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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
Plancon: Space Conflict Review

Plancon: Space Conflict Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Plancon: Space Conflict is a slick and surprisingly accessible space sim.

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Tesla Wars II

Tesla Wars II

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Tesla Wars strikes back in this similar but superior sequel.

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Starband Troopers Review

Starband Troopers Review

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Starband Troopers gives RPGs a fresh new rhythm.

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Plummet Free Fall Review

Plummet Free Fall Review

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
At least it's more fun than actually falling down a well.

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Zoidtrip Review

Zoidtrip Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Zoidtrip is a warm and weird journey under the waves.

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Spirefall Review

Spirefall Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Spirefall is a twisty, terrific platforming tower.

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Combo Quest Review

Combo Quest Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Combo Quest is RPG combat cut right to the bone.

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Realms Review

Realms Review

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Realms is the video game version of "go with the flow."

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Katatak Review

Katatak Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
This feline murder simulator looks fancy, but it's far from a feast.

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Hey there, amateur virtual pilots:
Are you wondering whether or not it’s worth getting this invested in a plane construction sim in the fist place? Check out our SimplePlanes review!

Building planes in real life is complicated, so it only makes sense that constructing your own flying machines in SimplePlanes is complicated, too. The game does a lot to explain its depth to would-be engineers, but it can still get a little overwhelming. So are here are some simple tips for building better simple planes.

Plane English

simpleplanes 2
Easily the most daunting aspect of creating your first airplane is just figuring out all the vocabulary words. So here’s a little cheat sheet to help you keep them all straight.

Continue reading SimplePlanes – Tips, Tricks, and Strategies to Conquer your Fear of Flying »

SimplePlanes Review

SimplePlanes Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
"Simple" is the last word we'd use to describe this flight sim.

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COLORACE Review

COLORACE Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
COLORACE is a simple but incredibly sleek endless trip.

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Violet: Space Mission Review

Violet: Space Mission Review

iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Violet: Space Mission's methodical cosmic action isn't for the impatient.

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Who Wore it Best? Best of 2014

It’s the end of the year, so it’s time for some arbitrary internet awards! In this wrap-up episode of Who Wore it Best? we present our winners for the best, worst, and flat-out weirdest cloned games that graced the App Store in 2014.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt may still be a few months away, but very soon players will be able to get a new taste of the acclaimed Polish RPG on their mobile devices with The Witcher Battle Arena. While it trades open-world exploration for compact multiplayer brawls, we see how much of that old Witcher charm remains in this edition of It Came From Canada!

The Witcher Battle Arena definitely has a lot of MOBA elements, but its changes are significant enough to keep it from fitting squarely into that genre. Players choose from a handful of characters from Witcher lore, like lumbering trolls or agile archers, each with their own skills to master like giant arrows or fire storms. From there they team up with two other players to fight another team of three, whether it’s online humans or bots, to the death.

witcher battle arena (6)
But instead of using typical MOBA ideas like creeps or lanes or turrets or crystals, here battles boil down to direct confrontations and capturing outposts. To whittle their opponents’ health to zero, players kill their foes as well as maintain control over the three outposts as long as possible. Conquering a neutral outpost takes just a few moments, but once they are all quickly snapped up, players must last long enough to completely steal control points for their team. This back and forth makes up much of the game. Although the limited arenas are compact to the point of claustrophobic, teams must still make sure not to spread themselves too thin as they try to take enemy territory while simultaneously protecting the base. The variety of skills and shop upgrades add to the tactics, and just one well-executed surge can move a match from a stalemate to a decisive victory in minutes. It’s about being in the thick of constant carnage instead of sneakily circumventing it looking for the last kill. Compared to most MOBAs, it’s less detached.

witcher battle arena (7)
It also looks pretty good considering its unenviable position of being compared to a gorgeous AAA console cousin. The smaller maps allow for more details and the grim fantasy aesthetic of The Witcher shines through. It may not surpass Vainglory’s visuals, which are a graphical showcase for iOS MOBAs and iOS games (period), but it’s impressive nonetheless.

Just as The Witcher refuses to be like all other RPGs, The Witcher Battle Arena rejects rigid MOBA conventions. We’ll see how well that pays off when the game fully launches soon.

My Little Monster Review

My Little Monster Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
What's it worth to make your own monster?

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It Came From Canada: Heavenstrike Rivals

Over their long history, Square Enix has become synonymous with big, epic, blockbuster Japanese RPGs. But while mobile may be a great place for ports of classics like Chrono Trigger, when crafting a new game the company has to make something a little more modest than Final Fantasy XII 3. Heavenstrike Rivals is that new game, and we see how well it lives up to its pedigree in this edition of It Came From Canada!

While the game was made in collaboration with English studio Mediatonic, it’s hard not to notice the Final Fantasy style all over it. From the exciting but ultimately nonsensical name, to the plot involving brave youths rescuing a quaint and vaguely European world from a rising darkness, it’s pretty obvious where this game comes from. Fortunately it also has production values that rival its AAA cousins. The illustrated artwork is luscious and detailed, battle animations for the chibi characters are a delight, and the jaunty music sets the mood for adventure.

heavenstrike rivals (5)

And players will need to be in the mood because Heavenstrike Rivals‘ strategic gameplay will demand a lot of their time, even if it is broken up into chunks via energy meters. Using units they’ve gathered, players face off against opponents on a board game-like grid. The goal is to have their army reach the end and begin attacking the other player directly. However, this requires fighting through the enemy units coming after them. It’s a straightforward idea, and the compact arena limits more extravagant strategies, but the game does offer depth through its unit variety.

Players gain access to more of their forces over the course of the round, and knowing all their quirks is where the fun begins. From the fighters’ increasing strength, to the scouts’ multiple hits, to the defenders’ shields, to the gunners’ range, effectively combining these abilities is the key to an effective squad. Plus it’s just satisfying to watch an enemy fall for your carefully planned trap. Outside of battle players can improve their squad even more by leveling-up stats, modifying magic users, and recruiting special vanguards to lead the assault.

heavenstrike rivals (6)

A few years ago, Square Enix released a little strategy game for DSiWare called Dragon Quest Wars that entertained in a way similar to Heavenstrike Rivals. We’ll see if the larger App Store audience will be as receptive when the new game launches worldwide soon.

We recently got our hands on Heavenstrike Rivals, an intriguing upcoming strategy game from Square Enix and Mediatonic that’s currently in a soft launch phase. To learn more about the game and the East/West collaboration that created it, we spoke with Masanori Ichikawa, a game producer at Square Enix, and Paul Croft, Director of Games at Mediatonic.

148Apps: First, could you give a brief overview of Heavenstrike Rivals?
Masanori Ichikawa (MI): Heavenstrike Rivals was created as a joint effort between Square Enix and Mediatonic, a studio in England. It’s a brand new tactical RPG. One of the game’s key features is the real-time PvP multiplayer.

148Apps: You described the game as a tactical RPG with PvP combat. What does that mean exactly? What would you compare it to?
MI: It means that you can battle in real-time, like if you were playing chess, over the internet with other players.

Paul Croft (PC): I would compare it to many multiplayer games you might find on PC. We have multiple types of leagues and tournaments, similar in structure to those in Starcraft 2 or League of Legends. Players can compete directly with others across the world for the top places and earn promotions into new divisions if they perform well.

Continue reading Heavenstrike Rivals – An Interview with the Makers of Square Enix’s Latest Strategy RPG »

I think by now we all know that when pocket-sized elemental creatures with awesome powers are afoot, there’s really no other choice than to try and collect all of them. And in case that last sentence wasn’t clear enough, yes, Moonrise is a lot like Pokémon. But it does put its own spin on monster battling, and we find out just how original it is in this edition of It Came From Canada!

When a peaceful race of creatures known as the Solari is corrupted into bestial Lunari through “Moonrise,” it’s up to the player to tame and purify them. But Moonrise‘s world isn’t all dark and foreboding. The game opens with the player graduating into a Warden, and it feels like a friendly martial arts exam. Still, the mood is oddly dour for such a kid-friendly genre, and part of that is due to the aesthetic. Instead of the expressive and cutesy anime characters one might expect, people look weirdly old and realistic, wearing contemporary clothing while exploring ancient ruins. The monsters themselves are more stylized, which is a given considering names like Snaptrap and Buzzle, but they also have a strange, earthy edge that tips over into almost frightening. But style aside, when it comes to visuals, what the game should focus on before launch is fixing its erratic frame rate and overall sluggish feel.

moonrise (5)

Players can take on quests and visit side towns, but monster battles are where it’s really at. In the wild, players encounter savage Lunari and can either defeat them outright or trap and train them with their limited Warden keys. Elemental match-ups follow the typical rock-paper-scissors formula where water beats fire, fire beats grass, and so on. Players can also challenge rival Wardens. Once the fighting starts, players launch their attacks in real-time. However, different attacks have different recharge periods, so players must juggle between different skills to keep up the offensive. They can use two Solari at a time and swap between them at will. Players can even use lengthy but powerful attacks of their own to give their team an extra push. It’s hard to say if this system is any better than a standard turn-based one, but at least it is different.

moonrise (4)

History has shown that the only things people “gotta catch” all of are these monster battling games themselves. Players will get their chance to snag Moonrise when the game launches worldwide soon.

Fantasy Breaker Review

Fantasy Breaker Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Fantasy Breaker features just enough changes to the typical Breakout mold to feel worthwhile.

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Tainted Keep Review

Tainted Keep Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
A beautiful exploration of an ugly world.

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Hang There Review

Hang There Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Hang There leaves players dangling by a thread.

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Slot Raiders Review

Slot Raiders Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Despite its best efforts, Slot Raiders proves slot machines can only be stretched so far.

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Bruce Lee: Enter the Game Review

Bruce Lee: Enter the Game Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Jeet Kune Do on the go.

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Primitive Review

Primitive Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
True to its name, Primitive is about as straightforward as runners get.

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Master of Tea Kung Fu Review

Master of Tea Kung Fu Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Master of Tea Kung Fu is a creative and complex caffeinated brawler.

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Slider Review

Slider Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Slider has all the excitement of unlocking your phone screen.

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Knituma Review

Knituma Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Knituma isn't the knitting simulator we need, but it's still pretty good.

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The Hunted Review

The Hunted Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
The Hunted's multiplayer thrills are overshadowed by bland visuals and average gameplay.

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Space Expedition Review

Space Expedition Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
The only thing boring about Space Expedition's lonely journey is its title.

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Latest Posts

Oceanhouse Media Celebrates Dr. Seuss’ Birthday With an Important Sale of Related Apps

I am eager to let readers know about Oceanhouse Media’s annual app sale in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday from Wednesday, February 25 through Monday, March 9. During this time, five of their best-selling Seuss stories will be on sale for $0.99 each, and there will be discounts for other classic Dr. Seuss titles as […]

This Week at 148Apps: February 23-27, 2015

Stuck in the snow? Let a few apps warm you up! Take a look at what occupied us this week.


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