iOS Roundup: Ionocraft Racing, War Grimoire, Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing

July 4, 2011

Welcome to iOS Roundup! In this new feature, we’ll be providing mini-reviews of iPhone and iPad games each week. This time, we’re looking at two racing games that feel very different and a strategy game with a slick look.

Ionocraft Racing (iPhone, iPad): This steampunk-themed title isn’t your average racing game. Rather than competing against opponents, Ionocraft is a time trial-based game reminiscent of PC phenomenon TrackMania, and the depth comes in the form of vehicle upgrades and tweaks. What parts you pick for your craft determine its speed and maneuverability, and once you find the right combination to help you get a gold time on a course, it’s a great feeling.

The game has a multitude of simple control modes,  from tilt controls to a left-right slider, and you’ll find something that works for you. Its focus on getting things perfect makes for a nice second racing app to keep around. 4/5

War Grimoire (iPhone, iPad): Let’s start with this: War Grimoire looks amazing. The tower defense title has lush art, detailed characters and a polished fantasy feel. It’s also deep and engrossing, as you have so many classes and weapons to upgrade and build up to suit your style. Unfortunately, it falters a bit in the gameplay department, and that is a problem in a genre as crowded as defense is on the iOS platform. Enemies sometimes spawn from too many places (which makes it tough to create strategies to stop them), tower placement a bit less structured than we’d like (which makes it tough to form exact formations) and the game seems prone to slowdown at times. The interface could use a bit more player feedback, too, as there are a lot of times when we had no idea whether we were selecting something.

That said, the system is a great place to play these games, and if you are a tower defense pro looking for an intense challenge, you could certainly do worse. An update or two could really help this one out. 2/5

Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing (Universal): It’s nice to see a game like this make the platform. The game has online multiplayer, multiple control modes and an extensive single-player campaign, and many of the bells and whistles of the console game are here. It’s the best kart racer on the platform, and it’s only in its initial release.

Does it do anything special on the platform that it can’t elsewhere? No, not really. Is it as good as the home versions? Of course not, and we miss the tight drifting controls of that edition. We haven’t seen a better game of this type on the system, though, so it’s worth checking out. 4/5

Have an app you’d like us to take a look at? Let us know at editors[at]