App Store Review: Galaga Remix

1 06 2009

Addictive recreation of an old-time favorite.


Galaga Remix was created by Namco, and it is a brilliant remake of the original arcade game. Galaga Remix includes an updated version as well as the original 1981 Galaga. The old version of the game does allow you to reclaim a captured ship so you can have double the firepower with dual ships like in the old arcade game, however this app really shines with the updated version. The new Galaga’s graphics are much easier on the eyes, and includes new boss battles, multiple upgrades for your ship, and plenty of levels.

The rest of the review is after the break. Read more…

App Store Review: Flight Control

13 04 2009

I know this is a bit late for a review but better late then never!


Flight Control, created by Firemint, is an addictive little game where you draw the flight paths of different aircraft to their landing strips, basically you are an air traffic controller. There are 4 different types of aircraft, a blue helicopter, a yellow Cessna type plane, and two different kinds of red jets, one being faster than the other.


The graphics are simple but clean. There isn’t any in-game music while you are directing things, and you can’t listen to music and the game sounds at the same time. The game sounds are helpful, they warn you when aircraft get close to each other, and ding whenever you land one, but if you are playing a long time it is better to listen to music. Otherwise, the game keeps track of your statistics (most likely aircraft to crash, most planes landed, last game’s planes landed) so you can see how you’ve improved.

This game could use some improvements, like a fast-forward, especially at the beginning. Every time you restart, you have to wait a long time for airplanes to show up, which makes the start of each run very slow. Otherwise, the graphics are a bit simple, a plane or helicopter landing just shows them fade away as opposed to actually landing. When there is a mid-air collision, they just blink to show they have hit each other. It would be more interesting (and a better finale to each game) if they exploded. Lastly, a few more gameplay elements would be good, like if they had clouds float over the airport to make it harder to see what is going on. However, all of these minor faults don’t hurt the game enough to avoid buying it.

Flight Control is addictive and entertaining, and it only costs $0.99, which is a great price for this game! You can pick it up from the App Store here.

App Store Review: WordsWorth from 99 Games

1 04 2009

99 Games was nice enough to give us a review copy of their popular game, WordsWorth. Let’s take a look.


WordsWorth is a fun unique game for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Basically, its a combination of a solo player game of Boggle, and a ever changing word search.  Hexagonal tiles are spaced out along the board, and its your job to earn enough points to advance to the next level. It keeps getting harder, level after level, up to level 30. The game as two modes, Timed and Classic. I really preferred the classic mode, as a way to just relax and keep me busy when I had nothing else to do, since I always have my iPod Touch on me.

See more about WordsWorth, after the jump.

Read more…

App Store Review: Time Crisis Strike

30 03 2009

This week I got to play through Time Crisis Strike for the iPhone. This game has a great nostalgia effect on those of us who’ve played the arcade version.


Time Crisis Strike is a rail-shooter, fire-and-duck game just like his arcade brothers. Your goal is to stop the evil Wild Dog from his new (unknown) plot to cause mayhem. It’s a single campaign with 3 stages totaling 23 screens, and you face off against about a half dozen different types of enemies. Controls are simple, touch where you want to shoot, tilt the iPhone forward to duck and reload, then tilt it back to stand up and continue to shoot.


This game is a lot of fun, especially because it’s Time Crisis. Its graphics are good, and the music and sounds are all great. There were no noticeable bugs or gameplay issues, the game was very well polished. They also have five unlockable “Crisis Missions”, which each challenges you to accomplish a specific task, like only shoot the yellow soldiers. Overall the Time Crisis feel of the game is great, although it does lack the light-gun and foot-pedal, it is a great port to the iPhone.


The only drawbacks to this game are that even though you have a tilt-meter for ducking, sometimes it feels like a button would be much more useful. Otherwise, the game can feel short if you only play through the arcade mode once, but honing your skill at this game can be very entertaining, plus the unlockable challenge missions, or you can challenge friend to see who can get the highest score.

Fans of Time Crisis absolutely have to get this game. Otherwise, if you just want a good rail-shooter, Time Crisis Strike is the way to go. You can pick it up from the App Store for $5.99

iPhone Game Developer Interview: Nitako (Rasta Monkey)

23 03 2009

A founder of Nitako (makers of Rasta Monkey) Noam Abta was kind enough to answer a few questions for us to go along with our recent Rasta Monkey game review.


The iLife: First off tell us a little about yourself, where are you from and how did you get involved with designing games?

Noam Abta: Nitako was founded by me (Noam Abta) and Yuval Markovich and we are located in Rishon Le Zion, Israel.
We are both animation film makers and In the 2 years prior to starting Nitako, we were the founding team of, an animation portal which is also an international animation studio. In Aniboom we were heavily involved in the product and technology, so when we decided to leave there, game design seemed like the most natural choice considering the combination of our skills and the love we had towards gaming.
It seems that with todays tools and technologies, and the increasing awareness to the fact that Indie gaming could also be profitable, more and more people like us who come from either art or technology are drawn into this line of work.

The iLife: Where did the idea for rastafarian monkeys come from?

Noam: Good question. Basically the game started out as a pretty abstract gameplay. We were fiddling with all sorts of movements you can create using physics elements (like springs for example), connecting those elements together and watching how they behave and move when gravity comes into action. In a while, different characters began to emmerge and we chose to use something that reminded us of a monkey. Since we love reggae music so much (our office band, together with our musician friend, Nimrod sarda, recorded all the music for Rasta Monkey here in our offices), we decided we want a Rastafarian theme to the game, and the idea of Rasta Monkey was first conceived.

The entire interview is after the break.

Read more…

App Store Review: Rasta Monkey

23 03 2009


Rasta Monkey is a 2D platformer where you play as a (gasp) monkey swinging in the trees trying to collect fruit to make smoothies. It uses a nice little physics engine to accomplish jumps, swings, and some puzzles. You’ll have to contend with monsters and some tricky jumps to finish each level.

The game only comes with 10 levels, two of which are tutorial levels. The levels aren’t very long, though they do have a lot of variety. Each level you are given a set amount of each type of fruit to collect. The game definitely doesn’t make it hard to collect these fruit, and a lot of the time you’ll find you’ve collected more than you needed. It never penalizes you for falling out of the trees, which is a huge relief in some of the harder areas. All it will do it set you back to your last checkpoint, which are never too far off.


The controls work surprising well. You hold the the corner of the screen where you wish to go, and hold with two fingers to swing on the branch. If you let go of both fingers at the same time you’ll jump, or you can abort the jump by letting go of one finger at a time.

The art is cartoony and colorful, which fits the game very well. The music, even though there seems to only be two songs, are catchy and, at worst, can just be turned off.

The only downsides to the game are its intermittent slow-downs and some frustrating monsters you face later on in the game. On my first generation iPod Touch when the camera zoomed out I’d occasionally run into a frame-rate drop. It wasn’t terrible, it was still playable, though it does makes the game feel buggy. Lastly, certain monsters are just plain annoying to get past. Some are big and move fast, and constantly knock you off the branches. It gets tricky, you either have to move fast and nail the jumps to avoid them, or get lucky and have the monster boot you in the right direction.

For the (currently introductory) $1.99 price tag it is definitely worth the couple days of fun you’ll get from this game. It isn’t a huge amount of content, but the actual game has a lot of variety and was put together very well.

App Store Review: Enigmo

17 02 2009


Enigmo is a game with a simple concept – get the water/fire/oil into their respective containers. You get to use a variety of tools, like ramps, cannons, sponges, and springs to move the droplets around the level. The goal of the game is to fill up containers to their maximum of 40 drops, simultaneously,  to move on to the next level. What’s interesting is that you also have to deal with obstacles, like force-fields that you have to turn off by shooting some of your drops through a ring to shut the force field down.

There is a lot of content in this game. The game comes with 50 levels, and you can download user-generated content so you never run out of challenges. But you won’t fly too quickly through all of the original 50 levels, some are very difficult and require a lot time to figure out.


The biggest downfall of the game is that the difficulty curve isn’t gradual. At times you’ll be ready to delete the game  in frustration because it’s so hard, and you don’t want to deal with it anymore, but then the next level is a cakewalk.

For the $1.99 price tag, you could do a whole lot worse than Enigmo. The game gives you a lot of content for a small price, and when you feel like your brain needs some exercise it’s a great little game to play.

Apple goes head to head with Sony and Nintendo with the iPhone 2.0 software

17 06 2008

There are few target audiences that Apple’s products fail to appeal to these days, but one market they have yet to tap is the growing legion of digital gaming fans. Since Microsoft’s buyout of Bungie Studios in 2000, there have been few games for Apple fans to look forward to, excluding the valiant efforts of dedicated Mac exclusive developer Pangaea and cross platform games from developer Blizzard Entertainment. Steve Jobs continues to remain seemingly uncooperative with the game industry, rejecting an offer from PC mega-developer Valve to port its Half-Life 2 series to OS X.

An early screenshot of Bungie\'s Halo project

But when Apple announced its ambitious touch screen iPhone device in early 2007, many gamers hoped that Apple would break into the mobile gaming market. The device seemed to be ideal for game design, featuring a large bright screen, input in the form of a touch screen and accelerometer, a 3D acceleration chip and the ability to download games from anywhere with cellular reception. Also, by entering the market four years after the release of the Nintendo DS and the PSP, the iPhone will have a substantial technical advantage over its competition. The PSP uses a 333 MHz CPU, the DS uses two co-processers, clocked at 67 and 33 MHz, where the iPhone utilizes a 620 MHz ARM chip. The iPhone has similar advantages in terms of RAM, storage and wireless capabilites. In fact, the only thing holding the Apple device back is its less than ideal input capabilites.

After repeatedly denying that they would allow 3rd party software development for an entire year, Apple confirmed that they would open the device up to developers, subsequently causing a flood of speculation into the prospects for gaming on the device. The first demonstrations of the iPhone’s gaming abilities were promising to say the very least. At Apple’s iPhone SDK announcement in March, Apple engineers demonstrated the capabilities of the platform with their internally developed game titled Touch Fighter, a Rouge Squadron/StarFox like flight combat sim. The game utilized the touch screen for aiming/shooting, the accelerometer for direction, and was fully 3D, even utilizing the OpenAL API to perform a limited 3D sound function. Mega-publisher EA, who had previously committed to develop more games for the Mac platform, demonstrated a mobile version of the first stage of its upcoming Spore franchise. And Sega showed off a build of Super Monkey Ball, making good use of the accelerometer, a control scheme that had gained much acclaim on the Nintendo Wii system. Apple and the other developers that had time with the SDK claimed that some of these applications, such as SMB had been developed in a period as short as just two weeks. The demonstration was a success; anticipation for iPhone games became frenzied.

During the past week at WWDC, iPhone gaming came back into the spotlight. Apple demonstrated numerous games, including additions from Pangaea Software in the form of two ports: the puzzle game Enigmo, and a port of its cult classic title Cro-Mag Rally. Moo Cow Music presented a suite of instrument simulations in an application called Band, featuring a virtual drum set, guitar, bass, keyboard and multi-function blues simulator. Band also allows for a number of recording features and the ability to combine tracks from multiple recordings, putting it several steps ahead of more casual games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

But the real test will come once developers start to push the iPhone 2.0 platform into the same arena as the DS and PSP game systems. Vying for the hardcore gamer market is not something that any mobile phone system has been successful in doing as of yet, despite the efforts of Nokia’s N-Gage platform. Enter Digital Legends Entertainment, formerly one of the few N-Gage exclusive developers. Their entry into the iPhone foray is the platform exclusive Kroll, a third person sidescroller title that bears some resemblance to God of War, to which the developer has compared Kroll to.

Kroll by Digital Legends

Resting the fate of the iPhone’s hardcore gaming potential on an untried N-Gage developer isn’t exactly fair however. To fill that niche steps in John Carmack of iD, who has promised that his studio will create an iPhone title. As of now, no commercial titles have been confirmed, but several videos have popped up of Doom 3/Doom Arena running on iPhone hardware. As if that wasn’t enough, a multi-player, networked version has also been demonstrated. There’s no question that the level of graphical prowess is rapidly approaching that of mainstream mobile game systems, but whether or not the iPhone can successfully emulate the gameplay of a dedicated gaming device remains to be seen.

Apple has a real chance to get gaming right this time around, let’s only hope they have what it takes. If you liked this article and would like to read more about iPhone gaming, check out our guide of upcoming iPhone games.

A comprehensive guide to iPhone firmware 2.0 Gaming (SDK)

16 06 2008

With 26 days until the launch of iPhone 2.0 , we have a whole extra month to check out what the future has in store. Below, we’ve compiled a guide to all of the games that are headed for the App Store.


Spore on the iPhone

SimCity and The Sims creator Will Wright’s next big thing, with a development cycle rivaling that of the construction of the Great Pyramids. The full game has been heralded as the second coming of gaming, featuring a heavy emphasize on user created content, and procedural generation. It has been announced for the PC, Mac (via a Cider port) and a variety of console platforms, notably the Nintendo DS. Both the iPhone and DS versions appear to be a faithful recreation of nothing but the first stage of the game, in which the player controls a microscopic version of his future creature, that build that foundation for the rest of the players evolution.
Demo at Apple SDK announcement
Additional info

SEGASuper Monkey Ball

Super Monkey Ball on the iPhone

A puzzle platformer that made its debut as an arcade game, it’s wild success made it a good choice as a launch title on the GameCube, Super Monkey Ball and its sequels have become a staple of the child focused console game market. The game has featured multiplayer since it’s release on the GameCube, the existence of a multiplayer feature for the iPhone version of the game, has as of yet, been unconfirmed. However, the control scheme is very similar to that of the Wii title, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz, in which the Wiimote is held parallel to the ground and tilted in the direction the player wishes to move.
Keynote Demo
Interview with SEGA’s Ethan Einhorn
Additional info

PangaeaEnigmo and Cro-Mag Rally

Enigmo on the iPhone

Long time Mac exclusive developer Pangaea has added two of its most popular games to the foray. Enigmo is a puzzle game, in which players must manipulate the movement of an unknown liquid into a tank, using items such as bumpers, sliders, accelerators, and sponges. Cro-Mag Rally is a third person racing game, not unlike Mario Kart, in which players race through different periods in ancient history. The Mac version features networked multi-player, though this feature is unconfirmed for the iPhone build.
Additional Info

Developer Website

GameLoft – Multiple

GameLoft Titles for iPhone

GameLoft is rapidly becoming the EA of the mobile phone gaming market. Based out of France, the company has over 4,000 employees and posted a revenue of $140 million in 2007. Though the company mainly develops games for the Java, BREW and Symbian platforms, the company has announced plans to publish no fewer than 15 titles for the iPhone. The details posted so far suggest that GameLoft will stick to its strengths and develop mostly casual titles.
Brain Challenge
Chess and Backmaggon
Bubble Bash

Int13Crazy Cart 2

int13 Crazy Cart 2

Another French mobile developer, Int13 has created a slick cart racing title for the iPhone. Rather than use tilt controls for movement like most developers, Int13 has opted for a multitouch steering wheel. A step in the right direction if you ask us; until the accuracy of the iPhone accelerometer is proven, our guess would be that it’s going to be fairly unreliable for accurate controls.
Announcment at MacRumors
Video Demo on YouTube

iDDoom 3, Doom Arena

A homebrewed copy of Doom for Jailbroken iPhones

John Carmack of iD game was one of the first game developers to openly declare his frustration with Apple’s 3rd party apps quarantine, back in the summer of ’07. The announcement of the SDK however seems to have filled his heart with warm fuzzy joy, and has hinted that he may be working on a title for the iPhone. In a post on Slashdot (http: SLASH SLASH www.Slashdot DOT com… hehe) Carmack wrote “…The ability to distribute larger applications than the over-the-air limits and effectively market your title with more than a dozen character deck name, combined with the reasonable income split make this look like a very interesting market.”
Re:Mr. Carmack are you still around?
Quake 3 Arena ported to iPhone/iPod Touch

Digital Legends EntertainmentKroll

Kroll by Digital Legends

This N-Gage developer gained loads of positive press at WWDC last week with their demonstration of third person sidescroller Kroll. Following in the footsteps of Ready At Dawn’s God of War, this title promises to bring a hardcore gaming flare to a market that so far has seen mostly casual titles. Thank the gods Jobs decided to let these guys on stage rather than yet another “casual” title like say…

PopCap Games Bejeweled, Zuma and Peggle

Surprising many, Peggle’s release in February of last year yielded a firestorm of critical acclaim and mainstream success. The addictive arcade title lets players choose one of ten playable characters as they try to clear 55 stages of peg destroying madness. The game received several awards, and was named one of the Top 5 most addictive computer games of all time by MSNBC. In an Apple press release, PopCap CEO confirmed that his company was developing multiple titles for the iPhone, including Peggle
Peggle for iPhone confirmed
Apple press release


The arcade classic, pacman

Ah PacMan, where would we be without you? This arcade legend has defined the gaming industry for decades, and has been ported to almost every kind of electronic device ever made. It is fitting then, that Namco would jump at the chance to add yet another check on its list of platforms supported. Like PopCap, Namco pledged its support in Apple’s press release following its iPhone SDK announcement, confirming both PacMan and Galaga for the App Store.
Namco, PopCap, THQ Pledge iPhone Support

IG FunRe-Volt and BioShock

BioShock: 2007 Game of the Year

Nothing good can come of a developer most comfortable making crappy licensed games on the BREW platform, getting the rights to horribly rape publish the 2007 Game of the Year, BioShock. IG Fun has already revealed their plans to make a BREW version of the game, but revealed to Pocket Gamer that they had plans to develop an iPhone version. Though they have yet to show any footage of the game, the developer has demonstrated an internally developed game called Re-Volt on the iPhone that looks like an unintuitively controlled Unreal set game, with enemies that have animations uncomfortably similar to the spider Splicers from BioShock.
Latest on BioShock Mobile
Re-Volt first-person shooter for iPhone
IG Fun’s Official Website

This list was compiled through research on the internet. As we uncover more information, we will bring it to you. However, if you know of a developer or game we missed, or would like to tell us more about your game, please contact us!