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Pocket Fort HD Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad only
By Rob Rich on August 7th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: LIFELESS
Pocket Fort HD seems to borrow heavily from another source, but its total lack of fun is the real disappointment.
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BlocksWorld HD Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad only
By Rob Rich on August 1st, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: BRICK THE WORLD
BlocksWorld HD is more toy than it is game, but it can be entertaining to mess around with.
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Galaxy At War Online Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on June 18th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: THE FAMILIAR FRONTIER
Galaxy At War Online has all the familiar trappings of many compelling freemium games. The problem is that it's a very familiar formula. And it's not actually free at the moment.
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Fantasy Quest Review

Posted by Rob Rich on March 28th, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Developer: GAMEVIL
Price: FREE
Version: 1.10
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Playtime Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

[rating:overall]

I’m just going to say it: Fantasy Quest has a slow burn to it. Not that it’s bad once things pick up, but until it reaches that point it can be a fairly significant grind. And not the fun sort of grind, either. Thankfully once players get past that initial roadblock they’ll find a free-to-play kingdom building RPG that isn’t all that easy to put down.

Fantasy Quest is essentially two kinds of free-to-play games in one. There’s the town building with all the expectant tax collection and land expansion, and the energy-reliant RPG-ing with a number of different characters and quests. Both feed into each other, of course, with buildings created in town effecting what characters can be hired for a team and goods earned from slaying goblins and such necessary for expanding the town. It’s all fairly simple in practice but there’s also has a sort of refined elegance to the way each aspect plays off of the other, as well as how they’re both very accessible without being mindless.

The kingdom building aspects are mostly typical of a lot of free-to-play games these days with the exception of being able to raid other players’ settlements. Not that this is a new idea, but the way it’s implemented is pretty clever: stamina is needed to attack specific buildings and each hit (damage determined by the questing team, surrounding buildings, etc) coughs up various resources, including Valor that acts as a kind of special currency. What I find refreshing about it is the fact that being raided doesn’t incite rage. Sure I might lose a few coins, but I hardly lose enough to get mad over and raiding other players can more than make up for lost income.

The actual RPG-like quests can be entertaining as well, although they don’t really pick up until after a third party member is acquired. It can be incredibly slow going at first but once that threshold is passed players will find themselves with a competent group of adventurers, each with their own sets of equipment to manage and special skills to learn. It’s a little unfortunate that there isn’t a larger selection of basic units (only one of each type can be bought with non-premium currency) but it isn’t exactly a game breaking detail. A more significant (and literally game breaking) problem is the occasional crash or server hang-up while in the middle of a fight. Again, not so bad when all that’s really lost is a little time and some energy that replenishes at a fairly generous rate, but it can still be irritating.

Fantasy Quest feels a bit like a slow “me too” kind of fantasy freemium game at first, but it really does come into its own once players progress past the intro phase. It’s definitely a good time so long as one has the patience.

Ninja, Inc. Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Rob Rich on January 24th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: WE ARE NINJA
This ninja tower-builder with a healthy dose of zombie-slaying feels a little loose at times, but it can be surprisingly tough to step away from.
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Nemo's Reef Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Angela LaFollette on January 8th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: JUST KEEP SWIMMING
Gamers help Nemo and his dad build the coolest reef ever in this freemium builder, but the limited gameplay may cause some to swim away from this title.
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Towers & Dungeons Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on December 5th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: TOO CUTE. NO
Build a tower that stretches to the heavens or a dungeon that reaches into the depths of the earth in this free-to-play builder that's high on style, and unfortunately overdrawn on adorable.
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Pocket Festival Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Angela LaFollette on November 28th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: MUSIC FESTIVAL BUILDER
Gamers work hard to create the biggest music festival ever in this freemium builder, but the gameplay doesn’t stand out enough to make this title a must-have.
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Clash of Clans Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on August 3rd, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: LET SLIP THE CLANS
This social freemium town-builder offers up something a little different for a change: a singleplayer experience.
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Jurassic Park Builder Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on July 30th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: SPARED NO EXPENSE
Not content with that initial monumental failure, John Hammond and crew set out to create a new Jurassic Park. With a little help from iOS users.
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Keep Customers Happy (and Play God a Little) in Zooniverse

Posted by Rob Rich on June 29th, 2012

It’s always nice to see something a little different in a market saturated with a bunch of “Me, Too” freemium titles. Chillingo's Zooniverse is one such deviation for a couple of different reasons, not just because of the unobtrusive tutorial. Seriously, it’s incredible how many developers think interrupting the player with pop-up boxes is “good.” *deep breaths*

While Zooniverse is about running a zoo first and foremost, it’s also about keeping the customers happy. These core customer demographics are divided into three main categories: men, women, and children. Each group has its own preferences when it comes to facilities and adorable critters to ogle, so it’s important to find a balance that caters to everyone. Making more people happy means more money, and more money means being able to expand the zoo with more enclosures, animals, and just space in general.

A great deal of critters ranging from woodland to aquatic, and even prehistoric and outright impossible, can be housed in the many available enclosures. Once an animal is settled in, be it through a purchase or breeding, players have to make sure to keep it well fed. Starvation won’t result in horrible complex-forming consequences, but it will cause the creatures to stop earning cash. So, you know, don’t be a jerk and keep them well-fed.

The burning question of what happens with a mouse is bred with a hippo (a Hippopotamouse) will finally be answered for free later this summer.

Roblade Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on June 18th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: A ROUGH DRAFT
The potential is there, but this arena brawler with robust robot customization needs some streamlining.
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Blocksworld Makes All Inner Children Squeal with Glee

Posted by Rob Rich on June 12th, 2012

Everyone’s messed around with building bocks in some form or another at some point in their life. Everyone. It’s kind of a universal thing. Which is a big reason as to why I’m somewhat amazed that very few people have attempted to merge the concept with interactive design. It’s one of those ideas that doesn’t seem obvious until someone comes up with it. And Boldai came up with it.

Blocksworld is, in essence, a set of virtual building blocks. Structures can be cobbled together, tiny people can be crafted, and all manner of impossible creations can appear with a few taps and flicks. But simply creating a thing is only the beginning. Once that mutant frog or towering skyscraper is complete, it can be brought to life or used as an asset in an animated movie or even video game. This is because it’s more than just a sandbox, it’s an incredibly easy to use toolset for creative types.

Any iOS user can open up Blocksworld and create whatever their imagination can come up with. Then they can use it to create their own action movie or turn it into a game, then they can share it with the world on the official website. Or Twitter and Facebook, of course. The tools are rudimentary but the sky is indeed the limit.

Blocksworld is still in beta but is expected to release later this summer. There’s no official word on pricing yet but users will be able to purchase additional content packs (prices also TBD) in order to bolster their creative arsenal.

Dungeon Village Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on June 5th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: RP-GLEE
Even after game development, feudal Japan, malls, alien worlds, indie racing, and even high school, Kairosoft still manages to find new territory to cover.
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Tiny Monsters Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on April 10th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: DAAAAWWWWWWW
Hatch and raise all manner of bizarre creatures in this freemium "pet shelter" sim.
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