Search Results for: label/241.99

Number of Results: 37

Review Rewind: Super Drill Panic

Along with Bonpeach’s wonderful arcade title, Explodables, exactly one year ago we also reviewed a great game from a little development company known as Orange Pixel. You might have heard of them. Their title, Super Drill Panic, was released as a FREE game, with ads. There was no IAP for removing ads, but soon after, Super Drill Panic was updated to a paid game, removing the ads, and giving everyone who downloaded the game for FREE, the full paid version. SDP has only received 2 updates since it’s original release, but luckily, it’s not really a game that needed any major updates, and is still one awesome score-chasing arcade game. If you have yet to pick it up, it’s, as you might imagine coming from the amazing OrangePixel Studio, definitely a must own game. 
**Note: This review was written after playing Version 1.0.
Super Drill Panic is the new retro arcade game from Orange Pixel, the developers of the awesome Meganoid and Time Chaos. In Super Drill Panic, you’ll make your way through 30 Levels along with two Endless Arcade Levels, while collecting coins, to upgrade items in the shop, hammers to smash through platforms, treasure chests that hold letters (spelling out DRILL once you collect all of them in a world), hourglasses that give you some breathing room, key cards that let you open doors, and glasses that make you invisible, all while trying to escape from a huge boulder trying to crush you or the jail bars from coming down on you. 
Orange Pixel caught the attention of many gamers when they released the great platform game, Meganoid. This time, they have stuck with the retro graphics, but tried something new. Super Drill Panic is free. That’s right, free. It has ads, but you can’t complain when you’re not paying anything to play this great game. And it is one great game.
Aside from the awesome retro graphics, you’re given two control options, tilting, and virtual buttons, right on the bottom right side, and left on the bottom left side. I prefer the buttons, as most tilting games get on my nerves, but here, you can make quick turns more easily, and it just plays better while using the button setup. 
Throughout the 30 levels, you’ll encounter 6 different environments, along with 2 more in the arcade modes. Each environment has different colors, and different obstacles, but the goal is always the same. Make it to the bottom of the level without loosing all your lives while collecting as much as you can.
In the shop, you’ll be able to upgrade your hammer, to smash through more platforms, your time, which pauses the boulder longer when you pick up the hourglass, your running shoes, which makes you run faster, another time, which pauses jail, burglar vision, which lets you stay undetected longer, and your key tech, which lets you open more doors.
There’s two different characters available to play with, the female is unlocked after beating the first 15 levels. Each has a different set of worlds to go through, different shops, and different arcade levels. With the male character, you try to make it through caves while stealing the treasure and avoiding the boulder, kind of like a vertical version of hook champ, minus the hook, while with the female you try to escape the building after breaking into a vault, avoiding the bars coming down on you. 
There’s plenty of challenge, as getting a high ranking at the end of each level is pretty decently hard to accomplish. The graphics are Orange Pixel Retro goodness, sounds, music, it all feels like an old-school Nintendo game, filled with action. I do, however, wish that I could get rid of the ad bar on the top of the screen, even if it was with an IAP, as I do feel this game is worth a buck or two. The arcade levels do add quite a bit to the replay value, but once you upgrade all your items, the replay value goes down quite a bit. For free though, it’s an amazing game, and highly recommended.
**Note: Super Drill Panic is now priced at $1.99

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.

Wispin [Grumpyface Studios] – $1.99/$2.99

I won’t bore you with the excessively long list of games that were released before the inception of The App Shack. Needless to say; it’s LONG. But there are handful of games that will never leave certain iDevices, and games that we’re reminded of when a developer comes out with another iOS release. One of those games happens to be Grumpyface’s Wispin. Wispin was one of the first FREE games I ever got in the AppStore, back in December of 2010, right after I found out that developers actually had days that they would give their games away for nothing. That’s right, I was a slow learner. But once I found that out, I turned into an AppStore junkie, and Grumpyface’s Wispin had remained and been transferred over to every iDevice I’ve owned, and the release of Super Mole Escape has reignited my love of the game. 
Now, just like Bring Me Sandwiches!! and Super Mole Escape, Wispin is a little wacky. Granted, it’s not as totally off the wall as BMS!!, but Grumpyface’s humble roots are definitely showcased within it. Wispin contains 3 separate environments each in 2 different gameplay modes; Standard, which starts you out with 3 lives, and Intense, which starts you out with 1, and further into the hectic, Standard gameplay. 
Containing two control methods, there are two different ways to play the game, and I absolutely love when controls offer up a totally new gameplay experience. When using the tilt control method, Wispin plays a little like Tilt To Live, with color control, and using the virtual joystick plays more like a dual-stick arcade title. 
The main goal is to change the color of Wispin with the color wheel, to match up your color with the enemy’s color, and then smash into them, effectively destroying them. There are 3 different colors you can turn Wispin into; Red, Green and Blue. However, not all enemies follow this set of 3 colors all the time. Occasionally, they will turn purple, yellow, orange, and more, making you avoid them until they turn back into one of the 3 basic colors you can match up with. Wave after wave, Wispin is an endless game, with you trying to survive as long as you can. 
The scoring system helps add to the fantastic gameplay, with perfect rounds and multipliers/combos, reaching for both is essential in scoring big. At the end of each wave, if you did not get injured by one of the evil Bloopers, you’ll get a ‘Perfect Wave’ bonus, and this bonus score increases with each consecutive perfect wave you manage to get. Multipliers and combos are based on a gauge. Once you destroy a Blooper, the gauge is filled, and starts quickly running down. To keep a combo going, you’ll need to destroy another Blooper before the gauge empties again. This gauge can also be filled up to the point where you’ll spin wildly around, bouncing off of everything in a ‘controlled’ sort of chaos that lets you destroy all Bloopers of all colors. 
Along with the spinning power-up, there are items which you’re able to pick up as you make your way through each wave. Cheese that draws Bloopers of a certain color into one area, bombs that take out one color of Bloopers, arrows that you can fling at Bloopers and a special tap power-up, which, once activated, turns Wispin into a blob, disappearing from the gameplay area, and lets you tap on each of the Bloopers, destroying them. The items do stack up when you collect like items, but if you pick up a cheese item when holding arrows, the arrows will be replaced. 
The graphics and animations in Wispin are fantastic. Cartoon-esque environments and character models, which are great by the way, and great explosion/death animations all runs extremely smooth, even on 1st Generation iPod Touch devices. The music and sound effects are great as well, adding to the arcade sound and feel of the whole game. 
Although it could use another gameplay mode and more enemies. Maybe a couple more power-ups, with Wispin priced at $1.99, and $2.99 for the HD build (which has bigger gameplay areas, and re-sized virtual controls), and GameCenter support with 14 separate leaderboards, including boards for highest score in both Standard and Intense Modes on each of the 3 different environments, highest wave reached in each environment, longest survival time in each environment, highest combo and total Bloopers destroyed, as well as 21 hard to snag achievements, there’s endless replay value, and several different ways to play when score-chasing. Since Wispin’s release, Grumpyface has created two more extremely wild and fun titles, both of them getting 5 star ratings in our reviews, but it’s great coming back to Wispin, to see where it all started. It’s a game that was amazing when it was released, and still holds up extremely well a couple years later. I’d definitely recommend it to all iOS gamers, casual and hardcore, and consider it a classic iOS game. 


3…2…1…Crank!! Oh man, those were the days. Growing up on both bmx and motocross 2-wheeled madness, when I saw the new DMBX2 hit the AppStore I was probably one of the first to hit the buy/install button. This is the second installment by Randerline gmbh and a very worthy upgrade.

‘DMBX2 Mountain Bike and BMX’ is a Universal, iCloud supported downhill racing game that has a equally entertaining trick challenge aspect as well. The graphics are gorgeous, the sense of speed is pretty good, and the crash animations are comical to behold (once you get past the fact you just wiped out of course) as they are spot on with your rider curling up in a ball as opposed to the typical ragdoll. The racing animations, and opponents expressions (i.e. the winner raising their hands as they cross finish line) are agreeable as well.

The contest comes with 3 types of challenges; time, race, and tricks. Each level also includes a training option as well, allowing you to pre-run the track, which is something that is true to life and a nice addition. The time challenges are just that, you against the clock. The races are pretty hectic with you taking your starting positions with a strong line-up, men and women, and all gunning it for the checkered flag after the proverbial countdown. The last type of adventure is the trick challenge. A variety of tricks are included, from the pretty commonly simple no-hander, to the sick ‘superman’. The best part is that you can throw these moves out during the races and time challenges; when you are hovering in the air on a time challenge, even though it is all about time, it was pretty easy to throw out a slick move as immediately upon leaving earth the trick button set appears. The trick combos that you can put together are pretty awesome. Beating one type of challenge in a level will unlock the next level/stage.

DMBX2 includes 3 ‘worlds’; Highlands, Canyons, and the Mountains. The cool part is that these are not unlocked in a specific order allowing the rider to access any area as they desire. Each world has 4 levels, and each level contains all challenges. Add that up, and it is a somewhat limited 12 levels, but the replayability comes in beating your time and bettering your last point scores. The tracks definitely get more badass as you progress as the jumps get slammer, corners tighter, and the racers more aggressive. There is also a replay option, with a highly navigable interface, providing the speedster with the options to check out that sick trick you just barely and luckily landed. Another worthy extension is the ability to listen to your own playlist as you compete.

The interface is hit or miss depending on your platform. On the iPhone, tilt steering prevails, and you only need to depress the right side of the screen to crank, with the left side trick popup’s. I enjoyed my time with this title on the iPhone, but I originally bought this game with the intention of playing it on the iPad. The same tilt steering options are included for the iPad, but there is also a fixed and floating joystick selection. Here’s the problem with either; The fixed joystick find it’s center in the far upper right of the screen, right under the time and trick displays. Quite odd. This would be the best option for the iPad if it weren’t so strangely placed. That leaves you with the next option, the floating joystick. Once again, it’s center is meant to be in the upper right as that is where it immediately appears, but you can depress the lower right (seems most natural placement for me) and the joystick will work there. The issue with this is that once you huck off a jump, you then need to start to re-pedal and that requires the user to take their thumb off of the screen, depress again, and then push forward. When you are in a race, milliseconds matter, so once again, this is not the best option. Keep in mind that this joystick also controls your steering. So, this is why I found myself enjoying this title on the iphone much more and was disappointed with the control scheme on the intentionally bought to be played on iPad.

If you are looking for a downhill mountain bike racing game with gorgeous graphics, sickbird tricks, and realistic animations, you may find what you are looking for in DMBX 2. If you plan to play on an iPhone, all the better, but if you plan to play on an iPad and are opposed to tilt, you may find yourself frustrated with the current control schemes. Hopefully, the developer will fix this thorn and players on all devices can enjoy this entertaining Downhill mounting biking and BMX diversion.

Blade of Darkness [Zealm] – $1.99

With the recent release of Pocket Heroes re-igniting my love for D&D parties, and bringing back memories of playing Diablo back in the late 90’s, I’ve been on a sort of quest of my own. To find all the Diabloesque and Fantasy Card games for the iOS that I can. Low and behold, one of the first titles I came across, and just can’t get enough of; Blade of Darkness – an open-world 3D RPG/hack-n-slash game developed by Zealm (developers of Monster Fight, Zombies Runner and Angry Zombie Ninja Vs. Vegetables). 
Blade of Darkness starts out with a pretty impressive cutscene giving you a bit of backstory; seems darkness overtook the land after a meteor shower rained down from the skies. Zombies and other undead creatures started to appear everywhere, and the darkness slowly spread. This land is appropriately named ‘Shadowland’. On the edge of Shadowland lies ‘Sanctuary‘; a campsite set up where a small patch of sunlight hit’s the ground. It’s here that you’ll begin your journey. 
Actually, I guess I should say ‘it’s here where you’ll figure out what you’re supposed to be doing throughout the rest of the game.’ The tutorial is made up of 3 pop-ups. One telling you that the joystick in the lower left corner is for movement, another saying that the icon to the right is for jumping, and that to talk to people, you walk up to them and tap on them. Trust me, you won’t forget. Every time you come back to Sanctuary, you’ll need to go through the ‘tutorial’ before you get started again. From here on out, you’re on your own.
After figuring out that people in town with a “!” above their heads have a quest to send you on, you can try and figure out how to get out of Sanctuary. Turns out there’s a pathway right behind where you start from that leads out to two different warp areas, and from here, now you can start your journey. Your first task requires that you go to the East to find the wife of a wizard at camp. It seems they were separated, and he needs you to find her. Unfortunately, leaving the campsite will only take you South, through cemeteries, dungeons, and other dark lands which are full of undead creatures. Directions aren’t really accurate, and there will be quite a bit of exploring involved. 
The battle system is in real time, and is kind of reminiscent of CrimsonHeart. If you just run into a pack of enemies slinging your sword around, you’ll find yourself in trouble fairly quickly. Standing back and luring a couple of enemies towards you, and watching how they attack and block will be a valuable asset to learn early on in the game. Running around to the back of enemies helps you avoid their shields, and can give you some massive hits. Of course, not all of the enemies require this tactic. There are some that will just stand there while you walk right up to them and bash their heads in. It’s all part of the combat system dance. I guess. Once you start killing enemies, they’ll start dropping gold and other items, and you can get your loot on. Figuring out how to pick items up is another task that you’ll need to figure out on your own. I’ll help you out; Tapping on the item inside the window that pops up will put it in your equipment pack.
Don’t get me wrong. Once you figure everything in Blade of Darkness out, it’s really a fun game. But sticking with it through all of the figuring it out will be taxing, and currently priced at $0.99, there are going to be some people who just give up, and delete the game. But if you’re willing to stick it out, and not afraid to learn basically the whole UI on your own, the hack-n-slash, loot driven, Diablo reminiscent gameplay can be very rewarding. Finding those rare items, and beating the hell out of hundreds of enemies is great fun. You’re also able to play in CO-OP mode, which has the game controlling another hero along side you, Multiplayer Mode, where you can host or join another game, as well as an Arena Mode where you can battle other players online. Lets just hope that Zealm sells enough copies to be driven to keep the updates coming, because if they do, Blade of Darkness could turn into one hell of a Diabloesque title, and maybe even one of the top loot driven games on the iOS. 

Kid Vector [Uncade] – $1.99

Back when I first got my 2nd generation iPod Touch, platformers were pretty hard to find. There really only seemed to be a couple decent ones available for the iOS at the time. Since then, the genre has grown and grown, and kept growing into the massive collection it currently is. Now, with well over 50 platformers on my iPod alone, the only hard thing to find is which game I want to play. Luckily, this week, Virginia based developer, Uncade, released his third platform game, Kid Vector. 
Like Uncade’s last platformer release, Blast Ball (now named Blast Soccer), Kid Vector uses beautiful retro graphics to enhance the gameplay. Personally, I loved the graphics in Blast Ball, but with Kid Vector, the backgrounds are all animated, adding to the look, as well as the feel of the game, and bringing an extra level of polish to the whole package. 
One (of very few) shortcoming of Kid Vector is the length. Containing only 15 levels, chances are you’ll finish the game relatively quick. However, even that can provide a decent challenge, and when  you bring into account the 3 badges that each of the 15 levels has, you’ve got yourself one hell of an old-school challenge to complete. 
Each level contains a certain amount of coins, as well as 1 hidden star. Collecting all of the coins gives you the Coin Badge, while finding the star will get you the Star Badge. Each level also has a time limit which you can try and complete the level by in order to get the Time Badge. Now, don’t get the wrong idea, just because there’s time limits does not mean that Kid Vector contains bite-sized levels. The levels are actually pretty big. Big enough to have a checkpoint, and time limits around 50 seconds. 
The level design for Kid Vector is fantastic. With the crazy amount of hazards (spikes on the ground and the ceiling, falling spikes, flame throwers, laser blasters, large caterpillars, UFO beams and much more!) placed perfectly, and moving as well as disappearing platforms, and the animated backgrounds adding to the whole layout as well as challenge, it’s one of the most well designed iOS platformers I’ve had the pleasure of playing, and I’ve played just about every single one of them. 
Priced at $1.99, being Universal, including different placement of the buttons for the larger iPad screen (though you’re unable to move the buttons), and GameCenter integration with 7 achievements, Kid Vector is a great buy, especially if you’re a fan of old-school platformers. The 3 badges for each level do add to the challenge, and the replay value, but once you complete that, there’s really nothing to come back for. GameCenter leaderboards for each of the 3 world’s total times, or including a scoring system for score-chasing would have been a huge plus. Though, with Uncade’s previous releases getting some fairly big updates, fully rounding out his previous titles, there’s a pretty good chance that Kid Vector will only be improved as time goes on. As it is now though, there’s quite a bit of gameplay to keep even hardcore platform veterans busy for hours as the challenge more than makes up for the lack of leaderboards and the shortness of the game. Uncade has definitely pushed the bar for iOS retro platformers with slick graphics, awesome music, fabulous level design, and a crazy amount of hazards. Kid Vector is one title you should not pass up. 

Party Wave [Mistwalker] – $1.99

One of my favorite old-school video games has got to be Final Fantasty. Created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, pretty much everything his hands touched turned to gold; Kingdom Hearts, Parasite Eve, Vagrant Story, Legend of Mana, and loads more, Sakaguchi left Squre, created Mistwalker, and has since released some fantastic titles; Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey, The Last Story, and more. Releasing titles on the XBOX 360, Nintendo DS, and Wii, Mistwalker finally found their way over to the AppStore with the release of Party Wave, a casual arcade title that has players controlling groups of surfers. 
Surfing really isn’t a sport that’s touched on much in the iOS gaming world; Rising Board, Derby Surf, Line Surfer, South Surfers, ePig Surf and Robo Surf are the only titles that come to mind, and with other genres overflowing with games, it’s pretty surprising to only have a few surfing themed games laying around. But with the reputation of Mistwalker, Party Wave has the potential to blow them all out of the water, so to speak, even before checking it out. Fortunately, that’s not how things operate, and getting our hands on the game, seeing how the first step away from the RPG genre Mistwalker has taken, as well as how they approach the casual arcade genre, we’re pretty darn impressed. 
For those of you who have never heard the term, ‘Party Wave’ is a term for any large wave which several surfers ride on. And that’s exactly what you’ll be doing in the game. Starting off, you’ll guide each of the surfers to a specific spot in the water by swiping on them, flicking them to the area. Once you get all of the surfers there, the fun begins. 
Each surfer will start to blink once they hit the bottom portion of the wave. This is your cue to tap them, sending them up and into the air. Once in the air, you can tap them again on their way up to do a trick, and again on their way down to do another trick. It sounds pretty simple, right? Just tap on the surfers when they’re at the bottom of the wave and in the air, no worries. But once you throw three or more of them together, and add in the hazards of the water, it can get very challenging, very quickly. What makes it even harder, is that some stages require that you get a certain number of perfect scores on previous levels in order to play them, and progress through the game, and sometimes you’ll need to go back and try and replay stages without having any surfers fall off of their boards. 
The gameplay is pretty straight forward, but can get awfully hectic at times. Quick reflexes, quicker thinking, and fast fingers are definitely an asset worth having if you’re going to compete on the leader boards, or complete the game. For those of you who really look for replay value when you get your iOS gaming on, Party Wave caters to you as well; the gameplay gets even more depthy the more you get into it. Perfect scores for getting all of your surfers on the wave, and not letting any of them fall off are great and everything, but what will really make you coming back, trying to max out your score? The little mechanics that add that special spark to a game, having it stand out above others within the genre, as well as all the titles available in the AppStore.
When you perfect clear a stage, stars start showing up. Collecting these while you’re playing will give you power-ups, like giving a surfer extra speed to make it to the wave catching area, which you can trigger by pausing the game, and touching the stars in the menu. You can also collect stars by touching the strange UFO which appears in the game at seemingly random times. Also, the closer you get to the hazards and objects in the first part of each level, while you’re flicking the surfers to the wave catching area will give you special little bonuses as well. 
Something else that will keep you coming back? The special ultra spiffy Arcade Mode! Here, you’ll try and get through six sets of four stages in a certain amount of time. Doing tricks adds to your time limit, while running into hazards depletes it. Arcade Mode can get very difficult, but never in a frustrating way, and when you nail tricks just right, it can become a lot more fun than the already incredibly entertaining Level Mode. 
Party Wave, priced at $1.99, being Universal, and having GameCenter support with 2 leaderboards, one for your total score in the level stages, and another for Arcade Mode, is a fantastic title. The experience of Mistwalker definitely shines through out the entire game, from the graphics to the gameplay, and even down to the little special mechanics that make the gameplay deeper than it looks on the surface, and keep you coming back for more. Party Wave is a shining example that yes, everything Mr. Sakaguchi touches really does turn to gold. 

Spy Vs. Spy [Robots and Pencils] – $1.99

Remakes of old classics, as well as ports of old-school titles happen to be something I find very hard to resist, and in the AppStore, there’s more than just a few of these titles available. The most recent one to hit my device is Spy Vs. Spy, originally developed by First Star Software in 1984 for the Atari, Commodore 64, and Apple II computers and ported over to numerous platforms, this time around, has been remade by the fairly new Canadian development studio, Robots And Pencils. 
One thing that absolutely love about this version of Spy Vs. Spy is that it includes the original Atari version alongside the remake, and you can change to the retro version before starting any level simply by hitting ‘Retro’ on the level select screen! Now, Spy Vs. Spy is a blast to play, especially when you’ve got another player. I can still remember staying at a friends house when I was a kid, up all night playing this game. And you guessed it; this iOS version of Spy Vs. Spy includes both Local (through Bluetooth) as well as Online (through GameCenter) Multiplayer. 
If you’ve never had the pleasure of playing Spy Vs. Spy, it’s an old-school arcade type title that has you playing as one of the Spy characters trying to collect 4 different items that are hidden inside of different rooms. While you’re doing this, the other Spy character is also trying to find these 4 different items. Included, of course, are various traps which you can set up in order to spoil the other players progress. These include water buckets on top of doors, hidden bombs and guns attached to strings on doors and more. 
There’s a couple of ways you can play Spy Vs. Spy. As you make your way through each collection of rooms, you can either search for the briefcase, which lets you hold all of the items at once, or, you can search through all of the rooms, looking for each item one at a time, and then figure out where to hide it until you’ve found all 4 items, either way, you do need to find the briefcase before exiting the level, but this way, you’re able to trap wherever it is that you’re hiding your items, and you don’t run the risk of running into the other Spy with all of the items on you. Once you enter the room where the other Spy is, you drop all of the items that you’re holding and they go into the nearest hiding spot. Then you either need to get out of the room as quickly as possible, or fight, and beat up, the other Spy so that you can leave with all of the items that you‘ve both collected. There’s also a third option; you can sit in the room with the exit door, and wait for the other Spy to collect each of the 4 items, and then beat them up when they enter. Doing this is risky, and isn’t recommended unless you have no other choice. There’s also an added search going on along-side the search for the 4 items; looking for stars. Each level has a possible 3 star ranking, and however many stars you find in each level is what your ranking will be. All of the stars and items can be seen on your map, which is readily accessible in a slide-out menu with all of your traps. 
All of this sounds well and good, especially if you’re playing in a multiplayer mode. It can be hours and hours of fun. However, there is one big stand out issue with this version of the game; the controls. Instead of using a typical old-school type lay-out, with a d-pad and buttons, Spy Vs. Spy has a floating d-pad, which is very hard to control, and buttons that appear at the top of the screen when you’re face to face, fighting the other Spy. In order to look behind objects, a tap anywhere on the screen does it. It is usable, but unfortunately, the movement controls still need some tightening up, and the buttons at the top of the screen for fighting are kind of awkwardly placed. Hopefully this is quickly fixed in an update, because other than this, it’s fantastic having this old-school hide-and-seek game on our phones/tablets, especially with the online multiplayer. 
Specially priced at $0.99 for launch (originally $1.99), it’s a great buy, and is definitely worth picking up, if nothing else, for the nostalgia value. GameCenter is supported, with leaderboards for each of the 24 levels as well as a board for how many total wins for multiplayer mode, and 29 achievements. The developers are listening to player feedback, and I have a lot of faith that the controls will be handled, but at the moment, it’s kind of hit or miss. Some people can get use to the controls, while others have been rage-deleting the game after getting fed up with them. For $0.99, it’s definitely worth finding out which group you fit into, and if you’re the second, at least you’ll have the game, and be ready to play it once the control issues are dealt with. 

Slydris [Radiangames] – $1.99

iOS ports of games from other platforms are really hitting their stride. But Radiangames has very quickly become one of the top name developers in the dual stick shmup genre within the iOS scene. Porting over Fireball, Ballistic, Super Crossfire and Inferno from the XBOX Live Arcade, they’ve gained an even larger fan-base, and shown that an addiction to spheres can actually be quite healthy. But their most recent title, Slydris, is something totally different. And it’s great being able to see another side of the Radiangames team.
Slydris, originally released for the PC and MAC earlier this year, is a unique block-based puzzler that will have you just as hooked as their awesome DS Arcade shooters. Like Radiangames other titles, Slydris has multiple play modes; Infinite, Zen, and Survival, each offering up varied gameplay. However, the goal is always the same; Keep clearing lines by lining up and moving pieces. 
Now, in Infinite Mode, you’re only able to move one piece at a time, which really puts the emphases on what piece you do decide to move. With blocks falling down from the top of the screen after every turn, as well as pieces moving up from the bottom every time you clear 5 lines after you clear 30, this emphases on which piece you move becomes even greater, because once a block is unable to fall from the top, it’s game over. The same rules apply to Zen Mode, you can move one piece at a time, except you don’t need to worry about making room for blocks. There’s no game over in this mode, and it’s more of either a ‘get comfortable with the gameplay’ or an ‘I just want to play with no added pressure’ mode. 
In Survival Mode, it get a little trickier. You’re given a certain number of random lines while you’re unable to move any blocks. Once the lines are set, you’ll have about 5 seconds to move as many pieces as you can while trying to get rid of those lines. It quickly becomes pretty frantic , and is easily my favorite mode of play. 
In each mode, there is a gauge on the right side of the screen which, when filled, gives you a bomb which you’re able to use to clear any 3 lines with. This really comes in handy, especially in the later levels when you’re looking at a game ending situation. Like in Tetris, every 10 lines you clear is counted as a level, and once you reach that level. Once you reach a level, you’re able to start every game from then on at that level, which, like Radiangames previous titles, eliminates a lot of the starting game boredom after you’ve gotten really comfortable with the game. Also similar to Tetris is the combo scoring system. As you complete lines, more blocks will be able to fall down into the nooks and crannies of your wall which has the potential to wind up knocking out more lines. The more lines you clear, the bigger your multiplier will wind up being, and the bigger the score. 
Learning how to line up blocks so that they fall down, clearing more blocks is essential if you want to compete on the GameCenter leaderboards. And with boards for both Infinite and Survival Modes, as well as 16 achievements, there’s plenty of added replay value if you do decide to go score-chasing. Seeing this other side of Radiangames has given me a newfound appreciation for their titles. With as addictive, hectic and fun as their shooters are, Radiangames has captures that type of frantic feeling and injected it perfectly into this unique, and incredibly entertaining block-sliding puzzler. For $1.99, it’s a must have for puzzle fans, as well as anyone else who’s interested in seeing that Radiangames developers aren’t all orbs and spheres. I really hope to see them branch out like this more often with future releases. 

Car Toons! [FDG] – $0.99/$1.99

Sometimes it seems like physics puzzlers have taken over the AppStore. Ever since the success of Angry Birds, everyone realized the potential for hooking casual gamers. But FDG, a publication/development company that we here at TAS highly respect, and that has been on a roll lately, releasing quite a few titles over the last couple months, has jumped on the physics puzzler bandwagon, and is taking it in an entirely different direction. With Blosics, Expand It!, Cover Orange, Beyond Ynth and more under their belt, they’re continuously releasing new and unique physics puzzlers on the iOS. 
Their newest release, Car Toons!, is another great example of this. With simple gameplay that can also provide a nice little challenge, it’s another physics puzzler that doesn’t follow in the footsteps of any previous iOS releases. The goal of the game is to get your good cars (ie; cop cars, ambulances, fire trucks, ect) into the parking zones while knocking any bad cars (the black cars) off of the screen. Sounds simple enough, maybe even too simple. But when you take into account the level designs, as well as the hazards and other various puzzle elements, it actually offers up a decent challenge while still remaining casual and simple enough to just jump on into when you’ve got a couple of minutes to spare. 
With 100 levels, and possible 3 star rankings on each stage, with more levels coming soon, there’s quite a bit of content. The 100 levels is split up across 9 different worlds, each with different hazards and objects as well as mechanics to help keep the game fresh. When you start out, you’re only able to touch each good car to make them start, and then touch them again to stop them. Doing this, you’ll need to knock all of the bad cars off of the platforms, and stop the cars in the correct parking spots (each parking spot’s color matches the good cars lights). As you progress through the game, disappearing platforms, the ability to jump, nitro boosters, doors that open when you drive into buttons, exploding barrels and loads more are just some of the things that you’ll end up using in order to complete levels.
The graphics and animations are very well done, with each car having a set of eyes, making the graphics pretty cutesy. But the animations really bring it all together, with wheels turning, smoke flying up from breaks, the expressions of the cars’ eyes, explosions, and more showcasing the polish of the graphics, and making the gameplay fun and entertaining. The music sounds like your typical classic 80’s pop tunes, reminiscent of an underrated nerd winning over a jock jerk in a John Hughes flick. 
Rounding it all out is GameCenter support with a leaderboard for your overall time and 23 great achievements. However, the board for time could use some tweaking, as the longer you play, the further down the board you’ll go. This could be fixed by not submitting a time until the game is completed, or by doing that as well as having leaderboards for each world, but right now, it’s pretty pointless. However, priced at $0.99 for the SD build, and $1.99 for the HD version, it’s a pretty unique casual puzzler, and one that fans of puzzle games should definitely check out. With the support that FDG has given their previous releases, I have complete confidence that the leaderboard issue will be sorted out and know that more levels will definitely be included in the future. Another great release to throw on the list that FDG is quickly building up.