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    Entries in ios (10)


    Curiosity: Curiosity Killed the Fun

    Chisel out exciting messages to share with the world

    Peter Molyneux - the Grand Puba of hyperbole - has returned with his latest, greatest project known as Curiosity. What is Curiosity? An massively multiplayer mobile "game" in which players work together to chip away at a giant cube which is rendered as countless individual cubes. Only one of the horde of Curiosity players will be treated to a secret prize hidden away in the cube, which they can then either share with the world or keep as their own private trophy. Following their decision, no doubt Mr. Molyneux will claim his "game" a success before retiring to his hall of mirrors, where he every night proclaims his greatness which is reinforced by his reflections.

    I hate ripping on people who try, and Lords know Peter does try his hardest, however if there's one thing I hate - well, I hate a lot of things - but if there's one of the many relevant to this piece, it's a habitual liar. Unfortunately, the ex-Lionhead Studio lead is a constant offender, having brought his old ways to his new studio 22Cans. Curiosity isn't so much a product of lies, but rather a waste of time. It's a social experiment wrapped in a loosely termed game, which requires hours of combined player-power with little-to-no satisfaction save for the single recipient of whatever is inside the cube. My guess is that the "winner" will receive a video file containing a talking, floating, Molyneux head, which has some sort of positive bullshit message about Curiosity changing the world, book ended by proclaiming himself the world's greatest human being. Awesome!

    When you launch Curiosity, provided you are able to, as server load prevents connection to the game quite often, you are faced with a gigantic cube. You can pan and tilt the cube to see the world's progress thus far, and if a particular piece of land calls your name, you zoom in and have at it. As you get up close and personal with the cube, you see that each pixel of the bigger piece is individually rendered and reacts to the action taken around it. Tap tap tap tap tap at the cube to chip away, causing the mini-cubes to shake and stir as their brethren are poked to death. The more efficiently you tap, the higher combo you rack, the more coins you receive. Rinse repeat. You can take your coins to a store to purchase utensils that will make your cube-dispensing life that much easier. Rinse repeat. This is basically Curiosity in a nutshell. Wait, no. This is pretty much the full scope of Curiosity. It's an interesting multiplayer concept, allowing pretty much the entire world the ability to work together toward a singular cause, however the reward is not something the community as a whole will profit from. I play games to release frustration, to beat scores, gain accomplishments, admire art and design, or hear an interesting tale. Very rarely do I play simply to waste time. Curiosity offers none of the above, save for the latter.

    It's said the cube will take months to penetrate to its secretive core, perhaps years if these server connection issues continue. As the mobile gaming landscape evolves monthly, will something as vapid as Curiosity have the holding power to keep the demanding mob of gamers satiated for the duration of its lifecycle, or will it fizzle out before being chipped away for good? For me, Curiosity's lack of enjoyment is enough to fend me off while suggesting you do the same. Sure it's free, but so is the incredible Punch Quest, which offers a seemingly endless stream of awesome and feels much more rewarding. The bottom line is that we game for a purpose, a satisfaction unique and individual to each of us. I don't want my experience clouded by an unrewarding social experiment, at least not like this. It's an interesting concept to which I'd be more receptive of if it were presented differently, as in if it were actually fun. 

    The Score: 2 outta 10 Blasters!


    Punch Quest: Raising (and Punching) The Bar

    Not too long ago I heard about a game called Punch Quest which reminded me of the very good (and very free) Jetpack Joyride. Now months later, Punch Quest has hit the iOS App Store and has become one of the most addicting iPhone games I've played all year. Coincidentally, it's the first game I've really put through the paces on my iPhone 5, and the pair is insanely fast, clear, and colorful. In the midst of Hurricane Sandy, with internet service coming and going, and power threatening to shut down at any given moment, Punch Quest was a boon to my fingertips, helping me to avoid boredom.

    Punch Quest is very simple really, you run endlessly and you have two buttons controlling your highly customizable avatar. Left button jumps and uppercuts, useful for platforming and attacking, right causes you to dash ahead and simultaneously throw a straight punch. As you further yourself along the game you gain increasing amounts of Punchos (in-game currency, great name for a cereal) to purchase and unlock loot (in-app purchases to buy more currency) and upgrades, both cosmetic and functional. Once I started unlocking more advanced techniques and learning what the ever-advancing stage was throwing at me - including multiple paths - I realized how complex this little game actually is. Once you begin perfectly stringing together 80+ hit combos while avoiding enemy attacks and pitfalls, it becomes more hardcore twitch platformer a la Super Meat Boy than casual Temple Run-and-jump, without alienating either fanbase.

    + Hardcore twitch-reflex action while remaining casual friendly
    + Tons of customization options (both cosmetic and functional)
    + Insanely addictive
    + iPhone 5 support (both portrait and landscape)
    + Free

    I'm really struggling trying to think of some negative things to say about Punch Quest, but the reality is that there is little to nothing wrong with this rewarding, addictive, free and just plain enjoyable mobile title. RocketCat Games has taken the endless runner genre and has meticulously elevated it to the next level. The bar has been raised, iOS developers better start bringing the heat on their next sidescrolling runner (I'm looking at you Super Meat Boy iOS).

    The Score: 9 outta 10 Blasters!


    Bullet Points: Avengers Initiative

    Hulk looks like he's having fun, but don't be fooled - he's wishing someone could kill him

    Marvel knows a big thing when they have it, and honestly when it comes to their latest focus of movies, big things have been few and far between of late. Seems like any Marvel flick that doesn't feature Robert Downey Jr. is doomed for mediocrity. On the strength of Mr. Tony Stark and Joss Whedon, The Avengers has been absolutely steam-rolling everything from the box office to the BluRay, and everything in between. With a property which can do no wrong, Marvel Entertainment now attempt to conquer mobile gaming by way of Avengers Initiative, an Infinity Blade rip-off.

    There have been quite a few Infinity Blade rip-offs of late, however most tend to put their own spin on things rather than straight re-skin the source material. In all honesty, that is exactly what Avengers Intitiative feels like, rather than its own experience. The game is set to unfold in four separate chapters spanning The Hulk, Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man, where each chapter costs $7. As the Avengers' most powerful and volatile member, I was excited to see what The Hulk would be able to do, expecting building leaps, wall runs, limb ripping, and general chaos. What I received instead was a literal stroll down memory lane, using memories stolen from Chair Entertainment.

    Infallable Infinity Blade gameplay
    -  Uninspired re-skin of Infinity Blade
    -  IAP fueled customization system
    -  Sad excuse of a Hulk

    The Avengers' Hulk was a quivering, snarling, white-hot bowl of gamma-irradiated terror. Hulk as he's presented in this title is more doctor than destroyer, casually walking up to enemies, waiting for the player to initiate the battle, then half-heartedly taunting before engaging in the repeated swing of fists. Give us the Hulk. Let us barrel through enemies like the unstoppable freight train the green guy is. We want to jump over mountains and gamma clap helicopters mid-flight. Avengers Initiative is a sad cash grab that deserves to be disrespected as Loki was at film's end. If the other chapters plan to be much the same as this, shame on you Marvel.


    Punch Things in the Face in Punch Quest

    Here is a trailer for a simple little iOS game called Punch Quest which looks like Jetpack Joyride meets Fists of Fury. Not a bad thing. From the look of things you'll have access to a load of power-ups such as exploding punches, long range punches, blue punches, projectile spitting mounts, and things of that sort. 

    Punching monsters in the face so hard that they explode is an idea I can get behind. The two button control scheme (left tap and right tap) is so simple that it can't possibly go wrong. This is 99 cents (two bucks, tops!) that I will would gladly throw at the app store. 

    Update: Expect Punch Quest to launch in Fall at a freeish pricepoint, having opted for the coin in-app purchase model that seems to be all the rage these days. Works for me. If you're dead set on spending though, I will gladly take your 99c and give you a face punch in return. Warming up for the game, ya know? Hooray for journalism!


    Ms. 'Splosion Man Goes Boom on Mobile and PC

    Remember that review I did a way back in the olden day about Ms. 'Splosion Man, a 2D platformer I really liked? Of course you do, because everything I write is as memorable as your first kiss in grade school (or college, whatever). It was a game I thoroughly enjoyed playing through, though it was available only to the limited audience of 360 owners. Twisted Pixel, developers who somehow manage to incite knee-slapping laughter from me time and time again, have now announced that their crazy pink lady of pure energy will be 'sploding on to PC, iOS and Windows Phone.

    I hate most platformers on iOS like America hates Electronic Arts, however I have a good feeling about Ms. 'Splosion Man. The mechanics are less about twitch reflex on the controls and more about proper timing on your 'splodes. Controlling the mademoiselle with the undoubtedly horrid virtual control will take some getting used to, however clicking anywhere to 'splode will be a breeze. With the power to 'splode anywhere you go, there is no reason to not play this title, unless you own an Android phone. Buuuuuurned.

    Ms. 'Splosion Man is due out for PC, iOS and Windows Phone some time this summer.


    Star Marine: Infinite Ammo - Don't Call it a Contra

    This is not Contra, nor does it feature space marines. Star Marine: Infinite Ammo is a 2D run-n-gun title for iOS that takes a whole lotta notes from the aforementioned Contra. Spread Gun, Crush Gun, Laser Gun, Flame Gun.. Eh? But you know what, it's cool. I don't mind cheap Contra rip-offs because I fucking love Contra. Spread Gun, bitch! 

    Aside from the bevy of similar weapons, Star Marine seems to also incorporate some other staples of the genre, including massive enemies, and wicked platforming. I see some hanging and moving between suspended rails, but I do NOT see any hanging from missiles in-flight. Your move, Star Marine. 

    How will a game cut from the same cloth as the punishing Contra hold up on touch controls? My guess: not well. The developers have at least tried to soften the blow of touch controls by using the twin-stick scheme rather than the typical directional pad and buttons layout. Twin-sticking it to the man actually seems like a great marriage for this type of game on iOS. At least until someone makes the perfect touch control. Hmmm..

    Get thumbs deep into Star Marine: Infinite Ammo on January 12.


    Let's See Siri Try This: Scribblenauts Remix for iOS

    If you own a Nintendo DS and have never played either of the Scribblenauts titles, shame on you. The premise is simple: you're tasked to clear a challenge with nothing but the English language to aid you. Need to cross a large gap? Type bridge, and voila. Attacked by a zombie? Type sword, problem solved. The real fun lies in getting creative with your solutions. The dictionary is expansive, so most anything you type will appear. Dinosaurs, robots, businessmen, jet packs, basketballs, Draculas, even a Keyboard Cat. The dictionary is your weapon, use it to great hilarity. 

    This ain't no review. But this is. iPhone gaming hub Touch Arcade has raved about Scribblenauts Remix in their write-up, calling it a greatest hits of the Scribblenauts series, optimized for iOS. Or something along those lines. I believe them, yo. After mucking around with the DS version to side-splitting results, I can't wait to download Remix. At a $5 buy in, this shouldn't be missed by fans of problem solving, Mad Libs, and plain stupidity.


    Bungie Goes Mobile with iOS App

    For some time now, Bungie has been at the forefront of implementing social features into their games. The developer's Halo series may have been the first to successfully implement extras such as replay, image and video sharing, and advanced stat tracking that not only worked, but it looked damn good as well. Bungie has beaten Call of Duty Elite to the punch by sneaking out an iOS app which affords you some of these luxuries on the go. 

    Bungie Mobile allows you to ogle a model of your Spartan, view current challenges, and check commendation progress. If you want deeper stats, the app will thoughtfully redirect you to's mobile site, where you can do just about anything you're able to do on the full-fledged portal. Bungie Mobile also allows you to search for other players, so you can creep on their model and stats. To keep you up to date with the latest Bungie news, there's also a section of the app dedicated to Bungie's tweets and recent news. Finally, linking your account to Bungie Mobile will net you a few sweet freebies, such as the 'All-Star Nameplate' to proudly display in-game, and the Blue Flames helmet effect. You jealous? 

    All in all Bungie has done well with this mobile application, which for now only works for Halo: Reach. You bet your Spartan ass that Bungie's next game will use Bungie Mobile to the nth degree. Just hope that their first game published by Activision won't have the soul-sold Kotick seal of Devilry emlazoned into it's fibers.


    REVIEW: League of Evil

    Written by contributing author John Rios

    Very few iOS platformers have used virtual controls well, but League of Evil aims to get it right. Ravenous Games has crafted their own take on the simple A-to-B formula with a load of Super Meat Boy influence. League of Evil sacrifices nothing to make itself more touch-screen friendly, yet somehow manages to work amazingly well.

    A close cropped camera follows as you navigate and decapitate your way around levels at a blistering pace. Your abilities include a wall-jump, double-jump, and an air dash attack to take out enemies or add a little distance to your jumps through the bevy of crushing levels. The levels are not designed for length, maxing out at about 15 seconds, or no more than 5 seconds if you're impossibly good. This provides a nice mini-game feel, perfect for short periods of killing time or bouts of ADD. Though don't make the mistake of thinking you won't spend an hour blazing through stage after stage, because if you're not careful, you will. A recent update of 48 added levels builds on the soul-crushing fun, ensuring plenty of areas for you to zip around. The addiction of collecting hidden suitcases found in each stage, as well as the ranking system add incentive to play League of Evil over and over. 

    You will always feel like you have total control over the game's protagonist -- a cyborg that has a striking resemblance to The Terminator -- as you jump over spike pits and spinning hammers. Not once did I find myself hitting the dash button when I wanted to hit jump, or vice-versa. I did notice that my fingers were slipping a bit due to the diminutive size of the iPhone when coupled with a platformer as intense as this. Your mileage may vary though, especially if you have tiny fingers, or an iPad.

    The beauty of the 8-bit generation lives on in the slick, colorful, lo-fi visuals. While many a developer attempt to capture the true throwback nature of the NES days, leagues of failures are created along the way. League of Evil undoubtedly hits the mark, seemingly transported onto the iOS platform right from the late 1980s. The music feels like it was transplanted from a Contra or Ikari Warriors title, which is a fantastic compliment.

    League of Evil is truly a unique experience on your iOS device (until Team Meat creates an iOS port of Super Meat Boy). Fans of fast, punishing action should not miss out on this one.

    Buy it if: You haven't yet, it’s only 99 cents!
    Don't Buy it if: Platformers easily frustrate you
    The Score: 8 outta 10 Blasters!


    Out of This World, on to this iOS Device

    Another World
    -- or as I, as well as other North American gamers have come to know it, Out of This World -- is a game I remember fondly for kicking the shit out of me on my MS-DOS computer in the early 90s, when I wasn't playing Commander Keen or Dr. SBAITSO.

    Good news everyone! Out of This World will make a grand return to confound a new generation of gamer, who probably never heard of this classic, and do nothing these days but play Black Ops. Fucking newbs.

    Slated for iOS (iPhone, iPod, and iPad), developer DotEmu is handling the remake, and has been given the blessing of creator Eric Chahi to move forward and get this thing out the door.  It's not clear whether or not this is a re-make from the ground up or just a re-release with HD graphics, but I'll be overjoyed to get my hands on Out of This World either way. I remember having problems beating it as a kid, so I have a score to settle, and I'm sure many of you original gangstas do as well. 

    via Game Informer