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Oquonie Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Angela LaFollette on February 21st, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: PERPLEXING
This mysterious adventure puzzler will have players immersed in an odd and beautifully designed hand-drawn world.
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Penception Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on May 24th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: FINGER ART
This simple yet elegant app is almost perfect for a little on-the-go sketching.
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Liege - Upcoming Strategy RPG Showcases Beautiful Hand-Drawn Art

Posted by Andrew Stevens on April 24th, 2013

Liege is a completely hand-drawn strategy role-playing game (SRPG) that's currently in development by John Rhee of Coda Games. Touch Arcade reports that John Rhee wants to extend upon the classical SRPG format and blend a compelling character-focused narrative with an elegant tactical combat system.

Liege is early on in the development stage and isn't expected until the end of the year or early next year, but boy is it gorgeous.

NIKO And The Sword Of Light: The First Fully-Animated Hand-Drawn Comic Book App?

Posted by Jennifer Allen on March 1st, 2013

Sometimes, it's quite easy to forget how truly innovative iPhone and iPad apps can be. They can revolutionize concepts that we've taken for granted in an earlier guise, something that the folks behind NIKO and the Sword of Light hope to achieve.

Having recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to aid their project, four college friends from London and Toronto hope to change comic books massively, by launching the first fully animated hand-drawn comic book app. They certainly have the pedigree, too. Bobby Chiu and Kei Acedera, from Imaginism Studios, are well known for their work on Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland and Men in Black 3, while Adam Jeffcoat and Jim Bryson, of StudioNX, have worked for companies such as Nickelodeon, CBBC and EA Games.

With a plan to launch NIKO and the Sword of Light this summer, the team told me a little more about exactly how it all came to be and precisely why it's worth taking this Kickstarter campaign seriously.

"Niko was born from the idea that we wanted to make something different from the types of cartoons and movies that were out there. Something dark and edgy that enabled us to tell a story that would transport our audience…through awe inspiring landscapes full of wondrous characters and monstrous beasts.", explained Adam Jeffcoat. "We wanted to take the darker feel of graphic novels and combine it with the style of modern animated movies to come up with something that would appeal to both adults and children alike!"


As he explains, the story is set to be a classic battle between "dark versus light" with "one tiny hero against all the odds." After all, it's an apt concept given that "[the] real world always seems to be faced with so much darkness every time you turn on the news." Discussing the team's addiction to TV shows such as Game of Thrones and Spartacus, Adam pointed out that they "love the idea that our world could have once been a place where magic existed, where dragons roamed and where the forces of dark and light were at constant war with each other."

Further inspiration stemmed from "modern graphic novels such as Hellboy", focusing on a "darker and more adult way" of telling a story.

Ambitiously, Adam and the team didn't want to stick to typical ways of doing comic books or graphic novels: "Right from the start we wanted to to something that hadn't been done before." The iPad played a pivotal role given, "this thing bridges the gap between static and animated." Adam feels such interactivity will add to the experience too, "to create a sense of real tension."

The combined work of StudioNX and Imaginism Studios is a truly modern way of doing things, given that one half of the team is based in Toronto and the other half is in the UK. With a sound designer in Mexico, and coders located in Australia and the US, Adam extolled the virtues of Skype, email and Dropbox to make it easier to be working so remotely.

Acknowledging the importance of retaining momentum throughout the Kickstarter campaign, Adam also explained the importance of getting marketing just right. Facebook has proved a valuable ally, thanks to the team's focus on keeping fans informed each step of the way.

While the glimpses of work are fleeting, NIKO and the Sword of Light looks quite special already, thanks to some beautiful artwork within.

The Kickstarter campaign has around three weeks to go and it's already nearly hit its goal. If you're interested in participating, check out the campaign page, which offers some pretty cool pledge rewards, as well as learn more via their Facebook page. We'll be sure to keep up to date with all the latest developments, also.

Pickle Weasel Review

Posted by Rob Rich on January 28th, 2013
iPad App - Designed for iPad only

Developer: Jezam Interactive
Price: $1.99
Version: 2.0.31
App Reviewed on: iPad 3

iPhone Integration Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

[rating:overall]

Update: 2/18/2013, Version 2.0.31
Don't let the identical version number fool you; there's a lot more to Pickle Weasel this time around. Even more Guess Games and Draw Games have been added, giving users twice as much guessing and drawing to do. On top of that there are also Flips, which are essentially a collection of goofy 2-frame animations meant to draw out a chuckle or two. If nothing else it means people will be able to enjoy the bizarre creature's antics for a bit longer now.

First of all, what exactly is a pickle weasel? Well in this particular instance it’s a cartoon character brought to life by JC Little, a.k.a The Animated Woman (director, illustrator, blogger, speaker, and artist). Back in 2011 the bizarre pickled cucumber mammalian took on a life of his own, and now he has his own weird iPad app to help spread the weirdness that much further.

Pickle Weasel is kind of a game, and kind of not. It’s more like a pseudo-interactive showcase with an emphasis on sharing the madness with friends than a straight-up multiplayer affair. The app is split into two distinct parts: Draw-Games and Guess-Games. Draw-Games present users with an image (or sometimes a partial image) and challenges them with adding their own particular visual elements such as a face on a piece of fruit or a costume for the weasel himself. Guess-Games, on the other hand, give users a single play-on-words image that they need to try and figure out. Once they think they know the answer there’s a “WTF” button at the top that can be tapped to reveal the actual subject.

The Guess-Games can be decent fun when there’s a group of people to sit around the iPad and make assumptions with, but there’s much more fun to be had with the Draw-Games. Whether users are following the instructions to the best of their abilities or simply doing whatever they feel like there’s no shortage of drawings to scribble over and share with friends via Facebook, Twitter, or simply handing the iPad to a friends and saying “Look at this!” There’s even a nifty option to replay the drawing and watch each line trace itself into existence. It serves absolutely no purpose but it can be kind of cool to see in motion.

Unfortunately there really isn’t much meat on Pickle Weasel’s bones. I suppose his half-vegetable DNA is partially to blame but it still makes for a fairly simple app with rather limited use. Updates are in the works and the creators are welcoming feedback, but until any supposed new content gets added it’s most likely going to be the kind of app that people play with for a day or two and then move on.

Pickle Weasel is a commendable first attempt but in its current state still feels a bit incomplete. There’s some entertainment value in trying to guess what the picture is trying to describe and scribbling weird faces on produce is surprisingly fun. It’s just that the well runs dry pretty quickly at the moment.

SketchPhrase Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on December 10th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: PICTURE THIS
A whole lot of SketchPhrase's fun depends on who's playing but when it all "clicks" it can be incredibly silly fun.
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Hasta La Muerte Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Lisa Caplan on July 9th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: DEADLY CRASHES
Hasta La Meurte looks good, but suffers from serious technical difficulties.
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Draw Something Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on March 5th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: DRAWSOME!!!
So as it turns out, combining turn-based social multiplayer with something akin to Pictionary is utterly amazing. No, really. I'm not exaggerating.
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Drawin' Growin' Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on October 31st, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: FERTILE GROUND
Help Meu bring life (or at least a little more ambiance) back to the kingdom with lots and lots of line-drawing. There's tapping aplenty, too.
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JellyCar 2

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Chris Hall on November 30th, 2009
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: NOSTALGIC
Jelly Car 2 is exactly what you would expect it to be... really nothing more and certainly nothing less. If you couldn't get enough of the original, pick this one up today.
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