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.
The graphics in Explodables are awesome. Very colorful, and stand out on retina supported devices. The movement and animations are smooth and very well done, and the music and effects go along very well with the game. There is a graphics option in the menu which lets you turn the graphics down if you’re experiencing lag, but I haven’t had any problems with jitteriness or any crashing at all. The tap controls are very responsive and accurate as well.
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.
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.
The controls work like they always did, press anywhere on the screen to charge your jump, and let go to perform the jump, hold on the screen while in the air, and let go when you touch a wall in order to wall jump, but now we’ve been given a charge meter that circles Choco while you’re pressing on the screen, letting you know how high and far he’ll go when you let go. This addition helps immensely with being able to pull off those tougher jumps and more tricky areas. The game is still just as frustrating as it ever was though. The death counter at the main menu keeps track of how many times you’ve died while playing the game. Right now, my counter is at 3,342, so you can expect to see your character explode from hitting spikes or razor blades quite a bit. But with unlimited lives, you can also expect to always want to play just one more life, and then realize that an hour has passed.
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.
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.
Also, sometimes there’s inner and outer rings, causing you to sometimes wait for one ring to pass before you can hit an outer ring, or you will have a ring around your shooting area, with more rings on other parts of the screen, or even sometimes shake, constantly move, speed up, or shrink in completely, causing you to miss your target, or even worse, causing the key and lock to come together. There are, however, power-ups, which can help out big time. There’s a power-ups ranging from pieces of chicken that clear out big sections of the racks, to needles which can slow down the movement. These, put together with bosses, stones, and really so many different mechanics, that I can’t name or describe them all, makes Riot Rings easily one of the most interesting and fun Zuma-type games available in the AppStore.
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.
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.
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.
Our second Review Rewind spotlights the great little retro platformer Bloo Kid. Developed by Eiswuxe, Bloo Kid started off as an Android title, but found it’s way over to the AppStore, and I, for one, and definitely glad that it did. With a great challenge and 84 levels, it’s still a game that can be found on my iPod, and that I occasionally play whenever I’ve got a couple minutes to spare. The bite-sized levels make for great jump-in-and-play-for-a-minute gameplay, but it still provides enough challenge that you can sit there and all of a sudden realize that a good hour has gone by. Old-school fans, and platformer fans looking for another under-rated gem need look no further. Bloo Kid is where it’s at.
**Note: This review was written after playing Version 1.0.
Bloo Kid is the first game for the iOS by Eiswuxe. It’s a platformer, soit’s a risky first game, but Eiswuxe has pulled it off almost flawlessly. You play as Bloo Kid, who is trying to rescue his girlfriend from the evil Wizard. You’re given 60 levels through 5 different worlds. Each level is the size of the screen, so don’t expect any side-scrolling goodness. But to avoid clutter, the developer has made it so that enemies spawn in different places of the levels, giving you waves of enemies to defeat before you complete the level. In each level, you can get 3 stars. One star for beating the level, another for collecting the star that shows up at the end of the level, and lastly, for making it through the level without taking any damage.
With platformers, controls and physics are huge. If you can’t nail those, then your game will pretty much tank. Eiswuxe has done an amazing job here making the physics and controls work great. The controls are nice and tight, you don’t need to lift your thumb up to change directions, and the jump button is very responsive, and how high you jump is directly related to how long you hold on the jump button. The buttons are also placed very well, and are just the right size. The physics are great. The game doesn’t feel floaty or weighed down at all, which is always very nice to see. It makes the game feel like a game that’s meant to be played instead of a game that’s meant to be fiddled with, struggling with the controls the whole way through.
World 1 stars out pretty bland, but it’s designed for you to get a real grasp on the levels and how the game works. Eiswuxe decided to make the first world available in the lite version, which might have been a mistake, because most of the interesting gameplay comes after the first world. World 2 gets more difficult, and way more interesting, as you’re faced with enemies that throw objects at you, more platforms that move and take you to other parts of the level, bouncing spikes that you need to avoid, dashing enemies, enemies that you need to jump on in order to make it to other parts of the level, and enemies that need to be jumped on more than once in order to kill them.
From here on, there’s not too many new enemies, but you will facemore and different ones as you progress. The level design as you go along gets better and better as well, and level design in a one-screen platformer is very important. But just like the controls and physics, Eiswuxe has pulled it off almost flawlessly. There are a couple of areas that it’s impossible to jump over spikes without an enemy being there, and a couple levels where the star is placed in an area where you’d need to jump on the last enemy in order to get there before the star shows up. You are given 5 hearts in each level, but having the stages set up this way just adds to the difficulty, and if you’re really worried about getting 3 stars on each of the 60 levels, this adds to the re-playability of the game.
At the end of each world, you’re faced by a boss, who takes 6 hits to kill. Each of the bosses has a special attack that you’ll need to figure out in order to survive the battle. Also, at the beginning of each world, you’re given a little clip of your girlfriend being taken to the next area where you’ll be playing. The animations in Bloo Kid are done very well, even when you stop running your character starts to take deep breaths. It’s got a cute factor to it, but it’s a game with difficulty for sure. Especially if you’re trying to get all the stars. Making it through some of the levels without taking damage might take you multiple tries, but each time you screw up, you’re going to end up cussing yourself, and not the controls or game. The retro graphics are fitting, as it’s a game that reminds me of older NES games with it’s frustration level, and difficulty, and that just draws me to it even more.
For their first game in the AppStore, Eiswuxe has shown that even though they’re new, they can make a professional game with top notch controls and physics, along with wonderful level design. You can check out the lite version in the AppStore, but it only contains the first world, which isn’t a very good representation of the entire game. I almost skipped out on this one because of the lite version, and it would have been a mistake on my end. But the lite version will give you a feel for the game, and let you check out the controls, physics, and first world level design for yourself. I’m giving Bloo Kid 4.5 out of 5 stars, and recommend it to all platformer fans. It could be a 5/5 game if it had online leaderboards, achievements, and some power-ups thrown in, but it’s definitely a game that you will play all the way through, and then most likely end up going back to just to try and get most or all of the stars. For $0.99, it’s a wonderful game.
Alrighty, I’d like to welcome everyone to The App Shack’s first ever Review Rewind, a new section of TAS that will spotlight reviews that were posted exactly one year ago, but only for games that are still on our devices today. Our very first Review Rewind is Newtype K.K.’s fantastic Aerial Combat title, Fractal Combat. One year ago today, I was first exposed to this amazing game. Since then, it’s gone through 6 updates, and quite a few changes and tweaks, making the game better each time. It’s made its way onto our Writer’s Favorites list as my very own #10 favorite iOS game ever, and we also gave out 5 promo codes for it over the last week during our Big Ass Promo Code Giveaway, but if you don’t have it yet, it’s definitely one iOS title you need to own. Here it is; Fractal Combat.
**Note: This review was written after playing Version 1.0.
Fractal Combat is a new aerial combat game from NewType K.K. It’s also their first offering to the AppStore, but it sure doesn’t show in their presentation. Fractal Combat is a very polished, top notch aerial combat game. The fractal graphics are wonderful, the music is great, and the controls are user interface are phenomenal. I really was not expecting what I got out of this game. The animations of the exploding enemies, along with the flaming bits of wreckage you see after the explosion is great. You rarely find this much attention to detail within games like this on the iOS, and seeing that it can be done, and done very well, might make you start to think less of all the other aerial combat games in the AppStore.
You’re given 10 missions throughout each of the 7 different landscapes, that‘s a whopping 70 missions. Each of the missions it’s your job to take out the targets, highlighted in red on the map. While you’re going after the targets, you’ll be bombarded by enemies that show up on the radar as yellow triangles. Each time you blow an enemy up, they leave behind some energy which if collected, gives you some shield. If you have no shield power, your armor, which is pretty much health, gets knocked down with each hit. Once you have no armor, you’re dead, and need to start at the beginning of the mission. If you happen to succeed in the mission, you’re awarded with a rating of 1 to 3 stars, along with credits which you can use to buy better weapons, generators, radars and even new ships in the garage. There’s 5 ships total that you can unlock by progressing through the game, and then buy. Each has stronger armor, more shield capacity, and a different flight mode, or way of flying. For instance, you start off with a ship that has thrusters for flight, and the next ship up that you can buy uses magnetic rotors. There’s 7 different weapons, each with different speed, range, damage, and other attributes. 3 different radars, and 5 different generators. There’s slots in the game to have 6 profiles, so you can play the game on a device that’s shared between friends or family, and not end up playing each others games, or you can just start from scratch, and re-organize how you set up your weapons and which ships you buy.
You are given two choices of control options, a joystick which you can have on the left or right hand side of the screen, or you can use your devices accelerometer, and tilt while you play. You can also set the sensitivity, angle of accelerometer, and put the throttle on the left or right side of the screen. Fire buttons are on both the left and right hand sides of the bottom of the screen if you decide to use tilt controls, and on the opposite side of the screen of the joystick, if you decide to use that control method. However, you are not able to change the Y direction, so pressing up on the control pad makes you go down, and pressing down makes you go up. Which is not the case for tilt controls, tilting the top of your iPod towards you makes the ship go up, and away from you to go down. This set up is a tad weird, but manageable if you’re use to default settings in most aerial combat games. You can also change the music and fx volume, which is always a nice option, and there is, of course, a reset to default option, just in case you end up screwing everything up and want to start from scratch. All-n-all, there’s quite a bit of customization going on in the options menu. But I think an option to turn the HUD display on or off would have been a good idea too, as it can seem kind of crowded on the screen, but not in a way that distracts from the gameplay.
The only real thing I think this game is missing is another mode, or a story. I know it’s not easy to create a story for a game, and it’s pretty much pointless to just cram a story into a game just for the hell of it, but if Fractal Combat had a story to go along with the missions, like why you’re fighting these ships, why they’re you’re enemies, something so that you know WHY, it would make this game a lot better. That, along with a survival mode, where you could take your fully equipped ship into a battle that only ended when you got shot down, would make this an even more amazing game. But with what it has now, Fractal Combat is still worthy of 4.5 out of 5 stars, and comes along with a strong recommendation from me. Anyone who’s into aerial combat, flight sims, or just action and arcade games in general should check this out one, it’s a game that you will never regret buying. It’s universal, and only $1.99.