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Compass Point: West Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on March 26th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: IT’S A WEST WORLD
Compass Point: West is a neat, western take on town building and defense.
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Military Masters Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on March 24th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: LACKS PERSONALITY
A Rock, Paper, Scissors style battle, lacking some personality.
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It Came From Canada: Nightmare Guardians

Posted by Jordan Minor on March 19th, 2015

Nightmare Guardians is a game riding several big trends in the medium right now. Because all of those trends don’t necessarily align, the end result is a weird, curious experience that’s hard to precisely pin down. However, that doesn’t mean we still can’t try in this edition of It Came From Canada!

So what are those trends exactly? Well for starters Nightmare Guardians feels like an interactive history lesson for a certain strain of Blizzard Entertainment’s evolving catalog. Players join a band of elite warriors to fend of waves of encroaching evil forces, and the dark fantasy atmosphere is just the beginning of the Diablo comparisons. The semi-automated gameplay has players tapping the screen to move their character who will then automatically wail on whatever is nearby that needs wailing on. From there it’s up to players to prioritize threats and protect the wall behind them from succumbing to enemy attacks. That means managing loot and experience and other action-RPG staples, as opposed to technical skill, is the best way to become powerful and succeed.

However, players aren’t exploring dungeons - they’re just surviving horde after horde of foes in a box. This structure makes Nightmare Guardians even harder to categorize. Later levels introduce shields and buildings to protect, giving the game a tower defense twist, but really it ends up turning into a single-player/co-op MOBA. Learning the different hero-specific spells like quick dashes or zombie-killing fire blasts, and more generic debuffs like spells that cripple enemy healers, is essential. Coordinating and strategizing with your partners, whether it’s a computer or another player online, also adds to the DotA vibe, as do little touches like “last hit” and “kill steal” bonuses.

But even that classification still doesn’t feel entirely complete because, for all that it borrows from these intensely complex and competitive genres, Nightmare Guardians is actually surprisingly approachable. Easily killing countless foes with flashy finishing moves feels like Dynasty Warriors of all things. The quick-hit, mobile-friendly framework could easily be called a wave-based shooter with swords and spells swapped in for guns. Based on my earlier online encounters it’s not hard to get into at all, which could be good or bad, depending on how elitist your perspective is.

If this preview sounds a little confusing, if the more you read it the less you understood about the game, well that’s just what playing Nightmare Guardians is like. But if you’ve been left intrigued as well, like I still am, you can check out when it launches everywhere soon.

Paper Dungeons Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on March 19th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: DIY DUNGEONS
This game attempts to capture the magic of tabletop dungeon crawling in video game form, and it does so, but with mixed results.
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Avernum 2 is Coming to iOS on April 15th

Posted by Jessica Fisher on March 18th, 2015

Spiderweb Software is bringing the next chapter of Avernum, their epic underworld fantasy, on April 15.

Avernum 2 will have you returning to the underground world where the Empire has decided to finally annihilate your people. It's time to fight back! The game has over 100 towns and dungeons to explore and over 60 spells and battle disciplines to master. With three different quests to fight the empire, dozens of side quests, and hundreds of magical artifacts to discover, the game offers over 50 hours of gameplay.

You can repel the invading armies of the empire in Avernum 2 this spring.

Galaxy on Fire - Alliances Receives its Biggest Update Ever

Posted by Jessica Fisher on March 17th, 2015
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: JOIN THE FEDERATION :: Read Review »

Disrupting the Nebula is the huge new update for FISHLABS' Galaxy on Fire - Alliances. The update has a ton of new features such as the new tactical sector grid, which segments the game world and gives you info on hot spots on the star map.

Battles have been upgraded so that they now come in multiple waves. You'll have breaks between the differnt rounds to send reinforcements or order your fleets to retreat. And if you're looking for an edge in battle you can now rely on your spy drones to collect info - not just on planets, but also on enemy fleets.

The game also has a bunch of new social functions that will make it easier to invite friends, a global in-game chat, and push notifications to quickly call for allies.

And to celebrate this big update, FISHLABS has even opened a new server for the game. So if you want to try out all the new features, you can download Galaxy on Fire - Alliances for free now.

The New Reign of Varna Update Adds a Single Player Campaign Mode to SolForge

Posted by Jessica Fisher on March 13th, 2015
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: FORGE YOUR DECK :: Read Review »

Stone Blade Entertainment has updated SolForge with a new Campaign Mode for solo players. You'll be able to play missions using pre-designed decks against an AI to win rewards. Some of the missions will allow you to build your own decks and see how you fare as well.

The update also includes 48 new cards that do not bode well for the rest of the world. The cards can be found in booster packs, legendary chests, and prize packs, or you can purchase them in Reign of Varna booster packs and chests.

Check out the new campaign and cards in SolForge by downloading it for free.

Card Crawl Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on March 12th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: SOLITARY DUNGEON CRALWING
This card game looks and feels like a combination of Diablo and Solitaire, but which does it play more like?
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Better Buy a Night Light - Five Nights at Freddy's 3 is Here to Ruin Sleep Forever

Posted by Jessica Fisher on March 12th, 2015
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: HE WILL COME BACK :: Read Review »

There's "Only 1 Animatronic" in Five Nights at Freddy's 3. How bad can it be?

The nopefest that is Five Nights at Freddy's is back in its third installment. Scott Cawthon brings us back to Freddy's thirty years after the horrors of the first two games. In that time the horrifying tale has become nothing more than legend and someone is looking to make a profit. They've created a horror attraction out of found pieces of the cursed restaurant to let daring visitors relive the experience of Freddy Fazbear's Pizza. They've even found the old fan to keep you company. Your first night there won't be so bad until the owners find an old animatronic tucked away in a hidden room inside the attraction.

The gameplay is significantly different from the last two titles. There are now two maps and multiple computer systems that will fail quite often. You must bring them back online before the alarm sounds because your new animatronic friend is attracted to loud noises. It will take some clever planning and quick fingers to survive all five nights.

If you're ready to give up sleep for a week, you can download Five Nights at Freddy's 3 for $2.99.

Sid Meier's Starships Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Rob Rich on March 12th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: BRIGHT STAR
Sid Meier’s Starships is as much fun as you’d expect from the mind behind Civilization and Pirates!, but it’s a bit of a rocky start.
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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 - Tips, Tricks, and Strategies for the Budding Warrior

Posted by Jennifer Allen on March 10th, 2015

Hail, brave warriors:
Are you still trying to decide if this is the kind of game for you? Check out our Age of Sparta review!

Just downloaded Age of Sparta and not sure what the best path to success and glory is? Don’t worry, we’ve got some handy tips and tricks on how to get there - and you can have fun while you’re doing it!


The Basics

  • Follow the Quests - It’s such a simple thing but they really do make a difference. Besides teaching you the basics, they’re a great way of gaining money and experience quickly. And you want to level up as fast as possible, especially early on.

  • Maximize your layout - The game likes to encourage you to place things quite randomly, but an organized layout helps a lot. You can save space, thereby saving you from buying extra land plots, plus a close knit layout works well with boosters.

  • Boosters, you say? - Yup, they’re incredibly useful. They’re decorative pieces but you can use them to increase the efficiency of nearby buildings. Their effects can stack, plus you can use one to cover many different buildings, providing you place things carefully.

  • Build plenty of income-gaining buildings - These include things such as wheat farms, vineyards, and other production based buildings. You can use the revenue you gain this way to train soldiers, as well as build more structures for ultimate profit.

  • Faith buildings are handy, too - They generate energy that you can then use in battle. Don’t forget those boosters, either!

  • Work towards level 10 as quickly as possible - You can join an alliance then, and backup is always handy!

  • As with many games of this type, you have a protective shield stopping PvP attacks early on. Take advantage of it by building up your city and resources while no one else can pick on you just yet.

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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Heavenstrike Rivals: Beginners's Tips, Tricks, and Strategies

Posted by Campbell Bird on March 6th, 2015

Dig this:
Would you like to know what we thought of this steampunk strategy game? Check out our Heavenstrike Rivals review!

The Basics


  • Use Your Captain's Powers: As part of the game, each player's captain gets a special power. This can heal units, damage others, or cast other status effects. These powers refresh after a certain amount of turns. Players that use and time their powers according to a timeframe that aids their overall strategy will go far.

  • Use All The Lanes: When starting out, you may be tempted to plop units into a lane and then forget about them. However, changing lanes is key to Heavenstrike Rivals's strategy. As long as your units are taunted or blocked by another unit, feel free to switch around units willy nilly to keep opponents guessing. Also, when playing on maps with power up tiles, units can lane change onto the tile to receive the power up, and then can be moved back to their original spot. How cool is that?

  • Keep Your Units Alive: Even the strongest units in the game can't do much to help you if they don't stay on the battlefield long enough to fulfill their intended purpose. Additionally, some units and unit types get stronger the longer they are in play, so it's worth putting in the effort.

Squad Building


  • Don't Underestimate Basic Units: When players start out in the game, they may want to start getting as many high powered units as possible in their squads, but this would be a mistake. The beginner units in Heavenstrike Rivals have low mana costs so they can get on the battlefield quickly. Considering the ultimate goal of the game demands players get within striking distance of their opponent, speed can be useful.

  • Build Squads With Balance and Purpose: As much as it might seem like a good idea to build a squad full of brawlers, defenders, or other units to max out bonuses afforded by special units, doing this is a lot like putting all of your eggs in one basket. For any one viable strategy in Heavenstrike Rivals, there is a super-effective counter strategy. Players that do not take this into account may stomp all over some opponents that are equally unbalanced, but struggle against thoughtful foes.

  • Build a Deck that Feels Comfortable: I know, this sounds almost overly basic, but it's important. As much as Heavenstrike Rivals doesn't look like a card game, it still operates like one. Putting in crazy new units that you aren't familiar with can cause a lack of synergy or introduce elements of randomness into your strategy, both of which are things you want to avoid.

Field Tactics


  • Mana Is A Limited Resource. Use It Wisely: All units cost a certain amount of mana, but all players can only have ten mana's worth of units out on the field at any given time. With this being the case, players should be careful about what they summon early on and what foes they decide to defeat. After all, there's no reason to kill a unit if it's handily tied up and you have the upper hand.

  • Time Summons Carefully: At first blush, it may look like a good idea to send out all of your units at once. However, if you are too careless and lose a lot of quickly summoned units early though, you may find themselves with a hand so empty they can't properly defend themselves.

  • Shut Down Gimmicks Early: As game that encourages players to incorporate unit synergy, players should be on the lookout for the key units their opponents are using in an attempt to tie their strategy together. For example, there are some units in the game that grant bonuses to every unit in play of a certain type, so taking out that unit as quickly as possible will minimize the impact of your opponent's strategy.