Reviews

  • October 30, 2018

    Unstuck for iPad review

    We all get a little stuck from time to time. Life’s big (and even relatively small) decisions have the nasty habit of paralyzing us. An outside agency is often required to shake up our thinking, which is just where Unstuck comes in. Just to be clear, this isn’t some hippy-dippy life-coach app. You won’t get any spiritual direction or advice on how to boost your chi or any such nonsense. This is aimed at ordering your thoughts, showing you new ways of thinking about your problems and identifying the issue at the root of the problem. It’s very good at the identifying part, in particular. Unstuck begins by taking you through a fairly detailed questionnaire to determine what your problem is, incorporating such things as who it affects, how you feel about it and some of the things you feel about it. A report is then produced that spits all this information back at you in a funky new way. It’ll also take a pop at labeling your issue in a new way. I got labelled a “Waffler,” for example, which means someone who endlessly talks around the issue without ever committing to a resolution. Yep, it’s pretty much got my number. There are also a load of tools to help you come to a decision, but whether it’s the mapping tool or a mirror that puts you face-to-face with yourself, it’s all about repackaging the information you feed it in a new way. But oh, what packaging. Unstuck is a truly lovely app to use, with bold blocks of colour and stylish fonts mixed in with artfully hand-scrawled pictures. The way your problem is persistently represented as scrawled-up piece of paper in the top-left corner is a cute touch, too. All in all, Unstuck is a very well designed...
  • October 24, 2018

    Time Geeks & Friends Premium Review

    We loved Time Geeks: Find All, with its charming pixel art, silly pop-culture references and simple, entertaining, hidden object gameplay. Time Geeks & Friends still offers all of those things, while also giving the game a competitive element using turn-based multiplayer. It’s no longer a question of just finding the relevant character, but instead, it’s about finding that character faster than your opponent. Both the premium and free versions of the game allow you immediately jump into the online multiplayer mode and play against opponents of a similar rank (determined by the number of wins). You’ll take it in turns to find characters and objects on a particular map, and at the end of each round, receive a score based on how quickly you completed the objective. If you have the highest score after three rounds you’ll be declared the winner. It’s very straightforward and as the nature of the game ensures that you’ll be completing rounds very quickly, it’s well suited to pick up and play. Strangely enough, the premium version also comes with a singleplayer practice mode, called “Kids mode.” We’re not entirely sure why this is unavailable with the free version, as there’s little reason to play it once you’ve got the hang of the game, or indeed, why its name suggests it’s aimed primarily at children. If you’re after a singleplayer version of this game, then you’ll really want to be looking at the original Time Geeks instead. However the real advantage of purchasing the premium version is that you’ll have unlimited access to the multiplayer games, without needing to purchase tokens. The free version has a 10-minute regen time for its tokens, so if you want to play a lot without spending any money, you’ll have to do some waiting. The tokens are also used...
  • October 20, 2018

    The Simpsons: Tapped Out Review

    Oil up your vocal chords for your best Homer shriek: The Simpsons are now starring in their very own social game. America’s favorite yellow-fleshed family has been in our videogames for almost as long as they’ve been on the air (hint: 20 years for the former, 22 for the latter) and few of their games have been especially good. We’ve fought space mutants, gone after Bart’s wayward homework in the land of dreams, and even done a little backyard wrestling. But The Simpsons: Tapped Out scores a rare success simply because it lets the Simpsons be themselves as they trundle around a version of Springfield that you build to your own tastes. The Simpsons: Tapped Out begins with Homer playing a Happy Little Elves social game on his myPad instead of monitoring the nuclear power plant’s core temperature. After spending about a thousand dollars on microtransactions (Homer sensibly decides he’ll blame his kids for the purchase and get his money refunded), the core reaches critical, and the plant explodes, taking all of Springfield with it. If this were a game about lesser people, everyone would be dead, or at least irradiated to the point that they wished they were dead. But Springfield’s denizens are a hardy bunch. They’re all alive and well, and simply waiting for Homer to rebuild their homes so that they can return. Of course, Homer is not America’s poster child for Getting the Job Done, so rebuilding Springfield is pretty much up to you. The Simpsons: Tapped Out functions much like any city-building social game (the Happy Little Elves parody at the start of the game kind of says it all), but with a definite Springfield twist that’s impossible not to love if you’ve ever been a hardcore fan of the show — and that includes...
  • October 17, 2018

    SlotsOFun

    Are you a gambler? Enjoy spinning the wheel, and letting chance and luck guide your fate? Well if you are then you should give Slots O Fun a try and download it from the App Store today. Developed by Rick Goulian, SlotsOFun is the only slot machine game for the iPhone with a Wheel of Fortune to spice up your winnings. It has an authentic game play, look and sounds to a real Las Vegas Slot machine! Game Description: To start you automatically begin with $100 in credits. Bet One adds $1 from your Credits window to the Bet window. SPIN REELS will bet the amount in the Bet window and spin the wheels. MAX BET! automatically bets $3 and spins the wheels. Touching the bill acceptor adds $100 to your credits, but the bill acceptor only works after every 50 slot spins. You can also Place a Max Bet automatically by shaking the iPhone. Line up 3 Blue Sevens and win the jackpot of $7000! A SPIN symbol on the payline allows you to SPIN the Fortune Wheel and win instantly! You can change the settings by touching the ‘I’ button on the lower left of the screen. That helps us to turn the games sounds on or off, and also reset the game and start anew with $100 to play with. SlotsOFun Game Likes: Good Graphics Lifelike sound effects (feels like you’re in the casino!) Realistic Slot Machine Game play SlotsOFun Wish-list: It would be great to see other electronic gambling games incorporated into this for a larger variety SlotsOFun is a great looking and fun iPhone app game. It’s colorful and the game play works and is as real as it can get. It can get a little old after time given the somewhat limited options, however...
  • October 13, 2018

    Modern Combat: Sandstorm Review

    The much-anticipated multiplayer update for Modern Combat: Sandstorm has arrived. You get three maps and four character classes to choose from, along with the option to battle via Bluetooth, local Wi-Fi, or online. (3G is not supported, so you’ll have to be near a wireless router to engage in firefights online). So does the update live up to the hype? At the time of this writing, multiplayer is a mixed bag. We suffered many game crashes when trying to search for games to join, as well as the occasional crash mid-match. Many other users on message boards are reporting the same thing, so we’re hopeful a fix is in the works. You can play with a maximum of three other players at a time, but we rarely ever fought in full matches. Usually it was us versus one or two other players. When we created matches, we often found ourselves all alone for as long as five minutes before anyone joined in. We’re not sure if this is a matchmaking issue on Gameloft’s part or if there just aren’t that many people playing at the moment. We suspect the former. You can tap the top middle of the screen at any time to see who else is in your game and how many kills and deaths they’ve racked up. We found it necessary to check often whether anyone else was in a level with us, because the maps are very large compared to those in Eliminate Pro. We spent a good percentage of our time roaming the levels, looking for someone to shoot at. The maps are exceptionally well-designed, with lots of hiding places, stairways, bridges, and objects to take cover behind, but because of their size, we really wish more than four people were allowed in at a time....
  • October 9, 2018

    Minigore Review

    In Minigore, you play a gruff, Legoman-looking character named John Gore, who is inexplicably wandering the forest alone in the middle of the night. An endless horde of baddies also happens to be in the area, and they begin a ruthless, blood-thirsty assault on our poor hero. Luckily, John has a gun equipped with unlimited ammo, and he can shape-shift into an invincible monster. Does any of this make sense? Not in the least. Do we mind? Heck no, because this game delivers action and style in spades. In the grand tradition of Smash TV and iDracula, you run around a limited playing field and blast the enemies coming at you from all directions. The goal is to rack up as many points as possible before your inevitable death. Two analog sticks sit in the bottom corners of the screen: the left one controls movement, the right one directs your bullets. Your enemies are the unfortunately-named furries. They come in four flavors: Minifurry, Furry, Giant Furry, and Firefurry. Minis die with one shot. Furries take several bullets and spawn a mini every time they’re hit. Giants can take a heap of damage before they turn to three regular Furries. And Firefurries are just speedier Minifurries on fire. You’ll want to take out firefurries first, because unlike the rest of the beasts, they can outrun you. The creepy forest environment looks stunning. Three-dimensional trees, rocks, and bushes populate the landscape and provide cover for your attackers. Splashes of light and pools of shadow add not only to the atmosphere, but also to the gameplay. We found it safest to stay in well-lit, vegetation-sparse areas. When you take your first hit of damage, you start to look cut-up and haggard. You also receive a temporary speed boost, which is a good thing,...
  • September 28, 2018

    JAM: Jets Aliens Missiles Review

    You have to appreciate honesty. JAM is everything the title says it is: jets, aliens, and missiles. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer much more. Sure, jets, aliens, and missiles are awesome, but so are unique level designs, fun weapons, and challenging enemies. JAM plays like a classic arcade flight/ action game. This sideview flyer pits your jet against an onslaught of incoming aliens. Your jet doesn’t move forward or backwards in the stage, just up and down, and you control it by moving your finger up and down on the screen. The jet is placed perfectly, so that your finger doesn’t obscure your view. Firing your weapons is another story. Your default weapon is the heat-seeking missile. To launch this at your enemies, simply tap on them. To attack a string of enemies, tap and slide across a group of them. Your jet will release a stream of deadly missiles on every enemy you tapped. Occasionally, this weapon won’t recognize when you slid your finger across a group of four enemies and will only launch missiles at two or three. You can tap to release missiles manually, which you will need to do for single baddies with tough armor. Unfortunately for you, your ship isn’t equipped to take a lot of damage. In fact, it’s not equipped to take any damage. Just like old school arcade games, if an enemy hits you at all, either by running into you or by launching a missile of its own, your ship will crash and burn. Thankfully, you do have ways to improve your skills against the enemies. Your weapon systems can be upgraded using orbs that the enemies drop when you defeat them. You can purchase new weapons, like machine guns, or modules, increasing your ship’s capabilities. While it appears you can purchase...
  • September 24, 2018

    Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Review

    Not every game needs to be Dungeon Hunter or Ravensword to be successful in providing entertainment to its target audience. In the case of the iPhone tie-in to the movie Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, you won’t find impressive scope, masterful vision, or intense graphical prowess, but you will find a game whose only aim is to be entertaining to the youngest of iPhone gamers, and mostly succeeds in that modest task. Still, if you’re not a part of the demographic that flocked to theaters to make Dawn of the Dinosaurs the second most successful animated film of all time (grossing $875 million), then you probably won’t find much to enjoy about this game. If you’ve ever seen the Ice Age movies, you may remember that the films are occasionally broken up with vignettes of a comical squirrel-type creature going to ridiculous lengths to acquire the acorn of his dreams. In the iPhone game, this is the part of the film that you play. You’re the squirrel, Scrat, trying to get the acorns, and you must solve light puzzles in order to finish each level. Perhaps most importantly, the difficulty level is in just about the right place for this game’s target audience. It’s very easy for adults and experienced gamers, but should prove to be a suitable challenge for a child. Plus, since it’s mainly about moving blocks around to figure out how to progress, you can be sure that in at least some small way, your child is exercising their brain while they’re entertained. The graphical sheen is rather paltry, but this game sets modest goals for itself and achieves them in small ways. The graphics are merely serviceable, but the main character is quite nicely animated and detailed enough that young kids will probably get a...
  • September 21, 2018

    Flatspace Review

    Years ago, when Eve Online for the PC was new to the MMO arena, we tried our hands at it. While the breadth of that game was impressive, its steep learning curve and lack of comprehensible tutorials made it a turn-off for those who didn’t have time to learn its vast intricacies. After playing Flatspace, itself a PC port, we can’t help but think of Eve Online. Unfortunately, while Eve has expanded into a game that is much more newbie friendly, Flatspace remains utterly mysterious to the uninitiated. For starters, we must point out that this is not an MMO; it is intended to be a single-player odyssey through the stars. Because you’re spending hours churning through the flat blackness of space, this makes Flatspace an incredibly lonely game. Granted, this is the developer’s intention, and as a lone space pilot out to make your fortune however you see fit (trader, mercenary, or space pirate, for example), it is largely successful. What that doesn’t translate to, however, is a game that is going to be readily accessible to many people. To further make your initiation into the game a frustrating experience is the lack of any sort of story, introduction, or tutorial to help you get started. These are promised in a coming update, so this may significantly help newcomers, but as it stands, too many people are going to be left scratching their heads and be unwilling to devote the hours (yes, hours) needed to get a firm grip on how to play the game, or have fun with it. Now, that being said, this can be a highly rewarding game. The universe is wide, and there’s plenty to see and do so long as you are willing to make the commitment to your character. In true role-playing fashion,...
  • September 17, 2018

    Cliffed Review

    We’re all familiar with the extraordinary turn-based game Star Hogs, launched earlier this summer to an unsuspecting public. Not only was the core game excellent, but the online multiplayer was really innovative stuff back then. As a result, IUGO became a developer we definitely needed to keep an eye on. The new project, Cliffed, isn’t anything turn-based, but it’s an interesting fusion of racing and platforming action that’s unique enough to potentially spawn a wave of imitators. The appeal of Cliffed is rooted in its simplicity. Most clearly defined as a literal race to the bottom of the screen, you have to guide your character around a set of boulders and blocked paths to keep progressing. Sound easy? At first it is, but things ramp up quickly as the downward scroll of the level gets faster. When your character meets the top of the vertically oriented screen, you get “Cliffed,” thus ending the game. Besides the fact that you never want to lose, there are perks for doing well. New characters are unlocked as the game keeps speeding up. In no time, you’ll be picking between random characters like teddy bears or purple blobs. It’s too bad that there isn’t any variation in the skills of these unlockable characters, but the cosmetic differences are cool. Getting around is cake based on Cliffed’s wonderfully thought out controls. You only use two arrows, left and right, and double tapping on an arrow makes your character do a little dash. While you will not need to do much dashing early on, it definitely becomes a mandatory mechanic in faster stages. Single player is great and all, but the online multiplayer here is the real deal. Expanding on the awesome execution IUGO put together for Star Hogs, there’s a competitive versus mode that puts...