April was a large month for Apple, as that was the month when their new, “magical” device the iPad was released. And with that came a slew of HD games including Flight Control, Real Racing, and Touchgrind. But April wasn’t focused all on the iPad though, as many iPhone games including Chaos Rings, an exclusive RPG by Square Enix, and Dark Void Zero, a retro remake by Capcom.
Matt: I’ve spent the bulk of April lost in space, having spent the month reviewing space-themed titles. Warpgate is therefore an obvious highlight of recent weeks, and Bunz Fighter delivered in ways I wasn’t expecting. And — though it has nothing to do with space — Square Enix’s Chaos Rings has become a personal favorite, being the first iPhone RPG to offer up a console-quality experience, and hearkening back in many ways to some of my favorite RPGs of the past, including PSOne-era Final Fantasy titles, Chrono Cross and Vagrant Story.
But if I had to choose one game to rise above the rest for the month of April, that game would unquestionably be Capcom’s retro throwback Dark Void Zero. Despite its brevity, I’ve had more fun with Dark Void Zero than with any other game released in 2010. Growing up, the NES was the be-all and end-all of video gaming, and Dark Void Zero presses all the right buttons for me, recalling the very best games of my childhood and allowing me to relive the thrill of simpler times. Whatever their technological shortcomings, 8-bit games had soul. And for all their shiny graphics, complicated control schemes and orchestral scores, most modern games just can’t touch that. Like fine wine aged to perfection, Dark Void Zero feels ancient, but also exhilarating.
I’ve been getting my zombie fix via Twin Blades: The Reaping Vanguard, recently updated to include a Story mode with new locations, boss fights and more. With the new content, the game is really fleshed out and more enjoyable than ever.
Hope: It seems like April showered a big title release every day! But it took well into the month for my pick for game of the month to be released. After much anticipation, Square Enix’s Chaos Rings was finally released. Ok, so I am a sucker for a good RPG and until this point we have had some nice ports but nothing original. Square Enix designed this game from the ground up for the iPod Touch and it shows. It has such a wonderfully engaging story, game play that you can accomplish in chunks, and just general overall polish. I won’t clutter this space with my thoughts on the title, instead direct you to my review.
But in the days leading up to Chaos Rings I spent a good amount of time with Mikado Defenders by TAITO and enjoyed it thoroughly. The artwork is exquisite and the game play a cross between a tower defense and a castle defense. To change the pace up a bit I brushed up on my Blokus strategy skills with the new release by Gameloft. I will be untouchable now at the next Blokus gathering! Warpgate caught my attention and held my interest and for sure that is a notable release of the month.
Although not a new release, but in essence making for a new gaming experience, Angry Birds had another update which added hidden golden eggs to search for throughout the game. Then a few weeks later another update was released that had a new world and introduced a new bird!
Looking forward to seeing what May flowers the April showers bring!
Evan: There are three games that have stolen all of my gaming time this month. My favorite is MIKADO DEFENDERS, which takes you back to feudal Japan, as you defend with multiple types of troops against oncoming hordes of demons. It is of the castle defense genre, but adds a really new art style previously unused. The strategy involved is great, even the easy mode isn’t as plain and simple as you’d expect.
My second favorite game is an obvious choice, Chaos Rings. Hope touched on exactly how I feel about the title, and I agree with her review 100%.
The third game that has really captivated me is Vertigo Rogue. It is a overhead helicopter game, where you have weapons and missions that require you to be a death dealer. The controls used are very fun, but do seem a bit complicated in the beginning. Once you get the hang of them, though, you can maintain fantastic control of every axis of direction for your copter. People have compared it to GTA, but I think that the comparison is not quite correct, Vertigo Rogue brings enough originality to hold it’s own as an all new style of game in the Appstore.
Travis: April started with a bang with the surprisingly quiet release of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2. I consider the original PSOne version to be one of (if not) the best skateboarding games of all time. To my great delight this port plays and handles very well and I consider it to be the front-runner for the platform so far. I can only hope that someone comes along with a new game that plays at least equally as well to take the top spot from THPS 2 as a port from a home console game from 3 generations back should not be the best game on a modern platform. Surely someone can improve on a 10 year old game?
Also taking up a considerable amount of my playtime this month was the instantly popular MMO from Com2uS IMO: The World of Magic. While there seems to be a ton of crowding in the game since there are only 2 servers currently playable, the game can still be enjoyable. So far it’s been just a huge grind fest but I am enjoying the ride. The customization is a little too minimal for my taste but it’s a good start considering the wide open market for the MMO space at the moment.
Right towards the end of the month we were treated to the release of MiniSquadron Special Edition. This sequel to one of the best games not just released last year but I would argue one of the finest to date on the platform, is a freemium game giving a portion of the game away for all to enjoy and offers up extra content for those (like myself) that simply cannot get enough for only another $0.99 a piece. I cannot recommend this game enough and would suggest that if you enjoy the free portion of the game at least show your appreciation by giving it a good rating on the app store or better yet grabbing some of that glorious extra content.
Unfortunately I have yet to play Chaos Rings as many of my associates have. However, based on their unanimous glowing praise and in particular Hope’s outstanding review, I intend to play it as soon as my plate is clear as I have no doubt it is a fine RPG and will be a treat to play.
Lastly, honorable mentions go to Orion Racer and Vertigo Rouge.
Daniel: April finished out with a bang, a month in which Square Enix released their own, exclusive RPG for the iPhone and Freeverse stepped up their game and released Warpgate. It was also the release month for Apple’s revolutionary device, the iPad, which brought about a slew of HD games. Even indie titles such as Fruit Ninja showed a lot of promise towards the end of the month. So with that said, I would have to say that my favorite games of the month would be Fruit Ninja and Warpgate, two games that kept me hooked for extremely long periods of time. With the addition of a fighting mechanism in Warpgate’s latest update, the good just became better. I had a difficult time getting into Square Enix’s Chaos Rings, more likely because of the hardcore nature, but it’s definitely a game geared toward many RPG fans. April, I would have to say, was a large month in terms of expanding the App Store, and Fruit Ninja and Warpgate just happen to my favorites.