Tag Archives: Retro

Atari’s Greatest Hits for iPad Worth Downloading for One Game

I recently have discovered the amazing gameplay of Atari’s classic arcade game Tempest and you guys want to know how? Through Atari’s Greatest Hits on the iPad. Although I’ve owned this collection since it came out a few weeks ago, I’ve never gotten into any of the games due to just how clunky and archaic they are; and based on control issues with some of them.

However, once I pulled the trigger of a $.99 in-app purchase for Tempest, I never looked back. This game is so fun, addicting, and plays great in orientation mode (you can change various options in settings from the game screen). It is fun because the game looks like it could be made in any era. It really feels 3D and modern despite it’s age. This is the type of game I would like to play on the iPad 3 when it comes out with the rumored full-3D display.

the game made me realize how great the iPad really is for retro gaming. When I say retro, I am not talking about archaic and clunky like a lot of the other offerings of the app, I’m talking about simple but difficult and level-based games with high scores as the aim or level progression. Games like the recently released Enduro or retro-inspired titles like Gravonaut and League of Evil are what truly makes the platform shine.

Despite the many other retro offerings on the App Store, I would still say this one game, Tempest, is in the cream of the crop and really a timeless classic. So if you didn’t have interest in Atari’s Greatest Hits before, download it just for this game. The iPad app also runs different from the iPhone despite being universal, the iPad has both screen orientation options and the iPhone version may not. Either way, check Tempest out if you’ve never played it.


League of Evil Review: Among the Best of iOS

The world’s best evil minds have banded together to produce a weapon of mass destruction capable of obliterating goodness everywhere. To combat this great threat, the GDF — Global Defense Force — enlists their most cyborginated agent to hunt down the evil scientists and to splatter their faces with his bionic fist of squish-making.

The League of Evil must be stopped!

League of Evil, by Ravenous Games is an action-platformer with an emphasis on speed-running stages. The stages themselves are short, many completable in under 15 seconds. At the end of each stage waits an evil scientist who must be pummeled into a puddle of guts. Standing between your agent and his target, however, are enemies, obstacles and defenses. Death comes fast and frequent, especially when trying to rush stages for completion times under par.

The Agent is incredibly nimble: light on his feet, able to jump and double-jump to great heights and distances, and able to slide down or rebound off of walls. Moreover, his punch attack doubles at a dashing maneuver, allowing him to quickly close the distance between his fist and his foes, or add greater breadth to his leaps.


Controls: League of Evil features some of the finest controls yet seen in an iOS platformer, being both precise and responsive. Agent be nimble, agent be quick, and with controls like these you will feel entirely confident in his footing as you rebound wall-to-wall, negotiate deadly spikes, tackle dastardly foes, dodge bullets and speed through level-after-level.

Content: The game’s stages may be brief, but they are plentiful and challenging. Players wanting to ace the game and win the corresponding Game Center achievements will find plenty of replay value attempting to finish each stage under par time for a three-star rating, and collecting the hidden briefcase in each stage. The original game includes 54 stages, and the recent 1.1 update has added an additional 30 The Blocks Cometh themed stages, plus 18 challenge stages. That’s a lot of game for your buck, especially if you’re shooting for perfect ratings on every stage.

Brand New, You’re Retro: League of Evil sports sweet pixel graphics and a rockin’ chiptune soundtrack for some of the finest retro action in the app store. The game feels old-school Mega Man, and it’s up there with other iOS retro greats, Hook Champ, The Blocks Cometh and Dark Void Zero in fun-factor. Retro for the win!

Decapitations: Fist to the head and the head goes flying in a spatter of gore. It’s morbid, but it’s totally awesome!! Don’t look at me like that; pixel blood is awesome!!


League of Evil is very to-the-point; it does what it does, and it does it very well, leaving very little room for complaints in the process. As iOS platforming is concerned, League of Evil is essentially perfect. That is to say, there’s nothing at all to dislike about solid action-platforming, brilliant controls, great tunes, ultra-rad pixel artwork and sweet character and stage designs.

Were I forced to nitpick, though, I might point out that the game has no options — not even to adjust the volume of BGM or sound-effects — nor does it include any way of accessing Game Center achievement lists from within the game, though it does allow you to access that information via OpenFeint; I just prefer Game Center. These are very minor gripes, though, and I mention them only because our review format encourages red paragraphs.

League of Evil is a rare find, a game that excels at short, quick bursts of gaming, but which also holds up in longer play sessions. Whether lounging about with time to spare, or trying to catch a quick game while on the toilet or between bus stops, League of Evil is a great fix, and probably the best dollar you will spend this year.

The. Best. iOS Platformer. Ever. Need I say more?

League of Evil [$0.99] is published by Ravenous Games. Reviewed at version 1.1 on an iPhone 4.

The Blocks Cometh Review: Halfbot Triumphs, Gamers Win

Halfbot’s The Blocks Cometh [$0.99] hath come to the app store, having climbed a arduous slope to get there.

By way of abbreviated history: The Blocks Cometh was first released as a free-to-play Flash game, with Halfbot later beginning work to port the title to iOS. With their port still a work-in-progress, however, Halfbot’s two-man team discovered their game had already been released to the app store by another developer — Edison Games — who had stolen not only their title and concept, but their art assets as well. As if it were not enough to rip-off one developer, Edison Games went a step further and ripped-off a character from Ravenous Games’ League of Evil [$0.99]– another Flash game at that time in development for iOS, and which has since been released — to replace the original protagonist.

A further twist of the knife, Halfbot discovered the doppleganger as it rose into the app store’s Top 100 rankings and was featured by Apple. As you might expect, Halfbot took action in defense of their intellectual property, and while Apple was slow to respond, Edison Games’ copycat title was eventually removed from the app store. For the full story, see Halfbot’s blog.

Having suffered so much, however, Halfbot hath overcome. They have scaled the slope, penetrated the clouds cast over them, and now stand in that light once obscured. The Blocks Cometh — the real The Blocks Cometh — is in every way superior to its impersonater ( I know; I’ve played both ), and we find that those clouds may even have had a silver lining. More on that in a bit.

The Blocks Cometh is a game of vertical ascendency, similar in some respects to The Incident. In it, blocks fall from the sky in random array, stacking Tetris-like as they land. As Blockman or one of several unlockable bonus characters, the player’s goal is to climb those blocks as high as possible without being crushed or scrolled off the bottom of the screen.

To achieve this endeavor, players may jump, double-jump, wall-slide or destroy blocks as necessary. The Blocks Cometh is challenging, but all in good fun, and rocks some stunning pixel art alongside a chiptune soundtrack for a distinctly retro — and distinctly awesome — presentation.


Perseverance: Above all, Halfbot has earned by enduring respect. They were handed lemons, and they made lemonade. Not only is The Blocks Cometh awesome on iOS, but it comes to the app store having endured and overcome adversity. All too often is the app store host to plagiarism, and I am glad for once to see the right come out on top. I hope that Desktop Dungeons, a game now in development for iOS and suffering similar problems, should find the same success, and that unscrupulous developers might take note of Halfbot’s victory.

Retro Fantastic: Pixel art? Chiptunes? The Blocks Cometh is retro-fantastic! The game looks and sounds brilliant, and it’s retro challenging as well. Those with an old-school itch will here find a good scratch.

League of Evil Tie-ins: So, about that silver lining … In a way, we owe thanks to Edison Games. In ripping-off both The Blocks Cometh and League of Evil for their sorry immitation, they inadvertantly put the games’ two developers together in a unified front against them.

In a lucky turn for gamers, Halfbot and Ravenous Games did not disband after trouncing Edison Games, but set to work on tie-ins for their two games.

I will say this: Edison Games may have been unscrupulous, but they did produce a competent facsimile of the real The Blocks Cometh, and adding League of Evil’s evil ninja fellow to the mix was undeniable cool.

Perhaps recognizing the potential, or maybe just because they hoped to convert those having bought the immitation into taking a second plunge on the real McCoy — and didn’t want to take anything away from them in the process — League of Evil’s evil ninja fellow returns as an unlockable character. But that’s not all, as League of Evil’s hero is also included, alongside two other unlockable heroes.

What’s more, a reciprical update to League of Evil is now awaiting approval by Apple including 30 new stages inspired by The Blocks Cometh.

And THAT is a win for everyone!


Controls: My only gripe against The Blocks Cometh is that the areas of sensitivity for the control buttons are not large enough. It’s too easy to “miss” the button while playing. This is something I imagine could easily be remedied in an update, and I do hope Halfbot will take notice and address the issue. The existing controls are by no means broken; they could just be a little more forgiving, as it’s easy to loose track of your fingers as the game turns frantic.

The Blocks Cometh is an easy recommendation, both to new players as well as to those who previously bought the knock-off. The game is attractive, challenging and rewarding, and nails that just-one-more-time addictiveness factor that makes games easy to pick up and hard to put down. And be there any doubt, you can always take the Flash version for a spin. And with League of Evil being totally awesome (review coming soon), the tie-in is icing on the cake.

The Blocks Cometh [$0.99] is developed by Halfbot. Reviewed at version 1.0 on an iPhone 4.

Wispin Review: A+ for Addictive Arcade Awesomeness

Wispin is, quite simply, a little gem of a game.  Although some aspects of its gameplay are similar to other pick-up-and-play arcade games of yore, it also manages to combine them in an entirely original way.  It’s hard to argue with the App Store description of the game as a “totally unique fusion of color-matching gameplay and retro arcade action.”

The game manages to be both insistently offbeat and easily accessible, quirky and highly polished.  Wispin, the game’s protagonist, looks a bit like a cross between the Brave Little Toaster and an anthropomorphized marshmallow.  Wispin’s ability to change color, between red blue or green, is the key to dispatching the hordes of multi-colored Bloopers, the game’s cute, blob-shaped enemies.  Basically, if your color matches an enemy’s when you walk into it, you damage them.  If not, they damage you.  Wispin is an endless survival game which plays sort of similarly to a dual-stick shooter, except instead of having a second joystick to aim your weapons, you have a tricolor wheel which you can slide or tap to change Wispin’s color.  There are two game modes to choose from, Standard and Super Intense.  In Standard, you face the Bloopers in waves and start with three lives, whereas Super Intense starts you with one life and pits you against a never-ending horde of constantly spawning Bloopers.

Wispin takes this basic, fast-paced gameplay, and adds just enough twists to it until we’re nearly taken to the point of superlative arcade bliss.  The Bloopers themselves come in four different varieties, each of which behaves differently.  While the smallest bad guys just squiggle at you aggressively, the medium sized ones are capable of tossing bombs and shooting arrows, and also of changing their color (sometimes to orange, yellow, or purple, rendering them nearly invulnerable until they change back).  As with the enemies, if a bomb or an arrow is a different color from Wispin when it hits, it will damage him.  If you match its color, it will harmlessly bounce off you, and you’ll get some extra points.  Then there are the really nasty enemies, the Blaargs (who shoot a dangerous energy attack), and the Blommps (who are massive enemies who obscure your view of part of the arena, and bounce you away when you hit them, often into another enemy of a different color, damaging you.)  There are also randomly appearing power-ups to help you get an edge, such as arrows and bombs of your own, extra lives, rainbow blasts which kill all enemies in their radius, and cheese.  Yes, that’s right, cheese power-ups.

As brilliantly fun as all this is, the game’s combo scoring system is the real moment of genius, because it encourages the sort of fast-paced, aggressive gameplay that’s perfect for high-score lovers everywhere.  Each time you dispatch an enemy you fill a combo bar which takes a few seconds to drain away.  Keep it going quickly to rack up huge high scores.  Although it’s not like Grumpyface Studios are the first ones ever in the history of gaming to implement this sort of score multiplier system, it fits Wispin perfectly, and will likely get you hooked quite quickly.  While the combo multiplier encourages you to play it a little risky, the game is hectic enough to force you to balance your aggression with cautiousness.


Innovation Meets Fun: Wispin easily makes the short list for the most fun I’ve had on my iPod with anything remotely resembling a dual-stick shooter, and this is coming from someone who’s played enough games in that genre to get to feeling pretty stale with it.  By fusing together this sort of 3/4 top-down arcade action gameplay with the ever-popular color matching phenomenon, Grumpyface Studios have created an almost-perfect slice of arcade action nirvana.

Addictive Gameplay: Your average round of Wispin will last only a few minutes (even less on the higher difficulties.)  Despite this, you might have a hard time putting it down, since the game’s emphasis on a high score, high risk style of play keeps you constantly fiending to give it just one more go and rack up more points.

Crisp, Cartoony Visuals: Although it’s a little childish, the bright crisp graphic style is a good match, and a lot of fun.  Animations are smooth and fluid, and all the various characters have a lot of charm and personality.  Also, the game supports Retina Display graphics (although I can’t speak to how they look, *le sigh*).  This is truly ‘fun for all ages’ done right.

Game Center Support: They’ve done a good job with the Game Center integration on this one.  There are a plethora of leader-boards and a nice variety of achievements to go for.  Also, the game has a nice stat tracker for those of you who want to track your highest combo or the number of Bloopers you’ve busted.  Personally, I’m just glad it doesn’t tell me how many hours I’ve played.


Dying Like a Chump: If you hadn’t gotten this impression from my description so far, Wispin has some pretty darn hectic gameplay.  And although the controls work very well, every now and then you will die what feels like an unjustified death.  This comes in pretty much three different flavors: sometimes an enemy will spawn right where you were walking, sometimes there will be a small Blooper hidden behind one of the larger ones, or sometimes a medium-sized Blooper will change colors right when you were about to kill it.  Honestly though, this is a very minor quibble, and really the only thing I could point to as close to a negative aspect.

If I haven’t made it emphatically clear yet, I really like this game a lot.  Also, the developers promise free updates in the future, and are actively soliciting player feedback, which is always a positive in my book.  If you enjoy fast-paced addictive gameplay, wacky cartoon visuals, or just plain having fun, I would recommend this game as a…

Wispin was developed by Grumpyface Studios, and I played through version 1.0 on my 2nd gen iPod Touch.  At time of review, the price was $1.99.

Space Invaders Infinity Gene EVOLVES!!

The iPhone’s very best shooter — Space Invaders Infinity Gene — is now the best shooter on the iPhone 4 and iPad. TAITO today released version 4.0 of their masterfully remade classic, upgrading the game to include universal support for the iPhone and iPad, high-resolution graphics for the iPhone 4 Retina display, and improved frame-rates on all devices. The update also adds a new Survival mode, Game Center support and achievements. If, for whatever INSANITY, you don’t already own it, you now have even more reasons to buy Space Invaders Infinity Gene. The full list of 4.0 improvements, as published by TAITO is:

1. Now optimized for iPhone 4 and iPad, featuring vibrant graphics and smoother framerate that surpass that of the previous version upscaled.

2. “SURVIVAL” has been added to the menu. SURVIVAL mode allows multiple Extra and Chimera stages to be played in sequence.
SURVIVAL mode now features DARIUS-style branching stages, with multiple endings prepared. Can you unlock every ending?!
* In SURVIVAL mode, new stages are unlocked via the Evolution Gauge.

3. Now Game Center compatible.

4. Now compatible with OpenFeint 3.7.4.

5. Achievements have been added.