Tag Archives: $2.99

EA Holding Massive $0.99 Sale for this Weekend Only

Electronic Arts have continued to have sales within their App Store games, but this one is probably one of the largest I’ve ever seen.

Included in the $0.99 deals are iPad games such as Scrabble HD, Dead Space HD, Madden NFL HD, and much more.  The entire list have been compiled below, with a star denoting a high recommendation from us.

iPad Games

iPhone Games

‘Words With Friends’ (Finally) Receives an Update

Oh the joys of Words With Friends, bringing the Scrabble experience to a whole new level.

I’ve been a Words With Friends fanatic for about three months now (beating everyone in sight, by the way), but one of the largest problems I had was the crashing.  It would crash on my iPad and iPhone at least three times a day, along with its usual, long loading times.

Well fear not, Newtoy has not forgotten about its customers.  They’ve just released a 4.0 update that adds Facebook Connect to the app, allowing you to challenge your Facebook friends and more.  Along with that, some much needed speed optimizations have been added alongside bug fixes and crash fixes.

And if you haven’t downloaded Words With Friends yet, I really suggest you do if you’re into the whole Scrabble thing (or if you like to challenge your mind every once in a while).  There is a free version and an ad-free version for $2.99 available.

Battleheart Review: Mika Mobile Does it Again

Mika Mobile has created some of the best games for the iPhone platform, starting with Zombieville USA.  Back then, there was no such thing as OpenFeint, leaderboards, and achievements.

It was all blood, gore, and an overwhelming dose of addictiveness.

And most importantly of all, Zombieville USA was fun.  The artwork was impeccable, the quality was stupendous, and ahh — the memories were fond ones.

Now fast forward to more than two years later to arrive at Battleheart, their third game released on the App Store.  It’s their first game to be universal, and it’s also their first RPG.

In Battleheart, you traverse through different levels by controlling your party: draw lines to direct their path along with using the lines to attack the enemy.  After each level, you’ll receive a certain sum of money along with some experience points to level up your character.  New abilities are unlocked every 5 levels; so at level 5 you’ll receive two new abilities, at level 10 two otehrs, and so on.

As usual, the cartoonish artwork is more than appealing, and the animations that go along with it are seamlessly implemented.

My only main problem with this is the lack of achievements and/or leaderboards; their previous games did that only because they could.  OMG! Pirates was released during a time when social platforms were fragmented and none really stood out.  Zombieville USA was releaased when social platforms just flat out didn’t exist.

But in this day and age, games like these always require some sort of achievement system, and since Apple released GameCenter for all developers, there’s really no excuse.


Artwork: The artists over at Mika Mobile are extremely talented.  All of their work has been top-notch quality, and I honestly believe that games from Mika Mobile contain some of the best artwork on the App Store.  Battleheart is no different, as I believe the artwork in here is their best work yet.  It also helps given the fact that it’s Retina ready and iPad optimized.

Gameplay: It’s original.  And most of all, it’s fun.  Battleheart is simple—extremely simple—but the gameplay ramps up to the point where you’re tapping quickly, casting a spell, switching characters, casting another spell… the list can go on and on.  I would have to say that Battleheart is the definition of a pick-up-and-play game for the iPhone: it’s easy to learn, extremely difficult to master, and it provides either one minute or 30 minutes of play.  You can play it while you’re waiting, while you’re eating; heck, even when you’re on toilet if you’re that addicted.

RPG Elements: The RPG elements are light, but they definitely add a lot of twist.  There are different spells you can choose, but wait, you can only choose one out of two new spells.  One is offensive, the other defensive — which one will you choose?  Along with that, there are a number of recruits you can hire from the tavern, with each having their own skills.  Magicians usually are high on power but extremely low on defense.  Knights are balanced offensively and defensively.  Rogues are a little more offensive than defensive… again, the list goes on.  You have to strategize which character to put in at what situation, which spell you want to choose for each character; there are so many different strategic scenarios that it does add some depth to the otherwise simple gameplay.

Universal: Who can forget this?  While it would have been nice if Zombieville USA was universal (if you haven’t noticed by now, I’m a huge Zombieville fan), I’m glad they made Battleheart so.  The iPhone version works fine, although it is difficult pinpointing a character within tight quarters.  I do find myself scrambling to pick the right character, and that’s usually an indication that a bigger screen would be better suited.  This is not a gripe towards Battleheart but to universal applications as a whole in that I wish I was able to transfer my save data from the iPhone to the iPad; otherwise, you pick one device and that’s the device you’ll use for the rest of the game.


User interface: The user interface looks fine, but navigating through everything does get quite confusing sometimes.  For instance, it would be nice if the keep contained information such as what each character is wearing or what each characters’ abilities are.  Instead, you have to switch out party members, then go into the Armory section just to see what the reserve character is wearing.  Then, if that character is really just a reserve character, you’ve got to back and switch everyone out again.  It’s a small gripe, but a hassle nonetheless.

GameCenter: I don’t understand Mika Mobile’s unwillingness to add a social platform, and Battleheart is desperately in need of one (or more like I’m desperately wanting one).  Achievements seem like a perfect addition to this game, and it would be a shame if the developers don’t decide to put it in.  Again, it’s a mystery as to why they don’t just implement it already.

Tight quarters: Like I mentioned before somewhere in this review, the iPhone contains some pretty tight quarters.  You’ll select the wrong character nearly 50% of the time, and that’s not exactly a good thing once things become hectic (especially when fighting that huge spider).  I’m not sure how you would fix this, since the controls look like the only viable option, but maybe that’s why they made it universal; maybe it was made for the iPad.  Whatever the case may be, this is just a warning to those purchasing to play on the iPhone.  Not a game-changing problem, but it does get frustrating every once in a while.

Battleheart is the epitome of casual gaming on the App Store.  It goes alongside Fruit Ninja, Flight Control, and Canabalt as one of the best casual games I have ever played.  Sure, there seems to be an end to it.  But there’s an endless mode, there’s always the possibility of replaying the levels, and I’m pretty sure all the characters won’t have each ability unlocked by the time you “beat” the game.  There’s just a lot here to dig into, and the RPG elements work fantastically.  Do yourself a favor, skip that cup of coffee, and buy this game.

Battleheart was developed by Mika Mobile, and I played through version 1.0.5 on my iPhone 4.  The price is $2.99.

Miriel’s Enchanted Mystery Review: Brewing Potions Again

Time Management games seem to be the perfect genre for the iOS platform. Different of course from their Tycoon cousins, time management games lend to a little at a time gameplay. Miriel’s Enchanted Mystery by 10tons, Ltd is exactly one of those time management games that has you hooked from the get-go. In a typical “just one more level” fashion, you quickly find yourself devoting several hours into the game before coming up for air.

In the highly anticipated sequel to Miriel the Magical Merchant, you are again tasked by grandma to watch the shop. But this time there are answers to be found. What is the mystery behind the artifact shaped like an egg? What clues can anyone provide? In a search for answers, Miriel must go on a quest to different towns to help mind the shop while the owners help search for answers. This quest system separates Miriel’s Enchanged Mystery from other Time Management games that simply change around the “Dash” mechanics and story lines. As a twist to the overworked formula, the goal of some levels is collecting items from patrons as opposed to always collecting coins. The variety works very well as you are suddenly determined to trudge onward, not just for yourself but for Miriel and Grandma.


Gameplay: Of course the touch mechanics are similar to its predecessor and the tasks seem the same, but somehow they seem very fresh and different. Each town has a specialty item that you must unlock from the traveling merchant to offer your wide range of customers. Combinations of items and the line up of items for the rack is a strategic undertaking. Take too long and you will not be able to use your magic. Upgrade your equipment for optimal serve times, and set out your tasks in advance for best results. Serve your customers quickly enough to be able to use your magic which helps you beat each level optimally. Collect combos for more coins and more reward. Satisfy each customer quickly so a new one has a space at the counter giving you more opportunity to reach the expert goal in each level.

Story and quest system: The game has a story that actually sucks you in, teasing you with bits and pieces as you go along, stringing you along to the finish of a heck of a lot of levels. Collecting items from customers instead of coin is a nice change. Having a chance to upgrade the equipment and Miriel’s abilities adds to the game for those inevitable hectic times where there is a mad rush of customers. Because the game is based on a story, there is no straight line to follow and Miriel bounces back and forth from place to place on an expansive map making gameplay fresh and fun.


Can’t replay levels: Ok so I am a perfectionist when it comes to these games and maybe in this case I need to let it go, but I find it annoying that if I merely complete a level without the expert goal satisfied, I can’t replay it to try again. I am used to following a path of levels and gold starring each one but in this case I can’t – because I am not allowed to. Miriel goes from town to town, satisfies the shopkeepers to gather her clues, but I am left a little empty when I am one point away from the expert score.

Frenetic gameplay: There are times where there is a rush of customers and poor Miriel is expected to balance 5 items at once, make different combinations and recipes, get the cheese and frostberries ready for sale etc but sometimes the touch screen just doesn’t register an action and you find yourself short one bag of flour, or one loaf of bread. Maybe I tap too quickly, maybe I miss the mark in my frenzy, but perhaps the touch mechanic is not as sensitive as it should be.

Hidden Object Mini Game: The items are too tiny and actually looking for the pieces of them is an exercise in futility. Thankfully there is no penalty for random tapping so in order to get through what to me became, a minor nuisance to pass before I could continue with the game, I just tapped the heck out of the screen until I passed the level. Unfortunately I have no idea what it was I was looking for or what it was I found.

So Miriel’s Enchanted Mystery by 10tons, Ltd arrives on the appstore as a sequel to Miriel the Magical Merchant without much of a change in mechanics but the addition of quest driven gameplay and the hunt for clues to figure out what exactly this artifact means. Thankfully all the real world recipes are available to unlock in case you have a hankering to make your own “Tasty Strawberry Soup.” Lots of Lifetime Achievements are calculated and there are several Awards to unlock in game. Game Center would add a new dimension to the game and you could share your achievements with friends but alas, there is no social network available.

If you are love Time Management games and are looking for something a little different than the usual, give Miriel a whirl. Collecting magical harps and dying cloth has never been so fun! But if you are new to the genre, start with Miriel the Magical Merchant for a solid time management title that pushes the limits of the genre to new directions.

Miriel’s Enchanted Mystery by 10tons, Ltd is available on the AppStore for $2.99. Version 1.0 and 1.0.1 were tested on both a 2g and 4g iPod Touch with iOS 4.1. (as a side note, 1.0.1 was released to remedy the “retry level bug” but I still can not find a way to replay a level as I mentioned above) An iPad HD version is available for $4.99.

Dungeon Defenders Review: It’s Time for War

Dungeon Defenders, when the trailer was released, looked as if it was going to be one of the best-looking games on the iPhone.  It looked like a huge plus for the Unreal Engine or whatever that fancy graphics engine is called.

And while the graphics aren’t as glass-shattering as the trailer supposes—yes, they’re not that good—the gameplay is actually not too shabby.

Dungeon Defenders pits you as four Hero classes, with each corresponding to the difficulty levels easy, novice, medium, and hard.  Once you choose a Hero, you’ll be confronted with a seemingly endless tutorial, and once you start, you go through a number of waves before reaching the next map.

There’s a good number of towers and variety, and I don’t have too much flak to say about it.


Gameplay: The gameplay is actually quite enjoyable.  Setting up towers, walking around and shooting the baddies… it’s all in good fun.  If you’re looking for something to play for fun and fun only, definitely give Dungeon Defenders a shot.  Because, like I said many times now, it’s fun.

Depth: You’re not going to get Aralon-esque depth here.  But you are going to get a considerable level of depth, with what towers to put, what stats to raise for your hero, where to place your towers, which weapon to use, etc.  There are so many factors that play into the game that it’s actually one of the deepest tower defense games that I have ever played on the App Store.  And that’s saying a lot, as there are some deep tower defense games on the App Store.

GameCenter/Universal: Anytime a game is universal and sports GameCenter, I’m all for it.  Can’t go wrong here.


Controls: Now I’m going to stray from our traditional review format and add a little neutral part here, since a lot of people are complaining about the controls and how cramped the game is on the iPhone.  And for me personally, the controls aren’t that bad.  Now mind you, they’re far from great and could use some improvement, but it’s nothing you can’t handle.  The interface is crowded, but again, nothing you can’t handle.  It’s really not all that bad, but it could be improved.


Built for iPhone: Now that we’ve got the control and interface down, the other parts are what make this game feel more for another platform.  First off, you can’t play your iPod music.  That’s a big no-no for me, since I’m always listening to my own music while playing games.  One minute I’m listening to Kings of Leon, the next I’m listening to the Dungeon Defender soundtrack.  Sure it’s not a bad soundtrack, but let me listen to my own.

Along with that, the UI seems to be a little sluggish, and whenever I tap a button you do notice a slight delay.  During the game, the moving of the camera could also be improved, as the small left and right arrows really don’t cut it.

Graphics: I thought these graphics would be absolutely epic, but quite frankly, it isn’t what the trailer showed.  They’re quite dull with little flashes of color here and there, and it definitely went below expectations.

Online multiplayer: Online multiplayer right now seems to be chaos, with no real matchmaking and such.  You’re in a group with players that are a lot higher than you in terms of level, and they’re the ones that are usually claiming all the kills.  There’s just something wrong with the whole balancing, on top of the fact that it’s laggy.

Dungeon Defenders has potential, and it’s a really fun game; there’s absolutely no doubt about that.  But I would love to see an improved interface and controls—mind you, they’re not bad, but not good either—along with some better graphics.  It also really needs to feel like it was built for the iPhone, not just a game that wants to appear on as many consoles as fast as possible.

Dungeon Defenders was developed by Trendy Entertainment, and I played through version 1.0 on my iPhone 4.  The price is $2.99.