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X-Mercs: Invasion Hands-On Preview - Extraterrestrial Combat Gone Free

Posted by Rob Rich on March 11th, 2015

X-Mercs: Invasion is a game about saving the world from evil aliens. And from evil mercenaries. You shoot lots of evil stuff in the face, really. You’ll slowly start to unlock new things to do as you progress, but your activities are mostly divided between four tasks: sending squads on missions, researching new technologies, manufacturing items and equipment, and building up your base of operations. If you’re looking around and thinking this sounds like a free-to-play XCOM, well, you’re not wrong. That’s totally what it is. Don’t write it off yet, however.

What really struck me is how much thought was put into these tasks and wait timers - yes, there are wait timers. Manufacturing items takes varying amounts of time, resources, and money, depending on what you’re putting together. Research follows a similar pattern, although you can only ever research something once so the initial cost is a bit higher. Of course building new structures and clearing out space also takes a certain amount of real time to finish, and should be familiar to anyone who’s played a free town builder before. Lastly there are the soldiers, who will take time to heal up if they’re wounded in combat.

I found that I really didn’t mind the waiting in this case. It’s not all that far removed from having to wait for wounded soldiers to heal or for new tech to be researched in XCOM, and in an weird way it actually works really well on a thematic level. I mean, if my shotgunner was inches from death when I extracted the team, it kind of makes sense that he’d need some time to get back into fighting shape. Severity is a factor, but in my experience heal times can take anywhere from a minute to 20. Fortunately you can also have soldiers waiting in the barracks, then put them on the team to fill any gaps and get back to fighting.

The tactical combat is also reminiscent of that other game I keep referencing, however there are only three main soldier classes and you won’t have to deal with figuring out what the rookies will eventually specialize in (although there’s technically a fourth class since any soldiers that have been KIA can be brought back as a cyborg, complete with a unique skill tree). Another key difference is that the items (just items, not equipment) you manufacture are consumable, so any one of your soldiers can chuck a grenade or two during a mission but you’ll need to remember to make more. Or you could just stockpile them like I tend to do, sine they’re really cheap to make. What’s also really interesting is that the items you need to speed up production (nanites) can be purchased using in-game currency. I’m curious to see how people will respond to such an approach.

I do have a few concerns about repetitive missions, PvP elements (I haven’t been able to try it out yet), tiny text, having trouble telling what can be tapped on in the menu and what’s just set dressing (it took me days to figure out what to tap on to access the Shop), and the ridiculous outfits and physical dimensions of the female characters, but I am currently messing around with a beta build. So who knows how much any of that may change for the final release?

Age of Sparta Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on March 10th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: THIS IS....NOT BAD
Age of Sparta is a typical freemium strategy game, but one that's slightly above the rest.
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Super Soccer Club Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on March 10th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: SIMPLE STRATEGY
Think strategy gaming when it comes to Super Soccer Club, rather than the conventional management experience.
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Overkill 3 Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Tre Lawrence on March 5th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: COVERED
Cover system gameplay in the third-person.
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Pro Feel Golf Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Tre Lawrence on February 20th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: ON PAR
Chasing par in a realistic setting.
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Walking War Robots Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Tre Lawrence on February 20th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: ROBOT MMO
A mechanized MMO battler with some teeth.
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World Zombination Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on February 19th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: A FUN TWIST
World Zombination is a fun twist on the base building/tower defense format, and it really does feel original.
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Spider-Man Unlimited Update Brings New Characters and Other Elements

Posted by Tre Lawrence on February 6th, 2015
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: PLEASANT SURPRISE :: Read Review »

Spider-Man Unlimited, the endless runner from Gameloft based on Marvel's famous web slinger, has received some major goodies in its latest update.

New Update Features:
- 8 NEW Spiders including Spider-Punk, Anya Corazon, Classic Spider-Woman, and Earth X Spider-Man!
- Make the ultimate subway run! Experience the all-new realistic subway environment straight from New York City.
- Jennix and Daemos are the latest Inheritors to enter the dimension! They join their brothers, Morlun and Karn, as the brain and brawn of the family and look to devour every Spider-Man ever!
- Go deeper into the Spider-Verse comics than ever before, featuring a new rivalry between two Spider-Men in new narrative events!
- Another upcoming Community Vote lets the fans decide which new Spider will make an appearance. Coming soon!

We had an opportunity to review Spider-Man Unlimited last year, and mostly liked it. The game is available for free (with optional in-app purchases) on the App Store.

Star Wars: Commander Gets a Big New Update, Adds Time-Limited Campaign

Posted by Tre Lawrence on February 5th, 2015
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: CLASH OF THE FORCE :: Read Review »

Fans of Star Wars: Commander are in for some good news: Disney and Lucasfilm are updating the game with a time-limited campaign called "Secret Alliances."

The new campaign brings a host of new units and features; per the press release:

Campaign Reward units include:

Universal
· Johhar Kessen Hero Unit: Former senator Kessen's custom sniper blaster, "Karina," deals extreme damage to soft targets. While he can out-range many static defenses, his ability to damage them is low.

Rebel
· A-Wing Starship Strike: The Rebel Alliance uses A-Wing starfighters to support ground forces. Their powerful weaponry employs an advanced targeting system, concentrating firepower to dispatch particle shields. (Requires Starship Command)

· HWK-290 Starship Strike: Originally manufactured without weapons, this HWK-290 freighter was outfitted to drop incendiary bombs. The bomb blast affects a moderate area, making it most effective against infantry, but also very capable for attacking enemy HQs.

Empire
· TIE Advanced Starship Strike: A newly developed advanced prototype of the TIE Starfighter line, these starships are equipped with a highly sophisticated target tracking system, making them extremely useful against shields. (Requires Starship Command)

· VT-49 Decimator Starship Strike: Receiving command of a VT-49 Decimator is considered an honor in the Imperial Navy. Used as a raiding vessel, this ship drops firebombs which burn a moderate area. It is most effective against infantry, but also very capable for attacking enemy HQs.

New Features:
· Contraband: A new currency called "Contraband" will be introduced with this build. Players will be able to unlock a new, powerful unit that can only be leveled up using this currency.

· Traps: Players will be able to place three new traps around their base as a defense mechanic. Traps will have to be 'reloaded' using currency once they have been used to defend a base in battle.

We had an opportunity to formally review Star Wars: Commander last year. It's available for free (with optional in-app purchases) on the App Store now.

Bring Vengence to Your Foes With Vainglory's New Hero, Arden

Posted by Jessica Fisher on February 2nd, 2015
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: VAIN EVENT :: Read Review »

Meet Ardan, Super Evil Megacorp’s newest hero for their popular MOBA, Vainglory. Ardan is joining the Halcyon Fold as a Protector Tank who uses special energy, called vengeance, to power his special attacks. You can build up vengeance by fighting enemies with normal attacks, or using critical strikes and abilities. Arden can also dash to allies while damaging nearby enemies, perform a leaping attack that deals deals crystal and weapon damage, and create an area that damages enemies and stuns them.

This new addition comes alongside a few new updates including the ability to play your own music while in the game. Super Evil Megacorp has also improved the matchmaking so that experienced players are less likely to match with new players, reduced the network traffic, added auto-correct to chat, and more.

You can check out this big update for Vainglory for free on the App Store.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on February 2nd, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: BULKY STRATEGY
Despite its looks, this Warhammer 40k strategy game is about as graceful and elegant as the bulky space marines being portrayed.
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The Sandbox Gets Exclusive Update, Adds Invincible Characters Campagin

Posted by Tre Lawrence on January 29th, 2015
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: CREATE :: Read Review »

The batch of pixelated goodness known as The Sandbox is no stranger to update goodness, and its latest build brings in yet more interesting features.

The latest update reveals a collaboration with Robery Kirkman's Invincible comics characters.

★ THE SUPER-HEROES CAMPAIGN ★
Battle against villains and restore peace in the world with the heroes from Invincible! Heroes Team! Punch enemies, solve puzzles, and make your heroes work as a team by toggling between them!

Discover the incredible powers of our 4 new super-heroes elements: Dupli-Kate, Invincible, Rex-Splode and Monster Girl! (Based on the comic book series entitled “Invincible" created by Robert Kirkman, Corey Walker and Ryan Ottley)

We had an opportunity to review The Sandbox a while back, and loved it.

The update is out now, with the game available for free (with optional in-app purchases) on the App Store. The new update trailer is below:

Earthworm Alchemy Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on January 27th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: FEED THE WORM
Feed this funny looking worm and dodge bombs in this charming, free-to-play arcade game.
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Heroes of Gaia Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on January 26th, 2015
Our rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar :: TIMERS OF MIGHT AND MAGIC
This free-to-play rpg looks a lot like Heroes of Might and Magic, but it's poor interface and layering of mechanics makes it feel unnecessarily messy.
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ANNO: Build An Empire Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on January 22nd, 2015
Our rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar :: CLUNKY BUILDING
A shadow of the franchise it's based upon, ANNO: Build an Empire isn't a very good freemium city builder.
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