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Today, we’re revisiting two titles that have been extremely entertaining over the last year. Our first one? Explodables developed by Bonpeach. Explodables is a fantastic tap-based score-chasing arcade title that has you blowing up rockets in a 3-color order that changes each level. It might not sound too impressive on paper, but throw in bonuses, health, crown, coin and star pickups, as well as multipliers that you need to drag next to each exploding rocket in order to activate it and multiple environments in each stage, and you’ve got yourself one hectic and action filled, incredibly addictive, score chaser. Since it’s release, Explodables has received 14 updates, each tweaking, and making the game even better, whether it be completely re-designing the tutorial and enhancing the graphics, or improving the performance and altering required level scores, Bonpeach has definitely made Explodables a great iOS arcade title. Still one that I feel will NEVER be removed from my iDevice.
**Note: This review was written after playing Version 1.0
Explodables is a new tap/arcade game from Bonpeach. Throughout the game you’ll go through levels, which are more like challenges, to complete the game. There’s also a Blitz Mode, which gives you about a minute to score as many points as you can. There’s red, blue, green, and white rockets, white rockets are wild, and can be any color you need them to be. The screen is broken up into 3 sections, blue on the bottom, green in the middle, and red on top, and you’ll always have a set color order that results in a combo. You can tap on the rockets anywhere on the screen, but you only get the massive point combos when you tap the rockets in their respective color sections, blue on the bottom, green in the middle, and red on top. If you miss a color, then the combo re-sets, and you’ll need to make the color combo again.
Through the levels, you’re usually given a set score to try and hit, but there’s also levels that challenge you to get 3 crowns, which are given off when you make a combo and get a multiplier circle, which you can then move around the screen. Placing this multiplier circle in the color sections that you need to pull off the combo gives you mega points, and moving it to follow the combo gives you crowns. For instance, if the color combo given to you at the beginning of the stage is red, green, blue, then you’ll need to tap a red rocket in the red section, a green rocket in the green section, and a blue rocket in the blue section, then a multiplier circle will appear, you’ll tap on it, and then move it up to the red section, tap a red rocket, move it to the green section, tap a green rocket, then move it to the blue section, and tap a blue rocket, then 3 crowns will appear. These crowns are the best way to get huge scores, and collecting 6 of them puts you into a bonus stage.
There’s also coins to collect, which you can spend in the upgrade and bonus shops, upgrading the amount of time before a combo chain is lost, the amount of time a bonus multiplier is available, or make it so that stars can be used to help complete combo chains. In the bonus shop, you can purchase a bonus multiplier that starts at the beginning of each level, make multipliers increase in value, or decrease the number of stars needed for bonus multipliers. Hearts are also available and appear when you tap on 5 or 6 of the same colored rockets in a row, and quickly. Collecting 4 of these puts you into a different bonus stage. Also, each time you get a heart, a crowd appears, doubling the score for each rocket you tap while they’re cheering.
All of this might sound confusing, and it kind of is, but the learning curve is great, and you’ll get to experience everything one step at a time going through the levels. Blitz Mode is unlocked once you hit level 20 or so, I can’t really remember when I unlocked it, but it’s before you finish the rookie levels.
Explodables really is a top notch high scoring game, with GameCenter leaderboards for Blitz Mode and Levels 31 through 45. There’s also 45 achievements, all adding to the extremely high replay value of the game. Bonpeach has shown that they know exactly what it takes to make a professional, extremely polished arcade game for the iOS, and at only $0.99, Explodables is a great buy. Anyone who’s into high-scoring games with great scoring systems, and hectic gameplay should definitely check this out. I know it’s going to be on my iPod until it breaks, and I’m glued to Bonpeach, eagerly awaiting updates for this, and seeing what awesome game they come up with next.
Along with Bonpeach’s wonderful arcade title, Explodables, exactly one year ago we also reviewed a great game from a little development company known as Orange Pixel. You might have heard of them. Their title, Super Drill Panic, was released as a FREE game, with ads. There was no IAP for removing ads, but soon after, Super Drill Panic was updated to a paid game, removing the ads, and giving everyone who downloaded the game for FREE, the full paid version. SDP has only received 2 updates since it’s original release, but luckily, it’s not really a game that needed any major updates, and is still one awesome score-chasing arcade game. If you have yet to pick it up, it’s, as you might imagine coming from the amazing OrangePixel Studio, definitely a must own game.
**Note: This review was written after playing Version 1.0.
Super Drill Panic is the new retro arcade game from Orange Pixel, the developers of the awesome Meganoid and Time Chaos. In Super Drill Panic, you’ll make your way through 30 Levels along with two Endless Arcade Levels, while collecting coins, to upgrade items in the shop, hammers to smash through platforms, treasure chests that hold letters (spelling out DRILL once you collect all of them in a world), hourglasses that give you some breathing room, key cards that let you open doors, and glasses that make you invisible, all while trying to escape from a huge boulder trying to crush you or the jail bars from coming down on you.
Orange Pixel caught the attention of many gamers when they released the great platform game, Meganoid. This time, they have stuck with the retro graphics, but tried something new. Super Drill Panic is free. That’s right, free. It has ads, but you can’t complain when you’re not paying anything to play this great game. And it is one great game.
Aside from the awesome retro graphics, you’re given two control options, tilting, and virtual buttons, right on the bottom right side, and left on the bottom left side. I prefer the buttons, as most tilting games get on my nerves, but here, you can make quick turns more easily, and it just plays better while using the button setup.
Throughout the 30 levels, you’ll encounter 6 different environments, along with 2 more in the arcade modes. Each environment has different colors, and different obstacles, but the goal is always the same. Make it to the bottom of the level without loosing all your lives while collecting as much as you can.
In the shop, you’ll be able to upgrade your hammer, to smash through more platforms, your time, which pauses the boulder longer when you pick up the hourglass, your running shoes, which makes you run faster, another time, which pauses jail, burglar vision, which lets you stay undetected longer, and your key tech, which lets you open more doors.
There’s two different characters available to play with, the female is unlocked after beating the first 15 levels. Each has a different set of worlds to go through, different shops, and different arcade levels. With the male character, you try to make it through caves while stealing the treasure and avoiding the boulder, kind of like a vertical version of hook champ, minus the hook, while with the female you try to escape the building after breaking into a vault, avoiding the bars coming down on you.
There’s plenty of challenge, as getting a high ranking at the end of each level is pretty decently hard to accomplish. The graphics are Orange Pixel Retro goodness, sounds, music, it all feels like an old-school Nintendo game, filled with action. I do, however, wish that I could get rid of the ad bar on the top of the screen, even if it was with an IAP, as I do feel this game is worth a buck or two. The arcade levels do add quite a bit to the replay value, but once you upgrade all your items, the replay value goes down quite a bit. For free though, it’s an amazing game, and highly recommended.
**Note: Super Drill Panic is now priced at $1.99
ChocoRun holds a special place in my heart. It was one of the first games that I got into so much that I started talking to the developer, Alejandro, on a semi-regular basis. I also felt the need to tell everyone in the world about how great this Super Meat Boy-esque, tough-as-nails platformer was. Since its release it’s gone through a major graphical overhaul, and received an easy difficulty mode, as well as other tweaks and additions. It’s also been ripped off a couple of time by unscrupulous developers. I’ve also received a special Chocoplushe, hand-made by the developer, and reserved for players who managed to complete the game. Anyway, more than a year later, and ChocoRun can still be found on both my iPod and my iPad. It’s one of the toughest platformers around, has some awesome level design and is a blast to play. If you missed out on it the first time around, or just didn’t happen to hear about it until now, it’s definitely a game platformer fans do NOT want to miss out on.
**Note: This review was written after playing Version 2.0.
Super Meat Boy is one of my favorite platformers of all time, so with the clones hitting the AppStore lately, you’d think I’d be a pretty happy camper. But not really. For the most part, there’s filled with horrible controls and floaty physics. But when I first saw ChocoRun, I couldn’t help but get excited. The original build of the game was awesome, and the one touch control to jump worked perfectly. Now, ChocoRun has been totally re-vamped in a new graphical style, has more levels, and an added Easy Mode, as well as unlockable characters. So what better time to review it then now?
This platformer from Alejandro Jimenez Vilarroya hit the AppStore about two months ago, and proved that it was the SMB clone for the iOS that everyone needed to get. Top notch level design, along with great physics, easy, but precise one touch charge and jump controls, and clean graphics helped spur an instant fan following. Over the last two months Alejandro teamed up with a new graphics designer, and the flashy new update has hit iOS devices around the world, and the graphics in the updated version of ChocoRun are awesome. There has been increased detail in the objects and platforms that were already in the game, and the backgrounds were completely enhanced to fit the new graphical style. Also, being retina supported and Universal gives us the opportunity to see all these graphical updates in HD, the way they were meant to be seen. The animations are outstanding, each and every razor blade looks amazing while it’s spinning or flying through the air right at your cute little head. Choco now spins while jumping in the air as well, which also adds to the great look and feel of the game.
Level designs in the new update are just as great as the previous build’s levels, maybe even better, and more thought out. It’s very clear that loads of beta testing has gone on, and that each level was tweaked and edited to make them all just right. The game now has 50 great levels, which will keep you busy for weeks. Another great addition to the update is the new Easy Mode. Choco is given 3 lives to waste in each level before re-starting here, along with a cute little pink bow. If you’re having a hard time unlocking the next set of levels, Easy Mode is always there to help out.
So, with all this said, ChocoRun is definitely one of my favorite iOS platformers, and very easily the best Super Meat Boy clone in the AppStore. With The original SMB developers saying that they wouldn’t port SMB to the iOS device because the virtual controls wouldn’t work, Alejandro Vilarroya has given us a Super Meat Boy clone, not with virtual controls, but with controls that work extremely well on a touch screen. It’s highly recommended to all platformer fans, as well as fans of very frustrating and difficult games. This one will keep you glued to your iPod screen, as well as screaming and banging your head against the wall. For $0.99, it’s a great deal.
**ChocoRun is still priced at $0.99
Crazy Rings by Cervo Media, released as Riot Rings, is a fantastic bubble popper. Using zoo animals as marbles, and including boss-like fights, along with the amount of polish, 3 Gameplay Modes and replay value enhanced by GameCenter support all make Crazy Rings one of the best Zumaesque titles on the iOS. Now, still a year later, Crazy Rings can be found on both my iPad and my iPod, and with the added Freeplay and Zen gameplay modes, chances are it’ll never leave my devices, and will be transferred over to every new device I happen to get. If you’re a fan of the genre, this is definitely one game you’ll want to make sure and check out.
**Note: This review was written after playing Version 1.1
Riot Rings is a new Zuma-type bubble popper from Cervo Media GMBH. In it, you’ll match up groups of 3 or more different animal bubbles to clear out multiple rings thought over 100 levels and 3 different gameplay modes. Right off the bat, I want to say that Riot Rings is now my favorite Zuma type game, knocking The Temple Zumas out of the #1 spot. Cervo Media has taken the bubble popper game, and expanded it in a pretty original way. Instead of trying to clear out the bubbles before they get to the end point, you try and clear out the bubbles before the key on one end, and lock on the other end of the ring touch each other. To make it even more interesting, animals are flung into the rack from the outsides of the screen along with the animals that you fling into the rack from the middle of the screen.
The controls are pretty much like every other Zuma-type game out there, where you touch where you want your bubble to go. And like all other Zuma-type games out there, this is easier said that done. There’s various twists and turns in the rings that give you some pretty awkward angles to shoot at.
The graphics are top notch, very polished, and retina display supported. The clouds hovering above some parts of the screen add a lot to the feel of the game, as do the great animal sounds. The controls are very tight and responsive, there’s GameCenter leaderboards, 3 star time-based rankings to try and snag, and re-playable levels along with Endless and Zen Modes to play after you’re done with the Campaign.
Riot Rings is great for all ages, and even my wife has started to obsess over it, and there’s 3 available profiles so that multiple gamers can play on one device. I can not say one bad thing about this game. It’s done extremely well, adds a lot of gameplay mechanics to the tired Zuma-like gameplay, and you’re bound to see something new every time you play. For $0.99, it’s a steal. The iPad version is $2.99, which is still a great price for all the content and gameplay you’ll get out of this game. I really can not recommend it enough, even if bubble popping isn’t your thing, this game is sure to show you a great time, and give you tons of hours of entertainment.
**Note: Crazy Rings HD is available for free, and the XL version (iPad Build) is available for $0.99
We’ve said before that we absolutely love just about all of the ports that have found their way to the AppStore. One of them that happened to slip under our reviewing radar was released back in 2009 on XBLA. After making its way to Windows Phone 7, it was eventually ported over to the iOS late last year. Getting an 8.5 on IGN, as well as being an Editor’s Choice, and receiving an 80% on Game Rankings, I was really excited when I first saw the trailer, after hearing that it was coming to the AppStore. Rocket Riot, developed by Codeglue, a Dutch development company who had previously released titles for the Pocket PC, J2ME (Java 2 Micro Edition), Nokia, generic Smartphones, as well as previous iOS titles, had also had their hands in Toki Tori, the fantastic puzzle platformer, and had a good 8 years of game development under their belts at the time (now, almost 10).
Published by Chillingo, Rocket Riot got quite a bit of attention, but still remains a sort of hidden gem of the AppStore, with it’s best position on the AppStore charts at #16, in the Neatherlands, and then fading away into the backlog of lost and forgotten iOS games about a month after it’s release.
Not to say that Rocket Riot is a game that’s worth forgetting. It was released mid-November of 2011, basically right before the craziness of the December AppStore, when just about every game went on sale, and developers scurried to get their games released before the 2 week shut-down Apple has at the end of the year. Unless you’re a major company and have a game that’s extremely hyped up, chances are your game is going to basically tank if you release it around this time.
Now, to the game. Rocket Riot is a sort of dual-stick shooter that’s built up like a sort of arena-type platformer (along the lines of Scorched Monster, BlibBlob, Bloo Kid, and to a lesser extent, Super Crate Box, Muffin Knight and Spellsword). You’ll control one of hundreds of available characters, which you can unlock as you progress throughout the game, as you chase after the evil pirate Blockbeard. The controls might take a little getting use to, with a sort of invisible joystick for movement on the left side of the screen, and an invisible tap-n-drag control for shooting your projectiles on the right. Firing works very well, however, being able to swipe frantically in the direction you want to shoot your missile launcher feels natural, and is a perfect fit for the game.
There are two other control schemes available, with the joystick option, you still need to drag on the left side of the screen to move, but to fire, you can just hold down on the screen, moving the joystick to the right around to auto-fire in that direction. The last control scheme uses the iDevice’s tilt option to move, while utilizing the default swipe to shoot controls for firing your weapon. The controls do work well enough, though I would have preferred an actual static joystick for movement.
There’s 48 story mode levels, each with their own completion objectives, usually just killing a set amount of enemies that randomly appear throughout the stage, but also thrown into the mix are levels that have you find a football, and bring it back to the uprights at the other end of the stage, given objects which you’ll need to destroy before being taken out by the level’s enemies, boss battles, and more, making for a nice variety of gameplay throughout the campaign. Also included is an Extra Levels Mode, which contains 6 especially challenging stages with either ‘kill every enemy’ or ‘destroy this object’ objectives.
As you start blasting away at the environments, which are all completely destructible, various power-up boxes will appear randomly, before the environment starts rebuilding itself. These items can either boost up your shot, change your shot, give you extra defense, or be a total pain in the butt. Ranging from super big missiles, to shooting various sports balls and from missiles that drop straight down to a ‘bang’ flag that does absolutely no damage at all, and more, learning what boxes to pick up and which ones to avoid is extremely important, especially when trying to ‘3 Rocket’ (rockets are in place of stars for the level rankings, dependant on how long it takes you, how many shots you fire and how much of the environment you destroy) each stage.
The graphics stand out as being a highlight of the game. 8-bit stylized pixels are put together in a 2.5D-like environment, with a modern look. It’s something I’ve yet to see done in an iOS game, or any other console game for that matter. The animations for explosions fill the screen with small pixels, making for some very hectic feeling gameplay. The music and sound effects also add to this quite a bit, giving the game a great arcade look and feel.
GameCenter is supported, including 9 separate leader boards; Total Points, Pirate Levels, Warehouse Levels, Army Levels, Chips Levels, Mansion Levels, Lab Levels, Space Levels and Bonus Levels, along with 12 achievements, which will take even the most hardcore gamers quite a while to unlock (Shoot every type of enemy at least once, shoot 20 enemies in 60 seconds, get 50 long shots, destroy 1,000,000 blocks and more). With it’s content, polish, and the incredibly entertaining gameplay, it feels perfectly priced at $2.99. Being Universal helps out with that as well. Granted, it is a Chillingo publication, and from the long period of games that haven’t been updated since their release, it’s still a great game, with no bugs that I’ve come across, and basically endless replay value, especially if you want to try and better your times in the extra levels, or compete for better scores on the leaderboards. Rocket Riot is definitely a hidden gem that you’ll want to snag if you’re a fan of Dual-Stick Shooters, Arcade/Arena Score Chasing titles, or a fan of XBLA ports (I know you’re out there! I’m one of you…).
Before I get started on this review, I should really let it be known that Temple Run – yeah, didn’t click with me. I tried to like it, I really, really did, but I just didn’t see what all the fuss was about. Needless to say, all of the Temple Run clones hitting the AppStore since, I’ve liked even less. That is, until now. Simutronics, developers of the awesome Tower Defense title, Tiny Heroes, have just released the free2play title, One Epic Knight, and I’m hooked.
Following the typical Temple Run type gameplay, One Epic Knight’s theme is based more off of dungeon crawlers, with your main character running through a castle filled with enemies, traps, hazards, blockades, and of course, loads and loads of loot. The controls are done by swiping on the screen, being able to move left, right, jump and slide all by swiping in their respective directions.
With One Epic Knight being free2play, like other f2p titles, I was worried about the IAP model the developers would decide to use. Would the game have ads? Would the items in the shop be incredibly high priced? Would I feel like players who bought currency through IAP had an advantage over me on the leaderboards? The answer to all of these questions – NO. In fact, I’m still surprised that Simutronics made One Epic Knight available for free. If I would have paid $0.99-$1.99 for it, I wouldn’t have regretted it at all. I actually wound up purchasing a couple dollars worth of currency just to help support the developers. Though, once I saw the IAP model, I was kind of caught off guard.
$0.99 will get you 3,000 coins. That really isn’t much, considering once you pay about 2,000 to upgrade the loot in the shop, you’ll be able to easily snag between 700 and 1,200 coins per game. Not to mention the extra coins you get for completing objectives. The next amount you can pay? $4.99, and that’ll give you 20,000 coins. It just strikes me as odd that there’s no $1.99 or $2.99 IAP option, and that the amount given is so small. Granted, I still would have thrown down a couple bucks if it was just a ‘Donate’ IAP, but I really think increasing the amount of currency given, and maybe adding a $1.99 IAP would push players to purchase them more.
Anyway, as you’re running through the castle, you’ll be able to pick up weapons and shields. As you encounter various enemies, like blobs of green goo, and insane hatchet wielding ghouls, you’re able to use these items to smash through them. Both of these items also increase your score multiplier, which tacks on points for running, collecting coins, and for destroying enemies and objects. After you upgrade both of these items in the shop, they’ll start giving you currency for each time you use them, which definitely helps to gather up some coinage. You’ll also come across lines of currency, gems and treasure chests, all helping you gain enough coins to upgrade items and purchase one time use items from the shop.
Also scattered throughout the castle are large chunks of meat and mana crystals. If you can manage to snag the meat hanging from the ceiling, you’ll go into Rampage Mode, which lets you smash through enemies, objects and hazards so long as you’re still eating the meat. Once it’s about to wear off, you’ll start flashing, and sparks will appear around you. If you can collect 4 mana crystals, you’ll go into Mana Madness mode which boosts you forward for a certain distance, blasting through all hazards and enemies. If you look hard enough, you’ll also be able to find hidden areas, usually behind broken walls, boarded up doors, and under small holes. Some of these areas contain an insane amount of loot, so it’s a good idea to keep your eyes open.
The graphics are cartoony, but fairly detailed, and the animations for each moving object are great. I was actually pretty surprised that the game ran smoothly on my 4th generation iPod Touch. I did experience some issues with some unresponsive controls, but this was only occasionally, and nothing game breaking, though, when it did happen, it was pretty frustrating because it almost always resulted in an unnecessary death.
Priced at FREE and being Universal, there’s no real reason not to check out One Epic Hero, even if you and the Temple Run genre haven’t really clicked in the past, and if One Epic Hero does manage to grab a hold of you, there’s GameCenter integration including 38 achievements along with 5 separate leaderboards including boards for Highest Score, Longest Distance Traveled, Most Loot Collected, Most Critters Slain and Most Obstacles Smashed, all adding to the already high replay value of the game. It would be nice to see some more enemies, and maybe even some boss battles. A huge enemy that gets knocked back, spits loot and shields/weapons for you to pick up, and can either be hit or dodged, but needs to be hit a certain amount of times before moving on would fit in perfectly with the game. It also wouldn’t hurt to see more power-ups. But as it is now, Simutronics has done a fantastic job doing something different with the Temple Run model, and as I already said, I’m pretty surprised One Epic Knight is available as a free2play title. With Tiny Heroes and One Epic Knight now under their belt, I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
iBlast Moki is easily one of the best physics puzzlers available in the AppStore, winning quite a few awards, and being named the best puzzle game by IGN in 2009, it was no surprise to see a sequel released a couple years later, and Godzilab nailed it. iBlast Moki 2 contains more of the same great things that made the original so great, including the great physics, fantastic level design, and awesome level creator, along with cool new bombs and gameplay mechanics. It’s also no surprise that after a year, you can still find the game on our devices. Though the hype has gone down quite a bit, with the release of Godzilab’s newest title, Happy Street, they made both the original and the sequel for iBlast Moki available for FREE, either reminding everyone how great the game was, or giving everyone who missed it the first time around another chance to pick it up. Now, with just about everyone who owns an iDevice having iBlast Moki 2, the user created levels have started getting more attention, and there’s still tons of new, unseen, and great content to be played, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you found iBlast Moki 2 on our devices in another year. It’s simply one of the best puzzle games available for the platform.
**Note: This review was written after playing Version 1.0
iBlast Moki needs no real introduction, the physics-puzzle game from Godzilab is one of the most popular on the iOS, snagging the #2 game spot of all time on metacritic. So when iBlast Moki 2 was announced, everyone was eagerly anticipating this sequel, and for good reason. In iBlast Moki, you use bombs and other items to get Moki’s into the portal at the end of each level. The physics are amazing, the level design is top notch, and the environments are varied, and extremely vibrant. The sequel includes even more kinds of bombs and items to help the Moki’s reach the portals, the same amazing physics, even more interesting level design, and more vibrant environments, and it takes advantage of retina and HD display. There’s also a level editor and a level sharing service thrown in for endless hours of entertainment and fun.
In iBlast Moki 2, you’ll encounter some very interesting bombs, and you don’t need to play for hours to get into the new game mechanics. They are thrown at you almost from the beginning. Paint bombs that each have different characteristics, ropes, and balloons are some of the first you’ll see. There’s also objects that you can stick your Moki’s to in order to get them to the portals at the end of the levels. In the game, it’s your job to place bombs throughout the levels, and set them to go off at specific times in order to fling the Moki’s to the end while collecting all the flowers in each stage, and doing it as fast as you can.
Your regular bombs are the ones that you’ll really have to play with trial and error getting the timing just right, making them explode at just the right time to send your characters off in another direction. This is done easily because the level resets every time you press the stop button in the lower left corner. The paint bombs, however, are more about where you place them, and timing isn’t really an issue with these. You’re given red, green, and orange bombs. The red acts as a bouncy liquid, and once your characters or any other objects touch it, they bounce up into the air. Green bombs act as glue, making your characters stick to whatever objects get covered in the liquid when the bomb goes off, and orange bombs act as turbo speed bombs, drawing your Moki to them, and shooting them forward at faster speeds.
Because iBlast Moki 2 is a physics-puzzle game, the physics are a huge part of it, and Godzilab has done an amazing job with them. Everything feels real, and sometimes it might seem like you’ll have to be a physics major in order to get the solutions on the first or second time through the level. I actually would not be surprised if Godzilab had some physics majors help them with this aspect of the game, as they’re done so perfectly. This, coupled with the superb level design, add a ton to the challenge of getting up on the high-score board that’s in-game in the pause menu. The top 3 scores for each level are shown, and if you’d like, you can pay 1 Moki coin, which you earn throughout the game, to see these top solutions. This, is something that’s already upsetting people. Some gamers work for hours on a level trying to get the best score they can, and then their solution, if one of the best, is saved to the server, and accessible to everyone for 1 Moki coin. Godzilab has commented on this issue, and said that they will come up with a fix for it in a future update, but until then, the best solutions for each level are there, ready to be seen by everyone, unless you play offline. This is the only bad issue I can find with iBlast Moki 2 though.
With 90 levels spread across 6 different environments, and a level editor that lets you share and download created levels, there’s pretty much endless gameplay. A cut-throat leaderboard helps immensely with the replay value, and like I’ve said, some people will spend hours with one level, and some might even spend weeks creating one. iBlast Moki 2 could very well end up being the best puzzle game in 2011, maybe even the best puzzle game for the iOS, period. The scoring mechanics are great, the graphics are cute and polished, physics are perfect, level design is mind bending, and the gameplay is endless. For $3, it’ll be pretty much impossible to find a better puzzle game out there. It’s highly recommended to fans of the genre, and new-comers to the scene alike, and is on sale for launch, so you can grab it now for a buck! The universal version is $3, and should shoot up to $5 soon. If you don’t have it yet, make sure you get it soon, because it’s going to be a game that you end up buying eventually after hearing everyone you know talk about it.
**Note: iBlast Moki 2 HD is priced at FREE for a limited time, so if you don’t have it yet, you should definitely pick up this great physics puzzler!
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.
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.
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.