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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.

Favorite Four - New(ish) RPG's

Posted by Chris Hall on September 15th, 2010

The RPG genre is a tough one to peg down on the iPhone. The problem with the genre is that different people want such different things out of it. Some people want long, drawn out Final Fantasy type games while others want something that is a bit more simple. There is just too much flavor for one genre to be fairly condensed into four games, but I have unwavering beliefs and strong opinions. I like my RPG's full-bodied with rich undertones. I want a hint of vanilla and oak. Give me harsh tannins!

Ok, I got a bit carried away there. Here are my favorite new(ish) RPG's of the moment. I decided that the genre is too deep to include games that were released before I can remember (which could be yesterday, could be a year ago). All of these apps are ones that are currently on my iPhone, and I am currently enjoying immensely. If I left something off the list and you are offended, I am sorry. That's all I can offer.

Caligo Chaser - I picked this app up the other day to possibly do a review (which we did right here -- Ed.) and immediately gagged a little. The controls seemed uninspired and the graphics seemed pretty weak, but since the game was made by my favorite dev, Com2uS, I decided to march on. As I played, things started to become more bearable, until one day I found myself sitting on my bathroom counter playing while waiting for my water to heat up. At least that's what I told myself. Living in Phoenix has its perks, and one of them is water that is instantly hot.

Sure, the combat system isn't the best, the inventory/upgrade menu isn't the prettiest or the easiest to see, there are some obvious typos (as opposed to my hidden ones), and the story takes a while to get in to, but it all comes together. The final result is a fun RPG that will bring you back to the wonderful days of old school Super Nintendo gaming. Just give it a try and force yourself to play for 30 min, you won't regret it.

Rimelands: Hammer of Thor - Unlike Caligo Chaser which took a while to get into, Rimelands sucks you in right away and doesn't let go. It has excellent graphics, a fun story, a great upgrade tree, and a surprisingly good control system. I usually don't like to go on limbs and declare bests of for this and that, but Rimelands has the best control system for an iPhone RPG I've ever played. I love it.

If you are so inclined to try it out, expect a blend of Fallout 1+2 and Diablo, with maybe a hint of Baldur's Gate. Maybe I'm just blown away by Rimeland's polish, but I think this is truly a game that would do well on any platform.

The War of Eustrath - I have a personal vendetta against The War of Eustrath, and it is there because I played this game for hours on end and then got stuck on the last boss. Maybe I didn't level my character up enough throughout, maybe I pumped too much juice into characters who die at the end. For whatever reason, I'm having one heck of a hard time beating Eustrath.

Behind the somewhat generic top-down graphics and crummy dialogue, there is an excellent game here. The dialogue is horrifically bad though, with emotions flying from one scene to the next. The game comes complete with a love triangle, family secrets, god-like conquests, a poor country girl becomes hero side story, mythical beings, death, a bunch of suicide. You'll find yourself sucked into the games anti-charisma, and by the end, you'll start having visions of Elijah Wood crying, scene after scene, while he's trying to get to the top of Orodruin. If nothing else, Eustrath should definitely be described as "epic."

Chaos Rings - If you don't like Chaos Rings, you definitely don't like RPG's. It's so pretty, has such a good story, and has an amazing combat system that it just begs to be played for hours on end.

From our review, "I do not hesitate to claim that Chaos Rings has the potential to change iDevice gaming as we know it, and for the better. If and when people commit to paying for quality, this game will be that new standard to meet."

Bravo, Square Enix, bravo.