Features

TGMMRE – Vol 1

TouchGEN looks at a selection of some of the smaller games to hit the AppStore over the past few weeks in this new regular section…

Tap Disc

Like Ronseal, this game does exactly what it says on the tin. The screen is filled with discs moving around and bouncing off the walls, and it’s your job to remove them from play. To do this you must head off the discs by placing a black hole of sorts which will gobble up said disc. The challenge?

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Each disc is either white, orange or red, so you must match it with the colour of your black hole, which is easier said than done. Your black hole changes from white to red automatically so it’s a game of timing to get the toe to match. Enemies are thrown in for good measure and to up the challenge. Overall it’s a interesting and original budget title with a cool visual style. $0.99 >

3-stars_sm

Airbase defender

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Take control of a flak gun as you shoot down defenceless paratroopers before they reach the ground and destroy you. And… Err… That’s pretty much it. You control your gun turret with tilt and can shoot both flak and rockets by tapping the screen. The rockets are limited to shooting down the helicopters (and yes it is stupid that paras are jumping from helicopters!!!) while the flak is for paras only. It all gets very repetitive fast, with only the smart bombs (available via shaking the device) offering the only light relief.

Overall a sub par shooter that doesn’t offer enough to leave any lasting impression, and is doomed to gathering dust on the AppStore. $0.99 >

1-stars_sm

Eggs

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Get the egg to the goal in this fun budget platformer. Putting the unity engine to good use and providing not only a nice looking 2.5d perspective but solid physics to boot, you must tilt the device to roll the egg across the level and to the goal. However, platforms and obstacles are in your way. Luckily the hatchling inside offers up the use of its legs and wings to help you jump. Tapping anywhere on the right side of the screen initiates the jump, and as a nice touch, the height of the jump is dependant on how high up the screen you tap the screen. Your jumping becomes strategic, because, as you might have guessed, your egg can only take so many hard landings. There are first aid kits than can be collected, but too many big drops and splat!

Overall, a well produced puzzle platformer, let down slightly by limited levels. Worth a punt! $1.99 >

3-stars_sm

Flight ultimate

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Don’t be deceived by the title, it is ultimate, but an ultimate waste of time.

The silly mission briefs that try to be funny, but come across as badly written and infantile, are not worth your time and effort. It’s a shame too because the controls work well and offer a good feeling of flight. Missions range from killing a smelly cow in a field with a Cesna to a flyby at a restaurant in a jet fighter. Too easy and pointless. $1.99 >

pt5-stars_sm

Go go miner

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I was hoping for a Mr.Driller clone here, but what we get is a boring and uninspiring rock collecting game. Much like a crane game at the arcades, you must wait for the crane’s jaws to move into place before tapping to extend the crane and grab rocks and precious stones to hit your quota before the time runs out. That is of course unless you fall asleep before hand! Free >

pt5-stars_sm

iPirate battle

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In pirate battle you take to the high sees in a canon wielding tall ship as you aim to take out the plethora of pirate ships. Unfortunately you don’t control the ship itself, instead directing the line of fire of your three on board canons. The canons move very slowly, so the game becomes more about line of sight, as you try and head off each ship with a few canon blasts. The pirates shoot back too, and as you don’t move you are somewhat of a sitting duck. Once all three of your canons are taken out it’s game over.

Whilst any game featuring pirate battles is cool in on its self, the game doesn’t feature enough variation to the gameplay for me to recommend it. The graphics are uninspiring to say the least, featuring the minimum animation. The sea doesn’t move and the ships exhibit some bad collision detection, often getting stuck during head on collisions. $0.99 >

1pt5-stars_sm

Rail Blazer

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Another Unity powered game, this time putting you in control of a locomotive where it is your job to pick up passengers along your route and get to the end of the line before the time runs out. It’s an interesting premise, and I like the top-down 3d look and feel. The controls are good too, with you carefully balancing acceleration and brakes to keep you steaming along without blowing the engine. However, in practice it’s a boring and frustrating experience. There is no way to access the track map or a menu during a level, and so if you make a mistake or take the wrong route you have to wait for the time to run out, or quit the game entirely. $0.99 >

2-stars_sm

Robot unicorn attack: heavy metal

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If the rainbows, fairies and the Erasure ridden soundtrack were not your cup of pink tea, but you liked the Canabalt-esque gameplay of Adult Swim’s unicorn themed platformer, then this is the game for you. Draped in metal, pentagrams, flames and skulls… and not to mention the hard rock soundtrack… this is essentially the exact same game as the first game, except now it will have a bigger reach to the less limp-wristed of gamers out there. A cash-in? yes! But once more it raises a smile. $0.99 >

3-stars_sm

Vikings Row!

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Are your thumbs looking a little weak? Well I-Play’s budget Viking game is the perfect thumb workout.

It’s another polished title from the studio that brought us the surprise Pigeon Squadron. This time however you are in control of a longship full of Vikings. Raping and pillaging is off the menu today though, instead you must race to the end of the river, collecting as many coins as possible within the time limit. Later levels feature deadly obstacles which if touched will kill one of your Viking horde, so it’s a game of control skill.

This isn’t easy from the start, as for some reason the controls are back to front by default. By this I mean that rowing right will turn you right, which of course is the wrong way round, which is a little disorientating. You can switch on true steering mode which switches it, but this isn’t stated from the start. Once switched though it is far more intuitive. And this is where the thumb workout comes in as the rowing action is done by stroking the screen with your thumbs, both thumbs to go straight or stroke left or right to turn.

Vikings Row is a polished budget game featuring great sound and flash-like cartoon visuals. It’s a simple premise, that works. Now let’s see some multiplayer in the next version, as I’d love to see some viking on Viking racing action. $0.99 >

3pt5-stars_sm

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