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JAZZ: Trump's Journey Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on January 20th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: SOLID
Egg Ball and BulkyPix have made what might very well be the first-ever video game (loosely) based on Luis Armstrong's life. And it's GOOD.
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TheColossusAge Review

Posted by Rob Rich on January 10th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Developer: La Boite
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.2
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar


I'm not entirely certain of the story behind TheColossusAge. I recall owning the exact same game, using assets from the exact same source (Moffee), only it was called "Wharr: The Colossus Age." This game had since been pulled from the App Store. Now it's apparently back under a new name. Yeah, I've got no idea what happened or why. Regardless, it's the same game it's always been and is a game I'd like to talk a bit about.

TheColossusAge is what most iOS gamers would refer to as a "Jumper" or possibly platformer. As with other games in the genre the point is to tilt the device from side to side in order to land on platforms so that the character can bounce up to the next level of footholds and so on. Unlike other games in the genre, it's not endless. Each stage is actually a massive boss fight of sorts, with the Orc Queen facing off against a number of colossi. Navigating from platform to platform is still essential, but players also have to contend with falling spiky things, changes in wind direction and the colossus itself. They can swipe with a finger a handful of times between each jump in order to directly damage these giants, as well as destroy those pesky pointy obstacles. It sounds tough, and it is, but thankfully any cash earned through victory can be spent to upgrade the Orc Queen with various special passive abilities (i.e. earn more gold, do more damage, etc...).

The very concept behind TheColossusAge is what makes it so interesting. The need to constantly chip away at the colossus' health while maintaining control and planning that next touch-down is unlike anything I've experienced in another iOS jumper. Being able to upgrade also keeps things from getting stale as the improved abilities can make quite a difference.

On the flip-side, there isn't a whole heck of a lot of variety to it. Granted that's the nature of the genre, but each colossus amounts to more of a scenery change than anything significantly different. They get tougher, but that's about it. The complete and total lack of any sort of music also makes the game feel more devoid of life than it really should. Sound effect are there, but everything seems so empty without any background tunes to accompany them.

Still for a one-dollar jumping game that isn't already well known by 95% of all iOS users, TheColossusAge can be pretty fun. It's certainly not as robust as other more popular games in the genre but it offers a more unique experience. One that I'd gladly recommend to people who enjoy this kind of stuff.

Vanessa Saint-Pierre Delacroix Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Rob Rich on January 4th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: ONE WACKY DREAM
Help a young girl navigate through her reality-defying nightmare.
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Terra Noctis Review

Posted by Rob Rich on December 21st, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Developer: Fire Fruit Forge
Price: $2.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarstarstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar


Poor little Allen. Life's tough for a nightmare that's more "Aaaaaaawwwwww..." than "AAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaa!!!!," and if he's going to have any hope of being taken seriously he's going to have to figure something out. Fortunately, after being kicked out of class for being too cute he stumbled across an ancient text that spoke of a sort of uber-nightmare. If he can find it, he might be able to acquire its scariness and become the most fearsome shadow in the dream world. Of course, he has to find it first.

Thus, Allen's journey beings. Leading him on a hunt across four different worlds (just over 30 stages in all) as he acquires new abilities and meets all sorts of interesting characters. Each level contains a number of red fairy-type collectibles which can be used to unlock later worlds, as well as gold tokens that will unlock bonus stages. There are also hidden letters to collect (they spell "scare") that, in addition to the red fairies and coins, are tallied up at the end of a level. As one would expect, getting 100% takes a fair amount of exploration. Allen can perform many a classic platforming move such as double-jumping and butt-bouncing, however he can also purchase more from the shop that include gliding and faster running. It's important to note that bought abilities aren't permanent, and if Allen loses a life he'll lose the power-ups as well.

Terra Noctis sports some truly wonderful visual designs and animations, with a graphical presentation that gives the game a hand-drawn appearance. It's also got some great music that can be both haunting and catchy. I'm a big fan of all the little touches such as the way the low-level nightmares will stare upwards in slack-jawed awe as Allen soars over their heads (and promptly lands on them) as well. Most of all, I'm impressed by how well it functions. I've messed around with plenty of iOS platrofmers and I have to say, Terra Noctis is definitely in my top three.

It's not perfect, though. Not by a long shot. I've experienced crashes pretty much every time I've hit hidden item blocks, unless I make sure to clear out any other blocks that might be touching them first (???). I've lost purchased power-ups that weren't equipped when I died. Some of the text reads awkwardly. The numbers indicating what's required to unlock a world are backwards (i.e. I have 5 and need 8 but it reads "8/5"). It's a bunch of little nagging things that don't ruin the experience, but they certainly don't help.

Even with this rather large laundry list (I don't have enough space to list them all) of bite-sized problems, I'd still recommend Terra Noctis wholeheartedly to anyone who loved to jump on things. It's beautiful to look at and listen to, but it's also just plain fun to play.

GoatUp Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on October 3rd, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: RETRO JUMPING GOODNESS
Llamasoft's take on platformers is certainly odd, but it's also quite a bit of fun.
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Cavorite Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on July 8th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: UNEXPECTED
While it may look like an action-platformer at first glance, Cavorite has more to do with block-pushing (and floating) puzzles than shooting. Thankfully it's a lot of fun so that's okay.
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Hedgehog Launch Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Brad Hilderbrand on November 5th, 2010
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: HIGHLY ENTERTAINING
Hedgehog Launch stands as a sterling example of how to make a great, simple game for iOS. Do yourself a favor and don't miss out on the experience.
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