1819 Published Reviews
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.
Juicy Realm is an incredibly varied and satisfying run-based shooter that controls well using touch and controllers. There's never a dull moment when playing, and you always have new things to look forward to when starting a new game. Don't pass this game up. It's one of the finest mobile shooters I've played in a long time.
Hello Human fun enough for what it is. It's short-form, surprise puzzles are the right balance of novel and mysterious, plus they fit the rogue AI conceit well. There isn't much of Hello Human, nor much reason to play it once you're done, but that's ok. It's still a nice, short puzzle game that doesn't try your patience too much.
For essentially turning modern US politics into a morality play that you control, Democratic Socialism Simulator is surprisingly fun. It does a great job of underscoring how much better off a country built on individual freedoms and civil rights could be if those were actually granted to everyone in an equitable way. So go ahead and pick it up, and remember: solidarity forever.
Despite its problems, I still really enjoy Kingdom Two Crowns. Even after dumping hours and hours into it, there's almost always some kind of question or mystery for me to poke and prod at. Sometimes I might not like what I find, or I may leave with more questions than answers, but that's also precisely what makes Two Crowns a special game.
Levelhead - Platformer MakeriOS
Levelhead doesn't reach the same highs as Super Mario Maker, but that's ok. It reaches different highs. This mobile version is probably not the ideal package (unless you regularly have a controller in tow), but that doesn't change the fact that Levelhead is an amazing creation and curation platform with its own, unique mechanics and a great feel to match.
It's not exactly fun when a game forces you to depend on loading and re-loading frequent save files to make progress, but this is core to Rebel Cops's design, and at least they make it relatively easy to do. For some reason, this was enough to allow the game to really hook me, though I can't say I was all too glad to find myself sinking as much time into Rebel Cops as I did.
The Greater GoodiOS
The Greater Good is one of the best RPGs I've played on a mobile device. It serves up heaps of nostalgia while still feeling modern and editorial. Some of its older systems definitely show their age, but that's all part of its charm. Definitely go pick this game up, especially if you're looking for a fresh take on classic JRPG conventions.
Castle of White NightiOS
Castle of the White Night is not a very friendly game. Some of this is tolerable, but some aspects of it are either uninteresting or otherwise ignore the reality of playing games on a mobile device. If you're the kind of player that wants to sit down and play dedicated sessions of Castle of the White Night on your phone, you'll probably get more mileage out of it than others, but you'll still have to trudge through quite a bit of dull gameplay to get the moments where the game really shines.
Door Kickers: Action SquadiOS
Door Kickers: Action Squad feels like a game that should feel tighter and offer controller support, but that's only because the game isn't great at letting you know what it is. If you spend more time with it, it reveals that it's a slower-paced game than it initally seems, and learning to shift your mindset to this more tactical mode is key to enjoying it. This mobile version probably isn't the ideal way to play Action Squad, but there's still plenty enjoyment to be had here nonetheless.
1/2 Halfway is the most coherent and readable puzzle games I've played on mobile recently, but that legibility comes at a cost. The game itself feels too simple, and the measures put in place to add challenge are cause for some frustration. There's satisfaction to be had in watching your stars bounce around in perfect sync, but that wears thin the longer the game makes you wait for that payoff.
Reventure is perhaps the most fun I've had with games featuring looping, repetitive gameplay. The writing is so good and the world is so tightly packed with fun and clever ways to end the game that you won't necessarily care that you're trudging through a lot of the same spaces over and over again. This can definitely wear thin over time, but not enough to keep you from wanting to find each and every ending it has to offer.
It's a little disappointing that Sagrada's multiplayer mode isn't quite as well refined as the rest of the game's presentation, but that did not stop me from enjoying it. Nearly everything else about Sagrada's digital form is otherwise flawless, making it a great title to add to your digital board game collection.
Orwell: Ignorance is StrengthPC
Orwell delivers a heavy and thrilling narrative that manages to highlight issues of privacy vs. safety pretty well. Although this mobile version has some navigation problems, they aren't so significant that you can't have a good time with it.
I'm not opposed to a game being challenging, but when your progress is halted or reset because of things that feel inconsistent, unfair, or just plain nonsensical, it's hard to find much satisfaction. This isn't always the case with Bomb Chicken, but it was often enough during my time with the game for my excitement for it to fizzle out quickly. It's not hard to see how enjoyable Bomb Chicken's demanding nature can be, but the tools given to players to meet those demands simply aren't up to snuff.
Persnickety save system aside, Untold RPG is a really solid and convenient package. It delivers feelings of grand adventure while allowing you to experiment and explore, and it does this pretty much all through text. It may not satisfy folks looking for a flashier, more action-packed experience, but Untold's restraint is exactly what makes it so impressive and refreshing.
Wide Ocean Big JacketiOS
Wide Ocean Big Jacket is an immensely enjoyable and refreshing narrative adventure. Every aspect of it--from the writing to the game's length--feels perfectly tailored to capture the feeling of a group camping trip, and that attention-to-detail is what makes it an absolute must-play.