In Fear I Trust is the first game of its kind from Chillingo, but it feels a bit like playing through the third or fourth sequel in a horror movie series. That apex point in a cinema franchise tends to be when the production is nicely polished, but the concept begins to feel bland and generic. In Fear I Trust is similarly a well-made but somewhat forgettable thriller. Most of that responsibility belongs to the story, which feels unfocused and scattershot even within the short span of these first two episodes. Without a clear indication of what exactly is going on, it crams in spooky clichés by the bucketful.
It’s just as well that ninjas have long been associated with a mercenary take on warfare as opposed to honor-obsessed samurai. In Shadow Blade, hero Kuro isn’t averse to quite a bit of unsporting bloodshed after he receives news about the Amida clan rising once again — and reasons that he must immediately inform the sole surviving ninja master. Unfortunately, Sensei lacks a cell phone, and so Kuro must fight his way through 30 smallish core levels of traps and bodies that inconveniently lie in the way of his goal.
Archangel's foundations are simple but strong. Shaken from your thousand-year slumber by the yammerings of demon neighbors, you slap on armor and get to the business of shutting them up. Your groggy attacks as you recall your moves yield one of gaming's best excuses for learning new skills within the early minutes, but it ultimately means little as most hints of a story vanish before the primal impulse to hack and slash. It's faux-Diablo on a touch screen, in short, and the concept usually delivers.
Hopping onto a motorbike and barreling through the air while doing backflips is exciting stuff, but executing daredevil stunts while atop a tank or riding a runaway rocket? Joe Danger certainly doesn't shy away from peril in his latest action-packed obstacle course romp. While it doesn't add much new to the core stunt-centric formula laid out in predecessor Joe Danger Touch, Infinity's fresh settings, goofy characters, and challenging stages still make for a joyous ride.
Atypical Games made a name for itself with Sky Gamblers, a series of combat flight sims with an emphasis on sharp visuals and energetic dogfighting. Its latest outing, Battle Supremacy, trades B-15 bombers for Panzer III tanks — and speed for lumbering, destructive power. Sluggishness makes the campaign seem slow and plodding, but it turns Battle Supremacy's multiplayer skirmishes into tense, purposeful chess matches.
True Axis made all the right changes for the sequel to the 2009 hit driving game Jet Car Stunts, with a big visual upgrade, loads of new levels and play modes, a third difficulty level, and intuitive player creation tools added to an almost identical core experience of racing against the clock and navigating insane courses. Jet Car Stunts 2 pushes the challenge factor a bit far at times, but it’s a fine improvement on its predecessor and a fiendishly awesome game in its own right.
For all of its strengths, Fightback is a game that feels tuned to reward in-app purchases more than strategy or skill. Ninja Theory, the studio behind the '80s-tinged brawler, is known for big console projects like last year’s Devil May Cry reboot and 2010’s Enslaved: Journey to the West. Those games were great — underrated, even — which is why Fightback’s shortcomings come as such a surprise.
Most notable stealth-action games — including Metal Gear Solid, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, and Mark of the Ninja — make sneaking about and leaving enemies undisturbed merely an option, also providing the ease and capability of dealing out death as desired. Not so in the first episode of République, which follows Hope, a teenage girl held captive for possessing revolutionary materials within the school of a totalitarian regime. Aside from wielding the occasional pepper spray bottle or a one-time-use taser, she’ll need to creep around every corner and stay totally unseen to avoid being recaptured. And unlike in the average stealth affair, you’re not even directly controlling her actions.
Chaos is the defining element of Colossatron: Massive World Threat, the latest iOS original from Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride creator Halfbrick. At any given moment, your gargantuan, snake-like, robotic alien creature could span a couple dozen weaponized segments in length while a barrage of tanks, helicopters, and flying drones assault it from all sides — and that’s all wrapped within a delightfully cheesy local newscast design, with the anchor and on-scene reporter chatting while bits of info pop up on the display. It makes for an undeniably lively experience, and one that becomes more interesting as you really grasp the color-matching mechanics that drive the mayhem. But that chaos comes at an odd contrast to the game’s design and scope, which feel curiously restrained — as if this were a slick first draft that hadn’t yet been fully fleshed out.
The Tomb Raider series has come a long way since it first appeared way back in 1996, as anyone who's played the new version by Crystal Dynamics can attest, but if you yearn for a simpler time, there's good news for you on the App Store today. Starting today, you can get the original game for just a dollar.