All Posts By Blake Grundman

Posts :: Feed

Blake Grundman

Contributing Writer with the 148Apps Network since August 16, 2010

Mild mannered programmer by day; gamer, podcaster, and writer by night. Blake is a staff writer for 148Apps, as well as the Managing Editor at GamesAreEvil.com. He also co-hosts and produces the EvilCast Recap podcast with fellow gaming junkies Ross Polly, Keri Honea, and Chris Nitz.

Connect with Blake via:
Game Center: Grundy The Man
OpenFeint: Grundy The Man
Twitter: @grundytheman
Facebook
Google+ Profile
LinkedInLinkedIn
Email :: blake.grundman@148apps.com
Personal site :: http://www.gamesareevil.com
Hollywood Fighter Review

Hollywood Fighter Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Matching games meet fighters in this odd hybrid puzzle title.

Read The Full Review »
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga Review

Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Can Free-to-Play work well for episodic gaming? Let's just say that this is a perfect example of episodic done VERY right.

Read The Full Review »

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Not all games age elegantly. Though while Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is certainly showing its age, everything that made it great still shows through brilliantly.

Read The Full Review »
Tough Nuts Pinball Review

Tough Nuts Pinball Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
A interesting hybrid of classic and modern pinball monetization that ends up working out in the best interests of the player.

Read The Full Review »
Band Stars Review

Band Stars Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Free-to-play management games tend to fall into the trap of monetizing before incentivizing. Band Stars forces players to decide if they feel the same way.

Read The Full Review »

Skulls of the Shogun Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Skulls of the Shogun has been so solid on so many other platforms, so why would iOS be any different?

Read The Full Review »
Skull Legends HD Review

Skull Legends HD Review

iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
On paper, the idea of crossing first-person shooters and tower defense seems rather curious. In execution, things work out far better than one might imagine.

Read The Full Review »
Geomatrix Review

Geomatrix Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
When games borrow from similar titles, sometimes they forget to bring the fun along. Sadly this may be one of those cases.

Read The Full Review »
Pure Pinball Review

Pure Pinball Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Sometimes realism isn't all it is cracked up to be, especially when it results in game-breaking bugs.

Read The Full Review »
Galaxy Jam: Space Basketball Wars Review

Galaxy Jam: Space Basketball Wars Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Basketball is all the same. Unless it's happening in space, right?

Read The Full Review »
Blur Overdrive Review

Blur Overdrive Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
A console racing game would be hard to do justice on mobile, but Blur Overdrive has just enough old and new to appease both fans and newcomers.

Read The Full Review »
Burn The Lot Review

Burn The Lot Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Sadly, just because a game looks original doesn't mean that is brimming with new ideas.

Read The Full Review »
PBA Bowling Challenge Review

PBA Bowling Challenge Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
While not a surefire strike, PBA Bowling Challenge still has the potential to cause plenty of damage to a wallet.

Read The Full Review »
Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge: Gold Edition Review

Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge: Gold Edition Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Though underwhelming on the whole, Lomu Rugby Challenge has a few solid nuggets worth building on in the future.

Read The Full Review »
Halloween Pinball Review

Halloween Pinball Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
OOO Gameprom is at it again with this trick-or-treat of a table. But which is it, really? Come inside to find out more... MWAHHAHAHAH!

Read The Full Review »
Mega Dead Pixel Review

Mega Dead Pixel Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
A game that even Tom Petty could get behind. Or above.

Read The Full Review »
Random Runners Review

Random Runners Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Despite Ravenous Games' pedigree of solid releases, this endless running experience feels like it has a flat tire.

Read The Full Review »
Costume Quest Review

Costume Quest Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
This bite sized snack lacks the staying power to appeal beyond the haunting season.

Read The Full Review »
Zaccaria Pinball Master Edition Review

Zaccaria Pinball Master Edition Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
A great core simulation is held back by a less than stellar micro-transaction model.

Read The Full Review »

Zen Studios have been at this pinball thing for quite some time now. Between the console and iOS platforms they have become the undisputed champion of the digitalized steel ball. Their most recent offering, Star Wars Pinball, garnered an Editor’s Choice rating from this very site. So you can only imagine the excitement when they announced the game’s first batch of DLC, entitled Balance of the Force. Calling upon their veteran stable of developers, the trio of new tables look to put the initial collection to shame. Thankfully, the team over at Zen has the Force on their side!

IMG_0087The first table of the set follows the trend of the first outing by adapting one of the classic films, which in this case is the original trilogy finale “Return of the Jedi.” Building upon lessons learned last time out, the table once again breaks up the plot points into a collection of checkpointed missions. When playing through the stages in Jedi, players will encounter countless interactive objects and fantastical extra-curricular activities that force them outside of the traditional confines of the bumpers. How exactly does one take part in a speeder race through the forests of Endor, without ever breaking the immersion of a pinball experience? Trust us, somehow they have managed to pull it off seamlessly. And how could you ever forget the epic showdown between Luke and Vader? This time the player gets to determine the outcome.

IMG_0077Next up, Starfighter Assault comes aboard to provide the parallel experience of piloting for either the Empire or Rebellion. Depending upon the ethical allegiances of whomever is behind the paddles, the player is placed in the role of tipping the balance of battle one way or another. The table has a light RPG system of sorts that rewards mission completions with upgrades to their fleet, which may very well turn the tide of conflict. Once again, certain missions will involve leaving the table and jumping into the cockpit of signature fighters made famous by the series or competing in third person shootouts, somewhat in the vein of Galaga. There is more than enough variety and fan service to go around, regardless of which side of the battle is embarked upon. Thankfully this also lends itself well to replayability, because why settle for only one side of the story?

IMG_0091Darth Vader rounds out the trio, with his own signature table. It only makes sense that a character as iconic as Vader would receive the same treatment afforded to Boba Fett in the initial offering. As one of a select few characters that spans the trilogies, there is quite a deep pool of subject matter to pull from; starting at the beginning of each game, when the player has the opportunity to actually participate in his transformation from Anakin Skywalker to the hulking “mandroid.” From that point on, the table covers notable occurrences from the original films including the hunt for rebel bases, a Death Star trench run, and his battles with the likes of both Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. It is a tour-de-Force, (sorry, I had to…) that should not be missed.

This time around it feels like the team at Zen was given free range to really “go nuts” in respect to table design. Each playscape feels more complex than the base set, while still not being off-putting to newcomers. Everything from tricky ramp positions to the new multi-shot goals all play like evolutions to a formula as well as the culmination of mechanic refinement that has been in progress since their immensely popular Marvel line. Regardless, the result is a breath of fresh air for pinball enthusiasts who have been eagerly awaiting their next challenge.

IMG_0092Balance of the Force is scheduled to launch on iOS as downloadable content for both Star Wars Pinball and Zen Pinball on October 16. It is also worth noting that while the tables will be available for purchase from within Zen Pinball, players will not get the benefit of Star Wars Pinball’s additional leaderboards and Force rating system; so choose platforms wisely. Really, no matter what the choice the player will still be treated to a nostalgia-drenched adventure in a galaxy far, far away. They may have once been but a learner, now Zen Studios has become the master.


The Cave Review

The Cave Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
A sad example of not all platforms being equal, especially when poor touch controls are in the mix.

Read The Full Review »
NBA 2K14 Review

NBA 2K14 Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Just when you think the NBA 2K series can't get any worse on iOS, they go and totally outdo themselves... and not in a good way either.

Read The Full Review »

Shadowrun Returns Review

iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Shadowrun is back, and this time it is here to stay!

Read The Full Review »

FIFA 14 Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
The Ultimate Team is the perfect way to experience free-to-play.

Read The Full Review »
Riddick: The Merc Files Review

Riddick: The Merc Files Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Stealth-action is a perfect fit for the Riddick universe. Too bad the kinks weren't worked out prior to release.

Read The Full Review »
Angry Birds Star Wars II Review

Angry Birds Star Wars II Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
The force is strong with this one.

Read The Full Review »
Boom! Tanks Review

Boom! Tanks Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
It doesn't matter how fun a game is when more time is spent in menus than in the heat of combat.

Read The Full Review »
Dead Effect Review

Dead Effect Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
A mindless shooter is just what the doctor ordered, every once in a while. This should fill that prescription quite nicely.

Read The Full Review »
Arma Tactics Review

Arma Tactics Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Sometimes what seems like a match made in heaven ends up being lost in the fog of war. Here is a perfect example of one such misfire...

Read The Full Review »
Joust Legend Review

Joust Legend Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Jousting is a time-honored tradition that has been woefully under-represented on iOS. Joust Legend aims to bring an end to this tragic injustice.

Read The Full Review »
    Advertisement    





Featured Apps

    Advertisement    


Categories

Developers

Would you like your application reviewed on 148Apps? See the About page for information.
    Advertisement    



Steel Media Network

148Apps - iPhone app reviews and news. The best gosh darn iPhone app site this side of Mars.
http://148apps.com :: @148Apps

Android Rundown - Android news and reviews. Where you get the rundown on Android apps and hardware.
http://AndroidRundown.com :: @AndroidRundown

Best App Ever - Yearly Mobile App Achievement Awards.
http://bestappever.com :: @BestAppEver

Pocket Gamer - Mobile game reviews, news, and features.
http://PocketGamer.co.uk :: @PocketGamer

Pocket Gamer.biz - Mobile games industry news, opinion, and analysis.
http://PocketGamer.biz :: @pgbiz

AppSpy - iOS game news and video reviews.
http://appspy.com :: @appspy