Chaos Rings Review: Chaos Rings

May 8, 2010

When it comes to role-playing games on the iPhone, titles tend to feature production values that mimic the era of the SNES and Sega Genesis. That said, it's not surprising that Square-Enix is pushing the genre forward to the next level, given the company's history with producing critically-praised and groundbreaking RPGs. The recently-released Chaos Rings proves that not only is the iPhone capable of delivering a modern Final Fantasy-like game experience, but it can do so beautifully.

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Puzzle Bots Review: Our Puzzle Bots review reveals an adventure game filled with clever puzzles and robotic fun.

May 7, 2010

Who wouldn't want an adorable little robot of their own? Thankfully, Dr. Hugo's Factory for Making Robots is here to help. The company makes cute little mechanical companions of all sorts, from robotic mermaids to walking flamethrowers. But something is not quite right with Dr. Hugo, so the robots take it upon themselves to find out just what's going on. In Wadjet Eye's Puzzle Bots you'll get to control a gang of five robots as they search the factory, solving puzzles and getting into trouble. The result is an incredibly charming adventure, packed with plenty of humor and some deviously clever puzzles.

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Backyard Monsters Review: Backyard Monsters may be the most polished strategy game available for Facebook.

May 7, 2010

Facebook games thrive on the simplest gameplay conceits. Most of Zynga’s oeuvre amounts to clicking tiles. Text RPGs are simple stat-raising exercises. Action games usually involve repeating a single, often silly, action. A game like Backyard Monsters seems completely anomalous in this environment, offering a blend of grand strategy and monster breeding. You can be attacked by wild monsters or, once you’ve reached a certain point, other players. You can also attack other players yourself. That’s a pretty far cry from Café World.

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Ninjatown: Trees of Doom Review: Survival gameplay grows up in our review of Ninjatown: Trees of Doom

May 6, 2010

The survival genre has provided iPhone gamers with great fun over the past few years. Whether we’re talking about early releases like Doodle Jump or Canabalt or recent successes like Superfall and Above, traversing great distances until you just can’t go any further has become a staple experience on the iPhone. But while all of these games are precious, they’re also incredibly simple. Success is dependent less on skill and more on luck. Come across the wrong obstacle or miss the right platform and its game over. But what if the survival genre could be something more? What if it could be built on challenging gameplay instead of luck and repetition?

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100 Rogues Review: 100 Rogues

May 6, 2010

Games like Diablo and Torchlight are known for being massive, sprawling epics that seem to go on forever. 100 Rogues take all of the elements of these games – the random dungeons, the levelling up and skill assignments, the equipment, the items – and boils it to a five minute quest for survival. In a brilliant genre-defining moment for the iPhone, 100 Rogues has invented the first one-session roguelike.

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Fantasy Kingdoms Review: Fantasy Kingdom’s magical theme is enough to make Facebook farming feel new again.

May 6, 2010

A change of genre can do a lot for gameplay that, deep down, is nothing more than an iteration of a familiar fomula. This is certainly the case with Fantasy Kingdoms, a game that can be fairly described as FarmVille crashing headlong into Harry Potter. You are a witch or warlock that grows magical crops and trees in order to harvest mana, which you can use to buy decorations (and better crops) for your magical farm.

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Monster Mayhem Review: We defend the graveyard gates with a full arsenal in our Monster Mayhem review

May 6, 2010

The thing about castle defense games is that they are frantic by necessity. There is zero depth to tossing enemies into the sky with your finger so that they splat on the ground. Most developers up the intensity by piling on more and more invaders so that the game becomes a test of your dexterity. Monster Mayhem piles on mechanics instead—giving you a full arsenal of weapons, giving you a full bestiary of creatures to take on, and giving your finger a much-needed rest. The shocking thing is that it totally works. Why can't all castle defense games be this diverse?

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Crash Course Review: A well-executed iPhone homage to an innovative twin-stick arcade shooter.

May 5, 2010

Here’s a design challenge to think about: how do you add a fresh twist to one of the most prolific genres in history, the twin-stick shooter? How many children of Asteroids are there? While Crash Course makes a valiant attempt to crack the code, and largely succeeds, it does so by standing on the shoulders of giants.

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Top Dog: Farmyard Adventures Review: Kid friendly line-drawing has come to the iPhone

May 5, 2010

It's not surprising that developer Flightless put out a game about herding sheep. After all, the company is housed in New Zealand, which (if I recall from a shearing demonstration I saw while visiting the country a decade ago) is the nation with a 30-to-1 ratio of sheep to people.

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Youda Safari Review: Youda Safari Review - Running a safari park is fun but may be too easy for time management veterans.

May 5, 2010

Youda Games' ongoing series of time-management games has covered everything from teaching players how to be a world-class sushi chef, to learning the ins and outs of being a farmer. This time around the developer has decided to tackle the world of safari park management with Youda Safari. It plays a lot like the developers previous efforts, which means it features some charming cartoon graphics and addictive gameplay. Unfortunately, this also means that things get repetitive very quickly, as you can see most of what the game has to offer in the first hour or so.

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