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Bit City review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on March 13th, 2017
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: WE BIT THIS CITY
This city builder is a pleasant way to spend some time, but is otherwise a pretty familiar clicker.
Read The Full Review »

Pocket Trains Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Carter Dotson on September 26th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: ALL ABOARD
Pocket Trains is yet another extremely satisfying simulation from NimbleBit.
Read The Full Review »

148Apps' Best Games of 2012: 20-11

Posted by Carter Dotson on December 27th, 2012

We enter the middle portion of our rundown of 2012's best games, covering numbers 20-11 of our favorite games. Have an opinion of your own? Let us know in the comments!

20. Girls Like Robots: Based on quality, Adult Swim Games probably had the best 2012 of any mobile publisher, with a succession of high-quality games with absurd premises. The silliness made it a great fit on a surface level for the publisher. The high quality of the game, which transcends its silly people-organization concept by just continuously iterating and evolving on it throughout the game, made it something special.

19. Polara: This endless runner mixes in the color-switching of classic shmup Ikaruga with endless runner gameplay. But it shines because it is never content to keep throwing the same tricks at players, as Eli Cymet explains: "Polara boasts tight and varied gameplay, and consummately constructed stages. Rather than rest on the laurels of novelty and squander the core mechanic, developer Hope This Works Games offers a new way to think about color matching in almost every level."

18. Polymer: Play the "One Polymer" mode in this unique sliding puzzle game from indie-musician-turned-developer Whitaker Trebella to see its genius: it encourages long-term strategizing and planning to make a high-scoring match, not just quick reactions like in other puzzle games. Sure, there's modes that require quick thinking as well that are plenty of fun, but the premise of One Polymer is what kept me coming back.

17. Pocket Planes: Nimblebit hates our free time. Last year's Tiny Tower was addictive. So was Pocket Planes, thanks in no small part to the fact that there was more surface strategy to employ, and the ability for players to have a say in their fate as they expand their airline's reach into a globe-traversing empire. Plus, what other game has people in frog suits flying planes? It's the only game on this list, for sure...

16. Need For Speed Most Wanted: If one game was to define how far iOS gaming came this year, EA and Criterion's racer, adapted to iOS by Firemonkeys, might be it. From being packed full of features, and looking absolutely amazing to boot, it's showing that the difference between consoles and mobile, at least on a technical level, is a rapidly-shrinking gulf. Yet despite the good looks, it is definitely a keeper for its gameplay according to Blake Grundman: "Even with the most critical of eyes, Need for Speed: Most Wanted is still easily one of the best racers on the platform to date. You would have to be crazy not to take this hot rod out for a nice long joy ride."

15. Organ Trail: Director's Cut: Often times, pixel art is used just as an art style, and not to convey an actual retro feel. Not so here. By combining the look and feel of an 80's PC Oregon Trail game, and combining its mechanics with a modern-day zombie apocalypse, the elements brilliantly wind up informing each other and forming a sublime take on a classic. Rob Rich feels the same way: "Virtually every aspect of Organ Trail: Director’s Cut oozes style and cleverness. Also pus. It’s a game that’s likely to please zombie fans as well as anyone who remembers the one without the green-skinned shamblers fondly. And it’s with no hesitation or trepidation that I suggest that everyone reading this should buy it. If they haven’t already, of course."

14. Ski Safari: There are endless runners, and then there's Ski Safari. I'll let Rob Rich explain why it made our list: "Penguins, snowmobiles, eagles, and yeti can all be used to put some real distance between the accident prone man and the avalanche. Not only are they useful, they’re also pretty funny. Watching the yeti run wildly or slide along on its stomach never gets old. The same can be said for seeing a penguin ride along on the fuzzy mythological beast." If a man and a penguin riding a yeti while outrunning an avalanche ever gets old, I will weep bitterly. An easy choice for this list.

13. Super Crate Box: It would be easy to forget that this was actually a 2012 title, since it came out in the first week of January. I don't forget sitting for hours on end, either on touchscreen or at my iCade, trying to last just a little bit longer, cursing out that disc gun, the giant walking green skulls, or the stupid fire pit at the bottom. Yet, after those countless hours, no game revealed itself to give the players the control over their fate, to be about pure skill far more than randomness, quite like this one did.

12. Fieldrunners 2: Remember 2008? That's when the first Fieldrunners came out. 2012 is like an eternity since then, but Fieldrunners is still a ton of fun. As Rob LeFebvre writes: "Fieldrunners 2 HD is a brilliant combination of action and strategy with a depth of gameplay that’s hard to ignore. I find myself thinking of solutions to particularly difficult maps while I’m driving, or showering, or making dinner for the kids." Just don't burn the food while protecting your base.

11. Mikey Shorts: The laser precision of the controls is a significant part of what made this so good: trying to shave fractions of seconds off one's time in order to beat a friend on the leaderboards could be nigh-impossible with virtual controls, nay it should be. But instead, it's about as perfect as it could be. Not bad for a first-time effort, and challenging friends to try and one up their times added a ton of value to this one. Plus, there's silly hats.

Ghouls, Ghosts, and Goblins are Invading DeNA’s Mobage Social Games Network!

Posted by Rob Rich on October 30th, 2012

While all the little kiddies are out gathering candy - assuming they aren’t out on the East Coast because that would be fairly dangerous given the current circumstances - it can be tough figuring out what the rest of us can do with our time. Sure there might be the odd Halloween party and there’s always sitting around waiting for trick-or-treaters. But what’s a person to do with their downtime? Why not take to the App Store and sample a bunch of new Halloween content that’s just been added to a number of DeNA titles?

Blood Brothers - The most recent “gather creatures and strengthen/evolve them” game to come from Mobage is having a special Grave of Kings event. Players can nab some event-only familiars (complete with jack-o-lantern masks) until November 1st. Or until the special raid boss event ends. Which will also be on November 1st. So yeah.

Deity Wars - Starting now and continuing through October 31st players will be able to participate in a special live event to try and earn both rare cards and the expected Halloween-themed in-game items. Nothing like mixing a few ghosts and goblins with gods, right?

Fantasica - Guard your dreams! A bunch of Halloween nightmares have been let loose and players must band together to fight them off. The special event runs through the 31st and will give us all the chance to win some special loot and cards. I feel like I should reinstall this just so I can ogle the new characters because I love the artwork so much.

Kingdom Wars! - Get your hands on some limited time Halloween Edition Dungeon card packs and hopefully bring a ghost, witch, or other nightmarish monstrosity into the ranks. “Mwahahahahaha!!!” and all that.

My Monster Rancher - Rather than focusing on special event monsters (although there are those, too), My Monster Rancher is tossing lots of special prizes and costume items into the pot cauldron. Witch hats, pumpkin heads, and more await!

Ninja Royale - This Halloween a bunch of vampires chose the wrong ninja to try and snack on. In addition to the special themed drops a special jack-o-lantern clan, CARVER, has been added. Seriously though, of all the human prey to hunt why would vampires want to go after a ninja?

Pocket Planes - We’re all familiar with ferrying bitizens back and forth to earn some cash. We’re also accustomed to hauling a bunch of the little pixel people and their gear to special destinations for specific purposes. Now we can fly lots of ghouls, candy, and whatnot around until the 31st. Let’s make sure these bitizens have a Halloween they’ll never forget!

Rage of Bahamut - Granted I’m used to special events in this CCG but I’ve yet to take part in any that were holiday themed. This time it’s going to be the Manor of Illusions, complete with plenty of special items and cards to earn. I suppose it’s time to start stockpiling more cure waters.

Tiny Tower - Not even Tiny Tower is safe from the horrible spirits roaming the App Store. Granted the ghostly costumes have been available for bitizens to wear for quite some time but now there’s a special Halloweed-themed mission to complete. And you can dress them up and start haunting your tower’s floors now through the end of the month.

Link: Pocket Planes Soars Onto Mac App Store, Offers iOS-saved Game Play

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on October 8th, 2012

The fantastic hit game, Pocket Planes, is now on the Mac App Store, and Nimblebit sent us some great news on the way it will interact with the iOS version.

Players will be able to manage their airline from the comfort of their Mac, and pickup right where they left off on their iOS device when they're on the go! The Mac version also introduces an exclusive plane model, the "X10 Mapple Pro" obtainable only on the Mac version.

In celebration of Pocket Planes coming to the Mac, as well as its recent arrival on Android, we've released the first in a series of "Pocket Planes Shorts." A collaboration with LoadingReadyRun, "Pocket Planes Shorts" as well as upcoming "Tiny Tower Shorts" will showcase the lighter side of living in the bitizen universe!

The Portable Podcast, Episode 143

Posted by Carter Dotson on June 26th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Big ol' jet airliner, don't carry me too far away...

On This Episode:

  • Carter and guest Mike Schramm discuss Pocket Planes, especially some of the criticisms that other reviewers have had of the game, especially concerning if it has any actual gameplay or not.
  • The developers of Bumpin' Uglies discuss the Kickstarter for their upcoming free-to-play physics game, and they answer the inevitable question of many projects: what happens if it fails?

  • Episode Cast:

  • Host: Carter Dotson
  • Guest: Mike Schramm, Joystiq/TUAW
  • Guest: Bret Hummel and Drew Pearson, Bumpin' Uglies
  • Contact The Show: Email | Twitter


    How to Listen:

    • Click Here to Subscribe in iTunes:

    Apps Mentioned in this Episode:

    Pocket Planes Review

    By Carter Dotson on June 19th, 2012
    Pocket Planes is NimbleBit's latest free to play title that has players flying bitizens across the globe, and it's an extremely fun and addicting experience.
    Read The Full Review »

    FREEday 6/15/12 - "I Shall be FREE FREE, FREE of Those Voices Inside Me”

    Posted by Rob Rich on June 15th, 2012

    Now I'm fully aware that most of the other games on today's list will end up being eclipsed by Nimblebit's newest release, but let's all try to stay focused here. There are five more games in this lineup, so why not take it slow and give them all at least a glance?

    Zombie Carnival - I can’t say that I’ve ever given much thought to running my own undead theme park, but it’s not a bad idea now that I think about it. Luckily I can try my hand with this instead of scouring curio shops for The Necronomicon. Plus there’s bound to be much less mess when I find, combine, and battle zombies digitally as opposed to the alternative.
    Grab Zombie Carnival Here.

    Pocket Planes - Nimblebit has adapted their super-popular sensibilities and freemium model into a game about running an airline. There’s practically no chance of this not being a major time sink, so we all might as well give in and just start playing. Society will recover from the complete lapse in progress, eventually.
    Grab Pocket Planes Here.

    Max Astro: Stranded Beyond the Stars - As cute as it may look, the core concept of using piles of alien corpses to climb to freedom is a little disturbing. Of course I happen to like cute and disturbing things, so it all works out. Whether or not anyone else wants to try and get this stranded astronaut home, no matter the cost to the extraterrestrial population, is up to them.
    Grab Max Astro Here.

    Top Gear: Stunt School Revolution - Stunt driving can be pretty crazy, but it can be even crazier in a virtual space where the laws of gravity and physics don’t really apply. Slapping wings and livestock on top of a car, then ramping over the Grand Canyon might be completely ridiculous but it’s also just insane enough to be awesome.
    Grab Top Gear Here.

    Terrapets - Collecting impossible creatures is something most iOS users are familiar with at this point. The same goes for creating habitats for them. But not too many games combine creature collection, habitat building, and battling. So hooray for versatility! And hooray for funky monster designs!
    Grab Terrapets Here.

    Little Wizard - Build a fantasy-themed town, then defend it. All while researching new magics and gathering monsters to summon in future battles. All that’s missing is an emphasis on elements that affects the experience depending on a player’s focus and gesture-based spell casting. What’s that? It has that, too? Ah. Right, well best get to downloading then.
    Grab Little Wizard Here.