Search Results for: label/Exploration/index.html

Number of Results: 8

Yesterday [Bulkypix & Pendulo] – $4.99

Point & Click Adventure titles are a perfect fit for the iOS, and with more and more of these titles being ported over from other platforms, fans of the genre couldn’t be happier. The most recent addition to the genre is the PC title, Yesterday, developed by Pendulo (The Next Big Thing, the Runaway Series, Hollywood Monsters and Igor), and published by Bulkypix. It revolves around a non-governmental organization’s volunteer, Henry White, who’s trying to help find out who is behind a series of killings driven by a Satanic psycho. 
Yesterday isn’t your typical Point & Click Adventure. Revolving around murder, Satanism, insanity, the homeless, and more, Yesterday is more of an adult-themed title, which definitely sets it apart from most titles within the genre. 
Even though the atmosphere, environments, and story all revolves around darker subject matter, and looks like it might fit perfectly as a Velvet Acid Christ music video, the character models of Yesterday are fairly cartoony, looking like something you might find on Cartoon Network. Even though this is the case, it doesn’t detract from the amazing atmospheres. The characters, though seeming callow most of the time, provide a rich and immersive dialogue, creating a wonderful story to experience while solving the various puzzles and exploring the dark environments throughout the game. 
The controls are typical of any other point & click title on the iOS. You’ll tap where you’d like to move your character, tap on objects or areas you’d like to check out more closely, and when the items in question are shown on the screen, you’re given a magnifying glass and hand icons, with the magnifying glass icon giving you more information about the objects, and the hand letting you interact with the objects. 
If there are objects which you can interact with, they will be moved to the bar at the top of the screen, so that you can combine them with other found objects, or use them later on, while dragging them from the bar to an object in the environment lets you use them. 
The puzzles contained in Yesterday can be pretty challenging, but helping out with what objects can be checked out is an icon in the lower left corner of the screen. Tapping on this icon lets you see what all objects and items can be looked at more closely in each screen. Checking out everything you can within the environment, combining multiple items and using them to activate various objects in the game is required to progress through the story. But like most point & click games, figuring out what goes with what, and where everything can be found and/or used is where the real challenge lies. 
Mixed in with the game’s object matching mechanics are little parts within the dialogue which help add to the game. For instance, towards the beginning of the game, you’ll need to figure out certain chess moves in order to move on in the dialogue. Fortunately, if you’re not into chess, and answer wrong, you can keep tapping on the answers until you get it right. Even though this does sort of beg the question as to why these were included in the game, but they’re nice to see regardless. 
Yesterday is Universal, and priced at $4.99. If you’re a fan of the Point & Click genre, it’s definitely one of the best titles available for the iOS, and since it’s published by Bulkypix, you can pretty much guarantee that if any issues arise, they’ll be fixed or dealt with in a timely manner. The only thing missing from the game is GameCenter integration with achievements. But non-the-less, Yesterday contains a fantastic story-line with incredibly immersive atmospheres, and characters that draw you into the story. It’s a title that I’m very pleased to have on my iDevice, and hope to see more titles from Pendulo ported over in the future. 

Weird Worlds: Return To Infinite Space [Astraware Limited] – $4.99

I’m still fairly new to the 4X genre, having only been into it for the last couple years, but what I’ve played so far, I’ve absolutely fallen in love with. Starbase Orion is easily one of my favorite iOS games to date, and Ascendancy, Civilization Revolution and Imperium Galactica II have totally got me hooked. Luckily for me, there were a few 4X ‘lite’ games to be found on the AppStore, and without them, I don’t think I would have gotten into the 4X genre like I have. 9 Colonies, Blue Libra and Vincere Totus Astrum played huge roles in my decent into the 4X world, and since then, I still find it hard to pass up on lite 4X titles. Astraware Limited’s Weird Worlds: Return To Infinite Space falls into this category of ‘4X lite’, and just like the other titles mentioned, it’s a great game to get if you’re just starting to uncover the many, many layers of the 4X genre, or even if you’re already deep into the genre, and are looking for a game that you can complete in 10-30 minutes. 
There are 3 different types of campaign like scenarios in Weird Worlds which you’ll be able to play through, each depending on the type of ship you choose to command. There’s a Science Vessel, Pirate Corvette and Terran Frigate. 
With the Science Vessel, your goal is to catalog and capture unknown alien lifeforms. While you’re doing this, you’ll need to also catalogue new worlds and various deep space phenomena so that the information can be added to starmaps. Playing with the Pirate Corvette will have you exploring the galaxy and grabbing anything of value; technology, artifacts, lifeforms, weapons and hostages. The Terran Frigate’s goals are to make first contact with alien lifeforms determining if they are peaceful or ready for war, as well as obtaining all of the technology and artifacts you can that might be useful to the military. 
With each ship, you’re able to decide how large the map is, small, medium or large. As the galaxy gets bigger, you’ll have more time to explore the planets within it. The small map gives you 10 years, medium gives you 20 and the large map gives you 30. You must make it back to Glory, the planet you start your adventure from, before time runs out, or else the points you’ve collected while out in space will not be added to your score. You’re also able to choose the Nebula Mass, which slows down your ship dramatically, as well as the hostile alien’s combat strength. 
Exploring the galaxy is simple, tap on a planet, and two taps will pop up, ‘Engage’ and ‘View’. You’re also able to see how far away the planet is, and how long it will take you to travel to it. ‘View’ gives you a little bit of information about the planet, while ‘Engage’ will have you travel there. Once you’re on the planet, if there are any available materials, weapons, other equip items like shields, star drives, propulsion systems, and loads more, as well as alien beings, plant life, technology and artifacts, you can put all of these into your cargo hold, or equip your own ship with them. 
Unless you have an item which scans planets within your vicinity, you will not be able to tell if planets are occupied by alien beings or not until you land on the planet. If there are alien lifeforms, you can choose to engage them and find out if they’re hostile or friendly, or just leave them alone without finding out who or what they are. As you travel around the galaxy, you’ll also come across mercenaries which can be hired by trading them items from your cargo hold. Once you have hired them, they’ll fly alongside you in battle, helping you get out of tricky situations. You are also able to equip their ships with items found on the various planets, which does give the whole equip system some depth. 
Weird Worlds: Return To Infinite Space is only available for the iPad, and is $4.99. It does have GameCenter support, with 3 boards for the small, medium and large sized galaxies, but does not have any achievements. Right now, Weird Worlds would be much better if it had a lot more items and aliens to come across within the galaxy as right now, it seems like after you play through the game once with each of the ships, you’ve pretty much seen everything there is to see, and all that keeps you playing is the high-score chase. Hopefully the developers have something in mind to add to the replay value. The game is solid in all other aspects. It’s a great game for those of you who are looking to get more into the 4X genre, but are finding games like Ascendancy and Starbase Orion too complex at the moment, or for 4X fans looking for a game that they can play through in short spans. 

Inferno+ [Radiangames] – $2.99

Radiangames has definitely made a huge splash in the AppStore with their previous releases of Super Crossfire, Fireball SE, and Ballistic SE. Earlier this week, their newest release, Inferno+, hit the AppStore, and as you might have expected, it’s one hell of a game. 
Originally released on XBOX Live like their previous titles, this enhanced version of Inferno includes 40 levels, multiple upgrades, 3 difficulty levels along with a special New Game+ difficulty, 20 Game Center achievements, Retina Support for the new iPad and iCloud saving. 
Unlike Radiangames past releases, Inferno+ is not a high-score chasing game. Instead, it’s centered around exploration, blasting away hoards of enemies and upgrading your ship. Granted, Super Crossfire, Fireball and Ballistic were all about blasting away enemies and upgrading your ship, but none of them included the exploration aspect, and considering this is the first title by Radiangames that includes exploration as a main gameplay aspect, they’ve done a fantastic job building Inferno+ around it. 
While you’re blasting enemies, you’ll be searching around each of the levels trying to find all of the orbs, keys, bombs, and hidden areas. The orbs are used to unlock upgrades and purchase items like extra drones which follow close behind you, and help destroy the enemies, bombs, which take out screens full of enemies, and keys, which unlock areas of the levels that are behind impassable boarders. 
You will need to collect all of the bombs you can because there are some enemies which require a bomb to take them out. There are also black holes which can only be dealt with either by completely avoiding them, or blowing them up. There’s also a shield power which you can upgrade with electricity, allowing for you to damage enemies while using your shield. In the later levels, switching between your shot and shield will be a maneuver you’ll need to get comfortable with in order to get through the game. 
Adding to the excitement and overall feel of progression, every 10 levels will take you to a boss battle. These boss battles can get very hectic, and are some of the most exciting sections of the entire game. It is kind of upsetting that you can’t go back and replay previously beaten levels, because these boss battles would get loads and loads of gameplay out of me.

There are also hidden areas which are behind the levels walls. In order to find these, you’ll need to either drag against the walls, or fire your shots directly at them. Your shots go through the holes in the walls, which can also be used to your advantage, as the enemies can not go through the holes in the walls. There are some holes which only open up after you reach a certain area of the level, and some which will close behind you after you’ve entered them, letting you only go through them once. 
Also hidden throughout the game are special bonus levels. These can usually only be found by using extra keys picked up throughout the game, or purchased from the shop area. These bonus levels give you 30 seconds to make your way through a level, picking up as many orbs and bombs as you can. 

The graphics in Inferno+ are very similar to Ballistic and Fireball, with loads of circular enemies, each distinguishable by their colors. The levels are also designed with neon boarders, and the animations for explosions are also very similar to those found in Fireball and Ballistic, only not as extravagant. The controls allow for a static and dynamic control stick as well as switching the move and fire arrangement. There are also sensitivity settings and you can set the joysticks and bomb and shield buttons anywhere on the screen, which is a fantastic addition. On top of this, you can also use the Joypad application and use another device as your controller. 
Even though there’s no scoring system, and no GameCenter leaderboard, I think Inferno+ might just be my favorite game from Radiangames. If there was a scoring system alongside the gameplay, Inferno+ would blow Radiangames previous titles, as well as loads of other dual stick space shooters, out of the water. But the game centering around exploration and upgrades kind of makes up for the lack of a scoring system. With Inferno+ being priced at $2.99, being Universal, and developed by Radiangames, who are fantastic with player feedback, and with supporting their releases, it’s hard not to support a development team as responsive as they are. If you’re a fan of dual-stick shooters or exploration games, Inferno+ will be right up your ally. If you’ve already purchased Radiangames previous releases, you’ll pretty much know what you can expect with Inferno+, but if you’re new to Radiangames, this would be a fantastic title to get to know them with. Chances are, it’ll wind up on my top 10 games of 2012 list, and never leave my devices. 

You can also download the soundtrack from Radiangame’s Bandcamp page

Gene Effect (Lightstorm3D) – $4.99

I’ve been a sucker for exploration games since I started gaming as a child. When I got Metroid II at the age of 10, and spent months playing it, I was hooked. From then on out, any game that had exploration as a main mechanic hit the huge part of my brain dedicated to gaming. Over the years, I’ve also become very interested in aliens and cyberpunk literature as well as manga. My father was a chemist, so science; biology, geology and math have all been a huge part of my life as well.
None of this really matters, except that Lightstorm3D has just released a game called Gene Effect, and it encompasses environmental puzzles, exploration, and an amazing back-story of researchers and miners finding teleportation devices hidden on Mars during mining expeditions around the year 2050. Basically incorporating everything I surround myself with. So it’s no wonder I’m instantly fascinated by the game.
The story starts in 2033, with the first manned NASA mission to land on Mars is started. Once they land in 2034, build a base camp, and start their 16 month stay, the crew explores a 75 mile radius around their camp, collecting soil samples. After returning, a coalition of industrial nations and private investors found the GSA – Global Space Alliance, who’s main objective is to colonize Mars, and start mining the planets resources. Some time later, teleportation devices were found while mining, and a huge expedition for more starts up. While in a mine, one of the mining crews crashes, and this is where you come in, sent into the mines to find the ship and crew. The story has a LOT more to it than that, but what fun is ruining it for our readers? There’s an entire Chronicle section within the game, which gives you quite a bit of a backstory, and grows as you unlock more information throughout the game.

The story is a huge part of the game, but the game lacks any sort of cut-scenes. So you’ll have to read if you want to find out more. This isn’t required to actually complete the game, but it definitely adds to the incredible immersion. 
Now, the gameplay can be incredibly immersive by itself as well. You’ll control your mining ship with a virtual joystick and two buttons, one for your repulsor, which you can use to blow up rocks with a seismic blast, clearing paths, and uncovering hidden objects, and another button for T-Drone (Termination Drone), which launches missiles to clear out extremely hazardous areas before entering. The physics are another fantastic aspect of Gene Effect, with great collision detection, collision speed and damage detection, weight of the mining vessel, impact reactions, falling rocks, and even gravity manipulators having been tweaked to convey realism and increase the immersion in this sci-fi world. 

Each Mission has certain objectives which you’ll need to achieve either before progressing to the next area of a level, or completing the stage. These range from collecting DNA samples, to finding different resources like Koronite (the main orange material which you’ll be collecting a ton of), and taking it to certain drop off areas within the levels, or collecting red, blue, and yellow crystal energy to start up reactors, as well as searching for sensors to unlock doors, and more. 

As you progress through the game, the story opens up drastically, as do the levels. At the beginning of the game, levels can be completed as fast as 30 seconds, but very quickly expand to levels with speed run times of 7 minutes or more, and will usually take around 20 minutes to complete your first time through. A pretty major drawback of this is that there’s no multitasking support, and no mid-level checkpoints, which means that this is not really a pick-up-and-play game. Luckily, there’s plenty of quick pick up n play games available, with incredibly immersive, sit-down for a 2 hour gameplay session games are few and far between, which definitely makes Gene Effect stand out within the AppStore.
Adding replay value to the game, each stage also has a set of medals which you can earn for getting a high-score. There’s bronze, silver, and gold medals available for each Mission, as well as medals for perfect navigation, which is completing a level without crashing into any objects, and time, which you’ll receive for completing the Mission quicker than the allotted time. If you can grab the gold medal, and get both medals, you’re awarded a special full completion medal. There are also hidden relic items in every level, and 12 hidden artifacts that you can use to upgrade your ship scattered throughout the game.

 The graphics and animations, as well as the lighting effects, are incredible. The extreme attention to detail, especially with the environments, with the plant-life, and backgrounds for the caves, as well as movement of plant-life and all of the mechanical devices within the world of Gene Effect are insanely impressive. Sadly, there’s another drawback with this at the moment. The game is only built for the iPhone/iPod Touch, which means that you’ll be playing on your iPad in 2X mode, making the game pretty pixilated. The good news is that an update which will make the game Universal is in the works for the future, as are more lighting options and performance and graphical tweaking. But as it is now, the environments look incredible, and make Gene Effect a game that you’ll want to show off to friends.

Lightstorm3D has definitely shown that they know exactly what it takes to make an amazingly immersive, incredibly depthy game with Gene Effect. The story, gameplay, graphics, controls, music, everything about the game really stands out as top-notch. Even without having GameCenter integration with no online achievements, or leader boards, it has a great amount of replay value that will drive completionists batty. Fans of exploration, sci-fi, mining, action, adventure and even puzzle games would do well to get this on their device as soon as possible. Gene Effect is definitely a game that stands out as a true console-like experience in an AppStore full of casual pick-up-and-play flash games. The $5 price of admission is well worth the journey you’ll be privileged to experience, and is highly recommended to all gamers looking for something more from the games on their iDevice. I sincerely hope iOS gamers will be able to see more from Lightstorm3D. It’s games like this that give me hope that the iDevice will grow into a serious gaming platform in the near future.

‘Fancy Pants’ Review

Ported from its famous flash game, enter Fancy Pants! Fancy
Pants tells a quirky story of Fancy Pants Man and his little sister who gets
kidnapped by pirates, and it’s your job to parkour across several levels to get
her back, where along the way, you’ll be collecting little squiggles, bottles,
stars, and more.


Fancy Pants is a platforming title that also encourages
exploration, as each level is riddled with secrets and content. The biggest
draw for Fancy Pants is the content in each level: as you go around exploring
the each huge level, you’ll find short time trials, “arcade” games, etc. In
each level, there are three stars, a bottle and a number of “squiggles” to
collect to try and get a 100% rating, as well as NPCs and reward rooms. Fancy
Pants gets most of its appeal from the sheer amount of things you can do in a
Conceptually, Fancy Pants is great. However, when I began
playing, I felt very little incentive to actually play. One issue I had was
that it was a platforming title that failed to execute the platforming part
well. Fancy Pants is too floaty, too slow, and too difficult to fine-tune
control; he needs to first accelerate to begin moving, and there is a
significant “slide-time” where he slides after you stop moving. Frankly, for
platforming titles, you need to feel in control of your character, and more
than once, I felt as if the game had more control than me. Second, the buttons
to control Fancy Pants are either too small or unresponsive at times. In
addition, when swimming, your left-right arrows turn into a four-directional
d-pad, which is crammed into the bottom left corner. For someone whose thumb is
slightly larger-than-average, I found this extremely annoying, as I’d go
directions were I intended not. Finally, I have a large problem as to how
killing enemies are handled. A standard “jump-on-the-head” does not kill unless
you are holding up. I have no idea why they decided to force this upon the
player. When you unlock the pencil weapon, standard combat also includes using
the pencil to strike enemies. However, one strike never kills – you need to
charge up your attack. It’s not a bad idea, but when executed, I can say that
waiting for your attack to charge up is just a little more interesting than
listening to my physics teacher drone on about who-knows-what.
Basically, Fancy Pants fails as a platformer, but manages to
deliver with its exploring. The game did have its shining moments, but those
are overlooked by the lack of excitement during the majority of its


Fancy Pants does a great job with it’s presentation, with it’s
fun and quirky themes to it’s way of handling the “menu”, which is actually a
home where you open doors to access where you want to go. In addition, you’ve
got over 120 different customizable outfits for Fancy Pants, so be sure to
enjoy that!


No slow downs, short loading screens for the amount of
content in a level, and crystal clear graphics. The graphics don’t push the
system at all, but sometimes, less is more.


The music is extremely pleasant, and I found myself enjoying
the tunes a whole lot. Also, the sound effects are done really well; it’s a
very simple, clean game.

Like I mentioned earlier, the game is jam-packed with
content for each level. With a myriad of levels to 100%, which will be no easy
task to find everything, there’s nothing that will keep you more occupied for a
longer period of time, should you play it.


Fancy Pants presents itself nice and clean, with its simple
yet charming style. However, the game hits quite a few snags when it attempts
to deliver gameplay, as the fact that it has poor platforming as a platformer
is extremely dishearten. But, if you can overlook those flaws and enjoy the sheer
content of the game, Fancy Pants is something that you can have fun with.
Gameplay: 3/5

Presentation: 4/5

Graphics: 4.5/5

Sound: 4/5

Replay: 5/5

Overall: 3.5/5

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.

Eve of the Genesis – 8.99 (Kemco)

With Action RPG’s pretty much dominating the Role Playing charts in iTunes for the last couple years, it’s pretty sad seeing most of them going down the drain. There’s just not much more you can do to make an original Action RPG these days. Thankfully, Turn-Based RPGs are making a huge comeback, with help from two big companies, Square Enix, and Kemco, and the latest addition to the old-school influenced turn-based RPG genre, is Kemco’s Eve of the Genesis.

Now, if you’re familiar with Kemco’s previous iOS releases, Eve of the Genesis is sort of a mixture of Alphadia and Symphony of Eternity. Fantastic story-telling, as well as top-notch translation, completely draws you into the plot, and makes you actually feel, and care for, the characters. The story takes place in the Empire of Gadalia. It’s kind of a matrix type story, with humans battling machines that ruled the empire, but were defeated 2,000 years ago. Now they’re back, and somehow able to travel through space, seemingly appearing anywhere they want to attack. Your characters are on a quest to try and find out how the machines are able to just appear anywhere they want, and eventually find a way to stop them from taking over the empire yet again.
The equip system is pretty basic, giving you 3 slots, one for a weapon, one for armor, and another for one accessory. However, there is a fairly deep skill and orb system that fully makes up for the bland equipping, and then some. Each character is allowed to have 10 different skills from offensive, defensive and healing. These do not increase in skill with your character leveling up, but instead, you will use gems which are collected on your journey, to make your skills stronger. Once you level up an offensive skill with Reinforcing Gems, it will take more and more with each time you level them up. Your defensive skills are leveled up with Diffusing Gems, also requiring more with each level up. There are also elemental skills, which are leveled up with Reinforcing Gems, but can also be changed with Element-changing Gems. This allows for each character to change their element skills based on the types of enemies are in specific areas. You are also able to clone skills, allowing for your character to keep a skill, while still changing it.
There are also orbs which you can use to increase your stats, like evasion, defense, attack, health, sp (magic), agility, and more. These orbs are found scattered throughout the empire, and can also be won in battles, and bought in shops. Once you own one, you can find it in your items section, and immediately use it. As you level up, each of your stats goes up as well, attack, defense, health, ect. On top of this, there are also Ooparts, which once found, offer up various abilities. However, leveling up does not restore health or SP, so if you’re close to death, no matter what, you’ll need to either find an Inn, a blue restoring orb, or use potions to regain your health.
As you explore the empire of Gadalia, you’ll encounter loads of different enemies, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Encounters are mostly random, meaning unlike Symphony of Eternity, you can not tell where enemies are on the map, you will just run into them randomly while walking around. There are a few enemies that you will be able to see before hand, but you will not run into these enemies too often. Completing the game does not require too much grinding, in fact, if you plan on exploring every area of the map, dungeons, forests, deserts, mountains, castles, and buildings, no extra grinding should be required. But if you plan on avoiding a lot areas, you can pretty much expect to need to grind, around towns is the best place, as you can head back to town, and stay in an Inn for 20-50 gold, which completely restores all of your characters.
Right now, Eve of the Genesis is having a launching sale of 67% off, reducing the price from $8.99 to $2.99, but with how amazingly well done Kemco’s turn-based RPGs are, $8.99 is a great deal for this game. Yet again, it brings back memories of playing old-school Final Fantasy titles on the Nintendo, and SNES. The very well written story, as well as the fantastic graphics, great animations, and deep gem/orb system, makes for an adventure game that will totally immerse you, making it hard for you to focus on anything else until you complete it. Kemco has done it again, with another flawless release, and after visiting their website, you’ll hope that their other titles, like End of Aspiration, Machine Knight, Kamen Rider Fourze, and more will all be ported to the iOS.

Glowfish – 2.99/4.99 (MumboJumbo)

Exploritory Metroidvania-type games are a pretty big rarity in the AppStore, but those that can be found are extremely well made. Glowfish, by MumboJumbo (Luxor, 7 Wonders), is no exception to this. You’ll guide Glowfish through 50+ levels, finding all the little glowing fish you can use as your shield, defeating interesting enemies, exploring the depths for hidden areas, collecting coins, and gaining friends that you can take along with you, lending their abilities.

You’ll control your Glowfish with a virtual joystick, a shield button, which either brings the fish you’ve collected into a shield circle around you, or lets them trail behind you, letting you access areas joined by a small pathway, along with tapping on the screen to dash in the direction you are facing.
To start off each level, you will not have any fish you can use as a shield, and will need to find a certain amount before you can move on to the next part of the level. Once you have collected a fish or two, you can hit the shield button, and they will start to circle you, giving you a shield you can use to smash into enemies. The more fish you have, the bigger your shield, and the bigger the enemies you can take out. There are some hazards and water life that you will not be able to attack, like bigger crabs, sea urchins and others, these are best left untouched. If you do happen to run into one of them, you will bounce off and loose a couple of fish that you have collected. They can be re-collected, but you will have to chase them down.
The graphics are top notch, and look exceptionally good. The neon type color scheme works very well for the under water atmosphere, and along with the backdrops, everything stands out significantly. The animations are extremely well done, with everything flowing, adding immensely to the underwater feel of the game. Everything on the screen, aside from the rocks, moves and sways back and forth, and every character in the game has their own little quirky movements. Something else I feel like I need to bring up is the level design. It’s incredibly well done. There’s also a very good mix of small, medium, and large levels. The hidden areas are fairly well hidden, but are also pretty easily found with your map, which comes together as you progress in each level, ala Metroid. The music and effects help build on the atmosphere and feeling of it all, bringing the entire package to completion.
Glowfish is $2.99 for the iPhone, and $4.99 for the iPad, and worth every single penny, and then some. It is supported by GameCenter with a highscore leader board and 25 achievements, which, combined with the 4 star ratings available on each level, adds to the replay value a bit, though you probably won’t play through Glowfish more than one time in a row, it is a game that will call you back after a month or two. It certainly is a game that everyone who owns an iDevice should check out, and will easily end up on quite a few top games of 2011 lists.
Glowfish gets a score of 5 out of 5.