I was originally going to write a blog entry on iOS retro ports. The problem is that retro ports on iOS are universally pretty terrible. Games made to be played with a joystick, D-pad, or keyboard simply don't convert well to the touch screen.|
Some games, however, do work very well on iOS. Puzzle games in particular flourish on iOS, for the same reason they do on the DS; the touch screen is well-suited for the genre, allowing you to manipulate puzzle pieces or the puzzle board in a direct, intuitive manner. The impreciseness that sometimes comes with controlling a touchscreen with your finger can be frustrating in more action-oriented titles, but many puzzle games are much more forgiving of this device flaw.
Unfortunately, on the app store the success of one puzzle game will inevitably be followed by 50 sub-par clones. The iOS store is so overrun with puzzle games that it can be difficult to find one worth playing. Need help sorting through the masses? Here are a few of my favorites:
Continue reading iOS Puzzle Games
Image shamelessly linked from Game FAQs.
Flying lizards, giant bugs, robots, and dragons as
enemies? Count me in! Wait, what's with the nails?
The mid-late 1980's, and early 1990's were a magical time. Forget Iran-Contra, forget Black Friday, forget the rampant materialism of the Baby Boomer generation, forget "yuppies", and forget the Gulf War. During that period of time, we had Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Karate Kid, G.I. Joe and Transformers, Ghostbusters and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids!, and so much more. And we had video games. If you're reading this, you're likely either from my generation, and have fond memories of the 80's and early 90's, or you're experiencing them for the first time, something I often wish I could do, as I approach 40 years of age. For those in the latter camp, I envy you.
Continue reading Nail 'n Scale, 1992
As a fan of story based games, I have to say that I love a game that takes you on a ride. Catherine is the kind of game that you can sit back with, relax, and watch an incredibly compelling social dilemma unfold before the protagonist's eyes. Lately, I've been thinking about companies from Japan. So many people have been crying out about the doom and gloom of the market and how Japanese development has been lagging behind while the Western world advances. This couldn't be further from the truth, as Atlus is one of Japanese gaming's oldest surviving names, but fastest risers in the global market. Persona 3 got the name out, Persona 4 kicked the door open, and Catherine broke the door's frame. Persona 5 is currently one of the most anticipated Japanese developed games since Atlus presented its masterfully crafted initial trailer.
Catherine was released in Japan and North American in 2011, with Europe and Australia getting a release in early 2012. The plot revolves around infidelity and is one that many of us have likely heard about, if not experienced first hand. Vincent, the games protagonist, gets caught up with a blonde-haired, blue-eyed young beauty named Catherine one night after all of his friends leave him alone at the bar. From here, the player chooses whether he wants to court her for the long run or remain faithful to his girlfriend, Katherine. The girls represent the ideologies of "Law" and "Chaos." Law is doing the right thing no matter how much it might hurt; Katherine is a structured being in complete charge of her life and represents Law. On the other hand, Catherine is more of a loose cannon that Vincent can't seem to get rid of no matter what decisions you make; she represents Chaos. Which one of these ladies will you choose, or will you choose the single life?
Continue reading Psychotic Reviews: Catherine
This month's Together Retro game club pick over at http://Racketboy.com was Zoop. Now let me guess -- you've heard of Zoop, but never played it. You vaguely remember a magazine ad for it, but aren't really sure what it is. Am I right? Probably. That's generally how it went. Zoop was a puzzle game released in 1995 and it was ported to just about every platform available at the time. It made its way to SNES, Genesis, Game Boy, Game Gear, PC, Mac, Saturn, Atari Jaguar and the PlayStation in an honest-to-goodness attempt at being the next Tetris. Indeed it was even marketing as "America's Largest Killer of Time!"
Perhaps what's more interesting about the game's place in history is that it was designed by a team called Hookstone. Though that name may not ring a bell, most of the members of Hookstone went on to form Mobius Entertainment, who you probably know better as Rockstar Leeds. That's right, the same team responsible for bringing Manhunt and the Grand Theft Auto series to the PSP had its humble beginnings in a simple puzzle game.
Originally my plan was to play the Game Boy version, but I found it to be a bad idea. You see Zoop is all about a little triangle that's inside a big square. And all these multi-colored shapes are attempting to get in the square. But the triangle can turn into each color, and then take out like colored rows. Maybe you see where I'm going with this? Yeah, a game where color is important just isn't going to work so well on a monochrome system. So I soon decided that I'd pick up the PlayStation port instead. Some of my fellow Racketboy forum members actually played and enjoyed the GB port. Well, more power to them. Personally it just confused my eyes.
The PlayStation version was very good. At least I assume it would be just as good as any of the other console ports at the time (Jaguar, Saturn, etc.). The controls were responsive, the colors were vibrant and thanks to the newly implemented CD technology, the music was really great. I personally wasn't great at the game. In fact that's my high score in the picture up above there. But what was really nice about playing this month is that so many members got really into the game. It's really fun to go back and play a game with a bunch of people even though it's not handing out achievements or syncing trophies.
Truthfully, I lost interest in the game about halfway into the month. But in fairness, it was my birthday this month which means I got a lot of new games and all of them were begging for my attention. But that doesn't mean I wouldn't come back to this one. In fact Zoop certainly has a certain appeal to it. That kind of timeless replayability that makes games like Dr. Mario or Tetris so addicting. If you haven't played Zoop yet, you've really got no excuse. I guarantee you own one of the systems it's available for.
Continue reading Unloved #23: Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros Treasure
Continue reading Unloved #18: Fire N Ice