Thumpies For iPhone & iPad Flat Out Rocks, Rolls & Even Thumps

(written by guest author Tim Giron. follow Tim on Twitter @timgiron)


I have been playing Thumpies [iTunes $2.99], a rhythm game from Big Blue Bubble for a few months.  I shall now put the game down and attempt to convey my unbridled enthusiasm for this app and it’s bigger iPad sibling, Thumpies XL [iTunes $4.99] (which I am pretty sure stands for eXtraLicious).

This game flat out rocks, rolls and yes, even thumps.  The imaginative graphics, ultra smooth gameplay and wickedly good soundtrack will quickly draw you in and the challenges will keep you coming back for more.  Much more, if my experience with it is any indication.


What?  You’re still here?  OK, for those of you that didn’t immediately jump over to the AppStore, I’ll back up and give you some highlights.

In Thumpies, you tap in rhythm as these crazy fuzzy monster heads bounce around, striking a set of targets (mushrooms, tree stumps, turtles, etc.).  When your taps are right on your notes get added to the mix and your scoring meter moves up.  When you miss, your scoring meter falls.  When your meter fills up, you get to advance.  In the early rounds, you’ll be able to keep up with just one finger, feeling the pattern and kicking out the jams.  As you progress though, you’ll have to rely on multiple finger dexterity, tracking multiple monster heads each following their own pattern.  When you nail the beats, the resulting musical number is quite spectacular indeed.  To add to the challenge, you also need to collect butterflies which allow you to unlock even more quirky levels.  You have to be quick, though, since the monsters love to eat them and if your meter falls to zero, they escape.



Easy, medium and hard settings give both kids and adults & newcomers and veteran players an appropriate level of challenge.  Like I said earlier, this game has legs.
In the past few weeks, following the release of the iPad, several venerable games were super-sized for the new device.  And, I am happy to report, Thumpies XL retains all of the yummy goodness of the original and then heaps on some extra whipped cream in the form of multiplayer mode.  That’s right, all of the flying finger fun can now be enjoyed by two players at once.  This mode splits the screen in two for a "cooperative competition".  So, there’s only one shared meter to fill but each player is given a breakdown of their performance at the end.  My kids and I enjoyed playing a few rounds in this mode this afternoon.  The updated graphics in the XL version are big and bold, just as I expected them to be.


At $2.99 for the iPhone app (or try the free trial version) and $4.99 for the XL iPad app, you are getting a whole lotta entertainment for the price.

Escape Reality, Become Tom Cruise – Tiki Bar For iPhone

Tom-Cruise-Cocktail-1 One of our secret desires here at KRAPPS is to escape the rat race of urban living and open a bar on a warm exotic island. Our place would be called “Cocktails & Dreams” and we would engage in elaborate drink-mixing performances like Tom Cruise in Cocktail. Problem is  there are no In-N-Out Burgers on exotic islands … thus shattering our dream – sucks for us.

But alas we found our savior … a new iPhone game called Tiki Bar [iTunes $1.99]. Grant it, Tiki Bar is not the perfect exotic bartending replacement … but for two bucks, it’s close enough and we can still fulfill our In-N-Out B Urge r.  


Published by Caldera Studios, Tiki Bar is the first action game that has players mixing and serving drinks in a swanky Tiki Bar. After each drink is served, you collect the tip. The faster you serve drinks, the more tips you get … thus increasing your score. Just be sure to keep pace with your demanding customers or they’ll get pissed off and leave.

Mixing drinks is a blast in Tiki Bar. Caldera Studios designed a unique and very iPhone-esque user interface … shaking, cutting, juicing, pouring, stirring and blending are all there to fulfill your wildest Tom Cruise bartending dreams.



Now because gameplay takes place in a too cool Tiki Bar, the drinks served are also too cool … Bolo Cocktail, Outrigger, Apple Passion … you won’t find any Coors Light in this kick ass joint. Tiki Bar features in app purchases that extended gameplay … the matchbook ($0.99) sets up flaming drinks, while the blender ($0.99) unlocks libations that require blending … Lava Flow, Tasman Sea, Derby Daiquiri, etc.

We particularly dig using the matches which activates the Flame-O-Rama mode … not because we enjoy FIRE, FIRE, FIRE … rather for the two drinks Big Hot Wood and Flaming Nut (huh, huh).



Tiki Bar also contains some Easter eggs … rare drinks that appear roughly 1:100 drinks. Like the drink below … look at closely, it’s uncommon … Daddy’s Special Water (aka Daddy Drinks Because I Cry) – vodka poured into an iced mug, a spray of tonic and topped with Jerry Garcia gummy bears.



Not only did Caldera Studios do a phenomenal job coding the gameplay of Tiki Bar … the graphics and game music are superb. Tiki Bar includes over 450 original pieces of art by Emmy Nominated Nate Funaro of Cartoon Network and original Tiki lounge music by Marcus Baide. Obviously with this type of attention to detail, Tiki Bar is a high quality, well made application … certainly deserving of your hard earned $1.99 (which has nothing to do with Big Hot Wood). 

Get Hooked On HELLKID – One Hell Of An Addicting iPhone Game

(written by guest author Connor Coghlan. follow Connor on Twitter @Condawg)


Do you love running and jumping, all while collecting things? … How about occasionally hooking onto shit?

If you answered "Yes" to any of the questions above, have we got the game for you! And no, it has nothing to do with Tarzan.

Hellkid [iTunes $0.99] by Justnine Co.… officially HELLKID: hook & jump … is a game that reminds me of Canabalt (you’ll notice that, in most of my reviews, I compare a game to another similar game – yeah, that’s how I roll … I get around). The goal is just to run as far as you can. The twist here, however, is collecting souls.


In Hellkid, you play a kid named Devi, in hell (who would’ve guessed?). Your mission is to collect souls. By collecting these souls, you unlock other characters (which I haven’t been able to do quite yet … not that I suck, this game is pretty difficult).

Devi wants to know what it’s like to be human. Somehow that ties into everything… I dunno, I don’t pay much attention to the story in this game. But basically if you collect enough souls, you become human. The gameplay is really addictive, which makes me want to get to it  and not necessarily focus too much of my attention on the storyline.


The game consists of you (Devi) running and jumping around to collect souls. Every now and then, a gap comes up. Sometimes you can clear them with one jump … if not, you have to hook to the pillar behind you to swing across, collecting souls as you do so.

As you progress through the levels, the game gets faster, and the souls become more sporadic in nature, causing you to jump around much more than you’re comfortable with, and leading to your very inevitable and saddening death.


One thing that’s really tough (for me, anyway) in Hellkid is timing swings just right to maximize your soul collection … or to survive since I die a lot in this game. That said, Hellkid is a blast and it’s never really too frustrating when I die (that’s the beauty of the  "Retry" button).

Hellkid is a quality iPhone game … well polished and great graphics. It contains 12 levels, 50 patterns and 38 achievements to unlock … the replay value of Hellkid is outstanding. For the agro player, there are global leader boards and you have the ability to post your score to Facebook or Twitter from within the app. And per the developer’s Twitter account on April 8, a new update is coming soon.


I highly recommend this game for anybody who’s into "pick-up-and-play" games (which I imagine is 99% of iPhone users) … or you can take Apple’s recommendation (but why would you do that when you have me?) of Hellkid as it was featured in the New & Noteworthy listings last February.

Be sure to check out the full version of Hellkid at 99 cents [iTunes] … or the lite version which is a free download [iTunes Free].


Don’t Make These Birds Angry, Mr. McGee – Angry Birds For iPhone

(written by guest author Tim Giron. follow Tim on Twitter @timgiron)

It’s a war between the birds and the pigs in the action-puzzle game Angry Birds [iTunes $0.99] by Chillingo / Rovio. See, the pigs got all greedy and stole some eggs, then retreated to their fortified shelters. The birds, not ones to take such things lightly, have mobilized an impressive avian army to retaliate.


Utilizing a challenging two-screen view, the player must fire a series of birds from a slingshot with the goal of eliminating all of the pigs before advancing to the next level. The pigs are dispatched by either hitting them directly with a bird, by causing them to fall or by causing a rock to fall on them. Each bird, knowing this is a one way trip, has also loaded up on black powder causing them to explode after a set amount of time. This can be used to advantage in combination with elements on some of the screens – rest a bird against some explosives and they can cause further damage.



As you progress through the levels, you pick up new bird types too. You start off with the hard-headed red birds, capable of knocking down any obstacle the pigs can put up. Next up is the smaller blue bird which has the added ability to split like a MIRV while in the air. Time it just right and this terrible trio can take out multiple targets with the same shot. I just cleared level 12 (while grabbing screenshots) and can’t wait to find out what other specialized birds are yet to come.



Some of the levels are easy and some are dastardly difficult. The smug grunts of the pigs are easily enough to make me want to re-try until I’ve conquered them! The game play is ultra smooth and the projectile physics are very well implemented. Each bird has different flight characteristics which have to be accounted for; luckily they leave a trail so you can make minor adjustments on subsequent shots if necessary. Since you get bonus points for finishing the level before running out of birds, it’s important not to waste too many shots (even though I ultimately cleared level 12 with birds to spare, I probably played it a dozen times before that where I left a single pig alive).



An online leaderboard and achievement posting to Facebook/Twitter is provided via Chillingo’s own Crystal system. If you have an iPad (this post was written the day before the big launch), there is a new release of this app specifically for the new device. I, for one, can’t wait to see how it looks.


WTH, Kanye West Interrupts Our Mystic Emporium Game Review

(written by guest author Tim Giron. follow Tim on Twitter @timgiron)

99 Games recently released the time management game Mystic Emporium [iTunes $3.99]. My wife’s a big fan of the genre, so

Yo, yo, yo

Hey, Kanye West, what are you doing here?


Imma let you finish your review, but first I gotta try to bring back my MEME and bust some rhymes ’bout this game

It’s not the least simplistic
When your magic’s gone ballistic
Gotta stretch the realistic
Take your emporium to the mystic

Peace out, back to you

Um, thanks for that great interlude and good luck with that whole "bring back the meme" campaign. Anyway, back to the game. You are tasked with helping the main character Lilly (the young witch) in her quest to own her own business, a magic shop. Each day you are presented with a baseline goal and, for you overachievers, an expert level goal. I’m a relative novice at this type of game and I was able to attain the expert goal in the first two levels. After the introductory levels, however, the game gets much tougher and you will find yourself scrambling to keep your customers happy.



Each level adds new elements and between each level you are given the opportunity to buy items to assist you in your quest. Early on, I snapped up the Fairy Dust shoes, which give a much needed boost to Lilly’s speed. I passed on the Leaky Cauldron, however, and decided to save up for a better one in a later round.


The game offers plenty of multi-tasking elements to keep it interesting. Some customers want potions, others are looking for crystals or magic rings. Some customers are impatient and others are more forgiving. I haven’t played enough to figure out all of the particulars, but that’s part of the fun (and the key to getting the expert level scores in the later levels).

Along the way, you’ll be able to play several mini-games which allow you to unlock "charms" which affect certain elements of the game, like providing the ability to earn extra tips.



The graphics and gameplay are top-notch and the sound and music add to the experience. If you prefer to listen to songs via the iPod, that’s supported as well. For your $3.99 [iTunes], you will receive hours of time management fun.


Crazy Frogs Jump For Their Lives – Dizzypad Game Review

(written by guest author Connor Coghlan. follow Connor on Twitter @Condawg)


Dizzypad [iTunes $0.99] by NimbleBit is yet another application I’ve been assigned to review that is anything but a krappy app. It’s actually kwite kool. If you’ve ever played Doodle Jump (or Spring Fling, another app I’ve recently reviewed), Dizzypad will feel somewhat familiar, but with an unknown and exciting aspect… timing your daredevil-like jumps.

You play this game as a frog (ribbit), hopping from one lilypad to another. Each time you miss and land in the water, you lose a life (because either frogs can’t swim or the water is infested with killer koi). But if you choose to take a risky jump, skipping over one lilypad and to the next, you’ll find that an extra life is added to your repository, allowing you one more screw up. You can really rack up extra lives by doing this, and greatly extend your session.

dizzypad-1  dizzypad-2

Now the timing comes in with the direction of your jump. Each lilypad you sit on spins around, one way or the other (hence the name … Dizzypad). There is an arrow, indicating which direction you will jump when you tap the screen (which is the only control, by the way). You have to time it perfectly to land on the next lilypad (or the one after that if you’re looking for extra lives).

This game isn’t incredibly fast-paced, but that doesn’t much take away from the excitement. I’ve seen my sidebar fill up with flowers (indicating lives left) after a few minutes, only to see each and every one of them deteriorate from a single jump that I, for whatever reason, cannot seem to land < bangs head against wall >.

dizzypad-3-FINAL  dizzypad-4

I’ve spent a good bit of time with Dizzypad and it’s loads of fun … especially with the 15 unlockable frog skins and Plus+ awards and online leaderboards. But alas I have a single complaint … where are our power-ups? Without power-ups, Dizzypad is just the same thing no matter how far you progress into the game. Although there is not much variation, that’s not to say it gets old quickly … Dizzypad has loads of potential for future updates.

As it stands, Dizzypad [iTunes] is a load off fun and a cool take on the old-school Frogger game (meet Doodle Jump). 99 cents these days will not buy you much … but if you invest it in Dizzypad, you’ll receive a huge ROI in the entertainment category … ribbit!

Go Ask Alice: Alice’s Adventures – Rabbit Hole Of Death iPhone Game

(written by guest author Tim Giron. follow Tim on Twitter @timgiron)

Alice In Wonderland has been a popular topic the last couple of years. From the highly anticipated opening of the Tim Burton helmed film starring Johnny Depp to the recent SyFy reimagining (which was just released on DVD), the subject is one that appears to engage people from the time they first hear the story.


So, it is no surprise that there are Alice-themed apps available for the iPhone. One of note is "Alice’s Adventures – Rabbit Hole of Death" [iTunes $0.99] by dev sisters. The game takes one aspect of the story, falling down the rabbit hole and puts you in control of a decidedly older, scantily clad Alice. See, to keep out the riff-raff, the White Rabbit has placed doorways in your path. And not just any doorways, these require you to contort the articulated figure to match the shape of the rapidly approaching opening which you see in a small view on the screen. Make a clean pass and you get maximum points. Just scrape through and you get a few points. Totally miss the shape and Alice has some unkind words for you.

alices-adventures-2  alices-adventures-3

In the early rounds, the shapes are relatively easy and they flow from one to another. In later rounds, you will be challenged to make the proper shape before time runs out. For additional scoring opportunity, two different types of rabbits float by. One gains you extra points, the other subtracts points. In the early rounds, I found it pretty easy to get the figure set up and then grab a few of the beneficial rabbits. In the later rounds, I barely had enough time to get her set and often chose the bad rabbits instead (they are only subtly different).

alices-adventures-4  alices-adventures-5

alices-adventures-66 The animation and character movement in the game is rock solid. There are infinite varieties of positions for Alice’s limbs to assume, many of them hilarious in their own right. The accompanying game music and sound effects add quite a bit to the entertainment, especially Alice’s quips. Each level has a theme as well, but the scenery flies by so quickly you may not get much of a chance to appreciate the details. The game is currently on sale at 99 cents (although ending any minute!), but is well worth the regular price of admission at $1.99 [iTunes].

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