Tag Archives: games lost in the sea of apps

Calling All Disheartened Developers!

UPDATE:  Much thanks to everyone who has contacted me to include their app in my game.  I have already added your app to my background.  I’ve submitted my app for review and will keep you posted on the progress and when it will hopefully launch!  Thanks again.

In my new upcoming game Climby Charts: Buried Alive in the App Heap for iOS, you must battle flappy bird clones and one-star reviews on your quest to climb your way up the charts.

Climby Charts - Title Screen

There’s a long way to go before I’m in the Top 100…

The background consists of apps that have fallen by the wayside, buried by the ever-growing mound of apps on the store.  Right now it mostly consists of my own apps and some fake, humorous ones I’ve tossed in.  However, I’m opening this up to other developers who are proud of their games but were not fortunate enough to ever be noticed (or hardly noticed).  Please see that TouchArcade thread for a lot more information if you’re interested in submitting your app icon to be included in Climby Charts.  Thank you!


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Good Games Buried Deep #9 – Test Chamber – Mind-bending Puzzles

This one is the epitome of a good game buried deep, a hidden gem in every way.  Test Chamber – Mind-bending Puzzles (by Shark Jump Studios) needs to be downloaded and played immediately.

Test Chamber Easy Level 2

Right now you’re thinking this looks easy. Right now you’re wrong.

Quick description:

A highly inventive and creative puzzler.  Very challenging puzzles.  Characters as mysterious as their world.

Why this game is worth playing:

The creativity.  These puzzles are truly “mind-bending.”  They are complicated, intricate, challenging, and you will by no means solve them quickly.  But, wow, is it ever fun to try and figure them out!  Take a look:

Test Chamber World Wrapping

Yes, that’s you standing on the number 11.  Yes, both of you.

The, ahahahahaha, basic idea is that you need to build a bridge by pushing blocks to fill in the gaps between your platform and that other platform with the blue-shaded hole.  Which one you ask?  Well, uh, that… one…  You see, they’re actually the same hole.  In Test Chamber, the world wraps on itself.  Not only is this a cool visual effect, it’s also critical to solving these puzzles.  You’ll have to come at these blocks from different angles and different directions to get them into the desired position because as you step from one world into the… same… yet… different…. world, it might enable you to then better maneuver another block in the other… yet… still… the… same… world…  I think?

I wish I had a portal gun.

Test Chamber 4

Circumvention?  You mean like how my brain is currently crawling out my ear?

The creativity doesn’t end with the puzzles, though.  The characters and the world surrounding those puzzles are equally as fascinating.  You’ll be as curious to learn about the characters (and their existential quest) as you are anxious to solve the puzzles.

Extra goodies:

For those of you who like to find the most optimal solution, this game also comes with three targets (bronze, silver, and gold) for the number of moves it takes you to solve the puzzle.  It’s an extra challenge for an already challenging task.

Test Chamber 1

Uhhhhhhmmmmmmm, yeah.  Hahahahahahaha.  Baby, you’d better hope time wraps in this world, too, because that’s going to take me a LONG time.

Try it out:

Just try it!  You won’t be disappointed.  Test Chamber – Mind-bending Puzzles (by Shark Jump Studios) is available for free on iOS.


-If you like the first 15 levels, I highly recommend upgrading ($2.99) to the full version. You get 13 more puzzles that are even harder than the first batch!

-It’s a lot of fun trying to find the most optimal solutions. It turns out there’s a fourth target award called Special Award that you can get if you solve the puzzle in fewer steps than it takes to get the Gold Award. There are quite a few of these; I found one in half of the levels, and there might still be more.

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Good Games Buried Deep #7 – Rects and #8 – Jelly Slide

Got a two for one this weekend for any fans of puzzle games out there!  First up is the more challenging one:  Rects (by Volodymyr Klymenko).


Rects starts out easy…

Quick description:

The goal is to fit all the pink horseshoe shapes inside one another on the same tile. You do so by moving the pink dot around. If you slide the dot inside one of the horseshoe shapes, you’re then able to slide that shape, too, as long as the dot can push against it in the direction you wish to travel.

Why this game is worth playing:

The challenging puzzles.  The puzzles start out easy and then become quite hard.  I really don’t like to use the hint button in games, but there was one puzzle in Rects (Level 32) that I just could not solve no matter how many times I tried.  And after viewing the solution, I’m convinced that I never would have solved it.  It’s impressive that such a simple concept can yield such complex puzzles!


…and then makes you feel like you’ve been concussed by a horseshoe.

Try it out:

If you like the kind of puzzles that tax your mind, have a go at Rects (by Volodymyr Klymenko), available for free on iOS.

Current Turn Icon

However, if you prefer relaxing puzzles the whole way through, then Jelly Slide (by Moonlight Games) is the choice for you.

Jelly Slide 1

Some of the puzzles are a little tricky, but most are just relaxing.

Quick description:

Slide the different colored blocks around the map.  Touch two blocks of the same color together to join them into a single shape.  Win by fusing all of the colors on the map into single shapes.

Why this game is worth playing:

The relaxing puzzles.  These are the perfect kind of puzzles if you just want to take it easy, kill a little time, and not torch your brain.  Sure, there is the occasional tricky puzzle, but for the most part, you’ll be able to solve these pretty quickly.  You’ll still need to think, though, because as soon as two shapes of the same color match, they connect.  Thus, you may need to be particular in the order of your movements to achieve the desired result.

Jelly Slide 2

Simple design with just the right amount of challenge to be pleasing to the mind.

Try it out:

Jelly Slide (by Moonlight Games) is available for free on iOS.  Be sure to turn up the sound and enjoy the relaxing soundtrack as well.

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Good Games Buried Deep #6 – Dr. Noid

This one claims that it’s “one of the best breakout games in the App Store.”  And I have to agree!  Take a look at Dr. Noid (by pncil).

Dr. Noid Screenshot

Breakout/Arkanoid at its best!

Quick description:

A brick-breaking game (use your paddle to keep balls in play as you clear the stages of bricks) with its own creative style.  Comes with all the standard goodies (power-ups, upgrades, lots of levels, etc.) of this game type, along with a Pokemon “gotta catch ’em all” element.

Why this game is worth playing:

The craftsmanship.  Seriously, this game is so well made.  The gameplay, the sound, the graphics, the design… it’s all excellent.  The developers clearly put a lot of heart and time into this, and it shines through everywhere.  If you like brick-breaking games at all, just go ahead and download this right now.

If you’re unconvinced, here’s a quick breakdown of some of Dr. Noid’s more unique features:

1.  It’s a little like pinball.  There are bumpers, warp pipes, switches, and even these alien, tunnel-looking things that duplicate your ball when you pass through them.  And that’s just in the first few levels!

2.  Gotta catch ’em all.  When you dispatch one of the sickly looking animals in these levels, they drop some of their DNA.  If you catch it on your paddle, you begin to fill in the missing pieces of their genome.  There are all kinds of animals in this game, so there’s an additional incentive to replay a level, especially if you didn’t get three stars on it.

3.  Combo meter.  What’s cool about this is that your combo determines how many balls you have out in the field.  Increase the bar to its maximum, and another ball enters in.  Thus, you don’t have to rely on power-ups alone to make the gameplay more chaotic and exciting.

Dr. Noid Screenshot Main

If only landscaping was like this in real life!

A heads-up:

This game does utilize something that might turn some users away:  a ball limit.  You start with the maximum 15 balls, and you receive another one every 10 minutes.  You lose a ball every time you use one, even if you beat the level.  Depending how good you are at the game, you can probably play through seven to ten levels before running out of balls.  You’ll have to decide how much of an annoyance this is to you, but don’t let it prevent you from downloading the game.  Dr. Noid is definitely worth the try!

Dr Noid Screenshot Blue

Zombie Blowfish vs. Electric Ball.  Science wins.

Try it out:

Dr. Noid (by pncil) is available for free on iOS!

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Good Games Buried Deep #5 – Defend the Dam

I almost skipped over this one, but I’m sure glad I didn’t. Defend the Dam (by Dragon Army) is a fun and creative take on the lane defense genre of games.

Defend the Dam Title Screen

Would there be a water shortage in California if the beavers were in charge?  I think not.

Quick description:

Defend your dam from all sorts of angry critters by building turrets… on a rotatable tank tread!  Choose wisely to survive wave after wave of creative enemies.  Comes with all the standard goodies of a tower/lane defense game (different turret types, upgrades, beaten levels can be replayed at a higher difficulty, etc.)

Why this game is worth playing:

The design.  This is by no means just a vertical version of Plants vs. Zombies.  Both the gameplay and the strategy here are completely different, all thanks to the moveable conveyor belt of weaponry and enemies specifically designed around this mechanic.  This combination makes for some very interesting strategic choices and, most importantly, a very fun game.

Let’s say you build a flamethrower turret.  This is great–just like in real life–for torching small to medium-sized forest creatures.  But for the bunnies with the plasma pistols… it’s not so great.  In fact, it doesn’t work at all.  This is because the bunnies stand just outside the range of the flames, mocking your choice of turret as they pelt you with little purple bolts of light.  You, however, get the last laugh when you spin your tank tread around and whip out a cannon.  Bunnies–just like in real life–are weak to cannons.

But wait!  Since you moved the position of all your turrets, a lowly pellet gun is now firing at a shielded mouse!  Arrrggh, you really need the crossbow that fires armor-piercing arrows.  But if you move the tread back around, not only will the bunny with the plasma pistol laugh at you again, that fox with the pitchfork is going to poke a hole in your dam!  Trusting that the beaver built with oak instead of pine, you opt to take care of the mouse first and then the laughing bunny.  And then that fox will get what it deserves:  a shotgun to the face.

Defend the Dam Mechanic

Beavers with tank treads? Dam.

Some advice:

Play the daily challenges.  This game is super fun when you’re trying to get the highest score possible.  Your score is determined by the number of coins remaining at the end of a successful battle.  You get coins by killing enemies and by starting the next waves early.  You lose coins by building turrets.  If you want to rank in the top ten, you’re really going to have to take advantage of the tread mechanic since you’ll be skimping on turrets to save on coins.  This makes for a very exciting battle because you’ll likely be leaving a lane exposed, hoping your dam can outlast the punishment it’s receiving as it buys you time to rotate your guns over.

Defend the Dam Enemies

Wolves with laser swords?!  Why are you reading this?  Go download this right now!

Other goodies:

Take a little time to read the descriptions of the weapons.  There’s a section that distinguishes them by the sounds they make, and it’s hilarious.

Defend the Dam Boss

Looks like this guy hasn’t been sharing his porridge…

Try it out:

Defend the Dam (by Dragon Army) is available for free on iOS, and it’s well worth your time.

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Super Hearts: Double Deck Cancellation Chaos for Android Shuffled into the Amazon Appstore

Super Hearts (by ThumbSnail Studios) is also available on the Amazon Appstore today!


And, once again, my app is rated Mature despite clearly marking every option for “All Ages”…  Seriously, Amazon?  Out of curiosity, I looked up some other apps and discovered that other dangerous and lewd games like “Solitaire” are rated Mature as well.    So at least there’s a consistent stance taken against all card games.

Thus, even though you might feel like the AI is beating you up by giving you two queens of spades at the same time, there is actually no violence in this app.  Nor foul language, sexy babes, drug use, etc.

Super Hearts (for All Ages!) for Android available exclusively at the Amazon Appstore!

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Super Hearts: Double Deck Cancellation Chaos for iOS Dealt onto the App Store!

Out today!  Super Hearts (by ThumbSnail Studios) on the App Store:

Download Super Hearts on the App Store!

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Good Games Buried Deep #4 – Lunar Mission

This one really surprised me because I typically don’t like these kinds of games.  However, I enjoyed Lunar Mission (by Puppet Box) so much that I beat all the levels… and then went back and perfected them!

Lunar Mission Title

What mysteries await in the depths of space?

Quick Description:

A well-polished and modern “lunar lander” style game.  Explore beautiful sections of space as you carefully navigate treacherous caverns looking for a safe place to land.  Encounter unexpected challenges as you progress deeper through the caves.  Keep your ship intact for a four-star landing!

Lunar Mission in Action

You’ll have to be a skilled pilot to navigate some of these caves.

Why this game is worth playing:

The atmosphere.  This game is just gripping.  Though you likely can’t tell from the tiny screenshots, the art design for these levels is quite beautiful.  The camera work is also excellent; it is used to both heighten the feeling of danger and to increase the sense of mystery as you travel through this unknown world.  All of this combined makes you want to keep playing because the game becomes more about exploration than just landing safely.

The controls.  The low-gravity physics are done well, and it really feels like you’re piloting this spacecraft.  The gameplay is also very balanced.  While it is certainly tricky to master, the game is fair.  If you’ve gone hurtling into the nearest wall, it’s most likely because you mistimed or misgauged your approach.  It may take you a few tries, but you’ll soon be able to pass through the more difficult areas.  And then after a few more tries, you’ll be able to do it without even a scratch!

Some advice:

Though by no means easy, this game is somewhat forgiving.  If you’re trying to perfect a level, you have some leeway as long as that you’re not traveling that fast.  The 4 key parts of your ship are the legs and the thrusters on the sides.  The top of your ship can therefore act somewhat like a shield as you try to squeeze through tight corridors.

Lunar Mission Crash

To boldly go… smashing into a cave!

Other goodies:

I don’t want to spoil anything, but as you progress through the game, different elements get added to the gameplay to keep things fresh.  These elements will likely force you to play in a different way, so they also add to the challenge.  Best of luck perfecting some of these later levels!

Lunar Mission 4-Star Landing

Yeah, but it’s hard to get a four-star landing when you’re missing both legs…

Try it out:

Lunar Mission (by Puppet Box) is available for free on iOS.

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Good Games Buried Deep #3 – Knights & Snails

This next game gets a thumbs-up from me and not just because it has snails in it! Knights and Snails (by Knights Digital) is a creative and intricate strategy game.

Knights & Snails Title

I wonder how a ThumbSnail would fare against a Knight Snail?

Quick description:

Wisely split your team of knights into defenders and attackers.  Lead them to victory in individual jousting battles.  Grab enough points to win tournaments and acquire new knights to strengthen your team.

Why this game is worth playing:

The depth of strategy.  Every decision you make is influenced by the overarching goal:  to obtain enough points to take first in tournaments.  This is no small feat because the number of points won in a joust increases after each round; some of the final battles will be worth a dozen points or more, the loss (or victory!) of which can swing the entire tournament.  This leads to some very interesting choices:

-Should you sacrifice a weaker knight early on since the round isn’t worth as much to you?
-Do you trust your jousting skills enough to save an average knight for a later round?
-Can you save your best knight until the very end?  Or will you be forced to act sooner than you wanted?

There’s another key aspect you need to factor into your strategy as well:  having the initiative versus being on the defensive.  If you have the initiative, you select which knight in a row will fight.  However, your opponent chooses which knight of his in that same row will defend.  Thus, the match-ups you want to occur may not actually happen, and all your plans could go awry.  This makes the choices above all the more complicated and results in some interesting situations where you may actually want to secede control of a round.

And there’s yet more to consider:  special abilities, temporary bonuses, and some randomness.  Oh, and swapping the row a specific knight is in to setup a more favorable match-up.  Oh!  And, well… I’ll let you discover some of the finer details on your own.

Knights & Snails Puzzle

Plan your match-ups carefully. And then have a backup plan when Quinevere lets you down…

Some advice:

-When you unlock the ability to move your knights into different rows, think far ahead! You only get three moves per tournament, and there is no “undo action” button if you move the wrong knight into the wrong row.

-Read all the character descriptions. This game is hilarious. Take time to appreciate its humor and enjoy the funny writing.

Knights & Snails Humor

…and where snails rule us all.  Wow, that’s gonna be sticky.

Other goodies:

The jousting portion of the game is actually pretty fun.  It’s simple on the surface, but, no surprise, there’s some strategy involved here, too.  Your goal is to raise the jousting pointer (on the right side of the screen) up the vertical bar into the green portion to land the best hit.  However, you don’t know how far or fast the bar will rise when you tap because each joust is different.  So do you tap right away when the joust starts, hoping it settles down into the green in time?  Or do you hold out as long as you can, thinking you can time it just right at the end?  Or can you pull off a fancy double tap?

Knights & Snails Jousting

I’m betting he’s going to swerve first…

Try it out:

Knights & Snails (by Knights Digital) is available for free on iOS.

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Good Games Buried Deep #2 – Rotate Zen Journey

This next one is an all-around great game: Rotate – Zen Journey (by Lemon Jam Studio). It’s rare nowadays that I take the time to go back and perfect levels, but I eagerly did that with this one.

Rotate Zen Journey Red

Simple instructions for a very deep and complete game.


Quick description:

Shoot the yellow diamond from rotating bubble to rotating bubble, collecting dots along the way. Think fast before your bubble disappears or spins you off the screen. Time your shots well in order to perfect a level.

Why this game is worth playing:

The design. The developer made a lot of great choices in making this game really fun:

1. Forced to act: The game could give you an infinite amount of time to spin around on a bubble, letting you carefully plan and prepare your next shot. Instead, you’re faced with two additional challenges: bubbles disappear after a few full rotations and the rotation of some bubbles takes you offscreen. In both of these situations, you die. To finish a level, you must thus think fast and act quickly. Furthermore, you’ll have only a limited opportunity to backtrack to a disappearing bubble to pick up any dots you may have missed.

Rotate Zen Journey Disappearing Bubbles

Take note of the fading bubbles.  Think you’ve got enough time to safely navigate back to that missed dot?

2. Speed of rotation: A lot of the bubbles rotate at different speeds. I can’t stress enough how exciting this makes the game. You’ve successfully navigated a stream of fast bubbles. You’ve somehow collected all the dots, too. You are so close to perfection. But now you’ve landed on a bubble that’s spinning at half speed. Do you have the patience to successfully time your next shot? Or have you already twitched and misfired?

3. Balance of difficulty: You don’t have to be all that accurate with your shots to safely leap from bubble to bubble. This is great for users who just want to finish levels. But if you want to collect all of the dots, you have a much smaller window to hit. And based on the two factors discussed above, this becomes all the more intense.

Rotate Zen Journey Yellow

Oh, and those bubbles that look like buzzsaws? Yeah, they kill you instantly.

Some advice:

Perfect the levels. This is where Rotate – Zen Journey really shines. The game is already fun, but trying to ace a level is incredibly fun. And quite challenging.

A heads-up:

I’m not sure it’s possible to ace Level 16 in the Red (first) World. It seems like the first bubble rotates in the wrong direction, making it impossible to collect that first dot and stay alive. However, if anybody has found a solution, please let me know. I’d be interested in how you did it.

Other goodies:

The abstract look and feel of this game works really well, as do the colors.

Rotate Zen Journey Purple

A very fun and challenging game to master.

Try it out:

Highly recommended! Rotate – Zen Journey (by Lemon Jam Studio) is available for free on iOS.

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