I’ve never been incredibly into puzzle games as a consumer, but Marblenauts came out of nowhere and yanked at my heartstrings. It can be summed up very neatly – the player has to build appropriate paths for these little ball bearings with eyes so that they fall onto specific squares – but what’s amazing about it is how that task continually evolves throughout the game. It seems like no matter how far you get into Marblenauts, you never have that “been there, done that” moment; it constantly tests your thinking cap. It’s a fresh concept executed with incredible attention to detail — a true classic in the App Store’s puzzle library.
Yslandia is the kind of RPG you want to show other developers, and say: “Please copy this!” I’m specifically referring to the user interface; it’s true that network connectivity issues marred the initial release, though I lucked out in having far fewer disconnects than some players who provided early feedback. But the user interface is marvelous in my opinion: an ultra reliable virtual joystick that pops up wherever the player’s thumb touches down, nice big virtual buttons, and shortcuts the player can rearrange onscreen. It’s the kind of interface that seems like it would be a winning formula across multiple genres, and not just the MMORPG. The Action RPG genre, for example, seems to be creeping in this direction, and I hope that genre’s devs are able to execute the roving virtual joystick as successfully as MovingPlayer did here.
Wow! This is the kind of tour-de-force that shows the iOS is becoming a platform of choice for hardcore gamers. Thanks to a solid interface, a strong plot, varied gameplay tasks, and the innumerable ways the player’s ship can be customized, it has a rare breed of cross-genre appeal. While playing Galaxy on Fire 2 I had the impression that it was a dream conglomeration of some classics I remember well from earlier in my gaming life; it was like FISHLABS took Star Wars: Rogue Squadron and stirred in the storytelling prowess of one of yesteryear’s great JRPGs.
The voice acting team FISHLABS contracted with deserves special commendation, and what’s hilarious is that it’s difficult to find a preview video that shows off the voice acting. It appears the developer preview was created before the voice acting team finished their end of the project. Ah, well — joke’s on any gamer who doesn’t pick this one up and hear the performances for him-or herself.