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Continuing where Gunbrick left off, Nitrome created another tiny sized game that you can either play in a small window or zoom and face the blockiness of the graphics!

J-J-Jump is a platform game where you have a limited number of jumps (up to 5). After that you have to reacharge by picking up any glowy bit on screen, which grants you back an extra jump. You also can chain jumps so you can get to higher platforms. Of course you mustn't get carried away and jump uncontrollably; you have to learn to count your jumps and leave a few spare because you don't know what lies up ahead. Finally, to give the player some pressure, the water level keeps rising so you have to be quick about what you do or you're going to get your feet wet :).

The game plays really well and despite having some tricky jumps it never gets impossible (well, except for the last level, but still it's doable). Each level is filled with checkpoints and you have no lives counter so even though you have the pressure of rising water level it doesn't feel like a big bother.

In any case, 15-20 mins of platform fun await you if you play this game!


Here's a nice little platformer. I actually played this without reading any instructions (as I usually do!) and at first I was quite shocked about how good the enemy AI was,the neat random decisions it made about jumping on other platforms, but then realised that the enemies simply follow my movements, millisecond for millisecond. D'oh!

That's pretty much the game though, you get a set of platforms each level (which are scrollable too) and you have to collect all items. Then the last clone that has been spawned (which is normally dark) turns exactly as your sprite and you have to touch it in order to finish the level. Of course that's not too easy with all the other clones hunting you down! So, clever navigation and strategic pauses are a must. There are some zones that either make you go faster or slower to keep things interesting.

Good for a quick blast!

Dyson / Eufloria

A few laptops ago back in 2008 I remember stumbling across this weird ambient game that mixed Real Time Strategy with exploration in an ambient environment. It was before I started that online games thread on the D-Bug forum (for those who joined us recently, it's the old home of this site, unmaintained nowdays), so it was a combination of not migrating data and my bad memory that I forgot to mention it as of yet. To give credit where it's due, what triggered my memory was a very similar game to this on Android called Auralux, but since it's quite probable that it was influenced by Dyson, I'll stick to reviewing that! (although by all means give Auralux a go if you have an Android device since it's good as well!)

The game's main concept is hardly original, you are thrown into a small planet system with only one known planet (the one you inhabit) and you must travel to all other planets and conquer them, peacefully or by force. Your planet initially has one or more threes that grow some creatures looking like a cross of leaves and insects. You can sacrifice a number of those insects to create other trees or set them off (using a combination of left and right clicks) to another planet. There is at least one enemy civilisation in each planet system which has the same goals as you, so of course conflict is inevitable. Pretty soon managing resources and deciding where to visit or strike becomes crucial.

The first thing that hit me (and grabbed my interest) is indeed the visuals and the use of pastel colours as you see above. And the ambient sounds. And watching the insect/leave thinghies run around in swarms with a logic of their own. The game was entered for a competition at tigsource which required the game to have procedurally generated content, although it doesn't matter much. The scrolling/zooming has a pleasing amount inertia to it, which really adds to the atmosphere (I know, sounds weird, but it's true!)

Give it a go, and if you like it you can also check out its commercial brother, Eufloria, which is available on PC and iOS.

Black Box

Eyezmaze has been making fun online games for years now, and their latest offering, Black Box seemed like a good opportunity to write a small text about them. If you've played the early Amanita Design's games in the past (Windosill,  Samorost 1/2) you'll know what to expect: Games that display a static screen where you get to click stuff on screen and see cool stuff happen! (actually even the later games by Amanita Design are pretty much like this: Machinarium, Botanicula).

I really can't give a better description for this game, it's really up to the individual to decide if this game is good or bad (or if they classify it as a game at all). I can only say that the animations are really imaginative and fun coupled with really nice sound effects. Also, to play the full game the author(s) would like a tiny donation (even $1 will do it for him), which I personally think he/they deserve it just because of the back library which has always been released for free (for example Grow cube, Grow RPG, Grow etc.).

I'd suggest playing the earlier games (which are more challenging than Black box since you can get stuck and will have to start over and rethink your strategy. In comparison, Black box seemed totally linear) and then moving on to Black box; if you're convinced by then that it's a good game, be a good boy (or girl) and leave a donation to see the rest of the game :).

Llamasoft’s The Minotaur Project #5 – Caverns of Minos

Llamasoft's The Minotaur Project has been bringing classic-based games to the iOS platform, and has in turn provided some incredibly solid gameplay and immense amounts of fun. Mr. Minter has been cranking them out pretty quickly, and with one exception, they have all been solid gaming experiences. Unfortunately, Caverns of Minos seems to be that exception.

At first glance, Caverns of Minos is yet another solid and polished gaming experience. Based heavily on the classic Atari 8-bit game Caverns of Mars, and even including obvious nods to it from the standard 8-bit text font and obvious graphics lifts, Caverns of Minos is essentially an evolution of (and obvious homage to) it. Your goal for each level is to pilot your ship down to the bottom of the cavern, blowing up enemies and the ever-present fuel tanks along the way, while rescuing the also ever-present minotaurs scattered througout. At the bottom of each cavern sits your goal, which is inevitably to pick up whatever object the "mothersheep" (yes, quite literally) sent you to fetch, and then to return with it. This definitely seems more fun than what I've so far insinuated.

The problem here is that this sounds much more simple (and less aggravating) than it actually is. The run of Llamasoft games with excellent controls has seemed to hit a bump in the road. Your ship is controlled by a similar control scheme to the previous game, GoatUp, and even gives you the same flexibility in configuring them. However, controlling a goat up platforms is a bit more simple than piloting a continuously falling spaceship that is constantly having to fight the pull of gravity. The control scheme itself is fine, but the actual performance of the controls seems a bit slippery and uneven. This gets especially more aggravating on later levels where there is very little wiggle room in regards to avoiding running into enemies or the cavern walls. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find a control scheme that I liked. The game does benefit from the smaller screen of an iPhone or iPod Touch, as opposed to being a frustrating experience on the iPad, but even on these smaller screens the controls just don't feel quite right.

Adding to the aggravation are the sound effects. The sound effects on the whole are fine, using nice, crisp samples, but combined with the flow of the gameplay, I found myself more than once having to mute my iPad. Your ship makes a loud, jarring, grating noise when you run into the cavern walls or another obstacle. While the obvious way to avoid this is to not run into shit, this is much easier said than done. The later levels feature plenty of tight fits where it's nearly impossible to avoid running into something. Also, many of the platforms that you land on in order to rescue minotaurs have largely uneven surfaces. While turning the sound off would be a solution, this also prevents you from important audio cues that are essential to the gamplay...namely, the sounds indicating that you're bumping into something. Using a much less annoying sound effect would have helped immensely. This may all sound like nit-picking, but unfortunately these quibbles with the game all seem to add up into making it feel more tedious than fun.

With all of the above having been said, the core gameplay is solid, even if a bit repetitive. There is a large variety of enemies and obstacles that you will encounter, and the game actually feels like you accomplish something other than just blowing things up in each level. The graphics are also pretty standard fare for any Llamasoft title (as in unique and well-done), including a satisfying end-of-level trip-a-thon with your mothersheep.

It pains me to be so negative with a Llamasoft release, but at least it's not very often that this happens. In my own view, while the game doesn't quite seem to live up to the previous Minotaur Project titles, I still have a hard time not recommending it, given it's cheap price of $1.99 in the App Store. At this price, you can do far worse than giving it a go, and may even find it more fun than I did. And by doing that, you're helping to ensure more quality titles for the iOS platform.

Llamasoft's The Minotaur Project #4 - GoatUp

Here we are, onto the fourth game from Llamasoft's The Minotaur Project, GoatUp. This one is a good one. Not that the previous ones weren't, but this one is really good. Really, I mean it! What other games on iOS (or any other platform, really) do you get to play as a goat? Isn't that what everyone's always wanted in a game? I mean, to play as a goat? Of course it is! And if it wasn't...well, you'll change your mind after checking this one out.

As I stated above, and it's worth repeating here, you play as a goat. I just had to mention that just in case you missed it. Not only do you play as a goat, but you play as a goat going up, hence the title of the game. It would be a little, um, odd, if your goat went down. Although Mr. Minter agrees, apparently, it wouldn't be the same as GoatDown, even with the obvious play on words.

So yes, you play as a goat that goes up. Which is interesting as the game was influenced by the Atari 2600 game Man Goes Down (same inspiration for our own game, Downfall. Yes, I'm shameless.). So instead of going down, you go up. Ok, ok, I'll get on with it. Not only does your goat go up during the course of gameplay, but your goat hops from platform to platform, munching on grass, other unmentionable stuff, or even the platform itself on some levels. As your goat does this, collectible objects appear, which your goat can collect. For what apparent reason, I'm not really sure, but the objects are nothing out of the ordinary. For a Llamasoft game, that is.

Not only do you collect objects, but you also get to kiss other goats. Now, I can't say that bestial sexual innuendo has been a staple of Llamasoft games (ok, actually it has), but it's a core part of this one. After kissing goats and munching on platforms, your little she-goat pops out small baby goats, which will of course follow you around quite closely as you hop and munch from platform to platform. Your baby goats are pretty useful, as they can grab collectibles for you as well as killing the various baddies that you'll encounter. Somehow, they're able to hit baddies with no repercussions, but your she-goat can't. If you bump a baddie, you'll lose a baby goat. Life is unfair like that, I guess. So you need to avoid hitting those baddies unless you managed to grab one of the various power-ups that lets you do so without getting hurt. You also need to avoid going down, as apparently any further innuendo in the game will prompt sudden death. Or at least falling past the bottom of the screen will.

Any game which requires you to hop from platform to platform while trying not to fall off the bottom of the screen benefits greatly from good controls. GoatUp would be one of those games. While platform gaming is often not best controlled on a touchscreen, GoatUp has pretty darn good controls, even if they can be a little slippery from time to time. As is the trend here, Mr. Minter appears to be writing the book on how to do this well on a touchscreen. The control scheme involves moving your she-goat left/right by sliding your finger in the appropriate direction on one side of the screen, while jumping by tapping on the other side. The controls are also quite customizable, as you can switch between which side of the screen does what, and even select a mode where tilting your device in the direction takes the place of moving with the touchscreen. However, the default controls are definitely the best and work quite well.

As is definitely par for the course with any Llamasoft game, the graphics are simplistic but very colorful, and the audio is up to the usual standards. GoatUp marks a return to the classic blocky pixelated graphics that are part of the appeal of most of the Minotaur Project releases so far, this time seemingly giving a nod to the C64 and Spectrum based on some of the color schemes encountered throughout the game. The steep difficulty curve is also there, as it is all too easy to fall off the bottom of the screen at times, and effectively end your quest for the top. However, the difficulty does scale nicely, and shouldn't prevent most newbies from progressing far enough within their first few minutes of the game.

GoatUp is yet another quality release from Llamasoft, quite worthy of anyone's iOS gaming collection, and definitely one of the best platform games for that, um, platform.  Again, the more than reasonable price of $1.99 should not dissuade anyone from giving it a go(at). Ok, ok, I really will stop now!

DROD Flash

Stop press! DROD now has a Flash version!

...okay I'm pretty sure most people that read this scratched their heads, looked at the ugly screenshot and went "what?" :)

Well, the Deadly Rooms Of Death (or  DROD for short) are a series of games that offer hardcore puzzles to anyone that dares try them. The movement is turn-based and you can only move from one square to the other. The hero carries a sword that rotates independently of his movement, so this leads to a great deal of flexibility (although each swing of the sword costs one movement point). There are quite a few enemies with very varying AI patterns - my favorites are the grunt-like roaches though :). Each tile is not the same as the other either, there are doors (and even doors are of 3-4 different types), loose slabs, direction arrows, water and so on, so your strategy must adapt to each screen's conditions. In certain screens, some cutscenes are triggered which reveal the story as you go along (and of course you can skip them if you really don't care).

I must stress that while the game starts easy enough, it soon gets quite hard and requires lots of forethought and replays in order to finish certain screens. Personally I've spent many hours playing DROD and I must say that it really helped me optimizing stuff after finishing some levels ;).

If after all these warnings you still want to try it, I can't do anything else than point you to the online version. Good luck! (and don't blame me if you lose your sleep, sanity or hair :P)

Cruel space

Grab your guns, run around the small planets, blast everything in sight, take off, buy upgrades, ad infinitum! Definitely good looking and plays nice too. One downside for casual players is that you have only 1 life (3 energy bars) to play the whole game so if you lose it's back at the beginning. To which I must reply: just play better :D

Play online or grab a downloadable version or source

Where Are You Teddy?

A cool platformer that is part Sleepwalker, part Alice in Wonderland. Guide your character in order for him to find his teddy bear in her sleep! You simply control the player's jumping and you must not let her fall off platforms. To help there are some potions you can pick up to make him bigger or smaller in size (so, the opposite of Specter Spelunker shrinks or Fracuum where the player's size stays constant).

Grab and play!


Planet 161

A really nice and simple platform game which the player can grab 3 different weapons to help him (gun, grappling hook and one that launches plungers). Nice pixelly graphics and backgrounds, nice music, lovely gameplay. Give it a go :) (or grab the source code)


From the creator of the cool Closure comes a really cool game concept (which incidentally ranked 1st in Ludum Dare #23)

This reminded me of Specter Spelunker shrinks and Inside a Star-filled Sky (at least what I can deduce from the preview video. I'm still torn about buying this one - I'll probably succumb in the end as I like Jason Rohrer's stuff!). In a nutshell the game is a shooter and can be explained using the screenshot below:

As you see, the more you stare into the centre, the smaller things become. Your character starts from the outer corners. As you move to the centre, the screen starts zooming, and as you move to the edges it zooms out. This works remarkably well and adds a lot to the game!

A really pleasant 15 minute blast, play it or grab the source from its  entry LD page.


I delayed writing this review because I simply didn't know what to write. How can I even begin to describe a game which its typical game window is this?

So I'll be as vague as possible. Yes, it's a point'n'click adventure game. Yes, it's by Amanita Design, the people responsible for Machinarium, which is probably my favorite adventure game of the last decade barring none. No, I really can't compare these 2 games if you ask me which is better. No, I won't even try to write the scenario, go and immerse yourself in it if you're interested. No, I really can't convey in words how good I felt solving puzzles and how much part the audio and visuals played in that. Neither I can describe how this game brought out the child in me.

What I can say is that I restrained myself from playing it in one sitting because I'd be too overwhelmed by the experience, and because I simply didn't want it to end that quickly (not that the game is small, there's lots of content in there).

So then, my recommendation? Go buy it. And don't buy it from reduced price pay-what-you-want indie bundles if possible (imo it tends to bring the developers smaller revenue). You wanna play a demo of it first? No problem. Just play it!


It's not everyday I come across a truly exceptional Populous port, let alone one written in Flash!

If you're looking for a game description here I'll just let you search the internet for the thousands of words written for Populous (I'm sure). To summarize real quick: You're given a isometric 3D map which you can terraform (i.e. raise/lower land) in order for your people to settle in and build better homes, use spells to either make your people's life better. Of course these powers can be used to sabotage your opponent's land and people (setting fire to the enemy houses etc). You start with just a couple of abilities and you gain more as you progress through the levels. You could find a million flaws with the original, but none mattered because the game is fun and you usually have a hard time stopping playing once you get going.

Now, getting to this port, it's simply delightful and written with a lot of care and love of the original. Very few things have changed from the original, so thankfully it plays like it should. The presentation is nothing short of excellent: from various transition fx between different game screens (which of course are never needed but to me make a world of difference), to various background animations, to depth of field blurring of the playfield (you can see the background titles blurring if you choose so in the options - nice!). If I could criticize something, it'd be the lack of smooth scrolling - I really think it could be achieved and it'd make the game look better in my opinion. The music, I didn't enjoy that much and opted to turn it off after a while.

Well, nothing more to add, go ahead and play it already!

Llamasoft's The Minotaur Project #3 - Deflex

So here we are, on the third Minotaur Project release from Llamasoft, and this one's a bit different from the other two. I can't say I've had much experience in playing puzzle games by Yak, but then again, just how many puzzle games has he released? Deflex would be the first that I've played, and I have to say this one isn't bad at all.

Way back in ye olde days of home computers, there used to be a certain subset of puzzle games that were all based on the same gameplay element: throw a ball out in play and use stationary paddles dropped around the playfield to move it around the screen and eventually guide it into a hole, or something of the sort. If any of you have played these types of games before, then  you'll know what I'm referring to. I think those games made it to every 8-bit home computer in existence, and most likely a few that weren't.

I can't say I was ever a huge fan of those types of games, but Deflex gets its charm from not being just another carbon copy game. The essential gameplay is the same. You drop stationary paddles in a playfield to help guide a ball that bounces around the screen, but instead of guiding it into a hole or goal of some sort, you use it to collect various things floating around on the playfield. Since this is a Llamasoft game, you can probably guess pretty easily that many of the objects on the playfield are random assorted fluffy animals or other various silly objects that you probably won't see in any other iOS games not made by Llamasoft.

The gameplay zips along at a decent pace, and necessarily so. Your ball acts as its own timer for completing a level, as it will gradually evaporate. This is slowed down by collecting the various objects floating around on the screen, and the "healthier" your ball is, the greater the score. In other words, your goal is not just to complete a level before your ball becomes nothing more than vapor, but to do it as quickly as possible.

Much of the game's charm comes from its abstract and silly graphics, but Mr. Minter added in a few other layers of polish. Along with the usual psychedelic graphical flairs, the audio in this game is mellow but quite sublime. Tunes play out note by note as the ball bounces off a paddle, and of course will vary in speed dependent on the level. Many other small touches like this help to elevate this game from being yet another puzzler to one that really stands out.

This is a unique puzzler that holds its own against many of the other puzzle games found on the App Store. Definitely pick this one up if you're looking for a good time-waster that keeps grabbing you back for just one more turn. Deflex is only $1.99 in the App Store, and well worth the price.

Catch me if you can

Long time collaborator and fellow Paradizer, Cooper, has been releasing games (and some other stuff) for the Atari ST range of computers for more than 10 years now. For his latest game, he decided to do a Kickstarter, but on his own terms!

Catch me if you canIn order to gauge interest from people and to promote his game, he decided to give it to people that actually register for it, but instead of just taking their money he'll do a lottery with the winner getting a working Atari Falcon030! It seems that enough people registered for the lottery to take place so it seems that his release model worked!

Now, about the game itself: You get a 4x4 chess grid where inside there are placed some chess pieces. The goal of the game is for the player to take a piece with each move and end up with just one piece in the board. Sounds easy? Well, 400 levels await those who dare take up the challenge, and it's really enjoyable. As a puzzle fan I found the idea really interesting, and I had to force myself to quit the game in order to write this interview, and that can't be a bad thing! (actually I booted Steem engine just to grab some screenshots, and kept saying "one more level"!) . By the way, take care because the pawn can only move upwards!

Catch me if you can

The graphics as usual are very polished and pleasant. Sometimes I can't tell the pieces apart, maybe another piece set could be drawn? The music consists of a lot of looped samples, so you don't get bored easy (one thing I noticed is that the samples are packed and it takes a few moments for the game to load and unpack the next, leading to a small gap in gameplay. Maybe there should be an option to unpack the samples for faster loading times?).  There are a few glitches I noticed, but these track down to me not running the game from ST low resolution, so they're insignificant.

All in all, a great game for puzzle heads, and one I'll be personally be coming back to quite often. Well done!

P.S. I'm not sure how you can order it right now, but the homepage of the game is,  perhaps contacting Cooper by e-mail (his address is on the Paradize homepage) will clear things up!

Llamasoft’s The Minotaur Project #2 – Minotron: 2112

Llamasoft's second game in The Minotaur Project - Minotron: 2112 - continues Jeff Minter's foray into iOS gaming. For anyone who remembers playing Llamatron 2112 for the Atari ST/Amiga will be quite at home in this one. In fact, the game looks very, very, very similar to Llamatron. The main differences between the two is that Minotron utilizes an Intellivision theme in its look and feel, and also includes a few enhancements. Oh, and also the Minotaur. We can't forget that.

For those of you who have never played Llamatron...shame on you! Llamatron is an absolute classic, which was inspired very heavily by the old arcade game Robotron 2084, but enhances it with refined gameplay along with extreme silliness. The goal of Llamatron was essentially to survive wave after wave of deviously mischievous hordes of random silly enemies while rescuing as many animals as possible. The goal of Minotron survive wave after wave of deviously mischievous hordes of random silly enemies while rescuing as many animals as possible. As I said before, the two games are virtually one and the same, with Minotron more or less serving as an enhanced version of Llamatron, but featuring some more powerups, enemies, and of course, a minotaur.

For those who read the above paragraph and come away thinking I'm complaining about the similarities in any way...don't. Both games are pure ridiculous awesomeness. If anything, Minotron brings a few enhancements that make it more playable than its predecessor. For one, it includes a nice powerup that turns your minotaur into what is essentially "Minotaur-zilla". Once you have grabbed this powerup, you can stomp around on your enemies, crushing them to your heart's content, or at least until the powerup wears off and you're back to being a regular arse-kicking minotaur firing 180 rounds per minute.

Another nice enhancement is the inclusion of various game modes, allowing you to play with Yak's patented AI Droid. This is a good option for those who are not familiar with the sphincter-clenching gameplay and need their hand held for their first few go-arounds. There's also a survival mode, which is much the same as the standard game mode but only provides you with one life and no extras.

The controls are surprising excellent, especially for a game that requires the use of both hands. Instead of having to use a crappy onscreen joystick, you move around by holding your finger anywhere on the screen and then moving it in the direction you want to go, similar to using an analog thumbpad. You aim by using your other hand to simply swipe in the direction you wish to shoot. Unlike the first Minotaur Project game, the controls can be picked up in a matter of seconds. I wish more developers would make them so easy for touchscreen games.

Minotron: 2112 is an excellent addition to Llamasoft's vast library of games, and is one of the best shooters available for iOS. It's worth far more than the $1.99 it is offered for. If you have an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, go pick it up on the App Store now. You can thank me later.



See the above icon?

Well, that's the game window!

Nitrome is trying an experiment here: Because their front page features 50x50 icons of their games, they tried to make a 50x50 resolution game, so you don't have to switch pages when you select the game, just play it on the spot! Of course it can get really cumbersome to play, so they gracefully have an option to switch to a zoomed playfield, like so:


Before I describe the game itself, I simply have to mention that this is not a new idea: The awesome p01 of Ribbon has done something even more hardcore 4 years back in 2008: Defender of the Favicon is literally a Defender clone running in the favicon (you know, the little icon of each tab in your browser? That thing!) and it's actually playable, so mad props to Mathieu!

Now, for this game. The actual sprite you're controlling has 2 main features: In one end there's a blaster which because of its power can also be used as a thruster, and in the other end there's a shield that can protect it from pretty much everything, as long as the shield is facing the side the threat is coming from. The sprite can only move left or right and in addition it can thrust. Moving left/right though causes the sprite to rotate by 90 degrees (anticlockwise or clockwise) and this becomes an interesting mechanic, as you frequently have to position yourself facing the right direction before doing something: for example, to "jump" you have to have the blaster face downward and then fire, or if you want to blast some boxes to clear the way again you have to position the gun to face them. There are also flames to avoid (and especially those coming from the ground might seem tricky or impossible at first, but you get the point fast enough) and switches to press in order for tiles to move out of the way or create a platform for you to step on. Reaching the end of a level moves you into the next.

As you expect from Nitrome, the graphics are as detailed as possible (granted, there's not much you can do with such small sprites but it's alright) . I tried to play the game on a 50x50 window but found that I couldn't; had this been a shoot'em'up like Defender of the favicon I could have been able to. But with such a game that requires absolute precision it's nearly impossible. Or is it just me getting old and my eyesight bad? :D

The sound consists of a looped sample, which gets tiresome after a few minutes of playing. The sound effects are really loud and simple.

Not much more to add - puzzle fans try it out, the rest just have a look out of curiosity and then close the browser window!

(P.S.  I always like to see experimental stuff from more "serious"/established software houses!)

Llamasoft's The Minotaur Project #1 - Minotaur Rescue

Anyone who played games extensively on the VIC-20, C64, Atari ST, Atari Jaguar, etc. is sure to be well familiar with the works of Jeff Minter, known by some as "Yak". He has been releasing game under the Llamasoft label for more than two decades now, and he's considered by many to be one of the greats of the classic systems. After ending his involvement in the Xbox 360 and after his latest PC release, Gridrunner Revolution, he decided to start a series of games for iOS devices, which he is releasing under the moniker of The Minotaur Project. In short, the goal of The Minotaur Project is to create a series of games based on classic games, but featuring gameplay elements which do not have to abide by the limitations of the original systems on which they were produced.

His first game, Minotaur Rescue, will look familiar to many. The game is an amalgamation of several classic games, namely Asteroids and Space War, and the look of the game is intentionally replicating Atari 2600 style graphics. The game centers on a small, blocky ship which automatically fires furiously around a playfield with a star in the center. The star, of course, has a gravitational field which will pull in any free floating objects. The player is tasked with navigating through asteroid fields and the occasional UFO while trying to rescue free-floating Minotaurs before they are sucked into the star.

Anyone familiar with Asteroids will be well at home in how to handle the Asteroids and various other baddies that fly around. However, the controls will certainly take some time to master. It took me several play-throughs before I figured out how to keep my ship from zipping across the screen into an asteroid at the speed of light. If you are trying this game for the first time, think of your iPhone or iPad's screen as a very sensitive trackball, and you should be able to figure things out from there.

As is standard fare with Llamasoft games, the gameplay is fast and furious, and you'll find yourself getting sucked into the "zone" in the heat of battle. Several other game modes exist, including multiplayer mode for up to 4 people on the same device (yes, really), but the main attraction here is the Survival mode, which is the standard formula of clear-screen-of-baddies and rescue-cute-fluffy-animals, a hallmark of most Llamasoft titles. The only drawback is the less than intuitive controls, but once you have them mastered, you'll find yourself going back again and again.

The game is only $.99 on the Apple App Store. For that price, you certainly can't go wrong with it.

Temple of the Spear

To be perfectly honest, the minute I usually see Gameboy-style graphics in a game I'm turned off and don't want to even bother playing. I'm not sure why, my brain is probably hardwired like that. This game's music didn't make things any better as well. But I thought I'd give it a chance anyway.

The game is a flip screen exploration with bits of slashing here and there and some puzzles that involve doors mostly. (yes it resembles the old Zelda games but I didn't want to use the term "Zelda like" and I'm not sure if there's a category for these games. And anyway, why label everything? :)). As the main title suggests your main weapon is a spear which you can use in 2 ways, close range and long range. Naturally people will go for long range immediately as it's more effective and you have a better chance of hitting enemies before they get close, but there's a small catch: you have limited ammo, and only short range attacks don't deplete your ammo cache.

 There are doors that can delay your progress, and there are switches (well, some boxes) that need to be hit before each door opens. And here's another interesting bit: instead of the game placing the doors around the rooms and letting you discover which switch opens which door, each door is connected with its switch with a line (could be a power line, but it doesn't matter). So, you end up in a door you want to open, you simply follow the line to the switch, hit it, take the trail back and see the door open - presto! A really nice addition that while subtle, it makes the game a lot better than it should be. Of course things aren't always that easy and there are doors that open other doors, and of course with the enemies floating around the levels it adds to the challenge.

Lots of checkpoints around to save your progress and come back to it if you decide to take a rest, so I guess you could do worse than give it a try!

(P.S. probably turn the music off, I know I mentioned it at the beginning, just thought it was worth mentioning again)

Another World HD

Well, what can be written about the gameplay that hasn't already been written?  That's right. Nothing. This is still the same great game it always was, so I guess the only question left is... 'how does it play with touch screen controls?'

The answer is...  sometimes better, sometimes worse.  The game offers point and move and on screen d-pad control methods, but frankly I've found that neither are good for all situations. Some screens are better on touch, others (that require more precise movement) are better on dpad.  In a world, it's a bit hit and miss, and gets frustrating.

The game is still amazing fun to play, and the HD/Low Res options are a nice touch, however I can only recommend this if it's on offer (as it was when I purchased it) unless you really loved the original game (and who didn't?)

Battle Squadron One

I regard the original version of this game to be possibly the best shooter made during the 16-bit era, way ahead of Xenon II, Blood Money, and all the other 'wannabe' blasters of the time.  So when this hit the Android marketplace I had to get it, but it was with a bit of fear that this classic would become mashed up into unplayable pulp with the touch controls.

I need not have feared. The controls are crisp and smooth (I completed 80% destruction of the Barrax Empire on my first go!).  The music, graphics and presentation are, if anything, better than the Amiga original version.  With the added goodness of achievements via OpenFeint you can't go wrong.

You alone must defeat the evil Barrax Empire using a variety of weapons, each with several levels of devastation. You also have 'smart bombs' that can destroy anything near you when activated. One thing I love about this port is that, unlike the original, you can fire a smart bomb off whenever you like and don't have to pull off the stupid 'joystick waggle and die' maneuver of the Amiga version.

Grab it TODAY, you won't be disappointed.

Bang Bang Racing - Playbox

Let's get one thing straight before we start. I like racing games.  I like them a lot.  From 3D based first/third perspective games all the way back to their Sprint type top-down variants.

Possibly the most famous of these top down games is Super Sprint, and I played that to death on the Atari ST.  So when I saw this game for Android, I jumped at it.

The graphics are fully 3D, but are rendered from an overhead angle similar to Super Sprint and the camera tracks you as you drive around the track.  There are multiple control methods so you should be able to find something that suits you.

Several tracks are included, and 3 car classes which get unlocked as you win complete seasons.  The AI for the other cars is well balanced and they will move around and present a nice challenge, while not being unbeatable.  You always get the feeling that when you failed, it was because of something you did, rather than the computer cheating.

All in all, I highly recommend this title.  It can be found in the marketplace via the following link.

Jetpack Joyride

Jetpack Joyride, an amazing little game exclusive to iOS, has been sucking away much of my time lately. Continuing in the tradition of "one button gameplay" games that have seen a proliferation on touchscreen devices, you guide a character with a "machine gun jetpack" through a long laboratory of evil scientists, with your simple goal of trying to make it as far as possible. Along the way, there are coins to collect, vehicles to steal, scientists to terrorize, and an ever increasing array of malicious obstacles to avoid.

Since most one button games tend to be pretty simplistic in terms of their gameplay, the developers have added a slew of features to keep the replayability of the game continously fresh. You can level your character up by completing simple missions that are assigned to you, and can purchase a wide selection of upgrades and enhancements for your character, which is done by collecting coins throughout each game. To top it all off, bonuses can be won off a slot machine at the end of each run, depending on the collection of spin tokens that are collected.

This game offers an incredibly deep and rich experience which is hard to put down. The price also can't be beat, either...the game is completely free! Anyone with an iOS device would do well to download this game through the Apple App Store.

Jetpack Joyride video

Pocket Planet

See the picture below?

Well, that's the whole game right there! You begin in the upper left corner and must make your way to the lower right. I didn't manage to finish it yet, but boy it really felt like playing 10 different levels (even though each area covers just a few pixels). You can level up, get health, experience, you have restore points, and that's it! But it is fun fun fun!

Memento XII

Ludum Dare 23's theme is all about "tiny worlds", and what I've seen so far is simply amazing, so hooray for them!

This game is a really short adventure game, but highly polished and with a verb I haven't seen before in games like these: remember. Flashbacks of the character's live come back if you trigger the right memories, and oh well I won't spoil it for you. If it sounds interesting to you, go and play it :).

Awesome planes

I usually steer clear of any game containing words like "Awesome" (OSSOM) in their titles, bur since this was a recommendation from Terry's blog I figured "what the hell".

You have a ship, controlled by the mouse (i.e. you point somewhere, it goes there) and fire guns at ships and stationary targets. That's it. What's really worth a mention is the really cool PEW-PEW-PEW-PEW-PEW first weapon you have - I just can't get enough of it :). (oh well, the LAZOR you can buy later on is pretty cool too!)

I finished the game quick enough, but kept feeling it needed some more tuning up, I'm not sure how though.


Very nice point'n'click game with lovely graphics and weird puzzles. I didn't find the treasure in the end, it seems you have to click some stuff on screen or something similar, but it was fun anyway.