Some old and some new. I've decided to review some iPhone games I've recently come across. The five games are Legendary Wars, Zenonia, Angry Birds Rio, Fruit Ninja and Game Dev Story. All of these games are compatible with iPhone 3 and 4. Also, all of these games have demo's/lite versions that give you some clue of how the game is, but most of them are pretty short. Legendary Wars, Angry Birds Rio, Fruit Ninja and Game Dev Story all have achievements and game center support.
Legendary Wars is a strategy/castle defense game developed by Liv Games. There are plentyof free PC arcade games similar to this on places like armorgames.com, but what makes this game special is it's depth, length, re-playability, graphics and presentation. You will never see a game with the quality graphics and art style like Legendary Wars has. The story in this game is descent and silly but it's depth and customization make it addicting and enjoyable to play. You have something around eight units that you can upgrade in multiple ways, through attributes and entire tiers; there is a currency system that allows you to do so. On top of that you can upgrade your castle and unlock new maps for the extra modes with the currency.
There are several extra modes outside of the campaign. There is a endless defense mode, side scrolling, survival and a armory. The armory only unlocks after you have beat the game once and one of each of these modes unlocks through playing the campaign. Your currency carries over from these modes to the campaign and vice versa. Each mode has 4 or 5 maps and are fairly fun to play.
The campaign has six environments and over 50 levels. Once you beat the game once you can replay it in a harder difficulty and all of your upgrades for everything carry over. It is impossible to upgrade even half of your army to its max level through one playthrough. The sound complements the game pretty well but isn't extraordinary. The animations are really smooth for the most part but there are a few bugs. The developers offer continuous updates and new content. For $0,99 this game is a really good deal, also this is a pretty new game. I've played it through once already and still enjoy playing all aspects of the game. Check out if you like these kinds of game at all.
Violent Score: 4 (out of 5)
For more info check out http://www.legendary-wars.com/index.shtml
This is a role playing game game, developed by Gamevil Inc., with a old school Zelda game look and feel. This a older game, there is a second Zenonia and a third one in the process, but it is a continuous story so this is where it would start. This game also won a award for best iPhone rpg game in 2009. I was drawn to it because I love games like Secret of Mana or Link to the Past and it is very similar in style. You have three classes to choose from; Paladin, Warrior and Assassin. You can only pick a male character and the only customization is the class difference, but thankfully the story is not linear. You can choose to take a evil or good path.
I am happy to say that the story in Zenonia does not suck like many other rpgs. While there is a good deal of go and kill x monsters quests, there are always story quests that make it a lot more interesting. It has a lot of basic features like item stores and quest halls but they are presented well and pleasantly. Combat is pretty basic as well, it uses a d-pad and an attack button that are presented on screen. You have various skills you can unlock, for each class, which are a little clunky to use but they look great.
In the end game is what you would expect it to be, but what makes it good is a well presented story and attractive visuals. The controls are a bit difficult sometimes but once you get used to them it flows pretty well. The length of the game is impressive for a iPhone game, if you do most of the quests it ends up being around 30 hours and for $0.99 that's hard to say no to if you like these kinds of games.
Violent Score: 3.5
For more info check out http://us.gamevil.com/games.php?m=AppStoreDetail&gid=5
Angry Birds Rio
This game is pretty new and it follows the rest of the Angry Birds games developed by Rovio Mobile Ltd. It is pretty much the same as all other angry birds except that it is designed after the environments of the Rio movie that just came out, its a animated children's move. Other than it being designed after that movie it also offers 60 levels, at the moment. In May, July, October and November they will unlock a new section, each section having 30 levels. The two with the game right now are Smugglers Den and Jungle Escape. They both are quite difficult to get 100% on and even more difficult to find all the secret objects.
This game seem's like it has a lot but it is only mildly fun after a couple days. The concept is still the same launch birds into objects and free birds or destroy monkeys. While it is simple it is really fun, until you get tired of it, it gets annoying once you realize a lot of levels rely on random luck in order to get the best score. On the other hand the game does look really good and the physics work pretty well. Once this game has unlocked a few more sections, for free presumably, it will have a lot more length and re-playability, but as it is right now it isn't bound to last you more than a week or two. It is only $0.99. If you like games like Crush the Castle then you will probably enjoy Angry Birds Rio at least a little bit.
Violent Score: 3
Fruit Ninja, developed by Halfbrick Stuidos, is a game where you slice fruit...that's about it. Seriously though that is technically all you do in this game but fortunately it is fun. There are four modes: Zen Mode, Classic, Multiplayer and Arcade Mode. What really makes this game fun is trying to get high scores and combos in order to unlock new backgrounds and slicers. You can unlock all kinds of entertaining slicers, like a disco blade that looks pretty sweet.
Once you get done unlocking everything in Fruit Ninja, which doesn't take long, there is always multiplayer. Multiplayer is pretty fun but it would be a lot more fun if it was local multiplayer, which wouldn't work on a iPhone due to its size. On the iPad though they do have local multiplayer for Fruit Ninja and it is easily the most fun aspect of the game. Arcade mode is my favorite mode due to all the different types of specials that can happen, while the other modes just have to do with time or lives.
My only gripes about Fruit Ninja are the lack of diversity and re-playability. Once you get everything unlocked there isn't much of a draw to the game anymore, other than MP. It is always fun to just play it but it turns into more mindless fun than objectively going after specific goals. In the end though it is only $0.99 so it's hard to complain about it not having more.
Violent Score: 3
Game Dev Story
I love this game, it has take quite a hold on me surprisingly. This is the most expensive game of the bunch at $3.99, but it is my favorite. It is a Simultation RPG, which is a pun upon itself since you can develop that very type of game in the game. You have a game company that starts out small, in which you create video games and do contracts for various types of projects. Your main goal is to make the best games out there on the best systems. You have a 20 year time limit to do all you can to be the biggest and best game company out there. The style of this game is interesting and attractive, take a look at this video to see some examples of the game in motion.
You have a group of employee's who all start at level one at their various jobs. There are jobs like designers, coders, sound engineers, software engineers, directors and more. You can improve each individual through training, which costs money and energy, and you may also level up them which makes them cost more but is a guaranteed increase in all of their abilities. The abilities are broken down into program, scenario, graphics and sound. All of you employee's work on everything but for each section of a game you develop you choose a lead who provide the initial points.
There are things like gamedev awards that always leave you wanting to get runner up or best game. I have only won runner up and multiple best design and best sound awards. You can use advertising, which costs various amounts of money, to get your name out there and improve your fanbase. They do a lot of things in this game to keep it interesting and diverse, like if you get really good at one genre and you keep making that genre, you lose fans because they are tired of the same genre. Another example is another company making a similar game to yours so your sales aren't going to be as good because of the competition.
There are a lot of different genre's and types of games you can unlock. You may also develop your own console with a software engineer, which are hard to find. Once the 20 year limit is reached all of your hard work is not for nothing, much of it carries over to a new game and can be used again. I could say a lot more about this game but I'm having trouble making it brief, so lets just say it's great and if you like sim's at all you will probably like it. I recommend trying the lite version/demo at the least. As it is the game is $3.99 but that is subject to decrease or increase.
Violent Score: 4.5
Written by Sean Cargle