Archive for May, 2009

The Wars

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

The Wars

Much like the previously reviewed game, Castle Conflict (and the Flash game, Age of Wars, that it’s based on), the player’s goal is to destroy the opposing castle. The process involves selecting from a number of different troop types, siege engines, special attacks, and defensive upgrades. When to attack with what type of unit is the key. Knowing when to upgrade to a new age is important, as well, because not only does the effectiveness of the units increase, but so does their cost. This is where managing money obtained from kills comes into play. A decent effort, but not enough to deserve a recommendation.

ArithmeGrid Full

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

Latkin

This is another KenKen title, which lacks polish, but it includes puzzle sizes, up to and including 9×9 (although, as you can see, the screen becomes a bit blurry). Recommended for KenKen completists and die-hards.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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Real Racing

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Real Racing

This Firemint racing sim finally dropped and it is outstanding; tons of cars (48, although not licensed), tons of tracks (12), good controls (with several control types), good AI, decent feeling of speed (especially in cockpit view), and online league competition. The career mode is extensive, with almost 80 events in which to participate. An impressive local wifi multiplayer mode allows 6 players to battle it out. Yes, I wish it had a mini-map, but it’s a sim (and I’m a cry baby). This game raises the bar.

Update: Just a point of interest: the shipping version allowed 6 cars on-screen with no slowdown whatsoever, but the Firemint crew did a test to demonstrate the capabilities of the iPhone 3GS and they were able to handle 20 cars on-screen simultaneously!

Rise of Lost Empires

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Rise of Lost Empires

This is a very focused, hero-based RTS (think Warcraft 3), with crisp graphics and simple strategy. You are provided a few initial goals in each mission, but more pop up along the way. It has a small to medium size troop count and you use the “un-pinch” motion to drag select them, or touch on a leader portrait to select a whole troop. The graphics are great, the gameplay is interesting and not too difficult. It has two different campaigns, each with 10 levels and the content is really polished.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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Star Defense

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

Star Defense

This one is hot off the presses (yes, I was alive in the 30’s, when people actually said that) and had major pre-release hype, so I wanted to give people a heads up, right away. As you can see, it’s Tower Defense on a ball. Controls are good, although I wish it had an ideal default zoom. Units types are obvious choices, which is fine, although the look of them is a bit grainy. There are 5 tower types, each with 3 upgrade states. Is it innovative? Sure. Is it necessary? No. One of my primary criticisms of some TD games, is when they don’t show the entire map and this may just be the worst example of this flaw, but I’m enjoying it anyway. Now…to unlock the BORG ship! JK

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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X2 Football

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

X2 Football

As of this writing, this has become my new favorite soccer game on the iPhone, toppling Real Soccer ’09, due to far superior controls, fluidity, nice player animations, and lack of retarded teammates. No real-world players, though.

Update: Even with several new football releases, including Real Soccer 2010 (which I didn’t feel was a marked improvement over ’09, with regards to AI) and FIFA 10 (which does have a lot going for it), I still return to X2 Football for a good game of footie. Local multiplayer was added, as well.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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The Sims 3

Friday, May 15th, 2009

The Sims 3

Damn, this thing is full-featured for a mobile platform. Everyone knows what The Sims is; the goal is to get a life- be happy, make friends, and be successful. I’m still early on, but I’ve already been presented with some interesting decisions and have met some interesting people. I would say if you are a fanactic of The Sims, this is a must-get, but for me, it didn’t have the staying power I had hoped it would have.

Update: To keep the game fresh, EA have released 4 content packs as downloadable content, but I have not played any of them, because I’m over it. I thought this was worth a mention, because one of my initial complaints was lack of staying power.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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New York Nights: Success in the City

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

New York Nights: Success in the City

Believe it or not, I’ve actually put more time into this thanThe Sims 3, so far (almost solely due to the fact that you can be a h4wt schoolgirl, I’m sure). The goal is to make friends and have a “successful” life. It’s a more than a bit disturbing that the first and only job I’ve been offered thus far is a table dancer at a bar, though. You have a wide variety of stats that you must manage and figuring out which actions improve each is primarily what you do; that and talk to people about their interests to improve your relationships. Personally, I prefer the 2D artwork over the 3D Sims look, but that’s just me. The gameplay is fun, but sometimes limiting and I hate the way you can’t scroll the screen, but instead tap to move to auto-trigger a pan. The first in-game apartment had the exact same layout as the apartment in Friends, which is possibly the least interesting thing I’ve ever shared with others.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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Knights Onrush

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Knights Onrush

Defend Your Castle/Stick Wars clone…with a heart! These games charge the player with defending their castle from a horde of enemies that stream in from off-screen, by simply flicking them up in the air. What this game adds is stylish artwork, better and more upgrades, and better and more enemies. In this genre, this is the best of the bunch, so far, IMO (as of this writing).

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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BeatRider +50

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

Beat Rider

First thought, “Finally, you can use your own music in a rhythm game!” Second thought, “Wow, what a royal pain in the butt!” You see, Apple does not currently allow developers to mess with a user’s iTunes Library (it can play in the background, but you can’t use it to generate data). The workaround that the developers came up with is to upload your music to a server, then download it to Beat Rider. It takes forever, as you have to upload one song at a time, and there is a limit of 20 songs, none over ten minutes long. An algorithm that generates tap-notes is never going to be as good as a crafted experience, but it is a fair trade-off, since you pay zero dollars for Nine Inch Nails, as opposed to $5 for the Tap Tap Revenge version.

That’s how the game plays, by the way, notes travel down a series of five paths and the user taps the corresponding button, when one crosses the tap line. It’s a bit disconcerting that the buttons you hit, set off a drum beat, but at times, it makes it seem more like it matches the song. There are tons of difficulty levels, up to and including so-insane-only-robots-can-win. Even with its limitations, I love this game for one reason; imagine playing Rock Band with your entire music library, instead of the songs they decide to pimp.

Update: Songs can now be uploaded simultaneously, the storage cap was increased to 50 with this version (a cheaper 20-song version is also available), 70 free songs were added, 3 new skins have been added, and there are both 3-note and 5-note play modes. I’m still putting the update through its paces, but will return with impressions.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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