1835 Published Reviews
In its current state, Swordshot is at its most impressive from a distance. When you dig into the game, there isn't much there, and a glaring technical problem makes your basic tool of interaction frustratingly inconsistent. Assuming this issue gets fixed, I still wouldn't be in love with Swordshot, but at least I could see how someone could enjoy it.
With its attractive business model and sharp visuals, it's hard to resist giving Deck 'Em! a try. That's the most exciting thing about it, though. Once you open it and start playing, it's all downhill from there. This isn't to say it's an outright bad game. It's just an experience that needs a bit more to prop it up as a full experience.
My Exercise definitely feels more like a "game" than KIDS does in a lot of ways, but I almost wish it didn't. Having unlocks and hidden easter eggs set me up to expect a deeper world inside My Exercise, but there's not a whole lot to be found.
Meteorfall: Krumit's Tale is simply an exquisite package. It is a well considered and significant evolution of Meteorfall: Journey and then some. The preponderance of modes, loads of personality, and tons of convenience features add so much to what is already a fantastic game at its core. This is a must-buy.
I'm fascinated and impressed with how Ord. can convey so much information with so little, but this accomplishment is part of what hampers its appeal. Reading and re-reading one-word phrases while making choices--some of which seem totally random--can make Ord. feel like a guessing game that grows old as you stop encountering novel situations.
Shadow of Naught is pretty hard to recommend. Although there is some novelty to its look and mechanics, it's ultimately trying to deliver a story and is woefully incapable of doing so. The end result is a short experience that will likely leave you wanting.
Even with access to only one chapter, Circulous is well worth its asking price (it's also worth noting that subsequent chapters are scheduled to release monthly for free). Despite my personal troubles with some of it, I enjoyed enough of Circulous's clever puzzles, focused design, and immactulate attention-to-detail to come away from the experience satisfied and eager for what comes next.
As much as I like Brawlhalla, I find it tremendously unsatisfying to play using a touch screen. This limits its appeal significantly, as it's only worth playing if you are ok with routinely whipping out a controller to do so. There are some other quirks to the game itself, for sure, but Brawlhalla is otherwise a surprisingly fun and focused platform fighter that is uncompromised in its mobile form.
In a lot of ways, PUSS! feels like a game made by an artificial intelligence that has been studying a raw feed of internet ephemera and cats. Sometimes it's rad, but at others it can feel pretty random and shallow. A bit more commitment to shaping and structuring PUSS! intentionally could really help it realize more of its potential, and make it more like the artistic showpiece and satisfying avoidance game it is trying to be.
Gun Rounds has an appealing concept and structure, but it needs a little more depth to make wading through its difficulty rewarding. Without that, the game loses its novelty quickly and feels more like an exercise in muscle memory training than something with satisfying tactical and strategic options.
Bird Alone isn't your typical game experience, and this makes it a bit of an acquired taste. It's also what makes it special, though. Chatting with a bird on and off over time is remarkably endearing thanks to some clever writing. Although you might not spend a whole lot of time "playing" it, Bird Alone is still well worth your time.
Good Sudoku by Zach GageiOS
I don't think I would have ever played Sudoku in earnest if it wasn't for Good Sudoku. I'm also not sure I'd want to play Sudoku in any other form, either. This game just makes you feel so comfortable and supported while playing that reaching for harder challenges feels both achievable and satisfying, even if you've never touched Sudoku before.
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy HaviOS
Danganronpa is a fun and weird game that I enjoyed my time with once it was actually playable. It's characters may be a little flat and problematic, and the game's pacing a bit strange, but this weirdness ended up enhancing the appeal for me, and I was happy to have a dense, narrative-focused game to chew through on iOS. This port is still not perfect, but at least now there’s little getting in the way of you completing it.
It's ultimately hard to recommend Arrog. As much as it seems committed to a specific vision, it doesn't do a good job at communicating what that vision is. And, just as it feels like you're digging at what it has to say, the game ends. There is beauty in Arrog, for sure, but without the proper context or substance surrounding it the whole thing falls flat.
There's always a temptation to reward and praise games that look and feel expensive, and I get it. Thronebreaker boasts production values that outclass most other titles on iOS. I would love to see more games of this scope and aspiration hit the App Store. Unfortunately though, Thronebreaker is a lackluster mobile port with some core design flaws that make it a hard sell. I found myself enjoying Thronebreaker well enough for the spectacle of it, but I wish it was a more technically competent port that used a more robust card game for its action.
One Finger Death Punch IIiOS
Action-heavy, reflex-dependent games that feel good on mobile are hard to come by, which is all the more reason to celebrate One Finger Death Punch II. Silver Dollar Games makes it look easy. Although this mobile version isn't quite up to par with the others, One Finger Death Punch II is still a satisfyingly brutal experience well worth checking out.
Night in the Unpleasant HouseiOS
Maybe the experience of playing Night in the Unpleasant House is meant to be as harsh as its name suggests. On top of playing as a character trapped in an unsettling, alien space, maybe the game lulls you into this sense of comfort and remove from these happenings, only to gut-check you when you least expect it by design. If this is the case, Night in the Unpleasant House does its job well. Despite enjoying quite a bit of the game, I felt a sense of dissatisfaction and frustration in the endings I reached. Maybe you'll get a better ending than I did, but maybe you won't. That's the double-edged sword that Night in the Unpleasant House hangs its hat on, and unsurprisingly the end result is an experience that feels both impressively ambitious and frustrating.
I'm glad The Innsmouth Case doesn't just use Lovecraft to blindly celebrate his occult aesthetic, but at the same time the game feels like it stops just short of any biting criticism or satire. That, plus the repetitive nature of the game, can bog down the experience, but there are enough shining moments of comedy here that I enjoyed the experience in Innsmouth, at least the first few times.
Crying Suns puts more than a simple twist on a tried-and-true formula. It combines multi-faceted systems with a unique narrative structure in ways that breathe new life and mystery into something that initially appears derivative. Despite a few UI quirks, Crying Suns is a refreshing sci-fi roguelite experience, and the mobile port features the modern conveniences (like save syncing) you'd want for on-the-go play.
Death Come True is easily the best conventional FMV game I've played. It shows enough restraint and attention to detail that every scene (even the ones you sit through more than once) enhances the story. While its overall revelations aren't entirely original, it's refreshing to play a game like this that isn't constantly derailing or undermining its own narrative.
Slay the SpireiOS
Slay the Spire is such a good game that even a poor port can't put me off of it. I'm not sure I've played a card game that allows for so much improvisation while still feeling challenging and rewarding. Hopefully, it will become a better experience over time with some key updates, but--even in its current form--I plan to happily put many, many more hours into it.
100% Golf has an attention-grabbing concept, but it struggles to keep you engaged with it. Perhaps this is intentional. Some people look to mobile games for ephemeral distractions. If this sounds like you, 100% Golf is probably exactly the kind of game you're looking for. If not, there's nothing stopping you to check it out anyway. Just know that you can get a good percentage of the enjoyment 100% Golf offers by just watching gifs of it.
KartRider Rush+ is very much the exception to the rule that all free-to-play racers suck. It stands high above any and all other kart racers on mobile (even paid ones), and it does so by preserving the necessity--and honoring the practice--of skillful play.
High Rise truly feels like a new kind of puzzle game in the same way that Threes did back in 2014. While it lacks some of the elegance of Sirvo's smash hit, it still feels like a breath of fresh air and has a surprising amount of depth that will keep you coming back to it over and over again.
If Found... is one of those games that you really have to experience for yourself. Although your interactions with it aren't particularly complicated, there's a power in the simple act of swiping that makes every moment feel significant. Make sure you find time to play If Found... This game is special.