Tag Archives: Rogue Planet

Our 2009 Games of the Year Revealed: Gaming Overload!

Wow.  What a year it’s been for the app store.  This was the first full calendar year that the store has been open for business, and we’ve been treated to a countless amount of games.  Now, all of us have attempted to give a summary of some of our favourite games from the year.  We’re about to list a lot of great games, so sit back and see if you’ve missed any gems from last year or disagree with any of our choices.

Matt: Overall, 2009 was a great year for iPhone gaming. My personal favorite release of the year was the re-imagined classic Space Invaders Infinity Gene, easily the iPhone’s best shoot’em-up. The stages, visual presentation, sound and gameplay combined to make this a game I found impossible to put down. The inclusion of music stages, generated from songs in your music library, make this a game with an infinite amount of new challenges, and the recent update made things even better. Space Invaders Infinity Gene is the best example I can think of of a major game publisher simultaneously revitalizing a classic franchise while doing right on the iPhone platform. Kudos to Taito for a job well done.

For me, the year held a number of other highlights. Meteor Blitz is the best dual-stick shooter I’ve ever played, with sumptuous visuals and perfect controls. Flatspace delivered the most open-ended space role-playing experience on the platform; how you outfit your ship plays a huge role in how you play the game, and you’re welcome to play in any way you like, as law-enforcement or pirate, trader or bounty-hunter, good guy or bad guy. Chronicles of Inotia: Wanderer of Luone and Dungeon Hunter offered up the platform’s best fantasy RPGs, while Rogue Planet delivered an SRPG to rival those on major consoles. Robocalypse, ported to the iPhone from the Nintendo DS, was the year’s best RTS, and IUGO’s Star Hogs was an artillery game not to be missed. GeoDefense and GeoDefense Swarm were the year’s best tower defense games. Chillingo‘s Defender Chronicles effectively tipped the tower defense genre on its side, imbuing it with RPG qualities along the way and cementing it as one of the deepest and most rewarding alternative takes on tower defense yet seen. In addition, the developer has set a new paradigm for the support of existing properties with constant and hearty updates in content. Knights Onrush is the App Store’s best castle-defense game, even beating out Gameloft‘s take on the genre. But it’s Gameloft’s NOVA that takes the crown for the year’s best FPS, highly polished with a robust single player campaign and an excellent multiplayer mode. My favorite retro fixes were the addictive Hook Champ and the lite roguelike The Isle of 8-bit Treasures. For casual games, KarmaStar was a favorite for cramming incredible depth into bite-sized portions, and Canabalt for incredible atmosphere and short, but addictive gameplay sessions. My list is long, but the last games I absolutely must mention are Rolando 2 and I Dig It 2, incredible sequels to their equally incredible predecessors. Damn, what a year!

Daniel: My game of the year would have to go to NOVA from Gameloft. Call me a first-person shooter junkie, but Gameloft did an amazing job with both the campaign and online multiplayer. There have been tons of other games that have come quite close to taking home the award though, from ngmoco’s Rolando 2 to Illusion Labs’ Sway. Com2uS also came out of the box after releasing Homerun Battle 3D along with Inotia  2: Wanderer of Luone, both of which were definite must have titles for me. Chillingo‘s Ravensword was yet another title that I was overly impressed with, along with their fun Speed Forge Extreme.

The list goes on and on, including Firemint‘s Real Racing and Flight Control, Illusion Labs’ Labyrinth 2 and Touchgrind, Gameloft’s Modern Combat: Sandstorm and Gangstar, Godzilab’s iBlast Moki, and much, much more. 2009 was a year quite improved from the initial release of firmware 2.0, and I’ll be surprised if developers keep up the same pace. I’m sure there are games that were forgotten, but either way, let’s say hello to 2010.

Nick: Going back a full year and trying to figure out the best games launched on the app store is definitely a tough task.  Choosing a single game of the year though is easy.  The game I have in mind had an impressive graphical upgrade from its predecessor, and the gameplay’s tweaked difficulty and rolling variations kept me fully interested throughout.  Yes, the game I’m thinking of is Ngmoco and Hand Circus’ Rolando 2.  After replaying levels just to grab all the items I missed on the first time through, I realized the game was something special because replaying is something I rarely do.  I initially opened this site to try and cover games that push forward the idea that the iPhone is a legimitate gaming platform, and Rolando 2 fits the bill perfectly. In trying to list other favourites from the year, I’m sure I’m going to forget many great games.  Here’s a quick attempt at other standout titles I really enjoyed: Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor, Sway, Let’s Golf, Peggle, geoDefense, 2XL ATV Offroad, and Hook Champ.

Chris: 2009 was certainly a banner year for the iPhone and its gamers. In 2008 we witnessed the birth of the app store. In 2009 we witnessed it grow into something akin to a child: both awkward and wonderful; sometimes gawky, sometimes menacing, but always full of promise. This year we’ve seen everything from the great Halo clone N.O.V.A. to truly unique puzzlers like Labyrinth 2 and Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor. But for every geoDefense we also had an onslaught of forgettable tower defense games that simply were a recycled waste of time. The still incomplete Minigore gave us a good laugh while Samurai: Way of the Warrior showed us that 3-D wasn’t always needed. At the beginning of the year, who would’ve thought a simple running game like Backbreaker Football could bring so much more life to football than the iconic Madden? That’s what makes the iPhone as a gaming device so special: it surprises us. This little machine somehow manages to bring a decoupage of gaming experiences that no other device seems to match. Gamers everywhere have to agree there’s nothing quite like Zen Bound for the console. As for the best of 2009, that’s tough. The Wing Commander-esque Galaxy on Fire comes close, but ultimately I’m a sucker for the well-rendered RPG; Ravensword: The Fallen King is certainly not without its flaws, but it is the first iPhone game I found truly amazing… utterly escapist. What can we anticipate in 2010 now that the iPhone’s proverbial childhood is over? The fast track into adulthood. With Apple’s newfound success in the gaming world comes a new set responsibilities… and new competition. Also, we all have bigger expectations for this little device than we did a year ago. Things could get really interesting. So, here’s to a new and even better year of gaming in 2010. Good luck, Apple, and keep on gaming!

Jeff: What if iTunes didn’t exist? What if there wasn’t an App Store? What if the technological marvel known as the iDevice was never conceived? Each and every one of us would have missed out on something amazing and revolutionary.  It’s a worldwide store where you can buy all of the newest music of any nationality from anywhere in the world, and purchase multiple games that fit in your pocket starting as low as 99 cents and (almost) not going anywhere above 10 dollars. This universal store has brought many people happiness, and the offerings that you can choose from are astounding. Music will always be changing, and so will the future of gaming. However, I’ve never thought that gaming could change so suddenly or quickly. Five months ago, I would never have thought of the iPhone or iPod Touch as something I would play games on, much less play games on for hours on end. This year, and more specifically, these past few months, have changed the iPhone and iPod Touch into my main gaming platform. And why? Because iDevice games are the only ones that get updated, changed, and churned out so quickly, yet still maintaining the polish and quality we expect from all games.

Now that the iPhone and iPod Touch have been established as possible gaming devices, what are the best games for this “platform?” Or, what is the number one game that all iDevice owners should have? It’s a hard choice, but I have to go with N.O.V.A.. This game has the best graphics, best controls, and debatably due to multiplayer, the best replay value of any game on the App Store. It has all of Gameloft’s quality and polish, and it isn’t a game you just finish and forget; it’s an experience that you remember and keep coming back to, time and time again. On the other hand, there are many great offerings for the iDevice, including Jet Car Stunts, Asphalt 5, Need for Speed, FIFA, Inotia 2: A Wanderer of Luone and many more titles that deserve mentioning. Of course, if I mentioned all of them, the list would be too long since there are just so many different options. All in all, 2009 has been an awesome year both for myself personally and the App Store, and I can’t wait to see what new events and things are in store for me this year. Onwards, and let’s all have a great 2010!

Ryan: The app store has come a very long way in such a short time. I remember when I was impressed by the simplest of games on a mobile device like an iPod. The app store has become a whole new market now with ‘real’ games becoming more polished and fun. One signing example of this is Nova. Nova is a first-person shooter developed by Gameloft that somewhat resembles Halo (ring any bells?) Nova is the most complete, comprehensive game on the app store to date. Not only does it have an engaging single player mode, but it comes with surprisingly fun online multiplayer mode as well. It is no surprise to me that Gameloft is the company behind Nova. After all, they have proven to be strong players in the app store market and have developed a number of hits. Each game they release seems to push the envelope (and my expectations) just a little further. I now expect an iPod/iPhone game to deliver much more than I did even a few months ago. I am excited to see what the app store holds for 2010. I think Nova will be hard to top, but based on what I have seen so far, it is complely plausible.

And that wraps up the gaming year of 2009.  I’m sure 2010 will be bringing us even more impressive games from all the developers on the app store who will continue to push the limits of the platform.  We’ll see you the same time next year for another wrap up!

Lite Version Roundup: iBlast Moki, The Settlers, and More

Lite versions are definitely beneficial as seen from the success of iShoot and Assassin’s Creed; both of which boosted considerably in sales in correspondence with the lite version gaining popularity.  And with that said, Gameloft has been releasing lite free versions of all their games while other developers have been following the demo model.

Here’s a small roundup of the recently released lite versions, and almost all are worth a download.  If you’re too lazy (like me) to download the lite versions, I think it’s safe to say that you’ll enjoy all of these games.

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Most should be worth your time and download.  If you don’t like it, there’s nothing really other than to delete it; and if you do, support the developer and buy the game.  Most of the games listed above are less than or equal to $4.99, a quite reasonable price.

November 2009 Game of the Month: Rogue Planet!

Amidst all the major gaming publications penning their game of the year lists, we’re gathering once again this time for our sophomore effort at deciding the best game of last month.  It was a difficult decision to choose a single game as the best, especially with two games being in such a tight competition to be crowned.

I’m pleased to let everyone know that we have decided to award Rogue Planet as our favourite game of the month for November 2009!  Agharta Studio was no doubt hard at work on Rogue Planet for a very long time, as we talked to them in an interview last April where they explained that they put aside development of 1112 Episode 02 to focus on Rogue Planet.  The wait has been worth it, and we think it’s the best game you can play from the month of November.

Read on to find out our thoughts about Rogue Planet, and see which other games we enjoyed playing during this busy month of November.  There’s no doubt among us that they’ll be keeping us busy for future months as well.

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Matt: Every so often, an iPhone developer rises up from the slush of the App Store, grabs hold of the bar and pushes it skyward. Developer Agharta Studio is the latest to raise the bar for iPhone gaming with its November release Rogue Planet. Rogue Planet is not just an excellent iPhone game; it’s an excellent GAME. Period. Rogue Planet is a game so well realized, so well constructed and so enjoyable to play, it could easily hold its own against large production Nintendo games such as Fire Emblem or Advance Wars. Rogue Planet stands as a reminder of what iPhone gaming could be if more developers would invest the necessary time and effort into their projects to make them great. If there remains one rough edge in the game, I’ve yet to find it. Rogue Planet is one of the most complete and highest quality releases in the App Store. And at a time when many developers are attempting to fleece consumers with DLC, Rogue Planet comes fully featured and with a lengthy campaign at only $4.99. Rogue Planet is a must-have game, a shoe-in for Game of the Month and, moreover, one of the year’s best titles. Don’t miss it.

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Daniel: Turn-based strategy games have started to rise once Mecho Wars was released for the iPhone, hailed as Advance Wars on their mobile device. Since then, turn-based strategy games seem to have died out, with only Reign of Swords II being a notable release, which was then in turn crippled by difficulty and unimproved graphics. This “losing streak” has finally been broken though, and Rogue Planet has manage to accomplish this mighty feat. Rogue Planet features some of the deepest strategies I have ever come across, with hundreds of different units and tons of potential content. This game sucks you in on the get go, and from the beginning, you can’t stray away. This immersive experience is what we need on the iPhone, and Agharta Studios alongside Gameloft has managed to do just that.

Honorable Mentions:

Chris: For me, Ravensword: The Fallen King is the first game for the iPhone I find difficult to put down. Yes, the game is short, and the story doesn’t wander too far from standard RPG fair. However, the visual and auditory ambiance creates a world that sets itself apart from most anything else in the app store. In short, the game does two things: it exceeds my expectations given by the confines of the platform, and it leaves me wanting more; that is the sign of a truly great gaming experience. As for Rogue Planet, I give Gameloft a lot of respect. The game’s look is impressive, but, for me, the turn-based strategy genre seems to to fall flat when it comes to a video game platform. I find most games of this type come across as one of those overly produced board games geeks like me tend to avoid at comic book conventions. There’s rarely a new idea in turn-based strategy, but when I do take a chance on it, I find myself clinging to the classics like Chinese Go, Chess, Hnefatafl, or the more recent Siege Stones. Why some savvy developer hasn’t chosen to port these latter games to a virtual platform is beyond me. It seems like the simplest of ideas can sometimes come with a whole lot more possibility than even the most complex turn-based video game. I guess that’s why the classics continue to stand the test of time. That being said, Ravensword won’t stand the test of time either; within a year (or maybe even a few months) there will be something better but not this month… not for me anyway.
Note: if you like Chinese Go, there is a great app called SmartGo you should definitely check out!

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Jeff: It was thought that the iPhone and iPod Touch would never be able to surpass handheld consoles in terms of content, quality, polish, and graphics. Until now. Ravensword attempts to create such a console-quality RPG experience on the iPhone and iPod Touch, and surprisingly, for the most part it succeeds. The open world atmosphere coupled with the amazing graphics really do make me think of things I’d be playing on my PSP and PS2.  That in itself is an achievement for an app store game. Though the main storyline is a bit short, I love walking around the areas just killing anything and everything I see. It’s rare that a game for the iPhone and iPod Touch can impress me and have me playing for a long time, but this one is a definite exception and exceeds all the expectations I had. Rogue Planet is a close runner-up, but I felt that it got a little bit too repetitive in the later levels, which is why I didn’t vote for it.

That’s it for this month!  Congratulations again to Agharta Studio, Gameloft, and Rogue Planet.  We’ll be bringing you our favourite pick from December once the month inevitably winds down to an end.  Also, as a special treat, we’ll reflect on all the releases from the past year and bring forward what we think were the best games of 2009.

Rogue Planet Review: An Epic Sci-fi Strategy Game

The iPhone suffers no dearth of strategy role-playing games, among them such excellent titles as Reign of Swords, Uniwar, Mecho Wars, and the recently released Battle for Wesnoth. It’s becoming a crowded genre, but SRPGs are a perfect fit for the iPhone and new entries are welcome. Especially high-quality entries such as Agharta Studio’s Rogue Planet.

The story follows the crew of a space vessel returning to Earth after 35 years among the stars. Upon reaching Earth, however, they find themselves under attack and are forced to ground. There they find that Earth is no longer the home they left behind. The story unfolds over the course of 19 campaign missions. The game also includes a Quick Play mode with 34 maps (the 19 campaign maps, and 15 more), playable from the perspective of either army and with three difficulty levels.

Gameplay should feel familiar to anyone that’s played Uniwar on the iPhone, or any of the Advance Wars titles on Nintendo’s Gameboy or DS. You are provided a number of different units at the beginning of each mission, which you will then move individually across the map in an effort to occupy cities and factories, and to eliminate your opposition. Battles are turn-based: you will move all of your units, and then your enemy will do the same. Occupied cities provide resources, and factories can be used to produce new units in the field. So, there’s nothing new here, nothing we haven’t seen before.

Where Rogue Planet really shines, though, is in bringing it all together. Yes, the gameplay follows familiar formulas, but rarely does the iPhone see games of such spectacular production values. Everything about Rogue Planet is unabashedly slick: the menus, the artwork, the interface and touch response. Rogue Planet offers an experience so polished as to rival anything you might find from a major publisher or on other platforms like the Nintendo DS. In fact, with Gameloft having picked this one up for distribution, I would be surprised at all to see it released as DSiWare in the near future. It’s kind of a no-brainer for that platform.

Likes:

Presentation: Top-notch in every possible way. The game is practically dripping with quality production. You’re unlikely to find a better looking game anywhere on the App Store. Menus animated fluidly, look fantastic and are easily navigated. The graphics and artwork are stylized and beautiful. The soundtrack is excellent, and the sound-effects add to the science-fiction atmosphere of the game. No detail seems overlooked, and every detail adds to the experience. Brilliant!

Story: Standard science-fiction fare, but nicely played. Similar to Terminator or Battlestar Galactica, the Machines have risen against their makers and annihilated the human race. Small bands of survivors now struggle for their very existence against the superior strength and numbers of the sentient Machines. Returning to Earth with man-power and advanced weaponry, you may be mankind’s last hope.

The story is told between missions as conversation with other characters aboard ship, and does a good job of herding you from one mission into the next. The tale itself is compelling enough to drive you, and helps to keep you interested in the game’s mythos.

Gameplay: Very similar to other games of the genre; feels a lot like Advanced Wars on the DS, or Uniwar on the iPhone. Those are good games to imitate, though, and Rogue Planet takes everything to the next level in it’s quality of production and ease of play. The game makes excellent use of the iPhone interface, and moving troops and attacking enemies feels intuitive.

Interruption Handling: The game auto-saves every round, making it easy to jump back in when interrupted by a telephone call or real-life.

Dislikes:

Mulitplayer: The game offers multiplayer between units sharing a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection, and allows you to sign into Facebook for wall postings. What the game does not allow you to do is play against friends in a a time-lapse fashion, where you would take a turn then wait for a friend to login and take their turn — minutes, hours or days later. Being a turn-based game, this is a viable form of multiplayer, and one already seen in iPhone games such as Uniwar and Scrabble.

There is really very little to dislike about Rogue Planet. Every detail has been accounted for, every facet has been polished and the game just shines. Agharta put a lot of love into this title and it shows. For fans of the genre, Rogue Planet should be a no-brainer. For genre newcomers, Rogue Planet makes an excellent point of entry. This one comes as close to being flawless as any iPhone game I’ve played.

musthave

Rogue Planet is developed by Agharta Studio and published by Gameloft; $4.99. Reviewed on an iPhone 3G.

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Rogue Planet To Be Published By Gameloft

Big news?  I think yes!  Rogue Planet is arguably one of the most anticipated RTSs (real-time strategy) games coming to the App Store right now, and I have heard so many questions on when Rogue Planet is coming.  Agharta Studios was finished with the development of Rogue Planet quite a long time ago, but it had to wait for its unknown publisher to time all the releases right.

The artwork is very similar to what you would find in 1112 Episode 01, and it’s definitely has an aesthetic appeal to it.  Being a lover of design and artwork, I find Rogue Planet’s design to be very well laid out, and the artwork is a lot better than most of the games that are currently on the App Store.

We’ll have more news of this game as they are released, but check out this new trailer released today based on Rogue Planet.  Rogue Planet is slated for a November 24, 2009 release.