Believe the hype: Monument Valley for iPad is worthy of the accolades (even if you don’t like puzzle games)

IMG_0426

Believe the hype: stop what you’re doing, go to the App Store, and download Monument Valley right now. I promise you’ll be serenely happy you did. Yes, I know I’m late to the party, but I did not expect to like it: my tastes run more to racing games and shoot-em-ups. Puzzles? Please, I have enough puzzles in my work and personal life. But Monument Valley grabbed my attention in about 30 seconds after (finally) seeing it, and kept me mesmerized and now jonesing for more levels (please!).

This is a video game like no other. It seduces you into an Escher-esque, Alice in Wonderland world which challenges your analytical skills and your assumptions about physics, while offering you a peaceful, zen-like, museum-beauty setting. It leaves you both so very satisfied with yourself when you figure out keys to each level, and yearning for the next one. Once I finished the ten levels ($2.99) I felt a hungry sadness, and immediately bought the expansion pack ($2.99). I have now finished those eight additional levels and am sending the developers (Ustwo) love notes, begging them to deliver the next round. It’s almost like a peaceful yet addictive drug.

[click to continue reading…]

Share This:

Review: Sky Force 2014 for iPad

Sky Force 2014 for iPad

I don’t tend to play iPad games for very long unless I’ve volunteered to review them. I tend to feel compelled to play just so my coverage is more comprehensive. Sky Force 2014 is one of those rare cases where “business as usual” has been flipped on its head. This game is so good that I feel I have to talk about it.

Sky Force functions like a lot of top-down “bullet hell” shooters: you weave your plane in and out of enemy fire while firing your own salvos back. Some stages end in boss fights, while others just throw waves of enemies at you.

This all sounds very vanilla, but it’s executed very well. The touch controls are surprisingly tight, which is great, since top-down shooters like Sky Force require fine-grained controls in order to play properly. The game offers the option of tapping on the screen to move your plane, or sliding your finger and having your plane trace a similar path. One other nice touch is what happens when you take your finger off the screen: everything in the game slows down to a crawl. This isn’t in lieu of a pause button (that’s in the top right corner), but rather for taking a moment to see how much is on screen and how you could weave your way through it. I love this feature.

[click to continue reading…]

Share This:

Trials Arcade for iPad is motorcycle trick-riding fun with only one flaw

IMG_0420

Trials Frontier is a fun arcade-style motorcycle stunt riding experience. The whimsical graphics, unique bike controls, and intricate courses make the riding interesting, and you’ll find yourself laughing at your own crashes. Even at the very beginner levels, the bike responds well to inputs and you’ll quickly become more expert in jumping, wheelying, and flying through the air without landing on your head.

Trials Frontier is set in a dusty desert town. You play the part of an aspiring motorcycle trials rider. (For the uninitiated, motorcycle trials is the sport where you try to get you and your bike up, over, and around obstacles without falling or putting a foot down.) The town is populated with various characters, some friendly, some nefarious, and some who want your help. In order to help them you take part in motorcycle competitions, sometimes against the clock, and sometimes against one of the bad guys, collecting rewards for good performance. You’ll need those rewards to upgrade your bike and remain competitive as you pass through the many levels. Characters include a map-maker who needs your help charting desert territory, a bad guy named Butch who’s been terrorizing the town, and a damsel who needs your help to get rid of Butch and reclaim the town.

[click to continue reading…]

Share This:

Air Race Speed for iPad-An Entertaining Space Flyer

IMG_0413

Air Race Speed is a fast and fun way for you to test your space-fighter pilot skills like Luke Skywalker in the famous trench-run finale to the original Star Wars movie. You use the iPad’s motion sensor or on-screen controls to guide a series of faster and faster ships through tunnels, past obstacles, and around moving barriers.

Air Race Speed is a perfect combination of easy to pick up, but challenging to get good at. While the object of the game is immediately apparent, and the controls self-explanatory, getting higher speeds and therefore lower lap times takes skill, practice, and luck. As a beginner, you start with a slow but easy-to-control ship. Your mission is to guide your ship through a series of tunnels and around obstacles without crashing, and get the lowest possible time on each course. The ship is set to coast at a slow speed without any interaction from you. You speed up by firing your afterburners: the increase in speed is quick and significant. There are time penalties for crashing, so you need skill to get though the courses quickly, constantly measuring the trade-off between speed and control.

[click to continue reading…]

Share This:

Review – FlipPix Art for iPad

flippix1

FlipPix Art is a logic puzzle app that is fun for all ages.  You need to use logic to fill in squares that form an approximation of an image.  When you touch Play, you are presented with a picture with question marks representing hidden pictures that will be revealed when you solve the puzzle.

flippix2

Touch a question mark and you will get the puzzle.  There are 3 levels of play, 5×5, 10×10 and 15×15.  Let’s look at the simplest level, 5×5 first to see how it all works.

flippix3

You have a five by 5 grid with patterns for each row both vertically and horizontally.  The pattern of the second row across is 1 1 1.  That means the first, third and fifth square is on, the second and fourth square is off.  To make this move, touch the first, third and fifth squares on the second row and then touch the paintbrush at the right.  To turn off the second and fourth squares, touch them and then touch the hammer at the right.

[click to continue reading…]

Share This:

Review: Hitman GO for iPad

Hitman GO is a brilliant and surprisingly charming adaptation of the Hitman concept. Hitman games have always been played from a third-person perspective, and required precise timing and thorough knowledge of your surroundings to successfully assassinate your targets. Hitman GO, on the other hand, plays more like a board game. It’s sort of like Monopoly […]

Read the full article →

5 Under $5 iPad Games

Hey everyone! Beth Elderkin from iPad Insight here, checking out some interesting games for this week’s “5 Under $5.” If you want to see more about Hitman Go, fellow reviewer Thomas Wong will be doing a review soon. Be on the lookout for that! **Note: In the review, I wrote the first game as “The […]

Read the full article →

Football Manager 2014 for iPad: Review

When I was at school, anyone who was anyone played football. Even if you weren’t especially good at it, as long as you got stuck in, maybe with a “Toepunt Ted” pounding it up to the hogger who was actually quite good, (but never passed it) you would get a bit of kudos which as […]

Read the full article →

5 Under $5 iPad Games, March 29-30

Hey everybody! Beth Elderkin with iPad Insight here. Check out what I’m reviewing this week! Cue music: Dun dunn, da da da dunn, da da dunn……. But seriously, three movie/TV tie-in games came out last week. All of them feature in-app purchases, or “freemium” options. So, I thought it’d be interesting to take a look […]

Read the full article →