Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pocket Tanks Deluxe (Mac) Review

Earlier in May, I posted a review of Pocket Tanks Deluxe for iPhone.  We gave it a 9.9/10, and it still deserves that rating.  After playing the computer version, I am truly stunned. 
 The game has pretty much the same gameplay as the App Store, except for the fact that with all of the weapon packs, there are 230 unique weapons in the game!  There is a ton of lasting appeal, and it is just fantastic all around. There is a form of multiplayer on more than one computer, and also on the same computer.
The regular version of the game costs $15.99 (Link), and has multiple weapon packs available, some free, some $7.99 (Link). The collector's edition of the game, with all of the paid weapon packs except for two, is $44.99 + s&h for the boxed version, and $39.99 for the download version (Link). If you have a Mac, remember to click the link on each page to switch to purchasing for a Mac.

Here is a link to the review of the App Store version, which has roughly the same features:

Tons of Weapons
Easy controls
Different Modes
Incredibly fun!

Cost seems a bit much for expansion packs

Bottom Line: 
If you like to have fun, by yourself, or with a friend, buy Pocket Tanks.

Graphics: 4.9/5
Gameplay: 5/5
Controls: 4.9/5

Overall: 9.99/10

Monday, May 25, 2009

Galaxy on Fire Review

Your ship gets hit by a laser. You flip around and shoot them back, blasting them into a million pieces. You are Keith T. Maxwell, the protagonist in the game, Galaxy on Fire, $2.99, by FISHLABS.
In Galaxy on Fire, you control one of multiple ships, flying around the galaxy, doing missions and purchasing new gear to improve your spaceship, its weapons, and everything about it.  The galaxy is huge, and there are endless possibilities. There are amazing graphics,
 and great 3D cutscenes.  
To control your ship, you have a choice of either tilt controls or a virtual joystick. I prefer the tilt controls only because the it is annoying to drag the joystick, and I would prefer a d-pad. You press a button on the right side of the screen to shoot your weapon.  There are many types of missions in the game, ranging from shooting space junk to escorting a criminal to his home planet.
The game was good, but for me, it just wasn't very fun. I was going in space, shooting things, and getting blown up. It seemed like it would take forever to unlock new weapons, because I was getting money so slowly. I just wasn't entertained by the game like I am with some other games.

Great Graphics
Lots of Gameplay
2 Control Options

No real "fun factor"

Bottom Line: Get Galaxy on Fire if you are a fan of space shooters, but if you are a casual gamer, it is not for you.

Graphics: 4.5/5
Gameplay: 3.5/5
Controls: 4.5/5

Overall: 8/10 (not an average)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Reflexion Contest

We have 5 codes for Reflexion, a great brick breaker, that we are giving away! To enter the Reflexion contest, simply post a comment in which you state your email address and say why you want Reflexion. 

Since some people do not want to post their email publicly, you can also email with the same entry.

Contest is now CLOSED. Winners announced in comments.

Pocket Tanks Deluxe Review

Everyone who had an iPhone a few months ago has heard of iShoot. The $2.99 app topped the charts, hovering at the number 1 paid app spot for many weeks, along with its lite version leading the free apps. Recently, another tank game was released, as an improved port from the computer version. It is $4.99, and called Pocket Tanks Deluxe, and it simply blows iShoot out of the water.
In Pocket Tanks Deluxe, you control a tank and you can move small distances. Your main mission is to shoot weapons at your enemy tank. There are three game modes, One Player, Two Player, and Target Practice. In One Player, you battle against the iPhone AI, and at the beginning of the round, you take turns choosing weapons from a randomly generated set of 20 weapons, out of the total 105. 
Randomly choosing is also an option. In Two Player, you play against another player on the same device, with the same weapon selection as One Player. In Target Practice, you control two tanks, and can try out and perfect your use of the weapons.
To start your turn in any of the modes, you go to the bottom left of the screen, which has the move button. If you want to move, you tap it, then tap the arrows on the pop-up. You do not have to move every turn, or at all. Next to the move button is the weapon selection. When you tap it, a scrolling list of your weapons comes up, and you just scroll up or down, then press the check mark to choose your weapon. Next to the weapon button is the fire button, and on the right is the Angle button. Once in the angle selection, you can either tap on the screen, spin a wheel, or press arrows to change the angle of the shot. Once you press the Power button, you can move a marker along a bar to choose the power, or press arrows. Then you press fire, and you watch the weapon fly. The next turn, the game remembers your power and angle. Unlike iShoot's goal of killing the enemy, your goal in Pocket Tanks is to get as many points as possible from hitting the enemy. I prefer this method, because that way, if your opponent has an incredibly strong weapon, you still have a chance to win after, but in iShoot, if you get hit, that's the end of the round, and you have no way to do anything. The round ends when both players run out of weapons, which would be 10 volleys.
The weapons in the game are much more unique and plentiful than iShoot. The weapons range from simple weapons, like a Single Shot, to complex ones like Side Kicks. There are weapons with one projectile, multiple projectiles, weapons with special abilities, such as the Gamma Blaster going through land, and what I call "terra-forming" weapons. These weapons change the landscape, including Dirtball, Funnel, Crazy Wall, Island, Neon Blast, Blockade, Blackout, Magic Beans, Railgun, Tar Ball, Digger, and more. This is my favorite type of weapons, and since some even take away terrain, and don't make the dirt fall, I like using them in Target Practice and the other modes to first attack the enemy, then make a cavern to hide in for the rest of the round. I also build up mounds on the enemy to get them to attack themselves to get out. There are so many weapons in this game, I never get tired of it.
Another extra feature is the ability to zoom in and out, and scroll through the playing field.

105 Unique Weapons
Great Graphics
Really Fun Gameplay

Addicting (But is that really a bad thing?)

I have been playing this constantly, and so should you. Go out and buy this, try out the free version if you are on the fence, and I guarantee you that you will absolutely love Pocket Tanks Deluxe.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Trivial Pursuit Review

Trivial Pursuit, $4.99, is another game in the App Store that EA released recently. Like its name suggests, it is a port of the board game, Trivial Pusuit, in which you control a circular playing piece colored either green, purple, yellow, pink, light blue, or orange around the board, with the shape depending on which of the four modes you are in. The modes are Classic Mode, WiFi-Multiplayer, Pursuit Mode, and Pass 'N Play. Classic is the original Trivial Pursuit board, in the shape of a circle, with paths coming in to the center, and you can play against 1-3 computer players. WiFi Multiplayer is self explanatory, it is multiplayer over WiFi. In Pursuit mode, you are the only player, and  you move along a path with some alternate paths, and try to get to the end of each level. Pass 'N Play is a mode where you play with 2-4 players and pass the device every turn. 
At the beginning of each game, you can customize your playing piece, and profile. There are many figures to play as on the side of the screen, and six colors of playing pieces. You can name your character, although default is the name of your iPod Touch or iPhone. Once you start Classic Mode, you can either shake to roll the dice, or tap, then tap again to stop. You move around the board using your dice rolls and answer questions in any of the six categories of trivia, Arts & Literature, Science & Nature, Sports & Leisure, Entertainment, Geography, or History. If you land on one of the "headquarters" spaces, which are the spaces with triangles on them, and get the trivia question right, then you get a wedge put onto your playing piece. If you get all of the different colored wedges, you win.
 I found the gameplay fun, and so did a few other people I showed it to. The questions are all the same difficulty, and there is no option to change the level. Also, the graphics in the game are amazing, and everything is rendered beatifully. The game also allows you to skip your opponent's turn, if it is a computer, and that makes the game go by faster.

Beautiful Graphics
Good Trivia
4 Modes
Fun Gameplay

WiFi Multiplayer is local, so unless you are at a party where everyone has iPhones and Trivial Pursuit, and you organize a game, wireless is not going to happen

If you want a game that is both fun and you can learn from, do not hesitate to buy Trivial Pursuit, which costs less than half the price of the board game, and has more gameplay options.

Score: 9.25/10

UniWar Review

Uniwar, priced at $4.99, is a turn-based strategy game in which you control your base, and move and build units, while trying to attack and defeat your opponent. To control your units, you just tap on them, tap a space that is highlighted, and they move. To attack, you simply tap the unit, then tap your enemy, and press attack. To build a unit, you tap on your base, and a menu comes up, with statistics for all the units and you can tap the unit to purchase it. 
There are four modes in UniWar. They are Online play, Campaign, Solo, and VS. In Online play, you can battle your friends over the internet. In Campaign, you follow 21 missions to defeat your enemy and help you to learn how to play the game. In Solo, you compete against the AI, and in VS. you battle against a friend on the same device.
There are over 50 maps in the game, which adds a lot of replay value. The game overall is very fun, and the graphics are good. I really can't think of any bad things about UniWar.

50+ maps
Many different types of units
4 gameplay modes
Online Multiplayer

$.99 introductory sale ended

UniWar is a worthwhile purchase for most fans of Risk or other Turn-Based Strategy games, and it will provide hours of fun.

Score: 9.5/10

Sorry no pictures, the uploading service was acting up. There are screenshots in the iTunes description.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Monster Trucks Nitro Contest!

We have 4 codes for Monster Trucks Nitro that we are giving away! To enter the Monster Trucks Nitro contest, simply post a comment in which you state your email address and say why you want Monster Trucks Nitro. 

Remember your EMAIL ADDRESS!


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sim City Review

Sim City by E.A. is a  $4.99 game, an iPhone Version of the famous  Sim City series, by Will Wright. I found this game highly interesting and fun, with a highly complex gameplay system, though frustrating at times. 
I have not played the series, and don't know much about it, but truly enjoyed the iPhone Version. In the beginning spend zealously, slowly increasing your spending as you go along. Additionally, do not take out a loan if it can be avoided. The game features cheat codes, a screen activated by shaking the device. Two cheat codes known (without the quotes) are "I am weak", which sets the purchase price of anything to zero. Also, the code "pay tribute to your king"unlocks all the reward buildings" In another area unfortunately,  while the game is rendered in detailed 3-D graphics with pinch-to-zoom, there is one major limitation. You can not rotate the city, which I found annoying at times.

Sim City also provides you with several rewards for successful work. These come when you achieve certain things, leading your citizens to realize how lucky they are to have you as their mayor. Rewards include a courthouse, mayor statue, and new house for the mayor. Additionally you have several real worldwide landmarks, available for your city such as the Eiffel tower seen in the picture on the left. These are all available for no building cost.  

Addicting Gameplay
3-D Graphics
Detailed Buildings
Great Brand
Many Included Factors (Taxes, Budget, Transporation, etc.)

No Rotation
Can Get Frustrating 

In the end, I fell in love with the game, playing it quite a lot. I enjoyed the challenge, despite the frustrating elements. This review leaves many highly interesting things unsaid, due to the the depth and complexity of the game. Should be on your buy list for sure, especially a Sim City fan. 

Score: 9.5/10

Screenshots: Link 

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Monster Trucks Nitro Review

Ever played one of those biking or truck games where you drive along a bumpy track, and tilt or press buttons to even out your vehicle? Well, Monster Trucks Nitro, by RedLynx LTD, is that game for the iPhone. It is currently on sale for the price of $.99 on the iTunes App Store.
In Monster Trucks Nitro, you race your way through 8 different levels by using the throttle and brake buttons, cruise control, and nitro boosts provided along the way in bottles. You start with 3 vehicles, the Stars and Stripes Monster Truck, the RedLynx Monster Truck, and the Miniclip Monster Truck. 
They each handle differently, for example, the Stars and Stripes Monster Truck has flexible suspension, huge wheels, and is heavier than the other trucks. Once you progress through the levels and get 4 gold medals, by beating a certain time, you unlock the Schoolbus Monster Truck, and at 8 gold medals, you unlock the Formula Monster Truck. The game is classic from the gameplay perspective, because the game follows a 2D path, but the hills, bridges, and other obstacles are rendered in stunning 3D graphics. 
You can also change the camera view by swiping down.
In my opinion, one of the best parts of Monster Trucks Nitro is Cruise Control. If you tap it, it sustains your current speed, even throughout different stages. You can put on Cruise Control in the end of one level, and it will resume in the next. All of the levels are different, challenging, and fun.
The only thing that is a bit lacking in this game is the amount of tracks. You would expect more tracks in the game, but if  you try to get a gold medal on every track and unlock the last truck, there is plenty of gameplay. Also, some levels seem a bit difficult and seem like it is impossible to get a gold medal on, but once you unlock the bus, the levels get a bit easier.

Great Graphics
5 Trucks
Fun and easy controls

Only 8 Tracks
Sometimes is a bit difficult

If you like side-scrolling car games, buy Monster Trucks Nitro. At its price of $.99, think of buying it, and if you are wobbling on the edge of the decision, just try out the original 2D game on or download the trial 3D version. (At least I think it's 3D, and I don't know because it does not work on Macs)



Saturday, May 2, 2009

Spore Origins Review

 In my opinion, Spore was one of the best games for PC released in 2008.  When I saw that the iPhone port of Spore, Spore Origins, was released, I was thrilled. The cell stage was one of my favorite stges in Spore, and I was excited about purchasing it for my iDevice. Once I had it on my iPod, I was impressed by how much EA had improved the gameplay. Instead of floating around in a shapeless pool, you now float around in beautifully rendered environments.
 In the game, you control a customizable gelatinous creature by tilting your device, trying to collect food and progress through the levels.  There are 30 levels, in groups of five, with different environments.
 In the creature editor, you can change the shape of your creature, add parts to them, like eyes and spikes, and choose how to color them.
 The controls for Spore Origins are easy, and you adjust quickly. The gameplay is addicting, and unlike any other game on the App Store.
 Some people say the later levels of Spore become too hard, and even say the 30th level is completely impossible!

Addicting, Fun Gameplay
Endless creature possibilities
Great graphics

Too difficult in some levels
Takes up a lot of space

Spore Origins is fun for both casual gamers and hardcore gamers, and povides hours of entertainment

Score: 8.5/10

Link: Spore Origins, $4.99

Equilibrio Review

Equilibrio. Is. Flawless. That is all I can say. It is truly almost perfect. It is completely worth $3.99, it would be worth much more. 
Equilibrio is a physics based platformer. You play as balls made out of different materials, and that affects the gravity and control. The graphics aren't extremely high-tech, they are just basic, and that's all I find necessary. You tilt to control the balls, and try to get to the end of the level, a circular goal. There are 60 levels, 3 game modes, 5 ball types, 20 
trophies/achievements to unlock, 6 supported languages, up to 4 save profiles, a high score table, and adjustable difficulty levels. In the bottom right of the screen, there is a circle with a mini-map of the section of the level you are in, and the direction you should head in to get to the goal. In the top right, it shows the direction you are tilting. The game automatically saves your progress if you quit it. There is a clear pause button, which allows you to resume, skip the level, see a demo of the level, or quit the game.
Playing as different types of balls is fun. The effects of gravity really affect how you can control the ball. It is also unique to have a platformer with no jump button, and no moving enemies, and in this case, is quite refreshing.
The only bad thing I have to say about this is that the time when it says, "Great!" after you beat a level is a tiny bit too long for me.

Intuitive and refreshing gameplay
Great Interface
60 levels
5 different balls to play as
20 achievements

Somewhat annoying waiting time after beating a level

Go out and buy Equilibrio if you haven't already! You will not regret it!


Flick NBA Basketball Review

When I was first getting Flick NBA Basketball, I though to myself, "Wow, this is going to be another great game in the Flick Sports series." But I was wrong. Even with its official NBA license, I do not know why Freeverse would even think of charging $4.99 for this horrible game. It is really only five hard-to-control mini-games, with high scores.
There are five mini-games in Flick Basketball. 3 Point Shootout, Hotshot, H.O.R.S.E., Longshot, and Ball Spin. In 3-Point Shootout, you, the player of your choice, move to different spots on the court and shoot baskets. The controls are flicking on the screen from bottom to top, and is very repetitive and is not fun. In Hotshot, you are an invisible person, flicking bal
ls in a mini-basketball hoop, like a real arcade game. In H.O.R.S.E., you (again, the player of your choice) can choose where to shoot on the court, and if you make the basket, the other player has to shoot from your spot. If they miss, then they get a letter. If they make it, nothing happens. The same goes if they make a shot. The first player to get all five letters of "HORSE" loses. In Longshot, you stand in a fixed spot on the ground, with a bar that shows how well you aim, quickly going from red to green to red again. You try to get at least one ball in the basket for each speed of the bar. In Ball Spin, you tilt to control a hand that moves at the bottom of the screen, and you try to balance the ball. If you tilt up quickly, then the ball bounces and you get extra points. If you flick the ball, it starts spinning.
After 10 minutes of playing Flick NBA Basketball, I felt I had played everything the game had to offer. Everything is automatically unlockable, and this addition in the flick series was a complete and utter let-down.

NBA License

Boring and repetitive gameplay
Really only 5 mini-games
No unlockables
Very little gameplay
Outrageous price for the quantity.
Does not live up to the Flick Sports Series

Flick NBA Basketball is horrible and a complete let-down. Do not even think of buying it unless it drops to $.99.


Friday, May 1, 2009

Pandemonium Review

The high quality developer, EA, recently released the port Pandemonium! for the iTunes App Store for the low price of $4.99. It is a "2.5D" side-scrolling platformer, with a 3D environment, but a defined path. It is very unique, because platformers are usually only 2D or 3D, not in between.
You play as either one of the characters Nikki, whose special ability is to double jump, or 
Fargus, who can plow dow
n enemies. You control the characters by pressing the left, right, and down buttons, jump by pressing the A button (double-jump as Nikki by pressing the A button again near the top of the jump), shoot a weapon by pressing the B button, and if you are Fargus, press the C button to do a roll. There are enemies that walk around, and if you jump on them, each a certain amount of times, they will flash red and fade. If you walk into a floating heart, you regain some of your health.
The graphics of Pandemonium are relatively good, and I had no stuttering or gameplay problems once in the game, except for slight annoyance at the lag of the jump button, which caused a few problems in the first world. 
Pandemonium has 18 worlds, like the PS1 version, each with a few levels. The levels range from taking about ten minutes to taking about one.  I completed the first two and a half worlds in about 45 minutes, which leads me to believe that there is about five and a half hours of gameplay in all of Pandemonium, which is very good, considering that you can also replay the levels, 
taking slightly alternate paths and try to collect 100% of the "treasure," or green gems scattered around the levels.  EDIT: I have played more and am only up to World VI after 3 hours of play, and I am still being entertained even better than before. This seems to have 9 or more hours of gameplay!
For some reason unknown to the public, EA only released Pandemonium for the App Store in the USA, not internationally. Some fans of the original game are frustrated at this decision, because they would love to bring one of the games they like from the PS1 and N-Gage around with them on their iPhone or iPod Touch.

Unique 2.5D Gameplay
Many hours of gameplay
Relatively easy controls
2 Characters, each with his/her own special ability

USA only release (this only matters if you're out of the US)
Jumping can be frustrating because of slight lag

Pandemonium is a good buy for a fan of platformers. Otherwise, you might want to wait until a possible price drop. EDIT: Now that Pandemonium dropped to $2.99, it is a must buy!