iOS Mini-Review: Ski Champion

April 14, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Posted in iOS Reviews | 3 Comments
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While the seasons have changed and the boys of summer have started the 2012 baseball season, you can still revisit winter fun with Ski Champion, a new iOS release by Majaka (Free, Appstore).  Ski Champion sits alone in the handheld skiing market but being on top of the mountain by default does not have the developers at Majaka taking the bunny slopes with this effort.  Packing in 14 different courses, tilt controls, and a leaderboard with medals and rankings, Ski Champion hits the high spots on Majaka’s first run out of the gate.

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iOS Mini-Review: NBA Jam

March 17, 2012 at 1:18 am | Posted in iOS Reviews | 1 Comment
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I remember my first handheld experience with NBA Jam very fondly.  Being a big NBA fan and playing the original game as often as I could in the arcades, I was extremely excited when NBA Jam came out for the Sega Game Gear in 1993.  Sure, the graphics were stunted but I was finally playing with NBA-licensed teams and with real NBA players!  Even on the Game Gear’s 3.2″ screen, NBA Jam translated the arcade experience well.  Since EA picked up the NBA Jam license from a defunct Midway, they’ve rekindled the flames of the classic with solid home console releases and a successful download-only follow-up.  Expanding into the world of mobile games was an obvious step for the franchise.  NBA Jam has always been easy to pick up and play, but what happens when you take away buttons and move to an iOS touchscreen device?  NBA Jam ($0.99 App Store) keeps up the tradition of replicating its classic feel across gaming platforms as EA Sports engineers the mobile version to work as well as ever.

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iOS Mini-Review: Ice Rage

February 22, 2012 at 11:59 pm | Posted in iOS Reviews | 3 Comments
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I really enjoy the throwback styles, old school graphics, and intuitive controls that can come with producing creative and original mobile games.  For every EA or 2K mobile clone of a big flagship game, there are unique titles like the 1-on-1 hockey action in Ice Rage by Mountain Sheep, Inc. ($0.99 App Store).  Ice Rage is a concoction of Ice Hockey and Blades of Steel from the NES mixed in with air hockey and pong physics.  Mountain Sheep pumps the retro up even more with the action played horizontally, something we haven’t seen a lot in sports games since the 8-bit age.  With a solid premise in place, is there enough substance in Ice Rage for it to be labeled a success?

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iOS Mini-Review: Arcade Hoops Basketball

February 18, 2012 at 1:14 am | Posted in iOS Reviews | 14 Comments
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We are all witnesses to a shift in the gaming industry.  With every Angry Birds game designed and every Farmville gift card sold, a new gaming audience is being tapped into.  Companies today are allocating large amounts of resources to focus on mobile gaming and social media gamification.  The sports gaming genre is not adverse to the clutches of casual gaming and nothing is more evident of this than the immense popularity of flick games.  Flick games are the natural result of using a device that is explicitly based on touch controls and, while I like to focus on arcade or simulation-style games brought to the small screen, casual sports games are here to stay.  With a simple premise and the most basic tenants of flick gaming,  Skyworks Interactive’s Arcade Hoops Basketball brings to iOS gaming the amusement park adrenaline of jacking (well, flicking) up as many shots as possible with the same payoff of going home empty-handed after trying to land a large stuffed animal prize.

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iOS Review: Icebreaker Hockey and NaturalMotion Games

February 2, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Posted in iOS Reviews | 2 Comments
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NaturalMotion Games has run the gamut in utilizing different mediums to get their sports games out to consumers. In a world where Madden casts a wide shadow, I loved that NaturalMotion took the leap and showed off their impressive game animation engine and alternative vision to the static Madden series with Backbreaker, a non-NFL licensed game for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Despite mediocre reviews and only 260,000 units sold for the first-time effort, NaturalMotion supported the original game with updates and patches and then expanded on the popularity of Backbreaker’s Tackle Alley mini-game with a Backbreaker: Vengeance release on the Xbox Live Arcade. This fleshed out mini-game where one eludes tacklers with jukes and spin moves, while picking up points along the way to a touchdown, would be the schematic for future iOS releases. NaturalMotion has released Backbreaker Football, Backbreaker 2: Vengeance and NFL Rivals on iOS and Android devices to date with the latest NFL Rivals title featuring an NFL license with real teams and logos (the players’ license still sits with EA). In stepping away from the gridiron, Icebreaker Hockey uses the same blueprint and transforms the fast-paced game play to the ice as you evade defenders with dekes and spin moves, while showboating your way through 50 different levels of game play.

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iOS Mini-Review: Double Dribble Fast Break

January 13, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Posted in iOS Reviews | 4 Comments
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From the company that brought you basketball abominations like NBA 2Night and NBA Starting Five, it’s an iOS game that is worse than the original classic for which the game is named after.  That’s right, the 25 year-old 1987 NES classic, Double Dribble, is significantly better than the unfinished crap Konami peddled here in Double Dribble Fast Break ($0.99 – iPhone app store).  When you look at the game in the app store, it shows the familiar screenshots of the red vs. green teams and those classic zoomed-in shots with guys bouncing dunks off the back rim.  This is initially exciting as who wouldn’t want that retro classic on their iOS device?

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