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Interview With Beavertap Games, Developers Of The Casual Speedrun Platformer Mikey Shorts, Coming To The AppStore This Wednesday Night!

There have been quite a few additions to the Speedrun Platformer genre in the AppStore over the last year and a half; Leage of Evil, Mos Speedrun, Commander Pixman, Meganoid, Stardash, Little Acorns and more have provided some great challenges for the more hardcore platform gamers. Well, this Wednesday, casual gamers will be invited to take part in the fun as well, with the release of BeaverTap Game’s Mikey Shorts, a casual speedrun platformer that doesn’t have insanely strict times, but still provides a challenge for the more hardcore players. I was lucky enough to help beta test this fantastic game, checking out every little nook and cranny, and believe me when I say I haven’t had this much fun with speedrun platformer since I got into Mos Speedrun. We were also lucky enough to be able to pull the duo away from their busy lives for a couple minutes and ask them a couple questions about this supremely awesome title. 
Now, I don’t really know the details behind it all, but I do know that the two of you met on Touch Arcade while battling it out on OpenFeint and GameCenter for top scores in Hook Champ and Mos Speedrun. Are there other titles that brought you two together? When did you two start really talking about starting up BeaverTap Games?
We were both invited to beta test for Rocketcat Games in early 2010. While competing against each other in Super Quickhook, we started communicating via email and found that we were both interested in making an iOS game at some point. By the end of the year, we finally got around to making it a reality.



How long did it take you two to create Mikey Shorts, your first foray into the iOS development scene?
We’ve been working on the game in our spare time for over a year and a half, but we really stepped it up in the months before release.



Mikey Shorts is another great addition to the Speedrun Platformer Genre. However, having more lax times for the levels opens the game up to a more casual audiance. What made you two, being the hardcore speedrun mongers that you are, decide to drift away from the strict time limit challenge that most games within the genre have?





We love competing with other people more than just passing a level. We wanted to give every player a chance to do well in the game and show them that earning three stars on a level isn’t impossible. For the more experienced players, trying to rank high on the leaderboards should provide an extra challenge.



Are there any games that directly influenced Mikey Shorts, and are there any development teams that influence how the two of you have decided to build up and run BeaverTap Games?

We were influenced by classic console platformers, but we also looked at some of our favorite 2D platformers such as Hook Champ, Super Quickhook, Mos Speedrun, and League of Evil. We’re following the lead of a lot of developers that communicate with their players and are open to feedback.
Like other genres, there are a lot of different aspects that are incredibly important when creating a platformer; Controls, physics, level design, inertia, ect… is there any one thing that really gave you two a hard time, drove you crazy or that you guys found especially challenging while you were developing Mikey Shorts?





The controls pretty much make or break a platformer on a touch screen device. We spent a lot of time fine tuning the button placement to make sure the majority of players feel comfortable from the start. We also allow the player to customize the placement of the buttons.



It’s pretty clear that the two of you take iOS gaming very seriously. Is the iDevice your main gaming platform, or do you guys prefer playing console games? 

With so many great games, we both consider iOS our gaming platform of choice.
What engine did you guys decide to use to create Mikey Shorts, and why did you decide to go this route?





We chose to use the cocos2d framework because of the community support. There are a lot of tutorials and friendly people willing to help out developers. We use the Box2D physics engine because it’s well documented and used in many cocos2d tutorials.



Now that you’ve got one game release under the belt of BeaverTap Games, what’s in store for the future? Are you guys already kicking around some more ideas for your next game, or are you going to primarily focus on expanding Mikey Shorts for the time being? Do you think there’s any chance iOS gamers will see a Mikey Shorts 2 in the future?





We’re going to focus on trying to make Mikey Shorts even better with updates. Then we’ll continue Mikey’s adventure in a sequel!


Again, we would like to thank BeaverTap Games for taking the time to answer these questions, and we can not wait to check out the final build of Mikey Shorts this Wednesday night. You know we’ll be posting up a review of the game this Thursday, so if you want to know more about Mikey Shorts, make sure you check back then for a full, in-depth review of the game. You can also check out the trailer below, as well as head on over to the BeaverTap Official Site!


Review Rewind: Cubes Vs. Spheres

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.


Review Rewind: Mos Speedrun

One of our favorite speedrun platformers has to be Physmo’s Mos Speedrun. The graphics, controls, physics, soundtrack, music, challenge and difficulty are all, for lack of a better word, perfect. Since it’s release back in April of 2011, Mos Speedrun has received 7 updates, adding more content, more enemies, more costumes, video recording and uploading to YouTube, and more, making it a prime contender for best Speedrun Platformer on the iOS, next to League of Evil. If you’ve yet to pick up Mos, didn’t have an iDevice back when it was released, or just missed out on it, it’s one game every platformer fan needs to own. Snagging the spolight for our third Review Rewind title, Mos Speedrun is still on our devices, and will never be taken off. It’s a great game that we’ll keep coming back to time and time again when we’re looking for a great platforming challenge. 
**Note: This review was written after playing Version 1.5.
Running. When your pudgy like most adolescent kids these days the sound of that very word strikes fear into your little cheeseburger-loving heart.  Fortunately for you this game encaptures the fun that isn’t running and wont make you sweat at all. The gameplay is quite simple, your goal is to run to the goal in the fastest time possible while trying to be speedy around obstacles and enemies.  
Quick reflexes are the name of the game here but with time even the most pitifully uncoordinated player will be able to play like a pro.  The first level is the of course the adjustment level where you get used to the controls and the nuances of the game. After that you are basically on your own to explore and finish all of the levels. Each level is unlocked once you complete the prior level regardless of whatever you scored on it.  In each of the levels there are a variety of different paths that you can take some of which net you more or less coins that influence your endgame score.  Through a process of trial and error you begin to figure out what works and what doesn’t and how you can begin to improve your time and score.  
The reason I am really enjoying this game is due to that factor of replayability.  No matter how well I finish a level I am always intrigued enough to try it again and try to shave a few seconds off for bragging rights on the leaderboards.  At the end of each level you score badges on the various things you did. For example if you found the hidden skull in each level you get a badge, you finish inside the time limit you get a badge as well.  I usually don’t enjoy games that have a in-game timer but I’m okay with it in this orientation because speed is this games middle name and being able to see the amount of time your wasting trying to find the skull and increase your panic level.  After you die in a level (which will happen often believe me) you are sent back to the start where you can watch as a ghost of your previous attempt runs alongside or ahead of your current effort to not die. You have the option to turn off the ghost respawning and the type of control you use in the blatantly obvious option menu. 
Another nifty feature in the option menu is the fact you can change your characters look from there.  The costumes include a ninja, the atypical purple jogging suit, and a bee.  There are 5 worlds in all and to unlock the next one you need to earn a certain number of badges in the previous level. Overall this a extremely addicting game that has you shaving off the seconds in the pursuit of a better score to boast about.  With tons of replayablility and hidden objects you will always find new content in Mos Speedrun.  I give it a 5/5.


Random Heroes [Ravenous Games] – $0.99

Ravenous Games is best known for their breakout hit, League of Evil. If you don’t have it yet, chances are you either just got an iDevice, or detest platformers with a passion. If you do, then you know how extremely high Ravenous set the bar for the rest of the platforming development community, as well as themselves. Playing LoE, it was hard to believe that the same developers of Cave Run had come so far, and gained such an incredible understanding of what made a Speedrun Platformer great. But they did, and after the releases of Burger Cat and LoE 2, it was again hard to believe that it was the same development team. Granted, it was great seeing another side of the studio, but they were far from touching the same bar that LoE set. Now, Ravenous has released yet another title, Random Heroes, another action platformer, originally a Flash game, with Run’n’Gun elements. 
Random Heroes is the story of a city who’s been overrun by monsters from another dimension after a couple of kids knocked over the wrong tombstone in the city’s cemetery. Now a group of unlikely heroes are the city’s only hope. The story doesn’t come back into play until after you complete the 30 stage (33 if you include boss battles) game. You’re right if you’re thinking that doesn’t seem like a whole lot of content. A lot of players have beat the game in roughly an hour. Then there are others who might not have a chance.
Seems Random Heroes is plagued by random crashes and lost iCloud save data as well. Crashing has the potential of sending you back close to 15 stages, depending on how long you spend playing, and playing on more than one device could potentially send you back just as far, if not more so, depending on how far into the game you got before trying it on another device. There are quite a few users who haven’t even gotten through the first stage because of crashing, which can be pretty upsetting. There’s also quite a bit of lag and slowdown. 
If you’re lucky enough to not have to deal with those issues, chances are, you might not enjoy the game as much as you thought you would. The enemy AI is pretty bad, requiring a simple jump over and shoot from behind maneuver to outwit them. There are also multiple areas where enemies will get stuck in walls when turning around, making them very easy prey. It does get a little more complex in the later stages, but basically only because of the amount of ammo the enemies pump out, and how quick they are. You’ll also soon discover that there’s a lot of just standing and shooting, as even with a high powered weapon and character, you’ll still need between 2 and 6 slow reloading shots in order to take the enemies out.
Speaking of high powered weapons, there is a shop where you’ll be able to spend your collected coins purchasing various weapons with different reload and firing speeds as well as damage stats. You’re also able to purchase different characters, each having different health, damage, and agility stats, which is nice, and does give the game a little bit of replay value if you’re determined to unlock them all. Also adding to the replay value is GameCenter integration with 24 achievements, but with no scoring or timing system, there’s also no leaderboards, which is kind of a downer. 
The level design isn‘t bad, with multiple branching paths giving players some sense of exploration, which is nice. Though this does lead to some levels becoming very easy if you’re not into exploration, and only taking about 10 seconds to complete. 
Graphically, Random Heroes looks a lot like League of Evil, especially the user interface, which looks like it was ripped out of LoE. For platformer fans, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the graphics and UI in LoE are one it’s strong suits. The animations add to the gameplay’s aesthetic, and never get dull, and the controls and physics are, as you would expect coming from Ravenous, top notch, so long as you aren’t playing on an iPad, which, to be comfortable, requires that your thumbs are as long as hot dogs. 
I really tried to like Random Heroes. I tried not comparing it to League of Evil, I tried to overlook the crashing, lagging and saved data losses, I tried not to get upset when loosing over 2,000 coins, and be positive when barely moving around when confronting enemies, but it’s hard to really focus on Random Heroes strengths with so many issues, problems, and the lack of content constantly staring you in the face. For $0.99, it’s worth checking out to see if it’ll run on your device(s). Coming from Ravenous, there’s no question that a lot of these issues will be dealt with in a future update, though how long that update takes, and what all it adds to the game is up in the air. Basically all I can say is this; if you want League of Evil, stick with League of Evil, if you want a Run’N’Gun platformer, INC is your best bet, and if you ever want to see Ravenous release another LoE, you might just want to get rid of those hopes.


Disney Fish Hooks [Disney] – FREE

As much as I hate to admit it, Disney has put out some incredibly good iOS games over the last couple years. Where’s My Water?, Puffle Launch, Breakspin, Jelly Car, Where’s my Perry?, it’s becoming harder and harder not to check it out when Disney releases a new title into the AppStore. Their most recent, Disney Fish Hooks, is a prime example of a game I didn’t think I’d like, and ended up eventually loving. What’s even more surprising, is that Fish Hooks is a physics puzzler, something I, personally, got sick of some time ago. But Fish Hooks has so much charm and that spark that keeps me coming back to it that I just can’t ignore it.
Fish Hooks is one of very few Disney original cartoons currently in production, which I guess says something. It revolves around a tiny fish Milo and his friends at Freshwater High, a school in a pet store’s aquarium. Why does this matter? Because you’ll be able to watch some cut-scenes, and unlock Milo’s friends in the game, and it’s always nice to know a little backstory, right? Anyway…
Disney Fish Hooks contains 5 worlds, with 50 levels split up between them and a bonus level in each world which, once completed, unlocks another of Milo’s friends for you to play as. Sadly, the characters do not each have separate abilities or stats, making it purely a cosmetic feature. The goal is to collect all 3 apples in each stage before making it to the exit. This is done by manipulating the environment with bubbles to send your character in different directions, bouncing off of turtle shells, and creating and popping bubbles around your character, making them stop, float up and fall down in specific areas. 
Usually, you’re able to find teeter totter type objects in each level, which can be manipulated by creating bubbles underneath either side of them. Most levels will require that you set up all of these objects before popping your characters bubble, and sending them throughout the stage. As they’re making their way around the stage, bouncing off of turtle shells, you sometimes will need to quickly tap on your character, which will create another bubble around them. This stops them in their tracks, and immediately sends them floating to the top of the screen. This is a handy mechanic when trying to make your character land on a specific turtle shell or when trying to collect an apple that isn’t on the path you’ll travel while bouncing off of the shells. As you move on through different environments, and worlds, more spiffy mechanics are added to the gameplay, like spiky coral which instantly kills you if you touch it, moving turtle shells that require timed bubble pops, anvils that smash through coral, moving coral, and more.
The 3 apples in each stage act as a 3 star ranking system. Unfortunately, there is no GameCenter support, which does take away from the drive to 3-Apple each stage. There is also no scoring system, and no timer, so if you’re not driven by the desire to collect each of the apples, there’s no real additional drive outside of that, which is unfortunate. Fish Hooks would seriously benefit from a scoring system and GameCenter integration, and it is something I hope is added to the game in a future update.
As with most games, when you start playing, it’s a little more than easy. Almost too easy actually. I was almost turned off of the game before completing the first 10 levels. But the physics, level designs, and gameplay mechanics showed more than enough potential that I made myself stick with it, and as the difficulty level gradually increased, so did the amount of enjoyment I was having while playing. 
With Disney Fish Hooks available for FREE, the only thing you’ll really risk if you check it out is time, but if you stick with it, and get through the first world, the game really starts to pick up, and becomes incredibly fun. Seeing GameCenter added in a future update would be great, and judging by Disney’s past releases, and fantastic support through updates with them, I’m thinking it’s a real possibility. Even if you’re sick of physics-puzzlers, Fish Hooks is definitely a title worth checking out, and has the potential to be another Disney game you wind up keeping on your device. 


Review Rewind: Bloo Kid

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. 


Tread of the Dead [Spencer Cordes] – $0.99

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. 


Classic Shooter – Raiden – Is Coming To The AppStore!!!

DotEmu has provided iOS gamers with quite a few awesome titles; R-Type, Avenging Spirit, Another World, Earth Defense Force, Nicky Boom, and more, and of course, their two most recent releases, done with SNK Playmore – Metal Slug 3 and Blazing Star. With all of these titles ported over to the iDevice, I often find myself wondering what DotEmu is going to bring to the iOS next. Well, yesterday, I found out that I didn’t have to wonder anymore. DotEmu announced that they’re bringing one of the greatest SHMUPS ever to the iOS, Raiden. Not only are they porting Raiden, but also 3 of it’s sequels; Raiden Fighters, Raiden Fighters II and Raiden Fighters Jet, all in one complete package named Raiden Legacy. 
Unfortunately, DotEmu didn’t give us a release date, but we do know that it’s coming THIS FALL. If you’d like to keep up on the info, you can always check back here at The App Shack, and you can also like the Official Raiden Facebook Page.

Like their most recent ports, we’re guessing that you can expect iCade, Universal and GameCenter support, as well as customizable controls, and will feature the same mind-blowing gameplay and graphics that made Raiden so famous in an extremely silky smooth 60 Frames-Per-Second. Of course, these are all just speculations, and we won’t know for sure until either closer to the release date, or after the game is released. But needless to say, we’re so psyched that more classic games are getting the superb DotEmu treatment, and we’re definitely hoping to see even more ports in the future.

You can check out some gameplay footage below from all 4 of the Raiden titles that will be included in the Legacy package.


RACEOFF: A SIDE BY SIDE REVIEW; MAD SKILLS BMX vs. MOTOCROSS [TURBORILLA] – $0.99

Two games enter, one game leaves; or takes home the checkered flag; or gets your download or something like that..
Turborilla has just released a new entry to their ‘Mad Skills’ line up with ‘Mad Skills BMX’. In playing this awesome new kid on the block racer, I couldn’t help but compare with their previously released ‘Mad Skills Motocross’ title, and thought I would size them up against one another.
To be honest, I am not going to pick a ‘winner’ out of the two; just provide some similarities and differences, and pros/cons between the two as they are both two of my favorite games on my iPad and iPhone, as this genre has always been one to pique my interest out of all the craziness of titles that make up the AppStore.

 

Controls
Let’s get the big one out of the way, the controls. Mad Skills MotoX provided buttons for throttle/brakes, an un-realistic ‘jump’ button (one of which, I almost never used and still faired quite well on each Division), and most importantly, buttons for lean. There were also options in MotoX for Tilt to lean, and configurable throttle button locations (left/right) and a exclusive option to move the entire control scheme to the center.
In BMX, you still have the option to move the pedaling from either the right/left side. The first thing I noticed was the ‘Tilt to Lean’ on/off radio buttons. When off, I guess I’m kinda ‘slow’ to pick it up, but the tilting was done by swiping in the direction you wanted to tilt. This was quite difficult to master, but by the time I was mid-way through the ‘Intermediate’ division, I had it nailed. You just have to swipe gently/forcefully to get the lean desired.

BMX does not have buttons for anything as it is entirely swiping. My first thought was, well, I didn’t get it, considering how masterful their previous buttons worked on MotoX. The more I played with BMX’s swiping method, the more it jived, and it works…awesome. The key is to not only swipe for the intended outcome, but hold your finger on the screen at the end of the swipe. You swipe down to gain speed on downslopes and to crank wheelies through whoops, swipe up to jump, and contrastingly down to come down quick once airborne. One essential thing for me was to really utilize that down swipe to gain speed on whoops and downslopes. Both games allow you to throwdown back/front flips, but with BMX, you do so by swiping sideways as opposed to hitting the lean buttons on MotoX.
Both BMX and MotoX have very different control schemes, and for their respective games, work perfect.

Graphics/Animations
BMX puts you on one of the bevy to choose from bmx bikes and has you pedaling and flipping through some of the more spot on physics I have come across on the genre. The realism is out of this world and the retina graphics support that feel as they are as lush and gorgeous as they come. Mad Skills MotoX has seen its share of updates, thankfully, and the graphics are not quite as gorgeous as found in BMX, but they are still top notch. When considering wipeouts, MotoX provides ragdoll crunching animations, where in BMX, the riders are a little more stiff. I see the BMX animations as being more realistic, but the MotoX crashes are probably more fun to admire.

Difficulty/Tracks/Bikes
Turborilla has perfected the ability to allow you to get good with their game progressively, and the difficulty curve is among the best I have seen in any games. In MotoX, there are five(5) divisions, with Division 5 being the easiest. The welcomed option found in MotoX is that they included both an ‘Amateur’ and ‘Pro’ difficulty settings, for all divisions, with the former designed for casual players, and the Pro settings for a little more challenge. In MotoX, your competitor could always be seen taking a nasty wipeout allowing you to crank past them with ease and take home the checkered flag. Not so in BMX. The Difficulty in BMX is stiff. Not overly stiff. This time, Turborilla labeled their divisions more accordingly with the first division titled ‘Novice’ and the last being ‘Pro’. BMX however, does not include the option as found in MotoX, for amateur or PRO. This had me replaying some tracks several times over, as to progress to the next Division, you have to take at least 4 wins in your current division.

Another thing to note is that in MotoX, a separate ‘Time attack’ mode exists allowing you to race your previous time, and also includes a ‘Replay’ option in this mode so you can watch your race.
Both games also include the Reset button at the top of the screen, which immediately sends you back to the starting gate.

The tracks in both BMX and MotoX are superb, and ramp up in perfect correlation with your current division and stage/level in the division. The Tracks seemed longer in MotoX than in BMX, and even appear to take longer to complete, but maybe that is because that is true to life. BMX tracks are not long whereas MotoX tracks are the opposite. The obstacles you encounter are sick, and only getting more badass as you progress. What I found best about BMX’s tracks was that there was not one perfect sequence to crank out through the jumps, as in MotoX I was typically hitting the same jumps or rolling over them similarly as I did on the first lap. BMX gave me more freedom to decide what I wanted to roll over, and what I wanted to huck off.
BMX comes with 40 tracks, with no options (currently of course) to purchase additional ones, whereas MotoX currently has 52 tracks in the game, 20+ free downloadable tracks, and a lot of purchase-able really cool and funky tracks as well, that are well worth the extra .99cents to unlock.
One thing I immediately noticed was that in MotoX your point of view/camera angle is a lot further out than as found in BMX, allowing you to see what’s coming up a lot easier than in BMX as in BMX the camera is slightly more zoomed in.

Turborilla does a fantastic job in providing us with cool bikes to choose from, even if we have to pay for some of them. MotoX has 28 bikes, with 6 of them to choose for free, and the rest unlockable at .99cents each. BMX has 10 bikes, with 5 of them to choose for free. One of the funniest out of both games, was ‘The Hound’  in BMX which looks like a dude in a Dog suit with an overgrown head. Too funny.

Both games are Universal, and are priced at a buck. Personally, I found the BMX to be slightly more difficult, and therefore more of a challenge and more engaging. The swipe controls take a bit to get used to, but really, it flows perfectly after only a few races. Turborilla has noted in their app description ‘Tons of Updates to Come’, (ie. GC achievements) and judging by the fact they updated MotoX just a few days ago, I know they have a lot of great things in store for us
Weighing all the things I noted, do yourself a favor; if you don’t have MotoX yet, just buy them both! They play differently enough that you will be entertained by either for quite some time. I have had Mad Skill Motocross on both my devices since its release as it is just mad fun, and I know without question that BMX will remain as well.

Check out this Hilariously original Mad Skills BMX trailer below.

Mad Skills BMX Download

Mad Skills Motocross Download


Anomaly Korea Teaser Trailer + Screens!

11 Bit Studios first iOS game, a port of the Tower Offense title Anomaly Warzone Earth, was a HUGE success. Well, soon 11 Bit will be releasing the sequel, Anomaly Korea, boasting a new engaging story, new units, new powers, and more. We finally got our hands on the teaser trailer, after the world was shown at Gamescom, they got around to uploading the video to YouTube so all of us unfortunates that weren’t able to be there could check it out and get just as excited as the live crowds. Welp, here it is;
You can also check out some of these awesome screens from the soon to be released title;

Beautiful, no? Yeah, we thought so too, which is why we decided to post this even though every other site on the net has already done so. But there’s a reason it’s getting so hyped up. The original Anomaly title received universal acclaim, getting amazing reviews from the mass of review sites around the net, and eventually clinching one of the highest ratings for an iOS game on Metacritic, with a score of 95. The bar has been set, and Anomaly Korea stands to be the only title with the possibility to reach that extremely high bar and go beyond it. So yes, we will, of course, be sharing more information as it spreads across the sites like wildfire. =o)