase the next 4 episodes for $14.99, it is a bit pricy. Especially considering there’s only about 3 hours of gameplay in the first episode. But if you’re a fan of the series (comic, TV, or both), this is definitely a game you should check out. Even if you’ve never seen an episode of the show, or read one comic, it’s still a fantastic Point & Click adventure game that deserves to be experienced. Once you complete the first episode, it definitely leaves you wanting more. Walking Dead: The Game has set a new standard for Telltale games, and one that I hope they live up to in the future.
Point & Click Adventure games have never really been a favorite of mine. Until lately. Bulkypix release, Yesterday and Cyan World’s realMyst definitely peaked my interest. But not until I had the extreme pleasure of experiencing Amanita Design’s amazing game, Machinarium, did I actually think that I could become a huge fan of Point n Click titles.
The first thing I noticed when starting up the game, was the fantastic graphics. The beautiful, amazing, mind-blowing, hand-drawn graphics are outstanding. And the way that the movable objects and computer graphics interact with the hand-drawn graphics is simply stunning. The animations are spectacular, and coupled with the music and sound effects, it all creates one incredible atmosphere, and portrays a great deal of emotion throughout the game. If you’re curious, the game is an exact port of the PC/MAC and PS 3 versions.
Starting off, your character, Josef, is tossed into a dump. You’ll need to collect pieces of your body before you can move on. As you’ll quickly realize, there is no dialogue, or long text to read through. Everything is portrayed in thought bubbles with action sequences. This leaves basically all of your gameplay time free for solving puzzles and exploring the environments, which you will do a lot of. Machinarium has your typical search and collect mechanics, but also has you solving puzzles across environmental areas, as well as combining inventory items and mini-games. But it’s all brought together in such an incredibly flowing motion, that you’re never taken out of the immersion of the game.
Now, I’ll quickly admit that I haven’t had the pleasure of playing many Point & Click games, but from what I have played, the puzzles that you need to complete in Machinarium are incredibly creative, and at times, can be fairly difficult to figure out, and some of them can seem downright unfair. Even with other titles within the puzzle genre, I’ve never come across this level of difficulty. However, not once did it become difficult to the point that it was frustrating. If anything, the difficulty ended up driving my addiction and love for the game every step of the way.
If it does get frustrating, there are actually two different hint systems available. Tapping the question-mark in a bubble will give you a pop-up thought bubble nudging you towards the next item you’ll need to pick up. The other hint system is a sort of walkthrough. You’ll need to first complete the mini-game in order to open the walkthrough ‘book’, and then each move that you need to make in order to complete the game is drawn out for you. However, going through all of this to get to the walkthrough is enough to keep you from going to it, and it does kind of ruin the game if you keep going to it over and over again. But it’s there if you need it, so there’s not going to be one spot where you get stuck and just end up not completing the game, which is great.
The story isn’t immediately clear when you start up the game, but as you progress, and find out that you’re not alone, and that this machine world is full of quite a few different robots and machine-beings, all with different personalities of their own, all expressed and conveyed in a way that everyone and anyone, no matter their past, cultural background, or language, can completely understand and feel comfortable with knowing what it going on with all of them. And as you progress, and get to know and help these other robots throughout the world, the story opens up, and your main objective becomes clear.
I can not recommend Machinarium enough. Especially if you’re a fan of Adventure or Point & Click games, but even if you’re not. This is one title that has a very good potential of turning you into a fan of the genre. Priced at $4.99, it’s an incredible buy. Not many iOS games even come close to being on the same graphical level, and there’s very few titles that come close to being as immersive and entertaining as Machinarium. It’s a must-own game for everyone who has an iPad, and I hope that Amanita Design decides to port over more of their titles to the iOS. We’d be lucky to have them available to us.
Point & Click Adventure titles are a perfect fit for the iOS, and with more and more of these titles being ported over from other platforms, fans of the genre couldn’t be happier. The most recent addition to the genre is the PC title, Yesterday, developed by Pendulo (The Next Big Thing, the Runaway Series, Hollywood Monsters and Igor), and published by Bulkypix. It revolves around a non-governmental organization’s volunteer, Henry White, who’s trying to help find out who is behind a series of killings driven by a Satanic psycho.
Yesterday isn’t your typical Point & Click Adventure. Revolving around murder, Satanism, insanity, the homeless, and more, Yesterday is more of an adult-themed title, which definitely sets it apart from most titles within the genre.
Even though the atmosphere, environments, and story all revolves around darker subject matter, and looks like it might fit perfectly as a Velvet Acid Christ music video, the character models of Yesterday are fairly cartoony, looking like something you might find on Cartoon Network. Even though this is the case, it doesn’t detract from the amazing atmospheres. The characters, though seeming callow most of the time, provide a rich and immersive dialogue, creating a wonderful story to experience while solving the various puzzles and exploring the dark environments throughout the game.
The controls are typical of any other point & click title on the iOS. You’ll tap where you’d like to move your character, tap on objects or areas you’d like to check out more closely, and when the items in question are shown on the screen, you’re given a magnifying glass and hand icons, with the magnifying glass icon giving you more information about the objects, and the hand letting you interact with the objects.
If there are objects which you can interact with, they will be moved to the bar at the top of the screen, so that you can combine them with other found objects, or use them later on, while dragging them from the bar to an object in the environment lets you use them.
The puzzles contained in Yesterday can be pretty challenging, but helping out with what objects can be checked out is an icon in the lower left corner of the screen. Tapping on this icon lets you see what all objects and items can be looked at more closely in each screen. Checking out everything you can within the environment, combining multiple items and using them to activate various objects in the game is required to progress through the story. But like most point & click games, figuring out what goes with what, and where everything can be found and/or used is where the real challenge lies.
Mixed in with the game’s object matching mechanics are little parts within the dialogue which help add to the game. For instance, towards the beginning of the game, you’ll need to figure out certain chess moves in order to move on in the dialogue. Fortunately, if you’re not into chess, and answer wrong, you can keep tapping on the answers until you get it right. Even though this does sort of beg the question as to why these were included in the game, but they’re nice to see regardless.
Yesterday is Universal, and priced at $4.99. If you’re a fan of the Point & Click genre, it’s definitely one of the best titles available for the iOS, and since it’s published by Bulkypix, you can pretty much guarantee that if any issues arise, they’ll be fixed or dealt with in a timely manner. The only thing missing from the game is GameCenter integration with achievements. But non-the-less, Yesterday contains a fantastic story-line with incredibly immersive atmospheres, and characters that draw you into the story. It’s a title that I’m very pleased to have on my iDevice, and hope to see more titles from Pendulo ported over in the future.
Hacking based games have always been a favorite of mine, and they really seem to fit very well on the iDevice. Hacker Evolution, Digital Heist, The Hacker, The Hack Run Trilogy… but none of these have really done for me what Introversion Software’s Uplink has done. A perfect port of the PC version, Uplink’s fantastic story, user interface, graphics, music, gameplay and paranoia are just as addictive as they were 10+ years ago using a mouse and keyboard. Though not very realistic, it captures the essence of ‘Hollywood Hacking’ like that shown in Hackers, Swordfish, Sneakers, and other ‘Hacker Inspired’ films, which makes for a much more interesting video game.
Uplink’s story revolves around the Andromeda Research Corporation, which is creating a computer virus using artificial life research that can destroy the Internet. Another company, Arunmor, is trying to create another virus that can destroy Andromeda’s virus. You’re able to choose between Arunmor and Andromeda, or you can just focus on completing every mission you can while the story goes on without you.
You start off joining the Uplink Corporation who provides work for hackers by matching missions with skill levels and providing both the hardware and software that’s needed to do the work. Once you create a user account with the company, you’ll need to prove you have what it takes to work for them by completing a test mission. You are able to activate the tutorial for this, which walks you through, step by step, showing you the basic mechanics of the game. There’s also a ‘Help’ section on the Uplink Corporation’s mainframe which gives you information about security systems and software, as well as anything else you might have questions about throughout the game.
Once you complete the test mission, you’re able to sign in to the Uplink Corporation and view the ‘Mission List’. Here is where you’ll be able to accept jobs from companies based on your user level. Completing missions raises your level and gives you credits which you can use to purchase more software and upgrade your hardware. Starting off, you’ll have a bunch of missions which have you copying and deleting files, but once you raise your level, you’ll be altering documents, destroying entire libraries of data, and even outing other hackers.
The user interface for a hacking game like Uplink is extremely important, and Introversion Software has done a great job making the game easy to navigate and understand. On the top of the screen, you’re able to see the date, and your IP address, as well as fast forward time which comes in handy if you’re waiting to have better hardware installed, or are waiting for more missions which fit your level.
There’s also a CPU Usage bar , which is pretty much like a Task Manager, showing what applications are running, and how much power they’re using. You can also send more power to a specific application, making it run faster, or take power away from one that doesn’t require as much, like your Trace_Tracker (which lets you know when you’re being traced), so that you can give more power to your file copier, password breaker, or any other applications that might need to be sped up.
In the top right corner is the world map, showing all of the networks which you can connect to. Here is where you’ll bounce different connections off of different networks, making it harder for companies to trace your IP address.
Along the bottom of the screen are your icons used for starting up applications, reading e-mails, reading your accepted missions, checking out your level, credit amount, installed software and what hardware you currently have. Tapping on the satellite in the bottom left corner pops up a menu which separates your applications by type; Utilities, Drivers, Security, Crackers, ect. To start an application, all you need to do is find it in the list, and tap on it. Once you get further along into the game and need to change information, or enter names to search for, a keyboard pops up on the bottom half of the screen. It’s responsiveness is fairly quick, so you’re never stuck waiting for the keyboard to pop up, taking up time while you’re being traced, which is great.
Uplink is priced at $4.99, and only available for the iPad. If you’re even remotely intrigued by hacking, or into hacker games, Uplink is one of the most entertaining titles, on any gaming platform, that you can check out. Sadly, there is no GameCenter integration, which means no achievements, which would have been a fantastic addition to the iOS version. A leader board for total number of completed missions would have been great to have as well. But the gameplay doesn’t suffer from the lack of a leaderboard and achievements, and still gives players the drive to keep coming back, completing more missions, and progressing further along with the plot. It’s a must get for fans of the genre, and at the current price, is a steal. Hopefully Uplink will sell well, and get some much deserved attention so that Introversion Software can port over more of their fantastic titles to the iOS. DEFCON, Darwinia and others would be fantastic on the touch screen.
Gamevil has put out some of my favorite iOS games over the last couple of years. Zenonia, Hybrid, Baseball Superstars, Illusia, and loads more. This time around, they’ve published Knetp’s Legend of Master 3, an Action RPG which, unfortunately, does not take care of the issues presented in Legend of Master 2. Hopefully being published by Gamevil will help to get the game more attention, and have a couple of these issues fixed.
At first, the movement of the screen when you move your character around can be pretty frustrating. The screen seems to want to jump all over the place. But after you play the game a bit, it does get a bit less annoying, but there’s still always that little jerk on the screen when you move that takes away from the immersion of the gameplay. There are also some issues with the frame-rate, but nothing that distracts as much as the jerkiness of the screen. The directional joystick moves your character in 8 directions, which isn’t bad, but after playing CrimsonHeart, this is always something that’s noticeable.
Aside from these slight issues, Legend Of Master 3 is a competent Action RPG title, with a fairly large variety of classes all having their own unique skill trees and weapon options. Each of the 6 classes has the same story and plot; 400 years ago, an evil sorceress B’Kar turned Cain’s family to stone. Knowing that he couldn’t defeat B’Kar then, Cain split his soul into 7 pieces, scattering them across the lands with the hope that once all of the pieces of his soul were retrieved, he would have the skills needed to defeat B’Kar once and for all. Now, in the present, Cain is awakened inside the body of William, an heir to the throne who had just watched his younger brother die in front of his eyes. While learning about the futuristic world Cain now resides in, he must find the 7 pieces of his soul, and defeat B’Kar, avenging his family and loved ones.
From the story, it’s pretty easy to tell that this isn’t your typical younger naive children learning how to be adults while going on an adventure to help save a little town, cheesy type RPG plot. The graphics also mirror this with fantastic character and enemy models/sprites. The camera is panned out a little more than most RPG titles on the iOS, which does make it a little bit harder to make out the characters details, but in 2X mode on the iPad, it’s fairly clear, and surprisingly not pixilated, which is a huge plus. The animations are also fantastically done, but as you can probably imagine, with the frame-rate and screen movement issues, don’t seem as smooth as they should be.
The environments are, for the most part, dark and uninviting, and combined with the music, makes for an uneasy feeling. Making it even more uneasy are the environmental objects, most of which are fairly highly detailed, adding quite a bit of immersion to the game. Even though this immersion is lowered by the screen shaking.
Other than that, the bulk of the game is like almost all other Action RPG titles available in the AppStore. Visiting towns exposes you to other characters who need various tasks completed to help them out in their daily lives, like collecting X amount of some herb or material, or killing X amount of a certain type of enemy.
Crafting is included, but could use some tweaking as the amount of items you need to make potions is pretty high, and the difference between a slight increase in potion strength is even higher. For instance, making a 25% HP recovery potion costs you 8 Blooms, while a 35% potion costs 12 Blooms AND 12 Bones. But luckily, you’re able to disassemble items that you don’t need anymore straight from your inventory, without needing to go to a merchant, which lets you build up your gold pretty quickly, so just out-right purchasing potions is your best bet when you’re first starting out. However, crafting isn’t totally useless in the beginning. You’re able to craft Stones which you can use to upgrade your weapons, which really helps out in the beginning portions of the game, and crafting stones isn’t nearly as resource consuming as potions is, with each stone requiring only 6 items, 2 of three different ore’s which you’ll be able to pick up while making your way through the game. Upgrading your equipment is done through the blacksmith, picking an equipable item and combining it with stones. You’re also able to upgrade other stats of your items with stones in the blacksmith. Needless to say, crafting a bunch of stones, and upgrading your equipment is another big part of the game.
With Legend Of Master 3 priced at $5, and not being Universal or including GameCenter achievements, and having a few issues with frame-rate and the camera, it’s a bit on the high end of the pricing spectrum. But when comparing it to other titles, it’s a lot more mature, staying away from the cutsey graphics and story lines of most RPGs. Hardcore fans of the genre will enjoy the deep skill trees, 6 different classes, and huge selection of weapons, along with the upgrading and crafting. The graphics and animations are also top-notch, however marred by the camera issues, which is only such a big deal because of how beautiful the graphics truly are, and the desire to see them as clearly as they deserve to be shown. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something to match the depth, and smoothness of CrimsonHeart, you might want to wait and see if some of these issues are fixed in future updates. Considering the game is the 3rd in the series, and published by Gamevil, there’s a fairly high chance that they will be tackled. Legend Of Master 3 does have it’s faults, but they are easily overlooked once you get deep into the game, and get sucked into the story and combat. It’s definitely a title you should keep your eyes on.
After the success of Hunters: Episode One, the fantastic sci-fi turn-based strategy title from Rodeo Games, it was no surprise when Hunters 2 was announced. Being a Strategy fanatic, I was extremely excited to get my hands on the release. Unfortunately, because of some badly timed events, and large backup of games, I wasn’t able to get the time to check it out. After playing for 5 hours straight this morning, I’m kicking myself for not having it on my device sooner.
Like Hunters: Episode One, your thrown into a civilization which revolves around contracts. There are no governments, only corporation owned planets, and credits and contracts are the only things that matter. Unlike the first Hunters, Hunters 2 has an actual story line which you can progress through while also having access to daily contracts which you can play to earn more experience and money, helping you make it through the story mode a little easier, while also providing some extra challenge.
Starting off, you’re able to choose between Easy, Normal and Hard difficulties, as well as being able to turn Hardcore Mode on, which makes it so that any team members lost during battle are lost forever. After a back-story dialogue scroll down the screen, you’re thrown into a tutorial mission where you’ll learn the basics of the game while also finding out that your employer wants you dead, presumably because of some information you posses. After all but a total of 3 members of your team have been extinguished. Making your way to the end of the tutorial level, the last 3 members are overrun.
You’re then taken to the ship where you can check out the available menu options, Bridge (where you start your contracts), Comms (where you can connect to Rodeo Games, Facebook, Twitter, and check out GameCenter boards and achievements), Armory (where you’re able to equip your team members), Trade (which is the shop, where you can buy and sell items, as well as purchase new members), Manufacturing (which is where you can create your own weapons and armor) and Settings (which lets you change the difficulty, team color, music and effects volumes, and turn the Blood and Free daily Gifts on or off, as well as reset the campaign).
Each member of your team is able to be outfitted with one weapon, and armor, with both having a major influence on how you play the game with those specific characters, with the armor dictating how many moves they can make per turn, and the weapons you equip possibly taking up more than one movement point. As they level up, more abilities will become available to them, giving your team-mates super human abilities, and extra special moves to help them tear the enemies apart. Since you are able to purchase more members from the shop, even leveled up members, this makes experimenting with weaponry and armor very easy, and adds quite a bit of depth to the already depthy strategic gameplay.
The graphics in Hunters 2 are what you would expect from a sequel. If you’ve played the original Hunters, you’re familiar with the look of the environments and character models. Rodeo Games did definitely make the graphics sharper and more vibrant, with some fantastically created plantlife and outdoor environments added to the many buildings found in the first title. They’ve also added some very nice atmospheric graphic effects and animations to go along with the new graphics, making the game even more immersive than the original. Also accompanying the new graphics is fantastic music and sound effects helping to set the dark and dreary mood perfectly.
This time around, Rodeo Games made Hunters 2 Universal, and with it being priced at $4.99, it’s a fantastic deal, especially considering the endless replay value, and extremely difficult challenges that await players in-game. GameCenter is also supported, with a leader board based on how many contracts you complete, along with 33 hard-to-unlock achievements, both also adding to the insanely high replay value. Rodeo Games has done a fantastic job creating a completely immersive world, and compelling campaign to go along with this amazing game. Hunters 2 has quickly become one of my favorite iOS strategy games, and right now, is definitely in the top 3 on my ‘Best of 2012’ list. It’s one game that strategy fans need to have on their iDevice.
I’m still fairly new to the 4X genre, having only been into it for the last couple years, but what I’ve played so far, I’ve absolutely fallen in love with. Starbase Orion is easily one of my favorite iOS games to date, and Ascendancy, Civilization Revolution and Imperium Galactica II have totally got me hooked. Luckily for me, there were a few 4X ‘lite’ games to be found on the AppStore, and without them, I don’t think I would have gotten into the 4X genre like I have. 9 Colonies, Blue Libra and Vincere Totus Astrum played huge roles in my decent into the 4X world, and since then, I still find it hard to pass up on lite 4X titles. Astraware Limited’s Weird Worlds: Return To Infinite Space falls into this category of ‘4X lite’, and just like the other titles mentioned, it’s a great game to get if you’re just starting to uncover the many, many layers of the 4X genre, or even if you’re already deep into the genre, and are looking for a game that you can complete in 10-30 minutes.
There are 3 different types of campaign like scenarios in Weird Worlds which you’ll be able to play through, each depending on the type of ship you choose to command. There’s a Science Vessel, Pirate Corvette and Terran Frigate.
With the Science Vessel, your goal is to catalog and capture unknown alien lifeforms. While you’re doing this, you’ll need to also catalogue new worlds and various deep space phenomena so that the information can be added to starmaps. Playing with the Pirate Corvette will have you exploring the galaxy and grabbing anything of value; technology, artifacts, lifeforms, weapons and hostages. The Terran Frigate’s goals are to make first contact with alien lifeforms determining if they are peaceful or ready for war, as well as obtaining all of the technology and artifacts you can that might be useful to the military.
With each ship, you’re able to decide how large the map is, small, medium or large. As the galaxy gets bigger, you’ll have more time to explore the planets within it. The small map gives you 10 years, medium gives you 20 and the large map gives you 30. You must make it back to Glory, the planet you start your adventure from, before time runs out, or else the points you’ve collected while out in space will not be added to your score. You’re also able to choose the Nebula Mass, which slows down your ship dramatically, as well as the hostile alien’s combat strength.
Exploring the galaxy is simple, tap on a planet, and two taps will pop up, ‘Engage’ and ‘View’. You’re also able to see how far away the planet is, and how long it will take you to travel to it. ‘View’ gives you a little bit of information about the planet, while ‘Engage’ will have you travel there. Once you’re on the planet, if there are any available materials, weapons, other equip items like shields, star drives, propulsion systems, and loads more, as well as alien beings, plant life, technology and artifacts, you can put all of these into your cargo hold, or equip your own ship with them.
Unless you have an item which scans planets within your vicinity, you will not be able to tell if planets are occupied by alien beings or not until you land on the planet. If there are alien lifeforms, you can choose to engage them and find out if they’re hostile or friendly, or just leave them alone without finding out who or what they are. As you travel around the galaxy, you’ll also come across mercenaries which can be hired by trading them items from your cargo hold. Once you have hired them, they’ll fly alongside you in battle, helping you get out of tricky situations. You are also able to equip their ships with items found on the various planets, which does give the whole equip system some depth.
Weird Worlds: Return To Infinite Space is only available for the iPad, and is $4.99. It does have GameCenter support, with 3 boards for the small, medium and large sized galaxies, but does not have any achievements. Right now, Weird Worlds would be much better if it had a lot more items and aliens to come across within the galaxy as right now, it seems like after you play through the game once with each of the ships, you’ve pretty much seen everything there is to see, and all that keeps you playing is the high-score chase. Hopefully the developers have something in mind to add to the replay value. The game is solid in all other aspects. It’s a great game for those of you who are looking to get more into the 4X genre, but are finding games like Ascendancy and Starbase Orion too complex at the moment, or for 4X fans looking for a game that they can play through in short spans.