iPhone Review Round-up: 09/01/11

More games under our eye (and finger).

It’s not all AAA big-name titles on the App Store – there’s a wealth of indie and smaller games, too, and we’re committed to checking out what’s new for iPhones, iPod touches and iPads in amongst our regular content.

So, here’s four of the latest such titles, and if you missed our mammoth look at the App Store over the festive period, it’s right here.

Ninja Tabby

Ten Minutes. Yes, that’s how long it took me to get through Ninja Tabby and not want to play it up ever again. Selecting one of two backgrounds, The Temple and The Factory, players will have to catapult their nine feline ninjas into the level, where they will automatically pace back and forth (think Kahoots or Lemmings.).

Through tactical deployment and using a blade to cut away walls and floors, the objective of the game is to gather as many points as you can before you run out of cats; this is done by picking up catnip and returning your ninjas to the “home portal.” With only twenty five levels to play through, you can blitz the entire game in a single sitting, and without Game Centre support, there isn’t much incentive to go back for additional stars.

There are two on-screen buttons, one which preps the catapult and one which unsheathes the blade. To launch a cat you need to hold down the shoot button and then flick upwards or in the direction you wish to project your pussy (you there at the back of the class, stop snickering!)

However, since the button is locked to the left-hand side of the screen, it’s impossible to shoot in that direction unless you hold down the button and then drag your finger to the centre of the screen, the same applying to the blade. It’s extremely cumbersome, made worse by the inaccuracies of both functions. The catapult is ultra-sensitive with there never being a sense of precision, and the blade will always cut away the wrong wall of section of flooring, no matter how diligently you swipe.

The only thing I liked about Ninja Tabby was the music; the rest of the game is incredibly sloppy and at times unplayable. For a buck, you’re not loosing much, but there are so many better (and similarly priced games) which blow this out of the water. 3/10.

Ninja Tabby - Logic Magi

Keri Tap

Keri Tap is a simple, yet challenging festive puzzle game from the folks at Crazy Rabbit Lab. Players are presented with a tile-covered board and must flip them in a certain order to reveal the picture beneath. This is done by swiping either up, down, left or right whilst holding down on the star icon.

It may sound like a cakewalk, but when moving the star there is no backtracking; you must cover the entire board in a single chain of movements.

Jumping in with both feet always results in failure; to ensure victory, you have to oggle the board closely and calculate where the cut-off points are. It’s extremely trial-and-error, and after several attempts it’s likely you won’t want to bother continuing. This isn’t helped by the fact there isn’t a hint/tip mechanic, and the pictures you are rewarded with look as though they’ve been fished out of a Lidl bargain bin.

Keri Tap has some cool features, and if you enjoy a moderate brain-tease, it will keep you entertained. However, due to amount of thought that goes behind the game, it lacks the pick up n’ play nature which makes so many over iPhone titles popular. 5/10.

Keri Tap Christmas - Crazy Rabbit Lab

Firecraft

Thinking of getting into the pyrotechnic industry? Well, FireCraft has you covered. The premise of the game is simple: construct fireworks in your garden shed and then take them to local shows to earn a bit of pocket money.

The profit made can then be spent on buying more ostentatious components for your next batch of fireworks, as well as bigger rockets and venues.

There isn’t much in the way of gameplay here; when you are conducting a show you simply hit one of the numbers at the bottom of the screen to unleash that particular firework into the night sky. A few taps later the show is over, you get some cash, you go home. It’s extremely repetitive with no real sense of progression despite the sluggish trickle of new content.

FireCraft may be creative, but it lacks the essential fun factor needed to keep an audience entertained. Unless you simply cannot wait until November, you should give this ‘game’ a miss. 4/10.

FireCraft - games2be

Camel Race

Forget trekking through scorching deserts in a merciless marathon, Camel Race by Bazinga! Systems is a simple adaptation of a carnival classic.

Competing against three AI opponents (or human if you can find anyone online) your goal is to roll your ball across a table and drop it into one of the several coloured holes. Each colour represents a distance travelled by your camel if scored, and after accumulating a set target, you will have finished the race.

The game offers twenty different unique tables, each with three-star ratings though apart from their cosmetic appeal, they serve no real purpose. Playing is as easy as holding and then slowly swiping your ball in the intended direction, though there are some control/gameplay issues present.

The ball can only be handled when in the “touch zone,” a narrow strip along the bottom of the screen, too minute to get a sufficient amount of power behind your shot. Also, when you do finally launch your ball, it can take a long time to get back to you, which isn’t helped by the fact that the AI players are incredibly tough to beat. Thankfully, in some of the later levels, bonus items such as penalty cards can be acquired by scoring in specific holes. These allow you to target one of your opponents and shove them back a few notches.

Camel Race is one of those games which you will only take a fancy to if you happen to be good at it, and if not it will cause nothing but frustration. 5/10.

Camel Race - Bazinga Systems

11 Comments

  1. Not a great set of games then ? :D
    Someone should do a review of PQ2 and Dead Rising mobile, or some of the bigger games on the store as well as the obtuse.

  2. Firecraft kind sounds tempting. Is there a lite version?
    Best thing I got off the App store recently was Mirrors Edge. Extremely addictive with great gameplay. It was free too!

  3. I picked up Mirror’s Edge, but unfortunately I downloaded it a week before it was free via the 12 Days of Christmas giveaway.

    • Unlucky. Its a pretty good game imo though. What do you think?

  4. With the wealth of great games on the App Store would it not make more sense for TSA to review hidden gems rather than games that get low-to-average review scores?

    • When Alex receives/requests codes for these games, it’s impossible to tell if they are going to be great or not, especially if they are brand new ;)

      • Ah, are these reviews done before the game is available to the public then? Fair play. :)

  5. Was hoping for a good round-up if games this week now I got my iPod. Oh well back to doodle jump and mirrors edge it is then. (not that I am complaining)

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