1756 Published Reviews
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.
Football Drama is definitely a bit of a double-edged sword. It’s opaque and mysterious in a way that makes it alluring, but this also results in it being confusing and kind of frustrating. For me, I mostly found its odd nature appealing, but there are definitely things about it that I wish were better.
This Is the Police 2iOS
There’s a lot of interesting stuff going on in This is the Police 2, but it feels a lot like quantity over quality. Nothing feels fully baked. It may be an impressive-looking premium port, but you’re probably better off skipping This is the Police 2.
SIERRA 7 - Tactical ShootingiOS
Sierra 7 does a lot to stand out as an on-rails shooter, but it also shoots itself in the foot for the sake of monetization. I get it. It’s hard to make a living off of mobile games these days, but that doesn’t mean Sierra 7 should so brazenly monetize players at every turn.
Out of hap Inc. games I’ve played, Home Runtaro is one of the more enjoyable experiences I’ve had. It maintains the bizarrely funny style present throughout these titles, but also contains levels that present their challenges plainly. You’re never lost as to what to do, which helps you enjoy seeing all of the sight gags and other antics that make Home Runtaro worth playing.
Some folks might like having tricky puzzles to mull over for long stretches, but not me. On mobile, I much prefer puzzle games that let me gain a sense of accomplishment, even in a short play session. inbento has a hard time delivering this, so—despite the fact it’s clearly well-made—I had a hard time enjoying it.
Hey Turtle is one of the more impactful conversation-based games I’ve played. It’s not a particularly long game, but uses its time to share a unique perspective and does a decent job of giving you the tools of engaging with it on your own terms. For a buck, you can’t ask for much more than that.
while True: learn()iOS
while True: learn() isn’t exactly the flashiest game out there, but it does layer a surprising amount of charm onto a game that—while completely competent and fun—would otherwise be pretty drab. If you aren’t into coding or logic puzzlers, I could see why you might not see the appeal of while True: learn(), but it goes out of its way to be inviting to players, whether they’re well-versed in this genre or not.
Path of GiantsiOS
Path of Giants is an elegant and creative puzzle game that never loses sight of player experience. Every aspect of the game feels tailor-made in a way that makes you just want to keep playing it. Although it may look like a cheap knock-off at first blush, Path of Giants—in a lot of ways—is more authentic and rewarding than the games that inspired it.
Again, there are plenty of great pieces to read on the ins and outs of what makes Dead Cells a great game. This mobile version is that exact game, but it’s a little harder to enjoy on this particular platform. So, unless the iOS version of the game is the only way you can play Dead Cells or you want to have yet another way to play it, I’m not sure why you’d get this version over the ones that came out last year.
Without a strong mechanical or narrative backbone, GRIS struggles to do much except look really, really nice. I’d love to see more games that look as interesting as this one does, but not if it means making the same kinds of sacrifices. The tradeoff just isn’t worth it.
The ideas in Farm Punks have a lot of potential. I can see a good version of this game hiding somewhere inside of it. It’s not just the monetization to blame, here. Even if Farm Punks was a fully premium experience, its underdeveloped gameplay undercuts its interesting premise.
Telling Lies is a huge expansion on the ideas in Her Story. This makes for a game that feels less groundbreaking than its predecessor, but also somehow more ambitious. There are so many characters, storylines, and moving pieces in Telling Lies’s footage that I’m surprised at how well you can explore it via game systems. While this exploration isn’t always the fun part, the payoff is. The footage in Telling Lies goes beyond simple exposition or plot progression to deliver a lot of small, human moments that make digging through this messy archive feel real and compelling.
Dungeon Tales : RPG Card GameiOS
Dungeon Tales is a decent clone of Slay the Spire, but there’s nothing about it that makes it any more compelling than any of the other clones out there. Heck, the fact that it only has one class actually makes it worse at competing with other games in this crowded space. If it had some other edge, like the ability to play in portrait mode, I could see Dungeon Tales finding a way to stand out on mobile, but alas, it doesn’t.
It’s really tricky to create satisfying traversal challenges when you put players in control of an object that can move freely in any direction. I have a lot of respect for Witcheye for taking on this huge design problem, especially since there are times when the game really feels like it delivers compelling solutions. Unfortunately, these moments are spread across an uneven experience that is hard to control.