Monthly Archive: February 2012

CrimsonHeart iTunes Giftcard Contest – Win one of ten $10 giftcards!

Our friends over at ANBSoft have graciously given us 10 iTunes giftcards that each have $10.00 worth of credit on them. In case you’ve forgotten how to do simple math that adds up to $100.00 worth of money in our hands. Since we love you guys so much we have decided to hold a little contest where you could win one of these giftcards. 

Entry Rules:
  • Download Crimsonheart from the AppStore here:Link
  • Write a review of the game that embodies how you feel about the game.
  • Take a screenshot of your review and send it to our email ( so that we can verify that it was actually you who wrote the review. Also include any optional entry you completed in the email.
Example Email:
Hello Dave, 
The screenshot of my review can be found in the attachment above. I also completed the optional twitter entry method and tweeted as @TheAppShack.
Optional Entries:
After you have completed the first entry you can choose to enter again in a variety of different ways. This will cause your name to be entered in the random drawing a second time.  You do not need to complete these entries to win the prize.
  • Compose a tweet about the contest/game and include the hashtag #CrimsonHeart   Be creative!
Update: Only 5 entries have been made so far. Given the current date and the fact that the contest ends after tomorrow their is a fairly good chance you could win a $10.00 giftcard from the 10 we have right now.

Submit your entries before the 1st of March.

‘Sales of the Week’ Feb. 27 to March 4

The official sales of the week post for this week. Well, I could say this for all weeks, but here are the top sales for this week.

-A top notch arcade shooter with fantastic graphics by Lab Rats Studios and published by Ayopa Games. It’s on sale for the first time, and a great deal for a buck. With a large, destructible environment and an arcade-like experience, you can’t go wrong. Unless of course you only play My Little Pony games…
iTunes link

Combat Arms: Zombies-$4.99==>$0.99
-Powered by the Unreal Engine 3, take out hundreds of zombies with the guns in your arsneal. With over 300 real guns in the game, it’ll feel like something that’d happen in your backyard. Err, if your backyard ever is infested with zombies, I mean. This game also provides a code for free extras in Combat Arms Online.
 iTunes link

Lego Harry Pottter-$4.99==>$2.99
-A port of the DS and PSP variants, it’s been longstanding one of the top games on iOS. Like all Lego games, it’s full of fun and enjoyment, and packed with tons of content. A very fun game, with great controls and lots of fun and a spark of magic.
 iTunes link

Oh! Edo Towns-$3.99==>$0.99
-Another great city simulation game by the developers over at Kairosoft. In case you don’t known, it plays similar to freemium city building games without the iAP aspect at all and with a bunch more features. It also features an old Japanese them to it.
 iTunes link

Pocket Wings:Discovery Island-$2.99==>$0.99
-The arcadey flight simulator takes you through a tiny world filled with various environments. With 6 different planes, you can rest in peace (no, not in that way!) knowing that if you crash you actually won’t end up missing your high score. Wait, no, that’s real flying, this way you don’t have to worry about dying. I always seem to mix the two up. Still, you won’t be disappointed by this flight (except I hear the food’s awful).
iTunes link

Commander Pixman-$1.99==>$0.99
-A very retro platformer, packed with many short but very difficult levels with the objective of getting the fastest time. If nostalgia is your thing, this game is it. If not, the platforming elements still make it worth your while.
 iTunes link

-Ever wanted to be a fox and raid a farm for chickens? Well be warned, for the farmer and his wife are going to kill you first! Voiced by the Irish sports commentator Jackie Fullerton, this 3D platformer is eggs-celent.
 iTunes link

King Cashing-$1.99==>$0.99
-King Cashing is a very good mix of Slot Machines and RPGs. Except on these slot machines, you might actually have a chance of winning. Then again you might not either…
 iTunes link

Draw Something-$1.99==>$0.99
-A Pictionary-esque game which pits you up against live opponents in an asychronous format. This is the ad-free version, and on sale for the first time since it released earlier this month.
 iTunes link

Wind-up Knight-$1.99==>FREE
-Wind-up Knight is a very eccentric game, basically an endless runner packed into a level formatting. With lots of variety and vivid graphics, Wind-Up Knight will have you cursing in frustration but enjoying it at the same time. Just don’t stop. Ever.
 iTunes link

Dead Space for iPad-$9.99==>$1.99
-The amazing horror shooter from EA is now a fifth the cost, meaning you can scare yourself silly for only two dollars. It’s far cheaper than seeing that new scary movie in the theaters. Sadly the sale is only for iPad, not iPhone or iPod Touch, but horror fans should rejoice in a great gem of a game.
 iTunes link

Zombie Wonderland 2: Outta Time-$0.99==>FREE
From the developers of the first Zombie Wonderland comes Zombie Wonderland 2. Alongside wisecracking zombie killer Chuck clear out Niceville of its infestation by travelling through time. From a vampire who drinks milk to undead Sumo Wrestlers, this game will have you enthralled. Even more amazing, once you take a break from playing you’ll have traveled an hour into the future!

Extraction: Project Outbreak$0.99==>FREE
A second freebie from the publishers at Chillingo is full of tons of features. A long campaign, 5 game modes, lots of weapons, and a few zombies. Take care of the outbreak, upgrade your weapons and gear, and most of all survive. If you don’t survive, then you die. If you didn’t think that made sense then you may already be infected!

*Note this post will be updated for the duration of the week, and after that a new post will be made for that week. Also note that all prices are based on the structure of the US App Store and may vary internationally.

Pawn’d – 0.99 (Headlight Software, Inc.)

There’s no shortage of Match-3 games for the iDevice. Thankfully, there’s still developers that are creative enough to throw together a Match-3 title with elements that haven’t been done to death. Headlight Software happens to be one of those development teams, showing gamers that there’s still hope for new Match-3 games. Their release, Pawn’d, mixes elements from Chess with Match-3 gameplay, and it provides quite a bit of challenge and strategy.
Gameplay: 5/5
Pawn’d looks like your typical Match-3 game. At first, it looks like it might just be a Match-3 with a chess skin, but once you actually start playing, you notice right away that that’s not the case. You’re able to move the tiles like they move in chess. Your queen pieces can move in any direction, your rook can move left, right, up and down, bishop moves diagonally, and so on. With these movement restrictions, you’re job is to come up with matches of 3 or more of the same pieces.
Pawn’d has 4 different modes, each offering up a pretty significant difference in gameplay. Practice’d Mode has no time limit, and the goal is to come up with 15 matches for each of the pieces. 15 pawn matches, 15 knight matches, etc. You’re scored based on how many moves it took you to get all the matches, and how big your matches were.
Clock’d Mode gives you 30 seconds to make as many matches as you can, scoring you based on how big your matches are, and how many moves you can pull off in the time limit. Poison’d Mode gives you specific pieces which you need to match in a certain amount of moves. For instance, you always start off with a queen tile needing to be matched. In the corner of the tile, there’s a number, this is the number of moves you have to make a match with that piece, or else the game is over. After you match the piece, another piece will need to be matched in a certain amount of moves, with the amount of moves slowly dropping, based on how many moves it took you to match your last piece, until a piece’s counter drops down to zero. There is no time limit with Poison’d Mode, so you’re able to really think everything through.
The last mode is Pawn’d Mode. This mode is a bit more complicated, and requires quite a bit of strategy and thought to score big. You’re given 8 pawns, and once you run out of them, it’s game over. Now, you’re not able to use these pawns, they’re kept track of up in the top right corner. But you’ll loose a pawn if you make a match and it’s only a 3 tile match. The only way you will keep a pawn, is if you make a move, and it’s either a 4 or more tiled match, it causes a cascade of matches, or your move results in two 3 tile matches (like switching a rook and a knight, and having both pieces complete a 3 tile match).
Something that adds even more to the strategy of the game, is that you MUST create a match with the piece that you’re moving. You can’t move a piece, and have the piece that was swapped out of place result in a match, it won’t count. Another mechanic that adds to the strategy is that the pawns switch directions with each turn, meaning that when you begin a game, you can only move pawns up, and with your second turn, you can only move them down.
Graphics: 3/5
Now, most gamers know that graphics are not what makes a game great, though there are certain games that benefit from the additional work put into the environment, atmospheres, and all the graphical design, great graphics are not required to make a great game. Pawn’d’s graphics aren’t really anything to write home about, but they work. The animations are smooth, and the explosions for getting a 5 tile match look great. Games like Call of Atlantis, Xenocube, 7 Wonders, and others, have shown that very polished and expressive graphic design fits in very well with Match-3 games, but Pawn’d shows that super detailed pieces, backgrounds, and environments are in no way needed to make a great Match-3 game.
Replayability: 5/5
As with other Match-3 games, the replay value of Pawn’d is pretty high, and even more-so once you factor in the GameCenter support with 19 achievements and 8 leaderboards. The drive to better your score, and build on or shrink the amount of moves is definitely there, and will keep you coming back to the game again and again.
Overall: 4/5
In a genre that’s been done to death in the AppStore, Pawn’d shows that there’s still room for creativity and expansion. However, how much you like the game will be pretty much directly influenced by how much you enjoy chess, and understand the game. The amount of strategy needed to score big, and compete on the leaderboards might wind up being a big turn-off for a lot of people, especially casual gamers. But if you’re looking for something new in the Match-3 genre, and are a fan of chess, Pawn’d is definitely a game that you need to check out. The assortment of Modes is great, so are the leaderboards, and general drive to better your scores and moves. Pawn’d is Universal, and Headlight Software is very supportive and active in the Touch Arcade Thread. It’s regularly priced at $0.99, but you can pick it up now for the low-low price of FREE. It’s definitely a game you should check out if you’re even slightly interested in seeing how a chess/Match-3 match-up would work out if developed properly.
**Right now, Pawn’d is on sale, and you can download it for FREE**

Neoteria – 1.99 (OrangePixel)

OrangePixel has proven, with their mobile game releases, that they are kings of the retro gaming world. Their lineup of Meganoid, Stardash, INC, Super Drill Panic and more now have another title that’ll eat up gamers lives; Neoteria, an arcade inspired retro shoot-em-up with the difficulty level fans of OrangePixel have come to love and respect. And really, OrangePixel development merged with shmup gameplay… a pretty hardcore fan of both couldn’t ask for more.
Gameplay: 4/5
In the game, you’ll start off with only Easy Mode selectable. As you progress through the first world, you’ll unlock Normal Mode, and once you complete the first world on Normal, you unlock Hard Mode, which, if you’re familiar with OrangePixel’s games, is basically where the hardcore gamers will spend most of their time. You’re given little snippets of the story as you make your way from world to world. The outer mining settlement is under alien attack, and it’s up to you to stop them.
There are checkpoints throughout each world, set up kind of like levels. Each has 3 stars which you can earn by playing on all 3 difficulties. The first star is for beating the level on Easy, second star for Normal, and third for Hard. There are different paths which you can play through on your way through each world, with each path leading to the same end boss. You are able to go back and replay previously beaten stages if you’d like to power-up your weapon, which you do by collecting the blue crystals that enemies leave behind, or if you’d like to try and travel through all the paths in each world.
Graphics: 4/5
As with other OrangePixel games, Neoteria is done in a retro style that looks fantastic. However, there is one little drawback. On the iPad, the graphics have a little blur behind them whenever objects are moving. This includes the backgrounds, environments, player ship, enemies, and projectiles. It’s not too much of an issue, because most of the time, you’ll be focusing on the crazy amount of enemies coming at you, and trying to survive, but it is there. I’m not sure if it’s there on the iPod, because of the smaller screen, but if it is, it’s not noticeable.
Controls: 4/5
The controls for Neoteria aren’t really what you would expect from a shooter like this, and it’s where the arcade inspiration really becomes apparent. On the left side of the screen, you’re given two buttons for movement of your ship up and down, and on the right side, there’s a fire button, but you can tap anywhere on the right side of the screen to fire. There is no auto-fire, so you’ll constantly be tapping on the right side of the screen to shoot. Here’s where those quick tapping abilities all you old-school gamers should still have come in handy.
In the Controls Menu, you’re able to move the buttons around as you see fit, which definitely comes in handy if you’re playing on an iPad. However, the touch detection area is pretty small, and does not go outside of the buttons at all. This can result in your ship not going up or down because your thumb is the slightest little bit off. This is understandable, since you are able to move the buttons around, and could potentially have the up button pretty much touching the down button, and you wouldn’t want the detection area to overlap. Being able to make the buttons bigger would be a nice way of fixing this, especially since they go invisible after a short time, and obscuring the gameplay area wouldn’t really be an issue with it.
To top it off, it’s also iCade and Joypad supported!
Content + Replayability : 4/5
Neoteria does not really have a whole lot of content, especially when compared to the insane amount of levels in OrangePixel‘s other titles. 3 worlds, each with 8 pretty short levels in them. I’m hoping that like their other games, Neoteria will get some nice content updates in the future. But like other shmups, the value is really in the replay value, not necessarily in the content, and Neoteria has it in spades. Yes, there are only 24 short levels in the game, but you’ll be able to play through them with each of the 3 characters, and finding out how to make it into the hidden paths could take a while.
There’s also the scoring system. At the end of each level, your score is based on the percentage of the level’s enemies that you wiped out, your shot accuracy, and the score you built up while playing through the level. This does add an extra level of replay value, as the first couple times you play through the game, you’ll probably be pounding away on the fire button, and then start trying to increase your score by getting higher accuracy percentages.
Neoteria is also supported by OpenFeint and GameCenter, with 12 achievements, and 3 leaderboards, one for each character (difficulty). So if you’re a high-score chaser, battling for a higher position on the leaderboards is sure to keep you busy for some time. Getting all of the achievements should also take a while, as a lot of them are for finding the secret paths, and 100% completing each difficulty.
Overall: 4/5
Granted, Neoteria isn’t OrangePixel’s best release to date, but I’m ecstatic that one of my favorite development teams released a shmup, one of my favorite type of games (yeah, I’m a platformer/shmup/strategy fanatic). The developers have said that they’re working on another control scheme, as a few players aren’t really comfortable with the current set-up, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it got a few content updates as well. OrangePixel’s other titles have also been known to get very fleshed out/extremely polished based on player feedback, so the distortion with the graphics, touchy controls, and any other issues that there might be, have a very good chance of being dealt with.
At $1.99, being Universal, having iCade and Joypad compatibility, as well as the crazy high replay value that comes along with shmups and games having GameCenter and OpenFeint support, not to mention, it’s ORANGEPIXEL, it’s a great buy.

Tobe & Friends Hookshot Escape Preview

This Friday post comes with good news! Secret Base’s iOS debut title, Tobe & Friends Hookshot Escape is officially launching on March 1st. I have not yet played the original Tobe computer games (Vertical Adventure, Hookshot Escape…), but I believe the gameplay is just about the same. After playing through Hookshot Escape, I must say that I am blown away by how well the controls work and also by the gorgeous yet simplistic artistic design.
We will have a full review on release day, but I’ll spoil some things for you to get you by. First thing you need to know is that there are a ton of unlockables. A ton. This game will keep you busy for a long time. Second, this game is HARD. You might think otherwise when you get your hands on Hookshot Escape, but in my mind this game is downright difficult. But keep in mind that every fall and every mis-step keeps you coming back for more. So far, Tobe & Friends Hookshot Escape feels like the perfect blend of hardcore platforming/hookshotting and a good time. That’s all I’m going to say for now. Check out the trailer and screens and mark March 1st on your calendars!


SZC: Beyond Dead – 0.99 (Monster Robot Studios)

Beyond Dead
Metroidvania titles are essentially few and far between when compared to the sheer amount of games within every other genre. So every time a Metroidvania title pops up, I can’t help but get excited. When I first saw the screens for Monster Robot Studios (GravCat, Bridge The Gap, Occupy App) new game, Beyond Dead, my jaw just about hit the floor. The game looks like a great homage to old-school Metroid games, and for those of you who don’t know yet, Metroid II is my favorite game… OF ALL TIME. One little drawback though; GameSalad.
Gameplay; 3/5
Reminiscent of Metroid titles, something has gone wrong with terraforming project 1470. Two mercenaries, Tank and Vera, respond, and are after the truth. They make their way to the Asteriae system and need to explore the asteroid facility to find out what exactly went wrong. As you progress through the game, you’ll pick up stronger weapons, extra abilities, and battle zombie-like humans, along with monstrous beings, and slowly discover what’s happening within the facility. The story is well told, with no grammatical errors, and unfolds at a steady pace.
The action, however, is a bit on the slow side. You can shoot at and jump on your enemies, though both attack methods are fairly slow when it comes to killing. To avoid taking too much damage, you’ll be doing quite a bit of the run away, stop, take a couple shots, run away, stop, take a couple shots, ect… and that’s until you come across some stairs, which you’ll fall through if you’re going after a zombie because you’ll need to aim your weapon the correct way to use the stairs. While exploring, jumping can feel more like a hassle than anything, with a lot of platforms seemingly just out of reach until you try and make it to them more than a couple times.
There’s also the loading times. Typical GameSalad loading times, though moving from room to room is done in a flash, hitting the Pause button, or going to your Map will take about 4-5 seconds to load, and 4-5 seconds to exit, breaking up the gameplay quite a bit. The loading times between sections of the world aren’t so bad, as you’re given a pretty nifty picture to look at while the game is loading, but entering the Map and Pause menus can be a hassle. This is even more upsetting because of the exploration in the game. Don’t get me wrong, the exploration in Beyond Dead is fantastic. Completely reminiscent of old Metroid titles, which is great. Actually, it’s probably the strongest feature of the game. But breaking up the strongest feature of the game with loading times for the Map is… upsetting. I found myself constantly wishing that Monster Robot Studios used a different game engine.
Controls: 4/5
Control-wise, you’re given two options;
Touch and drag anywhere on the left side of the screen to walk. Drag your finger up or down to adjust your aim. Double tap to dash. Tap anywhere on the right side of the screen to fire your weapon. To jump, swipe your finger up on the right side of the screen, and when you get weapons, you can slide your finger down to put the safety on or take it off. If you put the safety on, touching anywhere on the right side of the screen is your action button.
You’re given 4 arrows on the left side, two for left and right movement, and two in-between the movement buttons for aiming your weapon up and down. On the right side of the screen, there’s a jump button and a fire button, as well as dash and safety on/off buttons.
You’re able to change the controls in the pause menu, and are also able to make it so that you’re given the d-pad on the left side, while having the no-button set-up on the right, or having the buttons on the right, and the no-button set-up on the left. The only issues I have with the controls is that you don’t jump until you let go of the jump button, instead of jumping right when you touch the jump button, and sometimes the movement buttons are slightly un-responsive, causing your character to stop moving while walking, or in the air. Aside from this, the controls work pretty well, and being able to mix and match control set-ups to fit your gaming style was a great idea, implemented fairly well.
Graphics: 4/5
The graphics for Beyond Dead are really not bad, and at some points, when there are objects dangling from the ceiling close to the camera, like in the trash compactor area, look very nice. The animations for firing your weapon, jumping, enemy deaths, projectile collisions, explosions, they’re all there, and they’re not bad, but again, I can’t help but think that if this much effort was put into the game while using another engine, like Unity or Corona, that the game would look amazing.
Content: 3/5
Right now, Beyond Dead only contains the first ‘episode’. More episodes are in the works at the moment, and talking to the developer, I can’t see any reason why they wouldn’t be added, but ever since the ordeal with Grokion, it’s hard to really push any game that has more worlds coming, or future episodes being made. But with Episode 1, there’s about 45 minutes of straight line gameplay, and then about an hour (maybe a little more) of exploration if you’re interested in looking for extra weapons, an energy tank, and just getting to know the whole game’s world.
As it is right now, there’s not a whole lot of replay value, if any, but hopefully GameCenter will be added in the future, and include achievements, and maybe a leader board for number of zombies killed, quickest times for completing the episodes, things like this, as they would give gamers incentive to run-through the game again after completion.
Overall: 3.5/5
You can tell that Beyond Dead has had a lot of work thrown into it. The graphics are great, especially considering they’re done within GameSalad, and the exploration throughout the first episode is done in a way that drives the game forward. Like I’ve said already, I can’t help but wish the game was made with another gaming engine, because Monster Robot Studios obviously has the talent it needs to create a very nice Metroid-like exploration action-platformer. For a dollar, and future episodes promised, at no extra price to those who pick the game up now, it’s worth buying, especially if you’re a fan of the Metroidvania genre. Just don’t expect a super polished, epic exploration game.

DariusBurst – 10.99 (Taito)

With the hardware for iDevices getting more powerful year after year, it’s no surprise that iOS gamers are seeing more and more games ported over from other platforms. Luckily, quite a few of these games that are being ported over, are getting enhancements, and cost a fraction of their original price. Taito, recently bringing RayForce, a shmup from the early 90’s, released in Arcades, on the Sega Saturn, and Windows, over to the iOS, also decided to port over one of their newer titles, DariusBurst, a PSP and Arcade game, released only in Japan. Taito has also added quite a few features to the iOS version, giving it an all new SP Mode with new enemy patterns, and revised boss battles, as well as the Assault ship from the arcade version of the game, and new music.
Gameplay: 5/5
With DariusBurst SP (Second Prologue) the setting switches between under-water and space levels, with the bosses being mechanical sea-creatures. This makes for 8 possible run-throughs of the game, and is a great change of pace from the standard World War/Vietnam shoot-em-ups that have cluttered the AppStore over the last couple years.
You’re able to choose between 4 ships, with 2 being locked when you first start the game. To unlock these, you’ll need to do a full run-through of the game in either Original or SP Mode, and to get the second locked ship, you’ll need to unlock Mission Mode, and complete 2 missions in Level 3. Each ship has their own strengths, multipliers, and burst shots.
Like other Darius games, you’re able to choose 5 stages while progressing through a pyramid set-up, having 11 levels in total. While blasting away, you’ll come across various enemies that will be colored either red, blue, or green, each powering up your shot, shield, and missiles.
There are 3 different gaming modes; Original, SP, and Mission. With Original Mode, you’ll be able to experience the original PSP version of the game, with the same enemy patterns and music. The SP Mode gives you a chance to blast through different enemy patterns, and revised boss battles, and all with a remixed soundtrack. With Mission Mode, you’re given 8 different levels to play through, each with 4 missions. You’re only given one life, and are put up either against a regular level without a boss, or only a boss battle, and are set to try and score as high as you can within those parameters. Mission Mode is unlocked once you’ve completed two different paths through the game in either Original or SP mode.
Scoring Mechanics: 4/5
The scoring system in DariusBurst is fairly simple, at least, compared to some of the other depthy scoring mechanics some other Bullet Hell titles have. You’re given a Shot Multiplier which increases as you take out enemies throughout the level and each time you’re hit, your Shot Multiplier goes down. The fastest way to increase the Shot Multiplier is to take out large groups of enemies with your burst shot.
Each ship has their own Burst Multiplier, which is added on to the Shot Multiplier. Each ship has their own Burst Multiplier. For instance, Legend and Next Zero ships both have a 6x Burst Multiplier, giving them a top multiplier of 96x. The Assault ship has a 7x Burst Multiplier, topping out at 112x. To take advantage of this, killing the last enemy in a formation, as well as the mid-bosses, bosses, boss pieces and large enemies will give you the highest scores.
You’re also given bonus points at the end of the game for the amount of ships that you have, getting 10 million bonus points for not dying once. There are also some routes that will give players more points than others. Basically, use your Burst to take out large groups of enemies, large enemies, mid and end level bosses, and try to not get hit or die, and you’ll score big.
Graphics: 5/5
The graphics in DariusBurst are fantastic. 2.5D gameplay adds more depth than you would think, with ships able to fly by on the “right” and “left” sides of your ship before coming into “firing view”, and the backgrounds that move alongside the foregrounds where the gameplay is taking place looks gorgeous. There’s also areas where you might get dizzy because of the speed and way that the background moves about, giving the illusion of the ship turning down a 3D corridor, and out into space. Animations for the enemies, especially bosses, as well as the explosions, all look incredible. With the game being Universal, it really shines on the iPad 2, with crystal clear and very crisp visuals, it’s definitely one of the best looking games I’ve had the pleasure of playing on an iDevice over the last couple years.
Replay Value: 5/5
As with most other shmups, DariusBurst comes along with a huge amount of replay value, especially with the Mission Mode Stages. There’s 3 difficulties, selectable in the Options Menu, GameCenter support with 17 leaderboards, and a whopping 59 achievements. With all 4 of the ships having different types of play, learning how to best play with each of them, along with the different paths you can choose from in both Original and SP Modes, the amount of replay value is extremely high, especially if you’re a completionist who’ll go after all 59 of the achievements.
DariusBurst is set up like a quarter sucking arcade game, and because of that, it has the potential of staying on your device forever.
Overall: 5/5
Taito’s release of RayForce had quite a few fans of the shmup genre worried, as the controls were sketchy, and the gameplay not differing at all between iPhone and Arcade modes, but with the release of DariusBurst, and all of the extra effort that went into creating a special game for the device, Taito has re-claimed a spot directly under Cave on my favorite shmup+bullet hell developers list. The price of $10.99 is a GREAT deal, especially considering the PSP version is selling between $30 and a whopping $120, and doesn’t contain all the extras that the iOS version has. If you’re a fan of shmups, DariusBurst is a MUST BUY. Being Universal, beautiful on the iPad, smooth as butter on the iPod, and just a blast to play, Taito deserves to be supported for this. Hopefully other development companies see the support Taito is getting, and will take the iDevice more seriously. It’s games like this that push the AppStore forward, and give me hope that the device I use as my main gaming console will grow above and beyond ‘real’ gaming platforms.

Crimsonheart iTunes Giftcard contest – Win one of ten $10 giftcards!

Our friends over at ANBSoft have graciously given us 10 iTunes giftcards that each have $10.00 worth of credit on them. In case you’ve forgotten how to do simple math that adds up to $100.00 worth of money in our hands. Since we love you guys so much we have decided to hold a little contest where you could win one of these giftcards. 

Entry Rules:
  • Download Crimsonheart from the AppStore here:Link
  • Write a review of the game that embodies how you feel about the game.
  • Take a screenshot of your review and send it to our email ( so that we can verify that it was actually you who wrote the review. Also include any optional entry you completed in the email.
Example Email:
Hello Dave, 
The screenshot of my review can be found in the attachment above. I also completed the optional twitter entry method and tweeted as @TheAppShack.
Optional Entries:
After you have completed the first entry you can choose to enter again in a variety of different ways. This will cause your name to be entered in the random drawing a second time.  You do not need to complete these entries to win the prize.
  • Compose a tweet about the contest/game and include the hashtag #CrimsonHeart   Be creative!
  • More optional entry methods will become available as the contest goes on. 

Submit your entries before the 1st of March.

‘Beat Sneak Bandit’ Review

It’s rhythm! No, it’s puzzle! Actually, it’s both: Rhythm
AND puzzle! Simogo’s Beat Sneak Bandit is a rhythm puzzle game where you
attempt to sneak your away around police officers, spotlights, and vacuums and
you attempt to save the city from a terrible misfortune brought by Sir Duke.


The core of Beak Sneak Bandit’s gameplay lies in its simple
one-tap control. You tap to move, turn around if you’re facing a wall, and
climb stairs. With that, every level is presented as a puzzle, with obstacles
such as police officers who cause you to fail if they see you, moving
platforms, and buttons that open or close walls (which works both ways, because
the wall allows you to turn around). As you move around, you attempt to collect 4
clocks as well as reach a final 5th clock. Basically, it’s your
classic 3-star level, but with 4 now. At the very heart, Beat Sneak Bandit is a
basic puzzle game, however, when you add the rhythm element into the genre, it
becomes a totally new game; it’s now a music puzzler. What’s fascinating is
that the focus is not on a person’s ability to perform rhythms; the time
signature is in 4/4, and you simply tap on one of the four quarter note beats
to move. Instead, the game is about your ability to observe patterns in the
level. As every obstacle makes a noise when they perform an action, you put
your auditory skills and combine them with your visual skills to plan out your
action, and these two elements blend perfectly. I cannot say how much joy I’ve
gotten out of this game; it’s not just how fun it is, but how utterly creative
it’s core element is; I’ve never seen it done before and it just works
As a music aficionado, you can say that I may favor music
games, but I can always easily find any flaws within the game. I can say with
confidence that there are none to be found. However, those that do have trouble
with rhythm may find the difficulty to be high, but I personally found the
overall game to have a nice difficulty curve.


Beat Sneak Bandit presents itself in a charming, funky sort
of way, loaded with personality. I do have some minor complaints about the
level select system, as you need to scroll through levels instead of simply
picking one. Overall though, the game executes itself extremely well and is a
refined piece of art. I can honestly say, it’s games like these that make me
appreciate videogames as art.

Flows well, no lag or crashing, and the artwork is nice and
bright. It’s everything you could ask for. I don’t need to say anymore.


Oddly enough, as a music game, the music soundtrack isn’t as
amazing as I thought it would be. With that said, there is nothing wrong with
the funk and jazz tracks that it brings, as well as the noticeable music cues
to aid your timing in the game; it’s still a strong element.

Beak Sneak Bandit offers 40 core levels, 16 shadow levels,
12 remix levels, and 1 boss level, for a grand total of 69 levels. Considering
how each level might take a few tries to learn the pattern, you’ll be spending
a decent amount of time trying to figure out how to 4-clock every level. It’s a
game that will last you a decent amount of time, and if you’re still not done,
then go for the achievements from Game Center.

Unless you’re continuously had dreadful experiences with any
type of music or rhythm game, you’ll find Beat Sneak Bandit an immersive and
unique experience. You’re not simply playing the game, but when you play, you’ll
have immense appreciation for the game. And that’s why I can say with full confidence,
Beat Sneak Bandit will be a top contender for Game of the Year.

Gameplay: 5/5

Presentation: 5/5

Graphics: 5/5

Sound: 4/5

Replay: 4/5

Picomy Teases New Heroki Screens

Back in December, we heard about an upcoming platformer of sorts named Heroki from Picomy Games.  From the info that we have, Heroki won’t be your standard platformer.

The game will be based around a flying mechanic, giving players greater freedom to go where they please.  One detail that I want to hear more about is the ‘Flow Motion Control’ scheme. This sounds like a streamlined virtual control scheme which, if it works well, should make the game totally awesome.

The reason why I call Heroki a pseudo-platformer is because there it sounds like there is so much more to it.  Apparently, there will be 5 large worlds to explore.  In each world Heroki will learn a new ‘ability’ which will then drastically alter the gameplay.  This aspect of the game is very intriguing and I can’t wait to see how it all pans out.

Also, at any time in the game Heroki will be able to warp back to a “home base” called Levantia which will house NPC’s and shops.  While in Levantia, you can perform side quests like treasure hunts as well as buy/sell things at the shops.

Heroki really seems to be shaping into a huge project and I will be eagerly following the game’s progress.  Let’s all hope Picomy Games comes through with a major success on this title. Until we hear more info, enjoy the console-esque artwork showcased in the screens and teaser trailer.