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!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sporos [AppXplore] - $0.99

Last year, Bulkypix published quite a few really really good games. Many of which, I still have on both  my iPad and my iPhone. One of these titles was AppXplore’s Lightopus (if you don’t have it yet, you should definitely check it out). Since then, AppXplore has been had at work creating their most recent release, Sporos, a puzzler with a crazy amount of content, and this time, has decided to publish it on their own.

Now, puzzlers on the iOS are kind of hit a miss. There’s more than a few out there that are just way too while others can be frustratingly hard, and the amount of content can be minimal to overwhelming. Basically, there’s very few that really just hit the nail on the head in terms of difficulty and content. Sporos, even though there’s a whopping 500 levels, is one of the later. Levels can be solved fairly quickly in the beginning, but once you get into it, do take some thought, as well as experimentation, in order to solve. The added 3 star system helps to push gamers, but because you can take all the time you need solving a stage and then restart it and 3 star it in about 3 seconds does kind of take away from the drive to get it right the first time through. Having a special ‘first timers’ medal or something for those of us who are lucky enough to be able to 3 star stages on our first time through would have been a fantastic addition, but the lack of it kind of makes it feel like every other 3 star system puzzle game out there in that regard (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just something that quite a few gamers would like to see built upon every now and again). 

The goal of the game is to fill up a pattern of empty cells by using seeds known as sporos. These sporos are able to branch out and fill up cells based on the patterns that are imprinted on them. For instance, having a seed that has two horizontal lines found on it will fill up empty cells in a straight line to the left and right of wherever you place the seed. In each stage, you’re given a few seeds and will need to fill every empty cell with the bits that branch out of them. The quicker you do this, as well as how many times you move a seed, will result in your final star rating for the level. But as already stated, you can take all the time you need figuring out where to place the seeds, and then restart the stage and complete it earning you 3 stars in about 3 seconds. 

That’s not to say that it’s not a difficult game by any means. With the breaks in the pattern and seed branches able to jump across empty spaces, actually figuring out how to intertwine the seeds and their branches will take some thought, and is not something that can be figured out right off the bat just by glancing at a pattern and available seeds. There will be times when picking up a seed and moving it around the pattern, seeing what empty cells light up and would get blocked off before deciding what seeds to place where and when (as a seed can not be placed on top of another seeds branch) will become something that most players will wind up doing at the start of almost every stage. 

The stages are broken up into two different modes; Essential Labs and Experimental Labs. Essential Labs mode is like your typical puzzler, where levels start off easy, and grow increasingly difficult as you progress through the game. Experimental Labs can be a bit more tricky. In the Experimental levels, you’ll find cells with arrows in them. These cells act as extenders for the seeds branches. Once a branch hits the cell with an arrow, it will carry on in the direction that the arrow is pointing. What makes this more tricky is that the extentions caused by these special arrow cells are not highlighted when deciding where to place your seeds, so they do take a bit more thought (and experimentation) to figure out. 

Graphically, Sporos looks, and feels, a lot like AppXplore’s previous title, Lightopus. The neon colors and unit models look like they could have been pulled straight from Lightopus. This isn’t really a bad thing, especially if you enjoyed the look and feel of their previous title, and it also fits within the puzzle genre very well. Animations aren’t really too important in a game like this, but they’re very fitting, and compliment the gameplay. The background music is light and also fits the look and helps add to the feeling of the game. 

Sporos is Universal, has widescreen support for the iPhone/iPod 5, and includes GameCenter support with 19 achievements. There are no leaderboards and no stats to explore like total time played, total moves, ect, but that doesn’t really take much away from the game. iCloud support would have been a great plus, especially since Sporos is a Universal app. There is an IAP included, but this is for hints just in case you get stuck. You are given 3 hints to start with and a pack of 30 hints will cost you $0.99, but is definitely not required to complete the game. With Sporos priced at $0.99, it’s a great addition to the puzzle genre, even though some little extra touches here and there would have made it stand out more, it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re a puzzler fan. AppXplore has also said that more levels are set to come in future updates, so there should be plenty of content now, and in the future. There is also a free version that you can try out before deciding if you want to purchase the full, which is always a plus. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Rock Runners [Chillingo + Recoil Games] - $0.99

I will definitely admit that Chillingo titles have been going downhill for quite some time. It really seems like they have no screening process what-so-ever when it comes to choosing what games from what developers they’re going to publish. Because of this, bugs never get fixed and ‘Coming Soon’ content never arrives. It also hasn’t helped that they’ve dropped almost every single title down to free within the same month of it’s release. But, and yes, there is a but here, they are picking up steam again. Over the last 3 or 4 months, Chillingo titles have been getting bug fixing updates as well as promised content. They are also not dropping every title down to free a week or two after release. It does give us hope that they’re trying to earn back some of that reputation that faltered over the last year and a half or so. Because of this, one of their newest releases, Rock Runners, hit our devices this week, and it is one hell of a great game. 

Now, we’ve been saying for a while that auto-running platformers and endless runners are starting to come back onto the more popular side of iOS gaming genres because they’re growing and expanding again. Not every new title falls into this category, but quite a few do. This is another one of the main reasons why Rock Runners caught our eye. But once we got into it and realized that it doesn’t add anything new to the genre. We were also reminded that a game doesn’t need to bring something new to the table to completely hook us. While Rock Runners doesn’t really focus on originality, everything else it focuses on is done to perfection. The graphics, animations, sounds, physics, level design, gameplay mechanics, upgrades and everything else within the game is amazingly well polished. So much so that while it’s not necessarily original, it does stand out as one of the best auto-running platformers we’ve had the pleasure of playing on the iOS. 

Rock Runner’s one gameplay mode contains 4 different worlds with over 140 stages. Like most mobile games, there are 3 possible objectives for each stage. Every stage has two objectives that are always the same; Reach the Goal and Beat X:XX (Time Limit). Other than those two, you’ll be faced with collecting a certain percentage of gems; 90%, 95% and sometimes even 100%, Avoid the Purple Goo, Avoid Damage, Do Not Stumble and Avoid Drills. Along with these objectives, there will be a set path of levels that will make up your World Time. Here, you can better your times in these stages and compete on any of the 4  GameCenter leaderboards that each world has. There are also 52 achievements you can try and unlock, though most of them are accessible just by playing through and completing the game, so there’s not much replay value added in with them. Not to say that there’s not already tons of replay value here with the objectives, times and star system.  

The gameplay is incredibly solid. Not only are you able to tap to jump, with the jump length and height depending on how long you hold your finger down, you’re also able to swing with a grapple, which is also done by holding on the screen whenever you’re in range of a hook, and use portals to either go back and collect missed gems, keys that unlock levels throughout the game, bigger gems, or reach higher up platforms. Also, you’re given a boost bar at the top of the screen that fills up when you collect gems. Once you collect enough gems, you’ll boost until you either run into an object or complete the level. Not only do gems result in giving you a boost and quicker level completion times, but once you fill up your boost gauge, you’ll also activate your gem multiplier. 

Your gem multiplier, as well as other special items and characters, can be upgraded and bought in the game’s shop. Here, you’ll be able to increase your gem multiplier from 2X upto 3X, 4X and finally, 5X, activate and upgrade a gem magnet, shield and booster. Each time you upgrade these power-ups, you’ll also unlock another slot to store said power-up. Once you run out, you’ll need to recharge the slots so that you can use the powers again. I will admit that this does sound a bit expensive, but with the gem multiplier upgrade and the sheer amount of gems included in every level (anywhere from 600 [in the beginning of the game] to 3,000 towards the end), you’ll be able to upgrade and purchase items at a fairly quick pace. Also, recharging of the power-ups is very cheap (between 250 and 375 depending on how many slots you have available). Extra characters do not come with additional stats or powers, and are purely cosmetic, but do cost quite a bit (20,000 gems for each of the two characters). 

The graphics, animations and the amount of polish and charm that’s oozing out of the game is outstanding. The environments do not change much, and the level design for each world is basically a ton of little bits and sections that are just swapped out and mixed up with each other (though each world does introduce it’s own set of sections), but with the gameplay that’s so incredibly solid and just plain fun, it’s hard to care that much. The BGM does help set a cheerful and energetic mood, matching the lavish color palate and bright visuals. 

With Rock Runners being Universal and with hours upon hours of gameplay, especially if you get into some time battles on the GC leaderboards, the price of $0.99 is a steal. Chillingo has done a great job of trying to turn their studio around, and with Rock Runners having a possible 5th world in the works, we definitely hope that Recoil Games keeps working on this great runner and we do actually get the promised content. But even without it, at the cheap price, Rock Runners is a must own if you’re a fan of the auto-running platformer genre. If nothing else, we definitely hope that Recoil sticks with iOS video game development, because we’d love to see more titles from them hit the AppStore over the next couple years. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Doing Away With Star Ratings

It's no secret that The App Shack is a very small review site. At the moment, our 'staff' is made up of me (Syntheticvoid) and Alister. Our 20,000 hits a month is nothing compared to sites like Touch Arcade, 148 Apps, AppSpy, Slide To Play, ect... Don't get me wrong, I feel very fortunate that we do get as much traffic as we do, and I'm actually pretty glad that we aren't a big review site.

Because of this, we're able to pretty much do whatever the hell we want to in regards to everything. We're able to not worry about charging developers for adspace or reviews, we don't have to cover all the top stories and rumors that other sites obsess about, and we can (luckily) write reviews at our own pace, and for whatever games we want.

Now, after a LOT of mulling it over and thinking, we've decided to do away with our star rating system. This is mainly because we generally only review games that we feel deserve more attention. This is all because we have real jobs, lives, families, ect... and can't sink hours upon hours into this site, no matter how badly we want to. It would be great to be able to review every single game that's released every week, but we just don't have the time, so games that catch our eyes are basically the only games we review. Because of this, almost every single game gets a 4 or 5 star rating, making star ratings pretty pointless here at TAS.

So, from now on, we will keep bringing you reviews, but they will not be rated. We will keep our previous scores up because back when we actually had a staff working on reviews, we were able to review not only games that we enjoyed, but also games that we didn't.

WE hope you'll keep sticking with us through this sort of 'dead time' for our site. And if you, or anyone you know is interested in joining up and writing reviews for The App Shack, feel free to contact (or have them contact) us @

Review Rewind: Bean's Quest

Back in 2011, a then unknown development team, Kumobious, hit the scene with their breakthrough title, Bean's Quest. Though, at the time, there were very few people willing to take a chance on it. See - Bean's Quest launched at the price of $2.99 and only contained 8 levels. But those who did take a chance were completely blown away by the production values, controls, physics, animations, graphics, pretty much everything about the game was incredibly impressive. But Kumobious stated that they were going to release more levels through updates. This was also a pretty big turn off for a lot of people because, as many of us have come to experience, games that don't release with all of the planned content very rarely see any sort of content in the future. But over the next year, content updates came and shot Bean's Quest up pretty much every single platformer lovers favorites list, finally ending up with 50 stages and 150 hardcore challenges to try and complete. Needless to say, we're incredibly happy about how Bean's Quest turned out, and chances are, this game will never leave our devices. If you have yet to pick up this gem of a game, missed out on it, or just recently got an iDevice and simply weren't around when Bean's Quest was more well-known, you should definitely pick this one up. 

**Note - This Review was written by Peter Toms after playing Version 3.0.1**

In 'Bean's Quest', a delightful platformer by Kumobius, you play as Emilio, who has been transformed into a Mexican Jumping Bean and his girlfriend and pets taken away by a dark wizard. The game was originally released in mid-July with just eight levels, but has since been continuously updated by the developers to now include fifty levels. The latest update added 23 new levels and finished the story. Bean's Quest mixes around between traditional platforming elements and a truly unique and creative execution.

Gameplay/Controls: 4.5/5
The controls are very simple in 'Bean's Quest': touch the left side of the screen to move left and the right side to go right. This is combined with the fact that you are constantly jumping, so you have to time your movements accordingly. The controls work flawlessly, though for those heavily accustomed to normal platformers, the jumping mechanic will take time to get used to. The gameplay and controls work perfectly together in creating a truly unique experience. Different gameplay elements, like enemies, giant wheel-like objects, and tiny blocks help you along the way, even causing some levels to feel like a mix between physics puzzlers and platformers. 'Bean's Quest' is a very fun and enjoyable game, bringing wildly new elements to a somewhat-standardized genre.

Graphics/Music: 4.5/5
 The graphics feel very fitting as well, with a nifty semi-pixelized look. It feels like the perfect blend between retro and modernized graphics. The game looks how you'd want it to by playing it: retro streaked with a cool, new-age flair to it. Different worlds have different looks, giving a nice change-of-pace between them.  The music feels as great as I could imagine, with a chiptune-like soundtrack mixed with the Spanish flair fitting of a Mexican Jumping Bean. Each world also has a separate music number. As a whole, 'Bean's Quest' presents itself in a method pleasing to both the eyes and ears.

Content/Variety: 5/5
 If I were reviewing this game before any updates, the game would definitely be lacking in this category. But thanks to major updates, it's grown in size to become a powerhouse in terms of content. Each level has three very difficult goals: collect all the gems, find your pet Axolotl, and try to do it within the par jump, bouncing as few times as possible. Each of these will take you several tries to achieve, adding a lot of replay value to the mix. Plus there are Game Center Leaderboards for each world as well as 33 achievements to collect. To complete the game alone will take awhile, but to accomplish all three goals for every level will last you a long time in terms of playing time. There's also a lot of variety, with five definedly different worlds and an epic boss battle finale. Worlds feel a lot different too, with different enemies, obstacles, and more in each world. As far as content and variety goes, 'Bean's Quest' brings you a lot of both, giving a game one could play for hours and not get bored with.

Overall: 4.5/5
 Grab your sombrero and start jumping, because this platformer is definitely one of the most creative takes on virtual controls. Hop to it and buy this wonderful gem.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Kemco + WorldWideSoftware's Aeon Avenger Hits The AppStore!

Kemco, one of our personal favorite iOS RPG Publishers, has just released their English version of Aeon Avenger. For those of you who do not have access to an Android device, and have not heard of Aeon Avenger yet, here's some info on the game;

A young man named Lake lost both his home and family when a mysterious man in black attacked his village. Revenge became his one purpose in life. One day, he met a woman from a tribe which kept the secrets of time travel. His destiny was about to change forever... Who is the Man in Black, who leads a host of monsters? A great story, spanning 3 eras, present, past and future!

Seems you're able to travel through time, as well as solve problems and puzzles in one era by traveling to another (reminiscent of Chrono Trigger). Weapons can be strengthened by using accessories called 'Bits' which can also be evolved as you progress throughout the game. And as always, there's a full cast of characters with some fantastic English translation done by Kemco.

Aeon Avenger also supports the iPhone 5's widescreen (even though this is not stated in the iTunes requirements - this has been tested and confirmed) and is the very first Kemco title to be UNIVERSAL! That's right, no more 2X mode for iPad owners!

You can snag Aeon Avenger on sale for launch priced at $2.99 - it will go up to $8.99 soon, so grab it ASAP!

As always, we will have a detailed review for the game up as soon as we can. Until then, check out some screens and the trailer! 

Cordy 2 [Silvertree Media] - FREE - $4.99 Full Game Unlock

**This review has been contributed to The App Shack by Alister from the Touch Arcade Forums**

There has been a trend of speculation among the mobile game press, reviewers and analysts, of how to translate a great platformer onto our beloved touchscreen devices. Most cite Rayman Jungle Run as the prime example and though I love that game in the back of my mind I can't help but think of it as Rayman: Origins Lite. Pretty much the conventional wisdom to make games like these successful for the platform is to shorten the levels, put in an auto running mechanic, implement swipe or one touch controls and then simplify the over-all gameplay. With the current iterasions of the Sonic games in the AppStore that's lacking the proper precision of controls and output due to virtual button mishaps, it's hard to argue againts the status quo. Luckily the very talented folks from Silvertree Media have proven these statements wrong with their new game; Cordy 2.

The story of the game starts out when our charming hero Cordy and his side-kick Volt crash their space ship on Planet 2. Suddenly they find the place terrorized by the terrifying Boogaloo and his menacing Boogie Bots who have suppressed the worlds energy resources. Since it's in the protagonists nature to be both heroic and selfless, Cordy sets off to fight evil and help the citizens of the planet by giving them their power supply/electricity back one action packed level at a time, while having lots of fun doing so as well, as he's always smiling. Well maybe that's his way of psyching out the enemy, hehe.

As you play through each stage, there are two items to collect; gears (which are quite similar to gold rings from Sonic) and some lightning bolt looking zaps that seem vital for pressing through the game, since you are powering up a planet. Each level has 3 goals to achieve, each giving you a star like most mobile games do. Those 3 objectives are finishing the level, collecting all the zaps and beating the quick trial challenge. Now let me tell you in advance that gears and stars have some uses. Gears can be used to unlock bonus stages and some hidden areas, while advancing through the main levels will require a certain number of stars that you've collected.

The gameplay of Cordy 2 is absolutely brilliant!! From the very fast pace that's accompanied by highly intuitive and precise controls with very accurate output, to the vast depth of its mechanics. Various powers can be attained by combining Cordy with allied bots resulting in possible interaction with the environment/real estate that lies all around the stage. Plus having very clever level design that's overflowing with sophistication, complexity and length, that can easily match up to your console platformers, the developers are obviously not messing around as thier creation is executed and polished to perfection.

The details of the background and over all aesthetics are gorgeous. The BGM is quite good also and proves to give off good vibes while playing through the game. It also features IAPs that are purely cosmetic alterions for the main character, so you can be rest assured that it's not necessary, though personally I'm think of buying some in support for the creators amazing efforts.

If you are one of the people out there who's been searching and waiting for a platformer at the same caliber of Rayman: origins or some of the other triple A titles to be available on the AppStore, then look no further. You can download Cordy 2 and check out the 4 initial levels for free and see the greatness first-hand. If the experience leaves you hungry for more action, like me, you can push the buy button to unlock the full game.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Updates! - Repulze, Starbase Orion and The Blockheads

So, three games have received updates this week that add quite a bit to their gameplay; Repulze, Starbase Orion and The Blockheads. If you've yet to pick up these titles, you shouldn't wait any longer. Repulze is above and beyond, the best time trial racer available on the iOS while Starbase Orion is the deepest 4X iOS  original that we've had the pleasure of playing and The Blockheads takes the whole 2D Minecraft gameplay in the same direction as Junk Jack, but keeps it more casual and has quite a few differences, definitely making it worthy of your time. Here's the update notes for these three updates that went live this week;

This is the “PHASE TWO: Break & Desist” content update.
- Ghost race recording / playback
- Bonnet camera view
- Slide-to-steer control now available
- New industrial wasteland theme
- Seven sanity defying new tracks
- New challenge types
- Power Ripper upgrade
- Magnetic Fields, Barriers & Toolkits
- Minor bug fixes and tweaks.


v1.1.8 marks the one year anniversary for SO. We have had an amazing first year, with tens of thousands of players making SO the highest ranked and rated 4X space game on the AppStore! I am honored to bring you another feature packed update for SO to celebrate.

• Tutorial!
That's right, its about time we got a real tutorial. If you're new to 4X space games, then tutorial will help ease you into the wonderful world of Starbase Orion. The tutorial is narrated by the very talented Maurice Thomas.

• Leader Maintenance Cost
Leaders now cost an additional 1% of their purchase price per turn in upkeep. So if you bid 600 GC on a leader, it will cost 16 per turn (10+6).

• Starbase Changes
Starbases received a buff to their armor, structure, and weapon slots. The changes were made such that SB1 and SB2 got the most benefit, with SB3 being roughly the same as it was before.

• Weapon and System Design Costs Scale with Ship Control Points
Weapons and ship systems now cost different amounts depending on the CP cost of the hull you build them on. Generally, they are a bit cheaper on frigate, the same on destroyers and cruisers, and more expensive on everything bigger.

• Ship Tweaks
Mammoths now cost 4 CP per ship. Destroyers and Cruisers had their amount of weapon and system slots tweaked.

• Continual AI Improvements
The AI now scouts more aggressively, so it will find all those yummy special planets around it.

• Bug Fixes
You reported them, we fixed them! Thank you so much for everyone helping to make Starbase Orion the best it can be!

The first update with new stuff! This update will work fine with your current worlds, no need to start again. 

Find kelp in the oceans. 
Craft compost to grow plants and trees faster and bigger. 
Craft steel lanterns, they're waterproof! 
Craft extravagant gem chandeliers. 
Find basalt, a new shiny block to build with. 
Use dirt and water to craft clay at a press. 

Wooden platforms are now 'reinforced platforms' and require iron. This is to make them a more advanced building material for later in the game. 
Dropped chests and pole bonus clothing items are no longer removed from the world. 
The more valuable gems are a bit less likely to show up while meditating. 
Clothing now degrades slowly over time. 
There are now tips in the early stages of the game.
Options added to change sound volume, and restore double-time purchase.

Mauv [Forge Vault] - $1.99

There’s not a whole lot of Action/Adventure games that completely consume my free time. Pretty sure I can count the number of iOS titles in the genre on one hand (Shadowgun, Samurai II, Dead Space, Waking Mars… that’s about it). But over the last week or so, I’ve gotten sucked into another title. Now, with all of the nods to Metroid and Zelda, it’s no real surprise that it’s sucked me in, but keeping me playing is something only the game’s originality and story could have done. The game? Mauv, developed by Forge Vault. 

First off, let’s set things straight. Unlike quite a few iOS titles, Mauv doesn’t directly steal mechanics or gameplay from Metroid or Zelda, but while playing, it’s clearly apparent that they were inspirations for the developers somewhere down the line. It’s a fairly deep sci-fi adventure title that merges both top-down type sections as well as side-scrolling areas together in one huge explorable world. It might sound like something that would just drive some people crazy, but as you progress throughout the game, the mix of Metroid style exploratory platform action and Zeldaesque exploratory adventure filled with plenty of side-quests as well as a main story, leveling up, blocked off areas that require special abilities to cross into and much, much more, the changes between side-scrolling and top-down areas will start to seem natural, and perfectly fit into the gameplay as another feature that makes Mauv all the better. 

Starting the game off, you’re given a short intro; A long time ago, Gorm seized control of the Magna Spyre. In response, the Kingdom of Yora called for warriors to take out the enemy and regain control of the Magna Sypre. You‘re on a quest to become one of the strongest warriors in Yora, and head off to jump on the airboat heading into battle. However, in the beginning of the game, you’re basically helpless. You’re given 3 rechargeable action points which you can use to perform rolls and break open crates and bushes. You‘re also able to use your wings to glide. But once you start to progress into the game, you’ll be given a weapon and further along, you’ll be able to get a shield and other items that will allow you to progress into different areas and just become a real pain for the enemy to deal with in general. 

Control-wise, you’re given a joystick for movement and buttons on the right side of the screen for actions. Your action button changes depending on what type of section you’re in (top-down or side-scrolling) and can either cause you to roll or jump. Gliding is done by tapping the action button while you’re already in the air and will keep you going in the same direction as when you press it (ie; pressing it when you’re still in the upwards swing of your jump will cause you to glide slightly upwards, pressing it when you’re at the very top of your jump will cause you to glide forward and slightly downwards and gliding when you’re coming down from your jump will pretty much send you straight into the ground). You’ll also use the action button to talk to all of the NPCs around the world. Your action button is placed in the middle of the buttons that will pop up as you gather equipment. You’re also given a button to fire your weapon and another for your shield. The buttons are static and are not customizable, which does kind of make playing on the iPad a bit uncomfortable as the buttons are a little further inside the screen than what I’d personally like. It doesn’t make the game unplayable, and is nowhere near bad enough to keep me from playing, but it would be nice if we could move the buttons around, or they were placed more appropriately on the larger iPad screen. On the iPhone, the buttons are decently placed (though maybe a bit high) and fairly comfortable. One thing that did bother me at first was the fact that you’re unable to fire your weapon while you’re in the air. This means that you can not jump and shoot your weapon. I’m not too entirely sure if it would even make much of a difference if you could, but it did take a while to get use to. 

Now, in order to fire your weapon, you will need to collect magna. Each shot that you shoot requires 3 magna. Luckily, there is magna scattered everywhere, and you should never be at a loss. However, if you ever are, you can leave an area and re-enter it with all of the collected magna available for collection again. You also do not need to kill enemies in order to progress throughout the game, but killing enemies does earn you experience which you will need if you want to level up. You’ll also be able to collect hides and trophies from enemies that can be exchanged for items (like boots that allow you to walk through sludge without slowing down, and other accessories) and more magna. Leveling up does not have any effect on your stats like attack, or action points, but it does increase your hit points which will definitely come in handy later on in the game. 

The graphics are well done, especially the background environments and the whole foggy look throughout the game. Unfortunately, there’s not much change in the environments which does make the world seem like one huge level. I don’t really consider this a bad thing. There are enough changes  in the plant life and other minor aspects of the environment to give different areas subtle differences and put together with the various enemies that you’ll encounter do help to make it not get boring or feel ‘samey’ throughout the entire game. The animations do feel a bit stiff, but this doesn’t take much away from the immersion of the game. There are a few graphical things that stick out, like the plant life and objects in the background, that do give the game a great feeling. On top of that, the BGM is also very well done and fitting for the gameplay. 

Even with the minor grammatical errors, lack of GameCenter achievements and kind of slow start, when you consider how incredibly huge the world is, especially if you’re interested in exploring and completing the side-quests, how much love and care was clearly put into the development, Mauv being Universal and just how much fun it is to play, the price point of $1.99 is a very good deal. Mauv also supports the iPhone/iPod 5’s widescreen, which is a huge plus. As I said, there’s not many Action/Adventure titles on the iOS that have completely won me over, but Mauv is definitely one of them. Fans of Zelda and Metroid should feel pretty much at home while playing, and even if you’re not really fans of either of those, if you’re into exploration and adventure games, Mauv contains a huge world to check out. There is also a lite version if you’re interested in seeing what the game plays like before making a purchase, but you should keep in mind that as you make your way in to the real meat of the game that it gets a whole lot better. This is one Adventure title that I have no problem whole heartedly recommending.