Tag Archives: Must Have

Beat Hazard Ultra – Play Your Music And Have A Blast Too

Beat Hazard Ultra by Cold Beam Games is an auditory and visually stunning experience.  You fly a ship in a confined area destroying asteroids and ships while gathering powerups to make the music louder and your vessel stronger.  Oh yeah—and all of this is generated by your music, or the music of one of the available Internet radio stations.

Beat Hazard Ultra analyzes the music from your iDevice library to create a playing experience that corresponds to the peaks of your chosen song, and this works incredibly well.  The visualizer in the background gains intensity as your song does.  Then more enemies spawn, and the screen goes crazy!  It’s frantic, hectic fun.  I’ve played music from “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by the Beach Boys, to “The Seed (2.0)” by The Roots, and every song has proven to be different in terms of what the game sends your way.  And all of them have been enjoyable to play this way—there rarely is a complete lull in action, the game creates a challenging progression of enemies for each song.

The audio is clearly awesome, but how are the controls?  They’re amazing, because they’re very customizable.  You can play it as a dual-stick shooter, or use one stick, and choose between floating and fixed, as well as change the size.  All you need to do is try a few things and one of the options will work out perfectly.  Honestly, the controls feel as responsive to me as they do when I play the computer version using my gamepad or keyboard and mouse.

The game has a few modes: standard, survival, boss rush, and chill out.  They’re all pretty self-explanatory, and all very fun.  If you play well you are rewarded with points to spend on perks that can alter your game and customize it to fit your needs.  If you die a lot, you can purchase a perk that gives you two extra lives.


Graphics: These are fun and exciting.  The visualizations that take place in the background based on your music make the gameplay more exciting, and are just plain cool to watch.  The ships and asteroids are all very well designed.

Controls: Completely customizable to your needs.  What more could you ask for?

Concept: The overall experience of this game is awesome.  Being able to play your music is incredible—because you can choose songs you like and then add another element of fun.

Modes and Perks: The standard mode is enough, but the other modes create more depth, as do the perks.


Radio Stations Available: This is a stretch, I truly don’t dislike anything about the game, because they have is good, but more customizable experiences here could be nice.

Beat Hazard Ultra has been flawlessly ported to the iDevices.  The core gameplay is still a blast, and the visualizations are phenomenal.  What surprised me are the controls—they work perfectly once you find what works for you.  Definitely a “Must Have,” and I whole-heartedly recommend picking it up.

Beat Hazard Ultra was developed by Cold Beam Games, and I played through version 1.4 on my iPod Touch 3G.  The current price is $1.99.

Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation Review: The Best First-Person Shooter on the App Store

The first-person shooter genre has, for the most part, been solely owned by Gameloft on the App Store.  With their Halo-clone series NOVA and their Call of Duty-clone series, Gameloft has continually shown that even though they tend to rip off a lot of ideas, their games are enjoyable and have a lot of depth to them.

The trend continues with Modern Combat 3, a fully functional first-person shooter with online multiplayer and a pretty lengthy campaign mode.

Modern Combat 3 contains 12 total singe player missions, each taking around 20 minutes to complete.  The online multiplayer features a ton of different weapons, skills, attachments, accessories (grenades, sticky grenades, mines, etc.), and weapon kits, all alongside the new military support such as bomber, airstrike, radar, and nuke.

There are a total of seven different online multiplayer modes and six maps, and quite honestly, they’ve improved the multiplayer maps a lot from the maps in Modern Combat 2.  They’re a lot larger and have a lot more hiding spots, making it much more suspenseful than the previous game in the series.

All in all, Modern Combat 3 is one fantastic game.


Graphics: The graphics in Modern Combat 3 are insane.  I never knew my iPad 2 could handle this detail, let alone have that detail transfer into a 12-player online multiplayer mode.  The work they’ve done in the graphical department is absolutely fantastic, and even though I thought that Gameloft would not be able to improve the graphics of Modern Combat 2, they’ve proven me wrong yet again.

Online multiplayer: I love how they added new things into the online multiplayer such as military support and new weapons and such, making this the most addictive online multiplayer experience on the App Store.  It comes very close to console quality in terms of how much variety there is to the multiplayer, and I’m in utter awe at how well of a job Gameloft has done with the multiplayer.  It’s extremely fun, well-balanced, well-varied, and overall just a blast to play for hours at a time.  There are a few gripes I have with it though, but I’ll get to that later.

Universal: I love Gameloft’s decision to make all of their future games universal, and I’m really enjoying the online multiplayer on both my iPad and my iPhone.


Bugs, Disconnections, etc.: The thing about the online multiplayer is that it doesn’t work all the time, and there are some times when you’re sitting at your desk continually trying to connect to the server with no avail.  It does get frustrating sometimes, and while the multiplayer is brilliant for most of the time, there are those few times when it refuses to budge.

Lag: For some reason, the game lags heavily on my iPhone 4, both online and off.  I don’t think the iPhone 4 is THAT old of a device, and it should be running quite smoothly.  But alas, Modern Combat 3 seems to be just too much for my “old” device, and for those of you out there with an iPhone 4, here’s a word of warning for you.

File size: The game is slightly over 1 GB of memory, and it takes quite a long time to download.  Just keep in mind that you’ll need to clear up some space for an app this size, and be prepared to wait at least 20 minutes for it to fully download and install.

Modern Combat 3 is absolutely brilliant, and I find myself continually playing the online multiplayer everyday.  The single player is also quite robust and diverse, giving Modern Combat 3 a well-balanced gameplay between shooting bad guys and mini-games, such as shooting soldiers on an AC-130.  Anyhow, if you haven’t picked this game up yet, I suggest you to do so right away no matter the price.  This is one you shouldn’t miss.

Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation was developed by Gameloft, and I played through version 1.0 on my iPhone 4 and iPad 2.  The price is $6.99.

Wooords Review: Words With Friends, You Have been Dethroned

Word games on the App Store are far and plenty, with most of them much too generic to really make a splash.

Games such as Words With Friends, though, has largely been successful due to its social appeal, along with boasting of a “Scrabble for everyone” type of motto.

I’ve played a fair share of word games throughout the App Store, and quite honestly, the only game that I loved and still love is Words With Friends.  The others don’t have much of a lasting appeal, and many get old without achievements, stats, or brain-crunching gameplay.

Enter Wooords, a new word game that uses the idea of alphabet fridge magnets to create a game.  It’s not unique or original by any means, but the three gameplay modes and tons of achievements allow for quite a thrill ride.  One of the game modes — Challenge — also allows you to try and beat other people’s scores with a certain set of letters, going as long as you want to try and achieve the highest score.

While I would like to see some better word recognition and for it to work out some achievement bugs, Wooords is undoubtedly the cream of the crop of word games.


Artwork: The artwork looks very similar to No Monkeys’s Alphabetic, which was released a long, long time ago.  I love the art style, though, and it definitely brings back memories of those fridge magnets.

Content/Replay Value: There are around 30 different puzzles in the classic mode, all of which would take at least 5 hours to complete.  On top of that, the two additional gameplay modes add a ton of replay value to the game as a whole.  Add in a slew of GameCenter achievements, and you’re set to play this game for a good 8-10 hours total, depending on how much you really like the game.  For me personally, this is the only game I’ve been playing aside from the occasional Deadlock Online.

The “it” factor: In great games, there’s always that something I like to call the “it” factor; something that makes you come back to the game, but you can’t really describe it in words.  Wooords has that, and it keeps me coming back for more and more and more.  I don’t know why, other than the fact that it’s just plain fun.  You can sit there for a few hours at a time, or a few minutes while waiting at the doctor’s office.  It’s accessible, enjoyable, and best of all, it makes you think.  I love games like this, and Wooords executes almost everything to perfection.


Word recognition: The game does have some trouble recognizing words at times, and I have to move the letters back and forth for it to finally explode in stars and give me some points.  It’s not a huge deal and not a deal-breaker by any means, but it is noticeable.

I love Wooords.  This is a great game that everyone should play, and there’s really no reason for you not to.  Every once in a while a great game is released, and Wooords is just that diamond in the rough.  Do yourself a favor and pick it up: it’s universal, addictive, and exercises your brain.  What more could you ask for?

Wooords was developed by Stray Robot Games, and I played through version 1.1.1 on my iPhone 4 and iPad 2.  The price is $0.99.

Sid Meier’s Pirates for iPad Review: Ahoy Landlubbers, Ye be in for an Adventure

All the stereotypes associated with pirates—treasure, plunder, and swordfighting—are what makes the entire world of Sid Meier’s Pirates.

You start out with a small yet quick ship, ideal for plundering the larger ships if you know what you’re doing.  The game doesn’t seem to start out with any tutorial (although there is one accessible from the menu), so you’re pretty much on your own, learning all the nuances of being a pirate as you adventure out into the different colonies.

As for the point of the game, there really isn’t any.  But that’s not a bad thing; no, far from it.  The possibilities are nearly endless in a game such as this, allowing you to explore all around the colonies, plundering as many ships as possible, hiring tons of crew members, defeating other pirates; like I said, the possibilities are nearly endless.

You can also create a type of allegiance to the countries present — either England, France, Holland, or Spain — by fighting their enemies.  So for example, if you capture different Spanish ships, you’ll most likely be given a higher position (captain, major, colonel, etc.) by the French and the English, considering the fact that those two countries weren’t huge fans of the Spanish during that time.

All in all, it’s quite an exhilarating game that has very few flaws, if any, that I can see.


Adventure is out there: This game really brings out the adventurous, little child out in all of us, allowing us to pillage, burn, earn money, dance, etc.  There’s just so much to do in Sid Meier’s Pirates that you really can just do whatever you want.  It’s hard to really describe in mere words and letters, but Sid Meier’s Pirates is probably the most adventurous game on the App Store thus far.

Variety: Like I said, there’s just so much to do in this game, it’s ridiculous.  You can go from sword-fighting the captain of another ship to ball dancing with a governor’s daughter.  You can also hire more pirates, fence fencing masters, trade with the merchants… again, the possibilities are endless.

Difficulty: The difficulty level at Journeyman, for me personally, is absolutely perfect.  I haven’t tried out any other ones for fear of losing progress, but for beginners, the Journeyman difficulty is just perfect.


Some sounds: Some of the sound effects in the game get pretty irritating, such as the sound the game makes when tracking a Top 10 pirate.  The 10-or-so second sound loop when fighting another ship also gets a bit redundant.  Not major issues, but there are some sound effects in here that do become a bit tiring after a while.

Beginning: You have to be a little resilient in the beginning of the game given the fact that you know absolutely nothing.  You don’t know what the objective of the game is, you don’t know how to earn money, and you don’t really know how to play the game.  The tutorial does a mediocre job of teaching you how to play, and you really just have to learn through trial and error.  Not the ideal way to learn how to play a game, but after a while, you should be in full swing.

Crashes: Thankfully there is autosave included, but the game does crash every once in a while.  Buyer beware.

Sid Meier’s Pirates is absolutely stunning.  This stands as one of my all-time favorite games for the iPad, considering the fact that there’s so much to do and so little time.  Just do yourself a favor and purchase it now; I doubt that there will be any regrets for such a fantastic game.

Sid Meier’s Pirates was developed by 2K Games, and I played through version 1.0.4 on my iPad 2.  The price is $3.99.


Real Racing 2 HD Review: Live your Childhood Dream

It’s in the movies, it’s in common culture; it’s everywhere: every kid wants to become some sort of driver some day.

Kids and adults, especially males, love cars.  That’s just the way the world revolves, and for me personally, driving a Lamborghini of any kind or a Ferrari would be a dream come true.

And I’m that much closer to reaching my dream, thanks to the efforts of Firemint and Real Racing 2 HD.

Packed with all of the features included in the iPhone version, I wouldn’t say it’s too huge of a difference.  One feature that was just released—HDMI output to play on your TV—is one that I haven’t tried out due to the fact that I don’t have an HDMI cord, but it’s one of the extra features included in this fullscreen iPad version.

Other than that, if you already have the iPhone/iPod touch version, you’re buying into the enlarged and absolutely gorgeous visuals.  It feels like I’m actually driving a car when in the cockpit view, and honestly, this is the most realistic racing will every get on the iPad.

Am I exaggerating?  Sure.  But this is one heck of a game that if you missed it on the smaller devices, the iPad version is the way to go.  The quality is unrivaled, the content is plenty, and for $9.99, I doubt anyone will be disappointed.


Graphics: One thing that makes the iPad the iPad is its larger screen, which brings about some crazy visuals.  The immersive environment really brings you into the game much more than any iPhone ever will, and it feels a lot more freer and open than the iPhone version.  As a stand alone iPad app — without comparing it to the iPhone app — this is the best looking iPad app to date.  Firemint always does a great job on its visuals, and Real Racing 2 HD is no exception.

Content: Looking for an iPad game to last you a good 10-15 hours?  Well here you go.  Easily even 20 hours if you’re into the whole achievement collecting business.

Controls: Fully-customizable controls topped with the fact that there are more options than I can count makes for quite a racing game.  There aren’t many games that can boast so many different options, and what I like about Firemint’s games is that they cater to my tastes and my “habits”.  There is no other company in the App Store that puts this much attention to even the smallest details, and the fully-customizable controls is a large reason why I absolutely love this game.


iPhone owners beware: For me personally, having already played through the entire iPhone version of the game, playing through the entire campaign didn’t have much appeal.  I still did it for reviewing purposes, but hey, it wasn’t as exhilarating as the first time.  For $9.99, you’re basically buying into the larger screen experience and the immersive environment it brings.  For one, you are definitely not buying any new features or content.

Real Racing 2 HD is unrivaled in the App Store.  There are no racing games like it, and if you’re even remotely into driving, then Real Racing 2 HD is for you.  While people who have already bought the game on the iPhone will have a hard time finding much appeal in this, people who haven’t bought the game yet should definitely check it out on the iPad.  And hey, bigger is better, right?

Real Racing 2 HD was developed by Firemint, and I played through version 1.1 on my iPad 2.  The price is $9.99.