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Principia Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Charlie Miller on March 7th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: ENGINEERS REJOICE!
Principia is an in-depth building/tinkering/creation game aimed directly at engineering and electronics enthusiasts.
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One Dozen Giant Robot & Monster Games That You Should Be Playing

Posted by Rob Rich on July 24th, 2013

Pretty much everyone has been buzzing about "Pacific Rim" this month. The movie has been doing quite well from what I understand (plus it's freaking awesome), but like most summer blockbusters that popularity also equates to some tie-in games across multiple platforms. While I found the Xbox Live Arcade game to be pretty enjoyable, the iOS iterations - yes, there's more than the one - were both extremely disappointing. However all hope is not lost. While the Pacific Rim iOS title may have been a colossal (*rimshot*) letdown, there are still a fair number of great games on the platform featuring giant robots and giant monsters that can be quite a bit of fun.

Rock'n and Sock'n with GiganderX
GiganderX (Prodigy Co. Ltd, $0.99)
I've sampled a fair number of "giant robot" games across multiple platforms but none have managed to capture the oversized and plodding nature of these massive engines of destruction quite like Robot Alchemic Drive or Remote Control Dandy. And no other iOS games have managed to capture a similar feel of either title better than GiganderX. It's fairly simplistic - there's an extremely basic combo system, one special attack, and only a handful of levels - but it does an admirable job of making you feel like you're piloting a slow, lumbering, oversized toy as it combats other slow, lumbering, oversized toys.

Giant Metal Robot (Poppy, $0.99)
Giant Metal Robot is a bit unorthodox, but that's a big part of why I like it. You have to tilt your device to steer the young girl (and later her dog, too) along a rooftop, while swiping down to make the robot smash its fists. Flatten the little girl or her companion and it counts as a loss. Fail to smash all the skeletons that are chasing them around before time runs out and it's a loss. Accidentally launch the little girl off the roof after smashing something and you lose. It's deceptively tough, and yet it's easy enough to play that it should keep you entertained for a while.

The signs are everywhere (and bloodthirsty) in My Little Monster
My Little Monster (Group Sound, $0.99)
As a long time fan of giant monster movies, I can't not find the idea of raising and training my own to be both awesome and oddly charming. And that's before taking the adorable and weird characters, goofy skills, and ridiculous hats into consideration. It's an odd hybrid of virtual pet and simple action game, but it's also a neat distraction for any kaiju fan.

RoboCat Rampage (Luke Turvey, $1.99)
Some robots are more interested in preserving nature than in protecting humanity; and that's exactly what RoboCat Rampage is about. You move the enormous mechanized feline around each stage attempting to squish anything that looks industrial while also trying to avoid stepping on anything green (i.e. trees, etc). The more smoke-belching factories and vehicles you smash before reaching the end of the level, the higher your score and the happier the little woodland creatures will be.

Fortunately The War for Eustrath is easier to enjoy than it is to pronounce
The War of Eustrath (iQuibi Inc, $2.99)
Giant robots aren't a genre; they're a subject. So while The War for Eustrath may not seem quite as "typical" as the other games on this list, but it's definitely relevant and possibly one of the best. The characters are quirky in an eye-rolling kind of way, but it's a very competent strategy game. One that features some pretty cool-looking mechs. Cool-looking mechs that fight each other. It's like Xenogears crossed with Fire Emblem, and I can't think of a single thing about that description that isn't awesome.

OFFWORLD (6waves Lolapps, FREE)
I wasn't expecting to enjoy OFFWORLD's Rock-Paper-Scissors style combat as much as I did, honestly. But enjoy it I did, and I think it adds a fair bit of strategy to what could have otherwise been a very basic game. Not only is there plenty of mental back-and-forth as you try to predict your opponent's next move, there are also lots of customization options for various weapons and attachments. Plus it looks and animates gorgeously.

Don't underestimate Monster Jam Jam's giant radioactive poultry
Monster Jam Jam (Behold Studios Jogos Electronicos LTDA ME, FREE)
I happened upon Monster Jam Jam accidentally, but I have to admit I was rather impressed by its no-frills simplicity. Each match is random, and the only difference between monsters is their appearance, so all you have to worry about is out-thinking your opponent (AI or otherwise). It uses a fairly simple combat system wherein each combatant picks an action (attack, power up, heal, defend) and attempts to guess what the other side is planning. No scores, no leaderboards, no upgrades or unlockables; just a bunch of quick pick-up-and-play kaiju action.

Roar Rampage (FDG Entertainment, $0.99)
What is it most people think of when they think about giant monsters? Property damage. And property damage is you'll get when you start playing Roar Rampage. The giant boxing glove-toting lizard moves along automatically, so all you have to worry about is flinging his fist all over the place in order to bust through buildings and knock helicopters out of the air. It's simple, destructive fun.

Destroy Gunners ZZ is a blast despite the distinct lack of giant beards
Destroy Gunners ZZ (SHADE Inc, FREE)
Destroy Gunners ZZ is a freemium/social sequel of sorts to the original Destroy Gunners; the latter of which has been one of my most preferred mech combat games to date. I decided to list the sequel over the original simply because it looks a little better, has a little more variety, and has had a few control refinements but the first game is also totally worth a look. Especially for any early series Armored Core fans hoping to find a comparable experience on iOS.

Robot Rampage (Origin8, FREE)
Just like people, not all robots are friendly. In fact, the robot headlining Robot Rampage is a total jerk. All it does is stomp around smashing everything in sight, while occasionally blasting stuff with lasers. Of course when you get to control the giant robo-jerk as it smashes up buildings and fries all military resistance with heat beams it's actually pretty cool.

Death Worm ain't afraid o' no early birds
Death Worm (PlayCreek, $1.99)
Not all vicious giant monsters walk around on two legs. In fact, some of them don't have any legs at all! And while watching a giant radioactive shellfish level a city can be pretty intimidating it can be just as bad when dealing with a subterranean horror you'll never see coming. Being said subterranean horror, rather than running from it for dear life, is a lot cooler. Especially when you can evolve new traits between levels.

Super Monsters Ate My Condo! ([adult swim], FREE)
Super Monsters Ate My Condo! is admittedly a bit of a stretch, but it features plenty of giant monsters so I figure it has a place on the list. Plus it's a lot of fun. The odd physics-based match-3 puzzles coupled with the quirky kaiju waiting to gobble up each high rise floor are a great match. It's the kind of game that could very easily make an hour disappear if you give it half the chance.

My Robot Friend Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on March 4th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: 01000110 01010101 01001110
Learn math, a little spelling, and some serious problem solving skills (or just have fun) with this programmable pal. Just don't expect a virtual buddy.
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ROD: Robot on Duty Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Ray Willmott on January 16th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: SOARING SENSATIONALLY
ROD is a simple robot with incredible abilities. We take them for a spin and like what we see.
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Atomic Frogs Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on November 16th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: RIBBIT-RIBBIT-BANG!
Launch exploding mutant frogs at robots and large buttons in this creative take on physics hurling.
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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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Spinbot Battles Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Jordan Minor on March 26th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: SPINNING ITS WHEELS
Only the toughest Spinbot can be king of the arena.
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Blowup!! Review

By Jason Wadsworth on October 26th, 2011
Take a matching game, juice it up with techno beats, fast-paced gameplay, some robots, and this is what you get.
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Battle 3D: Robots Sky Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Rob Rich on October 10th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: CRASH AND BURN
Robots, aliens, upgrades, experience and explosions! And a wonky camera and awkward controls...
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Cordy Review

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

Developer: SilverTree Media
Price: FREE/$1.99
Version: 1.51
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Playtime Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar


Platformers seem to be in short supply on the iOS platform. I don't mean "runners" or "puzzle-platformers," I'm talking about full-fledged platforming games. Mascots, collectibles, bosses - the whole shebang. I believe the reason there aren't all that many is because it can be very tough to create functional, responsive controls for a game like that without the use of physical buttons. Yeah, Cordy totally does all that.

A tiny electronic planetoid in the vicinity of Earth has gone dark, and it's up to the titular little robot to bring light back to his home. If the first few levels that are available (with more unlocked via in-app purchase) are any indication, Cordy is in for one heck of a ride. This game packs a bevy of features made popular by some big-name titles, but it does so with a style and technique all its own. The little 'bot can use inertia and speed to break through some walls and floors, time jumps while going up hills for maximum height, use his power chord to swing from anchor points and more. Of course, thanks to that pay wall there are 42 levels that can't be accessed without plunking down some cash.

Cordy's abilities are largely context-based, so UI clutter is kept to a minimum: Left, Right, Jump and Action. Even better, the buttons can be switched to an invisible mode in the options so that absolutely nothing disrupts the visuals. And oh boy, those visuals. The world is whimsical and vibrant, with bright colors all over the place and stage elements that often intertwine with the player's path, making what could have been merely a good game feel like one people show their friends when they want to prove that their iPhone/iPad/iPod is a viable gaming platform. Plus, players can spend some additional coinage to personalize their Cordy with different colors and hats (*squeeee!*)

The only thing that mars the experience is all the the cost of all this stuff. In all honesty I have no problem with the $2 price tag because from what I've seen this game is well worth it. However the price of Cordy's various outfits border on ludicrous. Seriously, a few of the pieces (pieces) cost more than the actual game. I mean, wow.

I'll say it again: Cordy is a fantastic platformer and a stellar iOS game. The controls are fluid, the visuals are wonderful and the levels all beg to be played over-and-over again in order to nab a full trio of stars (one each for completion, speed and gear collecting). The rather ludicrous prices for hats and such are a bit of a buzz-kill, but absolutely none of that stuff is required to enjoy this game. Try it for free, then love it and buy it.

[See our Glossary for Freemium games here]

Toca Robot Lab GiggleApps Review

Posted by Chris Kirby on July 29th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Toca Boca Robot Lab is the new and original universal app and “digital toy” that kids of all ages as well as parents will enjoy.

This new Toca Boca app allows players to create their own robot from a series of creative and interesting scrap pieces or metal and other industrial materials. Although many pieces are ultimately available to choose from, kids will have a choice of three head, body, and leg selections each session, as well as left and right arms, mixing or matching, or however the player chooses.

I really enjoy that the robot lab building area takes place in a corrugated box, and that the robot pieces to choose from are recycled bits from other machines that adults will be familiar with, such as old radios, coffee machines, sinks, the electronic eye from a surveillance camera or incandescent bulb, giving the players a way of viewing these bits of scrap in a new way, transforming them into pieces of a new robot.

Read the full review at GiggleApps.

Amanita Design Bringing Machinarium to the iPad Soon

Posted by Rob Rich on July 28th, 2011

Perhaps best known for their quirky flash game Samorost, Amanita Design has since gone on to make a real name for themselves with their first full-length title, Machinarium. The minimalist adventure of an adorable little robot created somewhat of a stir on the Mac and PC, and now it's ready to make another group of unaware consumers into rabid fans. I am, of course, referring to iPad owners.

In a statement issued to Pocket Gamer, the developer's founder Jakub Dvorský mentioned that the iPad version has not only been in the works, but that it's also nearing completion: "It's almost finished, but we still need to fix a lot of small bugs and test it properly. It should be ready during the next month...hopefully."

We can't do much but speculate on how the Flash title will handle the port, but I think it'll do just fine. The PC controls are as simple as it gets, with single left mouse clicks as the only required interface. The inventory is almost never larger than a handful of items and it's in an unobtrusive drop-down menu. There aren't even other action icons to select (as is usually the custom in other adventure games); instead the game uses context sensitive icons that change depending on what the cursor is hovering over. Controls like that should translate to a touch screen quite easily, I would think.

This is a rather big deal for adventure game fans, even if they've never played the PC version (pictured). Machinarium is one of the most beautiful, stylish and clever games of its kind. From the amazing artwork to the incredible soundtrack, not to mention the clever puzzle design, it's a downright treat to play. Between this version and Machinarium's impending release on the PlayStation 3, I think it's safe to say that the folks at Amanita Design are doing quite well.

iPad users, keep an eye out for this one. I promise it'll be worth it.

[via Pocket Gamer]

Mystery Mania

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Christine Morris on October 13th, 2009
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: SLOW
Mystery Mania won't satisfy anyone who is a regular player of video game puzzles, but if you're new to them or just want some light entertainment, then this might be an app for you. Provided you don't mind the $3.99 price tag.
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iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Bonnie Eisenman on June 23rd, 2009
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: DULL
RoboFighters could have been a decent game, but somehow it manages to make robot duels seem downright boring. In short: this is one to pass on.
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iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Bonnie Eisenman on June 16th, 2009
Our rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar :: RUSTY
iDroidsMania is a decent platformer, but the botched control scheme and overall lag make it more of a chore than a game. Skip it!
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