iPhone, iPad Games, Apps, Reviews, News Sat, 01 Aug 2015 15:00:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sponsored Feature: Jackpotjoy Adds More Games to its iOS Slots App Fri, 16 Nov 2012 20:37:36 +0000 Read More]]> Jackpotjoy Slots

Jackpotjoy have released an update for their successful iOS Jackpotjoy Slots app, giving players more slots gaming action.

The new 1.0.3 version means users can now access two more popular multiline slot games on the go, Ray Gunn and The Winstones.

Free to download, the mobile app – which launched in September this year – is available for the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad.

Jackpotjoy Slots

The two new games will be familiar to users of the Jackpotjoy site, where they specialise in fun re-workings of traditional slots, a tactic that’s helped the site earn its 4 million registered users.

Ray Gunn takes players into futuristic outer space for a slot game battle against Galex E. Greed, while the Winstones heads for the Jurassic era. Packing in the prehistoric cartoon family references, players can also win free games via a stone age Wheel of Fortune bonus round.

Slots have been a mainstay of the bricks and mortar casino industry for decades, and have undergone a transformation in recent years thanks to internet.

Jackpotjoy Slots

The app’s developer, Gamesys, have taken the traditional slot game model and added more than just graphics and sounds. Gameplay innovations, bonus rounds, fun characters and storyline slots have all helped to transform the way slots are played and increase the popularity of slot gaming online and via mobile.

The app update also allows for better connectivity with Facebook. Jackpotjoy launched their free slots app for Facebook last year, keen to establish themselves on the social networking platform that has proved so successful for Zynga. 8 million players already use their Facebook slots app, which offers up over 30 slots games, and the ability to play in either guest or tournament mode.

The updated mobile app allows players to connect their mobile and Facebook play, storing and transferring any progress they’ve made and coins they’ve collected from one platform to another. It’s a cross-platform link that’s arguably vital for the success of today’s games, with smartphone and tablet ownership on the rise, and users looking for more entertainment on the move for their mobile devices.

Jackpotjoy Slots

One of the first to recognise the potential that the internet holds for bingo, slots and casino gaming, Jackpotjoy were also quick to grasp the importance that social networking would play in the world of gaming. Their Gamesys-designed Facebook app, Bingo and Slots Friendzy, made history in August, becoming the first real-money gaming app on Facebook – allowing users to play for real cash prizes for the first time.

Jackpotjoy plan to continue adding further slot games to their mobile app, including favourites from their own website and Facebook, and newly launched games too. The further players progress through the slot game rounds, the more slot games they’ll unlock.

The free app currently holds a five star customer rating in the iTunes app store, and is compatible with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad.

]]> 0 4 Noteworthy Games: Trainyard Express, Monster Falls, TotemHeadz HD, 71 in 1 GameUtilities Wed, 22 Sep 2010 23:01:02 +0000 Read More]]> Trainyard Express iPhone

Trainyard Express More Fun in the Trainyard, only this time for Free!

Earlier this year we reviewed the full version of Trainyard and it scored 4.5/5 thanks to its unique puzzles, simple controls and 100+ levels. Well now, or actually on September 30th 2010, a free version of the game is being released in the form of Trainyard Express.

It’s got the same smooth controls, stylish graphics and 60 brand new devilish puzzles. That’s right, 60 brand new never seen before puzzles and so this new game is going to appeal to 2 groups of people.

Firstly players of the original game will love the 60 new challenging puzzles while gamers who had previously sat on the edge can now take the plunge and try Trainyard Express for free before splashing the cash on the full version with 140 tricky levels.

Monster Falls A Fun Game with a Monster Load of Potential

Monster Falls iPhoneImagine Doodle Jump in reverse but instead of how far you fall it’s how quickly you fall and you’ll have a pretty good idea about what Monster Falls is all about.

Monster Falls is 19 levels of monster falling fun where the idea of the game is to steer you circular monster down through the caves as fast as you can. Hitting the walls of the caves and various other obstacles will slow you down while avoiding crashing into things and picking up the glowing bonuses spread throughout the level will earn you the points you need to progress.

The game is fun but needs some polish around the edges. The graphics while detailed in places are a little retro looking in style and while the check points that show you how you are doing compared to the high score is nice the fact that I was never able to view my score on the global leader boards was frustrating.

If the developers continue to work on Monster Falls, add new levels and polish the edges they could have a real winner on their hands here. (View in iTunes)

TotemHeadz HD iPad

TotemHeadz HD A Fun Game but with limited replay value.

While playing TotemHeadz HD it reminded me of playing the game Worms as the game play is very similar with a couple of changes namely it’s not turn based and the controls are as intuitive.

You take control of Bork, a small creature with death on his mind and he his loaded with a variety of weapons to destroy his enemies which are similar little creatures with equally unique names.

There are 20 maps to work through and each one will contain an increasing amount of enemies that you need to destroy to move onto the next level.

There are two virtual sticks one to control your movement, the other to control the power and direction of your weapons which include a pistol, mortar, grenade and landmine which all have there own level of damage.

Moving Bork around is not as intuitive as it should be be the weapon use is easily controlled and seeing your enemies blow up is as satisfying as always!

There are 20 levels to work through in campaign mode and completing them makes them playable in Skirmish mode too.

The game plays well on the iPad and if it is priced competitively it could be worth grabbing hold of. The game will be available on October 1st.

71 in 1 GameUtilities 5 Games 66 Utilities iPhone

71 in 1 GameUtilities There’s Something for Everyone in this Hit & Miss Application.

I guess if you use the scatter-gun approach you are bound to hit something eventually and that’s certainly the case with 71 in 1 GameUtilities which actually breaks down to 66 utilities and 5 games, which at just 99 is pretty good value for money.

None of the games or apps are going to win awards but many of them are usable and playable making the 99 cent cost worth the money.

The 5 games are pretty simple games that while not particularly challenging do provide a distraction and most young children will specifically enjoy Hungry Animals where you have to feed the animals the right food.

As for the utilities I cannot deny that I could defiantly find myself using many of them from time to time and having them all bundled up into a single app saves a lot of space on the springboard. The apps I could see using the most include the spirit level, converter, coin flip, dice roll and zip code finder which all offer good functionality even if they would be used rarely.

At 99c it’s difficult so see a bargain in this multi-app. (View in iTunes)

]]> 1 Apple Disappoint Some With Game Center Web Page Wed, 08 Sep 2010 18:46:54 +0000 Read More]]> Apple Game Center

The confirmed list of devices that Apple’s Game Center Social Network will support has been posted on their web page dedicated to that particular feature of iOS 4.1.

It is no real surprise that the iPhone 3G, first gen. iPod and the grandaddy of them all the iPhone 2G are not supported. But it is still disappointing.

Being fair to Apple the overhead for multiplayer gaming would be a hefty task for the older iDevices to cope with as well as running a game. And the combined processes would draw a lot of battery power as the devices would be running flat out. But it seems a shame that those with older iPhones and iPods could not get access to the leader-boards and other less real time intensive tasks.

Game Center went live for developers this week, and many of them will be hoping to roll out Game Center enabled updates, and new games in the coming weeks.

Apple’s App Store approval efficiency has dropped to less than 80% of Apps being approved within 7 days. So it seems that Shoemaker is either busy making some new “apps” for his own web site, or the Apple App Store Gnomes are genuinely overworked.

Are you excited about Game Center in iOS 4.1? Or disappointed it will not run on your device? Have your say in the comments…

]]> 2 MotoGP 2010 for iPhone. A Solid Racer for those Preferring 2 Wheels Thu, 12 Aug 2010 08:09:00 +0000 Read More]]> MotoGP I-play Screenshot Turn right Rossi_1

MotoGP 2010 [rating: 4/5]

While the title Official MotoGP 2010 suggests that you are purchasing a motorcycle racing simulation style game that’s not exactly the case, however does that make it a bad thing?

There aren’t a huge quantity of motorcycle racing games for iOS devices compared to the car racing genre and even less when you take into account the number focusing on road/track racing rather than the off road variety. However, many consider MotoGP to be the pinnacle of track racing so it should be the only motorcycling game you ever need, right?

As you would expect with an officially licensed game it includes all 18 riders and more importantly the 17 circuits from the 2010 calender from all over the world. One minute you’ll be at 45 degrees racing in Spain while the next time you find yourself with your knee rubbing across the tarmac at high speed in Holland, the USA or Japan. It’s a multi-cultural sport and the tracks reflect this.

The tracks look good and the bikes and riders look good too especially at high speed.

The game can be played in two modes, Quick Play will launch you into a race in any of the tracks that you’ve unlocked in the other mode which is Championship Mode.

Championship Mode as you would expect allows you to test your skills against the best MotoGP riders in the world. You have the option to qualify initially so that you can start as far up the grip as possible before taking to the race itself.

The game uses the same method as many racing games these days with the bike auto-accelerating and with virtual buttons in the bottom left and right of the screen enabling you to brake and give your acceleration a boost respectively.

This works well allowing you to concentrate on the more precise task of steering use of the accelerometer. The physics of the bike make the steering more difficult than a car however after a few races you’ll soon find yourself leaning into and sweeping around even the tightest of corners.

The three difficulty levels rank up the difficulty and pressure pretty evenly and while you may find yourself easily winning the Championship playing at Rookie level the heat of the battle will intensify as you progress through the Professional and Legend levels putting you into more of a dog fight with your opponents which actually makes the game much more fun.

Trophies and achievements can also be won for completing the Championship as each rider and for some some less standard successes such as overtaking 3 opponents in a row or for crashing three times in a race. However, the one thing that would add the most value for money to the game would be a multi-player option which is unfortunately lacking.

All in all though the Official MotoGP 2010 iPhone game is a great representation of the sport, it doesn’t add many bells and whistles to the genre but if you are looking for a change from the standard car racing games this could certainly be the game for you.



Reviewed on an iPhone 4

Price: $3.99 (App Store)
Category: Games
Released:Aug 12, 2010
Reviewed Version:1.0.0
Size: 59.0 MB
Seller: Digital Bridges Limited t/a I-play
© 2010. Published by I-play. All Rights Reserved. I-play is a trademark and trading name of Oberon Media, Inc. and its subsidiaries. © Dorna Sports S.L 2010
Requirements:Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later.


MotoGP_I-play_Screenshot__Rossi Rider_3 MotoGP_I-play_Screenshot__Select Grand Prix Mugello_4 MotoGP I-play Screenshot Turn right Rossi_1 MotoGP_I-play_Screenshot__Turn right Stoner_5 MotoGP_I-play_Screenshot_Turn Left Stoner_2 ]]> 0 Dark Nebula Episode Two for iPhone. Upcoming Game Preview Thu, 27 May 2010 19:56:26 +0000 Read More]]> Back in October 2009 we reviewed Dark Nebula Episode One and raved about it great graphics intuitive controls and overall edge of the seat excitement. So the launch of the sequel brings high expectations.

This preview build enabled me to preview the first 7 levels of the 19 that are include in Episode Two and if these initial seven are anything to go buy we’re in for a real treat when the full game is released later this year.

The game launches with a movie link that reminded me of the claustrophobic and dark atmosphere of the Alien movies. When the game launches there I was surprised to find that there is an earthly feel to the first level with a rain forest feel to it.

This doesn’t last long though and by the second level we are back inside with an industrial style. Both look even more polished than the original Dark Nebula and it’s not only the graphics that have been improved upon.

In addition to the same challenges from Episode One there are new features, puzzles and bosses and that’s after only seeing less than half the new game. The game has been expanded to included left and right scrolling to add additional real estate to the levels and features obstacles to avoid. You also get armed with weapons at times that enable you to smash your way past some of the new enemies that are now included.

Online leader boards and Facebook integration are still included so that you can compare and boast you achievements. Overall Dark Nebula Episode Two had a lot to live up too and so far it has set my mouth watering with anticipation.

First Screenshots

Dark Nebula Ep 2_1 Dark Nebula Ep 2_2 Dark Nebula Ep 2_4 Dark Nebula Ep 2_7 Dark Nebula Ep 2_9 Dark Nebula Ep 2_10 ]]> 0 Gameloft Releases Sports Bundle for the iPhone Fri, 19 Mar 2010 13:20:09 +0000 Read More]]> Gameloft have just released a Sports Bundle [$4.99, iTunes Store] of three of their hugely popular games. Now there is no deciding which one to download, you can have all three of them and for a reduced price! This is a Perfect application to choose if you love many sports. The three games are:

Let’s Golf!

A 3D golf game with 63 holes in 4 different locations. There are 4 characters to choose from that you can customize and each one has their own individual skills.

You can play through multiplayer via wifi with your friends. There is an easy and advanced mode so it really is suitable with any whether you have golf experience or not. Great for fans of golf simulation games.

Real Tennis

Tour the world showing your tennis skills and try to be the best. You have a choice out of 8 players to choose from with 7 different stadiums and a choice of 3 different surfaces you can play on. The controls are easy and at times you use tilt on your phone to serve.

Again this also can be played multiplayer via wifi. You can also play it in career mode that lets you join a tennis tour.

Pro Baseball

Enjoy the real baseball experience in this great 3D baseball game. There are different game modes to try with a 162-game season and with play offs in the home run mode.
There is also a lot of great sound effects and audio commentary that make this another great game complimented by a range of animations.

Grab this now at the app store!

]]> 1 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa coming to iPhone on April 30th! Thu, 18 Mar 2010 20:57:39 +0000 Read More]]> 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa iPhone

During GDC 2010 EA Mobile announced their upcoming sports game 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa for iPhone and today they confirmed its release date.

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa for iPhone will be available on April 30th.

Game Description

Everyone can play in the 2010 FIFA WORLD CUP. The biggest sporting event on the planet comes to iPhoneTM and iPod touch®.

The 2010 FIFA WORLD CUP comes to South Africa for the first time in its history and you can be there with EA SPORTS!

2010 FIFA WORLD CUP in the APP STORESM. Shoot for goal on the iPhone® and iPod touch®.

Key Features

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa iPhone Screenshots

(click image to enlarge)
2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa iPhone_1 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa iPhone_2 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa iPhone_3
]]> 1 Rabid Gophers for iPhone is a fun filled reaction game Wed, 17 Mar 2010 13:33:56 +0000 Read More]]> Rabid Gophers_2

Rabid Gophers [rating: 4/5]

Rabid Gophers is a well designed reaction puzzle game. It is a game that is a lot similar to whack- a-mole and Smack it that are already available in the app store. The type where you have animals popping up out of holes and you have to hit them on their heads in some shape or form. The game itself is easy to follow and understand, you are a farmer protecting your farm from the eerie rabid gophers terrorising it, you have to kill the gophers to protect the farm.You do this through the different levels.

There are three mini-games within the actual game. The first is Gopher Blast, an ugly gophers head pops up out of the ground and you have to tap it with your finger to shoot it. This kills the gopher dead and you will know if you aimed well because you see the blood splatter everywhere and hear the squelching sound effects. You have a minute to keep this up without missing any. If you do miss one, the game is up and you start the level again.

Rabid Gophers_5

There are three levels to each mini-game. The first level is very easy and at that point I was beginning to think maybe its more for a child rather than an adult game. The next two levels though did get a lot harder and by level three they were popping up fast but I still managed to complete it first attempt.

Rabid Gophers_3

The next mini-game is Gopher Bombs. It is the same layout with holes in the ground but now there are bombs attached to the holes that you need to detonate. To do this there are six coloured buttons and they will light up in a particular sequence and you have to copy that sequence before the time runs out. If you manage to copy the sequence then the bombs will detonate and kill the gophers, if you don’t then you fail and have to restart the level. Again there are three levels to the game each a minute long and each gets harder. By the time it came to the third level it was a lot harder and it took me a good few attempts to do it and at one point I thought I was never going to do it!

Rabid Gophers_4

The final mini-game is Gopher Sniper and the gophers pop up out of the holes and you shoot them with the sniper gun. To do this you drag the target button to the hole then tap the screen and it fires, again with three levels each getting harder. The target button is the same size as your finger tip and the controls for this I found a bit hard to enable you to aim and shoot. You have to be quite exact with your aim but it was hard to see if you had it correctly lined up because your finger was covering most of it. By the final level and many many attempts at completing it I figured out if you press the target button at the bottom it made it slightly easier to aim.

After the three mini games I was getting into the game so was quite disappointed that I had completed all the levels and completed the game. So basically you have only 9 levels of games to do and that is it! There are two modes to the game. Campaign mode which is 1 player and you do the 3 mini-games and achieve awards for your high scores and Survival mode which is powered by OpenFeint and you attempt a particular mini-game and achieve awards for high scores and best times with other online players.

The game is far too short otherwise it was beginning to be quite enjoyable and a fun game. Once you have played the campaign mode and got all your rewards there isnt much left for you to do and probably not a game I would replay. I would say the game isn’t for kids firstly because the levels do get quite hard but if you fail the level, each time you do a huge gophers face with snarling teeth jumps out and fills your screen and makes a very loud scream. This I felt was maybe a bit scary for a younger child. I was playing next to my eight year old and she really didnt like the game once she had seen this.I feel because of how short the campaign mode was that the developers are aiming for it to be more popular towards gamers that use openfeint and play the survival mode.

There are some good points about the game, before each mini-game starts in the campaign mode you have a little animation showing the farmer and the gophers which I thought was a great unique idea. Although it can not be skipped so once you have seen it I imagine it would get annoying that you have to watch it every time you restarted the game. It is not a long lengthy clip but an eager player doesn’t like to wait!

The graphics for the game are very good and clear and the instructions to play are easily explained although there is not much to do on screen except hit the holes. The sound effects fit in well with the eerie and gory graphics. There are lots of squelching, blood splattering noises and haunting screams through out the game.

Mini games themselves are also very good but I just think the developer could have done alot more with this. If they increased the number of levels and add more puzzles it would make this game well worth playing. It has a lot of potential to be a unique and popular game.

The Good

The Not So Good

Rabid Gophers – Gopher Sniper (gameplay)

Price: $1.99 (iTunes Store Preview)
Updated: Mar 04, 2010
Reviewed Version: 1.1
1.1 (iPhone OS 3.0 Tested)
Size: 51.0 MB
Language: English
Seller: QuantumSquid Interactive, Inc.
© 2009 QuantumSquid Interactive, Inc.
Rated 9+ for the following:
Frequent/Intense Cartoon or Fantasy Violence
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone and iPod touch. Requires iPhone OS 2.0 or later.

]]> 2 White Lines for iPhone: Addictive Line Drawing Memory Game Mon, 15 Mar 2010 22:28:45 +0000 Read More]]> White Lines [rating: 3.5/5]

The iPhone is a great platform for casual games. There are many memory (brain) games in the App Store which offer traditional ‘simon says’ gameplay but WhileLines for iPhone offers an addictive twist to the memory game genre.

Current version of WhiteLines offers 5 gameplay modes which only vary in difficulty levels. The premise of the game is very simple and effective. After you select a level you have to observe the pattern drawn on the black screen and then attempt to re-create the pattern by swiping your finger.

White Lines Review iPhone Game_5The patters drawn are in the form of white brush strokes and can be recreated by horizontal, diagonal or vertical strokes. Easy level in White Lines will help you get accustomed to the gameplay and before you are through with the level you will be addicted to this simplistic game.

As you progress further and attempt to clear more levels the white brush stroke patterns become more complex and it becomes harder for you to remember the sequence in which it was drawn. If you draw the lines in the wrong sequence then you get just one more chance after a replay of the most recent sequence.

White Lines is a simple brain/visual memory game with nice animations. As you draw the patterns on the screen the game simulates the brush strokes with smooth fade-out effect. In the current version of White Lines you cannot pause the game which was quite annoying. Once you enter a level and wish to go back to the menu to read the instructions or check your achievements you will either have to exit the game or exhaust the two lives you get.

The game features OpenFeint integration which allows you to unlock achievements and share the game with your friends. OpenFeint achievements add high replay value to the game as the game pushes you to give it another try and unlock another achievement.

The simplistic game design is very effective but lacks additional game modes. We recommend adding ‘Time Attack’ mode where the player gets unlimited lives and has to get a high score in limited time.

White Lines for iPhone challenges your concentration and visual memory skills which makes the entire gameplay unique and engaging.

The Good

The Not So Good

White Lines iPhone Game On The Street

Price: $0.99 (iTunes Store Preview)
Updated Mar 09, 2010
Reviewed Version: 1.1
Size: 3.4 MB
Languages: English
Seller: Kyle T. Webster Inc.
© 2010 Kyle T. Webster & Big Mouse Media
Rated 4+
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone and iPod touch. Requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later.

]]> 0 The “Freemium” Game sales model? Lipstick on the same old pig? Sun, 14 Mar 2010 14:22:02 +0000 Read More]]> When I first sat down to write this article I was a little lost initially as to how to attack it. You see I am not convinced that the “Freemium” model is actually the “next big thing” that the blog-o-sphere is hyping it up to be. Certainly a large number of apps are being shifted under that banner. But then a lot of apps always were being promoted with free demos in all spheres of gaming long before the AppStore came along. It’s seems that it’s more a rebranding of what we’ve seen already for quite some time. Just to be clear, this is my own personal take on this subject, and this article has already been through a couple of revisions where my kindly editor has smoothed some of the sharp edges and pointed out some aspects of the subject I could have looked at from other angles.

Ngmoco certaily seems to think “Freemium” is the future. And it’s hard to argue with their popularity in the AppStore charts. In November of 2009 their FPS shooter “Eliminate Pro” had already been downloaded 500,000 times, at the staggering rate of 25,000 copies an hour. These figures placed it solidly at the top of the free app chart in iTunes.

More recently they purchased longtime Mac / iPhone indie publisher “Freeverse” with venture capital money they raised with Institutional Venture Partners, and existing shareholders Kleiner Perkins, Norwest Venture Parters, and Maples Investments. Currently Freeverse’s catalog is all paid apps, but the plan apparently is to move them over to the free-to-play model also.

To date Ngmoco’s installed base of it’s most popular apps (TouchPets and Eliminate) tops 9 million copies “downloaded”, with hundreds of thousands of “plays” each day. Ngmoco are also taking a pop at the likes of Scoreloop, OpenFeint and Agon with their own entry into the social gaming network race, Plus+.

Young (Ngmoco’s CEO) is pushing to roll out more and more new games in a virtual avalanche, and plans to open up an SDK to their Plus+ social gaming system so that other developers can easily tap into it. The Plus+ system can manage virtual goods payments, player-to-player messaging, and other social aspects of iPhone games. Effectively taking on Urban AirShip as well as Scoreloop, OpenFeint and all the rest, all at the same time, in one all encompasing package. On top of that they are planning on bundling an internet based multiplayer network in with all these other features at some point in the future. At the moment that aspect of their network seems to be limited to their own creations though. I have not been able to get a timeline from them for general availability when I have made enquiries.

These figures, acquisitions and developments are hard to discount when asking yourself about Ngmoco’s future, and the success of the “Freemium” app model. But how much is to do with these games being free at the start? And is this Apple’s success or Ngmoco’s marketing we’re seeing succeed, rather than the “Freemium” model?

How is giving people the opportunity to try before they buy any different from the current system we have in premium console games? On XBox live or PlayStation Network people download a demo, and then decide whether to buy the retail item all of the time. The whole process is simply not integrated seamlessly yet as it is in iTunes, but they are getting there. Virtually every serious game purchase decision I have made personally in the last several years has been made after trying a free demo of a game. The real change that seems to be creeping into games these days is that we get less at purchase / download time and augment that with a cash stream trickle feeding the publisher for more content. All things that the big game publishers have been pushing harder and harder recently, and seems to have accelerated in iTunes since the advent of OS 3.0 on the iPhone and Apple introducing “In App Purchase”. Steve Jobs waxed lyrical about all this in his latest Keynote address stating that iTunes has around a bazillion people’s credit cards on file for buying content right now.

Scrolling through the reviews on the AppStore for some of the higher profile “Freemium” titles it seems that a fairly considerable percentage of people are not impressed by the basic “free” app they get, and the rest simply upgrade / buy app content because they like the game anyway, or get hooked. A great example is Eliminate Pro which severely limits replays in the free version, necessitating stumping up hard cash to buy more effective playing time. It’s like the “CoinOp” era all over again from where I am sitting.

To date Ngmoco’s most successful Freemium titles are in areas where games are almost guaranteed to succeed. One is the Sims style game TouchPets and the other is not only the first, but also the only multiplayer FPS on the iPhone : Eliminate Pro.
With or without a free download these games would garner quite a lot of attention anyway. So what are Ngmoco gaining from giving the title away initially? It seems to me they are quite able to market their games effectively – something which is harder for smaller developers. It’s also apparent that they have fairly high production quality when it comes to game websites, game front ends, and the overall look and feel of their products. So they would seem to be able to fair reasonably well if they simply sold their games at full price. After all they have enough backing and infrastructure to run their own global multiplayer network for “hundreds of thousands” of players. Not an insignificant undertaking!

(Yesterday I wrote about an interesting App Store pricing model experiment carried out by Indie Developer Tommy Refenes. Although an isolated unscientific study, it’s worth reading the account to get where I am coming from with this whole App Store pricing problem.) NOT PUBLISHED YET.

There is another important aspect to this method of marketing to consider. It’s a model very strongly based on the social aspect of gaming, and a certain amount of addiction to competition (passive or active), rather than the fact that something is free. It’s certainly true that by offering a free glimpse into every game you make you have a better chance of selling it to people than you do from static screen shots, or even gameplay videos. This is assuming that the entertainment value grasps the user in that trial period. But it can also canibalise your paid app sales. There is an interesting article on that here (GDC: Backflip’s Farrior On iPhone Ad Sales, Free Versions) where Julia Farrior, CEO of Backflip Studios talks about some of their hits and misses in the App Store.

I mentioned Scoreloop earlier, who’s entire business model is venture capital funded and free to Devs. Likewise with OpenFeint and the other contenders for the gaming social network crown. The difference is these startups don’t publish games, but provide the social networking back end for app developers to leverage. Something that OpenFeint and Scoreloop may have going for them is that they are more often than not part of a product that a gamer has already decided to buy. So up-selling app content is not actually part of their business model. Scoreloop, for example, very much rely on selling their own “coins” to players so that gamers can wager against each other. Gambling on their own skill, and against that of others, to amass more virtual wealth.

Let’s take a look at Eliminate Pro again. It’s a good example of what the “freemium” model is all about. Simply put the free game provides a limited amount of something. This “something” (energy in Eliminate’s case) is required in order for you to compete effectively, and then progress in the game’s hierarchy. You have two options: Put up with an arguably crippled experience after a very short introduction period, or pay some cash to compete on a level playing field – or compete at all! The great thing from the developers perspective is that they get much much more exposure with free games that are immediately accessible to gamers. The free versions of games I have been involved with are downloaded between 10 and 50 times more often than paid items. One of the older iPhone titles I worked on sells very little now, but still gets 20 or 30 free downloads a day, every day, with little or no promotion. It’s certainly a hard fact that if you want to at least get some market penetration, and a chance of being discovered in the burgeoning list of entertainment titles in the AppStore, then you need to give a free or “Lite” version of your title away. That is unless you have the marketing power of EA, or the IP of Ubisoft or RockStar. Then again you could just write a Zombie game!! I jest.

A cynical person could liken the Eliminate Pro or TouchPets model to that employed by drug dealers, or more charitably similar to that of World of Warcraft, or paintball even. First you get them hooked, and then you keep nibbling at them for a dollar here, 5 dollars there for ammo or consumables of some sort.. Simply put, this is how it works: Subscription. You want some more energy so you can go shooting people then it’s gonna cost you between $1.99 and amazingly $39.99 depending on how much “energy” or “dog chow” you want for your battle suit or virtual pet, respectively.

Having played Eliminate Pro I can honestly say the control system needs work (and many players I have spoken to repeat this complaint), but it’s eye catching and well presented. It seems to be predominantly populated with inexperienced players, which is explained by the developer chat I reported on earlier this week with the Ngmoco team, where they discuss their matchmaking efforts : (Ngmoco Gives Interesting Talk on How Eliminate Was Built | GDC 2010) However, I found I was in rooms with lots of people scraping along walls most of the time, and fragging people was somewhat satisfying simply because it was so easy! I seemed to do less “wall scraping” than my competitors at times, that’s all I guess! I am forced to wonder what the turnover of new players that never come back is. And unless you are paying you are not getting much for free.. Although if a player simply waits a fixed amount of time their energy will trickle fill again, and after a period of time they can play again for free.. But overall a lot of people find this frustrating as these kinds of comments bear out..

“This game is great. The graphics are good, frame-rate is good, gameplay is good, upgrades are good. Although, I must mention the controls don’t really work until you buy the first unlock-able weapon.”

“They really nickle and dime you for this.”

“But 4 hours to recharge for enough energy for 1 game is insane.”

After reading these comments I wondered what percentage of people who downloaded these free titles actually enjoyed their “freemium” experience, or simply left frustrated, as simply another statistic for marketing purposes. It seems that overall consumer views are split on these titles. If you look at the star rating there are a lot of high stars and a lot of low stars, very few in the middle! Which is interesting. And even the positive reviews for Eliminate (outside of the new main stream mobile gaming media) all state that it’s not really a good game *unless* you are paying for it. Again, and again.

It’s also worth noting that there are ads running on the front page of these games now. Something which is also available to any developer via AdMob and other similar services. Are Ngmoco still experimenting with where the bulk of their revenue will come from when the venture capital money runs out?

Back in the heyday of arcade games you fed 10p / 25c into a slot to keep playing. Now it seems that the plan is that you should attach a credit card to the AppStore and trickle feed your play habit that way. From a cash flow perspective this is very attractive. But as someone who enjoys his craft and is certainly not an up and coming Bill Gates with aspirations for world domination I am left feeling a little empty inside by this business model.

There are other titles out there that work on similar principals. “Baseball Slugger”, which although a paid game, offers you the option to either buy special packs for your player for cash or earn more “gold balls” to unlock those same upgrades. It’s a little similar to how Scoreloops coins work. This is a skill based model. Those players that don’t want to buy in have the option to progress based purely on skill, and at the same time I am guessing drive some other less “skillfull” players to buy upgrades to keep up. Of course I am sure many people simply buy the upgrades anyway. But at least the choice is there, and there is the satisfaction that keen players can get from having all the extras without having paid a dime!

Another slightly different example of exploiting this free to play model is our Editor (with obviously way too much free time) who takes great delight in playing “Skies of Glory” and beating players who have bought all the upgrades (“Cool bombs and a fancy plane worth $9.99″ – as he puts it) with his basic aircraft “with no upgrades at all”!

Overall these two examples, and to be fair, to a small degree Eliminate (as more skilful players can hang onto more energy each game and play for longer before they are depleted and benched), offer something for nothing without driving the need for players to pay for something. But the bottom line is they are all mini-systems designed to get the majority of players, either through friend envy, social pressure or sheer laziness, to pay a subscription of some kind to continue playing. Those top tier players who get it all for free are the constantly moving target that drives the less skilful to pay up. They are an important integral part of the overall business model. It kind of reminds me of the major players in the new SciFi (ScyFy – ugh) TV series “Caprica”, who play in the “one death and you’re out forever” VR Caprica world. Now that’s a gaming model I’d like – and one I’d pay to play in. But I digress…

“Tap Tap Revenge” is one of the standouts in this growing bunch of initially free to play apps. They provide a large number of songs with the free version, and do not seem to be pushing you to need to upgrade simply because base product is very satisfying. And yet they still make a lot of money. Part of that is they are now an established brand. But part of it is also that they provide a competitively priced, high quality product that people enjoy and want more of. Perhaps they see a friend with a cool avatar. Or perhaps they just want more variety. But either way it’s really their choice to upgrade, and they really don’t need to in order to be competitive, or to advance through any score table, or enjoy the game. In my opinion there is something to be learned there.

Now, I am not saying we shouldn’t make money from our software. Far from it. I write games myself, because I love games. I also need to eat though.

What concerns me is the way both mobile gaming and home gaming is slowly moving towards a rental model. Companies increasingly aim to push out as many products as they can in a year, all fairly formulaic, and now it seems with “Project 10$” from EA, and something similar from Sony (except twice the price!), that the idea is to turn games into revenue streams rather than outright purchases. Including when they are sold second hand. And all this by exerting more and more control over content in terms of the access to it, and the volume / timespan of that access.

With the “Freemium” App model consumers may be getting something free initially, but it’s little more than an advert / demo they would get for free anyway back in the day with more traditional models.

One individual reviewer put it very well with regards to another “freemium” title: “I’d rather pay $10.00 now and play as much as I want, than pay $1.00 every day to play.” If someone is paying a $1.00 a day to play it’s very simple maths to work out how much they might pay in a month even if they only play every other day. When compared to a one time sticker price of $10.00 (or more often $1.99) in the AppStore this starts to make real sense from a financial perspective for a publisher.

What worries me is that we are looking at a lot of energy and development time being put into a very fast moving market for the next great marketing opportunity, to sell more credits, and hook more people. Rather than crafting quality challenging and enthralling experiences for players which have some shelf life for the developers. But hey, if that’s what the market wants who am I to argue. My concern is that the market knows no better simply because they are not getting offered anything different going forward.

From a small Developers perspective keeping up with this market you are either going to have to do a lot of work to setup a system like this for yourself with server support, and lay out quite a lot of cash on bandwidth and so on to service a successful “Freemium” model. Or you are going to have to sign up with the likes of Ngmoco, OpenFeint or Scoreloop. I don’t see Ngmoco providing their networked multiplayer for free (but I’d love to be proved wrong). I also wonder how long OpenFeint and Scoreloop will continue as they are before they have to charge in some way – despite what they say to the contrary. In any case (as a developer) your future, and your potential fortune is in their hands to some degree if you go down that route. My only advice if you are leaning that way is to pick your partner carefully. Scoreloop and OpenFeint have a more focussed and mature business plan, and are in a different market than Ngmoco, as I’ve already pointed out.

Ngmoco are courting developers right now with possible publishing deals. Which is great. Lots of opportunities. But I am not convinced that this is really the creative freedom I am looking for as an Indie myself.

An alternative to all this is to craft a quality standalone game and charge a fair price for it. But as we all know it’s very hard to get exposure in the App Market these days, especially with “the race to the bottom” in pricing.

Which brings us back full circle, it seems, to the free demo, paid upgrade model – which Apple introduced with StoreKit in OS3.0. And other bigger publishers on other platforms have been doing for a while too. This is something all iPhone developers can do quite simply themselves with StoreKit, and a “Lite” version of their App which can offer in game purchases or full upgrades as part of it’s features. Or as a set of standalone “Lite” and “Premium” titles.

So have we really moved that far forward from then? I don’t think so. I just think we’ve put some lipstick on the same old pig.

Indies still have to work hard. Big venture capital startups and major publishers have the clout and existing IP to get market awareness. We all have the opportunity to produce both free and premium titles and sell them ourselves, or go with a publisher. What everyone really needs to focus on is producing quality products that people want and then getting the best exposure and marketing possible to share their idea with the world.

Disclosure : Where I work we use Scoreloop in our titles, and we too sometimes wonder how they make any money! But overall in our experience they are the most approachable and enthusiastic company for Devs and gamers alike in this industry.

Services Referenced in this article:

Social Networked Gaming Services with SDKS and various levels of Push notifications and in App Purchase.
Scoreloop :
OpenFeint :

Promises Social Networking and possibly global networked play. But SDK pending.
Plus+ :

Push Notifications and in App Purchase system. (Limited free model and premium model)
Urban Airship :

Monetising games with in game advertising.
AdMob :

]]> 2 Ngmoco Playing God with GodFinger for iPhone Sat, 13 Mar 2010 22:41:27 +0000 Read More]]> GodFinger iPhone

Ngmoco never fail to produce outstanding games for the iPhone and iPod touch. Previously they have had Eliminate and Touch Pets Dogs and most recently Godfinger. Godfinger at the moment is only available in Canada, it’s a way of ‘beta testing’ the game before releasing it to the rest of the world.

The game play is simple, you are the God and have a planet of your own with followers. These followers worship the ground you walk on. You can work them day and night, let them rest or have them running around a shrine worshipping you. Basically anything you want because you are in full control of them.

How to play the game is fairly straight forward. You have a little planet on your screen you rotate with your finger. You pick up your followers and get them to work on your farms, create new buildings for you or sit at the local tavern for a much deserved rest. A popular feature to this game is the social factor and the game offers great social interactive features with Plus+ network.

The game still needs a lot of tweaks, push notifications are coming through very quickly and far too often. Negative comments about the game are already starting to emerge. Many feel the game is time consuming and that you need to play it far too much to keep on top of things within the game. However, I feel this is not the case. I have had it now two days and I don’t have that much time on my hands. It is all about understanding the game and managing your playing time. Once you get to grips with that you can dip in and out of the game through-out the day. Another big complaint and one that is very common for Ngmoco games is the cost. The game is free to purchase but then you have in-app purchases as well. When you first begin the game you get ‘awe’ and ‘mana’ to start you off.

Mana is quite easy to build up over time in the game but requires patience and you don’t really need to buy it. Awe on the other hand once that runs out if you do want more you will have to purchase it. I so far have not and I don’t think I would for a while but I can see at some point I may have to purchase it to help me along in the game. This though isn’t all that expensive in my opinion but one that many have complained about already in gaming forums.

GodFinger is a well designed game and the graphics are amazing. It’s all easy to play and understand. You are still going to get the full gaming experience even if you don’t spend a penny of your own money. Of course Ngmoco have placed buttons around the game to tempt you into the in-app purchases but its not a requirement of the actual game. You can still do everything it will just take longer, it requires time management and patience on your part.

I think Ngmoco are offering everybody a great gaming experience and yes it is evident they also have support their business model, and I think many other iPhone game developers will soon follow this ‘freemium’ model.

Do you like ‘freemium’ games? Let us know what you think about such games in the comments section below.

]]> 0 How to Train Your Dragon: Flight of the Night Fury for iPhone: Not Much Fury but Plenty of Finesse Fri, 12 Mar 2010 07:10:32 +0000 Read More]]> How to Train Your Dragon: Flight of the Night Fury [rating: 4/5]

Games with movie tie-ins have not really been massively successful on any platform and the same applies to the iPhone/iPod Touch. If anyone is going to buck that trend though you would expect it to be Glu who have just released How to Train Your Dragon: Flight of the Night Fury from the movie of the same name which will be released on March 26th. If you want to get a jump on the movie read on to find out whether it’s worth your hard earned cash.

You take the role of Hiccup, yes you heard me Hiccup, a Viking warrior in training and after befriending dragon, and in the game your task is to fly your dragon around the 3 worlds collecting everything in your site. If this sounds familiar to you then you’ve probably played either Glyder or Glyder 2 also by Glu as this is pretty much the same title with a new skin. The new skin does look good however and the cut scenes are all pulled directly from the movie itself including the characters and backdrops.

In game though the graphics are very similar just with a new coat of paint and while the islands are relatively simple by design, some may say even boring, they do look good as you fly around them and the simplicity of the design helps you pick out the collectable items as they don’t become blended in with details backdrops.

How to Train Your Dragon Flight of the Night Fury

If you’ve played Glyder or Glyder 2 before you will be perfectly at home with both the controls and the game play of How to Train Your Dragon. The aim of the game is to fly your dragon around the 3 islands collecting items. You do this via the use of the accelerometer, tilting left and right will steer your dragon in those directions while tilting back or toward you will control your dragons height. This is one major difference between How to Train Your Dragon and the Glyder games in that you don’t have to be worried about thermals to gain height or worry about stalling and therefore makes this game more accessible to younger players.

At first I found that controlling the dragons flight was a little tricky and he was not as responsive as I’d hoped. However on completion of the first task, flying from point a to point b through a variety of hoop check-points all was to be revealed as you can enhance your ride by collecting different artefacts around the island. That being said the controls are simple enough that you can even fly your beast single handedly if required.

Before setting off any of your flights you can survey the island by dragging your finger across the screen, this is helpful in planning your journey and should prevent too much pointless flying around as you search for any of the 190 Collectables that are situated across the 3 worlds.

While there is still a need to fly around looking for the various collectables the game offers including Blaze Beetles and Fire Moths there is also a storyline to follow to that will take you all around the islands helping you build your dragon into the ultimate flying & fighting machine. Although it has to be said that if you are expecting battles as in the movie you will be disappointed.

How to Train Your Dragon Flight of the Night Fury_3

How to Train Your Dragon is a sedate game, easy to control and somewhat relaxing too. If you are looking for a challenge with lots of action and adventure you’ve come to the wrong place but that’s no bad thing. As you travel seamlessly between the 3 islands completing your challenges and unlocking the 27 achievements you’ll we be surprised as to where the time goes.

You’ll find plenty to do across the three islands and while the game comprises of flying to check points or collecting various objects I found that it never became boring and was a nice distractions from the frantic action of some of the other games I’ve been playing recently.

If you’re looking for something a little bit different then How to Train Your Dragon may be just the game for you and if you liked Glyder and Glyder 2 the additional features in How to Train Your Dragon should keep you going until Glyder 3 comes out!

The Good

The Not So Good


Price: $2.99 (iTunes Store Preview)
Released: Mar 10, 2010
Reviewed Version: 1.0.0
1.0.0 (iPhone OS 3.0 Tested)
Size: 21.9 MB
Languages: English
Seller: Glu Games Inc
© 2010 Glu mobile.
Rated 4+
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone and iPod touch. Requires iPhone OS 2.2 or later.

]]> 0 Last Front Europe for iPhone is a war that you will want to be part of Sat, 06 Mar 2010 13:06:56 +0000 Read More]]> Last Front Europe [rating: 5/5]

Ever want to re-live famous battles from World War II on your iPhone or iPod Touch? Well now you can with Last Front Europe, a real time strategy game that see’s you take control of any one of four national army’s as you defend yourself against the enemy. You can play as either the British, Americans, Soviets or Germans and each one of them offers their own rewards so playing through the game as each of them is certainly worth while.

There are 3 modes of play, Campaign Mode will see you battle through 16 maps including some famous battles from WWII itself while Battle Mode lets you engage in defending yourself against a massive onslaught of enemies attack you in wave after wave of frenzy and finally online mode which I will come onto later in this review.

Last Front Europe Review iPhone_2

The navigation is nicely down and moving through the screens to get to your first battle is simple enough although some of the load times did seem a little lengthy especially between some of the menu pages rather than the when a new game is started. The graphics have a good military theme to them as does the music and they certainly help you get into the fighting mood!

The game is played in a 2D top down mode but the maps extend far and beyond the iPhone/iPod Touch screens allowing you to zoom in and out as well as drag the map around to get a full view of everything that is going on. Your simple mission, should you choose to except it, is to stop all enemy soldiers and their military vehicles from getting behind enemy lines.

Each map has multiple starting points for the enemy soldiers and there sole aim is to get to the other side of the map, both of these goals are signified by flags. As the game starts you get a brief opportunity to survey the area before the first wave begins. You have two options to start with, a machine gun post for offence and a pill box for defence. As you would expect in such games you can simply drag and drop either option to place it on the map and each item will have a varying cost. Be careful on where you place any item though as once it’s placed there’s no turning back, unless you simply want to buy it back for a lot less than you brought it for.

Last Front Europe Review iPhone_5

The enemy soldiers will attempt to take the shortest route to their goal, however as there are multiple spawning and ending points you can’t just place all you weapons in one place and watch as you annihilate all the enemy. Instead you must balance your choices and placements and the balance between the cost of the placement of units is and the money you earn from killing the soldiers is ideally balanced.

To complete each level you need to defend yourself against a set number of waves while ensuring that less than 20 enemy soldiers make it through. This starts pretty easy but as you progress the difficulty raises ensuring that things are kept interesting at all times.

To play online you need to register an account first, this not only gives you access to play online however, this also gives you access to track your progress and more importantly it gives you access to a Map Editor that I will come onto shortly. In the online game mode you won’t find yourself battling directly against other players but instead you will all play the same selected level for a given amount of time. At the end of this time you will be ranked based on your success. This is a great addition to the already fun Campaign and Battle modes that already provide so much value for money.

The beauty of Last Front Europe though is the ability for users to create their own maps and share them with other players, this may not be the first time that this feature has been provided on an iPhone/iPod Touch game but it’s certainly the first I’ve heard of and should continue to add value to the game for a long time to come. The map editor is based online and can’t be accessed on your mobile device. Creating maps is very straight forward, you can vary the overall size of the map and then set it in either the desert, forest or snow. From there you can add all the features that you see in the pre-made game itself.

Last Front Europe Review iPhone_3

Each map gets a code for you to be able to download it to your device, you can then provide this code to other players or they can find it just by searching. This ingenious addition to what is already a fun game should keep it flying high for quite a time.

For me this is a must have game for any iPhone or iPod Touch owner to add to their collection. It’s easy to learn yet hard to master and with the unlimited maps available from users it will keep you going for as long as World War II was itself.

The Good

The Not So Good

Reviewed By: Craig Willis

Last Front Europe Features PART 1 & PART 2

Price: $3.99 (iTunes Store Preview)
Released: Mar 02, 2010
Reviewed Version: 1.02 1.02 (iPhone OS 3.0 Tested)
Size: 12.9 MB
Languages: English
Seller: Plow Digital
© (c) 2010 Plow Games, LLC
Rated 9+ for the following:
Frequent/Intense Cartoon or Fantasy Violence
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone and iPod touch. Requires iPhone OS 2.2.1 or later.

]]> 1 Color Shooter for iPhone Fails To Light Up the Skies. Thu, 04 Mar 2010 05:47:26 +0000 Read More]]> Color Shooter [rating: 2/5]

Color Shooter is another game from a new developer to the App Store named Glow Night. Color Shooter initially appears to be a breakout style game and that is certainly how the game is looks, but instead of bouncing a ball off of a bat to clear the bricks from the top of the screen you shoot them instead.

Also, the bricks, in this case square blocks, continue to re-appear as quickly, and often quicker than you can shoot them and your task is too keep the blocks from building up enough to reach the bottom of the screen.

Controlling the space ship that shoots the blocks is controlled by tilting the iPhone/iPod Touch left and right, and so the controls are pretty simple. However the sensitivity of the controls means that stopping the ship where you want it to so that it can accurately shoot the colored blocks is not so easy and can be frustrating.

Color Shooter iPhoneShooting the blocks isn’t as simple as just aligning your ship up beneath them. Each of the blocks is a different color based on a range of five colors and placed along the bottom of the screen are five corresponding colored buttons which will change the color of the bullets that you fire at the blocks. Hit the colored block with the same color bullet and it will disappear, otherwise they will just keeping popping up slowing filling the screen.

While the graphics are nothing special what makes the game even more difficult, especially for the colorblind amongst us are the, and the subtleties between the colors where I often found myself just having to select all of the buttons to find the correct one to shoot the corresponding block.

There are no levels to this game either, is simply a war of attrition where you task is to simply survive for as long as you can. There is also no multi-player option, however the addition of OpenFeint does offer some limited additional value with 7 achievements to unlock and an online leader board to compare your best scores with other players.

Over all there is not enough in Color Shooter to hold the game up to similar games in the App Store and while the 99 cent cost won’t break the bank it could definitely be better spent else where.

The Good

The Not So Good

Reviewed By: Craig Willis

Color Shooter iPhone iPad

Price: $0.99 (iTunes Store)
Updated Mar 01, 2010
Reviewed Version: 1.1
Size: 10.2 MB
Languages: English
Seller: Jai Rangwani
© Glow Night Games
Rated 4+
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone and iPod touch. Requires iPhone OS 3.1.2 or later.

]]> 0 Skate It, Sims 3 World Adventures, Mirror’s Edge for iPhone: Upcoming EA Mobile Games Thu, 04 Mar 2010 04:58:14 +0000 Read More]]> We have not seen any major releases from EA Mobile in the past month, the two highly anticipated games Sims 3 World Adventures and Mirror’s Edge ran into unexpected delays. Some rumors suggested that EA Mobile might have been busy working on some new iPad Games or refining existing iPhone titles for the new device.

EA has still not confirmed the release date for any of their upcoming titles however they revealed some new screenshots of Sims 3 World Adventures and Skate It.

Skating and Snowboarding games seems to be the latest trend in sports games on the App Store and EA is ready to release their upcoming game Skate It in May.

Skate It Features

Skate It Screenshots


Sims 3 World Adventures New Screenshots

Sims 3 World Adventures iPhone iPad excavation_mini_games

]]> 0 Colorbind for iPhone Gives You Both Beauty & Brains Sun, 28 Feb 2010 20:28:25 +0000 Read More]]> Colorbind [rating: 4/5]

There are puzzle games a plenty available in the App Store these days and Colorbind is the latest to try to hit the top of the App Store charts with it’s beautiful looking paper ribbon puzzles. One of the best things about Colorblind is how simply beautiful it looks as you pull and twist the paper ribbons of paper around the screen, it may not sound like much but it is truly an artistically beautiful piece of work.

So how are we pulling and twisting color paper ribbons around our iPhone screens? Well it’s pretty easy, placed across the screen are colored dots and to complete each level you need to pull the paper ribbons out across the screen to overlay the same color dots. Cover them all and you move on to the next level.


There are 84 levels in total split equally across Easy, Medium and Hard categories where you have to complete Easy to move on to Medium and complete Medium to move onto the 28 Hard levels. As you would expect the first levels start you off easily and a simply tutorial also helps to get you going. Each of the colored ribbons that you have to play with start at the edge of the screen and by placing your finger on it you can then drag it across the screen as you drag your finger over it. You’ll start with just with just one color ribbon but as you move on through the 84 levels you’ll need to contend with more colored ribbons on the same level.

Multiple colored ribbons on the same levels definitely adds to the complexity of the puzzle and you’ll often find your self either pulling one of your colored ribbons back a bit to try a different route or when you are in too much of a mess a swift shake of your iPhone/iPod Touch will reset all the ribbons for the level back to their starting position so that you can try again.


There’s no scoring to the game, no time limits, no punishments for restarting the levels even. There are achievements included, all be it only 10, and there are statistics to so that you can see how far you have pulled your colored ribbon and how many levels you have completed for example but ultimately your only competitor is yourself.

To say that there is no multi-player options, online score boards or social networking integration would normally be a bad thing and truthfully the game would certainly benefit from these additions, however the exclusion of these items should not deter you in trying out this great looking puzzler game which is a pleasure for you eyes and great exercise for your brain.

The Good

The Not So Good

Reviewed By: Craig Willis


Price: $1.99 (iTunes Store)
Released: Feb 18, 2010
Reviewed Version: 1.0
1.0 (iPhone OS 3.0 Tested)
Size: 9.1 MB
Languages: English
Seller: Daniel Lutz
© 2010 Daniel Lutz
Rated 4+
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone and iPod touch. Requires iPhone OS 2.2.1 or later.

]]> 1 Tilt To Live Review: Buy This and Say Good-bye to Your Social Life! Sun, 28 Feb 2010 19:02:51 +0000 Read More]]> Tilt To Live [rating: 5/5]

Sometimes you come across a game that is just so addictive it sucks all the time out of you life, your iPhone/iPod Touch seems like it is glued to your hands and answering the phone, door or even going to the bathroom seems like too much trouble. Well Tilt to Live is just that game.

As with all of the addictive games out there Tilt to Live is as simple as they come, control your ‘Asteroids’ like space ship around the screen avoiding the red dots for as long as you can. The controls are simple, just tilt the accelerometer left, right, towards and away from you to move your space ship. The controls are responsive and the game also includes something that all games that use the accelerometer and that’s the ability to calibrate the controls to how you are playing the game. Now you can play sitting up, lying down even on your head if you like and you won’t have to get a stiff neck to do so.

Tilt To Live iPhone Game

The first thing you’ll notice is the rhythmic infectious beat that starts as soon as you launch the game and continues throughout. This infectious beat isn’t full of melody and depth but thats what makes it so infectious!

The ‘How to Play’ option takes you through the very basic ideas as described previously and within a matter of seconds you are launched into a frenzy of action. Your space ship starts in the middle of the screen and placed randomly are a couple of red dots, (the enemy), and a few weapons. Tilting the screen will move you space ship away from the red dots but they are aggressive little fellows and they start following you as quickly as you move away from them.

The red dots also begin to immediately multiply but fear not, you have weapons at your disposal too. You’ll start with just a couple of weapons, a localized bomb that will kill red dots but only those within your immediate vicinity, and what appears to be a force field missile that will kill every red dot as it shoots out in front of you. As you get better and better more and more weapons will become available and you will definitely need them if you plan on getting to the top of the leader boards and complete all of the achievements, both of which are managed on the Agon social gaming platform.

Tilt To Live iPhone Game

As you progress through the the game the spawning red dots will begin to spawn in patterns rather than randomly with a kind of artificial intelligence that would suggest that they will kill you with all means necessary. The first few goes will see you crashing you space ship almost immediately but after a few goes you will start building up decent scores as you direct your ship in-between the marauding dots with subtle ease. The disappointment of crashing into your 1,000 red dot is soon relieved as you fire up the the game again in an effort to beat your high-score.

The Agon gaming platform allows you to compare your scores to your Facebook friends and post your scores to both Facebook and Twitter to so Tilt to Live really has all bases covered. OK, so there is no multi-player mode and it won’t give you a puppy if you ask it for one but other than that Tilt to Live could be the only game you need on you iPhone/iPod Touch. Buy it now a say good-bye to your social life!

The Good

The Not So Good

Reviewed By: Craig Willis

Tilt To Live iPhone Game Trailer

Price: $1.99 (iTunes Store)
Released: Feb 24, 2010
Reviewed Version: 1.0
1.0 (iPhone OS 3.0 Tested)
Size: 7.8 MB
Languages: English
Seller: One Man Left
© 2010 One Man Left Studios, LLC
Rated 9+ for the following:
Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone and iPod touch. Requires iPhone OS 2.2.1 or later.

]]> 0 Boom Shake for iPhone Is Shaking Up the Rhythm Game Genre Sun, 28 Feb 2010 18:28:29 +0000 Read More]]> Boom Shake [rating: 4/5]

If you think that Boom Shake is just going to be another rhythm game in the same style as all the other, a tap here and shake there etc… then you are in for a surprise. The fact that you swipe your finger left or right to hit the notes rather than tapping them isn’t a huge departure from other similar apps but what sets this game a part from the others is the fact that you get to play the game with your own tracks from your iPhone/iPod touch music libraries meaning that you can play along with your favorite tracks rather than being limited to tracks in the game. That’s the claim at least, so how does it work?

You play the game in the same way as so many other rhythm type games, notes in time with the beat of the track you are playing travel done the screen and as they reach the bottom you touch them to earn points. In Boom Shake rather than tapping them you swipe left or right across the bottom of the screen or shake the iPhone/iPod touch depending on the type of shape that the note is.

Boom Shake iPhone iPad Game ReviewYou get to calibrate your moves at the start of the game and the controls work really well and they are very responsive especially when a lot of notes need to be hit in quick succession as you don’t need to lift your finger off of the device as in other similar titles. As with a lot of these game RSI can be a bit of an issue and certainly after playing a couple of songs my hand did begin to ache.

The game looks nice, strong, slick graphics and nice animations make playing the game enjoyable, while the idea of playing with your own tracks seems like a great idea in reality it doesn’t work in practice quite as well as I’d hope.

You can only play with the tracks that are already on your iPhone if notes have been created for them and you can download them to sync up with your songs. Now I don’t have a massive music library and perhaps my musical tastes don’t match that of Boom Shake but I was able to find one track that had notes available for it so I clicked to play and the notes were downloaded. The problem with matching your own library with that of the tracks available to download is that you can only search 25 tracks at a time and so for people with even a relatively small music library such as mine the time to find a match can be quite long and tiresome.

Downloading notes to match the songs you already own will cost you ‘Booms’ the games currency. You start the game with 115 Booms and each set of notes you download will cost you 5 of those Booms. You can then purchase additional Booms via in game purchases or earn Booms by getting high scores or by uploading your own notes for others to download. 115 Booms to start with is a decent amount and should get you going especially if you have songs in your library that have notes available to download.

Boom Shake iPhone iPad Game Review_2If you don’t have many tracks you can easily browse the range of songs that are available and you can click on the link to download the track directly from iTunes, after paying for it of course!

I initially played the game by downloading the notes to an existing track, Queens “Somebody to Love“. Within 30 seconds I was playing the game and with a choice of Kid, Normal, Hard and Extreme I chose Normal mode. The notes traveled down the track and as they pass over the target bar at the bottom of the page I was able to swipe left, right, clockwise and anti-clockwise circles and shake the iPhone in time to the beats. Unfortunately though the notes weren’t in time with my song and therefore it was difficult to keep in time.

However, this is where Boom Shake really comes into it’s own. With any notes that you download you can adjust the start time for the notes in relation to your track and after adjusting the start time for Queen “Somebody to Love”, my second attempt resulted in a much higher score as the timing of the notes to the music was now spot on.

The game also allows you to upload your own notes and earn Booms for spending later. The process for creating your own notes couldn’t be simpler either. First you navigate through your library of songs to choose the one you want to record your notes for and then start the track playing. The available types of notes then appear at the bottom of the screen and as th track plays you simply tap the required not in time with the music, very much like you are playing the game yourself.

Boom Shake iPhone iPad Game Review_3You can stop the track, skip back and forward and manually remove and re-record the notes if you need to but the process is so simple that after a couple of attempts you’ll be laying down notes very easily especially if it’s a track you know well.

The track you record will automatically be given a ranking of Kid, Normal, Hard or Extreme depending on the number and frequency of notes that you have set and to prevent from anything being uploaded you then have to play the track in game mode and record a score of 80% or higher.

The one downside to this game is that it doesn’t have the level of social integration of others similar games with only an online scoreboard available to compare you skills with others, no chat, social media integration or multi-player options available at present.

If enough people take the time to upload their own tracks this game could be a huge hit as playing a game with songs that you know and love rather than being restricted to the songs the developers of the game are licensed to use will make it much more enjoyable to play. iPhone  Gamers, it’s up to you to help make this great game reach it’s potential.

Boom Shake iPhone Music Game

The Good

The Not So Good

Reviewed By: Craig Willis

Price: $0.99 (iTunes Store)
Released: Feb 22, 2010
Reviewed Version: 1.0
Size: 39.3 MB
Languages: English
© apalms
Rated 4+
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone and iPod touch. Requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later.

]]> 0 Tune Runner for iPhone Turns Your Music Into Adventure | Upcoming Game Sun, 07 Feb 2010 19:41:25 +0000 Read More]]> Tune Runner iPhone

There are a number of iPhone games that use music as a backdrop for game play. Tapulous’ popular Tap Tap Revenge series immediately comes to mind. The thing about games like Tap Tap Revenge is that they require you to buy content to play with which, on an iPhone full of music, might seem like a needless expense. The upcoming game Tune Runner from Appy Entertainment takes a more revolutionary path, using your existing music library as the in-game content.

In Tune Runner, the player must make their way through various environments by drawing the shapes that move from right to left on the screen. Successfully draw the shape through touch on the screen and your robot Grov-ee continues on his journey, unsuccessfully draw the shape and your robot loses a little bit of his life. If you miss enough shapes your life meter drains and your mission is over. As I alluded to in the beginning though, Tune Runner’s revolutionary aspect is in the creation of the game environment. Tune Runner scans the music on your iPhone and for each level played you select a song. The game then generates the level dynamically based on that song. Every level is different, no two plays are ever the same. Even two plays on the same song are different.

Tune Runner for iPhone also implements some nice extras in addition to the solid game play. Tune Runner implements full OpenFeint support with global high scores and achievements. Additionally, after you complete a song, your score is submitted against all other scores for that song. This is an interesting twist on social gaming since usually overall global high score is usually king.

The other interesting extra is how game play and game price are connected. Instead of pasting banner ads to every empty space in the application or charging more for the game, Tune Runner takes another approach. Each new game is allotted a certain number of plays of the game. To earn more plays of the game the user can either purchase them or earn them the Recharge mini-game. Purchasing them is a straightforward proposition. The Recharge mini-game is a little bit more interesting. Play is the same as the main game but instead of Grov-ee, a battery is displayed. Each shape that is successfully drawn places a bit more energy in the battery. When the battery reaches full charge an additional play is earned. To subsidize this, banner ads are displayed during the Recharge mini-game which is a small price to pay for this fun little mini-game and additional plays of the game.

I look forward to playing the final version of Tune Runner. It looks to be an innovative game with a fun and interesting interface. I think Appy has a winner on its hands.

Previewed By: Erin Peterson

Early Screenshots

Tune Runner iPhone Tune Runner iPhone1 Tune Runner iPhone2 Tune Runner iPhone6 Tune Runner iPhone9

]]> 5 Glyder 2 From glu mobile: First Screenshots Thu, 08 Oct 2009 13:14:55 +0000 glu mobile today sent us an update regarding Glyder 2, upcoming sequel to their widely popular game Glyder for iPhone.

Glyder 2 will add customization options and new open environments to explore.

Enjoy the first screenshots!

Glyder 2 iPhone_4

Glyder 2 iPhone_4

Glyder 2 iPhone_3

Glyder 2 iPhone_3

Glyder 2 iPhone_2

Glyder 2 iPhone_2

Glyder 2 iPhone Customization

Glyder 2 iPhone Customization

Glyder 2 iPhone

Glyder 2 iPhone

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