1771 Published Reviews
Maze Machina is a welcome change of pace from Arnold Rauers. This cardless roguelike dungeon-crawler provides a ton of variety and challenge through a clever mix of mechanics and modes. You may have to spend some time with the game for things to really click, but doing so is definitely worth it.
The White DooriOS
The White Door communicates so much via its style that its probably worth putting up with a few annoying puzzles to experience for yourself. I’m not sure how this title measures up against related titles like Rusty Lake Hotel or Cube Escape, but it seems like a solid standalone adventure for anyone that is up for a short, stylish experience.
Lone Road’s appeal is mostly in its atmosphere and style, both of which are worth experiencing considering the game is free. There may be some strange or underwhelming aspects to Lone Road, but the whole thing is short enough that you can enjoy what it’s going for without having to put up with any particular issue for too long.
End of the UniverseiOS
End of the Universe definitely sounds better in concept than it does in execution. Where Immortal Rogue created situations where you needed to think about how to time your attacks depending on who you’re fighting, End of the Universe feels like an endless grind of playing keep away from enemies, objects, and arbitrary walls. Add to that a less compelling unlock system, and I’m not sure there’s much reason to play End of the Universe as opposed to Immortal Rogue.
Swag and SorceryiOS
Between the slow start and annoying design, Swag and Sorcery is hard sell. Although it presents plenty of fresh twists on a pretty standard formula, it puts up too much resistance when it comes to actually engaging with any of it. Perhaps if there are some updates that make playing it less cumbersome (which is possible given the quick support for bug fixes the game has received so far), the grind will be more tolerable, but for now, it’s not.
I can see how this might be frustrating if you’re expecting a game that acts like a traditional game, but I find AI Dungeon’s wild and ambitious abilities to co-create stories so fascinating that I don’t really care if the stories themselves end up the way I wanted.
Song of BloomiOS
Song of Bloom strides confidently toward the edge of greatness, but then feels satisfied to stop just before reaching it. So many aspects of the game are truly incredible, but the game also hints at things in a confusing way and leads you to think there’s something more to it than there really is. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy Song of Bloom for what it does have. You absolutely can. I did. But Song of Bloom isn’t what it says it is, so just know that going into it.
A big part of what made Simulacra so unnerving was its intimacy. You spent lots of time in that game looking at things you weren’t supposed to see. It felt wrong, especially when it started leading you down a dark and scary road. Simulacra 2 abandons all of this to tell a clumsy cautionary tale that feels just as artificial as the social media lens it’s filtered through. It’s an utter disappointment.
Tile Snap is a wonderful free puzzler that will entertain you for as long as you enjoy looking at it. Mechanically, it may be a little lacking, but for the price tag that seems like a hard thing to complain too much about.
She Sees RediOS
I like the ideas behind She Sees Red more than the game itself. It cleverly knows what to do to make sure its story remains compelling throughout, but then struggles to execute when it comes to just about everything else. This seems to happen a lot with games that use full motion video, but that doesn’t mean it’s excusable.
OneBit Adventure feels like it is a game designed to be played while you’re half paying attention to it. There are some neat things about it, but the core gameplay is so light that you’d get bored easily if you weren’t distracting yourself with something else at the same time. If you’re into that, cool, but there are also many more entertaining ways you could pass some time on your phone for free that don’t involve playing OneBit Adventure.
A Life of LogiciOS
A Life of Logic is truly one of the most frustrating games I’ve ever played. The core game that’s here is really smart and fun, but everything around it is so terrible and/or broken that you can’t really enjoy it. With games like this hitting the App Store these days, it makes services like Apple Arcade seem all the more important.
Some puzzle games can get away with tough stages that can turn lots of head-scratching into super satisfying breakthroughs. Spring Falls is not one of these games. It’s also not entirely clear if it wants to be that. It just plays by a different set of rules, and they’re ones that only occasionally satisfy.
Although it shares quite a bit of DNA with battle royale games, Overdox’s biggest strengths come from how it defies genre conventions. The game is marred significantly by its rotten free-to-play model, but that doesn’t quite make it a lost cause. When you can get into matches that aren’t crowded with people who paid to be better than you, Overdox can provide some of the most creative and thrilling battle royale moments out there.
A Case of DistrustiOS
By the end of A Case of Distrust, I wasn’t ready to stop inhabiting the world of Phyllis Cadence Malone. As great as the game is about developing its characters and creating a unique atmosphere, I wish the same kind of care and attention were paid to the game’s pacing and storytelling.
It’s never good when a game gives you a bunch of tools, but then doesn’t really provide situations where you can actually be creative in how you use them. This is the core problem with Undead Horde, and it makes for a pretty rote experience.
Bad North: Jotunn EditioniOS
Once I learned to give in to Bad North’s unpredictability, I found a lot of enjoyment in it. There’s a strange dynamism that always keeps you on your toes, even when you have internalized the game’s basic combat strategies. This, combined with the sense of foreboding provided by Bad North’s style, makes for a refreshingly bleak strategic roguelike.
Starbeard is a fantastic puzzle game that’s bursting with variety and possibility. It’s also unlike most other matching games I’ve ever played. It may not make the best first impression, but Starbeard is definitely a must-play.
If more free-to-play multiplayer games were as fair as Armajet, I’d play a heck of a lot more of them. I’m not even all that fond of the way Armajet feels, but I’m happy knowing that when I play it, I’m not being matched up against people who paid to be better than me.
Coloristic 2 is largely successful at delivering smart, inspired puzzling using simple concepts and visuals. There are times where the game doesn’t explain how or why some of its rules work the way they do, but that shouldn’t get in your way of enjoying this great game.
reky is beautiful, but those amazing looks are covering some the game’s blemishes. Unresponsive controls and reliance on restarts are best avoided in puzzle games, yet reky has both. Because of this, I’m not so sure reky is the easiest game to recommend, even though it does have some solidly enjoyable puzzle design.
Xenowerk Tactics is bursting with potential, but it only delivers on its promises fully if you force it to. The game overall is a bit too friendly—the onboarding is too gradual, the upgrade ramp is too slight, and the whole thing piques just as it’s ending. If there was some new game plus or other challenge mode, I’d really love to dive back into Xenowerk Tactics and test my mettle. Until then, I’m happy to have played it, but am slightly frustrated by its lack of challenge.
Dear Esther is a bit of a conundrum. Its extremely slow pace is key to making its tone work, but it can also irritate you to the point that it takes you out of the experience. It also creates an incredibly impressive and intricate set of contrivances to deliver its narrative, but said narrative turns out to be somewhat underwhelming. It’s clear that Dear Esther is a special game, and it deserves praise for going so far outside the lines of what games traditionally try to do. But in doing so, it also sets you up for a grand revelation that never really materializes.
There’s not much to Sunset Road, but it’s aware of that fact so is careful not to overstay its welcome. An experience about a road trip full of mundane conversation doesn’t sound all that exciting, but it’s perfectly enjoyable over the short runtime of the game.
SimpleRockets 2 is at the most fun when you’re making little adjustments to a design to solve a problem. Unfortunately, that’s also when the game feels its clunkiest. If you have the patience to try dozens of iterations on a rocket design to get it to work, though, you probably also have the wherewithal to put up with some awkward design controls and will have a lot of fun here.