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Quick Reviews from the Request Box – 4.9.11
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We get a lot of submissions to our review request e-mail account each day. While we can’t review them all, we are intrigued by the descriptions/screenshots/trailers of some of these games. Since time does not allow for in-depth reviews for everything, we would like to offer some quick impressions of games that piqued our interest. We hope this can become a regular feature on AppSmile.

Maze Dash

Maze Dash by David Spickett is a maze game where you face off against the computer, a friend, or the clock to solve mazes as quickly as possible. Each maze is generated randomly and only a small radius around your marker is visible, making it impossible to really plan ahead and map out the correct path. Instead, you must rely on split-second decisions and fast fingers to get you through. When playing against the computer, you watch as the AI wends its way through the map, which would seem to give you the advantage of knowing exactly where to go when you run the same maze. Unfortunately, due to the poor joystick control method, our movements are never quite as smooth as those of the computer, resulting in race after race where we lose by less than a second. Playing against a friend is similar to the computer mode except that you stand a chance since your friend has to use the same lousy controls that you do. The time attack mode tests you to see how many mazes you can complete in 60 seconds. The blue and black maze formations look crisp due to the Retina Display support and you can choose your own music to play in the background to replace the annoying music that plays currently. GameCenter is used to track the nearly 2 dozen achievements that you can earn. While the concept is solid, the execution just isn’t there, making this $0.99 game a 2.5-Dimple dud.

Arctic Escape

Arctic Escape from Teyon is a top-down Lemmings-style puzzler where you must lay down arrows to direct a bunch of penguins into a waiting helicopter to escape the island. There are a number of traps that can ensnare our flightless friends, as well as other puzzle elements like switches that must be activated properly to allow enough of the birds to escape and move on to the next level. There are over 100 levels spread across 8 different worlds. The puzzles get increasingly more difficult as you go along. There are several buttons along the screen bottom that can be dragged into position, directing the birds to walk, wait, jump, and more. The whole presentation is rather cutesy, with cheery music in the background and fun little animations of the penguins marching and belly-sliding through the boards. It’s easy to interact with and, as a universal app, should look just as sharp on the iPad. Our biggest complaint is that the levels can look almost too busy, with so many elements strewn about that it’s difficult to decipher exactly what needs to be done or where the penguins are able to go. If you enjoy puzzle games and/or penguins as much as we do, this ought to be right up your alley. At $0.99, Arctic Escape is a fun and challenging 3.5-Dimple title.

Defender of Diosa

Defender of Diosa from Sigma Game Limited is a castle defense game set in a fantasy world. There is a 40-level Adventure mode and a 30-level Quest mode, with an additional 30 levels available as IAP. You can choose to play under either Easy or Normal difficulty as you attempt to settle the score between two feuding sisters. Your men can switch between jobs (7 in all) on the fly, suiting them appropriately to the task at hand. They accomplish this by holding your finger on each and selecting a job from the pop up menu. Tapping the men will cause them to change direction. You can drag them around to position them where they can attack the waves of enemies. Special powers can be earned, allowing you to cast powerful spells to do great harm to your enemies. Each unit is upgradeable in the Shop, as are your powers and rooms. Gold earned in battle is used to make these purchases. It takes a while to earn even simple upgrades, and you can only use the units that you start with in battle, with no way to add new units in the event that the initial ones get killed. There is an area under the fighting ground where you can put a unit in bed to recover health or in a room to build up his enchantment power, but we often didn’t have the time to do so with the enemies streaming in fast and furious. The graphic style is great and the audio is pretty good, too. Controls were tap or drag-based, intuitive and easy to use. For some reason, though, it just didn’t feel as engaging as we’d hoped. Replay value is pretty good, with lots of levels and upgrades to earn. At its sale price of $0.99, Defender of Diosa is a 3-Dimple pick-up for diehard defense fans only.

Has anyone else played these yet? Post your thoughts in the comments section!

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