Category Archives: Editorials

R.I.P. Tap Tap Revenge

A long, long time ago, in a place not so far away from ours, Tapulous was but a fledgling, as Tap Tap Revenge was free along with the fact that jailbreakers could change the theme to whatever they wanted; back then, I changed it to a Guitar Hero-esque theme due to my obsession for that game then.

Then came the App Store, and Tap Tap Revenge looked quite different than the Installer version, and accessing your iPod library was not allowed due to Apple’s restrictions.  Fair enough, as you were able to download more than 100 songs — all of which were pretty good.

Then came the advent of Tap Tap Revenge 2, with improved graphics, more free songs, and the inclusion of online leaderboards and an improved user interface.  All that bit.  Nothing wrong with that there, even though they began releasing the Tap Tap *insert band name here* for $4.99 each.  I don’t think anyone really had any problem with that.

After Tap Tap Revenge 2 came the inevitable Tap Tap Revenge 3, which included avatars and the introduction of DLC; at the time, DLC was not allowed to be included in free games, so Tapulous was somewhat forced to charge $0.99 for their app.  Again, nothing wrong with that there.  The game was still enjoyable with the added 16x multiplier, along with the ability to level up and unlock songs.  While the free songs were lacking in this version, there were still enough to keep going.

But advertisements and DLC-packs began to swarm Tap Tap Revenge 3, making it one of the heaviest advertised games that I, personally, have ever played on the iPhone.  Advertisement here, there, everywhere.  Buy this DLC pack, buy that DLC pack!  And that was fine with me, honestly, as it actually didn’t bother me too much.

And now fast forward to the end of 2010 with the release of Tap Tap Revenge 4, and you’ll receive a buggy product (like all of their previous Tap Tap Revenge products) with seemingly more advertisements, more banners clamoring for you to buy their DLC, and almost no improvement from Tap Tap Revenge 3.  Sure a change of the UI to black and turquoise.  Sure a change of the online leaderboards from using their servers to GameCenter.  And sure, there’s chat and private messaging.

But when looking at it now, the game experience is the same.  Nothing has changed in the game experience.  From Tap Tap Revenge 1 to 3 something has changed, and from 3 to 4, there leaves much to be desired.  After over two and a half years in the App Store and on the iPhone—since they’ve developed before the App Store launched—their games are still released buggy, sluggish, laggy, et al.

It’s a sad demise from its Installer days, when music could be accessed from your iPod (which I believe is now allowed).  It’s now about the money, how many DLC packs it can sell.  It’s not about the game experience anymore, which leads me to lay it down and finally call it quits.

R.I.P. Tap Tap Revenge, you will be missed.

The iPad is Made for More Hardcore Games

Now let’s all agree that the iPad is a huge iPod touch/iPhone.  Now let’s agree that the iPad is the “missing link” between laptops and phones.

Agreed?  Agreed.

Now, based on those two assumptions, shouldn’t the games be more… in depth?  Laptop/computer games are very close to console games; in fact, they are console games.  Games such as Team Fortress 2, Battlefield 2142, and Halo all appear on computers.  And logically, if the iPad is better than a phone but lesser than a computer/console, shouldn’t the games reflect that also?

Now let’s bring this to another notch and bring in the portable factor.  Quite frankly, for me, the iPad almost never goes out of the house.  Sure, the whole point is for it to be portable, but with a Wifi-only iPad, it’s hard to be really “portable”.  On top of that, the 9.7 inch screen is far from fit-in-your-pocket material.  Plus, it doesn’t have the phone capabilities, leaving the iPad quite more like a laptop or computer in that perspective.  It just isn’t very portable.

And the portable factor is what makes iPhone games iPhone games: quick, pick-up-and-play, casual games.  Fruit Ninja, Flight Control, heck, even Madden NFL or Real Racing 2.  All are built to quit out and open the app up to find your game paused right where you left it.  All are built to play for either one minute or an hour.  And most importantly, all don’t have much complexity to them: slice the fruit, draw some lines, tap a square, tap some arrows and follow the grey asphalt road (although Real Racing 2 is a little bit more complex than my description).  The entire game experience is built around being easy to pick up, easy to put down, and easy to pick right back up again.

And if the iPad really isn’t portable, then why should the games be?  Fruit Ninja HD, Flight Control HD, Madden NFL HD, and most likely, inevitably, a Real Racing 2 HD.  There are a numerous number of casual games on the iPad, all built around the same principles that the iPhone is built around; and I feel like I’m being repetitive, but here it is again: iPhone equals portable, iPad does not.  iPhone equals easy to pick up, iPad… you get the picture.

So with all those factors put in—portability and the fact that it’s between a laptop and phone—it’s easy to view the iPad as different from the iPhone and, consequently, the iPad should be treated like so.  And while the App Store is filled with indie developers, there are those big guns out there that just rehash their games to fit the iPad screen; those guys need to step up.

And of course, the indie devs can too.  And ideally, in my opinion, games should be somewhere along the lines of Aralon in depth, presentation, and overall expansiveness; that fact should be the only reason for hiked up prices on the iPad App Store.

The iPad is more than just a big iPhone; the only reason it still is a big iPhone is because of the games that are holding it back.  Let’s get some more depth, even though the prices will inevitably rise.  The iPad has so much more potential than receiving just rehashed, HD versions of iPhone games.

Holiday Buyer’s Guide

There are holiday buyer’s guides for all sorts of things: clothes, shoes, console games, food… and each guide definitely makes it a bit easier to shop during the holidays.  And while I can’t imagine anyone gifting apps for Christmas, there’s bound to be some iTunes giftcard gifts out there.

So, let’s create a situation in which you received a $50 iTunes giftcard.  What do you get?


Need for Speed Shift: It’s only $0.99 right now, and you really can’t get much better than this (aside from Real Racing 2).  Grab it quickly though, as I have no clue how long this EA sale is going to last.

AND Real Racing 2: On the expensive side, and it’ll eat 10 of your $50, but it’s totally worth it.  Of course, that’s only if you liked the first one and don’t mind a bit of repetitive racing here and there.  It’s great, and you can’t get a more quality-filled game than Real Racing 2.

Total: $10.99


Aralon HD: It’s universal, extremely expansive, provides over 30 hours of gameplay, but it is a bit expensive at $6.99.  You do get what you pay for—a fully-featured 3D RPG unrivaled in the App Store—and that’s the main reason why this is my first recommendation to all of you shoppers out there.

Alternative: Zenonia 2: If you’re tending to go with the cheapest RPG out there, you can’t get much more bang for the buck than Zenonia 2.  It’s on sale for $0.99, and while I don’t know how long that sale’s going to last, it’s definitely a solid, entertaining RPG.  There is a lot of grinding, but hey, the game as a whole is pretty solid.

Alternative 2: Infinity Blade: This new, shiny RPG from Chair won’t give you much content—I’ve spent around 4 hours on this—but it does provide a fun and unique experience, along with some of the best graphics you will ever see on this device.  It is a bit expensive at $5.99, so that’s the main reason it’s the 2nd alternative.  Other than that, this is one game that you must try if you have the budget.

Total: $6.99


Madden NFL 11 (or any EA Sports title): I have to default to my love for football and put Madden here, but NBA Elite 11 is also a nice choice.  EA’s fire sale is really nice for all of you shoppers out there, and it’s really something that should be taken advantage of.  While Madden NFL on the iPhone is still maybe a year away from being great,  it’s enough to satiate your football needs.  It’s $0.99, and with not many sports titles on the iPhone, it stands out.

Alternative: Touchgrind: Is this a sports title?  I would say it is, and that’s the main reason why it’s on here.  While it’s $4.99 and nearly two and a half years old, it’s still one of the most unique games on the App Store.  It’s fun, challenging, and gives a wow factor in place of the lack of content.  Again, if you have the budget, fit this one in.

Total: $0.99

First-Person Shooters

Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus: This wins by a landslide.  Arguably one of my most favorite games on the App Store—not just first-person shooters—its robust online multiplayer mode alongside the 6-or-so hour single player campaign mode, it’s definitively one of the best gaming experiences to date.  Sure, it’s a rip off of Modern Warfare 2.  But it’s one heck of a rip off.

Total: $6.99


Fruit Ninja: This is probably the toughest category to pick from since there are so many that are so good, but Fruit Ninja is probably the one that I have spent the most hours on.  I’m sure a lot of you out there reading this have picked it up, hence the alternatives, but if you haven’t, this should be your first choice.

Alternative: Flight Control: Anything can go here really—Doodle Jump, Angry Birds, Angry Birds Christmas—but Flight Control has been one of my favorite even today.  Now, I understand if you have this game already, so head on to the second alternative for maybe a choice you haven’t heard of yet.

Alternative 2: Robot Unicorn Attack (Christmas, Heavy Metal, Original): Robot Unicorn Attack is quite enjoyable, with all those GameCenter achievements and all.  The graphics do still need some improvement, and you can play the game for free on Facebook.  But they’re fun, and they’re all $0.99.  If you had to pick one I would go with the Christmas, since it’s the only one packed with GameCenter.  And of course, because it’s Christmas.

Total: $0.99


Edge: Mobigame has updated this game nearly two years after release; yes, it hasn’t really been two whole years because of legal trouble, but Edge is pretty old nonetheless.  It’s universal, has Retina graphics, contains GameCenter achievement and leaderboards, and it’s quite frankly one of the best games I’ve ever played.  I tend to say that a lot, but Edge is a nice pick here for $2.99.

Alternative: Cut the Rope: Cut the Rope is just plain fun, along with the fact that it’s easy enough for casual gamers to get into.  It’s got GameCenter achievements and leaderboards, Retina graphics, and even a free Holiday Edition you can download on the App Store.  I’m not going to lie, Cut the Rope is pretty fun.  And for $0.99, it’s a great grab.

Total: $2.99


Super QuickHook: This is probably the best “Hook Champ” game of the three—Hook Champ, Super QuickHook, and Hook Worlds—and it’s only $2.99.  While the developers could add some GameCenter, it’s enjoyable nonetheless.  I doubt you’ll be bored with this one, as if you beat it, there’s a lot of replay value to keep you playing.

AND Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor: You won’t find any game like this on any other platform.  This is beauty at its finest, and it’s totally worth the whole $0.99 and more.  It’s got GameCenter achievements and leaderboards, which is a bonus, and it’s definitely one game that makes the iPhone unique.

Total: $3.99


Rock Band Reloaded: This is ONLY if this is your first rhythm game that you have played on your iDevice.  If not, then you can check out the alternatives.  With that said, Rock Band Reloaded contains over 30 songs for free, and for $4.99, that’s the best deal you will get on a content perspective.  While it isn’t groundbreaking in anyway, Rock Band Reloaded is the cheapest and provides a pretty basic experience into the rhythm game genre.

Alternative: Guitar Hero: Not much content here for $2.99, and you’ll probably be spending close to $6.99 with DLC content, but the game experience itself is probably the best among all the other rhythm games that I have played.  It’s enjoyable, and I can’t really ask for a better Guitar Hero experience.

Total: $4.99


Mirror’s Edge: Didn’t really know where to categorize this one, as it’s a platformer… but not really.  Either way, this is one game you HAVE to pick up for $0.99, preferably for the iPad.  It looks great on the iPhone though, and again, this is a sale that you should take advantage of.  Mirror’s Edge is a great game—albeit short—for a great price.

AND 100 Rogues: This is a game that has received a lot of love from us, especially Matt, and it’s one rogue-like that you can’t miss.  It’s on sale for $1.99, which makes it an even better deal than it already was at $4.99.  It’s universal, has GameCenter, and all the content to keep you fighting for hours upon end.

AND Warpgate: Arguably the best space sim/trader/action game on the App Store, Warpgate is unique, expansive, and provides tons of hours of gameplay.  The iPhone version is a bit cramped, in my opinion, but the storyline and graphics aren’t too shabby.  For $4.99, be ready to say bye bye to your social life and hello to your iPhone.

Total: $7.99


So with all that added up, you’ll have around $4 left.  With that you should check out the alternatives listed, and there’s enough games to last you at least a couple of months.  And if you already have all of these games, be sure to contact us on Twitter for some more suggestions.  And if we’re missing something, please leave your suggestion in the comments and we might just add it to our list.

Merry Christmas all, and have a Happy New Year!

November Favorite Games of the Month

Time just seems to go by faster and faster, as it’s already time for Christmas.  But before we all get into the Christmas swing, let’s look back at some of our favorite games released this month.

Samurai II: Featuring it’s signature cell-shaded graphics, the sequel to one of the more unique games on the App Store is all the more improved.  With a storyline, some more bloody action, and a new control scheme, it’s one that we truly enjoyed this month.

Mushihimesama Bug Panic: This new take on top-down shooter/dual-stick shooter really impressed our writer Matt, as it was filled with all the fine details.  Cave has done a great job so far with their games, and hopefully it doesn’t stop here.

Chop Chop Caveman: There are a numerous number of Chop Chop games on the App Store, ranging from ninja fighting to tennis.  And their latest version, Chop Chop Caveman, is based on a platforming type of game structure, with physics-based puzzlers and more.  While we can’t say we’ve enjoyed all of the Chop Chops, this is by far one of their best.

Wispin: This little indie arcade gem really took us by surprise, and it’s definitely unique.  The object of the game is to destroy the enemy based on your color—if you’re green, you destroy the green enemies, red the red enemies—and we found it to be a winning formula.  Mixed in with a bit of dual-stick shooter goodness, there’s not much to dislike about this one.

Galaxy on Fire 2: Probably one of the deepest games on the App Store, Galaxy on Fire 2 is all about exploring the endless space of outer space.  Trading, fighting, traveling, exploring… there’s so much to do here it’s actually quite ridiculous.  While a lot of casual players out there will decline to even try this game, it’s more than enough to satisfy the patient.

And that’s it for this month folks!  If you think we’ve missed out on a game, be sure to let us know in the comments.

iDOS Emulator Showed Potential for Classic PC games on iPad

As many iDevice users and touch gamers know, a DOS emulator was released for the iDevices about a month ago and pulled by Apple the very next day. The emulator works a bit more natural and works better on the iPad than the iPhone due to it’s larger screen and two orientation viewing angles it offers. It even has a layout depicting mouse buttons and a computer keyboard that can be switched off to fullscreen with icons of touch keypads. Evidence of this can be seen by googling iDOS as mostly just iPad articles pop up with a brief mention of the iPhone version that was also released.

In terms of apps and games that this emulator supports, the results are very mixed—this is mostly because of speed issues. The emulator also requires either basic knowledge of DOS command prompts or some experimentation and instructions in order to segregate files correctly and get games running. Despite this, the DOS is the home of many great games and classics that started some of today’s most popular game series. Elder Scrolls, Warcraft, Fallout, and it’s Wasteland prequel started on DOS. Many of the greats will not run fast enough on this emulator in it’s current state but other games will. It takes some fiddling with the configuration file at times as well to get some games up and running at the max potential.

Here is a list of games that I found quite playable and enjoyable that is worth trying out on iPads:

The original Warcraft is quite good here with speed being just fast enough to enjoy. Panzer General is another good little strategy gem that plays quite well and has a slow turn-based pace that runs quite well. Darklands is an amazing open world role playing game for its time that plays very well and I highly recommended. Survivor horror Alone in the Dark does slow down but is just playable enough to keep on the list. Zeliard is a very interesting 2d platformer with RPG elements that plays well. Jazz Jackrabbit series are some other great platformers I recommend. Pirates is also worth a try as it runs just smooth enough. And, Master of Magic is an interesting strategy game and works great as well.

These are just some examples of games I have got to play quite nicely and will continue to enjoy on this emulator but there are many more not mentioned worth trying. On the iPad it’s wise to set the cpu core config to normal and cycles around 3500 worked for me most of the time as the best default setting in the dospad.cfg configuration that can be saved and replaced via iTunes. Many of these games have their own niche of configuration to run well like. An example of this is Ultimate Underworlds and Ultimate 7 requiring an opposite setting in dospad.cfg — one needs xmx=true and ems=fale and the other the opposite — although both run too slow to be truly enjoyable they show a glimmer of hope to what kinds of western RPGs could be made. The other issue is that adding and replacing files can be confusing as dragging zipped files is the only thing you can do via iTunes and not actually entire game files with subfolders.

One thing the emulator has shown me is what is possible in the iPad’s future. If games like Warcraft can be enjoyable and fun to play imagine what Blizzard could do with RTS games if they embrace the device like ported all three Warcrafts to the App Store. What’s interesting is many pc games could be done with a fake mouse icon and this has hampered some genres before. The emulator shows that a fake icon that you control via touch but not directly touching the icon itself but touching the screen near it thus not obstructing view, can work quite well. The iPad’s screen is big enough for this kind of control to work. Before fiddling around with this emulator I was only exposed to RTS games on the App Store that have direct finger control like touching units or drawing boxes around them for control. This brings a whole new idea and option that can be done for such genres like RTS games. What bugs me about the current way RTS games selection controls are is sometimes you end up selecting the wrong units or have a hard time making a box the perfect size with your fingers for the units you want to command.

Beside RTS games, the emulator shows how classical PC games like Pirates and Might of Magic could work great if embraced on the IPad by the big companies. I think the iPad can offer potential for many classical computer games to be revived and even complex or hardcore games can work. The battery life of the iPad and screen space allows this vs. the other iDevices although I believe there is room for all of them. Many of these games are known for landscapes with large view screens and different caves or dungeons to explore and find on a world map. I really like what I have seen from iDOS despite speed and configuration issues and hope Apple will find a way to embrace such emulation whether by buying the rights from Gates himself or only offering limited quantity of games like the current ZX and Commodore 64 emulators do. I have seen a recent resurgence of classical gaming on the App Store and in gaming in general with titles recently being released on the App Store like Warlords Classic that recently was released.

And either way, the iDOS Emulator has opened the gates to hopefully more classical gaming to come, along with showing the potential of PC gaming on the iPad.  It showed that the iPad and iOS in general is made for more than just casual gaming, and hopefully developers will start to catch on.  And hopefully, Apple will find it in their hearts to release emulators on the App Store.