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Jordan Minor

Senior Writer with the 148Apps Network since August 19, 2011

Wordsmith. Northwestern Alum. Fan of video games. Fascinated with the internet.

Connect with Jordan via:
Twitter: @JordanWMinor
Email :: jordan.minor@148apps.com
Personal site :: http://www.JordansOB.blogspot.com
Little World Escape Review

Little World Escape Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Little World Escape draws players in with captivating concepts before pushing them away with antagonizing execution.

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Kunin Review

Kunin Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Kunin is a nervous test of ninja reflexes.

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It Came From Canada: Terra Battle

In some way or another, most Japanese RPGs owe something to Final Fantasy. But with Terra Battle, the now-common mix of Western medieval fantasy with Eastern anime aesthetic feels earned. After all, its developer, Mistwalker, was founded by the Final Fantasy mastermind himself, Hironobu Sakaguchi. While this upcoming strategy game is definitely more modest than its ancestors, it’s still worth noticing when a company with this pedigree flexes its muscles. So that’s what we did in this latest edition of It Came From Canada!

As modern RPG plots become as integral to their respective games as they are incomprehensible, Terra Battle harkens back to an earlier time when fighting monsters was as good a reason as any to recruit tavern patrons to your party. There is a story, but those who choose to skip it can still find the game worthwhile.

terra battle (1)terra battle (2)And besides, the vast majority of the time is spent in the battlefield brawls that make up each chapter. Terra Battle‘s take on turn-based strategy feels like a cross between Fire Emblem and a board game like Reversi. Enemies and party members appear as squares on a grid. During each turn, players can move one square wherever they like while they still have time. To attack, players simply flank an enemy with two units.

The game also uses a weapon triangle system where certain attacks trump others, like rock-paper-scissors. However, proper positioning is the real focus. Beyond basic movement, players can explore other tactical options and quirks like passing units through each other to shift their locations or creating larger support clusters to attack multiple foes at once. Occasionally, powerful orbs will materialize on the grid, and by working those into their formations players can unleash even more devastating attacks perfect for boss fights.

terra battle (3)terra battle (4)To improve their party, players can also participate in daily challenges in special zones to earn more experience or loot. But really, the deep, intense, and highly strategic combat is the draw. It’s so good players may not even notice or care how lovely but generic the illustrated artwork is or how dull the barren grid itself becomes after staring at it for countless hours.

Terra Battle may not be some endless epic about saving the world from calamity, but it is a tight little test of wits. And it’s coming to the App Store soon, so be on the lookout.

Battle Riders Review

Battle Riders Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
BattleRiders has cool car combat, but it could be crazier.

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Glidefire Review

Glidefire Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Even with its carefully crafted levels, Glidefire still feels like something made by a machine.

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Ninja Warrior Temple

Ninja Warrior Temple

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Ninja Warrior Temple is clever, but not nearly as nimble as a ninja should be.

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Star Clash

Star Clash

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Star Clash doesn't quite live up to the potential of its bizarre gameplay and visual combinations.

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Warbot Assault Review

Warbot Assault Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Like its giant robots, Warbot Assault is big and beautiful, but also hollow.

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It Came From Canada: Might & Mayhem

Of all the “hardcore” game genres that have had recent new life as more casual mobile games, RPGs might be one of the most surprising. With their focus on numbers, organization, and slow, patient play, you wouldn’t expect them to fit in with quick, flashy distractions. However, the upcoming Might & Mayhem offers a pretty clear explanation for this phenomenon. While it has many trappings of a dense role-playing adventure, playing it is a much more straightforward, and arguably stripped-down affair. We find out if it still has enough of the goods in this edition of It Came From Canada!

In Might & Mayhem players build a three-person team of fantasy warriors – from dashing but weak sword fighters to mysterious and buff spell casters – and fight a series of turn-based battles. There’s no real overworld to explore, not much grinding, and little emphasis on loot. Rather, players just take on battle after battle in kingdoms full of enemy robots and goblins before reaching a boss. Fortunately, the combat has some depth to justify its prominence. As each match goes on, players accrue more action points. With more action points, they can launch stronger attacks or multiple attacks at once. However, skills still have limits, so balance and strategy is crucial. Go for the strongest foe or take out the weak healer first? Smart tactics become especially necessary in online battles.

might and mayhem 8There is some customization to be had outside of battle, though. Players can upgrade their castle home base along with their fighters. While manually reviving fallen units costs precious diamonds, other upgrades are refreshingly freemium-free. Before quests, players can equip special single-use abilities like massive lightning strikes or health waves that can really turn the tide of battle. And more bonuses of all kinds unlock as players progress.

might and mayhem 9Since Might & Mayhem focuses mostly on its battles, it puts a lot of effort into their visual presentation. Everything is brought to life in colorful 3D environments with great, dynamic animations. Players can even rotate the camera whenever they choose to get a different view of the action. However, even if it is well made, the artwork itself is still fairly generic. Plus battles will glitch out and freeze a little too often, requiring a soft reset.

Might & Mayhem demonstrates how RPGs adapt themselves to mobile by becoming super straightforward. Players can decide from themselves whether or not that’s cool with them when it launches worldwide soon.

Balance of the Shaolin Review

Balance of the Shaolin Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Balance of the Shaolin is the definition of easy to learn, hard to master.

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On today’s Who Wore it Best?, similar iOS games fight for superiority. So what better games to pit against each other than Writer Rumble and Stay Dead, two radical spins on the fighting game genre?

Dodo Master Review

Dodo Master Review

iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Dodo Master is tough but fair, and that's what makes it a joy to play.

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Happy Cube Death Arena Review

Happy Cube Death Arena Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Happy Cube Death Arena is adorably violent, but very, very shallow.

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Furious Climber Review

Furious Climber Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Furious Climber's rough packaging can't ruin its awesomely awkward gameplay

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Ice Cream Nomsters Review

Ice Cream Nomsters Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Ice Cream Nomsters is too much labor and not enough love.

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With a brand new Star Wars trilogy on the horizon, prepare yourselves for Disney and George Lucas’s space fantasy throwback to be more omnipresent than ever before. So it should come as no surprise that new adventures in that galaxy far, far away are coming to mobile as well. The latest example? Star Wars: Commander. We check to see how strong the Force is with this upcoming strategy game in this edition of It Came From Canada!

As much as its creators try to deny it, Star Wars: Commander is Clash of Clans with the Star Wars license. Players begin as independent Tatooine mercenaries who have unfortunately gotten on the bad side of powerful gangster Jabba the Hutt. So to survive, players can either join the Empire as it continues conquering the galaxy or make friends with the Rebels heroically struggling for freedom. Whatever they choose, players then begin building their base and taking on missions.

star wars commander 6At their headquarters, players can upgrade new structures and droids to help bolster their forces. Depending on what faction they choose, hero units like Han Solo or giant death machines like AT-ATs will be at their command. With these units, players take on the light real-time strategy missions that make up the game’s single-player campaign. They can also ally with other players or launch offensives against them. However, that means they must remember to keep their own base safe as well by constructing defensive walls and turrets along with deploying strategic air strikes. The missions themselves are brief, easy, and mostly just focus on destruction, but it’s lame how any units brought in can never be used again even if they survive. It leads to needlessly conservative play.

star wars commander 8But again, all of this will be familiar to Clash of Clans players. This is mostly just an elaborate Star Wars skin. However, it is hard to deny how great a skin that is. The character models, sound effects, and musical cues are not only fantastic, but almost overwhelmingly nostalgic for the original trilogy.

If this is all part of the master plan to get people excited about Star Wars again, it’s working. Star Wars: Commander is currently in a soft launch phase and will coming to a galaxy near you very soon.

Swing Copters Review

Swing Copters Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
The creator of Flappy Bird is back with a vengeance.

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At this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, fans got the chance to meet and mingle with several of the artists behind Magic Pixel Games and Namco Bandai’s upcoming card battler, Outcast Odyssey. Considering many of these artists have worked on comics in the past it seemed appropriate, and it was also the first time they got to meet each other. We spoke with two of the artists, Warren Louw and Chuck Pires, about their careers, their work on the game, and how posting your drawings on the internet can lead to bigger and better things.

148Apps: How did you begin your careers as artists?
Warren Louw: I’m pretty much just a blend between East and West. My style is a combination of Western comic artists like J. Scott Campbell, Michael Turner, and Adam Hughes crossed with some of the artists from the Far East like Tetsuya Nomura’s work on Final Fantasy VII and VIII. and Takuji Kawano who did the art for Soulcalibur. In South Africa, I got to the point where I started developing a style that was being recognized globally. Eventually I was being contacted by the bigger companies out there and started getting my work published. Things just grew and grew from there.

Chuck Pires: Around 14 or 15 I got started mostly doing comic colors. There was a studio called Hi-Fi design that did work for Marvel at the time. They were looking for comic colorists to put some stuff online and at the time all I wanted in the world was to be published so I responded. It was all just separation work, basic colors and layout, anybody could do it. But for a 15 or 16-year-old kid it was my dream come true. That got me more interested in digital art.

Continue reading Outcast Odyssey – An Interview with the Artists Behind Namco Bandai’s Upcoming Card Battler »

It Came from Canada: Galaxy Dash

With its use of well-established tropes like endless flying and sci-fi space shooting, the upcoming Galaxy Dash: Race to the Outer Run most likely won’t confound expectations. However, with its robust amount of opportunities for fun player interactions it might just exceed them. We check out this new great space coaster in the latest edition of It Came From Canada!

Galaxy Dash has the typical infinite runner set-up: players control a ship and try to fly out as far as possible, hopping between the three lanes to avoid enemies and obstacles. But from that familiar framework, the game then introduces a lot of interesting small details that add up to something greater. For starters, players can shoot lasers to bring down bogeys or bust open gem-filled asteroids. However, the weapons need recharging so players must plan their shots carefully. Part of that includes paying attention to the snaking nature of the lanes. Shots always go out straight, but players themselves will be at the whim of their looping path. The way larger deadly asteroids casually intersect also adds to the cool feeling of naturalism.

galaxy dash 1galaxy dash 2But players’ options aren’t limited to pure offense. In between rounds, they can upgrade various aspects of their ship or purchase new models. One upgrade path lets players increase the speed of their shield, which charges throughout each run and can soak up a single hit. Or players can choose to upgrade their cargo. Each run is littered with crates – some lying out in the open and others attached to special enemies. Depending on their capacity, players can pick up these boxes and earn extra points by carrying them to the checkpoint outpost separating each section. Finally, players can recruit allies who leave special power-ups for them to find, like deadly double lasers. Tying Galaxy Dash‘s surprising amount of gameplay choices together is the clean, colorful art style. What looks to be cel-shading gives beautiful depth to images that could’ve seemed flat otherwise.

galaxy dash 3galaxy dash 4Again, Galaxy Dash won’t feel like some radically innovative experience once it fully launches – it does things players have seen before. However, it’s hard not to appreciate how well and how intelligently it executes those familiar ideas.

Who Wore it Best? takes a break from all the bloodshed to check out two decidedly tranquil and nature-loving puzzles games: Phantom Flower and And Then it Rained.

It Came From Canada: Scrap Force

When the evil alien invaders inevitably come, it’s pretty much guaranteed that only the pure innocent hearts of children can save us – or at least children as well-armed as the cast of “Attack the Block.” So we might as well start preparing now with Scrap Force, an upcoming turn-based strategy game where children use alien power to protect the planet with homemade weaponry. We find out just how much kids rule in this latest edition of It Came From Canada!

Scrap Force consists of a lengthy series of turn-based battles between plucky neighborhood kids and evil alien Obliteroids. Each match is one-on-one with two teams of six facing each other using three lanes that are two-units long. Players don’t create units, but rather draw from a shuffled group of heroes to place on the battlefield. At the start of each round, players and enemies are given an increasing amount of power shards. With more shards, stronger heroes can be summoned, so the match escalates no matter what.

scrap force 3The hero variety is really what gives Scrap Force its depth. Every new warrior has his or her own quirks to learn. Some can attack as soon as they are placed. Others steal power shards with each hit. Some kids can move in more directions while others just have more sheer strength. There are tons of strategies and counter-strategies to form using these unique abilities in concert. Skillfully balance these fighters to defeat alien foes and topple their base. Using items like bowling balls and hot dog dynamite helps, too. And with its simple 3D playground characters and environments, the whole thing has a neat Backyards Sports vibe. Except it’s galactic warfare instead of football.

scrap force 4In between rounds, players can summon new heroes and upgrade old ones with the scrap they’ve collected. Downtime isn’t optional either, since the game’s freemium timers keep players from just blasting through the campaign. That means players will be spending a lot of time with these child soldiers. But given what we’ve played so far, that might not be such a bad thing.

So be on the lookout for Scrap Force once it fully launches soon.

21 Dice Review

21 Dice Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
21 Dice is a diamond surrounded by a lot of rough.

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Celleste Review

Celleste Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Celleste's style can't save its tedious gameplay.

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Hey there, town-builders:
Want to know what we thought about the Ice Age team’s adventures in environmental preservation? Check out our Ice Age Adventures Review!

While we may have to wait a few years before the next ‘Ice Age’ movie, Ice Age Adventures lets fans pass the time with Sid, Manny, and Diego on the go. The great thaw has caused the world to crack, leaving friends stranded and the community in disarray. Here are some tips for saving everybody and making the village as good as new. Who else is going to rescue Ray Romano?

The Meltdown

ice age adventures 5
You’ll spend most of your time exploring the different islands for treasures and members of the village.

  • You’ll need to clear paths to get around. As your party expands, you’ll be able to clear more obstacles. Sid cuts trees, Manny tramples rocks, and Diego fights off enemy pirates. However, this also consumes your berry reserves faster.
  • Clearing paths gives you tons of shells – another currency for store. Finding clams, particularly golden clams, is also a great way to gain resources.
  • A few times a day you can enter the various caves on the islands. They provide everything from extremely valuable golden acorns to chances to rescue even more lost baby animals.
  • Rescuing a member of the herd typically involves playing a short mini-game like sledding downhill or solving a match-3 puzzle. Take them seriously though, because failure leads to a lengthy wait before the next chance to try again.
  • To unlock more parts of the map, you’ll occasionally have to gather items like vines and torches for friendly characters. Caves and shells are usually the best places to look. You’ll have to complete most of each island’s missions before moving onto the next one.
  • You can always go back to past islands to find things you may have missed or enter caves again for the chance to win more prizes.


    Continue reading Ice Age Adventures – Tips, Tricks, and Strategies for Keeping it Cool »

  • Ice Age Adventures Review

    Ice Age Adventures Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Ice Age Adventures is a like a greatest hits collection of casual iOS games.

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    High Five Hero Review

    High Five Hero Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    High Five Hero is a fun, but fleeting, ode to enthusiasm.

    Read The Full Review »
    99 Challenges Review

    99 Challenges Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    99 Challenges is an okay way to torture yourself.

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    Super Scrapped Robot Review

    Super Scrapped Robot Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Super Scrapped Robot would feel right at home on a certain classic handheld.

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    Angels in the Sky Review

    Angels in the Sky Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Angels in the Sky is a technically impressive, but rigid and creatively soulless shooting gallery.

    Read The Full Review »
    Mister Beam Review

    Mister Beam Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Mister Beam's puzzles are great. But its platforming? Not so much.

    Read The Full Review »
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