Download Alien With A Magnet on iTunes!

This one touch puzzle platformer ramps up the difficulty and will toss you into a world fille dwith more than 45 levels along with a time trial gameplay mode. Loads of opportunities for increasing your score and shaving milliseconds off of your best times along with GameCenter support add loads of replayability to this one. Don't miss it!

Download Whril The Squirrel on iTunes!

Whirl The Squirrel has lost all of his precious THINGS to his 'nenemies. It's up to you to race through 18 wonderfully designed levels in this speed-run, racing platformer. Perfect for fans of Sonic the Hedgehog!

Download Evilot on iTunes!

An interesting Lane-Defense title from Syrenaica Development. Help Count Dolfus defend his treasure against the onslaught of knights and adventurers who are trying to steal it away from him. Only $0.99 in the AppStore!

Download Kinetic Damage on iTunes!

Easily one of the best fighting games on the iOS, Kinetic Damage presents an amount of depth that's rarely seen within the genre. Fans and newcomers alike should jump on this one ASAP!

Download Best Park In The Universe on iTunes!

Check out a brawler specifically designed for the touchscreens from Heavy Boat Games and Cartoon Network! 3 worlds, 15 levels and some intense action staring Mordecai and Rigby from CN's Regular Show! Be sure and grab this great little beat-em-up!

Download Liberation Maiden on iTunes!

From Level-5 and Grasshopper, the action packed mech shooter; Liberation Maiden is now available on the iOS! With improved graphics and controls, this is definitely one to dive in to.

Download Eve of Impact on iTunes!

One of the best Missile Defense games available, with awesome graphics, sweet gameplay, and now it's Universal! Check it out!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Oscura - 1.99 (MTV Networks/Viacom/Chocolate Liberation Front)

MTV Networks is not really known for releasing quality gaming titles. Potty Racers, Ski Runner, Bigby: L.A.P.D., these games are not exactly going to end up on any “Top” lists. But with their latest release of Oscura, a platformer developed by Viacom+Chocolate Liberation Front, they might just be thinking of jumping into the high quality iOS gaming ring. And hopefully, they make a big enough roar that they’re pushed to keep going.
The game takes place on an island where dark creatures are tucked away by a magical light held in a lighthouse outpost. Inevitably, the power crystal that harnessed this magical light exploded, scattering shards of the crystal all over the island, and covering the land in darkness. Oscura, as the light keeper, now has to embark on the dangerous task of collecting all of these shards, and restoring the light.
The controls are simple enough, touch on the left side of the screen to move left, the right side of the screen to move right, and touch both sides of the screen to jump. To jump while standing still, you’ll need to tap on both sides of the screen. If you hold down, you’ll end up going in one direction or the other. You are also able to double jump, and swipe on the screen to slow down time once you have enough power in your time gauge, which fills up as you collect shards of light. Generally, most platformer fans are not very big on games that don’t have virtual controls, but with the recent releases of Bring Me Sandwiches, Bean’s Quest, and the controls used here in Oscura, we’re quickly learning that platformers don’t need virtual controls to have controls that work wonderfully.
The graphics in Oscura are done in silhouette style, and along with the animations, character models, physics, colors that are used, and music (by Matt Murphy, and Chris Sullivan), all comes together to create an incredibly immersive, beautiful environment. As for level design, towards the beginning of the game, it’s a little bland, and pretty linear. But as you move on into the last half of the game, the designs get a lot better, using enemies and hazardous objects to reach platforms, and hidden areas you’ll need to find if you want to collect every item in the levels opens up quite a bit of options with the design, and Chocolate Liberation Front has done a great job taking advantage of that.
You’re able to collect 4 stars at the end of each level, one for time, one if you do not die, another for collecting all of the light shards, and lastly, one for collecting all of the gears. This is basically where all of the replay value is within the game, as collecting all of these stars will take gamers multiple playthroughs. There is no OpenFeint or GameCenter support, but with the star ratings, it doesn’t really take away from the replay value, but it is something that would be very welcome in a future update.
There are presently 7 levels, each taking about 1 to 3 minutes to beat, meaning that you will probably finish the game in about 15 to 20 minutes. This is where a lot of gamers will get turned off, and probably end up passing up this great game. Thankfully, as I mentioned, there are star ratings that you can try and grab once you complete the game, and grabbing all of them is a pretty nice challenge. There are 5 more levels that are said to be coming in the future, and hopefully the onslaught of very low ratings in the AppStore will not discourage the developers, and cause the game to never get updated, because even though there’s an ending for the game after you beat the 7th level, it’ll drive you crazy knowing that the developers had more in mind. There’s obviously more to the game, and Oscura is an adventure that deserves to be complete.
For $1.99, Oscura being Universal, and the amazing look and gameplay in this title, it’s definitely a game that platformer fans should check out. Chocolate Liberation Front has created an incredibly beautiful and well rounded game that is sure to grab quite a few extremely loyal fans. But, if you are not a gamer that goes after star ratings for levels, and is done with a game after they beat the last level, then you will probably feel like your $1.99 was not spent very well. Hopefully there are enough gamers out there that do play certain games to completion, and will try and step up to the challenge of getting every star filled in every level, because it would be a shame if Oscura faded into the pile of thousands of monotonous games floating around the AppStore.

Oscura gets a score of 4.5 out of 5.

Haunted Hallway Free for Halloween

Haunted Hallway, by Uncade, released on October 22nd, has just gone free for Halloween. We recently reviewed Haunted Hallway, and seeing what the developer has to say on the Touch Arcade forums, it's looking like the game will get a lot more interesting in the future, so if you're the slightest bit interested in this endless runner created around platforming gameplay, now would be the time to check it out.

Alphadia Correction

Review sites are not very well known for saying that they got something wrong. But at The App Shack, we believe that you, our readers, deserve to know when we've made a mistake, and what a game is really like. Yesterday I posted up a review for Alphadia, by Kemco, the same developers of the amazing turn-based RPG, Symphony Of Eternity. In that review I said this;

"The only bad thing I can say about Alphadia is that the battle results screen sometimes feels like it’s getting in the way of the game. It doesn’t matter how quickly or how much you tap on the screen, the battle result screen has a set time that it’s shown."

Then, while playing Alphadia last night, I started to tap quicker, and on the right side of the screen at the battle results screen. This made the results screen vanish into the past very quickly. Apparently, I wasn't tapping quick enough, or was tapping on the wrong side of the screen, as it seems that the results screen doesn't fade away as quickly if you're tapping quickly on the left side of the screen. Anyway, the main point of this announcement is to say that I didn't tap quick enough to make the results screen go away quickly, and then posted in my review, WRONGLY posted in my review, that the results screen could not be pushed aside "no matter how quickly or how much you tap on the screen" - which is outright wrong. This is also the main reason Alphadia got a score of 9 out of 10, because I felt that it took you out of the game for a long enough time that it made the gameplay feel not as smooth as it should, and it got a bit frustrating waiting for the results screen to go away before getting back into the action. So, I'm going to change (for the first time EVER!) the Alphadia score from 9/10 to a perfect 10/10, which is very much what it deserves, and would like to apologize to the Kemco, Kotobuki Solution developers and publishers, as well as our readers, for the mis-understanding.

Tiny Token Empires - 0.99 (Bulkypix)

Bulkypix has become one of the bigger iOS developers/publishers over the last couple years or so, putting out numerous popular games, loads of which have hit Apple’s New & Noteworthy list. I only bring this up because it all makes their latest release, Tiny Token Empires, for the iPhone, a bit of a mystery.
First off, the iPad version of Tiny Token Empires is $8.99, and the iPhone version is $0.99. This should be a big clue that there’s going to be quite a bit of the game left out of the iPhone version, and sadly, it’s there, but only available through IAPs. To get the full Tiny Token Empires iPhone game, a total of $7.92 (+tax) will need to be spent. Now, I’m all for premium pricing in the AppStore, but generally, only when a developer comes out with a premium game that deserves that premium price.
In the AppStore description, it says that Tiny Token Empires includes 5 campaigns, one per nation for over 15 hours of gaming, 5 nations, 5 heroes, 25 generals, and 50 kinds of units, including 5 kinds of puzzles, with 3 difficulty levels, and 4 other games modes, including solo and multi. So most customers will go into the purchase thinking, “wow, that’s quite a bit of gameplay for my $0.99!”, and it really seems like that is what Bulkypix is counting on. There is no mention of IAPs in the description, and nowhere does it say what you get for your $0.99. Here is what the dollar game consists of.
You’ll get OpenFeint support, the Roman campaign, which contains 4 missions, a Free Mission mode where you can either play as the Romans or Egyptians, in one of 5 different missions, choosing one of 3 difficulties, and a Quick Battle mode, which lets you play a randomized match-3 game against another empire, and that OpenFeint support; you‘ll have access to one leader board. Now, this doesn’t sound too bad for $0.99, except that this is everything that’s included in their PC demo. So with that in mind, and after playing the game for an hour, you’ll feel more like you’ve paid $0.99 for a lite version of the game.
However, the game is decent. You’ll start off with a town, build it up with defenses, an army, and more buildings, earning money with each turn, which enables you to build more of your town up. You’ll take your army, and move it from one section on the map to another, expanding your empire, and having a match-3 battle whenever you come across a territory that is already occupied by another ruler or civilization. The first 4 Roman campaign missions that you are given feel more like a tutorial though, with a “wise elder” telling you what you need to do to get through each mission, and then letting you half-way do the last mission on your own. Once you complete that, you’re done with the main game. You are given partial access to the free mission mode, and can play a randomized match-3 battle, but as for the main meat of the game. Done. In the game’s description is also says that there is a “multi” mode, but it’s not found anywhere in the game.
It’s almost impossible not to compare Tiny Token Empires to Puzzle Quest, because they are the two big match-3 adventure turn-based RPG type games in the AppStore. Puzzle Quest, with 3 chapters, with the first chapter being free, and 2 and 3 being $0.99 each, with over 40 hours of very impressive quest filled turn-based match-3 gameplay, and Tiny Token Empires, a little under $8, 15 hours of not so quest filled turn-based match-3 gameplay, with a demo/lite verison that costs $0.99.
I don’t want to say that Tiny Token Empires is a bad game, because it’s not. It’s put together extremely well, has nice graphics, and decent music. It’s user interface is a little clunky, but not so much that it gets in the way of the game. It does have some smoother looking animations sequences than Puzzle Quest, and it has free mission and random battle modes to go along with the campaign. I don’t think the game feels like a premium priced game though. A lot of gamers do not like the “pay-as-you-go” pricing model, and here, Bulkypix is charging iPod gamers for what they’re giving away to PC gamers. It doesn’t rub players the right way, and I have no idea how Bulkypix is going to come out of this one on top.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ninja Pong - 0.99/1.99 (Alien Worm)

The AppStore is an incredible place for first time developers to learn a lot about the gaming industry. It’s also a wonderful place for gamers to fine incredibly cheap games from first time developers, sometimes finding a gem you’ll love, and a developer you’ll want to support in the future. Alien Worm’s first iOS game, Ninja Pong, is a great first publication, and will probably turn into a game that leads you to follow the future releases of Alien Worm.
In this casual arcade game, you’ll control a paddle while swarms of ninjas jump from one side of the screen to the other. Your goal is to get as many ninjas safely across the middle of the screen gap as you can, either before time runs out, or before you loose a certain amount of ninjas, depending on which game mode you’re playing. While you’re trying to do this, bombs, flaming arrows, coins, and power-ups will be thrown toward the gap as well. If you get hit by a bomb, it’s game over, and if you get hit by a flaming arrow or two (or more) you’ll need to drag your finger back and forth quickly to shake the arrows off of your paddle. Power-ups will either give you extra health, double points, a bigger paddle or an invincible metal paddle, while coins can be collected and spent in the in-game shop.
Yes, there is a shop, which usually means there’s IAPs for coins, or shop items, and it’s no different here with Ninja Pong. Thankfully, the game is not geared towards buying extra items or gold, so it’s more of a “you’ll get these things in return for supporting the developer” set-up of IAPs, which is always nice to see. You can buy 1000 coins for $0.99, 2500 coins for $1.99, or a coin copying machine for $0.99. Aside from the IAPs, there are 10 different accessories that you can dress your ninjas up with, like a Roman helmet, a top hat, sombrero, and more, as well as a few upgrades, like a bomb destroyer, or longer bonus times for your power-ups, like the larger paddle or point multiplier.
There are two different game modes, Arcade, and Endless. Arcade has normal and hard difficulty settings, with the hard setting giving the game more speed. In Arcade Mode, you’ll try and get as many ninjas across the screen as you can in 1 minute. You can miss an unlimited number of ninjas, which comes in handy when trying to avoid the bombs and arrows, or when trying to grab coins or power-ups. In Endless Mode, you’ll get as many ninjas across the screen as you can before dropping 6 of them. In this mode, the difficulty goes up with your skill, and can become pretty challenging fairly quickly.
You’ll be able to choose between 4 different environments, some of which are locked when you first start the game, but do not take long at all to open up. The different environments do not change the gameplay at all, but it is nice being able to choose some different looks for the levels, and helps make replaying the modes seems less repetitive.
The graphics in Ninja Pong are done very well, as everything is very polished, and smooth looking. The animations are also done very nicely, and make the gameplay very smooth, and entertaining. In most of the levels, there are leaves that are scattered all over the screen, blowing in the wind. They don’t distract from the gameplay at all, but once you start looking at them, and noticing how good they look, you’ll start to notice more little details in the levels, like trees moving in the wind and various other things that just make the game graphically stand out in a store that’s full of pretty basic looking cartoony graphics and animations. Coupled with the music and gameplay, all the parts of Ninja Pong come together to create a prime example of what a really good casual game should be.
At $0.99 for the iPod version, and $1.99 for the iPad build (which is on sale for Halloween at the moment, you can grab it for $0.99!), it’s a great buy. 7 GameCenter leader boards, along with 33 hard to get achievements add a ton of replay value to Ninja Pong. It’s clear that Alien Worm have done their research, and know exactly what it takes to make an addictive casual game that’s great for gamers of all ages, while providing a challenge for even the most skilled gaming veteran. Right now, it’s not really a game I can see too many people sitting down and playing for long periods of time, but it’s a great one for those 5 to 15 minute spurts. In the game’s description, it says that more environments, more unlockables, and more features are coming in the future, so hopefully the additions that Alien Worm has in mind will round out the game. But it’s still a title that’s worth buying, and will provide quite a bit of ninja bouncing, arcady fun.

Ninja Pong gets a score of 4.5 out of 5.

GravCat Halloween Competition!

(Click to see full size image)

GravCat developer, Monster Robot Studios, is having a special Halloween competition in which you could win a $10 iTunes gift card! GravCat Version 1.1 will go live on October 31st, after that time, you can update, or buy the game (you could also follow us on Twitter for a chance to win a promo code for version 1.0, that we will be giving out before the 31st!), and have a go at it.

Here's the contest information;

In one of the 10 new levels there is a blue pumpkin, you need to find it, then use your tractor beam to place it on 3 different checkered locations scattered throughout the stage, taking a screen shot each time. the first person to post the 3 pictures wins!

The prize is a $10 itunes gift certificate!

You can get a hold of Monster Robot Studios through their Facebook or Twitter pages, so get ready to search the new levels, find the blue pumpkin, and place it on all 3 checkered locations to try and win a $10 iTunes gift card.

Peak Gold - 0.99/1.99-HD (Colorbox)

Colorbox has released quite a few games over the last year that have earned their permanent places on our iDevices, including Rip Off, Rooftop Escape, Twins Candy, WAVE, Dalton and Arena Arcade. Their latest release, Peak Gold, follows the same sort of casual gameplay that a lot of their games share, making it great for gamers of all ages, and all skillsets.
In Peak Gold, the goal of the game is to get as deep into a mine as you can by collecting gold with a hook. Fans of the Claw Game Machines will probably enjoy this one more than most. Timing is essential, as you tap on the screen to send your claw out, and try and get it to bring back gold, or gems. These gold and gems add to your gold, which you can spend in the store to upgrade your generator, which gives you more time to collect items in the game, your gold detector, which increases the spawn rate of gold, gold collector, which gives you more gold for each bit of gold you snag, then your hook range and forward and backward speeds. Gathering gold isn’t too much of a task, but it’s not something that you’ll snag and then clear out the shop in 15 minutes either. There are no IAPs for more gold, so you can pretty much be sure that you’ll collect enough gold to get upgrades at a decent speed.
There’s also a Fever Mode which you can enter by collecting enough gold to fill up the word “FEVER” at the top of the screen. When you enter Fever Mode, you’re given quicker hooks, and two of them at the same time. This is where you’ll snag most of your gold to spend.
That’s about all I can really say about Peak Gold. It’s a casual game, easy to learn, while the difficulty increases as your skill gets better. If you’re a fan of claw games, this is a title that you’ll enjoy quite a bit, but if sitting there tapping on your screen while controlling where a claw goes, you won’t. It has a decent store with nice upgrades that are priced reasonably.
With the iPod version at $0.99, and the Universal HD version at $1.99, it’s worth checking out if you’re a fan of casual games that can bring a challenge. The graphics are what you would expect from Colorbox, well done, professional, and smooth, with good animations, and fitting music, though the music does sound like it needs to be re-encoded, hearing blips and bleeps like a low-encoded corrupted mp3 file might sound, but you can be almost certain that this will be fixed in an update, as Colorbox is really good about updating their games. It doesn’t have the same sort of hectic action feeling that Rip Off, Rooftop Escape, WAVE or Dalton have, and is more a game to zone out to while relaxing, then buying an upgrade or two after coming back to reality.

Peak Gold gets a score of 7 out of 10.

Alphadia - 2.99 (Kemco)

Kemco, developers of the amazing turn-based RPG, Symphony Of Eternity, have returned with an equally amazing addition to the genre, releasing Alphadia. The developers over at Kemco have proven that they know exactly how to make a turn-based RPG comparable to the likes of Final Fantasy, so when they came out of the gate so soon after SoE with their second iOS release, Alphadia, RPG fans knew they had to have it.
First off, the graphics. Alphadia doesn’t fully share the retro look of it’s sister title, SoE, but it does share the retro feeling. Even though the graphics have been redrawn to take advantage of the retina display on newer iPods, the game still feels like a retro title. This amazing mesh of modern and old-school graphics has created quite an awesome looking world for gamers to completely immerse themselves in, with amazing character models, wonderfully detailed environments, and cute character animations, it all comes together extremely well, sucking players into the world.
The story of Alphadia takes place in a world free from war for 100 years. Either bored, or seeing something worth pursuing, the Schwarzschild empire has begun it’s conquest for world domination. You’ll control Ash, his brother, sister, and two mysterious characters, as well as others who join your party along the way, as you try and find a way to stop the quickly expanding Schwarzschild empire.
The story is, as to be expected from Kemco, extremely well translated, and very immersive. Feelings for the characters comes quickly, and the story is the main drive of the game. Where in SoE, the deep upgrade, equipping system was equal to the story, in Alphadia, the story takes the drivers seat, with everything else in the back.
Not to say that the equipping and leveling up system isn’t great, because it is. Each character, as well as enemy, has a certain element that they are familiar with, and have control over from birth. For instance, Ash’s element is fire. This means that almost all of his spells throughout the game will be connected to fire in some way. He is also most resistive to fire based enemies, and can have his butt handed to him by water enemies if you’re not careful. There are gems in the world that you can equip, and which give you either more control over your element, or give you the ability to use other elements, though not as powerfully as you can use your familiar element. All leveling up, and points are handled automatically by the game, so all the player needs to worry about is equipping a weapon, armor, and one accessory. This simplified leveling up and equip system makes the game a lot more accessible to casual RPG gamers, but there’s also formation handling, which can drastically change the outcome of big battles, so the whole formation, equip system is not so dumbed down that hardcore fans of the genre will find it boring and simple either.
Now, if you’re a player who doesn’t really focus on the story, and is more into the turn-based battle systems, you’ll be glad to hear that you can tap repeatedly on the screen to skip through the story, then find out where you need to go using the map along with the quest icon in the pause menu. There are some areas where you’ll just need to explore a bit, randomly running into enemies that do not appear on the field, more like an older Final Fantasy game, until you enter the room with the character you’re needing to find in order to progress. There is a bit of exploration in the game, as you would expect if you’re familiar with Kemco, for instance, the map will only highlight your final destination, but in order to get there, you might need to find a tunnel that’s “somewhere north-east of this facility”, so you will come across plenty of battles to feed your battle system addiction. However, there’s also an Auto button if you’re more interested in the story and larger battles.
The only bad thing I can say about Alphadia is that the battle results screen sometimes feels like it’s getting in the way of the game. It doesn’t matter how quickly or how much you tap on the screen, the battle result screen has a set time that it’s shown.(PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ OUR CORRECTION OF THIS, THE BATTLE RESULTS SCREEN CAN BE TAPPED THROUGH!) This could be fixed in a future update, but right now, it can feel like it’s breaking up the game just a little bit too much. Aside from that, Kemco has given RPG fans another amazingly well done title to completely immerse themselves in. With the launch price of $2.99, it’s a steal, and must-buy for anyone remotely interested in playing a top notch turn-based RPG on their iDevice.

Alphadia gets a perfect score of 10 out of 10.

Squids gets a content update!

The Game Bakers latest title, Squids, has gotten tons of great reception from gamers. Here at The App Shack, it's one of the few games that has gotten a perfect 10 out of 10 score. To our surprise, we woke up this morning, and saw that an update had gone out for this title, and it's one that's definitely worth checking out!

New in Version 1.2.1 -

--New Halloween Level.
--8 New Helmets.
--Bug fix with pearls in App Purchase when offline.
--Mission 6 always unlocks after mission 5.
--Better visualization of items in shop.
--Bug fix for "All stars" achievement.

What we're really excited about is the new level and helmets. If you've been waiting for new content, here it is. A big thank you to The Game Bakers, and if you haven't checked out Squids yet, it's an amazing casual action turn-based RPG game where you fling your characters into enemies to do damage. Each hat you equip transfers it's powers over to you, so once you have a hat, you have it's powers. It's definitely a game you've got to check out. If you've already got Squids, make sure to grab this update, and check out the new content.

More Halloween Freebies!

CATCHa Prince, drawmind's vision of a Tower Defense/Shoot-em-up/RPG, has just gone free as well. Pick your heroes, pick your weapons, enjoy the story, and shoot everything you can. Drawmind has done a pretty decent job merging genres to create a worthwhile retro styled title. Be sure to check it out while it's free.

Earlier this year Pinch Games released their physics puzzler Silly Owls. You need to get the three owls, each with different abilities, into their homes by bouncing and rolling them off of various obstacles. It's not a bad physics puzzler, and we're almost sure that this one didn't do very well when it was released because, well, the AppStore is filled with these types of games. But now if you're a fan of the genre, you can snag Silly Owls for free, and have some interesting puzzles to solve this Halloween.

Race After 1977, by Xpect Games, is a wasteland racer. Good physics, real cars, nice track design, this is definitely a racer game racer fans should check out. Even if you're not into racing games, Race After 1977 offers up some very nice gameplay, and might just make you a fan.

Halloween wouldn't be complete without a first person shooter now would it? Twindigo has offered up their title, Puppet War:FPS, as a freebie this Halloween, and it's one FPS fans should check out. Not only will it have you laughing, but offers an awesome shooter experience at the same time. Puppet War:FPS is a shooter that should not be missed.

Dracula: Resurrection - Part 1, developed by Microids, is an amazing point 'n click adventure game, and what better time to give away a horror game that a lot of gamers haven't had a chance to check out than at Halloween. Dracula: Resurrection is a 3 part adventure, and generally, gamers don't like knowing they're going to have to buy 2 more titles to get the full story, but with Resurrection, each part is definitely worth more than it's weight in gold. From the developers of Dracula: Path Of The Dragon, Microids has outdone themselves with this series, and they're pretty secure with the thought that once you check out the first part, parts 2 and 3 (each available for $0.99!) are as good as sold.

Hysteria Project, a point n' click horror FMV survival game by Buklypix, has gone free again, of course, for the one holiday we all love to test out our fear centers for, Halloween. No game on the iOS fully immerses you in a world where you need to get away from a killer like Hysteria Project. If you're into typical 90's horror games, this is one game you should really check out.

One of The App Shack's favorites, Squirmee, by Coding Design, has gone free again. Fresh off the heals of a MASSIVE update, Squirmee is an interesting puzzler in which you'll need to guide Squirmee through 75 challenging levels so he can save his sister. Be sure to pick this one up and find out why it's become an App Shack favorite.

SEGA doesn't give out freebies too often, but when they do, you can be pretty sure that you're going to be re-living some old gaming memories. This latest freebie is no different. Streets Of Rage 2, the early 90's beat-em-up, is now available for free. Do not miss this classic that many games since have been influenced by, or that have tried to emulate, copy, clone, be a younger brother of, you name it. Streets Of Rage 2 is a classic that every fan of the genre should own.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Robo5 HD for iPad is released, and gets updated to Version 1.1!

Robo5, Yuguosoft's new action puzzle-platformer, released last week for the iPhone, and the week before in the Mac Store, has just had it's HD release for iPad. It's also priced at $0.99 as a launch special. With the amount of entertainment, fun, challenge and content, it's a must-buy no matter what kind of games you're into. If you haven't heard anything about Robo5 yet, you can check out the review we wrote up for it last week, or watch the trailer below for a quick look into what the game is like. This is one that should not be missed.

Robo5 has also been updated to Version 1.1, which includes grammar fixes, and a drop down log list for gamers to check the game's text at any time!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ama-Hina - 0.99 (Cellnavi)

Zombie games and endless runners, two of the most popular genres in the AppStore. Recently, there’s been more and more titles combining the two, and Cellnavi’s latest release, Ama-Hina, is the newest addition to that list of zombie endless runners.
In Ama-Hina, you’ll be able to play as one of two characters, Hinata, or Amane, each sort of having different abilities. Amane, the sword smith, is unlocked after you reach a distance of 300 meters on the Hell course. The Hell course is unlocked after reaching 300 meters on the Heavy Rain course, and Heavy Rain is unlocked after reaching 500 points in the Urban area. Once you have all of the unlockables, you’ll be able to notice right away what the differences between the two characters are. Your original character, Hinata, punches the zombies without a weapon while the unlockable character, Amane, uses a sword. Amane’s attacks are, of course, a lot stronger than Hinata’s, however, it takes Amane longer to get her sword all the way around to attack the zombies than it takes Amane to throw her fists up. Sacrificing speed for strength has it’s assets, especially when racing the clock on the two distance measured levels. However, getting Amane to successfully attack the zombies in the race levels is a challenge in itself, as you’ll need to tap on the right side of the screen right when the zombie appears in order to give her time to get her sword around and ready. You are also able to jump by tapping on the left side of the screen, which also increases your attack strength.
While you’re running along, you will be able to jump up and attack the lighting fixtures which will drop pick-ups. These pick ups are either health, time, or special attack items. You’re given 3 hit points, and each time pick up you grab will add 20 seconds to your time during the distance levels. The special attack pick ups add 1 special attack to your queue. To pull off a special attack, you just need to drag on the screen from left to right, which unleashes a big ball of fire, destroying everything in it’s path. There are also obstacles which you will need to jump over if you want to keep your speed up. These do not take away from your hit points, but they will slow you down, and cause you to stumble, which could result in being attacked by a zombie. You are able to punch the red barrels, and when they’re hit 3 times, they will ignite and fly forward, exploding when they hit an enemy.
Ama-Hina is a decent endless runner, and it’s gameplay is fun and entertaining. However, unlocking everything in the game shouldn’t take more than 15 or 20 minutes. Thankfully, there are in-game world leader boards through the Cellnavi servers, which do add quite a bit of replay value if you’re a high-score chaser. The graphics are decent, and the character models are done very well, especially the bigger boss type characters. But really, it’s the animations that add loads of entertainment to the game. The attack animations are nice, though having more than 3 attacks with each character would be an awesome addition, but the death animations for the zombies are great, as are the explosions. Seeing blood fly everywhere makes me smile every time.
Cellnavi has made a professional game with Ama-Hina, but it’s lacking quite a bit if they want it to stand out within the endless runner genre. More item pick-ups, like invincibility for a short time, increased attack strength for a short time, things like this, or maybe a shop where you could upgrade your speed and attack strength with in-game points, as well as more unlockables would have gone a very long way in making Ama-Hina stand out. 20 minutes to unlock the two locked levels, and one locked character can kind of leave a sense of “well what now” fairly quickly. Adding GameCenter leader boards would have been nice too so that you could compete with gamers on your friends list, which is generally why a lot of gamers replay endless runners. For $1.99, it’s not a bad purchase, but hopefully that two bucks will go towards adding more content to the game. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very good start, and is pretty entertaining while being very polished. It just doesn’t have enough content to compete with most endless runners available for the iOS.

Ama-Hina gets a score of 7 out of 10.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wonton 51 - 0.99 (Quarter Circle Punch)

Shoot-em-ups really seem to be growing in popularity as more and more are added to the AppStore. One of the main reasons is that players can pull off, what use to be, impossible-with-a-joystick moves with easy-as-pie finger movements. This coupled with being able to play some of our favorite shmups and bullet hell games on-the-go with a mobile device is propelling the shoot-em-up genre to new heights, and grabbing new fans with almost each and every new title. One of the newest additions to the genre is Wonton 51, by Quarter Circle Punch. This endless bullet dodging tap-to-fire arcade based shoot-em-up is one of the more intense titles to grace the iDevice. You’ll control Jonny in his Mech suit, as he tries to chase down the bad guys who took his girlfriend while they were in the middle of eating his “dope ramen”.
Now, one of the hardest things to get use to while playing Wonton 51 is the controls. You’ll use one finger to slide Jonny’s Mech left and right at the bottom of the screen, and use another finger to tap where you want Jonny to shoot wherever the enemies are on the screen. It can get pretty uncomfortable like this, especially after the first boss. But thankfully, the oh-so-wise Touch Arcade shmup mentor, Vally, told everyone to try holding their devices sideways, sliding Jonny up and down instead of left and right, and tapping on enemies when they hit the side of the screen, instead of the top. This frees up quite a bit of the screen, so that you can actually see what’s going on, and in turn, actually enjoy the game. Once you can get the hang of sliding one finger up and down to move Jonny, and keep another finger on the opposite end of the screen, controlling where Jonny shoots, you don’t need to move your fingers to the center of the screen to hit enemies, and you can focus a lot more on the action. The game is also supported by relative touch controls, but with Jonny only sliding around at the bottom (or side) of the screen, and not moving all around the screen, the relative controls can cause a lot of accidental deaths from picking up your finger when it’s at the edge of the screen to move it back to a spot where you can drag it further, but the option is there for those of you who might want to use it.
As for the graphics, animations, and sounds, they all come together to give gamers a pretty retro experience. The animations however, are great. Explosions are awesome, the impact of projectiles looks cool, and it adds a-whole-nother level on to the graphics, giving it a very modern feel. The sounds match the retro look with a chip tune soundtrack and great effects.
There are power-ups, and extra lives thrown into the mix, and Quarter Circle Punch has combined the two. Picking up a bowl of food will increase your shot power, as well as give you an extra hit point, but you’re only able to increase these 2 times. The first increase will give you a 3 shot gun, while the next increase will give you a rocket launcher. At full power, you will have a rocket launcher and 3 hit points.
As you speed along the street below, there are buildings as well as enemy’s shots to avoid. But what would a bullet filled shooter be without a nice scoring system? Wonton 51 is no different. Each enemy gives you a certain amount of points, 50 for the weakest, 100 for the second weakest, 150 for each boss gun you take out, and so on. You will also be able to gather up points by grazing the buildings that are in the middle or sides of the road. This does not include the buildings on the very edges of the screen, just the ones that you can crash into. Grazing these buildings will give you points, but these points also depend on how “hard” you graze these buildings. Barely scraping against the building will give you less points than mashing Jonny’s Mech up against the building as hard as you can without actually crashing into it. For instance, lightly grazing the wall could give you between 30 and 60 points, depending on how much of the building you lightly graze, while getting as close as you can to the building from one end to the other could result in 70 to 80 or more points. This might not sound like a lot when the leader board is full of scores that are over 20, 30 thousand points, but once you get into it, every little bit helps.
Speaking of the leader board, Wonton 51 is both GameCenter and OpenFeint enabled, with a top score leader board and 12 achievements, adding quite a bit of replay value to the game. Something that would be nice to see in future updates would be more characters and little story lines to unlock. It wouldn’t be too hard, as the Jonny story line has 4 or 5 screens with a sentence each, starting off with Jonny and Cookie eating, then her getting taken away, asking for help, Jonny saying he’s coming to get her, start the game. More little stories could go along with unlockable characters, which would make the game more interesting, and add more replayabilty, depending on how those characters were unlocked. If Quarter Circle Punch didn’t want to make up more stories, or add any characters, maybe making it so that different colored Mech suits for Jonny could be unlocked. It would also be very cool to see a boss mode where all you did was go up against the big bosses. I doubt we’ll see these things in the future, but there’s a lot that Quarter Circle Punch can do with Wonton 51 if they wanted to, which will give a lot of hope to those of you who pick this one up. Supporting these developers could lead to an even better game that completely stands out in the arcade shoot-em-up genre. For $0.99, it’s not hard to want to support the developers either, as you’ll get hours upon hours of challenging gameplay.

Wonton 51 gets a score of 8 out of 10.

Flick Tennis: College Wars Coming October 27th from Rolocule

More than likely you've already heard of this game somewhere before. This game was originally released on the iPad and we gave it 5 out of 5 stars for being just absolutely amazing! It's the best tennis game that I've ever played on an iOS device hands down. You can read our review for the iPad version here. There's no excuse to not get this game. Trust me you won't regret it. You can pick up Flick Tennis: College Wars when it's released tomorrow the 26th. Below is a trailer, screen shots, and information about the game quoted from iTunes.

Price: $1.99
For: iPhone & iPod Touch
From: Rolocule

"Introducing the most realistic tennis simulation with comic book adventure in the beautiful FULL RETINA display! Fabulous controls, Head to Head Multiplayer, Doubles, 35 pages Comic Book, 12 difficulty variations, 11 gorgeous tennis courts, 10 unique players and much more! A sports game unlike anything you have seen before. "


Haunted Hallway - 0.99 (Uncade)

Endless runners happen to be some of the most popular games in the AppStore. They almost always have a perfect mix of casual and hardcore elements, and can be played in little 2 minute spurts, or 30 minute sessions. High-score mongers as well as kids just starting off with video games can end up loving the same game for many different reasons. Uncade, a one man project, based in Richmond, VA, has thrown his title, Haunted Hallway, into the endless runner genre, and it’s a pretty impressive first attempt at a runner.
Haunted Hallway mainly focuses on platforming with a big risk/reward element to it. You’ll try and guide Bob the adventurer as far as you can through a tunnel filled with ghosts, goblins, bats, and traps, while being chased by a ghoul with a flood of green souls behind him. While avoiding all of these hazards and enemies, you’ll have the chance to collect coins, and if you’re skilled and brave enough, green gems which seriously boost your score, but are almost always placed in spots that will almost immediately result in Bob’s death. Sadly, there are no upgrades, power-ups, or unlockables, like in most endless runners, and hopefully things like this will be added to the game in the future.
The controls, matched with the physics, are fairly good for an iOS game. Getting the controls and physics just right in endless runners is quite the task, as there’s many titles out there that have flopped because of bad physics or controls that were not just right. In Haunted Hallway, you’re able to double jump, but your second jump is more a long jump than a high jump. Don’t expect to be able to land on a platform above your head while using the double jump, but instead, plan on using it to reach a platform in front of you that you would other-wise miss, causing you to fall into lava. You’re given typical platformer controls, left and right buttons, with a jump button, and the screen moves with you instead of you trying to keep up with the screen. This addition of typical platformer controls, and giving gamers the option to go back and try and grab coins before the wall of souls eats you up was a very good decision, but will also most likely make you wish that Haunted Hallway was your typical platformer instead of an endless runner.
The graphics are good, and the environment and all the objects within the game are presented and come together quite well, but the animation for dying, a green poof, no matter what you run into, land on, are sucked into, fall into, or what lands on you, could use some work. Bob’s running, spikes falling, the lava moving, bats flying, all of those animations were done well enough, but it would have been nice to see the skeletons break apart and Bob bounce backwards, end up falling onto his back, then get sucked up by the flood of souls chasing him if he ran into a skeleton. Or if when Bob falls into lava, to see him wave his arms around, slowing sinking in, and then saving the green poof animation for when he’s absorbed by the souls, or impaled by a falling spike would have all been nice. Various death animations can add a ton to games (think Dead Space), and would have gone a very long way if they were included in Haunted Hallway.
Lastly, there’s no online leader boards, so there’s not very much replay value or drive to play the game at the moment, but thankfully, Uncade is planning to add GameCenter in the very first update. Also, iCade and Joypad support have been mentioned in the Touch Arcade thread by the developer. Also said was that “this game is absolutely the foundation to a full fledged platformer. I wanted to make a game that gets the core gameplay right, get feedback and improve upon it, and then release basically the best platformer ever.” So it’s looking like there’s some big plans for Haunted Hallway, either with basic updates that add GameCenter and hopefully iCade support, the replay value would shoot up, and high-score casers would have scores to chase other than their own, and possibly, Haunted Hallway could either end up turning into a platformer or be the prelude to Uncade’s “full fledged platformer”. With Haunted Hallway being $0.99, Universal, and having great controls, with good physics, and challenging gameplay, it’s definitely worth checking out. However, if you want some instant gratification, you might want to wait until the GameCenter update has gone through, as challenging your friends, and gamers around the world will add a lot of fun and replay ability to the game. But as it is now, Uncade has shown what they’ve got in terms of design, control setup, physics, and core gameplay, and we here at The App Shack are definitely excited about the future of this one man developing project.

Haunted Hallway gets a score of 6 out of 10.

Wednesday Night Releases: Modern Combat 3, Shantae: Risky's Revenge and Riptide GP!

By now I'm sure you know the drill: Developers are able to set a release date for their games or apps. The App Store, being a global market with regions across the world, that specific release date occurs earlier or later in different time zones. New Zealanders get the new games first as they are located by the International Date Line.  Here in the U.S they appear around 11:00p.m on Wednesday Night.
We have a decent crowd of new games coming in tonight with the major standout being Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation by Gameloft.  Other than that, three other intriguing games are coming out as well so prepare for an awesome Wednesday/Thursday!

Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation
(priced at 6.99 U.S and 1.02 GB in size)

Riptide GP
(Priced at 4.99 U.S. and 40 MB)

World Mosaics
(Priced at 0.99 U.S. and 26 MB)

(Priced at 0.99 U.S. and 40 MB)

Shantae: Risky's Revenge
(Priced at FREE with 2.99 full game IAP and 95 MB)

Dawn of Magic
(Priced at FREE for launch and 18 MB)

(Priced at 0.99 U.S. and 23.2 MB)

Flick Tennis: College Wars (iPhone version)
(Priced at 1.99 U.S. and 160 MB)

(Priced at 0.99 U.S. and 11 MB)

Candy Town
(Priced at 0.99 U.S. and 17.8 MB)

Saving Moo
(Priced at 0.99 U.S. and 37 MB)

Halloween Freebies!

iOS gamers have come to love the holidays. Why, you ask? FREEBIES AND SALES! Now, along with the big sales by SEGA and Gameloft, and the sales that will probably take go into effect in about a day or two from EA and Gameville, we've got our own little list of freebies worth checking out this Halloween.

Jetpack Joyride; Halfbrick, developers of MANY popular iOS games, are giving away free copies of Jetpack Joyride through FaceBook! Just go to, and click "Get App Now" in the Jetpack Joyride picture. Then, let the application access your info (this is safe, and what EVERY FB application makes you go through), hit "Redeem Now", then when prompted, hit "Like", and boom - a promo code will be given to you! Nice little Halloween treat. Thank you Halfbrick!

GravCat; This anti-gravity adventure platformer was released a week ago, so it's pretty surprising that it's gone free already. It got a 6/10 in our recent review, but now you have a chance to come up with your own opinion by grabbing the game for free. We do hope that you'll like it, and even if you're questioning wether or not to pick it up, we got some information today, though we're not at liberty to divulge any of that information, let's just say that it might be a good idea to pick this one up even if you don't plan on playing it right away.

Reckless Getaway; Last year, Polarbit hit the scene hard with their release of Reckless Racing, and then earlier this year released Reckless Getaway. The later is centered more around repeating gameplay while trying to memorize and find the best path in each track. It's a huge step up from Reckless Racing, even though most gamers either favor one or the other, there's no reason why you shouldn't check this out if you haven't yet. It's an awesome top-down racer with loads of content, and plenty of replayabilty. Free is an un-beatable price for this great game.

Bomb On Pixel City; We didn't have time to review this retro arcade game late last month, but we did get a chance to talk to the developer on the Touch Arcade thread, and did have time to get to know the game a bit. A nice scoring system, challenging gameplay, online leaderboards, nice arcade gameplay, and awesome retro styled graphics make this a game that's definitely worth getting during this freebie sale. It's one of those "easy to learn, hard to master" games that will get you excited and drive you nuts all at the same time. Don't miss this one.

To-Fu2; We were honored to have the chance to review this stretchy puzzle type platformer earlier this year. With To-Fu being a favorite of everyone here at The App Shack, we all got excited when To-Fu 2 was announced. It's hard to think that there's gamers out there that do not have this title yet, but for some reason, flinging tofu around a virtual world just didn't turn some of you on. Well now you can see what you've been missing, and maybe find out you had a hidden obsession with the spongy food (can we call it food?) item.

Sparkle The Game; Sparkle The Game came out quite a bit before The App Shack was spawned, and already had a pretty big following, but since it's a tad bit older than most games, Sparkle has kind of been forgotten in the bubble popping genre. However, now you've got the chance to check out one of the best marble shooters to ever grace the iDevice. This is definitely one that should not be missed, and once you start playing, you'll see why the game, even after all this time, is still priced at $2.99.

Zombie Bumper Cars; Fairground Attractions, the developers of Cat Attack and Prison Escape, released an interesting title a few weeks back, Zombie Bumper Cars. I personally got it because my daughters wanted it, and they're still playing it pretty often now. I found the controls a bit hard to get use to, but once you do, the game opens up quite a bit. Hopefully, more bumper car games will be added to the AppStore, as it's a genre that's pretty much untapped at the moment, and something that could get quite a bit of gamers attention, especially if developers nail the controls and throw in multiplayer modes. But for now, Zombie Bumper Cars is the best iOS bumper car game you can get, and you can get it right now for free!

Jaws: Revenge; Fuse Powered Inc. has put out a couple games that ended up staying on our devices for quite a while. Dawn Of The Dead, Babo Crash and their original Jaws title spring to mind. Jaws Revenge was released 3 weeks ago, and looked a whole hell-of-a-lot more interesting than the original Jaws game. It's pretty surprising seeing Fuse Powered drop the price down to free so soon after release, but we won't complain! Be sure to check out this great eat-em-up for free while you can.

Chicken Balls; Endloop Systems has, for the first time, put their Angry Birds type game, Chicken Balls, down to free. Releasing the game back in April of this year, Chicken Balls has surprisingly not gotten a lot of attention. Maybe gamers think that an Angry Birds type game has no way of being better than Angry Birds, or that a company that can't come up with something better than an Angry Birds clone probably won't be able to come up with anything special for the genre. Whatever it is, gamers are about to find out that Endloop has created one of the most hectic and entertaining physics launching game that has ever been available for the iOS. Where other Angry Birds rip-offs fail, Chicken Balls succeeds, and goes above and beyond. Make sure you do not miss this great game, and find out how cool Angry Birds could have been if they took it a step further. The HD version is also available for free, so iPad users rejoice!

Puzzle Quest Chapter 1; Puzzle Quest was the first match-3 game that included a story that I ever had the pleasure of playing, and it blew me away. Not only does it have a full fledged story, but also incorporates many RPG elements, making it one of the most interesting match-3 games to date. If you're a fan of either RPGs, match-3, puzzle, or adventure games, Puzzle Quest is definitely one game that you should check out. Get it now, while the gettin's good.