1869 Published Reviews
Dinkigolf is a well-designed arcade golf game. It has some wacky level design, but maintains a simple, skill-based set of mechanics that make it easy to learn, yet difficult to master.
Bending light is super fun in Lyxo, but trying to bend the controls to your will is decidedly less so. This isn't such a huge deal so long as the current challenge you're facing doesn't have too many arbitrary gimmicks layered on top of it. This is to say that the early stages of Lyxo are compelling thanks to the freedom granted to you, but the further you get into the game, the more time you spend on fighting with it.
Wordsmyth - A Daily Word GameiOS
Wordsmyth's chill approach to word puzzling is enjoyable mostly thanks to the cozy environment it creates. There's nothing particularly special about its puzzles, but the way it lets you focus on them provides a respite from the sea of games trying to overwhelm you with content.
Inked's fatal flaw is its pursuit of too many tired ideas. I don't need every indie puzzler to try and make me feel bad, especially when these attempts are stretched across filler challenges that distract from the good parts of the game. Inked: A Tale of Love would be a better experience if it abandoned all of its tropey fluff, even though it would probably be a third as long as its already brief playtime.
Five Dates does a good job of capturing the excitement and uncertainty of going out on dates, which is exactly what it set out to do. It could do more to expand what relationship exploration looks like, but what it chooses to focus on it excels at. Like other FMV games, Five Dates feels awkward, stilted, and a little hokey at times, but all of that feels at home in a game about trying to form a deep connection with someone over a video call.
Street Masters is a radical concept for a board game that definitely gets bogged down by its own bulk. The digital version of the game definitely helps streamline play by automatically enforcing certain rules and performing upkeep, but it still has a steep learning curve. Despite these issues, Street Masters managed to charm me by hitting all the right nostalgia notes, so I can't help but giving it some bonus points for that.
Battlecruisers may be lacking somewhat in looks and challenge, but it's got more substance than a lot of other "free" games without any kind of monetization or engagement hooks whatsoever. With this in mind, it's easy to recommend to anyone looking for a new strategy experience on their tablet.
I wish Thunderbox Entertainment had taken all of their love for sci-fi camp and applied it to a game that feels more satisfying. At its core, The Captain is Dead is a game driven by chance. I get why you have to do something like that for a board game but, in digital spaces, far more compelling things can (and have) been done with games that have almost the exact same setup.
Pink is a fittingly bold entry in Bart Bonte's color-inspired puzzle series. Its more confident and stylish presentation compliments the solid foundation of entire series better than the previous installments, making it a worthwhile pickup for both fans and newcomers alike.
Ghost Beat is a cool rhythm game that certainly marches to its own beat. It could certainly do with some more song variety and levels, but its current offerings are enjoyable enough for a dollar.
Despite a few quirks, I can't think of a better way to enjoy something like The Witness than picking up The Pillar on mobile. It's a bit more manageable of an experience for small screens, the money you spend on it won't be going to a notably problematic person, and it's a pretty solid puzzle game in its own right.
Erica - Interactive ThrilleriOS
Don't pick up Erica if you're looking for a fun romp of an FMV game. Both tonally and in overall design, it is pretty dark and inscrutable. If you're looking for something different--or more specifically a game that is unwilling to pander to the player in the slightest--though, Erica truly does fit that bill.
Few games have charmed me in the way that There Is No Game has. It's far from perfect, but it's brimming with love and joy for games and people who play them, which is a rare quality for a game to have, and reason enough for me to tell you that this is the best non-game game you'll probably ever play.
Orwell's Animal Farm is a perfectly fine choose-your-own adventure game from a developer who has already made plenty of choose-your-own adventure games. Its literary ties, idyllic scenery, and linearity add some novelty to the experience, but ultimately not enough to make it feel too different from something we've seen before. People have figured out the Reigns formula. They've also already applied it to an Animal Farm-like setup (i.e. Democratic Socialism Simulator). Although enjoyable, Orwell's Animal Farm feels like its missing the creative spark that made Nerial's initial releases exciting.
I'm ok with an FMV game that just wants to be formulaic, but The Complex bungles some of its fundamental execution in ways that make it hard to recommend, even for what it is. Perhaps if it were able to tighten up its narrative threads or perform in a more mobile-friendly way, it would be more enjoyable, but it still wouldn't be anything particularly special.
Often while playing Embracelet I felt frustrated. But whenever I took a step away from it, the lilting piano theme and big, beautiful countryside of Slepp found a way to creep back into my mind to draw me back to it. Now, after completing it, I ultimately look back fondly on the experience as a whole, mostly due to its cohesive style and storytelling, while the significant issues of actually playing it feel like a distant memory.
Iris and the GiantiOS
Iris and the Giant is a fascinating blend of hard combat tactics with soft visuals and storytelling all stacked on top of a ever-shifting pile of systems. At times this combination can feel fragile and obtuse, but more often than not it provides a satisfying tactics experience that feels equal parts mysterious and knowable. In the ever-more-crowded space of deck-building games, more games need to be like Iris and the Giant if they want to stand out like it does.
Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead is way more than just a bridge-building game with zombies in the background, and for that it deserves praise. Unfortunately though, the creative challenges it serves up require a ton of experience, patience, and sometimes both, and I wish the game did a little more to help you out than it does.
Lineweight is truly a case of style over substance, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Considering its brief play time and lack of reptition or obstacles, its blistering hot style is able to take center stage without any sort of distraction. I do wish the story contained in this slick package could be articulated a little more, but otherwise I had a fantastic time taking in Lineweight as a delightful sensory experience.
Sine the GameiOS
I'm not one to shy away from difficult games, but when demands get too exacting, the experience feels more like work than play. This, unfortunately, happens with Sine. I wouldn't necessarily say this makes it a bad game, but it makes it one that I lost interest in after the first two worlds or so due to its strange degree of challenge.
Overall, Gnomitaire is a nice little surprise and a fun little Solitaire game to boot. Don't come to it thinking you're getting a follow up to something as meaty as Card Crawl or Card Thief, though. Still, it's hard to complain about having a lite, fun Solitaire game on your phone that provides a fresh twist on the game at the sweet, sweet price of free.
Space Marshals 3iOS
Space Marshals 3 isn't all that different from previous Space Marshals games, but that's fine because all of them are great. If you've been unsure of the series to this point, make sure to check out the free content available in this latest title to figure out if this sleek stealth action game is up your alley or not.
XCOM 2 CollectioniOS
The problems with the XCOM 2 Collection aren't game-breaking and shouldn't stop anyone with a capable device (and a desire for a native app designed for mobile play) from picking it up. In a world where we seem to be on the verge of simply streaming PC games to our phones and tablets, though, folks who already have XCOM 2 on PC might want to wait and see if they can fire up remote (and better) version of the game in the near future.
Turtoa is a game that nails the fundamental principles that make a rhythm game fun. It may not have a playlist you're familiar with, but you don't need that with levels that feel this good. Try Turtoa out for yourself by downloading it for free if you don't believe me.
Genshin Impact is easily the most impressive free-to-play game on mobile. It offers such a rich world that rivals those of ambitious console and PC games while pacing its content such that mini play sessions using touch controls feel satisfying and worthwhile. There's nothing about Genshin Impact's business model that is new or praiseworthy, but it thankfully doesn't get in the way of enjoying what is otherwise a legitimately amazing open-world adventure.