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Last month’s North American release of Deathsmiles on the Xbox 360 has provided a sign that shmup fans may no longer have to deal with expensive Japanese imports to experience Cave shooters. Following the recent iPhone release of Espgaluda 2, Cave has announced that it is planning a full English localization and worldwide release of Guwange on Xbox Live Arcade.

Cave has recently revealed a trailer for their next vertical bullet hell shmup, Akai Katana (or Red Katana in English). Unfortunately, the trailer does not show any gameplay footage, but does show off some nice character art and narrative. Read more… »

When you think of female characters in gaming, they tend to fall into one of two categories. On one hand, you’ve got your independent ass-kickers like Samus, Alyx Vance, and Jade. On the other, you have the damsels in distress, such as Peach and Zelda, who seem content to cheer from the sidelines and hang out in dungeons.

Throughout gaming, the word princess has been synonymous with useless… that is, until now. Enter Princess Fury for the iPhone. When her kingdom is threatened by all kind of evil creatures, she does what any self-respecting potential monarch should: she grabs an extremely over-sized sword and she hits the battlefield.

Now, you may think that a ruffly pastel dress, shiny silver shoes, and a tiara would be impractical for heavy combat. Well, the Princess is out to show us otherwise, and the result is an entertaining little title for the iPhone.

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It is often preached that one of the great pros to the App Store is the little games that would otherwise go unnoticed or would quickly die under the blizzard of AAA mainstream mega-games. Enter, Chase the Dot: an incredibly simplistic and fun title developed by art studio Universal Everything who specialize in handheld media.

If you haven’t heard by now, then let me catch you up to speed on the gameplay: there is a dot that appears, disappears, and reappears in several spots on the screen, and you get points by tapping it before it’s gone. In Double mode there are two dots which disappear and reappear simultaneously, and therefore must be tapped simultaneously. Read more… »

The term “bullet hell” has always frustrated me, linguistically speaking. It technically denotes a place where bullets go when they die if they are wicked. The concept is patently unfair, since they are propelled out of guns without their consent, and so do not consciously choose to kill people or willfully destroy paper targets.

As a result, I am now adopting the Big Trouble in Little China method of description — Hell of a Thousand Bullets. It makes more sense grammatically and conceptually, and on top of that it just sounds more bad-ass in general.

Armed with this spiffy new nomenclature, I can now with a clear conscience discuss the recent porting of the highly lauded Cave shooter, Espgaluda II, to the iPhone. Now you too can visit the Hell of a Thousand Bullets from wherever you happen to be in your own personal hell.

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Out of all the character archetypes one regularly encounters in sci-fi, I have to say that one of my absolute favorites is the space smuggler/trader. From Han Solo to Malcolm Reynolds, I’m automatically on their side. The whole underdog, wing-and-a-prayer, murky ethical waters, and shooting from the hip thing just wins me over.

Back in the day, I used to live out my space captain fantasies with BBS (Bulletin Board System) door games like TradeWars 2002 and Solar Realms Elite. In more recent years, trader games have moved to two extremes. On the hardcore end you’ve got EVE Online, and on the opposite side of the spectrum, there are the simple pirate trader games like Tradewinds. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to sink into EVE, and the more casual offerings just don’t offer enough depth to keep me engaged for long.

Enter Warpgate for the iPhone. When I heard that Freeverse had launched a game that could possibly hit that happy medium for me, I immediately bought the game to see if the porridge was just right. 20+ hours of single-player handheld gaming later, I’m happy to report that playing it induced a relaxed experience – one might call it a sense of Serenity.

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In a rather random turn of events, the iPhone version of Robot Unicorn Attack is now officially available on iTunes for $2.99, basically launching in the middle of the night. I literally bought it the minute it hit the market, and I’ve been enjoying it up until I took the time to make this post.

RUA started off as a simple flash game, in the vein of the already successful Canabalt, and quickly turned into so much more – let’s just say it involves T-Shirts, 22 million plays, this epically ludicrous song, and highly unsafe for work furry fanfiction (the best kind).

Buy it here, or play the free online Flash version here!

Today, in an effort to draw attention to its EA SPORTS Active line of fitness titles, EA sent out word of a “scientific study” that claims it “proves [the] efficacy of EA SPORTS Active digital fitness programs.”

The study, which was commissioned by EA, was carried out by University of Wisconsin’s Dr. John Porcari. Dr. Porcari tested sixteen “physically active adults between the ages of 25 and 45 to determine the relative exercise intensity and caloric expenditure of two pre-set EA SPORTS Active workouts: Afterburner and Legs & Lungs.” Read more… »

Well this is a pretty big shocker: the classic Prince of Persia, the one that started it all, is now on sale on the iTunes marketplace for $0.99. I know a heap of retro gaming fans that will want to jump on this one as soon as possible – especially since it’s a universal iPhone and iPad app!

I was able to play a bit of the game, and I’m actually quite impressed. I can see the controls getting a bit sticky later in the game, but as it stands, I was able to beat the first level without dying. Compliments of Touch Arcade, there are actually nine forum pages worth of impressions if you want some insight into the controls. Keep in mind this is the classic version of the game, not the (what some would consider superior) SNES remake.

Buy the game here

It is my life long dream to watch Scarface 50 times. Pacino puts on probably has best performance outside of Dog Day Afternoon, it pushed many violence boundaries for it’s time, and the movie is pretty entertaining from start to finish.

While it’s not as classic as the film, the iPhone game Scarface: Last Stand is available for free all day from the iTunes store. Last Stand basically plays like a Time Crisis on rails shooter, and features dialogue, and locales from the actual movie. It wasn’t worth the regular $6.99 entry price, but for free, I’ll take it!

Okay, I’m going to make this review relatively brief.  Why, you ask?  Well firstly, be thankful for small mercies.  Secondly, because I have to get back to the game… the green pigs are mocking me!

No, reader, I have not finally lost my marbles. You see, Angry Birds reaches Pop Cap levels of digital addiction with its physics-based madness. What Angry Birds boils down to is a portable version of the Wii title Boom Blox.  As anyone who has played Boom Blox will know, it was a great little game that flopped spectacularly.

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Last month LucasArts announced that they were going to produce a Special Edition of the classic adventure title Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge. In this announcement, the publisher stated that the special edition would feature in-game commentary from “the game’s creators.” Today LucasArts revealed that the commentary would be coming from three legends of gaming: Ron Gilbert, Tim Schafer and Dave Grossman.

LucasArts released a statement saying, “Ron, Tim, Dave will be lending their trademark wit and humor to select areas in the game. When playing, players will be able to hear the three’s insights into key areas of the game and get insight into making the original game as well as their thoughts on the new Special Edition treatment.” Read more… »

You’ve seen the trailer, drooled over the screenshots, and it’s now finally ready to leech your free time; Square Enix’s much anticipated original IP  ”Chaos Rings” has today made its exclusive debut on the iPhone, iTouch and iPad. The title clocks in at a controversial $12.99, tagged alongside some sweetener discounts on other SE App Store releases, including the ports of Final Fantasy 1 and 2, and tower defense clone Crystal Defenders.

While the slightly higher price point may cause many to pause, don’t be afraid to break the psychological barrier of your iTunes wallet. The game is worth the outlay. Impressive graphics, a well tuned battle and control system along with a great score puts the title leaps and bounds above almost any other title on the system. Stay tuned for an upcoming review, but for now, try and resist giving into the portable pleasure.

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