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!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Interview with Lab Rats Studio

Recently I managed to get in touch with Rion Holland over at Lab Rats Studio, the development team behind upcoming Third-Person Shooter M.U.S.E. This game is shaping up to be a down-right awesome shooter and brings back memories of arcade-style multiplier mayhem. Look for preview screens after the break.

- Can you give us some basic background about Lab Rats Studio? When did you guys form the team and what motivated you to enter the development scene?
Lab Rats Studio was formed a little over a year ago by four Wake Technical Community College students with a passion for game development. We all knew finding jobs at game studios in today’s economy would be very difficult with no experience, so we decided to do it ourselves. Lab Rats Studio was one of the inaugural companies to complete Joystick Labs’ three month game development business accelerator program in Durham, North Carolina. We all had a drive to work on our own game and have creative control over the process, which is what led us to create Lab Rats Studio. We realized that the mobile market was growing and there was not a lot of heavy competition for a game like M.U.S.E. yet.

- How did you come up with the ideas behind M.U.S.E.? Have you drawn inspiration from any other games?
As a lot of other games do, we of course drew inspiration from other games that we enjoy. We knew we wanted to create a third person shooter that was visually impressive and consisted of “console-like” shooter gameplay. We sometimes describe M.U.S.E. as a sort of Sci-Fi Max Payne set in a dark alternate present day. Others have noted inspirations from games like Duke Nukem and Gears of War. We then added on top of the shooting a layer of arcade scoring and combo systems that gives the game a competitive aspect to compete with friends to get high scores where players can post high scores to leaderboards via GameCenter or OpenFeint. We, of course, feel like M.U.S.E. is totally different than any other game out there, especially on the mobile market.

- What sort of struggles have you guys faced during the development of M.U.S.E. so far? How have you managed to overcome them?
Our biggest struggle has been that this is our first marketable game as a new game studio, so it has been a learning experience for all of us. We didn’t have a lot of time to spend in pre-production, which is a crucial stage of the game development process, that made us come up with concepts and designs within the production cycle. We also had a pretty large vision for what we wanted M.U.S.E. to be which had to be managed to make it work for mobile devices.  As an independent game development studio, we struggled a lot with money and keeping a staff of up to nearly 10 people. All of the people on our development team are extremely talented and dedicated individuals that have continued to work their butts off for the past year to make this game happen. We have managed to create this game on a shoestring budget and are very proud of what we have accomplished.

- What do you guys hope to bring to the App Store with M.U.S.E.? How will this push the iOS gaming platform further into the future?
We are bringing fun and immersive gameplay to the shooter genre on mobile devices. We took a play style that is popular on consoles and made it work for mobile devices so that people looking for a slightly more traditional “shooter” gameplay experience will feel at home in M.U.S.E. The controls have been through much testing and iteration to bring an intuitive and comfortable feeling as similar to a controller layout as possible. As briefly mentioned before, we added an arcade style scoring system and RPG inspired upgrade system to give the game some competition and replayability. Players will also be able to purchase currency via IAP for faster upgrades, or can play through the game and gain currency upon beating levels based off their scores. We are also very happy with the level of detail and quality of artwork we were able to accomplish on mobile devices that will only continue to get better as both we and the hardware continue to develop in the future.

- M.U.S.E. is looking really awesome. Can you tell us about some of the key features that we will see in the game?
M.U.S.E. will feature:
  • - Gorgeous visuals that showcase the full power of the iPhone4S and iPad 2 and rival console games for graphical richness and detail.
  • - Arcade-style scoring system that awards players points for combo kills and massive destruction.
  • - Compete against and challenge friends for the highest scores in Game Center (iOS) and Open Feint (Android)  leaderboards.
  • -“Adrenaline Mode” that is both a beginner’s lifeline and an elite player’s high scoring tool.
  • - Equip a variety of high-tech weapons as you fight against an army of cybernetic enemies.
  • - Upgrade your character as you play with over 80 individual upgrades for Sid and his weapons.
  • - Destructible environments rigged for maximum destruction and pyrotechnic mayhem.
  • - Immersive single-player campaign with a storyline told through comic book-style cutscenes.
  • - Full support for iOS 5’s AirPlay mirroring so you can watch your explosive firefights on your big-screen HDTV.
  • - iCloud saving so you can play on one device and pick up where you left off on another.
- You've mentioned an "Adrenaline" Mode. Can you expand on that feature?
“Adrenaline Mode” is a feature we have added to M.U.S.E. that is similar to a “rage” mode in other games where Sid literally shoots himself in the leg with a shot of adrenaline and goes into a state of heightened awareness and power. First off, adrenaline is gained by dispatching enemies or destroying environment objects in game. When your adrenaline meter is full and begins to flash, you can enter adrenaline mode which will slowly regenerate the player’s health, puts an outline on enemies and destructible objects to make them easier to see, bursts the player into slow motion after kills and destruction so they can plan their next move, and puts a bloom effect on screen. While in adrenaline mode, you can extend the timer by continuing to kill enemies and destroy objects, and the longer you do so, the more your adrenaline multiplier increases (the 0.0x in the top right). Every kill in adrenaline mode is multiplied by this value, so kills 60 seconds into adrenaline mode will yield 6x the normal score value, and then multiplied again by whatever your current chain value is.

To put it simply, each enemy and destructible has a base score value that is multiplied by the value of the combo chain, and then again by the adrenaline multiplier if you’re in it. So if you kill a Vorg Zed Ultra (base score 700) with a 3x combo chain when the adrenaline multiplier is at 2.5x, you’ll net 5250 points. Adrenaline mode is both an emergency lifeline for those that are about to die and need that extra boost, and a high-scoring method for the elite player that is trying to top their friends’ high scores.

- When do you hope to release M.U.S.E.? Have you discussed a price point?
M.U.S.E. is planned for release in December 2011 just in time for the Holidays. We plan to price the game within the same realm of our competition.

- What does Lab Rats Studio have planned for the future?
We plan to put out a content update for M.U.S.E.: Episode 1 about a month after launch that will include two more levels and a final boss fight level to complete the episode. There will be some added enemy variations and possible new upgrades and weapons to use. After that, we plan to continue the game through three episodic installments to complete the franchise. We are striving to be a premiere cutting edge game development studio on the mobile market.

We really appreciate Rion and Lab Rats Studio taking the time to chat with us about M.U.S.E. To learn more about M.U.S.E. and the studio, check and follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

Where's My Water FaceBook Giveaway!

Where's My Water, Disney's latest iOS game, is being given away FOR FREE, through FaceBook! So, if you've got a FB account, go ahead and click here, or click the Where's My Water Icon in this post, and you'll be taken to the FaceBook page where you can snag your code! Don't miss out on this nifty little giveaway, Where's My Water is a decent little physics puzzler that offers up 120 levels of time-wasting fun.

Idyllic! and Super Ball Escape go FREE!

FatCow Games endless side-scrolling jumper, Idyllic!, has gone free for a limited time. In the game, you'll guide your character through a floating sky world that has been devoured by darkness. Luckily, you've spent the last 15 years training, and are prepared to take on pretty much anything the darkness can throw your way. Jumping from floating platform to floating platform restores its life. On your journey, you'll be able to power-up in shops by using coins that you'll collect in between shop areas. There's also boss fights, and plenty of enemies to keep you busy. Make sure you pick up this great endless jumper while it's free, and before the new update that'll bring the game more power-ups, better interface and art design, new animations and will have the story be shown at the game's start up. Pick this one up and see why it got a score of 9 out of 10 in our review!

This ball rolling puzzler, developed by Playlithium, has gone free once again, dropping from $2.99! You'll move your little ball through loads of levels while using Metroid-like mechanics to progress through the levels. You'll need to guide your ball around enemies and cameras, finding power-up stations where it can take advantage of special powers, helping it move on to the next section of the level. It's in our top 10 ball rollers on the iOS, and definitely deserves a download if you haven't bought it yet.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

'Holiday Havoc' Review - Santa Claus is Back in Town

The Holiday season is commonly characterized by crowded stores, gift wrapping, and having Crazy Aunt Suzy over again.  If you can find anytime at all to escape during this busy month, your time will most likely be taken up by a quick-up and play game you found on the App Store. Fortunately, Holiday Havoc, a game that certainly lives up to that description is about to be released.
Holiday Havoc is basically a endless shooting game in the vein of Duck Hunt. You play as Santa, who is determined to stop the evil toys from stealing all of the Christmas presents.  You must save Christmas by using your Snowball gun to freeze these miscreants in their tracks. To shoot you tap exactly where you want the projectile to go, but after shooting about six of them you have to reload. Though the gun does have unlimited ammo it can be easy to forget to reload in the heat of battle.
Various enemies come from either side of the screen and it can be fairly rewarding to take down a whole crowd of them. The only thing that is not rewarding to shoot are elves which give you additional presents which turn into bonus points. If you hit three of these little guys its gameover for you. Your opponents can have various attack styles like fast movement or grouping together in a mass. If an enemy manages to steal a present from the stack you are on top of it is game over as well. The enemy design is great and you can tell the developer took a lot of care in creating these characters.
Amidst the frantic action there are two power-ups that you can pick up that give you special abilities. First is the Snowflake Gun which is a special freeze gun. You tap once to freeze and tap twice to kill. This weapon can be very useful when there are lots of enemies on the screen at once. The Icecube power up slows down all enemies currently on screen. Both last for a maximum of 15 seconds.
The music and pixel graphics are very nice and complement the theme of the game perfectly.
Despite being slow to start with, the action starts picking up around the 40 second mark and gets rather hectic. Also I feel that the game would benefit greatly from some sort of a weapon or upgrade system desigend to get that "one more play" mentality into your head.
Overall, this is a nice Christmas themed shooter that certainly gets you in the spirit of Christmas and in a gift giving mood. Definitely a good buy for those times in-between shopping trips. Look for it on December 1st for 0.99.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gua-Le-Ni- $4.99 (Double Jungle S.a.s.)

Get ready iPad owners for tons of puzzling fun in Gua-Le-Ni, or: The Horrendous Parade. This new iPad puzzle game comes from Stefano Gualeni and Double Jump. You'll be able to get your hands on it very soon with it's release date for November 28, 2011 (NOW AVAILABLE! CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD IT). The main objective in this game is to categorize beasts who are combinations of different types of animals. It's actually a very intriguing game. The beast walks across the screen, one at a time. The only way to successfully categorize the beast is to use the cubes at the bottom of the screen before the beast walks to the other side of the screen out of view. Let's say your beast is a mixture of a rhino and a condor (the rhino body part is first and the condor body part is second). This means that you'll have to arrange the cubes to read rhi-dor. You can spin the cube around with one finger. If you have the cubes in the wrong order or if it's upside down, then you can use two fingers to lift or rotate the cube. You can also add more cubes (which means more of the beast) for an even greater challenge. As you progress, food becomes a factor. If a beast is hungry then it'll move faster. This is where you have to feed it a certain item for it to slow down. This is a really interesting game. It'll certainly have your brain thinking (which is always a good thing). If you're a little confused about the game then you can view the trailer directly below.

My overall rating for this game is 4.5 out of 5 stars. The interface in this game is very well-done, the visuals are nice, and rotating/spinning the cubes is extremely responsive. My only thing is that starting up the game is a little slow, since the game sort of acts like a book. Remember that this is an iPad only app and it'll be available November 28th. You can pick it up for $4.99.


'Boxcat Review' - Need I Say More?

Cats are the holy grail of Internet memes. But what if you combined those adorable creatures with a box? That is clearly a question the developers of Boxcat thought about when they created this amazing game.
Your goal in Boxcat is to create as much havoc as you possibly can. You run back and forth across a busy suburban street running into cars and creating mayhem. The only controls you need to worry about are two arrow buttons on the left and right side of your screen. Birds carrying coins come flying from the side of the screen as well and if you catch them you get the coin they were carrying. These coins can have varying effects like giving you more time in the game or making you bigger. If you collect three coins you turn into a HUGE cat that takes up nearly all of the screen.
Included are three game modes called Adventure, Rush Hour and Survival. In Adventure you are given a certain time limit and are asked to see how many stages you can beat. In each stage you are given a certain time limit to hit a certain amount of cars. If you finish before the time limit you receive a little more time on your clock and hit the next stage. The timer carries over from stage to stage so be careful. There are also bosses like a super fast ice cream truck and a ordinary car with guns on the side.  You kill these by charging your quick attack and striking them just as they reach your line of fire.
In Rush Hour mode you are once again given a certain time limit but there are no stages and the cars come at you faster than ever. So basically its your goal to score the most amount of points in the least amount of time. Its fun to rack up a high score in this mode and show off to your friends.
In Survival mode you obviously try to survive as long as you can. There is a leaderboard for this mode as well.
Also implemented into this lovely game is a goal system through which you can earn new skins for your cat. From Godzilla to a Squirrel costume its always fun to see what costume you are going to unlock next. This system serves as a great motivating factor to keep you playing which it certainly made me do!

Overall this is a great cat-themed game that not only has charm but has the addictiveness of catnip. I give this game a 5/5 stars.  Also on a unrelated note iCade support is coming to BoxCat fairly soon.

Updates/Freebies/Sales - November 28th


This dual-stick shooter from Tuokio Inc. (King of Opera, Blonde vs. Brunette Racing) has just gotten it's 6th update, brining about Issue #7 for the game. This time, a new character, The Pilot has been added, as well as a re-done Priest stage. To unlock The Pilot, you'll need to take on The Priest and his new body-guard. Something that might help you? The newly added homing missiles for the Bazooka! Also be sure to try out the game's 2-4 Local Multiplayer for an AWESOME gaming experience with friends! Tuokio Inc. has been sending out updates for Raiding Company fairly frequently, so if you don't have it yet, it's a great buy! The developing team is very responsive, and determined to give gamers the best possible playing experience they can. If that doesn't deserve support, well... I don't know what does.

The anti-gravity action/arcade platformer-type game, GravCat, from Monster Robot Studios, has just gotten another update. This time around, an armory was added. The levels have been filled up with blue energy which you can use to buy power-ups within the armory. If there was one thing we weren't expecting for GravCat, it was a shop with power-ups, and yet, here it is, making the game more exciting! If you've got GravCat, be sure to check out this update ASAP! It adds quite a bit to the game. If you haven't bought GravCat yet, it's worth checking out, especially now that there's power-ups! Now all we need is some GameCenter support, and we'll be SET!

EnbornX, the arcade shooter from Lantansia, where you take on one energy orb that morphs into an endless amount of boss-like enemies, one at a time, has made Survival Mode available by selecting "New Game". When you start a Survival Mode game, you'll start off with your current Story Mode score, which could give you quite a head-start for the leaderboards. Lantansia has been extremely supportive with EnbornX, taking suggestions from gamers through reviews, forums, and e-mail, and has pushed out one amazingly fun shooter that's loaded with enormous enemies, badass weapons, and whole lot of bullets. If you're a shmup fan, this is one game you've got to have on your device, and with this recent update, it's even better than ever.

Phoenix, a not-so-typical bullet hell shooter from Firi Games (Flare Elite) that runs on iPods of every generation, has just given us the 4th ship for this amazing game. The Shogun is now finished, and available for everyone willing to throw down another dollar. This time, the new mechanics for the ship involve grazing. That's right, you heard me. GRAZING! Instead of being able to power-up a different projectile, you'll attack your enemies by grazing (getting as close as you can to) their bullets. This will cause a slick slash from your invisible sword-like energy blade. The more bullets you graze, the stronger the attacks get, also changing the color of your ship, and adding a SAWEET trail effect following behind your ship. Not to mention, when you have a shield enabled, every bullet that is absorbed by your shield is counted as a grazed bullet, causing maximum damage! To top it off, two new enemies along with some new bullet patterns have been added to this top-notch shooter as well. The HD version (which is FREE, BTW) also now runs flawlessly with iOS 5, and the Friend's List bugs have been squashed. If you haven't checked out Phoenix yet, you should. It's definitely one of the best shooters available for the iOS.

Snorbies, the bubble popper from Nepik, has recently gotten updated as well. A new item, the Bucket, has been added, as well as a new world, new levels, and text at the start of each world describing what the item being used in that world can do. Coming from a newbie on the iOS scene, Snorbies isn't a bad bubble popper at all. The different modes make for some interesting gameplay, especially the Pattern Mode, where you need to find the best way to clear the screen of a pre-determined set-up of bubbles (Snorbies). The only thing still missing is GameCenter. We've got our fingers crossed hoping that it'll be added soon, but since it hasn't been added yet after about 5 updates, we've stopped holding our breath.


This "light bullet-hell" shoot-em-up from Mobili Studio has just gone free for the first time since its release earlier this year, and will stay free until the end of the year! Absolute Instant offers some interesting gameplay mechanics in the form of teleporting. Since it's release, it's been updated with a new character, and a new level, and offers some pretty hectic gameplay on the Hard Difficulty. If you're a fan of shmups, Absolute Instant is an extremely polished, and well done title, very deserving of a download while it's free. Great visuals, awesome bosses, nice bullet patterns, sweet enemies, interesting mechanics, 3 badass characters, and challenging gameplay make for an experience you won't regret plunging in to. Since it's free until 12-31, tell your friends, tell your enemies, tell everyone you know, and get started on moving up those leaderboards!

Blowup!!, the music based color-matching/destroying puzzler from Cravemob, has just gone free as well. It's got the perfect mix of music and gameplay, making for a hectic, addictive puzzler. You'll need to tap on blocks, removing chunks of the same color, trying to piece together huge portions, giving you more time, and insane scores, also adding to the BGM. Once you hit 100% in a level, a remixed version of the music track will be unlocked, giving you even more gameplay! For free, this is a definite title you guys should check out. The GameCenter leaderboards also add quite a bit of challenge to the already challenging game, so go get it, and start out-scoring your friends!

Reckless Racing, by Pixelbite is a fantastic top-down racer. Tiny Cars takes that gameplay, and gives it a retro make-over. Irix PTY has done a fantastic job giving us 34 tracks across 4 environments, 10 cars, awesome physics, retro graphics mixed with awesome 3D effects, and a whole lot more, and right now, you can get it all for FREE! Make sure you pick up this racer while it's free, and don't forget to give these guys a review in the AppStore! Hopefully they'll be able to get enough attention and bring us MULTIPLAYER in the future!

This mix of Dr. Mario and Tetris by Heitor Barcellos, has gone free again in celebration of the release of Bob Bomb. If you're a fan of puzzle games, or the drop down match up pieces type of gameplay found in Dr. Mario, Thor Blitz will be right up your ally! To make things a little more interesting, a level system has been included, adding more powers as you level up, but also speeding up the falling objects. Main point? Match up combos, collect diamonds, use the Thunderbolt power, clearing the screen, get a huge score - do it all again. Definitely worth checking out while it's free.


MumboJumbo has given us some fantastic iOS games over the last couple years, starting with Luxor in 2009. But one of my absolute favorites, GlowFish, has just been put on sale, dropping from $2.99 down to $0.99! It's an exploritory adventure game where you'll travel through 50+ levels in a marvelously crafted underwater universe, collecting friends, using them as a shield to change enemies into friends, and finding hidden areas, as well as taking on bosses who can then be upgraded and follow you along in your journey. The graphics are astounding, and every little thing about the game is polished to the point of the developers who worked on this game had to have developed an obsession. For $0.99, it's easily one of the best iOS games you'll ever have the pleasure of playing. After the first 4 days on my device, it locked it's spot in the top 10 of my top 20 favorite games of 2011. Grab it, spread the word, help the developers come up with enough money to give us a GlowFish 2!

Cordy, the extremely polished exploritory platformer from SilverTree Media, has just dropped in price from $2.99 to $0.99 (the iPad version has also dropped from $4.99 down to $2.99)! You'll run through incredibly large levels, collecting items, preforming insane acrobatic stunts, and finding the lightning bolts to power up the exit, while trying to beat the level's time in 27 levels of amazing fun. There are no enemies, but that doesn't mean that there's no challenge. Each level has a possible 3 star rating, one for completion, another for collecting every item, and the 3rd for beating the level's time limit. Finding all the lightning bolts you'll need to open up each level's exit can make the time limit stars VERY hard to get, and exploring every little nook and cranny, especially in the later larger levels, can prove to be quite the challenge. But it never gets frustrating swinging, jumping, running, and more in the beautifully made levels. Cordy is definitely a platformer that every fan of the genre should own. It's made it's way to #11 on my top 20 of 2011 list, so needless to say, it's highly recommended!

Halfbrick Studios hit dual-stick shooter, Age Of Zombies, has just gone on sale, dropping from $2.99 down to $0.99! If you haven't picked up this classic title, now would be the time to! Their latest release, Age Of Zombies: Anniversary, can only be played on 3rd generation devices or newer, so if you're still lugging around a 2nd, or god forbid, a 1st, generation iPod, break out another buck, because AoZ will give you an incredible gameplay experience. Grab Age Of Zombies, and find out why Halfbrick Studios has gotten so popular over the last couple years.

Friday, November 25, 2011

OrangePixel's Retro-Goodness $0.99 Sale!

Meganoid, OrangePixel's first iOS release, could also be their best. 90 levels, all playable with 3 characters; The Hero, Sarge and Oreah. With The Hero, you'll learn the levels, going through them, collecting all the gems you can find, and making it to the exit before time runs out. There's also quite a bit of exploration involved, as a lot of the gems are hidden behind secret passages in walls. With the Sarge, it's the same levels, but with a bumped up difficulty. These are typically for the hardcore platformer gamer. Then Oreah; with her, you'll go through all of the levels in reverse. Some have been re-designed to make sure that there's no spots where you can get stuck (ie; a big drop in regular mode will have an elevator platform in Oreah mode), and you'll do all of these reversed levels, that's right, in Sarge's difficulty. Easily considered a steal for $0.99.

Stardash is OrangePixel's second platformer to hit the AppStore. In it, you'll guide your character through a Mario Land (GameBoy) type world. Stardash revolves more around speed-running, and requires you to find the quickest route from beginning to end, ala 1-Bit Ninja, by finding hidden paths that will get you there quicker. There are also hidden items that, if collected in each level, will unlock a hidden level in each of the 4 worlds. 40 levels makes it a bit smaller in size compared to Meganoid, but the challenge is still there, and should last gamers quite a while.

OrangePixel's latest release, INC, is more a run'n'gun type platformer. You'll go through 40 levels shooting your way through enemies, activating beacons to get through each level, while fighting bosses at the end of each of the 4 worlds, and finally saving Dr. Robotus. INC could be considered OrangePixel's casual platformer, as the time requirements aren't as strict, and the difficulty is no-where near as high as it is for Meganoid or Stardash. If you're not a real platform gamer, INC should still give you quite a bit of entertainment.

Super Drill Panic, the one OrangePixel game that was originally released for free, and then shortly afterwards, was made into a paid game. The customers that downloaded the game while it was free got upgraded without any extra charge, having the ads removed. This, as you can imagine, showed how much OrangePixel respects their fans. In an AppStore full of developers taking money from gamers, and then "rewarding" them by making previously paid games free, and giving paying customers ads, OrangePixel set themselves apart with this move. You'll play through 2 different campaigns, one male, making your way through caves, trying to not get squished by a huge boulder, and the other, playing as a female, who is trying to escape from buildings before jail-like bars come down on her. Both campaigns allow gamers to upgrade items and skills, as well as unlock an endless arcade level after completion. Super Drill Panic is by far the most casual game in OrangePixel's line-up, appealing to hardcore gamers as well as people who got into gaming because of Angry Birds.

OrangePixel is definitely one of our favorite developers here at The App Shack, and having all 4 of these games, we can easily recommend each of them. They will all give you hours upon hours of gameplay, and at the sale price of $0.99 each, it's impossible not to HIGHLY recommend each of these titles. Be sure to check em out if you haven't already, and get ready to enjoy some awesome retro goodness that'll bring back memories of old-school gaming.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Act of Fury: Kraine's Revenge - 1.99 (Forge Reply/DarkWave Games)

Shoot-em-ups have expanded quite a bit since Cave hit the iOS scene in April of 2010. However, very few games have done what Cave’s releases have done for the scene, so it’s nice to see a developer realize this, and take the genre in completely different direction. DarkWave Game’s new title, Act of Fury: Kraine’s Revenge, is a different kind of shmup for fans of the genre. A game in which, instead of shooting your enemies down, you get as close to them as you can, disabling their systems, and taking them down with a tornado like force that surrounds you.
To start things off, the graphics in Act of Fury are great. I have run into some slight jumping around of the screen when the levels start to scroll left or right, or zoom in and out, like when an air-strike comes in, however it’s nothing game-breaking, but is noticeable, and should be brought up. Aside from this, the variety with enemies is nice, the 4 different environments look great, and the animations are fantastic. The music and sounds go along nicely in passing on the feel of the world in Act of Fury as well.
Gameplay-wise, you're able to use two different controls schemes, both involving relative touch controls. One gives you a 2:1 movement ratio, while the other gives you a 1:1 ratio. Generally with shmup games, a 1:1 ratio is preferred, so it's nice that DarkWave included it as an option, but the whole game plays and feels better with the 2:1 default movement. There's 9 Stages, each with a Normal, and Hell difficulty mode. In the Normal Mode, you're able to disable enemies projectiles by attacking them (moving next to them), while in Hell Mode, the enemies will keep firing at you no matter what. There are items that you can pick up by destroying buildings, extra lives, bombs, shields, and items that stop time, but if you don’t use an item that you’ve picked up before you pick up another one, it’s gone forever. A big part of the gameplay is waiting until there are multiple objects on the screen that you can destroy, and trying to destroy them all at once, building up your combo, and Fury bar, which is displayed under your health bar, and increases your damage radius, total damage, and increases your score quite a bit. Mastering how to build up your Fury gauge and destroy as many destructible objects at a time is the key to scoring big.
Each of the 9 stages offers 3 star ranks which are based solely on your score. Not at all on how many times you get hit, or how many lives you loose, which is fairly different from every other shoot-em-up game out there. You're then able to use the stars that you earn to ’buy’ upgrades and power-ups in the shop. There are some more powerful upgrades that you can only use in Hell Mode, which helps drive players to play the Harder Difficulty after beating the Normal Mode. You are able to change how you allocate your stars for power-ups before each stage, so experimentation does come into play, which is a great addition to the core gameplay. I should mention that ,right now, there seems to be a problem with a couple of the stage’s rankings, but is being worked on by the developers and gamers, and a fix for the one or two levels with un-balanced score/star rankings should be available fairly soon.
Act of Fury is a very interesting addition to the shmup genre. It does a fantastic job of mixing the Spirit/Bit Pilot/Silverfish type mechanics with shmup influenced gameplay, and presenting it all in an extremely polished and well rounded package. There are GameCenter and OpenFeint leader boards for each of the 9 stages in both Normal and Hell Modes, as well as a total score leader board for both Modes, along with 32 achievements, all adding immensely to the replay value, which, once you get into the Hell Mode levels, is already fairly high. With the price being $2, it’s definitely a game that’s worth every penny, and then some, especially if you’re a fan of the shoot-em-up genre. Act of Fury also runs on 2nd GEN devices, which, with this genre, is fantastic news.

Act of Fury: Kraine’s Revenge gets a score of 4 out of 5.

Dark Meadow goes on sale for 0.99!

Dark Meadow, by Phosphor Games Studio, has just gone on a limited time price drop from $5.99 down to $0.99! For those of you who don't have this incredibly immersive game yet, now would be the time to pick it up. The developers have nailed the Infinity Blade type equip/upgrade system and gameplay, but thrown you into a creepy world filled with amazingly well created characters. There's quite a bit of exploration, finding gold, and bits and pieces of the story laying around. It's definitely worth picking up if you've got the space on your device. For a dollar, it's almost impossible to regret purchasing this one.

Worms Party Review - 0.99

Worms. They are absolutely repulsive creatures used only to gross out people and to be placed in your parents spaghetti. But they seem to be used often as cute protagonists so I guess they have something going for them. 
In this new worm filled adventure you star as a worm with a rocket on its back. Unfortunately at the party you are sleeping at, three jokesters light the rocket on your back causing you to be brutally propelled out of the window and into the world. It is your job as the player to take control of the worms path and make sure he doesn't hit any obstacles on his flight. This is accomplished by taping the upper or lower part of the screen. By tapping the bottom of the screen you dive into the ground and by tapping the upper part you jump to avoid obstacles.  Obstacles are placed in various different locations, requiring you to think fast to avoid making the wrong move. Some are embedded halfway in the ground allowing you to either jump or dive to avoid them while others take up all of the above ground area.  Unfortunately after you have played through a few games all of the obstacles become fairly easy to avoid and not even your ever-increasing high speed makes these any more deadly. Also no new obstacles are introduced later in your never ending run so you can get bored of them easily. Also scattered among the level are power-ups which can do one of three things. Either give your worm another life, a helmet, or let him destroy anything in his path. You lose life's by running into obstacles so its always a good idea to pickup a health or a helmet  pick-up.
By completing certain pre-determined missions you can unlock new rocket types which don't really do much other than look cool. If thats incentive enough for you to play hours and hours of this game then you really need to find something better to do with your time.  Another annoying feature of this game is its achievment system. They choose to use something called Kiip points. Apparently you can redeem these Kiip points for real world items from certain companies. This system miserably fails for this game as you can only use them for Kodak pictures and is a big nuisance when playing the game.

Overall this is a sub par endless runner which feels like a rip off of Tiny Wings and the original Worms franchise. I give it a 1/5.

Flight Unlimited: Preview

"There is a lack of flight simulators in the App Store." I couldn't agree with this statement more.  TAS Games, the development trio behind Flight Unlimited, has a found a relatively unexplored niche in the App Store.  It is really hard to believe that we haven't seen any new flight simulators since the X-plane series and RC-Plane. The common theme between these two games is poorly detailed, rather boring expanses to fly in.  Flight Unlimited will change all of this and it looks to be a flight simulator that everyone will enjoy.
The most impressive feature in Flight Unlimited has to be its expansive, highly detailed environment.  Over 100 buildings, countless street signs, roads, and bus stops have been included to create the most detailed city ever seen in a flight simulator.  You won't be falling asleep while flying across endless expanses of barren fields.  Instead, you will be dodging in and out from between buildings and landing on any street imaginable.  If this doesn't have you drooling, listen to this: TAS Games has managed to get the game running extremely well on 4th generation devices and it will literally fly on the iPhone 4S and iPad 2. With a detailed environment like the city offered in Flight Unlimited, TAS Games has reached a huge milestone in getting it running fluidly on 4th generation devices and up.
Apart from the environment, Flight Unlimited will be sporting multiple camera options including a custom mode which will enable you to view your craft from any angle.  The biggest detriment to any flight simulator will be its camera system. By providing various settings, TAS Games seems to have this aspect under control.
Also, did I mention what plane you will be flying? You will cruise through the city in a classic, highly detailed Cesna 172. We can only hope that more planes will be added in future updates, but I believe TAS Games is off to a great start.
Flight Unlimited will be launching on November 30th. No word on pricing yet.  Be sure to check back for our full review of Flight Unlimited.  Now I know you are all dying to see how this will actually run so here is a gameplay video in glorious HD. Enjoy.