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Steam Link Spotlight - Genesis Noir

Posted by Campbell Bird on March 30th, 2021
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Steam Link Spotlight is a feature where we look at PC games that play exceptionally well using the Steam Link app. Our last entry examined Neurodeck. Read about how it plays using Steam Link over here.

This week, we're going far out into the stylish cosmos of Genesis Noir. This point-and-click adventure reimagines the creation of the universe (aka The Big Bang) as a shot from a gun. You play as an unassuming watch salesman who gets caught in the love triangle that culminates in this gunshot, which is aimed at your lover. If this sounds spoiler-y, don't worry; this is just the setup. The rest of the experience leads you through the universe as you try to destroy The Big Bang to save your love.

Genshin Impact - Six months in the free-to-play wonderland of Teyvat

Posted by Campbell Bird on March 29th, 2021
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: GIGA GACHA :: Read Review »

Six months ago this week, Genshin Impact released on multiple platforms, promising a vast open world of adventure and element-based combat. The only catch was that all of this action would be monetized via virtual slot machines known colloquially as "gacha."

Gacha games have their advantages in that they have a low barrier to entry, allowing players to hop into an experience without having to spend any money. The dark side of this design is that all of the most desirable game items and characters are locked inside a storefront that uses myriad psychological tricks to convince you that spending money for more chances to use this slot machine is a good idea (it's not).

Steam Link Spotlight - Neurodeck

Posted by Campbell Bird on March 22nd, 2021
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Steam Link Spotlight is a feature where we look at PC games that play exceptionally well using the Steam Link app. Our last entry looked at Loop Hero. Read about how it plays using Steam Link over here.

This entry for the series goes back to a familiar territory: roguelike deck-building. Neurodeck takes many of the genre conventions galvanized by titles like Dream Quest and Slay the Spire, but places them into a more self-reflective structure where you have psychological battles with phobias and fill out personality tests to earn new traits to help you in battle.

Steam Link Spotlight - Loop Hero

Posted by Campbell Bird on March 8th, 2021
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Steam Link Spotlight is a feature where we look at PC games that play exceptionally well using the Steam Link app. Our last entry looked at Fights in Tight Spaces. Read about how it plays using Steam Link over here.

Steam Link Spotlight - Fights in Tight Spaces

Posted by Campbell Bird on February 25th, 2021
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Steam Link Spotlight is a feature where we look at PC games that play exceptionally well using the Steam Link app. Our last entry was on Hades. Read about how it plays using Steam Link over here.

For this installment, I decided to go back to a more turn-based title. Fights in Tight Spaces just hit Steam in early access and is a turn-based card game where you manage the choreography of intense fighting set pieces that wouldn't feel out of place in films like John Wick or The Bourne Identity. You do this by playing cards that execute moves on your turn that allow you to manage your spacing while dishing out a ton of pain on multiple bad guys that accost you in tattoo parlors, narrow alleyways, and other cramped environments.

Here's what Star Wars KOTOR II looks like on iOS

Posted by Campbell Bird on December 18th, 2020
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic II just released on the App Store, and it's not exactly pretty. To be fair, this is over 15 years old, so bringing it to mobile likely has its challenges. That said, the second installment in the Knights of the Old Republic series comes to iOS with a janky control scheme and some bugs that disrupt combat.

Check out the video above where I get through the first real challenge of the game: fighting the mining droids on Peragus. In it, you'll see some struggles with movement, collision issues with combat maneuvering, and even a strange bug that locks your character in place after combat.

From there, you can pass over shelling out $9.99 for this game and pick something else up. This is not the port you're looking for.

Genshin Impact - Finding the fairness in a fundamentally unfair game

Posted by Campbell Bird on December 7th, 2020
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: GIGA GACHA :: Read Review »


Update: Shortly before this piece was posted, miHoYo released an official response to the community feedback around Zhongli. You can read it here.


The official statement acknowledges the feedback and some specific bugs with Zhongli’s abilities , but makes no promises about fundamentally changing the character beyond that. As a result, the contents of this post remain relevant to the current community conversation around Genshin Impact.

There's no getting around the fact that gacha games are predatory. Their entire design is contingent upon luring as many people as possible into an experience that will tempt them to spend money over and over again. This makes Genshin Impact--despite all of its other positive qualities--a predatory game, but is it too predatory? Does such a distinction matter? And, if so, who gets to draw the line of demarcation?

These are the kinds of questions that have risen to the top of the Genshin Impact community over the past week, ever since a new banner event allowed players to feed the in-game slot machine for a new playable character: Zhongli. In the lead up to his release, players awaited anxiously, poring over his teaser trailer, investigating leaked footage, and analyzing his strength based on his importance to Genshin Impact's story, only to face disappointment once they finally got their hands on him.

Should you play Genshin Impact? - Here's what you need to know

Posted by Campbell Bird on October 5th, 2020
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: GIGA GACHA :: Read Review »

Last week, the massively anticipated Genshin Impact released, and now it seems to be the only game anyone's talking about. There's a good reason for this, or rather several. It looks great, it's free, and it actually follows through as an experience that takes meaningful inspiration from Breath of the Wild.

In case you're looking at Genshin Impact from the outside wondering if it's all it's cracked up to be, you're in the right place. The short answer is yes, but here's some more things that might inform whether you should dive into the game.

A Year of Apple Arcade: The Good, The Bad, and The Future

Posted by Campbell Bird on September 22nd, 2020

Apple Arcade has persisted for just over a year at this point, and although that means I've been busy ranking and re-ranking every game on the service for just about as long, I haven't done much reflection on the service as a whole.

If you want the short version, I think Apple has done a decent job at providing a wide variety of titles on its service, and their near-weekly new releases and title updates give you a reason to dive back into the service on a regular basis. That said, the dedication to keeping Arcade feeling fresh alone doesn't quite justify the cost of subscribing, and it seems like Apple has to put in some more work if they want this service to flourish.

Steam Link Spotlight - Hades

Posted by Campbell Bird on September 21st, 2020
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Steam Link Spotlight is a feature where we look at PC games that play exceptionally well using the Steam Link app. Our last entry was on Disco Elysium. Read about how it plays using Steam Link over here.

For this installment, I took a look at Hades, the latest title from Supergiant Games, which just left early access as an official release. Supergiant Games has a history of making games that all feel distinct from one another, but Hades feels like somewhat of a harkening back to their first release, Bastion. This is to say it's fast-paced, combat heavy action rpg, and it plays surprisingly well using a touch screen.

Steam Link Spotlight - Disco Elysium

Posted by Campbell Bird on July 8th, 2020
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Steam Link Spotlight is a feature where we look at PC games that play exceptionally well using the Steam Link app. Our last entry was Signs of the Sojourner Read about how it plays using Steam Link over here.

For this entry, I dove into Disco Elysium, an open world role playing game where you play as a detective who has just woken up from an epic hangover, and is now tasked with attempting to solve a murder while trying to piece together his own whereabouts and life. What sets this game apart from other role playing games though is that it shies away from combat and instead relies on dialog-based interactions between characters, which works mostly because the game is very well written and full of detailed and lively characters.

Golf on Mars "review"

Posted by Campbell Bird on June 23rd, 2020
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad


Golf on Mars is a minimalist golf game and the follow up to Desert Golfing. In it, you traverse a seemingly unending Martian landscape by hitting a golf ball from hole to hole using the tried-and-true pull-and-release touch control scheme popularized by Angry Birds. But there are no birds here, much less any that explode. Nor are there powerups, enemies, menus, or even levels. It's just you, the ball, the holes, and the seemingly endless Martian landscape for you to navigate. Oh, and there's a counter at the top that's tracking your total stroke count, too.

Using your phone in a protest

Posted by Campbell Bird on June 1st, 2020

I can't write about games today. There is a struggle happening in the streets right now and it needs everyone's attention. Here's some good info on how you can use your iOS device safely amidst a protest.

Know your rights

If law enforcement attempts to seize your phone and search through it, you have no obligation to unlock the phone for them. Police only have the right to seize your device if they place you under arrest, have probable cause, or a warrant. Regardless of how the seizure takes place though, they are not then entitled to the information on it.

Steam Link Spotlight - Signs of the Sojourner

Posted by Campbell Bird on May 29th, 2020
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Steam Link Spotlight is a feature where we look at PC games that play exceptionally well using the Steam Link app. Our last entry was XCOM: Chimera Squad. Read about how it plays using Steam Link's new mouse and keyboard support over here.

For this entry, I took a look at a fascinating game about communication. Signs of the Sojourner by Echodog Games examines how traveling and connecting with other people can change you in the process. While this has been explored in plenty of other games and media before, what's remarkable about Signs of the Sojourner is how it translates this message so elegantly through simple card game mechanics.

The Ultimate iPad Setup

Posted by Campbell Bird on April 29th, 2020

iPads are awesome. We all know this. But an iPad all on its own can sometimes just feel like a big, unwieldy phone that sits in some corner, only to be dusted off when you need a way to watch Netflix on a flight.

It doesn’t have to be this way, though. With a little additional investment, you can kit out your tablet so that it can serve as your primary computer both for productivity and entertainment purposes.

How do I know this? Well, I’ve been an iPad owner for years, and have written the vast majority of everything I’ve ever posted to this site using one. With all of this in mind, I’ve put together a handy little guide on things to pick up (or skip) when looking to make your iPad the absolute best it can be for everything.

For the purposes of this guide, I’ll be speaking about items generally, as your wants and needs around said items might shift depending on which model of iPad you have. I’ll also be sharing my personal favorite picks, but those are all based on how well they work with an iPad Pro 11 (2018), as it's my current iPad of choice.