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Tiny Kingdom Review

Posted by Rob Rich on February 8th, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Developer: bin meng
Price: FREE
Version: 2.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Playtime Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar


What’s this? An entire kingdom I can run on my iPhone? Egads! Yeah, I know, but Tiny Kingdom actually does a pretty impressive job of combining more “hardcore” free-to-play elements with an accessible and even casual-friendly approach. I’d even call it a worthwhile gateway game into more sim-heavy freemium titles.

Tiny Kingdom should feel familiar with anyone who’s dabbled in more advanced sim-style free-to-play games. There are a number of buildings to construct and upgrade in order to earn more resources, special hero units to hire and individually level-up, smaller soldier units to train en masse and assign to said heroes, etc. For the uninitiated it’s essentially like a simplified medieval strategy game but with a little more micro management that one might expect and a bit less of a focus on combat. At least initially.

One of the things that always turned me off to more complex free-to-play sims is the visuals. Not to say that they looked “bad,” just that the screen tended to get crowded with tiny buildings very quickly and became confusing to look at. Not so with Tiny Kingdom. The city screen is colorful, all of the structures are called out in an easily identifiable manner, and multiple buildings such as barracks and mines are all clustered together as one. Tapping on the mine will bring up the screen with all the individual mines to manage, but not having every single one represented on the main screen takes a huge load off my eyes. Having a build queue tab is also incredibly nice as it can show players exactly what is being constructed, how much time is left, and how many free construction slots they still have left. All at a glance.

Despite being far more user-friendly than a number of similar titles, Tiny Kingdom still misses a few details. The tutorial is relatively brief, which is nice, but it doesn’t fully explain everything. In fact, almost half of the city’s buildings (the World Mine, City Wall, War of Valor, etc) aren’t explained at all. They can be figured out for the most part but not having even the slightest clue how to utilize them at first can be a bit awkward. A more significant issue is the way information is displayed in the menus. For one thing there’s no unit cap display, so there’s no easy way of knowing how many units a given hero can take on. A lot of it is also purely text and numbers which makes telling exactly what resource might be needed for a given project incredibly hard to figure out at a glance. Plus it’s impersonal.

Tiny Kingdom is still very much a fun and accessible freemium sim. It’s definitely easier to get into than many of its peers, just not quite as much as I’d have hoped. Still, it’s certainly worth a look.

Pixel People Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on January 31st, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: WHY IS THIS FUN?
Players beware: despite being simple and seemingly without any real purpose, Pixel People is inexplicably tough to put down.
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PyramidVille Adventure Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on January 27th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: JOBS OF THE NILE
Build, expand and maintain an Egyptian city in this iOS adaptation of the Facebook hit.
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Get Along Little Extra-Terrestrials, the Space Frontier Awaits

Posted by Rob Rich on December 8th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

The year is 2150. The Earth's resources have been completely drained, so humanity is forced to seek out a suitable replacement in the vast emptiness of space. It's a song and dance any sci-fi fans is familiar with, but one that's often overlooked as a backdrop for a video game. Space Frontier takes that backdrop and turns it into the game's entire basis for existence.

Thirty different planets are out there to colonize, with a total of forty stages to complete. Each habitable world has its own special circumstances and conditions, so what might make for a successful settling on one may not work on another. Factoring in the various missions and scoring that's based on a player's speed of completion, and we have ourselves one consistently playable little space adventure.

Anyone anxious to start their own space-age real estate business can give Space Frontier a look right now. $3.99 is all it'll take to get the ball rolling.

Lords Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Rob Rich on November 28th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: SERFS UP
Lords takes the formula pioneered by other popular free-to-play PvP games and improves the heck out of it.
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Civilization Revolution for iPad Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Chris Kirby on May 16th, 2010
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: AN EVOLUTION
Accompanied by very little fanfare, 2K Games launched the iPad version of Civilization Revolution. It's a spectacular game that seems finally fully realized thanks to the iPad's beautiful, large screen.
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