iPhone Life magazine

What I Played This Week - Gridlee, P.R.O.B.E., Trigger Fist, and Versu!

I have several games to report on this week, plus interesting news about the makers of Galaxy on Fire 2 releasing a mobile space shooter, MMORTS (Massive Multiplayer Online Real Time Strategy) game later this year. So let's get right to it!

First up is Trigger Fist (my favorite shooter of all time), which I finally got around to grabbing an expansion pack for. Second, I'll review an old emulation game called Gridlee, a game other blog sites say allows you to drop other game ROM files into and play, although I have not yet personally confirmed this. If true, the free Gridlee may have a short life in the app store as Apple frowns on emulators and may soon yank it. Third up is P.R.O.B.E., a free Sci-Fi board game I played, which has a synthed up computer voice. Last but not least is Versu, a just-released interactive story app, reminiscent of old-school adventure games.

1. Trigger Fist Expansion Pack

Trigger Fist (see my full review here) continues to be the coolest combat shooter game west of the...heck, west of anywhere! Back in early January, they finally released an expansion pack that included new weapon options and environments (Train Yard and Rooftops). The new game landscapes are tough, adding both long range open kill zones, industrial obstacles and hidey holes. You can now upgrade weapons through IAPs, or (if you're old school, like me), work your way up the ranks like a good troop (just got level 18). I was holding out on a $0.99 app sale that never came, but had to grab it. If you have Trigger Fist, buy the expansion pack for $2.99! If you don't, go get the game and the pack too. You won't regret it. It provides new areas to play in and love on your goat ... (sounds gross but TF'ers understand)!

2. Gridlee

What is Gridlee? Well, a game that may keep on giving (at least until it gets yanked). Gridlee is sort of a primitive Q*Bert-ish game, if you are familiar with the isometric style platform games of yore. You move your thing (whatever it is..looks like a hose or worm I guess), around grid spaces trying to collect bonus things that bounce around, while other bouncing things try to smash your thing. Look, I admit I didn't download the game because I remember Gridlee from the 80s and I'm some kind of grid style hopping game expert, ok? The game is kinda lame, truth be told (no offense intended), and I understand, never released even back in the 80's. I DL'd it because it so happens I might know some people who know some people who have MAME ROM images laying around. MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) is a game emulator that will let you play just about any classic arcade style game from like the past 30 years, provided you have the ROM images... That's where Gridlee comes in... shh, just watch the vid below and be amazed!

As you can see, the Gridlee app purportedly opens part of the iOS filesystem through an embedded emulator, and if you have say an iCade accessory and ROMs, you can enjoy mucho expanded retro gaming console fun on iOS--though some comments indicate that the ROMs wouldn't load lest you convert them. The excellent working example above provided by www.iDownloadBlog.com... So go check it out if you want to learn more.

3. P.R.O.B.E.

P.R.O.B.E. is a game that looks and sounds so awesome, that you can overlook the somewhat boring strategy at first blush. You move a ship one space at a time from here to there, trying to land on crystals in the process.  Not quite as simple as all that, as higher levels add tracks and valves that keep you from moving in certain directions, but the game feels like it needs some enemy combatants, or something. 

The more complex puzzles that become available as you advance do admittedly add some challenge. Gameplay requires figuring out least number of moves to smash crystals and reach the final objective. Each move drains ship power, and you will fail if you don't complete the puzzle before power is gone. I like P.R.O.B.E., because it so perfectly captures the 80s and 90s sci-fi techie look/feel (especially the menus and sounds). First 30 levels are free, and possible I haven't achieved a high enough level to find the more compelling play aspects. If you just want to hear some cool SF tones, though, just grab this game and let it play in the background. Also an interesting screensaver!

4. Versu

Finally, I played Versu this week--an interactive book app just released. Your character is thrust into one of 3 fictional situations of your choosing (all of which seem a little dated). During the various stages of the story, you get to pick from a range of actions that can alter the outcome of the tale. Even if there are only 3 (not super-interesting) stories to begin with, as I played, I was definitely being drawn in!

The interactive nature of Versu lies in the fact that you can increase/lower your character's standing in the group by forming alliances (through certain actions you take) which can impact the outcome of the tale. Considering most of my gaming time is spent trying to blow stuff up in 3-dimensional glory, Versu was a welcome and somewhat cerebral departure! There are no sound effects, and the graphics are also pretty blah, but the app is still compelling. I look forward to seeing what other content is made available. Versu would also be cool in an online mode that allows multiple players to interact as well... I think this app has a lot of potential, and am looking forward to seeing it further developed, so stay tuned for more Versu news!

Some quick news before I close out this week's gaming roundup WIPTW review. If you have read any of my game blogs over the years, you probably heard me rant a time or two about Galaxy on Fire 2, which is the Trigger Fist of the space shooter/strategy game genre. Anyway Fishlabs, the devs behind GOF, are making a mobile-capable MMORTS (massive multiplayer online real-time strategy game) based on the GOF universe. The game will be titled Galaxy on Fire™ - Alliances, running on the proprietary ABYSS® 3 engine and scheduled to be released for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch in Q3 of 2013 (Android version to precede iOS)... You can stay updated on the new game at the Fishlabs blog here.

That's it for this week's WIPTW game roundup. You can grab the apps mentioned in this review at the App store links posted above. Make sure to check back to our blogs regularly for the best in news, reviews, tips and tricks on all things iOS, and to really stay in the know, grab an iPhoneLife magazine subscription!

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Nate Adcock's picture

Nate Adcock is a system and integration engineer with experience managing and administering a variety of computing environments. He has worked extensively with mobile gadgets of all shapes and sizes for many years. He is also a former military weather forecaster. Nate is a regular contributor for the iphonelife.com and smartphonemag.com blogs and helps manage both websites. Read more from Nate at natestera.drupalgardens.com or e-mail him at nate@iphonelife.com.