Highborn is a turn-based strategy game for iPad set in a fantasy environment with paladins, wizards and warriors. What sets Highborn apart for the mix of other worthy turn-based games is it's humor and asynchronous multiplayer gameplay.
You start the game off with "Archie" your wise-cracking paladin. The game uses humor to its advantage to drive the story and successfully at that. You select your unit whether it's Archie, soldiers or archers and move them around the board to capture buildings and defeat the bay guys. You can tap on any character (good or bad) to see their movement range and attack range. Next you tap the location you would like your unit to move to. Then you can attack if next to an enemy or launch a distance attack if you are in range. Regretfully, once you have made a move (without ending your turn) you can not undo your move. This is frustrating, but you quickly learn to plan your moves out more carefully.
With this weeks sale of Square-Enix games in honor of Chaos Rings release, I thought it fit to review Crystal Defenders for iPad. This is a very fun strategy/tower defense game: hardcore players apply only.
Crystal Defenders has you assume the role of master strategist as you place your units on a map to destroy the oncoming 30 waves of monsters trying to steal your crystals. Before you begin a game, you have to choose which game style you want. There are three to choose from: W1, W2 and W3. W1 is the easiest and simplest. The maps are not difficult and you do not have any power crystals (more on that later). W2 brings in the use of power crystals during gameplay and more challenging levels. W3 is the ultimate challenge. New monsters, units and very challenging maps.
I was excited to see that Let's Golf 2 just appeared in the App Store! I am not a golfer in real life, but I enjoy a good golf game every once in a while. Let's jump right in and see what this new version has to offer.
Let's Golf 2 is not meant as a real golf simulation like a Tiger Woods Golf. Instead, you are greeted with cute, often funny characters in outlandish environments that are beautiful and colorful. This does not mean that the levels are easy, in fact they become quite challenging later in the game (how can that be a par 4, impossible!)
And the iOS4 app updates just keep on coming. We're finding more and more by the day. Whether it's adding support for the iPhone 4's awesome retina display or taking advantage of new APIs within iOS4, we're still watching for them. Here's the ones we found this time around, and as always, if you see any we missed, be sure to let us know in the comments!
Apple has added a Genius tab to the iPad version of the App Store. Tap the tab, agree to the terms of service, and Apple will upload an (anonymized) list of all your apps and games, compare them to lists of millions of other (also anonymized) users, and recommend other apps and games you may be interested in.
So if the what's new and what's hot sections just don't strike your fancy, if the top selling, grossing, and free stuff has lost its charm, if the categories are just impossible to sort through, give the Genius tab a try.
Then come back here and let me know just how smart the newly enabled iPad Genius was for you.
We Farm for iPad is a real-time farming game by ngmoco. If you're familiar with We Rule, We Farm is very similar except that your are building a farm instead of kingdom.
As with most ngmoco games, you must have a plus+ account to play. If you don't have one already, signing up is simple. When you first start playing We Farm, the game takes you through a little tutorial which is pretty helpful.
The goal of We Farm is to raise money and build your farm. You raise money by growing crops, raising animals, and receiving and placing orders with friends. Almost everything you do yields experience points. As you level, more items are available for purchase; higher level buildings will output more money. You will also be able to upgrade your farm as you level which gives you more space and gives you a nicer looking farmhouse. You can also turn on notifications to alert you when certain tasks are complete. However, they do not work for me. I've asked around and apparently I'm the only with this problem.
There are two currencies used in We Farm. The first is gold and is what you make doing various farm tasks and buying items. The other is Gro. This is used to instantly complete tasks like growing crops, building buildings, fulfilling an order, raising animals, and increasing your animals' happiness. You earn Gro every time you level and is also available as an in-app purchase.
My biggest complaint of We Farm is animal raising. To make your animal happy, you have to periodically "pet" it. Each pet increases the animal's happiness by 5%. The happier your animal is, the better chance he has of winning a prize at the fair. Once you win a prize, your pen/coop/pasture becomes available for your friends to place orders at. This means you make a lot more money from it. The problem is that if you have an animal that takes 2 hours to raise, you must come back every 6 minutes during that 2 hour period to get the happiness to 100%. This is an unrealistic expectation in my eyes. Of course, you can get around this by using Gro, but We Farm doesn't provide enough Gro to use it on all animals before needing to spend real money. However, the happier your animal is, the less Gro it takes to bring him to 100% happiness, so my strategy is to pet my animals as much as I can, then use grow at the end to bring it to 100%.
Another small complaint I have is that there isn't a way to quickly return to your own farm when visiting someone else's farm. I'd like to a small icon to tap in the corner of all farms that quickly takes to your farm.
All in all, I enjoy playing We Farm. However, you must like time management games to have fun with this one. I have been impressed with the performance of the app; it runs smoothly, I've never received a memory error (a common problem with We Rule), nor has it ever crashed. So if you're a fan of these types of games, check out We Farm - it's free!
As part of their constant tweaking of all things App Store, Apple has added a section to the on-device (i.e. on iPhone or iPod touch) App Store that's called "try before you buy".
Here's the deal, on the Featured tab, under New, there are series of 4 banners at the top. If you're in the US, the bottom right one now says Free on App Store. Tap on it and you get a list of New and Noteworthy, Try Before You Buy, and Our Favorites.
Tap on Try Before You Buy and you get a listing of free or lite versions of popular apps you can sort by Featured, Popular, and Release Date.
Kaboom's Paratrooper is simple in theory -- tap the plane to drop the paratrooper, tilt your iPhone or iPod touch to direct them to the landing spot. And right there is where every casual gaming fan knows the addiction starts and the mayhem begins.
You want to hit the X. You need to hit that X. Things get more complicated quickly, of course. Obstacles build up. They're paratroopers after all, not sky divers. So don't be surprised when you start having to leap -- and land -- into the middle of a paper-art war zone. (Yeah, paper-art. Awesome.)
Plunderland is Apple's App of the Week this week. Does it deserve it? Yes and no. Developer JohnnyTwoShoes has made a solid effort to bring pillaging across the sea in the hands of eager gamers.
The premise of Plunderland is you are a ghost with pirates that sail across the sea to attack and sink enemy ships, pillage tribes people and take money from their monuments then make it to the next port. Sounds fun? Well, get used to it because that is what you do over, and over, and over again with little variety. Call me a stinker, but I don't see the allure with this game.
Sure, the water physics are nice. You tilt the iPhone left or right to make your boat move in that direction. When there is a storm, etc, the water behaves in a more erratic manor, making maneuvering more difficult. Once you are on the high seas, you come across your enemy; the British warships. You have a couple ways to take them out. First is to use your ships cannon. You have a nifty way of angling the cannon to shoot your targets, just move your finger along the bottom and you will get a reticule via a line that helps your aiming. Release your finger and you fire your cannonballs. Second, you can use the enemies cannonballs against themselves. Before the enemy launches an attack, the cannon will puff smoke, that is your cue to ready your finger and deflect the cannonball back upon the enemy ship and with luck, split it in two!
I know, I make it sound exhilarating, and it is the first two or three times you do it. Sadly, Plunderland does little to keep your attention. Future attacks add blimps and more, but the fun is gone by that point. The attacking villagers is a simple "tap, tap. tap" on the totems to get money and fling some villagers around in an effort to extract some more dough. Again... zzzz...
There is nice upgrade system though, you can upgrade your ship, cannons and bowsprits by earning said money above. The game has excellent promise. The controls, physics and graphical style all lend them selves to a success. However, the bland I really, really wanted to like this game, being highlighted on Apple's App Store, but alas, mateys, I just can't bring myself to recommend this lack-luster treasure.
UPDATE: I had a delightful Twitter chat with the developers. I explained that I had played 50% thorough the game and became unchallenged with the levels and objectives. They understood and are looking at a way to unlock the more exciting and complex levels earlier for more "hardcore" gamers. I also said that when I find the time to complete the game 100%, I would update this review to include my findings. I am hopeful that by the time I do this, they will have some new content available. You can follow the developer on Twitter here.
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