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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
A Life Worth Dying For Review

A Life Worth Dying For Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
A Life Worth Dying For is a fascinating portrait of a serious subject.

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Zombie Puzzle Panic Review

Zombie Puzzle Panic Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Zombie Puzzle Panic puts some pretty neat undead twists on Match-3 puzzling.

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SBK14 Review

SBK14 Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
SBK14 technically marvels, but lacks soul.

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Thought evil dragons were just a myth? Well they’re back in Dungeon Gems. And even though the game will seem quite familiar to fans of Puzzles & Dragons, it still has intricacies of its own to master. So gather an elite team of elemental heroes to take down the monsters one dungeon at a time. Here’s how.

Fight Fire with Fire, or Water, or Wood…

dungeongems_05dungeongems_04

  • Basic attacks are launched by matching elemental gems like a puzzle game. You don’t even need to match three, just one will suffice. However, longer combos create more powerful attacks. Some even create special gems that clear a single element from the board, including new ones that cycle in to replace the old, doling out a massive assault.
  • Each element has different strengths and weaknesses. Fire beats wood but is weak against water while light and dark both beat each other. Be sure to target enemies by touching them so attacks can have the most impact.
  • Some enemies have longer waiting periods between turns. Check the number next to them and use any extra turns you may have to deal more damage or heal yourself by linking heart gems.
  • Defeating enemies grants you action points. These can be used to activate special skills or link separate elements together for huge, multi-elemental attacks.


    Continue reading Dungeon Gems- Tips, Tricks, and Strategies for Fighting Elements with the Elements »

  • Tanks vs Aliens Review

    Tanks vs Aliens Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Tanks vs Aliens provides plenty of retro shooter thrills.

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    It’s an advergaming assault on Who Wore it Best? as Grindcore and LINGsCARS compete to see which is the best interactive brand engagement.

    It Came From Canada: Bio Inc.

    Bio Inc. is an evil game. It can make players feel legitimately guilty. It’s not only about killing, but killing as subtly and fiendishly as possible. It’s about death as inevitability. After blackening our hearts and poisoning our souls, we’re here with the autopsy in this latest edition of It Came From Canada!

    Remember the villainous virus from Osmosis Jones that took pride in killing people as fast as possible? That’s basically Bio Inc.’s premise. Players dive into the body of some unsuspecting sucker and try to end their life quickly and efficiently. It’s like Trauma Center in reverse. At the start of each round, players hop between different body systems, like the brain and the skeleton, harvesting minor bacteria like resources in a strategy game. From there, they use the points they’ve acquired to unleash new ailments like the flu and insomnia. As new symptoms take their toll, players can climb further up the tech tree discovering even stronger ways to cripple their victim’s heart or immune system defenses. They can even unlock bonus risk factors to buff their attacks like making the victim smoke or eat junk food.

    bio inc 1

    But as in real life, killing in Bio Inc. isn’t that simple. Eventually the victim will go to the doctor and start receiving care. Once that happens, their recovery meter will start to go up. As the player’s attacks become more vicious and more systems start to fail, the doctors start working even harder and recovery increases faster. The game then becomes a race against time to murder the mark before the doctors can save them. Players can even use downright abhorrent sneaky tricks like making the doctors go on strike and halt recovery.

    What’s most diabolical about the game though is how its deep strategic elements make players thoughtfully plan out their dirty deeds. Target one system aggressively or spread out the infections? Pepper the body with little diseases or save up points and release The Big C? Each new victim also has specific traits like high stress or a family history of genetic deficiencies. Exploiting these facts is crucial, especially on higher difficulties. Players can even name their targets for maximum meta cruelty.

    bio inc 2

    The horror inherent to the premise is only slightly blunted by a few funny voice clips accompanying each new development. Upping the victim’s age to over 60 sounds especially, hilariously painful. But beyond that, the game pulls no punches while forcing players to watch their victim’s body slowly breakdown through the harsh, clinical interface.

    Bio Inc. isn’t available yet, so fortunately we have some time to brace ourselves for the complete extent of its malice. Once it fully launches though, it just might spell the end for our current age of innocence.

    G.O.A.T. Review

    G.O.A.T. Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    G.O.A.T. is pretty good, but it's not the greatest puzzle game of all time.

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    Miniverse Review

    Miniverse Review

    iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
    Miniverse's biggest treats are unfortunately out of reach.

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    Bricks Review

    Bricks Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    This twisted take on Breakout deftly avoids being too minimal for its own good.

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    Globber’s Escape Review

    Globber’s Escape Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Its inspirations are obvious, but Globber's Escape's frantic arcade gameplay still delivers.

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    BladeSmith Review

    BladeSmith Review

    iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
    BladeSmith's sharp ideas are dulled by borderline incomprehensible presentation.

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    Minimo Review

    Minimo Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Is there room for one more Flappy Bird clone?

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    Pi-Pi-Ee Review

    Pi-Pi-Ee Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Pi-Pi-Ee successfully balances simple rules with strategic depth.

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    ViCTOR: Virus Eradicator Review

    ViCTOR: Virus Eradicator Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    This game needs a check-up of its own.

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    Stickman Soccer 2014 Review

    Stickman Soccer 2014 Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Stickman Soccer 2014 is a good but plain take on the beautiful game.

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    Who Wore it Best? goes searching for a fresh spin on the match-3 puzzle game and two challengers emerge: Spin It and Perplexity. But who prevails?

    Phantom Flower Review

    Phantom Flower Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Classy art direction can't hide Phantom Flower's fun but fleeting gameplay.

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    Outernauts: Monster Battle Review

    Outernauts: Monster Battle Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    A harmonious mix of F2P features lead Outernaut's simple monster battling to victory.

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    Delivery Outlaw Review

    Delivery Outlaw Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Adult Swim's physics trial racer is good, but mostly wheel-spinning.

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    Ruzzle Adventure Review

    Ruzzle Adventure Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    This ambitious puzzle game sequel is a ruzzingly good time.

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    Galaxy Defense Force Review

    Galaxy Defense Force Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Galaxy Defense Force's unique shoot 'em up style runs circles around the competition.

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    Mad Road Driver Review

    Mad Road Driver Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    No one can out run the post-apocalypse, but it sure is fun to try.

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    Ripple Munch Review

    Ripple Munch Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Ripple Munch is middle of the road, middle of the food chain.

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    RYO Review

    RYO Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    RYO's simple puzzles create a rainbow of complex colors.

    Read The Full Review »

    It Came From Canada: Godus

    After messing around with giant cubes and social experiments, the famously eccentric game designer Peter Molyneux returns to the God game genre with Godus. This spiritual successor to Molyneux’s earlier game, Populous, is currently in beta on PC and has just soft launched on the New Zealand App Store. We let absolute power corrupt us absolutely in this edition of It Came From Canada!

    Witness and shape the beginning of human history in Godus. As a benevolent deity, players will guide their followers from a single hut on a beach at the dawn of time up until around the Roman Empire, although the game could certainly continue from there. The main way to achieve this is by molding the Earth and allowing the population to expand. It’s almost sad mowing down thick forests to let humanity proliferate like a virus, but such is life. There don’t seem to be any threats to the tiny citizens, like predators or natural disasters, so players can just focus on reproduction. As the population grows, the player’s godly power increases – granting them new skills like the ability to shift oceans or terraform more parts of the single, continuous map.

    godus 1The game unsurprisingly has numerous subsystems as well. More intense god powers, including burning bushes or controlling followers directly through “leashing,” draw from the belief of worshippers. Players naturally gain belief as their small world grows, but it can be purchased using the game’s real-money gem system as well. Players can also purchase sticker packs to activate the special cards they receive with each level up. These cards bestow various bonuses like faster building speeds or the ability to start settlements on different terrain. Fortunately, stickers appear naturally in the world too.

    As more of the cold, unconquered North gives way to the player’s bright civilization, players will encounter ships and beacons allowing them to interact with other players online. In fact, the grand prize for finishing 22Can’s previous game Curiosity was becoming the God of Gods in Godus, along with a share of the profits. However, in many ways the game works best as an isolated experience, an entire little world unto itself.

    godus 2That shoebox diorama quality is accentuated by the game’s almost paper cut-out art style. The solid colors and obvious layers of the landscape may not be realistic, but they’re charming. The same goes for the cute sound effects like the mysterious voices on the wind and the happy little tunes villagers whistle while they work. The distinct layers also make it easier for players to meticulously sculpt the land as they see fit. They can even make terraced steps out of the Earth for followers to climb to higher places, when their spotty path finding works that is. However, it is still a little too easy for fatter fingers to make unintended changes, which is especially annoying when those accidental changes waste precious belief.

    Still, Godus successfully captures both the tedium and the power trip of what being an all-knowing, all-powerful force must feel like. Players can get their hands on a world of their own when the game fully launches.

    It’s archery-filled madness on Who Wore it Best? as The Legend of the Holy Archer and World of Gibbets both aim for the bullseye.

    Simply Twisted Review

    Simply Twisted Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Despite its painful lack of style, Simply Twisted's loopy puzzles deliver.

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    In an App Store chock full of shameless clones, it’s always nice to see a game that expands on its influences instead of just copying them wholesale. Such is the case with Globber’s Escape, now in a soft launch phase, which clearly borrows its basic framework from the classic Pac-Man formula. But fortunately it doesn’t stop there, and we see just how far it goes in this edition of It Came From Canada!

    In Globber’s Escape, players guide a circular creature around a 2D maze collecting tiny objects and avoiding patrolling enemies. However, if they collect the right power-up they can turn the tables on their foes and gobble them up, sending baddies back to the center to regenerate. Again, it sounds like Pac-Man. But from that familiar set-up, the game starts diverging in small but clever ways.

    globber's escape 1globber's escape 2Instead of static dots, players devour little aliens that sporadically burst out of different containers on the map and mindlessly roam around the stage. This means players must always be ready to adjust their paths and strategies on the fly. Once all the critters are collected, instead of automatically starting the next round players must manually escape the room by reaching the closest open door. However, this makes them even more vulnerable to agitated enemies like evil mad scientists and almost unfairly unstoppable robots. If players do get caught, they can free Globber using the rare revive hammers sprinkled throughout each map. And when it’s game over for real, the final score goes towards increasing Globber’s level.

    In an alternate universe, Globber’s Escape is one of the better arcade games made to capitalize on Pac-Man‘s success. Along with all the mechanical twists, the game has a less breakneck and more strategic pace overall. The control scheme has players creating waypoints for Globber to follow by touching the maze, which reduces the amount of mindless, frantic tapping while still allowing players to course correct easily.

    globber's escape 3globber's escape 4However, for all of its gameplay creativity, Globber’s Escape‘s presentation sadly falls back on generic tropes. The cartoony sci-fi visuals, full of vibrant colors and angular designs, are pleasant but uninspired. The music might as well be non-existent. Some of the dialogue between the chatty tutorial robots is at least kind of amusing in a classic comedy duo way, but the game’s universe isn’t the reason to get invested.

    Instead, players should get invested because Globber’s Escape is reassuring proof that cool, new games can still come from slight tweaks to old concepts once considered done to death. They can find out for themselves though when the game launches worldwide soon.

    Paperchase Review

    Paperchase Review

    iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
    Like a piece of parchment, Paperchase is beautiful but thin.

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