Now Playing: Royal Envoy – Campaign for the Crown HD for iPad

Ah, politics. Whether in the real world or in Royal Envoy's fictional kingdom, it's dirty. Playrix Games' third and latest installment, Royal Envoy: Campaign for the Crown takes on politics as a mysterious person named Swindler (with a name like that, would you trust him?) seeks to capture the crown through election. Election … in a monarchy? Invoking some ancient law, Swindler has challenged the king to an election and is hell bent on sabotaging the King's chances of winning.

This is where you step in, as his consultant/adviser/builder. Thanks to a highly effective misinformation campaign, most of the kingdom is in shambles due to charlatans tricking and deceiving people into destroying their home and introducing themselves as envoys of the King. Your mantra is rebuild and damage control in a wide variety of missions.

The Swindler starts out with an approval rating of 100% while you have to start from scratch to save your King.

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Now Playing: Farmscapes HD (Premium) for iPad

Welcome to Farmscapes! In time for summer, there is a bored kid who is sent off to 'farm camp' with his grandpa after his parents notice that he plays too many video games during his free time. Armed with a sense of humr, an eye for business and a desire to keep things neat and clean, you accompany Tom to his grandpa Joe's farm to make something out of the charming but poorly maintained place.

Playrix is one of my aboslute favorite publishers/developers when it comes to casual games. Their games are beautifully designed and highly polished, offering more than your usual time management or hiddn object title. Farmscapes HD (Premium), which was free for a limited time, is no exception. In this game, you help a kid and his grandpa restore his rundown farm into a beautiful and financially productive entreprise.

How, pray tell? Farmscapes HD (Premium) combines match three with hidden object gameplay in order for you to buy the necessary equipment and decorations to improve your farm.

Matching at least three of a kind is used to sell your wares to the local townfolk. Your wares form the 'units' that you have to mix and match – ultimately, you have to eliminate golden tiles scattered across the board in typical match three fashion. Later on, when you unlock new equipment/animals such as bees and livestock, you add units to the board. Each match three level is equivalent to a day at the market, and as a nice touch, people walk past and make all sorts of comments while buying.

Now Playing: The Cursed Ship, Collector’s Edition HD for iPad

appSIZED the cursed ship
Dark, disturbing horror tales are a favorite subject of many hidden object games (HOGs). The Cursed Ship, Collector’s Edition HD by G5 Games is no exception. The story about Ondine, a Titanic-like luxury cruise ship, disappears in the late 1970’s and you step in on an assignment to search for the missing ship.
As the name implies, the ship Ondine is indeed cursed, and you have to navigate a treacherous and downright creepy environment searching for clues and a way out alive.
appSIZED the cursed ship 2

Now Playing: (Prime World) Defenders for iPad (On Sale for a Limited Time)

prime world defenders appSIZED evolve cards

Gorgeous

Prime World: Defenders was released for the PC/Mac sometime in 2013 – last month, this card collecting tower defense (TD) game, now simply called Defenders was released for the iPad (you can also check out appSIZED's review of Man At Arms TD, which employs the same mechanic).

There is a story to this game and your mission mainly is to defend powerful and valuable prime (crystals) from the Touched (enemies or creeps, in TD parlance) who want to take it for themselves. Caught in the middle of two warring groups trying to control the resource, your job is to keep them away using various powerful towers.

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Now Playing: Doctor Life for iPhone and iPad

I once dreamt of becoming a doctor when I was a kid. The dream quickly dissipated when I realized I couldn’t bring myself to dissect a live frog when I was in high school. Now, the closest I get to playing doctor is by playing iPad/iPhone games revolving around a hospital theme.

Doctor Life ($2.99/Universal for iPhone and iPad) by WIGU Games came out recently, the kind of hospital-themed time management/sim game that will make you feel like a doctor. Having played a fair number of hospital/medical themed games in the past, such as Hospital Havoc 2, Are You Alright, the Amateur Surgeon series, Hollywood Hospital, Doctor Life is the first of its kind to actually focus on real medical conditions and treatments.

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Now Playing: Hidden City – Mystery of Shadows for iPad

I haven’t got much patience for hidden object games (HOGs) of late, but I do appreciate most of them for the gorgeous design and interesting storylines. Hidden CIty: Mystery of Shadows (Free) by G5 Games is their latest title to hit the App Store. While there are plenty of HOGs out there, not many have explored the free to play model. In the past, HOGs were far more expensive than your usual games, owing to the depth and richness of the content. It also takes a lot of time and patience to finish one, hence a single HOG could last you for months, depending on how busy you are and how many games you play on average.

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Now Playing: Forces of Nature for iPad and iPhone

Forces of Nature (on sale at $0.99) by Mean Bean Games is a game that will catch your eye immediately because of the art. There's something fairy-tale like and compelling about the hand drawn art that reminds me of an animated film I saw when I was a kid, The Iron Giant. Another thing common between Forces of Nature and The Iron Giant is the fact that they're both sending a strong environmentalist message.
Mother Nature's champion is Sprout, a feisty little seedling who plants various defenders to fend off heartless robots that have taken over his world. Sprout's mission is to protect the giant tree from land and air units. Water is his main currency for planting seedlings which can be fixed (tower defense type) or moving. Sprout does damage on his own, and strategically dashing behind enemies can even score combo points.
At the heart of Forces of Nature is a side-scrolling castle defense dressed up rather beautifully and quirkily.

Bardbarian Now Out With Endless Mode

The guys at Tree Fortress were busy rolling out updates for Bardbarian. Last week, we saw important bug fixes and earlier today, Endless Mode came out.

Endless Mode is more about running and dodging enemy projectiles. Distance covered is key. I haven’t gotten very far; Brad is a bit slow when it comes to running,

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p.s. Finally unlocked all but one unit, and the newer units are just awesome and make this game even more unique!

Flappy Bird – 1, Mankind – 0

I decided to hop on the Flappy Bird bandwagon after seeing an ominous Facebook post warning the rest of the world that no matter how bored you are, DO NOT download Flappy Bird. Apparently, this game which has been out since May 2013, recently and mysteriously went viral.

That kind of a warning is the surest way to get someone interested in this quiet little game that suddenly went viral. Kids everywhere are playing it, adults like myself can barely get past the first pipe!

The game certainly doesn’t score points in the looks department. I instinctively look for Mario and perhaps a colorful red and white mushroom to pop out. The art here is rather plain and dull looking.

Flappy Bird has generated enormous attention as the game du jour with some writers mystified and frustrated about the game’s soaring popularity. Maybe because it’s free? Maybe because it’s supposed to be simple but it’s not? Is it because this game unites both iPhone and Android users, therefore, the entire smartphone toting world? Are mobile games going downhill? Whatever reason it may be, it’s undeniable that Flappy Bird now gets 15 minutes of fame the same way Candy Crush took over the world for some time.

Perhaps the game’s real secret is its infuriatingly simple premise : just get past the spaces between the darn pipes by tapping on the screen to propel your flappy bird. Tap too hard and you will hit the pipe. Tap too slowly you fall into the pipe instead. Timing and excellent eye to hand coordination is the name of the game. Believe me, it’s not as easy as it seems.

For some reason, Flappy Bird is more of a tappy bird, in my humble opinion, but knowing this doesn’t make me push past my all time high score of four.

Supermarket Management 2 HD for iPad: Let the Time Management Madness Begin!

Supermarket Management 2 HD from G5 games is a brand new entry to the iPad casual gaming scene. I still have the original Supermarket Management HD and while I never quite got around to finishing it, it’s high on my list of time management (TM) games.

Seems like a typical day at the supermarket to me!

Seems like a typical day at the supermarket to me!

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