If your tax return is burning a hole in your pocket, an iPad game represents an affordable indulgence. Here’s a rundown of the long term appeal of some of our recent reviews.
Comments: Dice games are a niche within a niche, and poker dice is almost a niche within THAT niche. It’s also possible we’re just too into Dice Masters and King of New York to have any time left over for other dice games. With that said, the implementation of this app isn’t doing it any favors. The graphics and presentation are slick, but the documentation really needs some help, and multiplayer really, really needs to exist. It’s not impossible that this one could get improved, but we’re unlikely to find out unless the developers ping us directly.
Status: Deleted (on iPad); playing occasionally (on iPhone)
Comments: This is one of those example where less is really more – less technology, in this case. The quick nature of the gameplay makes this one great for on-the-go moments of downtime, and the elegantly simple, clear graphics don’t require the larger presentation factor of an iPad. We’ve unlocked everything, but this is still a go-to for standing in a 10-minute line or killing time in an endless staff meeting. (Not that we advocate that sort of thing, of course.)
Comments: If we had specific partners with whom to play the game from time to time, this MIGHT get upgraded to “Playing Occasionally;” it’s not likely, but that has more to do with the kind of gamers we are and the kind of game this is. From an implementation standpoint, there’s nothing wrong with this app that couldn’t be fixed by adding multiplayer. As it stands, the gameplay is too shallow, and the AIs too similar, for a digital opponent to be satisfying. This is the sort of game that is fun almost exactly because of WHO you play it with rather than because of WHAT you’re playing – removing the ability to play it with the people you want to play it with seems to defeat the point.
Status: Playing Occasionally
Comments: While there’s no shortage of Advanced Wars tributes on the iOS, Uniwar may be the best we’ve seen. It stays close enough to its roots to be recognizable while changing things up enough to be very engaging. Surprisingly deep for what it is, approachable to anyone familiar with strategy games, this one scratches the turn-based itch very well. The only reason we aren’t playing it more often is that there are just so many other good games to also play.
Comments: The dice game genre is getting increasingly crowded, and frankly if you want to go for a dice-based romp through the Cthulhu mythos, we’re still more likely to reach for Elder Sign than Kingsport Festival. The implementation is quirky without any good reason; the lack of online multiplay doesn’t make sense; the need to keep playing it to unlock additional opponents is frustrating and unnecessary. We actually tried to stick with this one, but an app with gameplay this repetitive needs to be more streamlined in presentation than this one manages. We don’t play Uniwar often enough because there are other good games out there; we deleted this one for the same reason.
Comments: Unless you’re seriously jonesing for an on-the-go 7 Wonders, there’s not a whole lot of reason to engage with this one. The nature of drafting games is to be methodical and deliberate, but somehow Fairy Tale just never engaged us. Maybe it’s the not-bad-enough-to-be-funny Engrish; maybe it’s the not-anime-enough-to-be-stylized artwork; maybe it’s the gameplay that doesn’t encourage anything beyond making combos for the sake of making combos. Drafting games may not be well represented on the platform, but that alone isn’t enough reason to play mediocre drafting games. Unless you’re already a fan, we can’t see a reason to play this one.
Status: Playing Actively
Comments: We’ll be the first to admit that this is somewhat hypocritical, as this app suffers from many of the same flaws listed of the apps above. Yet this one has something none of those apps offer: innovation. Dream Quest represents a unique mash up of a purely digital genre with a tabletop gaming convention, and manages to make the gameplay engaging enough to overlook the flaws. Toss in a ridiculous number of achievements and unlockables, spice with the ability to play as a mother-effin DRAGON, and you have a winner. We still wish the rough-around-the-edges shortcomings would be addressed, but we can live with them for gameplay this unique.
Comments: Really, there’s nothing particularly wrong with this one – it’s a fine game if you’re into set collection, presented in an “everything you need, nothing you don’t” sort of app. If the theme clicks with you, there’s no good reason not to download now and indulge to your heart’s content. Just didn’t click with us.
Comments: If you’re going to play a detailed economic simulation, you want access to the information being simulated. Restaurant Bigwig hides all of that behind the curtain, but at least the gameplay is random and repetitive. Don’t get us wrong – there are worse games on the app store. This is just one you really have to want to play, and we don’t really want to.
Comments: Ugh. The game has balance issues and fun issues – the issues being that it doesn’t have much of either. That would be bad enough, but it’s presented in an app that looks like a hasty port from the PC, complete with a tutorial that makes references to mouse pointers. Adding insult to injury is the fact that all games, online or off, must be completed in one sitting, and with a game time that stretches easily in to the 90-120 minute mark, that’s not an insignificant commitment. I guess we just weren’t bewitched.
So what’s your tax refund going to buy? What did you spend money on and delete 20 minutes later? Sound off in the comments – inquiring minds want to know!