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Gemini Rue iOS photo
Gemini Rue iOS

Gemini Rue launches on iOS devices

A portable neo-noir thriller
Apr 11
// Fraser Brown
Gemini Rue, Joshua Nuernberger and Wadjet Eye's wonderful neo-noir adventure game, made its way over to iOS devices yesterday. It's been overhauled for the new platforms, featuring a redesigned combat system, a hotspot finder...
Fist Face Fight photo
Fist Face Fight

Fist your enemies to death in Fist Face Fight

So much fisting
Apr 10
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Fist Face Fight is an upcoming free Android and iOS game where you play as a fist protecting his heart from waves of ninjas. How do you protect your heart? By fisting badguys in the face! You'll be able to earn coins, perfor...


Apr 05 // Casey B
BADLAND (iPhone, iPad [reviewed])Developer: Frogmind GamesPublisher: Frogmind GamesReleased: April 4, 2013MSRP: $3.99 BADLAND draws you in from the beginning with a trippy silhouetted art style and an ambient soundtrack -- both vaguely reminiscent of the eeriness of Limbo. The colorful, bizarre background flora that stands as a stark contrast to the bleak foreground silhouettes and some of the spacier music choices are also reminiscent of the obscure '70s animated film Fantastic Planet. You're not given much of a story to go on, except that you seem to be a furry little hedgehog/popple (remember those?) creature that almost comically flaps its futile little arms/wings to get across each stage. There's something else about a dead rabbit creature hanging upside down and his friends hidden in the background and some sort of race of robot creatures that look like giant metal eggs, but that's all simply background detail and doesn't ever truly get explained. The first couple of levels seem straightforward enough, as they see your character barely scraping by deadly spikes and dangerous plant life to get to the vacuum pipe at the end of the stage. However, it only takes a few more levels before you start to witness the various power-ups that completely change up the gameplay and at times almost ditch the endless-runner style to focus more on quick-paced puzzle platforming. One of the most notable power-ups that aids you throughout the game is the ability to instantly clone your character, either into one other little fuzzball or several others, all huddled together and at the beck and call of your finger taps. Think of your clones as your community of species. As you pass through giant spinning razor gardens and stomping machinery bits, you're going to watch in horror as a few of your community is sacrificed so that the faster and better controlled may live to see another difficult puzzle. In the beginning, this seems like an obvious handicap in completing the harrowing levels, as you watch a massive slaughter of your community only to notice a plucky one or two always survive and get funneled through the deadliest traps. Yet as you make your way through your first day of existence from dawn to night, you start to come across more devious setups that require you to split the paths of your communities in myriad clever ways. For example -- you may be forced to let one of your fuzzballs sacrifice itself for the greater good by taking a path that means certain death, but also opens a switch to release the rest of your community from a blockade ahead. Add to this the great variety of power-ups you'll receive and traps you'll desperately try to avoid, and you quickly get an idea of the tense and fun puzzles you might face in a single level. A few of these power-ups include some that make your fuzzballs grow larger or smaller, some that make them bouncy or sticky, and others that slow down or speed up time. The levels themselves are designed in a manner so that no power-up is wasted; nearly every one of them is one you'll need to use somehow, or at least will make the next section a little easier to get through. Much of the fun that comes from BADLAND is from the anxiety it will cause you in narrowly avoiding an insane deathtrap with your last fuzzy after watching a whole mess of clones explode throughout a rough patch of poisonous plants. LocoRoco this game ain't, as it's nearly impossible to save ALL of your community and so it becomes quickly necessary to focus on the ones that you just might be able to save and let the stragglers fall by the wayside or get burst into pieces by razors blades, gears, or javelin spikes. The game itself isn't exactly lengthy; I was able to finish the main set of stages in a few sessions. As mentioned before, it's split up into levels that go from dawn to night. This equates to four worlds with different art styles (dawn, noon, dusk, night) and ten levels in each. However, there are two important elements for replayability after getting to the credits. Namely, the three-egg challenges in each level, and the ridiculously fun multiplayer. The challenge eggs are like how stars are handled in games like Angry Birds, where you are awarded more for doing better in the stages. However, these particular challenges tend to be more specific to stages, from egg challenges that demand you to best the level in one single try, to others that ask you to keep a set number of clones alive by the end of the level-- not nearly as simple a task as it would first appear. Beyond this is the multiplayer, which is handled on a single screen and seems best suited for an iPad. Up to four players can pick a fuzzball of their very own, each with silly names and cute or weird characteristics, such as the one-eyed Cyclo or the irritated looking Fury. These fuzzballs are thrown into a level together, with each quadrant of the screen serving as the player inputs. The goal of the multiplayer is survival of the fittest, with the fuzzball that actually makes it the longest getting the lion's share of points, as well as added points for all for power-ups and clones picked up. I played the multiplayer more than a few times with my partner, and it proved to be a fun and addictive diversion that depended on skill just as much as on sheer luck. Though $3.99 seems like a high asking price for the typical iOS game, BADLAND is more than worth it with a beautiful, challenging single-player and fun multiplayer component, and the added bonus of more levels and a furthering of the mysterious story coming in a later update.
BADLAND review photo
Adapt or be squished
The Apple App Store seems to be filled with a glut of endless-runner/platforming games and their ilk these days. From excellent ventures such as Canabalt and Rayman Jungle Run to more suspect knock-offs (Here's lookin' at you...

Delver's Drop photo
Delver's Drop

Delver's Drop began as a mash-up of Zelda and pinball

A brief history of Delver's Drop
Mar 22
// Jason Cabral
I am always fascinated to hear developers talk about how the ideas for their game first come into existence. Sometimes it can be a revolutionary moment of clarity where all the stars are aligned and pure wonder takes on physi...
Duke Nukem II photo
Duke Nukem II

Duke's back, baby! Duke Nukem II iOS revealed

Come get some...again!
Mar 15
// Raz Rauf
3D Realms is back, and that can only mean one thing -- Duke Nukem. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Duke Nukem II, 3D Realms and Interceptor Entertainment have announced a upgraded re-release of the '90s game for iOS dev...
Jones on Fire photo
Jones on Fire

Jones on Fire ditches F2P model, releases on GooglePlay

Cats can be saved on Android devices right meow
Mar 11
// Jason Cabral
Developers have always had to make hard decisions concerning the future of their products and brands. Even after weeks of planning and researching business models, what may have worked for one brand my not work for yours. Su...
Donkey Kong rip-off photo
Donkey Kong rip-off

Donkey Kong also got ripped off for an iOS game

Apple's Seal of Quality
Mar 04
// Tony Ponce
What was that saying again? "When it rains, it pours"? The Android developer who released a game unwittingly starring Yoshi may have been able to cover his ass -- albeit barely -- but there is no way in hell that the mastermi...
After Burner on iOS photo
After Burner on iOS

After Burner Climax is jetting onto iOS

Feb 06
// Tony Ponce
After Burner is one of those games that tickles the nostalgia bone and doesn't stop. I remember burning away hours locked in aerial combat with After Burner II on my Famicom, although I never did manage to reach the end. And...

Temple Run: Oz the Great and Powerful releasing Feb. 27

Another licensed movie tie-in for the endless runner
Feb 04
// Keith Swiader
Temple Run: Oz the Great and Powerful, a Temple Run licensed tie-in game accompanying the film release of the same name, has been revealed on Twitter by Disney France PR representative Cecile Fouques. It will release on Febru...

Temple Run 2 becomes 'fastest growing mobile game'

Some birds are pretty angry right now
Jan 31
// Keith Swiader
Temple Run 2 has garnered over 50 million downloads since its January 17 release on iOS, setting the record for "fastest growing mobile game," developer Imangi Studios today announced. The record was previously held by Angry ...
Free Mutant Mudds iOS photo
Free Mutant Mudds iOS

Mutant Mudds will be free on iOS this week

Free on Thursday and Friday
Jan 30
// Chris Carter
Renegade Kid developer Jools Watsham dropped us a line today letting us know that Mutant Mudds will be free this Thursday and Friday (January 31 and February 1) for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch platforms. You'd be crazy t...
Run run run! photo
Run run run!

Temple Run 2 has been downloaded 20 million times already

Six million downloads on first day alone
Jan 21
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Temple Run 2, which was just released four days ago, has already been download over 20 million times on the Apple App Store. Six million downloads occurred on the first day alone. The game became the number one free app with...
The Walking Dead photo
The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead has sold over 8.5 million episodes

For Clementine!
Jan 06
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Telltale CEO Dan Connors has told the Wall Street Journal that players have purchased more than 8.5 million episodes of The Walking Dead across consoles, PC, and iOS devices since release. As the WSJ states, at $5 per episode...

Serj Tankian behind the musical score for Morning Star

"Psycho, groupie, cocaine, crazy!"
Dec 20
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Morning Star is an upcoming futuristic sci-fi shooter for iOS devices by Alex Seropian, the founder of Bungie. Much like The Drowning, Morning Star is also claiming to re-imagine the shooter genre for touch devices. It's eve...

Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy iOS is a free app, paid songs

This could get expensive!
Dec 12
// Dale North
From the first minute I played Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy on the 3DS I wanted it for my iPhone. I have nothing against the 3DS, but I love this game so much that I always want it with me.  It's coming to iOS, but accordi...

Pokedex for iOS launches today in US and Europe

Regional Pokedexes cost $5.99 apiece
Dec 10
// Dale North
North American and European Pokémon players with iPhones, iPads, or iPods can download Pokédex for iOS on the Apple App Store today. $1.99 gets you the full details on more than 640 Pokémon, including loc...

Square Enix offers up a holiday iOS game sale

Final Fantasy IV coming soon
Dec 07
// Dale North
Square Enix is set to blow up your phone with popular existing games as well as some new ones. All three of the first Final Fantasy games are sale, as is Final Fantasy Dimensions, listed for as low as $3.99 (though ...

The Drowning looks like a promising FPS for iOS

What was up with all those dead birds anyway?
Dec 06
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
The Drowning is an upcoming first-person shooter for mobile devices by Scattered Entertainment (previously known as ngmoco Sweden.) The often outspoken Ben Cousins is leading the development, and this early look at the game ...

Mutant Mudds rides a white steed onto iOS today

Quick impressions of the mobile port
Dec 06
// Tony Ponce
Today is the day that Renegade Kid's Mutant Mudds slip-slides onto Apple devices. If you'd like to double dip (or triple dip), it's a paltry $0.99 on the App Store. I've messed around with this latest build to see how it stac...

Free Rayman Jungle Run update adds new world

Character pack also available for $0.99
Dec 06
// Tony Ponce
Rayman Jungle Run is what a mobile adaptation of a console platformer ought to be. Instead of a straight port shoehorned onto Apple and Android devices, it's a standalone title that merely complements the original, with touc...

Oh you flirt! Mutant Mudds coming to iOS on December 6

Max and his water pistol like to get around
Nov 29
// Tony Ponce
Scandalous joking aside, Renegade Kid's Mutant Mudds has indeed been popping up everywhere. There's the 3DS original, the PC update, yesterday's confirmation of a Wii U "deluxe" edition, and now news of a port for iOS devices...

Rockman Xover out in Japan, contains weird Legends video

We've definitely got a winner on our hands
Nov 29
// Tony Ponce
I know you've been on pins and needles regarding Rockman Xover. The free-to-play iOS title is available in Japan as of today, though the Western localization is still forthcoming. Heat Man of The Mega Man Network has been pu...

GTA: Vice City coming to iOS and Android on December 6

10th Anniversary Edition of the best GTA
Nov 21
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City 10th Anniversary Edition is set to come out on iOS and Android devices on December 6, 2012. It'll be going for $4.99, and will feature several enhancements such as updated character models, lightin...

Music get: free Bar Oasis download on Dtoid's SoundCloud

Koreans know their game music
Nov 17
// Jayson Napolitano
We've got a special treat for you today. We wrote about the Bar Oasis 2 soundtrack in Note Worthy 005, and since that time, the team at Corners Studio has put together a special compilation album featuring remastered selectio...

THE END TIMES ARE HERE: Pokedex comes to iOS

Save your soul before it's too late
Nov 16
// Dale North
What is the status of your soul? It's time to start considering how you've lived. Look at your affairs today and get them in order. Make right with your family, friends, the world. Do what you've always wanted to do...

Review: The Last Express (iOS)

Oct 20 // Casey B
The Last Express (iOS)Developer: DotEmuPublisher: DotEmuReleased: September 27, 2012MSRP: $4.99 In The Last Express, you take on the role of Robert Cath, an American adventurer who is dashingly handsome, fluent in various languages, and burdened with a questionable criminal past. In many ways, Cath fits into the Indiana Jones archetype -- even to the point that in one very Indiana Jones-ish combat scenario I could've sworn I heard the Wilhelm scream as an enemy died. Cath boards the Orient Express as an unknown, sneaking onto the train via motorcycle and quickly discovering that the friend he was expecting to rendezvous with has instead met his own mysterious demise. The game quickly sets you off onto a sort of choose-your-own-adventure, where you find yourself wandering the various corridors of the train and becoming either a passive or active participant of the events taking place around you. Even when playing casually on an iOS device, The Last Express will easily draw you into its immersive and self-contained universe. Characters pass by in narrow hallways, giving you a look and their pardon as they pass. People mill about in their rooms or in the restaurant car. And at various times you can eavesdrop on their conversations or actively become part of them. Of course, you don't actually have options as to what you will say -- Cath as a character is pretty self-assured and needs no help from our fourth-wall prodding -- though your choice to engage in conversations or ignore key characters will have a direct effect on your playthrough. [embed]236967:45496[/embed] The graphics are incredibly simplistic and the animations aren't even full-frame at times. Somehow, this simplicity is actually to the game's benefit. As you move about the train and watch characters interact, movements and gestures seem incredibly lifelike because of their familiarity -- it sort of feels like watching a simplified Renoir come to life. I know this sounds a bit pretentious, but I was honestly surprised by how such basic palettes and colors could tell such a deep and at times even emotional narrative. Normally, games that contain a murder mystery plot with overarching political intrigue really bore the shit out of me, but where The Last Express succeeds is in truly putting you in the moment. Every minute that passes is another minute towards your last destination, after all, and that final stopping place may change with your decisions from moment to moment. I can honestly say I have never felt the immediacy of my surroundings and actions in the same way as I did while playing through The Last Express. In one playthrough you may develop a love interest, help to defuse conflicts both petty and political, and develop alliances and enemies with various key players onboard. Granted, even though there are multiple ways to end the game, it seems that there is only one true sequence of events that leads to the "good" ending. Honestly, though, I'd be hard pressed to call any of the endings "happy." I've spent a lot of time gushing about the game itself -- I admittedly missed this gem the first time around, so it was exciting to play it in whatever format was available. However, the particular platform it's been released on has some incredibly frustrating issues, and I can't brand the game with a glowing review without considering the worthiness of it as a port. Touch sensitivity is a tricky beast for games ported to iOS, though successfully ported point-and-click adventure games have certainly come to mobile devices before. In complete honesty, I simply can't consider The Last Express among them. This may change with an update down the line, but as of now the game has an incredibly finicky touch control system. I played The Last Express on a 3rd generation iPad and found myself practically fighting with the controls at nearly every juncture. Icons on the screeen represent directions for your character to turn, though they could have been wingdings for all of the worth they had in actually getting my character to move properly. If I pressed on the button signifying "right," half the time the game would do the exact opposite. Pressing the button to move forward one frame would often send my character into a sprint, bypassing everything until the next traincar. These controls were especially frustratung during combat sequences, which play as proto-QTEs where you have to press the right direction with proper timing to survive dangerous fights. I nearly gave up in frustration during one of the late game battles because of this system. It took not only proper timing but bashing on the on-screen directional arrows and hoping they registered with the intended move. People often generally complain about touchscreen control and how awful it is for most mobile games. I argue stongly against this contention, as I have played so many awesome games with incredibly responsive controls that run the gamut from simple puzzle games (Ichi) to more complex adventure games like Swords & Sworcery that have the same familiar point-and-click interface. The Last Express falls on its face with the port's touch implementation, and this is really a shame. While I certainly accepted a certain amount of archaic control scheme frustration, I was surprised at how little work it seemed was actually put into making sure the game worked -- at least on an iPad. This was especially surprising given I was playing through on a device with ample screen space. Fortunately, The Last Express does have a good checkpoint system that even allows you to rewind time and play from an earlier train stop if you failed or missed something along the way. I suppose this and the newly implemented hint system are the major saving graces of this frustrating port. In every other way, it remains faithful to the original -- at least as far as I could surmise. I'm torn on this game, as I would normally give a game of this scope and brilliance a perfect 10, but my constant fight with the controls really did mar my enjoyment. Perhaps it's because the game is supposed to be playable on both iPad and iPhone, though from others' responses I've noticed it really only works on a smaller device. At the end of the day, I'd highly recommend picking up this relatively inexpensive version of The Last Express regardless, even if that means biting the bulllet with the control scheme and dealing with those frustrations. It's a piece of videogame history and a shining example of what can be done to create an experience so much more immersive than the Heavy Rains of today. I just can't rate the port as highly as I'd rate the core experience itself.
Amazing game, touchy port
When The Last Express was first released in 1997, it was considered an incredibly engaging mystery set on the Orient Express as it traveled from Paris to Constantinople on the eve of World War I. In many ways the game was far...


NYCC: The samurai bunny returns in new Usagi Yojimbo game

Happy Giant brings back the ronin warrior
Oct 13
// Audun Sorlie
Most people know him from his cameos in TMNT, but Miyamoto Usagi has been the star of his own comic book series for a long time. His first and only game, Samurai Warrior: The Battles of Usagi Yojimbo, came out in 1988 for the...

He-Man punches Skeletor's friends in new iOS brawler

By the power of Apple!
Oct 10
// Jim Sterling
Sweet nostalgia is the hook by which Chillingo and Glitchsoft hope to snatch you with He-Man, a new brawler coming universally to iOS devices. It's based on the old cartoon, you see. This means I'm going to buy it. Because I'...

Gamemaster Howard wants you to be a 'Know-It-All'

Sep 25
// Tony Ponce
Former Nintendo of America spokesman Howard Phillips has been sharing tons of goodies from his personal archives lately, and now he shares a game idea. As the original Nintendo "Gamemaster," he was tasked with knowing the in...

Review: Rayman Jungle Run

Sep 22 // Tony Ponce
Rayman Jungle Run (Android, iOS [reviewed])Developer: Pastagames, Ubisoft MontpellierPublisher: UbisoftRelease: September 19, 2012 (iOS) / September 27, 2012 (Android)MSRP: $2.99 What is often the biggest shortcoming of any touch-based platformer? The controls, of course. The more virtual buttons a game tries to squeeze on the screen, the more likely the game will fail to register your inputs. Without tactile feedback, it's hard to tell when you're just outside the button's input detection boundary until you tap the screen and nothing happens. Jungle Run streamlines controls by taking a page out of auto-runners like Canabalt -- Rayman is in constant motion, so all you have to worry about is dodging obstacles. Unlike Canabalt at its ilk, you aren't running along an endless horizontal corridor, gunning for that elusive "high score." This is a true blue platformer with chasms, spikes, enemies, floating platforms, wall jumps, and other hazards. The game is split into four worlds with 10 stages apiece. Each world introduces a new ability, giving you plenty of time to grow accustomed to a particular mechanic before the next one appears. In the first world, all you have to do is jump. Though there is a jump button in the bottom left corner, you can trigger the action by tapping anywhere on the screen, save for the top corners which are dedicated to the "restart level" and menu commands. [embed]235521:45182[/embed] In the second world, you gain the hover ability, executed by holding your finger on the screen once you are airborne, which you can also use to catch air currents to lift you higher. In the third world, you are introduced to wall running, which offers some clever gravity-defying challenges. In the final world, you learn how to punch through wooden barricades and enemies along your path. Punching is mapped to a separate button in the bottom right corner which, unlike the jump button, has to be pressed, but at least it's large enough that you'll never accidentally miss a punch. Reaching the end of a stage is not all that difficult, but your true goal is to collect Lums, the golden firefly-like critters found in every Rayman game. There are 100 Lums in each level, and finding them all will require you to take more precarious paths, intentionally miss jumps, or discover a hidden doors. By collecting all the Lums in at least five stages in a world, you'll unlock that world's tenth stage, a balls-hard run through the Land of the Livid Dead. Here, there are no Lums, only an increased risk of sudden death. Thankfully, as with all the other levels in the game, these are a minute in length tops, so there's never that sense of lost progress should you want to restart a stage. The icing on the cake is the art, which has been pulled directly from Rayman Origins. Normally, I would call out a developer for reusing copious amounts of assets, but the graphics from Origins are so colorful, bright, and beautiful that I have no objections about their reappearance here. This is a game you play with a smile plastered across your face, nodding your head along to the cheerful music and detailed animations. Unfortunately, the game ends full-stop upon completion of the final stage. There is no fanfare, no "congratulations" screen, just a boot back to the main menu. Feels rather abrupt, but I don't know why I was expecting anything else. Jungle Run is just a series of narrative-less challenge levels, but it's so fulfilling that at times you'll become confused into thinking it's something "greater," if that makes any sense. Not really a bad "problem" to have. That's not to say Jungle Run doesn't offer rewards for the dedicated player. The more Lums you collect, the more wallpaper you earn, which can be saved as the background image on whatever device you are using. It's not much, but how often does a game award prizes outside of the game itself? The challenges are reward enough on their own, so these are but pleasant extras. Rayman Jungle Run is proof that platformers can work on touch devices if you tailor the them to the strengths of the hardware rather than attempt to recreate a console experience. Had this merely been a watered-down port of Origins, it would have invited direct comparisons and highlighted the flaws of touch-based gameplay. Instead, it's a game with bite-sized levels and sensible controls yet all the action of its console brethren. This is what companion software ought to be.

When did Ubisoft start becoming awesome again? Who would have thought the French studio would be the one to properly reinvigorate the 2D platforming genre, thus beating Nintendo at its own game? That's how I felt when I first...

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