Number of Results: 39
Today, we’re revisiting two titles that have been extremely entertaining over the last year. Our first one? Explodables developed by Bonpeach. Explodables is a fantastic tap-based score-chasing arcade title that has you blowing up rockets in a 3-color order that changes each level. It might not sound too impressive on paper, but throw in bonuses, health, crown, coin and star pickups, as well as multipliers that you need to drag next to each exploding rocket in order to activate it and multiple environments in each stage, and you’ve got yourself one hectic and action filled, incredibly addictive, score chaser. Since it’s release, Explodables has received 14 updates, each tweaking, and making the game even better, whether it be completely re-designing the tutorial and enhancing the graphics, or improving the performance and altering required level scores, Bonpeach has definitely made Explodables a great iOS arcade title. Still one that I feel will NEVER be removed from my iDevice.
**Note: This review was written after playing Version 1.0
Explodables is a new tap/arcade game from Bonpeach. Throughout the game you’ll go through levels, which are more like challenges, to complete the game. There’s also a Blitz Mode, which gives you about a minute to score as many points as you can. There’s red, blue, green, and white rockets, white rockets are wild, and can be any color you need them to be. The screen is broken up into 3 sections, blue on the bottom, green in the middle, and red on top, and you’ll always have a set color order that results in a combo. You can tap on the rockets anywhere on the screen, but you only get the massive point combos when you tap the rockets in their respective color sections, blue on the bottom, green in the middle, and red on top. If you miss a color, then the combo re-sets, and you’ll need to make the color combo again.
Through the levels, you’re usually given a set score to try and hit, but there’s also levels that challenge you to get 3 crowns, which are given off when you make a combo and get a multiplier circle, which you can then move around the screen. Placing this multiplier circle in the color sections that you need to pull off the combo gives you mega points, and moving it to follow the combo gives you crowns. For instance, if the color combo given to you at the beginning of the stage is red, green, blue, then you’ll need to tap a red rocket in the red section, a green rocket in the green section, and a blue rocket in the blue section, then a multiplier circle will appear, you’ll tap on it, and then move it up to the red section, tap a red rocket, move it to the green section, tap a green rocket, then move it to the blue section, and tap a blue rocket, then 3 crowns will appear. These crowns are the best way to get huge scores, and collecting 6 of them puts you into a bonus stage.
There’s also coins to collect, which you can spend in the upgrade and bonus shops, upgrading the amount of time before a combo chain is lost, the amount of time a bonus multiplier is available, or make it so that stars can be used to help complete combo chains. In the bonus shop, you can purchase a bonus multiplier that starts at the beginning of each level, make multipliers increase in value, or decrease the number of stars needed for bonus multipliers. Hearts are also available and appear when you tap on 5 or 6 of the same colored rockets in a row, and quickly. Collecting 4 of these puts you into a different bonus stage. Also, each time you get a heart, a crowd appears, doubling the score for each rocket you tap while they’re cheering.
All of this might sound confusing, and it kind of is, but the learning curve is great, and you’ll get to experience everything one step at a time going through the levels. Blitz Mode is unlocked once you hit level 20 or so, I can’t really remember when I unlocked it, but it’s before you finish the rookie levels.
Explodables really is a top notch high scoring game, with GameCenter leaderboards for Blitz Mode and Levels 31 through 45. There’s also 45 achievements, all adding to the extremely high replay value of the game. Bonpeach has shown that they know exactly what it takes to make a professional, extremely polished arcade game for the iOS, and at only $0.99, Explodables is a great buy. Anyone who’s into high-scoring games with great scoring systems, and hectic gameplay should definitely check this out. I know it’s going to be on my iPod until it breaks, and I’m glued to Bonpeach, eagerly awaiting updates for this, and seeing what awesome game they come up with next.
Along with Bonpeach’s wonderful arcade title, Explodables, exactly one year ago we also reviewed a great game from a little development company known as Orange Pixel. You might have heard of them. Their title, Super Drill Panic, was released as a FREE game, with ads. There was no IAP for removing ads, but soon after, Super Drill Panic was updated to a paid game, removing the ads, and giving everyone who downloaded the game for FREE, the full paid version. SDP has only received 2 updates since it’s original release, but luckily, it’s not really a game that needed any major updates, and is still one awesome score-chasing arcade game. If you have yet to pick it up, it’s, as you might imagine coming from the amazing OrangePixel Studio, definitely a must own game.
**Note: This review was written after playing Version 1.0.
Super Drill Panic is the new retro arcade game from Orange Pixel, the developers of the awesome Meganoid and Time Chaos. In Super Drill Panic, you’ll make your way through 30 Levels along with two Endless Arcade Levels, while collecting coins, to upgrade items in the shop, hammers to smash through platforms, treasure chests that hold letters (spelling out DRILL once you collect all of them in a world), hourglasses that give you some breathing room, key cards that let you open doors, and glasses that make you invisible, all while trying to escape from a huge boulder trying to crush you or the jail bars from coming down on you.
Orange Pixel caught the attention of many gamers when they released the great platform game, Meganoid. This time, they have stuck with the retro graphics, but tried something new. Super Drill Panic is free. That’s right, free. It has ads, but you can’t complain when you’re not paying anything to play this great game. And it is one great game.
Aside from the awesome retro graphics, you’re given two control options, tilting, and virtual buttons, right on the bottom right side, and left on the bottom left side. I prefer the buttons, as most tilting games get on my nerves, but here, you can make quick turns more easily, and it just plays better while using the button setup.
Throughout the 30 levels, you’ll encounter 6 different environments, along with 2 more in the arcade modes. Each environment has different colors, and different obstacles, but the goal is always the same. Make it to the bottom of the level without loosing all your lives while collecting as much as you can.
In the shop, you’ll be able to upgrade your hammer, to smash through more platforms, your time, which pauses the boulder longer when you pick up the hourglass, your running shoes, which makes you run faster, another time, which pauses jail, burglar vision, which lets you stay undetected longer, and your key tech, which lets you open more doors.
There’s two different characters available to play with, the female is unlocked after beating the first 15 levels. Each has a different set of worlds to go through, different shops, and different arcade levels. With the male character, you try to make it through caves while stealing the treasure and avoiding the boulder, kind of like a vertical version of hook champ, minus the hook, while with the female you try to escape the building after breaking into a vault, avoiding the bars coming down on you.
There’s plenty of challenge, as getting a high ranking at the end of each level is pretty decently hard to accomplish. The graphics are Orange Pixel Retro goodness, sounds, music, it all feels like an old-school Nintendo game, filled with action. I do, however, wish that I could get rid of the ad bar on the top of the screen, even if it was with an IAP, as I do feel this game is worth a buck or two. The arcade levels do add quite a bit to the replay value, but once you upgrade all your items, the replay value goes down quite a bit. For free though, it’s an amazing game, and highly recommended.
**Note: Super Drill Panic is now priced at $1.99
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.
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.
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.
**Note: Crazy Rings HD is available for free, and the XL version (iPad Build) is available for $0.99
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…).
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.
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.
Our second Review Rewind spotlights the great little retro platformer Bloo Kid. Developed by Eiswuxe, Bloo Kid started off as an Android title, but found it’s way over to the AppStore, and I, for one, and definitely glad that it did. With a great challenge and 84 levels, it’s still a game that can be found on my iPod, and that I occasionally play whenever I’ve got a couple minutes to spare. The bite-sized levels make for great jump-in-and-play-for-a-minute gameplay, but it still provides enough challenge that you can sit there and all of a sudden realize that a good hour has gone by. Old-school fans, and platformer fans looking for another under-rated gem need look no further. Bloo Kid is where it’s at.
**Note: This review was written after playing Version 1.0.
Bloo Kid is the first game for the iOS by Eiswuxe. It’s a platformer, soit’s a risky first game, but Eiswuxe has pulled it off almost flawlessly. You play as Bloo Kid, who is trying to rescue his girlfriend from the evil Wizard. You’re given 60 levels through 5 different worlds. Each level is the size of the screen, so don’t expect any side-scrolling goodness. But to avoid clutter, the developer has made it so that enemies spawn in different places of the levels, giving you waves of enemies to defeat before you complete the level. In each level, you can get 3 stars. One star for beating the level, another for collecting the star that shows up at the end of the level, and lastly, for making it through the level without taking any damage.
With platformers, controls and physics are huge. If you can’t nail those, then your game will pretty much tank. Eiswuxe has done an amazing job here making the physics and controls work great. The controls are nice and tight, you don’t need to lift your thumb up to change directions, and the jump button is very responsive, and how high you jump is directly related to how long you hold on the jump button. The buttons are also placed very well, and are just the right size. The physics are great. The game doesn’t feel floaty or weighed down at all, which is always very nice to see. It makes the game feel like a game that’s meant to be played instead of a game that’s meant to be fiddled with, struggling with the controls the whole way through.
World 1 stars out pretty bland, but it’s designed for you to get a real grasp on the levels and how the game works. Eiswuxe decided to make the first world available in the lite version, which might have been a mistake, because most of the interesting gameplay comes after the first world. World 2 gets more difficult, and way more interesting, as you’re faced with enemies that throw objects at you, more platforms that move and take you to other parts of the level, bouncing spikes that you need to avoid, dashing enemies, enemies that you need to jump on in order to make it to other parts of the level, and enemies that need to be jumped on more than once in order to kill them.
From here on, there’s not too many new enemies, but you will facemore and different ones as you progress. The level design as you go along gets better and better as well, and level design in a one-screen platformer is very important. But just like the controls and physics, Eiswuxe has pulled it off almost flawlessly. There are a couple of areas that it’s impossible to jump over spikes without an enemy being there, and a couple levels where the star is placed in an area where you’d need to jump on the last enemy in order to get there before the star shows up. You are given 5 hearts in each level, but having the stages set up this way just adds to the difficulty, and if you’re really worried about getting 3 stars on each of the 60 levels, this adds to the re-playability of the game.
At the end of each world, you’re faced by a boss, who takes 6 hits to kill. Each of the bosses has a special attack that you’ll need to figure out in order to survive the battle. Also, at the beginning of each world, you’re given a little clip of your girlfriend being taken to the next area where you’ll be playing. The animations in Bloo Kid are done very well, even when you stop running your character starts to take deep breaths. It’s got a cute factor to it, but it’s a game with difficulty for sure. Especially if you’re trying to get all the stars. Making it through some of the levels without taking damage might take you multiple tries, but each time you screw up, you’re going to end up cussing yourself, and not the controls or game. The retro graphics are fitting, as it’s a game that reminds me of older NES games with it’s frustration level, and difficulty, and that just draws me to it even more.
For their first game in the AppStore, Eiswuxe has shown that even though they’re new, they can make a professional game with top notch controls and physics, along with wonderful level design. You can check out the lite version in the AppStore, but it only contains the first world, which isn’t a very good representation of the entire game. I almost skipped out on this one because of the lite version, and it would have been a mistake on my end. But the lite version will give you a feel for the game, and let you check out the controls, physics, and first world level design for yourself. I’m giving Bloo Kid 4.5 out of 5 stars, and recommend it to all platformer fans. It could be a 5/5 game if it had online leaderboards, achievements, and some power-ups thrown in, but it’s definitely a game that you will play all the way through, and then most likely end up going back to just to try and get most or all of the stars. For $0.99, it’s a wonderful game.
I am constantly amazed by iOS games. Whenever I even so much as start to think that there’s nowhere else for games to go, WHAM. I find myself in the midst of an original and unique type of game that I’ve yet to see in the AppStore, and it’s almost always by an indie developer I’ve never heard of prior to that release. Well, here it is again, another awesome surprise from a new-to-the-iOS-scene, Spencer Cordes first foray into the AppStore, Tread of the Dead. Ready for another surprise? It’s a zombie game. Yeah, that’s not the surprise. It’s a zombie game, and I’m not sitting here wishing it wasn’t. SURPRISE.
Tread of the Dead is a tilt-based survival game that focuses more on quick thinking and puzzle solving than actual zombie killing and survival. Each stage gives you 3 different weapons to fling at the oncoming zombies, and your goal is to guide these weapons into the various patterns of zombies, slicing each of them in half before you run out of your available gear.
Starting off, you’re only given chainsaws, which are able to take care of the first patterns, and usually in one go, but as you progress through the game, and the zombie’s patterns get more complex, some swift and skillful tilting will be required in order to destroy all of the zombies. Then you’re given another weapon. Shuriken. These nifty little ninja stars are able to either stay locked together as one zombie killing weapon, or split up into 3 equally separated stars preformed by tapping anywhere on the screen. Pulling this off just right can slice up tightly nit zombies while transforming from one to three stars, but only if timed just right. As you progress even further, you’ll unlock pipe bombs, zombies with bombs strapped to their chests, direction changing machetes and more will help you take out the crazy amount of zombies in even crazier patterns as well as some incredibly tough boss battles. Another fantastic thing that’s been thrown in for good measure is the between-worlds ride where you’ll get a environment specific vehicle to mow down road fairing zombies as you move on to your next location.
As if that weren’t enough, Tread of the Dead also contains 4 additional gameplay modes, with one being unlocked every time you complete a world in Adventure Mode. These 4 additional modes? Arcade, where you’ll be armed with a never-ending supply of chainsaws to take out an endless amount of zombies. Once a zombie reaches you, it’s game over. Infinisaw lets you tilt a never stopping chainsaw into an endless mass of zombies as a timer runs down. Here, for each large combo you get, more time will be added to the timer. Once it runs out, that’s it. There’s also Vehicular Mode, which lets you chase down zombies while avoiding objects. Gas is given to you for building up large combos, and once you run out of gas, game over. The last mode is Zombified, where you get to take control of a zombie, and play an endless distance game, avoiding all of the objects that come flying your way.
The graphics and animations are well done, though they are reminiscent of many other Doodle games, they aren’t really cheap looking, but graphics are not this game’s strong suit. However, the animations are great, with nice deaths and cheesy explosions, it’s hard not to laugh, and be drawn into the gameplay even more. GameCenter integration is also included, with leaderboards for each of the Adventure Mode’s 4 Worlds, your Total Adventure Mode Score, and for each of the 4 other gameplay modes as well as 38 great achievements. Tread of the Dead also contains a great in-game stat section where you can check out loads of different stats, and a skin menu, where you can change the colors of all of your weapons once you kill a certain amount of zombies, giving the game even more added replay value.
Priced at $0.99, being Universal, and with the incredible amount of content, as well as the crazy high replay value, Tread of the Dead is a great buy. Developer Spencer Cordes has also stated that more content is on the way, as well as touch screen controls so that iPad gamers won’t have to deal with the sore wrists that come with tilting your device for long periods of time. There’s also a lite version if you’re still on the fence after reading this, and checking out the trailer. I, for one, definitely hope to see more games come out of Mr. Cordes head. There’s obviously some incredibly good ideas bouncing around up there.
One of the AppStore’s most addictive, and incredibly awesome puzzle platformers has got to be Shaun Inman’s The Last Rocket. With it’s great retro graphics, simple one-touch tap/swipe/hold controls, and fantastic gameplay filled with style, it’s one iOS game that everyone should own. Fans of the game will be happy to hear that Flip the rocket is back, in an all new game, Flip’s Escape, an endless game that takes place after the events of The Last Rocket.
One thing I should bring up before we start. Flip’s Escape is not a sequel to The Last Rocket. In fact, aside from having Flip as the main character, it’s nothing like The Last Rocket. Flip’s Escape is more of a mini-game when compared to it’s predecessor, but that doesn’t’ mean it’s not worth checking out. Rather than go the Kickstarter route, Shaun Inman decided to take 3 weeks, and throw together an endless game to appease fans of The Last Rocket, and let them in on what Flip had to go through after the ending of the game. The money made with Flip’s Escape is all going to help fund Shaun’s next game. It is nowhere near as depthy or content rich as The Last Rocket, but is a great idea when you look at the alternative.
Now with that out of the way; Flip’s Escape. There’s one mode contained in the game, but there’s quite a bit of drive and plenty of ‘one-more-go’ gameplay. Flip moves left and right automatically at the bottom of the screen. Tapping anywhere causes Flip to stop moving. The goal of the game is to avoid hitting asteroids while collecting the stars that orbit said asteroids and get as far away as you can from the blast lingering behind you.
Collecting the stars that orbit the asteroids fills up your star meter. Once you’ve collected 6 stars, it’s WARP time! While you’re warping, if you tap the screen as quickly as you can, you’ll build up your warp meter, and travel further distances. Flip also collects gems while he’s warping, which you can use to purchase and upgrade items in the shop.
In the shop, there are two cheap consumable items which you can use to get a little further in your travels; the Nose Cone Drill, which lets you survive 1 asteroid collision and the Star Magnet, which attracts 5 missed stars. These are stackable, and you’re able to take 3 of each into each game with you. What’s great is that if you die and you haven’t used up all of the magnets yet, they are carried over into your next game. Also available in the shop is the Speed Inhibitor, which reduces your maximum speed, and the Speed Booster, which, you guessed it, increases your minimum speed. These have a pretty big effect on your warp distances, as the Speed Inhibitor will cause you to not travel as far while warping, no matter how quickly tap, and result in not collecting as many gems, and the Speed Booster will make you travel further while warping, resulting in more collected gems. You might be asking, ‘Well then why even include the Speed Inhibitor?’ – well, the game can be pretty difficult, and avoiding asteroids can be a challenge, and slower movement helps with that, which could wind up getting you further in the long run. It really depends on how you feel about the difficulty of the game as to which booster you choose to purchase.
Also included in the shop are Friends. These friends are fairly costly, but totally worth saving up for. The Fare earns you 1 gem for every 10 lightyears traveled, and when you’re traveling upwards of 10,000 lightyears each game, that really adds up! The Trailer is your other available friend, tripling the amount of consumable storage space, letting you carry up to 9 of each consumable item. The last items are the Hulls. These are the most costly, priced at 200 and 300 thousand gems, they are purely cosmetic, but do give gamers something to play for after all the other items and upgrades have been purchased.
The graphics and animations are, of course, totally reminiscent of The Last Rocket. If you love the whole retro 8-bit throwback look, you’ll love the graphics. The background animations are also top notch, with stars racing by leaving little streams of light behind them when traveling fast, and those streams of light disappearing when you stop Flip, it definitely adds to the whole feel of the game. The music is also just like TLR’s chiptune tracks, completing the whole retro feel that Shaun Inman has become so incredibly great at creating.
So; is Flip’s Escape worth checking for $0.99? While it is Universal, and supports GameCenter, with leaderboards for Furthest Distance Traveled, Furthest Distance With Upgrades, Furthest Distance Without Upgrades, Furthest Distance Without a Collision and Furthest Distance Without Warping along with 20 pretty hard to snag achievements, all adding the typical endless replay value all endless games have, there will be people that this just doesn’t click with. After The Last Rocket, Shaun Inman set a bar, not only for himself, but for future puzzle platformer developers to come. Flip’s Escape doesn’t come close to hitting that same bar, which will upset some gamers and fans of The Last Rocket. However, if you look at Flip’s Escape as more of a great, unique, original endless game that you got as a special thank you for helping to contribute to Shaun Inman’s next video game project, chances are, you’ll totally enjoy it. The challenge is crazy, and with some insanely high scores on the leaderboards already, the score-chasing has already hit full throttle. Hardcore gamers looking for a hardcore endless distance gameplay experience will eat Flip’s Escape up. It has the ‘just-one-more-time’ hook perfectly done, and lets fans of The Last Rocket in on what happened to Flip after the end of the game. With Flip’s Escape only taking 3 weeks to complete, I’m totally stoked to find out what Shaun’s been working on, and is continuing to work on. I just hope we don’t have to wait too long to find out.