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Warhammer Quest

The Warhammer franchise began life as a DnD style tabletop war game but has since spawned countless comics and video games based on its extensive lore. Warhammer Quest takes place in Stirland, where a dark threat overshadows the realm and your mercenary company finds itself at the centre of the trouble. Warhammer Quest moves away from the open landscape war zone and focuses more on dungeon crawling.

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Warhammer Quest plays like a tactical RPG, with each turn you move each of your characters and attack the enemy formation, once a hero has attacked, they can no longer move so you have to be sure your warriors are placed with strategy in mind. Tapping on any unit will show you how far it can travel by highlighting the grid white and available attacks are highlighted in red, if your character has a bow, units in range will be lit with orange. Tapping on an enemy unit will display its stats and show how much HP remains.

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This is not a casual game, completing one dungeon can take anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour, with a deep level of strategy as the game progresses, that said though, it’s turn based and with no time limits you can take the time to think about your moves carefully and you need to as once they’re made, they can’t be undone. Most encounters occur on entering a new room but your party can also be ambushed at any time, often in the middle of another battle turning an easy fight into a gruelling encounter. There’s also a random event system that happens between turns much like DnD your character or characters will need to pass a stat check to escape the trap or event. Tapping end turn saves you progress and if you’re in battle, starts the enemies turn.

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Warhammer Quest has amazing graphics, however the dungeons have a limited tile set and all look pretty much the same but it doesn’t have a negative effect on gameplay. I found it a little hard at first to pick which characters were mine but half an hour in you get really familiar with the forms. You can zoom out to take a better look at the game field but you can’t change the angle, however you can spin the field to a more favourable orientation. Skills and items are tucked away in drop-down menus to avoid pointless clutter on the screen. Outside of dungeons, everything has an ‘old book’ theme, statistic and inventory pages look like pages in a crumbling book and a nice touch was the way that towns are displayed, on entering a village or settlement a gigantic book will open up to display a 3D model of the buildings, it looks really good and adds to the overall atmosphere of the title.

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The music is well crafted and registers in your subconscious, intensifying during battle sequences and helps keep you focused without getting on your nerves but the effects are too dull, they’re drowned out by the music and to fully appreciate them you’ll need to head to the options turn the music down to roughly a quarter and crank the sounds, even low, the music is still quite loud. When visiting towns you’ll get the background animal noises and in the market a realistic commotion of passersby and market sounds.

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Turning your device to portrait orientation opens your inventory and you can do this virtually any time, map, market, dungeon and even in battle although in battle you can’t access your stash. It’s here you’ll also find your status page and skills page, the status sheet gives you a detailed description of your warriors and a little background while the skills page lets you check out the exact parameters of their skills including passive skills. I thought it a strange game mechanic but it works well even if its not entirely necessary, an inventory tab would have been just as effective.

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There’s a lot of content for the price, depending on your DnD enthusiasm and how many side quests you do, there’s anywhere from 10-20 hours of gaming. Side quests give you a greater challenge but also offer better rewards. You can also buy an expansion pack that practically doubles the size of the game with new enemies and quests. Your warriors only level up to level 6 and while it does take some time to get there it still seems like you’re being shortchanged. You can retire your heroes and hire a noob but it seems like a poor trade off, alternatively, you can purchase new characters from the store, these are a little overpriced but offer new skills and strategies. Before retiring a warrior though, make sure you want to because the process is irreversible.

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Warhammer Quest is a great title, fans of the franchise will be happy and DnD fanatics will feel right at home. It does have a few negatives but not enough to bring the game down, if there was one thing I could change though, it would be the price for the extra characters, perhaps even offer one with the expansion. Otherwise, this title is enthralling and well worth the time although be forewarned, if you’re playing on a phone, the text is teeny-tiny and there’s no way to zoom, but there is a lot of content and plenty of room for expansion.

Achievements
Points

Dragons Rage 2

In the gaming world, dragons get a pretty tough gig, they’re always the bad guy and we spend a lot of time hunting them down. Dragons Rage 2 turns the tables and puts you in the role of the dragon as hordes of warriors do their best

to slay you. Armed with only your fiery breath, take down the hunters before they can make a handbag from your hide.

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If you played the first instalment, there’s no surprises here, in fact, everything look and feels pretty much the same, maybe too much so. The graphics don’t seem to have any significant improvements, they look almost identical to the first title and it looks as if the same level layouts have been used. Even the same sound board has been used, the only improvement over Dragons Rage it seems is that a stat improvement system has been added along with a handful of consumable items an skills.

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There are 2 control methods and by default it’s set to a virtual button system, do yourself a favour though and head to he options to switch to tilt controls, it gives you far better reactivity and unclutters the screen a little. Gameplay is easy enough, turn left and right and breathe fire at anything that moves, unleash your fire with a button on the bottom right of screen but don’t overdo it, your also need to watch your stamina bar as when this is depleted, you can no longer defend yourself. It sounds easy but with such a wide play field it’s easy to miss an enemy sneaking up quietly sapping your health, even early stages can offer quite a challenge just to survive let alone score enough to earn 3 stars.

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Enemies will drop a variety of items, mostly gemstones, which count towards your score but keep a sharp eye out for coins, you need these to power up your skills and buy items and later to open new levels. I found out the hard way it’s best to fail a level a few times before moving on, this lets you accumulate some coins because once a stage has been completed, the enemies no longer drop coins and if you’re caught short, the only way to open the last few stages will be to buy coins.

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The new skills can be pretty handy in a pinch but they also chew up your stamina quickly, so strategic use is a must. The laser breath is great for catching a breather, it just instantly incinerates everything and the flame wall is handy when you’re surrounded and overwhelmed, it sends out a flaming aura in all directions protecting your flanks and rear. if you use them regularly, it’s important to note that they are non replenishing so you need to buy them again to refill. You can also purchase single use items like an instant health boost or bombs which are helpful when you have low stamina but I rarely felt these were necessary.

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If you haven’t played Dragons Rage, this title may be a good diversion but if you’ve played the original title you may be shaking your head, the minor improvements could have been implemented in the first title as an update as all that’s changed is a few gameplay tweaks. There’s no improvement to graphics or sound and the same stages have been reused, there’s still no story so each stage just runs into the next, basically, it feels like the developers haven’t really tried and that’s a shame because there’s potential for a great title here. I’m rating Dragons Rage 2 two stars.

Dragons Rage 2 currently has no Achievements
Dragons Rage 2 Achievements

Rolling Idols: Lost City

It’s difficult to find a match-3 type puzzler with something new to offer and with Candy Crush and it’s addictive game mechanics dominating the genre, it’s difficult to commit to a similar title but next

time you find yourself waiting for your lives to recharge head over to the App Store and have a look at Rolling Idols: Lost City, a slightly different take on the match-3 formula.

Rolling Idols: Lost City

Six elemental gods keep The Lord of Chaos imprisoned, but somehow, he breaks free and starts devouring the elements. Three of the elemental gods escape and start rebuilding the lost city in order to free their brothers and once more imprison The Lord of Chaos. As the city slowly gets rebuilt, the elements are released and start to regain their powers, only when they are all returned can they rebuild the calendar that seals in the evil Nibiru.

Rolling Idols: Lost City Review

Gameplay is fairly straightforward, swap two idols in order to link 3 or more together in a line. It’s quite easy at first, there are only 3 colours on a large board and making groups of 4 or 5 is no problem. To get the biggest reward from a stage you need to finish within a set amount of moves, and you can set 2-3 moves in motion at once however just because you can, doesn’t always mean you should, moving quickly gives you no bonuses, the real points come from combos, essentially, getting consecutive matches of the same element. To stop you just hammering stages out though, you need to match the crystals on the level to unblock the scoring bar, failing to match the gems results in a period where you can’t score and this wastes your moves potentially reducing your rewards at the end of the level. As you progress, more and more crystals are needed and as they appear on random elements they often require you to break out of a combo run to collect them.

Rolling Idols: Lost City

Matching 4 idols results in an explosion and matching 5 or more sets off two lightning chains that wipe an entire row or column, so what’s different about Rolling Idols? Every element also has its own unique powers to unlock and upgrade, and as the play areas get more complex with extra colours and obstacles, these powers become necessary to clear levels. The power ups are quite creative and really add an element of strategy and they also make for huge points when used in combos. You can buy and upgrade these abilities using stars earned by clearing levels, getting 3 medals earns you more stars for upgrade.

Rolling Idols: Lost City

Rolling Idols looks really good, the colours are bright and easily definable for the most part, it’s easy to mix up the brown power ups with gold though, but you get used to this quickly. Animations are smooth and the effects look quite nice, it’s a nice touch when you set off an explosion and nearby idols not really effected are thrown back. New idols roll in from the top and they sport different expressions. Menus are incredibly easy to use, the whole system is designed to get you on to the next level as quickly as possible but its easy to spend time agonising over your next upgrade choice.

Rolling Idols: Lost City

The sound is a little disappointing, the music isn’t bad, but it’s not great either, it would be easy to say its comfortable and while it doesn’t really detract from gameplay it doesn’t add any atmosphere either. Sound effects are barely audible, even when pumped up to max in the options, and this feels like a missed opportunity, even the explosions seem muted and all these different power-ups could have really popped with some decent effects to accompany them, I even tried putting my own music on to spruce it up but this app doesn’t allow for it.

Rolling Idols: Lost City

Rolling Idols multitasks really well, and its very stable, if your distracted by another app, you can switch away and back and take up where you left off, even hours after. You can earn premium currency by earning Game Center achievements which you can spend in-game on extra moves. The great thing though is that you don’t need to make any purchases to get everything out of the game. There’s quite a bit to play through, depending on your dedication there’s about 10-20 hours of gameplay but unfortunately, there’s not much replay value, you can clear you save data and start from scratch but it might have been nice to have a plus mode with a little more challenge, perhaps even add in a timer.

Rolling Idols: Lost City

Rolling Idols is a great take on the match-3 genre implementing RPG elements to create a more strategic level of gameplay, the audio is a bit of a let down but don’t let it discourage you, it really is a great game with many hours of gameplay well worth the time.

Game Center Achievements 13
Points 700
Rolling Idols: Lost City Achievements

Despicable Me: Minion Rush

If you haven’t seen Despicable Me yet, you’re missing out, but if you have seen it, you’ll be familiar with the tiny little maniacs known as Minions who run Gru’s laboratory. Step into the shoes of Dave, a Minion on a mission to become employee of the year in a workplace where anything goes and despicable actions are rewarded. Despicable Me: Minion Rush is an endless runner where you’re goal is to get ahead of your colleagues by any means necessary and create as much mayhem as possible.

Despicable Me: Minion Rush

Despicable Me: Minion Rush is similar to titles like Subway Surfers and Temple Run, but far more entertaining, controls are pretty straight forward, swipe left or right to change lanes, down to roll and up to jump. In a few areas you’ll also need to steer by tilting your device, on slides, rockets and fluffy unicorns. Avoid any obstacle in your way and survive to keep running…. simple. Where Despicable Me: Minion Rush differs from other runners is you can increase your scoring multiplier as you run by committing despicable actions. Wherever you see another Minion hard at work, push him, knock him down or jump on him, and damage as much property as possible, and while you’re at it, pick up as many bananas as you can, Minions love bananas. The occasional boss battle starts randomly as well, featuring characters from the movies and these offer a slight change of pace and break up the endless run tension.

Despicable Me: Minion Rush

Minion Rush is a visual spectacular, everywhere you look, something is happening, the Minions are hilarious and the obstacles are ridiculous. There are two main areas to run through, you’ll start off in Gru’s lab but you’ll soon find yourself running wild through the suburbs of the city above, both areas are well designed, awesome backgrounds and inventive obstacles and hazards but also offer a variety of sub-areas. The menus are nice and simple and decorated with characters from the movies, I thought the home screen was a nice touch, you can poke and prod the Minion for comedic effect.

Despicable Me: Minion Rush

The graphics are amazing, but the sound is the real star, the Minions are incredibly entertaining, their maniacal laughter never gets old. The sounds of the machinery are an amazing array of explosions and clanks overlayed with the nonsensical babble of the Minions, with a satisfyingly dramatic tune to tie it all together, although you could easily play this with the sound off, you will want it cranked, it really glues the game together and adds a lighthearted atmosphere.

Despicable Me: Minion Rush

You can spend the bananas you’ve picked up in game on a variety things, power ups, to give you a score boost or costumes to give you passive bonuses. When you begin you’ll only have access to a few pickups, some you’ll unlock in your early missions but others you’ll need to buy on your own initiative, unlocking them is cheap but upgrading them gets more and more expensive with each rank. You’ll find a few items that can only be bought with premium currency, you don’t need these items to progress, but they come with powerful bonuses, they also come highly priced, one of the costumes alone would cost in excess of $50 in Premium chips to purchase. You can find up to 5 premium chips in game everyday but it would take you months to save up for most items and some are still out of reach.

Despicable Me: Minion Rush Review

You can link up to both Facebook and Game Center, and compete with your friends in both groups, I had some initial connection problems with GC clashing with Facebook but once it was all merged and set, there were no additional problems. To avoid annoying your friends on Facebook though, it may be a good idea to head to the options and turn off the auto-publish. Through GC you also receive trophies, once earned you can claim some premium currency from them. You can also maintain a competitive rivalry with your friends by issuing challenges, you can choose to challenge on three things, distance travelled, bananas collected or score, and these can be sent with an accompanied taunt to fire up your opponent. You’ll only have one taunt available to begin with but can open the others with bananas

Despicable Me: Minion Rush

It’s a free title so there’s bound to be some advertising but its handled very subtly, I was playing for hours without noticing. App stability is good but there’s a little slowdown when you receive notifications and as always, clearing the multitasking bar helps improve performance.

Despicable Me: Minion Rush

To sum up, this is possibly the most entertaining runner I have played yet, so much so that i have let my Subway Surfers addiction slide, it looks amazing, sounds better and gameplay is varied with nice simple controls. The boss battles are a nice touch to break up gameplay and the power ups are well designed. Some content is overpriced, I have no problem with premium and exclusive content but it should be affordable as well, still, this is a minor concern as these items are non-essentials. This title is definitely worth your time, 4 Stars.

Achievements 20
Points 1000
Despicable Me: Minion Rush Achievements

MetalStorm: Aces

It’s been a long time since I played a flight sim on any platform, it’s a difficult genre to get right but when it is done well, its exhilarating. MetalStorm: Aces puts you in the shoes of a combat pilot, trained by an elite squad known as the Aces. But the Aces become greedy, they use their skills for personal gain and turn against you, the mission falls to you to hunt them down and bring them to justice.

MetalStorm: Aces

I don’t really know why I expected but it wasn’t this, a dogfight flight simulation with RPG elements, MetalStorm: Aces boasts an extensive single player campaign with some real depth of story and fully fleshed out personalities. The single player campaign is divided into missions, each concerning one Ace pilot, there are 4 submissions for each and objectives can vary from taking down as many planes as possible in a set time to taking out ground targets or surviving with as little damage as possible, developers have really tried to add some diversity and it works, the story doesn’t feel repetitive and the different mission types make it a more immersive experience. On top of all this, is a well designed multiplayer mode where you can duke it out with your GC friends to earn parts and credits for your campaign.

Metal Storm: Aces

The graphics are pretty amazing, developers were ambitious, but they’ve done their job right, environments are huge and detailed, crisp and clear and enemy planes fly around in a believable way, there’s a good variety of levels as well, like the desert canyon, snowy mountains and a nighttime cityscape. Explosions are well done and it’s quite satisfying flying through the debris left by your incinerated foes.

MetalStorm: Aces Review

Background music is practically non-existent, but it’s really not a problem, it just fills the void left between the sound effects, the whine of your jet, or your missiles streaking off towards their target, they all sound quite realistic and the whole experience is very immersive. When navigating the menus, you’ll here a lot of background noise, as if you were standing in a busy aircraft hangar, and navigation buttons add to this illusion with the kind of machinery sounds you would expect in such an environment. MetalStorm: Aces is a masterpiece both audibly and visually.

MetalStorm: Aces

My personal experience with flight sims is, they come with a complicated control method and are often quite limited in manoeuvrability. That’s not the case here, the iPads capabilities have been fully utilised and the control is incredibly simple, all movement is with the gyro, tilting left or right turns and tilting the top back and forth will make your plane climb or dive, there is no movement restriction, if you want to, you can fly straight up for some time, or nose towards the ground for. Death dive. Speed controls are on the left, and weapons on the right, easily accessible with thumbs. Advanced manoeuvres are activated with a swipe, horizontally triggers a barrel roll that’s great for evading missiles, swipe straight up and your plane flies straight up quickly and swiping down will execute a half loop, turning your plane around, great manoeuvres for shaking a plane off your tail or just to get out of trouble, these techniques take energy though so using them comes with some strategy in mind, energy does regenerate but it does so slowly. Missiles need time to lock but they do a lot of damage, while your machine guns are good for a fast unguided strike but don’t do a great deal of damage. With a little practice, you are even able to pull off some realistic aerial moves, stalls and loops and fast turns.

MetalStorm: Aces

What I loved about this title is the upgrade options, as you advance, you can purchase stronger, more agile aircraft but each of these is also upgradable, using parts found in the campaign you can upgrade the parts of your plane that best suit your play style like upgrading engines to allow for more energy for manoeuvres and speed, machine guns for better close range damage and accuracy, faster targeting or better missile lock times. You can also pick one of 5 perks that boost these skills even further. You can also order more powerful ammunition, missiles that do more damage or track better and machine guns that can have crippling abilities like draining enemy energy or setting their guns on fire so they can’t fire or a time. You can also buy specialist planes with premium currency for a bit of an edge, you get a little bit when you begin a game but there’s no way to win premium currency so if you’re interested in these planes, you have to pay for them.

MetalStorm: Aces

The online versus mode gives you the opportunity to earn more credits but they are hard won, you’ll be facing off with someone of similar skill level with all the same tricks as you. You’ll find it difficult to gain the distance required for a missile lock so these battles are largely decided by machine gun skill. You have a 2 minute time limit and both players can re-spawn limitless times, the winner is determined by the number of kills or by the most damage. If you’re not interested in the campaign, you can unlock all the planes by advancing your pilot skill here but you don’t need to play multiplayer to progress, so if you just want the campaign, that’s fine too.

MetalStorm: Aces

I encountered a few minor bugs, the only real problem was the occasional force close, which only ever occurred in the menu screens and wouldn’t be a problem except that you often lose any credits you’ve just won. The Game Center achievements currently don’t seem to work and they don’t offer enough points. For a game that looks and plays so good though, these are fairly minor issues.

MetalStorm: Aces

MetalStorm: Aces was a huge surprise, it’s unbelievable how good this game looks and how easy the control is. The flexibility to the play style makes this a real winner and the campaign is not only huge but also very challenging, it’ll take some time to play through. The multiplayer is reliable and enjoyable with rewards that make it worth your time, it’s not just an aside but a fully integrated part of the whole package. The bugs are only minor but it’s frustrating to lose credits, especially after a tough battle. This is a real gem hidden in the App Store, and with the possibility of more content in the future, this is a great pick.

Achievements 16
Points 41
MetalStorm: Aces Achievements