Number of Results: 4
It’s no secret that The App Shack hasn’t been around for too long. If you’ve been following us recently, you might have noticed that we’re reaching back, reviewing older games that gamers might have missed, or that we weren’t around to review, as well as our new Review Rewind section, re-posting reviews for games that are still on our devices one year later. Well, another fantastic title that we didn’t get around to is Mobigame’s Perfect Cell. After Mobigame released EDGE, they were definitely a development team that many gamers had their eyes on, and like EDGE, Perfect Cell was something that iOS gamers had yet to see, and still has yet to be expanded upon since. It’s an amazingly unique game, and one that all iOS gamers should check out.
Perfect Cell is a Stealth-based Action Adventure title with quite a few puzzle elements thrown in for good measure. Taking place in the near future (2029), a meteorite came crashing to earth. Inside of it, scientists found a living lifeform. Able to regenerate and split itself in the blink of an eye, this lifeform’s special skills quickly became a danger to humans. Now trapped within a secret underwater facility, you’ll need to find your way through corridors, get through a hi-tech security system, and take out guards in order to escape.
Throughout the 35 Story Mode levels, spread across 5 worlds, you’ll be graded on how long it takes you to complete each stage, as well as how many humans you take out on your way to the exit. The environments are beautifully crafted, and with the latest update, are now optimized for the new iPad Retina Display, which just makes them even more outstanding.
The controls are simple, and explained as you make your way through the first couple levels. To move the cell, you just need to tap and hold on the screen where you want it to move to. Simple enough, right? It can also dash, which is used to break through glass, and take out the humans. This can be done either by swiping or double tapping in the direction you want to dash. There will also be parts of the game where you’ll need to split the cell in two, either to complete a puzzle, or to draw the attention of the guards so that you can sneak up behind them. This is done by touching two fingers on the cell, and spreading them apart. You’re able to split the cell into three pieces, each able to maneuver on their own via the regular movement controls. Another special ability the cell can perform is to disappear. Going invisible is done automatically by not touching the screen, and just letting your cell sit in one spot for a short period of time. The last move you’ll utilize throughout the game is a special drawn out attack. This is done by tapping on the cell and holding down for a second, and then dragging a line along a path that you want to quickly move through. Doing this, you’re able to blast through glass, and cut humans in half, as well as make it through some of the quicker environmental hazards you’ll wind up encountering.
Perfect Cell’s BGM and sound effects are top notch, adding to the atmosphere and feeling of the game, helping to draw you into the world. The graphics, as already stated, are fantastic, and on retina enabled devices, really pop. The human character models, however, are kind of pixilated, and with the rest of the graphics being smooth, this really stands out.
GameCenter support adds a bit of replay value to the game, with 2 leaderboards, one for ‘Time To Escape’ and another for your ‘Best Total Time’. 16 Achievements are included as well, but there aren’t many that will have you going back and replaying levels, as they can pretty much all be completed your first time through the game.
There are very few games in the AppStore that I believe screen shots do not do justice. Perfect Cell is one of them. The amazing Stealth/Infiltration based gameplay is full of action, and the puzzles are blended in seamlessly throughout the stages. Perfect Cell does have it’s flaws, but priced at $2.99 and being Universal, it’s definitely a game you won’t want to miss out on, and will not regret purchasing. Even after 2 years, it still holds up as being one of the most unique games you can have on your iDevice. The only thing I wish it had was a Challenge Mode, with separate leaderboards for each stage. Something like this, with time challenges, score challenges and more would add an incredible amount of replay value, as well as round the game out, making it feel complete. Right now, there is a bit of replay value, with the time limits, human deaths, and leaderboards on GC, but it still feels like it hasn’t reached it’s full potential. Being 2 years old, I doubt we’ll see anything new be added to the game, but it’s always nice to dream, right? Maybe we’ll see more if a Perfect Cell 2 ever hit’s the virtual shelves.
Earlier in the week, we reviewed a new Chillingo title, Chimpact. In that review, we kind of noted a couple of complaints about previous Chillingo titles, and their lack of updates and support. But recently, I’ve been chatting it up with a couple of developers who have had their games published by the big name company, and it really looks like our complaints might just be a thing of the past. Hopefully.
Chimpact, Orc: Vengeance, Jelly Jumpers, Catapult King, Eager Beavers, and more are recent releases that have either already received updates, or have updates in the works, which is fantastic news for gamers, and Chillingo. Hoping to add to the revival of this tradition is KIZ Studios, offering up their first iOS title, Critter Escape.
The first thing that drew me to Critter Escape wasn’t the screen shots, or the game’s description. It wasn’t word of mouth, that it’s a Chillingo publication (meaning that it was most likely going to be a very well made, and nicely polished title), or even the trailer for Critter Escape. Nope, what drew me to the game was the development team. KIZ Studio has a great little section on their Official Website detailing not only their History, but also their studio’s Values. In this section, they list some pretty impressive traits that was what really piqued my interest in Critter Escape. Not only do I have faith that Critter Escape is going to get updates, and be tweaked to become the best possible game KIZ can make it, but they’re a development studio that I have no problems in wanting to support.
Now, Critter Escape. Critter Escape is a sort of stealth influenced action/arcade adventure title that puts you in control of a cute little creature that kind of looks like a bean with arms, legs, and a face. Of course, completing the look is his spiffy crash test helmet. When you start the game up, you’ll be able to watch a cut-scene showing you how this little critter was captured by a scientific team in order to perform various tests on him. Before you start the first level, you’ll see another cut-scene showing the critter cuddled up in bed, sucking his thumb, and looking incredibly worried about his future.
Luckily, the scientists forgot to pick up every chemical agent, and you’re able to use these to your advantage. Items that turn you into a huge monster, able to smash your way through guards, speed boosters that let you zip by and away from guards and ghost pick ups, turning you invisible and a superhero pick up that gives you super speed and strength can all be found scattered throughout the world of Critter Escape. While you’re playing, you’re also able to collect, and will earn gems which you can use to purchase these power-ups from the pause menu. When purchased, instead of only taking effect for a short period of time, the pause menu items last the entire level. So if you’re having trouble with a certain level, you’re able to blast through it by purchasing these power-ups. You’re also able to purchase gems through IAP, but these are not required to complete the game, or to unlock any specific levels, as everything can be seen, experienced and completed without the gems.
Each of the levels fits into different objective categories. They are grouped together, with about 4 levels in each group. These range from not being detected, escaping the level before the timer runs out, knocking out all of the guards, rescuing other critters, escaping without using any special items and more. With 120 levels, there are more than just a couple of these objectives. There are also 10 separate environments, adding to the look, feel and immersion of the gameplay.
Critter Escape contains two different control schemes. One is a virtual joystick that appears whenever and wherever you set your finger down on the screen, and the other is a line drawing scheme. I have had some issues with the joystick controls, as they’re pretty finicky, and I’ve constantly found myself needing to readjust my thumb on the screen, and if you’re controlling your character, and accidentally touch the screen with another finger, or the side of your hand, the controls stick until you pick your finger up again. The line drawing controls work a lot better, but aren’t really quick enough for the speedy levels, when you’re being chased, or to avoid a lot of the environmental hazards. The controls are nothing game-breaking, but they could use some tweaks, and I wouldn’t say no to a static joystick.
Graphically, Critter Escape looks great. The character models, objects, and environments all provide a pretty immersive atmosphere, and with the great animations, the atmosphere is only increased. The various enemies and hazards all stand out, even though they graphically fit in perfectly with the environments, which is great, especially when speed running through the stages. The music and sound effects also add quite a bit to this atmosphere, and immersion, making it an extremely polished and well produced game.
Priced at $0.99, being Universal, including GameCenter integration with 36 great achievements and having iCloud support, even with the control issues, Critter Escape is an incredibly fun and entertaining game. It has the usual polish that most of Chillingo’s publications include, and comes from a fantastic development team. KIZ Studios is definitely one to keep an eye on, especially if they follow through with their values, and make Critter Escape the best it can be. Let’s hope this is a new beginning for Chillingo, because they really do publish some outstanding mobile titles.
The last couple of releases from Sphinx Entertainment have been amazingly outstanding. Actually, you wouldn’t be flamed if you said that the last couple releases they’ve put out are the best titles in their respective genres. Sphinx Entertainment is very quickly climbing up the ranks on my favorite developers list, and their latest title, VR Mission EXT, puts them one step closer to the top 5. Taking everything the team has learned from the original VR Mission, EXT steps it up in more ways than one, and could very well be the best stealth based game available for the iOS.
As you can tell from screenshots, and the name, VR Mission EXT gets its inspiration from Konami’s Metal Gear Solid VR Missions. In 2012, the world seems peaceful after several notorious dictators have died. Unfortunately, a secret organization, the Shadow Soldiers, claim that they have the newest and best in Nuclear, Bio and Metal Mechanic weaponry. The last World Nations soldier to go into the enemies base never came back, but pictures were sent out of weapons, and secret intel, leading the World Nations to send in their best agent, Viper, to find out the truth and eliminate all possible threats.
VR Mission EXT picks up where the original left off. Actually, that’s not very accurate. VR Mission EXT contains all 15 missions from the original game, as well as 19 more. EXT was originally going to be an update to the first VR Mission, but after putting in over 6 months of very hard work, Sphinx Entertainment decided to release EXT as a separate app. And it is definitely for the best.
For those of you who have already played the original VRM., you know that one of the most requested features was 360 degree movement instead of the original 4 directional movement it was released with. The update was going to include this, as well as more missions. But after getting to work on the game, Sphinx Entertainment added much, much more. 360 degree movement, more missions, more items in the shop, re-done level designs, and 2 more agents, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, thrown into the mix for good measure. Worth another $0.99? We sure think so.
As you make your way through the 34 levels, you’ll encounter various trap and hazards, like metal floors which make loads of noise as you walk over them, trap doors which will have you falling to your death, and more, as well as numerous enemies, and bosses who are on a mission to take you out. In some of the levels, you’ll come across data pickups, which you’ll need to download while staying out of the enemies sight range, as well as cash drops. These cash drops help you pick up and upgrade items in the shop. Also to help you out, each stage contains 3 objectives, each giving you $500. You’re also able to replay previously beaten missions to pick up some extra cash if you get stuck, and need a hand.
The level designs, and layouts are superb, and the graphics and animations are fantastic. Unfortunately, GameCenter is not supported, which does take away from the replay value and drive for achievements, and perfect playthroughs. The objectives for each stage do help with this, but not having a scoring system, and no achievements to go for is kind of disappointing.
If GameCenter was added in a future update, VR Mission EXT would easily be the best stealth based title for the iOS. In fact, many gamers have already placed it in their #1 spot despite the lack of GC. But for others, it’s still in close competition between Spy Mouse, The Nightworld, Dexter, Silent Swords, Dynamite Jack, Spy Corp. and more. However you slice it, Sphinx Entertainment has created a top notch stealth game, worthy of checking out whether you’re a huge fan of the genre or not. The gameplay is fantastic, hooking you in from beginning to end. VR Mission EXT is yet another fantastic title to add to the ever growing list of Sphinx Entertainment’s creations. Specially priced at $0.99 for launch, don’t let this one slip by you.
The first stealth game I played on my first iOS device was Silent Swords. Since then, the stealth genre hasn’t really gained much ground in the AppStore. It’s not something fans of the genre aren’t use to, good stealth-based games don’t come along too often, and on the iDevice, we’ve only got a couple available to us. But thanks to Hassey Enterprises, developers of the iOS version of Galcon, we can add one more title to the list of so few; Dynamite Jack, a new iPad only stealth game where you control Jack, a captured space marine who was forced to work in the mines can only use bombs and a flashlight to escape.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many more items that Jack can use during his escape, but your two main resources are your flashlight, and an endless supply of bombs which you can use to break through walls, and destroy enemies. You’ll also need to find and collect keycards, data chips, crystals, and more while figuring out how to move through each section of the mines without being spotted.
There are two control setups in Dynamite Jack, a virtual joystick which can be fixed or float, and a line drawing option. If you’re more comfortable with the Spy Mouse or The Nightworld setup, you might want to use the line drawing controls, but for those of you who prefer it, the virtual joystick is a great option, even though it can be kind of finicky with movement, especially if you choose the floating joystick option. This can sometimes get frustrating when trying to quickly hide from guards or quickly place a bomb. With both control schemes, you’re also given icons for turning your flashlight on/off and placing + exploding your bombs.
You’ll have to be careful as to when you have your flashlight on, as it can draw the attention of the mine supervisors, and their only job? Shoot on sight. Not only do you need to be very cautious with your flashlight, but also your bomb placement. Since bombs also draw the attention of the supervisors/enemies, and you’re only able to place one bomb at a time, not being able to place another one until you set off the one you’ve already set, placing a bomb in the wrong spot can get you killed. You’ll need to figure out where exactly to place a bomb so that you can be far enough away, but also not be in the line of sight of the guards as they come over to inspect the loud boom they just heard, and maybe be able to place a bomb between them and their designated lookout area so that you can kill them on their way back to patrol.
What really stands out, aside from the fact that this is quite possibly the best stealth based game I’ve played on the iOS yet, is the fantastic level design. Needing to explore, and being forced to use your flashlight, even in the most inconvenient of times in order to figure out where to go, or how to reach a certain item is fantastic, and adds a ton of challenge and difficulty to the game.
With 28 levels, the game may seem short, but there’s plenty to do even after you’ve completed the game. Each stage has 3 objectives which are optional, but which add to the replay value, or, if you’re determined to snag them all the first time through, add a crazy challenge to the game. These objectives include beating levels in a certain amount of time, getting through levels without using your flashlight, collecting all of the crystals, leaving all of the guards unharmed, collecting all of the data cartridges, beating a level without dying, detonating a certain amount of bombs, and loads more.
Also adding to the replay value is GameCenter integration which includes 13 hard to unlock achievements. There’s also leader boards for speed run times on every level within the game. Here, you can go against your GameCenter friends times, as well as compete with players around the world. If that isn’t enough, there’s also a level editor, which lets you create levels, and community area, where you can share your levels as well as download maps from other players.
With Dynamite Jack priced at $2.99, and definitely standing out as one of the best stealth games available for the iOS, it’s a must buy for fans of the genre. I’d consider it the best if the controls were tightened up a bit. But even if you’re not into stealth games, Dynamite Jack provides a great challenge for casual and hardcore gamers alike, and is definitely recommended.