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Campbell Bird

Reviews Editor | 148Apps

Campbell has been writing about games for the majority of his adult life and made the jump into covering mobile games in 2013. He is always on Twitter when he's not playing games.

Connect with Campbell:
Game Center: namestolen
Twitter: @campbellbirds

Bad North: Jotunn Edition review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on October 21st, 2019
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: INDECISIVE VICTORY
You are never full in control of things in Bad North, and that’s part of what makes it such a tense strategy game.
Read The Full Review »

Apple Arcade in review

Posted by Campbell Bird on October 18th, 2019

This weekend, Apple Arcade will officially be one month old. That means anyone who signed up for the free trial on day one has a decision to make: Stick with the service and shell out $5 a month, or cancel and go about your merry way.

As someone who dove head first into Apple Arcade by playing 35 games since launch (and counting. See their rankings here), I’ve come away ambivalent about the service in its first month. While it is really nice to have a huge, curated list of premium games from a lot of well-known developers, there’s a lot about the service that could be improved. To illustrate this, check out some of my notes I kept while thoroughly testing the service:

Starbeard review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on October 17th, 2019
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: LIKE GNOME OTHER
Starbeard is an incredible and unique matching puzzle roguelike.
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Armajet review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on October 15th, 2019
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: WEAPONS FREE
Armajet’s multiplayer shooting is appealing mostly because of its surprisingly fair free-to-play model.
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Apple Arcade: Ranked [Updated 10.15]

Posted by Campbell Bird on October 15th, 2019

In case you missed it, I am on a quest to rank every Apple Arcade game there is.

Patch Notes:

October 15:
Added: Mutazione, Dear Reader, Cat Quest II, Neo Cab, King’s League II, Pilgrims, Outlanders, Down in Bermuda, Fledgling Heroes, and Big Time Sports

Rank Changes: What the Golf? (3 to 5), Exit the Gungeon (4 to 6), Jenny LeClue (5 to 7), Sayonara Wild Hearts (6 to 8), Over the Alps (7 to 9), Bleak Sword (8 to 13), Spaceland (9 to 14), Super Impossible Road (10 to 15), Dread Nautical (11 to 16), Dead End Job (12 to 19), Cricket Through the Ages (13 to 20), Grindstone (14 to 21), Hyperbrawl Tournament (15 to 22), Assemble With Care (16 to 23), Sneaky Sasquatch (17 to 25), ChuChu Rocket! Universe (18 to 26), Oceanhorn 2 (19 to 28), Pinball Wizard (20 to 29), Lego Brawls (21 to 31), Sonic Racing (22 to 32), Hot Lava (23 to 33), The Get Out Kids (24 to 34), Where Cards Fall (25 to 12)

October 8:
Added:
Super Impossible Road, Cricket Through the Ages, Hyperbrawl Tournament, ChuChu Rocket! Universe, and Lego Brawls

Rank Changes:Dread Nautical (10 to 11), Dead End Job (11 to 12), Grindstone (12 to 14), Assemble With Care (13 to 16), Sneaky Sasquatch (14 to 17), Oceanhorn 2 (15 to 19), Pinball Wizard (16 to 20), Sonic Racing (17 to 22), Hot Lava (18 to 23), The Get Out Kids (19 to 24), Where Cards Fall (20 to 25)

October 4:
Added: Oceanhorn 2, Exit the Gungeon, Over the Alps, Jenny LeClue - Detectivu, and Pinball Wizard

Rank Changes: Sayonara Wild Hearts (4 to 6), Bleak Sword (5 to 8), Spaceland (6 to 9), Dread Nautical (7 to 10), Dead End Job (8 to 11), Grindstone (9 to 12), Assemble With Care (10 to 13), Sneaky Sasquatch (11 to 14), Sonic Racing (12 to 17), Hot Lava (13 to 18), The Get Out Kids (14 to 19), Where Cards Fall (15 to 20)

September 30:
Added: Dead End Job, Dread Nautical, Assemble With Care, The Get Out Kids, and Spaceland

Rank Changes: Grindstone (6 to 9), What the Golf? (5 to 3), Sayonara Wild Hearts (3 to 4), Bleak Sword (4 to 5), Sneaky Sasquatch (7 to 11), Sonic Racing (8 to 12), Hot Lava (9 to 13), and Where Cards Fall (10 to 15).

September 26:
Added: What the Golf, Sneaky Sasquatch, Sonic Racing, Hot Lava, and Where Cards Fall

Rank Changes: Grindstone (5 to 6)

September 23: First launch of list with titles Card of Darkness, Overland, Sayonara Wild Hearts, Bleak Sword, and Grindstone.

Games marked with an asterisk(*) are games that suffer in rank due to technical problems.

All current rankings are listed below. More titles will be added frequently until the list is complete.

reky review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on October 10th, 2019
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: COLORFUL BUT CLUNKY
reky is a puzzle game that is less elegant than it appears.
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Coloristic 2 review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on October 10th, 2019
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: FULL OF COLOR
Coloristic 2 is a great little puzzler about filling grids with color.
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Xenowerk Tactics review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on October 9th, 2019
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: EASY EXTERMINATION
Xenowerk Tactics is a fun and dynamic strategy game that is a little too easy.
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Dear Esther review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on October 7th, 2019
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: MEANDER ON MOBILE
The mobile version of Dear Esther is enjoyable enough for what that game is.
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Sunset Road review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on October 3rd, 2019
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: CAR TALK
Sunset Road is a strange, short game about the idle chatter that happens on road trips.
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The best iOS games to get you in the Halloween spirit

Posted by Campbell Bird on October 1st, 2019

We’re getting closer and closer to Halloween every day, which means everyone’s gearing up to watch their favorite horror movies, make weekend trips out to pumpkin patches, and do all kinds of other, fun seasonal stuff before this month ends and everyone looks toward Thanksgiving.

If you’re in the midst of all your Halloween activities and you want to take a break with some games that match the spirit, we’ve got good news for you. There’s a bunch of great games on the App Store that can get you in the mood for Halloween, and we’ve compiled a list of the best ones in a handy little list. We've also added a "spookiness rating" (1=not scary, 5=scariest) to each one so you can find the right game for you. Check out the picks below:

Playond isn't a scam, it just has some problems to work on

Posted by Campbell Bird on September 25th, 2019

Last week, I wrote about Playond, a service by Bending Spoons that has been acquiring the mobile publishing rights to premium games and re-releasing them behind a subscription paywall. Since writing the piece, I received quite a few replies about the service, and most of it was negative.

The complaints mostly centered around how certain games didn’t actually verify old purchases properly and would also reset player progress. This definitely makes Bending Spoons seem like a shady player, and so it’s no wonder I started seeing chatter from players wondering why trusted developers would get into bed with such an operation.

Instead of just looking at anecdotal evidence, I decided to follow up on this. Is Playond really that bad? Are developers being tricked? Do said developers actually care about mobile anymore? I started trying to find these answers by reaching out to developers who agreed to be part of the service, and here’s what they said:

Why your free-to-play racer sucks

Posted by Campbell Bird on September 25th, 2019

It’s been this way for a while now, but playing Hot Wheels Infinite Loop really highlights a big issue with free-to-play mobile racing games: They suck. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying going for realism, cart racing, or arcade nonsense, they’re all bad, and mostly in the same way.


I am going to rank every game on Apple Arcade

Posted by Campbell Bird on September 23rd, 2019

Apple Arcade is here, and I’ve been thinking about how best to cover its debut. Writing reviews for each game seems unnecessary, and a lot of the takes on whether the service is worth the money seem a little premature. So, I got to thinking and came up with a really dumb idea: I am going to rank every game on Apple Arcade.

Why? I wouldn’t worry yourself about that too much. Just think of this as the definitive list of which games for the service are best and why.

Here’s how this will go: I’m going to work my way through every Apple Arcade game a handful of games at a time. I’ll analyze each one based on a set of loose criteria and then use that to decide where they fit among their peers. Each game will get a small blurb explaining what the game is, its rank, and additional info about rank changes as necessary.

By the end of this journey, every game on the service will have some handy info that you can use to do all kinds of things, like:


    1. Find the best games to play. And all without dealing with Arcade’s poor organization and layout.
    2. Learn whether the service is right for you. If the top games all seem lame, maybe don't pay for it.
    3. Know which games to avoid. Just because you can play something doesn’t mean you should. Avoid the stinkers.

So, there it is. I’ve said I’m going to do this, so I better go and start doing it. View the list here.

SimpleRockets 2 review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on September 20th, 2019
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: NOT SO SIMPLE
SimpleRockets 2 celebrates and rewards tinkering, experimentation, and lots and lots of patience.
Read The Full Review »