iOS Review Round-up

Did anyone get a new iOS device for Christmas? If so you’ll probably be aware now of just how crammed the App Store is, and how difficult it is to sort the wheat from the chaff.

We get a fair few iOS games sent to us at TSA, so here’s a round-up of some of the titles we’ve been playing around with over the last month or so that may have passed you by.


Inertia: Escape Velocity


Hermes, the protagonist in Inertia: Escape Velocity, has hit a spot of bother. A scavenger by trade, his ship has crashed and needs a whole bunch of parts fitted before it’ll be space-worthy again. Luckily for us this hunt for parts takes the form of a fantastic physics-based platform/puzzle game.

The big hook is being able to mess with gravity. Yes, you can simply turn it on and off, but the key to collecting hard to reach objects lies with the ability to combine both momentum and gravity. For example, running as fast as possible, then turning off gravity will see Hermes drift over a gap that’s too wide to just jump across.

Knowing when and where to use gravity takes a bit of getting used to, which may initially put people off, but those who persevere will find a challenging, visually fantastic gem of a game.

Cost: Initial game is free, but requires an in-app purchase to buy additional level packs.

Nutty Sam

The idea behind Nutty Sam is, well, a bit nutty. Sam is a  half Chameleon, half  Blowfish with a penchant for nuts. This quest for nuts takes the form of a puzzle game, which uses Sam’s blowfish ability to traverse levels. Holding down on the screen will see him inflate and begin to float upwards. Remove your finger and Sam will deflate and begin a rather worrying descent back to earth.

Using this inflate/deflate method you must guide Sam around, collecting nuts. Specifically placed gusts of wind play an important role, as when inflated Sam can be swept along to previously unreachable places.

Nutty Sam will feel instantly familiar with those who play iOS puzzle games a lot. This doesn’t mean it should be discounted though, as it certainly is entertaining.

Cost: First twenty levels are free, $0.99/69p to unlock everything.

Boy Loves Girl

Possibly the strangest game in the round-up, Boy Loves Girl tells a tale of a boy desperate to seek approval from the girl of his dreams. Oddly enough this involves chasing her around. Every level starts with the boy running after something, be it the girl or something she wants, with the main objective being to catch it.

It’s not as simple as that though, as you are set a number of challenges before the level can be classed as complete. These all revolve around, wait for it, protecting the Moon, which you are dragging along behind you on a piece of string. For example you’ll be told you need to dodge five clouds, so to succeed you must swipe up and down on the screen to guide the Moon around these clouds. Challenges get harder the further you progress.

It sounds mental, but it’s such a time sink. I think the trailer below explains it better.

Cost: $0.99/69p

DJ PaulyD Beat That Boardwalk

In theory Beat that Boardwalk is ridiculously simple, as all you have to do is avoid obstacles by either moving the character up or down, or by jumping. In practice things aren’t so easy. For starters every time you jump there’s a two second charge period before you can do it again, meaning you really need to think ahead before doing it.

Whilst deft fingers will see you avoid the smaller enemies, the bosses are far more unpredictable and will rush at you from different angles, or unleash special attacks that are much harder to dodge.

A high-score game by nature, every item you collect, or fan you brush past will earn points. Occasionally you will see a gym, and if you manage to enter it before passing by you’ll be invincible for a period, as well as becoming able to smash through enemies for a nice score bonus. As weird as it sounds tanning also plays an important part in the game (!!) with a meter at the top of the screen emptying. If you get “too pale” then you lose a life, so make sure you enter a tanning salon when you see one.

Beat that Boardwalk really is old school in its design, but the gameplay is compelling with that “one more go” factor, and the music sounds good through a set of headphones (if you like that sort of style).

Cost: $0.99/69p

The Honey Badger Don’t Care

Based on this YouTube video, The Honey Badger Don’t Care sees you take control of a hungry honey badger. A high score based game, the honey badger needs a constant supply of food; if the ‘hungry’ meter at the top of the screen empties then you lose a life. Luckily food is plentiful because, as the title says, the honey badger just don’t care about what he eats.

Some of the other animals will fight back though, and if you take four hits you’ll lose a life. They also get bigger and tougher, requiring more attacks to finish off. Sometimes a bigger animal will appear behind you and try and steal your food, so you need to be quick when chowing down.

The Honey Badger Don’t Care won’t revolutionise iOS gaming, but it’s an enjoyable way to spend 69p.

Cost: $0.99/69p



  1. Thanks, I find it incredibly hard to find any games worth playing on the AppStore – Don’t see the draw to games like Angry Birds, and other than price I can’t see what the draw is for most of these games, at least the ones that I have tried… Will try some of these later :D

  2. Get Super Crate Boy, anyone reading this.

    • No.

      • if nobody read it, how did anybody know to reply?

        mind blown. O_O

  3. A little off topic, but any plans to do a similar round-up for Android devices, or do you not get sent review copies of these?

    • I could go for a bit of that too.

    • We are having a think about doing stuff like this including Android/mini/Indie Games titles.

    • Is it that important? I can think of exactly one Android exclusive game, and that was Grand Prix Story, which was quickly ported to iOS a few months later.

      From this list of “iOS” reviews, all bar one are already on Android Market or have explicit plans to release on Android soon. The sole exception is Boy Loves Girl, whilst Nutty Sam is being ported. The rest are there already.

      I do agree that it’d be nice to drop the iOS specific title, and take the time to double check that the game is there and works similarly well on a standard Android phone, but you can currently take these the same way that you take a PS3 review of, say, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.

      Just beware of the occasional ‘Skyrim’ issue, where one platform doesn’t match up to the other, and read the comments on the Android market to see if a particular model of phone or version of Android is having issues.

      • Fair point – just checked the Android market place on my phone (HTC Desire) and Inertia and DJ pauly are both there. No sign of the others though, although I know it can be device specific sometimes.

        I’ll pay a bit more attention to IOS reviews from now on rather than just assuming they’re no use to me.

      • That’s my issue really – If it has anything to do with iOS in the title, i don’t bother to check tbh (don’t ask how i stumbled in here today, as i’m not sure myself!).

        What about if articles such as this one were labelled iOS/Android & then it specifically stated against each game/app what platforms they were available on?

        I haven’t downloaded too much in the way of games/apps as yet, but that is purely because i don’t really know what’s out there & what’s good.

      • I agree that the system would be OK if the iOS branding disappeared. I’d love to see the info if the game was available for Android devices right in the article without having to check myself.

      • @Zephyre – Some have slightly different names on Android, for some reason. Though device compatibility is always a possible problem.

        @Forrest & Kerash – Yup, that’d have to be something altered. Just “Touch Device review round-up” or something, and then a shade of investigation over platforms, and declaring which version was reviewed.

      • That’d be poifect tef. :)

  4. Currently addicted to Peggle on iPad… best value 69p I’ve spent in a while!

    Also, has anybody played Football Manager Handheld 2012 on iOS? I am seriously tempted by its sale for £2.99 (down from £6.99).

  5. Also try Phoenix HD, which is super awesome and free :)

    /shameless self plug (is allowed as indie no? :) )

    Can also recommend Super Crate Box (like nofi), for anyone who likes very quick action in short sessions. Though, I do think the on-screen buttons are a bit meh and the hit-boxes are a bit big.

    • Super Crate Boy is awesome on an iCade though. =)

      • Ah yes, forgot to write that. I also got an iCade recently and indeed, SCB works _infinitely better_ on an icade.

        (Phoenix HD iCade support in the next patch! /shameless yadda yadda)

  6. Inertia looks good but sadly doesn’t work with my ipod.

  7. On a slightly different note, I used to do really bad impressions of Eric Morecambe, but now I’ve seen the error of my waheys!

    • But have you shaved your short, fat, hairy legs?

    • Two men sat out on some deck chairs.
      One turns to the other and says “It’s nice out today.”

  8. Got an iphone for xmas. My favourites are trainyard (just 2 levels left to solve), solitaire (classis ish) and flick soccer (i think they mean football).

  9. Infinity blade, real racing 2, dead space, gta 3, modern combat 3, NOVA 2, street fighter IV, Flash back ?

    Games I like

Comments are now closed for this post.