H3H3 Ball Rider is a mobile arcade game where you control a ball going through some levels by hurtling yourself forward via a stream of sweat. Most of the game is trying to get the highest score in each level, although there are special events where you are timed. You continuously lose energy - which can be recovered by following trails of small orbs which are always laid out on the critical path, but you ultimately get hit with obstacles and miss orbs and lose; There are power-ups to help you along the way and you can equip upgrades to help you. Ultimately I grew bored with the lack of variety in gameplay and the so-so controls, so I didn’t get very far.
Bounzy! is a neat iOS game where you shoot balls, breakout-style, at enemies coming toward your wall. If they make it, you lose health and eventually lose the map. In order to defeat increasingly powerful foes, you need to upgrade your projectiles and acquire new spells, like a poison effect or piercing shots. You also can use more powerful spells like meteors and electricity a few times per map. All of these systems are okay and the core gameplay of Bounzy! is actually really good, the problem is that you are drowned in ads, micro-transactions and gameplay balance obviously skewed towards taking forever if you don't spend money on the game.
Arkanoid vs Space Invaders is an interesting mix of two classics that blends into something that's really fun to play - but can get pretty frustrating at times - with a good variety of gameplay elements and some light customization. The basic concept of the game is to move the Arkanoid paddle around to reflect Space Invader projectiles - and sometimes a ball - in order to accomplish different objectives. I did stop after a while because the game was asking too much from me and it was just an experience in futility at this point, but that was hours in and it was well worth my money.
Survive in space is a mess on many levels. It's core gameplay isn't too bad but gets hamstrung by weird decisions, it's side systems of progression and upgrades are confusing at best and the game has some UI and tone issues. It seemed neat at first glance, but after playing it for a while, I realized I wasn't having any fun with it and had to stop. I'm still looking in my quest for good arcade space shooters with RPG elements, but Reign of Bullets was much better.
EDF 4.1 was released on PS3 a while back, but getting a smoothly running version with fast loading times made me quite happy. Playing it by myself on the PC isn't the best experience, but technically, it runs way better than any other versions. I was also pretty happy to see a 'real' EDF on PC after that last one they'd release that was strangely different. Is EDF a perfect game? Not at all, some of its issues turn into fun features and can be entertaining for the beginner, but the core of the game is a bit unbalanced and frustrating in parts, especially if you're playing alone.
The Firm is one of these very simple but tightly created game where the number of actions you're expected to do is very low, but the pressure builds up and you make mistakes and complexity ramps up progressively until you ultimately lose. I had a good deal of fun trying to unlock the various power-ups you could get, but getting the last one was a bit too much grinding, so I stopped. I'd still recommend it, tho! It's a neat timewaster. Sorry for the lack of screenshots, my work process ate them.
Reign of Bullets is a great little shooter with customization and a good progression system. The game isn't completely without flaws, but I think that I've enjoyed it much more than many other things I've played recently, and the simplicity of its core gameplay added to the complexity that can stack upon it via its many systems create an experience that while a bit reminiscent of old flash game, is totally fun to play.
Looty Dungeon is a glorified Crossy Road where you move forward and try to complete quests to get coins in order to buy more characters and keep doing that forever. At least in this version, the different characters have different abilities, but the game doesn't control well, the progression curve isn't fun and I don't have much positive to add about it; Needless to say, I haven't played it much.
I really didn't enjoy Downwell. After hearing many good things about it I've decided to give it a look, but a few hours in and I couldn't play it anymore. I recognize that it's a well-made thing, but I'm not enjoying it at all, and I think that to make it a fun game, a few things would've been required for this arcade experience to really shine.
League of Legends developer Riot released this simple iOS game for a limited time - I don't think it's available anymore - as some kind of weird joke. I think that BPR is a neat little piece of LoL memorabilia in a way, and an okay game on its own, but it shows that this wasn't a 'real' product, released to actually make money in any way. It's a game where you run up and down while trying to bump into little creatures while using your rocket arm to grab them - and other enemies - in order to survive.
It is a bit sad when lack of greedy design choices in mobile games is enough to make me root for a title and enjoy it way more. Pac-Man 256 is pretty neat for many reasons, but the way it deals with microtransactions, free to play mechanics and the like is also very interesting and didn't impact my enjoyment of the game. While simple, it's pretty competent at what it set out to do and I had a good time with it.
Wormarium bums me out. It's a neat little concept, it controls fairly well and there are no in-app purchases and dubious balance decisions. There's plenty of things to unlock and a whole bunch of levels as well, unfortunately, it's way too difficult for me. I've banged my head on the same level over and over and simply couldn't finish it! What a sad way to finish playing a game, uninstalling it only because I can't progress any more.
Space Galaga International Edition is bogged down by weird controls and superfluous mechanics that overall just burden it with useless padding. The core game could be interesting - a galaga-like arcade shooter where you acquire new gear and upgrade it, with stats and pilots and a progression, but instead making you collect currency to buy and fuse stuff while you spend more time opening space chests and messing around menus trying to figure out what's useful and what's not. I thought I might have an okay time with this game, but in the end, I didn't.
Magic Touch: Wizard For Hire is a game about drawing symbols on your iOS device in order to burst balloons. It's a pretty fun game! Although the core mechanics are very enjoyable, I didn't play it for too long because of a lack of clear progression, luck-based difficulty spikes and the abusive usage of full screen video ads in a free game - an eternal debate I'm having between myself and the iOS game space.
Tadpole Tap is a simple little game where you're a tadpole, and you tap on things to stick your tongue out and grab them. By doing so, you accumulate flies that can be used to unlock new upgrades and different tadpoles. It's an okay game, I suppose, but it didn't grab my attention at all. After playing for about an hour, completing a number of runs during that time, I put it down and moved on to something else.
EDF is it’s own thing. It’s an arcade shooter where you mow down waves of bugs, spiders and other robots while collecting silly weapons and slowly becoming stronger as you go through a bunch of maps with little objectives besides killing everything. Lousy technical performances and limited couch co-op, however, are limiting my ability to enjoy the new PS3/Xbox 360 one. How does the PC version of the last one fares?
Blowfish meets meteor is unfortunate. On one hand, it has a terrible control scheme for a breakout type game where taping left and right is imprecise and unpractical, on the other hand, the early level design felt so boring that I just turned it off.
I was a bit skeptical when I saw trials on the iOS store, after all, games ported from consoles are either barely resembling their counterparts or control really badly when developers try to figure out a way to make the game work at all. Trials Frontier avoids these two things, but falls down in the free to play hole pretty quickly. It’s still a fun experience for a while, controlling well and adapted to touch controls. I even thought the systems it added (leveling, loot, upgrading your bike) were better than the bare-bones progression of the PC/Console game.
Yet another port of a console game, Trials works pretty well on the PC. It’s a bit awkward at first to use a random key as the thrust button and then use the arrow keys to tilt the bike, but after a while I got as good with it than I did with the console version.It still has the same issues, but it’s still a blast if you like that almost puzzle-ish arcade feel.
Guacamelee is an interesting metroidvania with a world-switching mechanic and a large swath of memes sprinkled around. I quite enjoyed it, even if it continued (with Vadis Story last week) a trend of PC games almost requiring controllers to play ‘properly’. After progressing through almost all the game, I was stopped by one fight that frustrated me to no end.