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Critter Escape! Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on August 17th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: SCIENTIFIC PROGRESS GOES *POOF*
It's madness, mayhem, and lots of hats in this wacky maze chase.
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Critter Escape! to Overrun the App Store Soon

Posted by Rob Rich on June 29th, 2012

Scientists seem to love locking up tiny animals and experimenting on them. At least in video game fiction. The fortunate thing about this is that it makes for plenty of opportunities to create a game based around escaping the evil scientific facility. In this particular instance it’s the driving factor behind Chillingo and Kiz Studios’ new maze chase iOS title, Critter Escape!.

As is to be expected, players will have to guide a “so ugly it’s cute” critter through level after level of increasingly perplexing mazes full of enemies, obstacles, power-ups, and challenges. Simply completing a stage should be simple enough no matter the player’s gaming prowess, but getting the coveted three star rating will require some fairly significant skills. Especially in the latter half of the game’s 120 levels. This requires not only making it to the exit, but also grabbing the crystal hidden somewhere in the maze, as well as completing a specific challenge such as finishing without being seen or under a certain time limit.

Critter Escape! isn’t just “another” maze chase game, however. While it defaults to a line-drawing control scheme (other options are available, including a virtual stick), it’s a very smart line-drawing controls scheme that automatically finds its way around obstacles. It also features a wealth of customization options that can be cosmetic (i.e. a funny hat) or both cosmetic and game-changing (i.e. a ninja suit that makes it easier to avoid guards). There’s also plenty of hidden content (bonus levels, etc) to encourage repeat play.

Keep an eye out for on-the-lamb potato monsters at the end of the summer, when Critter Escape! will be available to the masses for $0.99.

Strikefleet Omega Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jason Wadsworth on June 27th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: STELLAR
Guide the remaining elements of humanity's military in an attempt to destroy the alien forces bent on the destruction of the race.
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Real Escape Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on June 22nd, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: BIT OF A MESS
It makes good use of some new iOS Device features, but Real Escape slips up on one of the most basic essentials.
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Dotard's Escape Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on June 19th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: WALK AROUND IN CIRCLES
Get the old guy through the maze in one piece and win a trip to another maze!
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ChickenBreak Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jason Wadsworth on May 21st, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: POULTRY POWER
How long can this chicken survive its escape from captivity.
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Zombies, Run! Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Jason Wadsworth on March 14th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: TERRIFYING EXERCISE FUN
Run along with a story of survival during a zombie apocalypse and out run zombie hordes while helping other survivors.
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Sminis Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jason Wadsworth on March 13th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: FEARLESS ROBO PUZZLING
Guide lines of trundling robots on their escape from an evil factory.
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Escape Review

Posted by Carter Dotson on January 23rd, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Developer: Incredible Ape
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPod touch 4, iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Game Controls Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

[rating:overall]

Notable Flash games site Kongregate has launched their first published title for mobile, Escape. Developed by Incredible Ape, this game can be most easily described as a cross-between the wall-jumping gameplay of NinJump or Ninjatown: Trees of Doom, with the retro art aesthetic and unforgiving difficulty of Semi Secret's Gravity Hook HD. Players control a ninja who must escape from the pit it finds itself in by rapidly jumping between walls, and staying above the laser that is coming up to try and vaporize it. Also, the walls have spikes on them, because what is a task without some obstacles in the way?

Escape's pixel art is simple but looks great on high-resolution screens. The chiptune soundtrack fits well, being fast-paced and high-intensity, a great fit for this game. The sessions are very short, lasting only a few seconds before death, due to the challenge, which means that a high score is typically not far away. The game's fast pace and ability to jump faster when perfectly timed leads to an interesting dilemma for players: risk sudden death by trying to ascend quickly, or take it slow-ish, knowing that one wrong move might be the end? It's an interesting amount of strategy for such a fast-paced game.

Yet, this mid-game strategization comes with a curious subtlety to the jumping controls that I don't quite know if it works that well given how fast the game goes. Holding down longer causes the player to jump higher, and tapping quickly causes a shorter jump. It just seems too difficult in the environment of the game to determine just how precise of a jump must be used in order to not die.

On iOS, the game doesn't use Game Center at all, it uses a Kongregate login solely for high scores and achievements. I understand that they published the game, and I wouldn't have a problem if it was alongside Game Center integration, but to leave it out for their proprietary network is not fair to iOS gamers. As well, is there any reason why an in-app web view couldn't have been used instead of kicking out to Safari to view leaderboards and achievements on the Kongregate website?

Escape is a fun, challenging diversion for the retro-minded endless jumping fan. Try out the Flash-based web version first, and enjoy the mechanic that sadly didn't translate to mobile: hitting the escape key to jump.

Curio Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jason Wadsworth on December 22nd, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: CRAZY
Escape a mental asylum and insanity at the same time by running as far as possible without letting Ron lose his wits.
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Swing Away Review

By Rob Rich on December 14th, 2011
Help a sad monkey earn his freedom, and have a vine-swinging good time doing it.
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Hellbreak Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on November 18th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: BRUTAL
Hellbreak might be about escaping the horrors of Down Below, but should it really be this tough?
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Escape to Earth - or at Least Get the Heck Out of Space-Dodge

Posted by Rob Rich on November 7th, 2011

Okay, I'm obviously kidding but the inclusion of Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum wouldn't be all that out of place in Escape to Earth. Someone's been captured by aliens, then somehow miraculously manages to escape their captors and hijack a ship. The only problem is they have to get out of the mothership before they can taste real freedom. Or smoke those cigars. Last Independence Day reference, I promise.

So players will find themselves in control of yet another space-faring vessel, however things aren't as derivative as they might initially seem. It's true that they'll have to blast away at many an aggressive extra-terrestrial along the way, but Escape to Earth is about more than just blowing stuff up. In addition to the other-worldly armaments (i.e. a laser and missiles), players also have access to a tractor beam and "repulser" which are needed to solve a number of physics-based environmental puzzles. So if they ever want to see Earth again, they'll have to use both their brain and their trigger fingers.

Those interested in fighting (and puzzling) their way through this interstellar labyrinth can do so right now. Escape to Earth is already on the App Store, and it can be had for the low/standard price of one dollar.

e3D: SpaceShip Teaches Us to Survive a Space Pirate Attack (Not Really)

Posted by Rob Rich on October 13th, 2011
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

I can't help but wonder; once mankind has branched out into space and begun to colonize new worlds and so on, would they really call them "Space Pirates?" I mean, they're already in space. Space is kind of where everyone goes now. Why not just call them "Pirates?" But I'm getting (way) off-subject here. I'm not supposed to be discussing possible semantics for situations I'll never encounter in the far future, I'm supposed to be talking about e3D: SpaceShip, a new "Escape" game from Bored.com.

After getting boarded and captured by these pirates who frequent space, players have to escape (duh) and take the ship back. The game follows the expected formula of finding objects, occasionally combining these objects and using them to solve all manner of puzzles. In space. Additionally, extra collectibles can be found and completion times are posted to Game Center. And who doesn't love a good speed run or collectible hunt?

Anyone with even an ounce of interest in puzzle-solving or Escape-themed games can download e3D: SpaceShip right this very moment. It's even free!


Ellie - Help me out...please Makes Exiting a Room Scary

Posted by Rob Rich on August 5th, 2011
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

I've never really been "into" Escape games, but I have dabbled. It's not that I dislike them, it's just that I generally prefer my adventure/puzzle games to involve more character interaction and humor (i.e. of the LucasArts variety). The desolate environments for these kinds of games are somewhat of a downer for me, so I have to really be in a particular mood to want to play one.

Ellie - Help me out... please has put a Japanese horror spin on the fairly universal formula, adding an unsettling atmosphere to the isolation and loneliness that keeps the tension high throughout. It's a bit graphic, a little disturbing and bound to get the heart beating faster. This is not a game I'd suggest playing before bedtime, no sir.

But creepy atmosphere and personal doubts about the innocence of the trapped girl aside, what makes Ellie stand out is its interesting use of in-app purchases. An "extra room" can be purchased for players who want to keep enjoying the disturbing story and world, naturally. However, unlike many "free" games it's not ad supported nor does it lock users out until they pay for the full version. Instead, it allows users to unlock hints with real money at $1 apiece. It's an interesting idea that might not work out all that well once people start posting said hints online, but it's nice to see companies trying out new ideas when it comes to freemium pay structures.

Some may scoff at the idea of paying for answers to a couple of puzzles, but in all honesty some of these puzzles are very, very hard. That one with the drawers, especially. Sure it's possible to jump online and try to look up the answers, but I expect a good many players might be too involved in their game to interrupt it like that. I think it might be easier for some to just bite the bullet and spend the buck so they can move on. And I think the folks at Ateam Inc are thinking that, too.

Only time will tell us if their idea works, but if it does it may well open up new possibilities for freemium games. I'm quite curious to see how this all works out.