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Crowdfunding Spotlight: Coffin Dodgers

Posted by on Jul 25, 2014

Outrun Death with Coffin Dodgers by Milky Tea.

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Games

Ruzzle Adventure Review

Posted by on Jul 25, 2014

What does a developer do when a game around forming words and multiplayer becomes a succes? It takes out fifty procent of that golden formula and turns it to a list of chores.

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Productivity

Note Anytime Review

Posted by on Jun 23, 2014

This app for handwriting makes syncing notes to the cloud and editing them on multiple platforms easy. It's just the cloud syncing that's a pain.

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App Rundown

Ruzzle Adventure Review

Posted by on Jul 25, 2014

What does a developer do when a game around forming words and multiplayer becomes a succes? It takes out fifty procent of that golden formula and turns it to a list of chores.

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Ruzzle Adventure Review

Ruzzle Adventure Review

Jul 25, 2014

What does a developer do when a game around forming words and multiplayer becomes a succes? It takes out fifty procent of that golden formula and turns it to a list of chores.

Ruzzle Adventure is a game where players need to form words on a grid full of letters. In the past, we’ve seen dozens of iterations of this concept in the form of Boggle, Wordfeud or even an earlier published version of Ruzzle. In all those games the goal is the same: make as many words as possible, to get the highest score. By making bigger words and combining tougher letters to make words with, the score multiplier raises and so does one’s score. Remember Scrabble?

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In Ruzzle Adventure, that base concept remains the same as well. But to spice things up, developer MAG Interactive made up a adventure mode around the concept of forming words, changing the succesfull multiplayer formula into a singleplayer campaign. And, as one might guessed it, it’s complete with those social gaming tropes of today: Ruzzle Adventure has leaderboards, the three golden stars system and even different kinds of power-ups to challenge players even more.

But the question is: does a social word game need an singleplayer complete with power-ups? The reason games like Scrabble and Wordfued were so popular, is because one had to play it with someone else. I found myself a bit isolated while playing the game and that wasn’t a nice feeling to deal with. I missed the social interaction of laughing when I won from a friend or complementing each other when we found a word that held massive points. It makes the game so much better.

But truth be told, the challenges in Ruzzle Adventure are mostly fun to play. There are different kinds of objectives present, like completing the game as fast as possible or breaking wooden or even stone bricks. Completing the objective results in receiving one star. When the player meets a certain amount of points, it receives the second star. And when meeting the higher expectation, a third star is obtainable – but that might take some practice, especially in the beginning.

But the challenge really disappears when there is a stone letter in one of the corners of the grid. I had the letter T right there and I needed to break it to move on. I couldn’t making larger words than ‘pets’, ‘hat’ and ‘rat’ and that feels a bit underwhelming. At that point, the gamer and the game are lacking creativity – which, in my opinion, should be a corner stone of the game entirely. But these kind of assignments, because that’s how they feel, are mandatory in order to complete the game.

At the end, that’s how I feel about Ruzzle Adventure. It’s a game were players need to finish assignments based around the concept of forming words by themselves, while it is much more fun to player these game competitively with at least one more friend around – hence the game that started it all, Scrabble. Leaderboards just don’t cut it. Why MAG Interactive shoveled out the multiplayer is a riddle to me, because some of the new gameplay mechanics could work fine in multiplayer.

Crowdfunding Spotlight: Coffin Dodgers

Crowdfunding Spotlight: Coffin Dodgers

Jul 25, 2014

This week’s Crowdfunding Spotlight is a memorable game that takes an incredibly morbid topic, namely death, and turns it into something adorable and exciting. Coffin Dodgers; by popular studio Milky Tea, is a kart-style racing game that contains the usual thrills of dashing to the finish line while evading traps and launching projectiles at opponents, but there is an interesting added twist; geriatrics. That is right, all the riders are old enough to remember Eisenhower and they are going as fast as their heavily modified mobility scooters will allow them to. The hint or morbidity comes from the fact that, in addition to racing amongst themselves, they are also trying to outrun Death who also happens to enjoy a good go-kart race on the weekends.

Luckily, the depressing presence of Death is overcome by the amazing joy and vibrance of the surrounding world. The game is based on one giant map of the small retirement community in which these elderly characters reside, and the town has great detail and contrasts well with the dark comedic tone of the game. Just like the town the character models are enjoyable and are filled with emotions that betray their supposed old age. The developers say the art style borrows heavily from the Pixar movie Up and this is immediately apparent as Coffin Dodgers has essentially a perfectly identical vibe.

The game is also animated beautifully and it is apparent the amount of work that went into all the animations, and the map seems to fly by with no sense of lag or deterioration. All the weapons seem appropriate, with projectiles being things such and bowling balls and medicine, and Death has his own arsenal of tricks like tombstone walls. As with most games nowadays Coffin Dodgers features a progressive means to level up a characters kart with better power, shields, and even, apparently, giant racks of missiles.

The only downer of the entire project is the lack of funding so far. This game looks great, and is sure to become a popular title, but at the moment it’s KickStarter campaign has only has raised a touch over £2,000 with a goal of £65,000. There are still eight days to go, and I implore anyone reading this page to check out Coffin Dodgers and consider bringing this incredibly well designed game to the masses, because after all, who doesn’t enjoy cheating Death?

Shurican Review

Shurican Review

Jul 25, 2014

Man, developers still make flappy games? I thought that that hype was over, but judging by the game Shurican, there still were some… I don’t know what to call it… Innovations..? …left in the subgenre. Yeah, I was surprised as well.

How much can different people do with one mechanic? And especially the flappy mechanic? By looking at the flappy games in Google’s Play Store, not very much. Many of the flappy games are direct and shameless clones of the original and unintended successful original one, but sometimes a good one pops up and offers the same, but somewhat a different challenge. Shurican is one of those game, and not only because the game is played in widescreen mode.

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In Shurican, players need to tap the screen to keep the black ninja afloat. Just like in Flappy Bird, one tap means a small boost upwards. The goal is to evade all the obstacles presented to the player. And believe me, there are much more of them then in any flappy game I have ever played. Saws, spikes, roatating saws, moving spikes, devils, shooting devils, smashing devils, fire, more spikes and saws – really, this game is brutal. The developer even asks the player not to hate him, in game.

Well, hate is a strong word and an even stronger feeling, so we won’t go that far. There is, however, a mechanic of which I’m not very fond of. If players tap the screen twice, the black ninja will shoot a metal star out of its hand, clearing the area of those pesty little devils. But the double tap also means that the ninja will go twice as high upwards, making it a decision between killing a devil of evading the rotating saw. Sounds fun, but in reality, it is not. It makes the game unneccesary harder.

Not that I don’t like a challenging game. Only this mechanic presents fake choices, because the ninja must and will always jump. Also, it doesn’t make the game any more fun than it would be without the mechanic. Still, if Android gamers still love the flappy games and are in need of a die hard challenge, I can recommend the game. Because just like any other flappy clone, the base is solid and the graphics are okay – and it even has two modes to dig in.

Super Tank Arena Battles Review

Super Tank Arena Battles Review

Jul 25, 2014

In Super Tank Arena Battles, we get the to see our favorite weapons (tanks) go head to head in our favorite fight environment (an arena). It just gets even more hyper from there.

It’s a simple looking game, but still manages to impress graphically, with the opening menu made up of cheery animations and pastels guiding the text. Here, amongst other options, we are presented with 5 game modes: Survival, Catch The Flag, One On One, Mines Rush and Hardcore Survival.The first is open, while the others need a threshold of some sort needed to unlock successive modes.

Tapping to get into Survival launches one headfirst into the basics; as the title suggests, it is an arena stab1fighter, and the main playing area is dark. Artistically, this allows the colored tanks that roam the playing area and other elements to really pop out.

The “home” tank can be controlled by dragging, which works as the main control since the tank perpetually shoots. In the first mode, other tanks move in, and basically, it is literally a battle for survival, with points being awarded for destroying the quickly-replicating enemies. The game has arcade elements, foremost in the digital representation of small colorful dots that appear randomly, and that act as power-ups when “collected” by driving over them. These power-ups are quite varied, but still what one would expect: stuff like weapon upgrades, shields, repair/health packets and even stuff like nukes that are effective in disposing of the enemy.

I like the way the different modes are linked with regards to the unlocking mechanism, and the simplicity of the game overall. On the play side, I’m not overly enamored of the controls; it works, but I tend to dislike drag controls, because they tend to cover a good portion of the screen in landscape.

All in all though, it is a better — far better — than average, and simple elegance of the graphics and gameplay mostly cover the distractions.

Defenderia Review

Defenderia Review

Jul 25, 2014

DEFENDERIA 2Defenderia presents an unusual mix between a classical squad-based role-playing game and a match-three arcade game. It also presents a strong case for hiring professional interpreters instead of using your own, heavily lacking English knowledge. I mean, wow. The game is good, but I had to learn its mechanics basically on my own, as it’s completely impossible to understand the tips and tutorials.

Apart from that, Defenderia is a fun game, although I think that it’s a bit short. The player controls three heroes, divided into three roles. Each role has two to three different characters that can fill it, although I didn’t notice much synergizing between any of them. The characters have a basic attack and a special attack that they have to use in order to defeat the stacks of enemies, coming at them in three columns. The battles are strictly turn-based, with each character getting a turn according to the value of his initiative. The player chooses an attack and then the target. The trick is not just to pummel the mob to nothingness, but to do the combos. Basically, each enemy has a plate underneath it. When three enemies with plates of the same color, or of different colors, but excluding the brown ones, face the heroes, these enemies get a significant amount of damage. If the player removes just the right enemy, and is a bit lucky, it’s possible to kill most of the mob in just one turn.

Defenderia is divided into a dozen maps that consist of several randomly-generated squares, contents of which are often only revealed when the player has already stepped on it. To finish the map, the player needs to uncover a boss square and defeat the boss, before getting all of his heroes killed. It has lots of little mechanics, like consumables that heal or improve damage, smiths that forge random items for the heroes, and enemies that have different abilities. It’s weird that a game with this rich amount of mechanics would look so primitive, but if you can get past the simple graphics and horrendous translation, it’s really enjoyable.

Falldown! Deluxe Review

Falldown! Deluxe Review

Jul 24, 2014

Falldown! Deluxe is a stylish new game in the ambiguously named falling ball genre. Is it worth having a ball?

Falldown! Deluxe is as simple to play as it is to comprehend. The player controls a ball rolling along a series of platforms with gaps that can be fallen into to advance. Meanwhile, a deadly ball cooking laser moves inexorably downwards all the while. The player must quickly roll the ball down gaps in each level of the playfield.

Screenshot_2014-07-17-23-12-54As the player advances, every 5 levels or so they reach the next level where gaps tend to be further away from each other, making it much harder to drop the ball in time.

After the player inevitably gets roasted, collected currency can be used to purchase additional ball styles and backgrounds to spruce the game up a bit.

Falldown! Deluxe is a very simple game anyone can play. Kids will likely enjoy it and its nonviolent nature and simple controls make it easy for them. It’s a good game to fill a few minutes in a queue or whenever.

Screenshot_2014-07-17-23-13-36Falldown! Deluxe looks nice. There are plenty of trippy colours and sparkly backgrounds that only become moreso after a few purchases. The frame rate is solid and there are no extraneous ads or anything else to get in the way of the game. Some nice techno music adds a lot to the game as well.

Falldown! Deluxe lacks achievements or anything else that could really give it any shelf life, although there is a high school list. After a few games the player has really seen everything it has to offer and all items in the shop are just ones that change the game’s appearance. There are no interesting power-ups or anything of the like to give the game a bit of much needed variety. Falldown! Deluxe is unlikely to hold anyone’s attention for longer than few minutes at a time.

Falldown! Deluxe is a serviceable game and it does everything it sets out to do just fine. However, a terminal lack of depth means there are much more interesting games to play on Android. Good for kids.

Need A Hero Review

Need A Hero Review

Jul 24, 2014

Need A Hero is a game that challenges folks to match objects while being a hero.

On the surface, it looks like a simple turn-based game that pits our protagonists against several fanciful foes in his quest to save the princess. Beneath the surface, however, it is a bit more complex.

After the preliminary backstory, the game’s core elements are initially represented by a playing area with dueling parties at the top: our hero and a baddie. The action between the two is generally determined by the main element.

The main course has to deal with matching like objects in a column that sports several different colored pieces.need1 Using colors as the main guide, the idea is to connect as many matching colors via gesture dragging in straight lines and adjacent angles. Connected pieces, ordinarily, dissolve and get replaced by new ones in a seemingly random manner. The longer the chain, the more attack power is generated, so longer combinations are definitely encouraged. Combinations yield special pieces, which in turn can trigger boosted reactions which are great for some specific situations.

In essence, the efficacy of the matching game determines the effectiveness of the strikes. As noted, longer chains create hits with more damage, but one has to take into account the return hits as well. There is a palpable arcade feel, with special combos yielding boosts like donkey kicks and lightning strikes, or even the ability to freeze the opponent for a set number of moves. In the end, it is still a turn-based war of attrition; whoever depletes the other’s lifeline with life left in their own wins. It’s leveled with crafting elements, and accumulated game cash can be supplemented with that of the real kind. There is an energy requirement (boo!) but it isn’t too strenuous in nature.

It is a simple game; if one is after complex logic, it might not hold much appeal. It works in that it does multiple things proficiently at the same time.

Sky Force 2014 Review

Sky Force 2014 Review

Jul 24, 2014

Sky Force 2014 is a curious mix of freemium and old school shooter. Does it work?

Sky Force 2014 is a classically styled, old school vertical shooter. The player travels up the screen dodging around and blasting the heck out of a bunch of different enemies. Huge, ships small planes and gigantic bombers fill out the vast armies the player fights on each level. And players will have plenty of time to admire these enemies. The game works on a grading system where the player must repeat levels until they gain a certain percentage of enemies destroyed or so on. This leads to rather a lot of grinding to afford better parts to actually complete these challenges.

Screenshot_2014-06-21-15-17-24Skyforce 2014 lacks powerups and even alternate weapons, which may be a bummer for some players. Part of the fun of shooters is picking up and using different weapons and powerps. Sky Force 2014 however mostly gets by using the same main gun which can be upgraded with stars collected from dead enemies. These stars can be exchanged for upgrades between levels that make the gun fire faster and do more damage, but it never really gets more interesting than its single orange bullets without a lot of invested time. There are a few other weapons in the game, but it is not clear how to unlock them or indeed how different they are.

The lack of weapons and pretty tame gameplay kind of sabotage Sky Force 2014. With the large amount of great looking, full featured shooters on Android it is difficult to find time for one that has so few weapons and also attempts to nickel and dime the player. The game just never seems to hit a groove and the most fun part of the game is the very beginning. The player flies a very powerful ship for a few minutes, before it is destroyed and they return in a very weak fighter, pew pewing small bullets.

Screenshot_2014-06-21-13-42-52Skyforce 2014 looks great. Some sharp, colourful graphics really make the game pop and small details like the way stars sparkle and smoke hangs in the air from destroyed enemies gives the game some class. There is a great variety of enemies and the game as a whole is silky smooth and looks excellent. It nails the vibe of an old school arcade shooter while still looking modern.

The sound is similarly excellent. Skyforce 2014 has some very unique music that sounds just like 8 bit chiptunes, which are very catchy. The sound effects for shooing and explosions work well. There is a fair bit of speech in the game as well to alert the player of game events and to provide a bit of backstory. Great stuff!

Sky Force 2014 has a fair few levels and the game is quite difficult, but it is hard to tell if this is by design, or due to the in app purchase system deliberately weakening the player.

Sky Force 2014 is a tolerable shooter, but its lack of interesting weapons and annoying, grindy freemium system dooms it to take a backseat to many other shooters on the platform.


Godzilla – Smash3 Review

Godzilla – Smash3 Review

Jul 23, 2014

What does one get when you cross the King of the Monsters with a match-3 game? A pretty good game, actually.

When it comes to Godzilla, the first thing to come to mind is probably not a puzzle game. Nonetheless, that’s exactly what Rogue Play, Inc. has come up with as the free-to-play tie-in to the 2014 summer Godzilla movie.

In Godzilla – Smash3, players more or less adopt the role of Godzilla himself (off to the sideline, Aaron Taylor-Johnson) as he emerges from the murky depths of the Pacific and makes his way towards land to lay the king of all smackdowns as only he can. Players will instead target different enemies, which range from the various units of military resistance to larger battles against other monsters, and Screenshot_2014-07-15-06-10-20rather than control Godzilla directly, the key is to draw a continuous line between as many colored icons on the bottom portion of the screen as possible. When that’s done, Godzilla then beats the selected target(s) as appropriate at the top of the screen.

Of course, there is some nuance to it, and options grow as the game progresses. The key element are the blue, yellow, and orange icons, which range from the weakest attacks to the strongest, respectively, and as one might expect, blue icons are far more commonplace and tend to be easier to link than yellow and especially orange. Fortunately, players can take their time figuring out the best way to line things up, and once they do, the selected icons are cleared from the screen, dropping in more as Godzilla claws, bites, and otherwise shows those silly humans who is boss.

Other options come up along the way, including heart icons which allow Godzilla to regenerate health between rounds, special blue icons which help to charge up an attack with Godzilla’s signature atomic breath, and “explosive” icons, which clear away columns and rows of icons when included in a selected line. This results in an added layer of strategy, as players must choose which icons to focus on at which time, rather than just whatever is easiest or seemingly the most powerful at a given moment.

One definite plus for Godzilla – Smash3 is that it looks and sounds great. The music and roars immediately evoke the proper mood and tone one would expect from one of his many films. Meanwhile, Godzilla himself looks awesome. The developers seemingly knew what the player was more likely to be focusing on, and made sure the visuals counted where they were most important. Some of the other enemies and backgrounds may not look quite as good, but they do the job well enough should one take their eyes off the big guy for a moment.

If there’s one grievance I can point out with this free-to-play game, it’s one aspect of the leveling system. As players progress, they earn points to level up different icons to do more damage, etc. Unfortunately, it’s possible to sink those points into an area that can’t be used until a certain level is reached; one would think this is where the “reset” option for getting those points back and reallocating them would be handy, but to use it costs 99 cents a pop. That’s just cheap, and I don’t mean the price.

The game isn’t especially deep, but then, aside from serving as a warning against using/abusing nuclear energy, the movies aren’t terribly deep, either. And just as one can sit back and enjoy a classic Godzilla movie for the giant monster carnage it provides on screen, so too does Godzilla – Smash3 provide a similar pleasure as much of the joy can be derived from sitting back and watching Godzilla tear it up after performing a successful chain combo, only to do it again and again over the course of his journey.

Box-e Review

Box-e Review

Jul 23, 2014

It kind of resembles Two Tribes’ Edge, but it has its own goals and control scheme. Box-e on Android offers great challenges for puzzle gamers.

Understanding a game like Box-e is not hard at all. Box-e is a fun, colorful little puzzle game, where players navigate a color changing block through a – at first not so difficult looking – maze. At its core, it is as simple as that. The tricky part is this: players can only use every tile of the level once in order to get the highest score as possible. If one uses the same tile again, the colors of the level will make room for black blocks, letting the player know that what they are doing is wrong.

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The idea is to get as clean and colorful as possible to the end of the stage. Speed does not count toward the high score, so players can take their sweet time to lay out a strategic road for the controllable block. And that is quite necessary. Because right from the start it gets very difficult already, making it not only fun, but also challenging to play. Players really need to think before they tap, in order to finish the level as colorful as possible.

Players control the block in four directions, by tapping in one of the four corners of the screen. It is possible to go a bit lower than that – but the danger is here that one might cross over the invisible line of the direction boxes, resulting in the block going the wrong way. On the other hand, when a player does use the right corners, it is possible to open the history of used apps window or to press the back button. Luckily, that last one does not work, so that won’t disturb one’s game.

The game only has 25 levels to beat and most of them are pretty hard to get the maximum score of three golden stars. I don’t know if there will be more levels, but it is quite the downside. Most free puzzle apps have more levels to beat and this one cost money (1 dollar 21 cents to be precise), so it feels kind of weird to pay for something that has less content. But overall, the game offers an enjoyable experience in terms of challenging levels and very nice graphics.

Digital Defender Review

Digital Defender Review

Jul 23, 2014

Digital Defender is a quirky defense strategy game, where the player’s base is constantly getting assaulted by hordes of old video game consoles. I didn’t see an explanation for a sudden sinister 8-bit uprising, so feel free to presume the silliest reasons. Player operates a turret that shoots arrows at the prehistoric consoles, and can cast spells, if they are purchased, equipped, are not on a cooldown, and the player has enough mana. The onslaught comes in waves, and after each wave, if the player kept their base more or less in one piece, they get awarded with some money and a chance to upgrade his abilities and equipment. There are tons of upgrades to purchase, including new spells, turrets, specials and more, and of course most of them require an ungodly amount of grinding to get. Not to say that it’s impossible to play without paying. I played for a couple of hours and didn’t feel restricted – but still, you have to wait for a while to get anything.

The concept sounds perfectly reasonable, even if one can get pretty irritated by the free-to-play limitations – but Digital Defender has one significant issue. It’s god Digital Defender 4damn boring. The whole time I played it, I waited for it to pick up and get exciting – but to no avail. It could probably be a great game, but we’ll never know, because wave in wave, level in level, you shoot the repetitive lines of plastic bricks as they come for your blood. Probably. I frankly don’t know where the problem lies, but it’s somewhere in pacing and repetitiveness. You can play the first level and get a perfect idea about the rest of the game. I actually looked forward to a paywall just to call it a day and complain about the free-to-play model ruining videogames, for the whole article, but I didn’t get one. The difficulty was raising at a snail’s pace and after about thirty nigh-identical waves, I just gave up. Maybe it gets incredibly good some time later, but I’d rather get to see my wife again, than spend eternity killing small, jumping SEGA Genesis consoles.

The game looks alright, though. The graphics and the animations are fine, and generally, Digital Defender never looks cheap. So, this is nice.

Bezircle Review

Bezircle Review

Jul 22, 2014

Bezircle is best described in two words: chaotic and paradoxical. Both descriptions are, however, in favor of the game, because it is very addictive and has some through through its game design.

It has been months since Bezircle first launched on iOS, but now it is finally available on Android: Bezircle, from the Dutch developer Ludomotion. It is a tactical ‘beat-the-stuffing-out-of-that-button’ game. That may sound a bit contradictory: in tactical games, players need time to reach certain goals in the game and those games give players the time they need. And an old fashioned button smasher is quite the opposite: the faster one reaches their goal, the better.

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In the chaos of the paradox that Bezircle certainly is, players may find a true addictive game. The addictive nature of the game is what makes it truly unique. The goal is to ‘bezircle’ the circles on screen. Players need to move the worm from circle to circle, but that is only possible via the link road with just a tap of the only (digital) button. When the player is at the circle they want, they need to hold down the button, while the worm makes his round. After that, the circle is for the player.

In the singleplayer of the game, players are constantly getting introduced to new gameplay elements: new enemies, weapons and goals to reach – there is really nothing one cannot think of that isn’t here. Getting those circles costs energy and the worms can get that by eating smaller animals. Later on in the game, there are levels where there aren’t much of those animal to collect, so players need to think about getting them as soon as possible. Otherwise, it is game over before one might know.

That one button in game is something that makes Bezircle that much accessible. But it is also a source of irritation and frustration. It is digital, and there isn’t any feedback for the player. And because it is so small, one might press right next to the button. Also, it is all the way in the right corner of the screen; my thumb was in an uncomfortable position during gameplay. We it is not possible to just press anywhere on the screen, is a riddle for me. This is just frustrating.

The multiplayer is where the game shines. Bezircle is playable with four players, but on a smaller screen (my Nexus 5 has five inches of screen space, but that is still too small) is it hard to see what to do. The best way to enjoy this game with friends, is to play it on a tablet. That way, nobody will be in someones way with their hand or anything. The singleplayer of this game is actually a very long tutorial for the otherwise brilliant multiplayer, because it is much more fun when players know what to do and when to do it.

Heroes of Atlan Review

Heroes of Atlan Review

Jul 22, 2014

Heroes of Atlan is a new demon slaying tactical adventure. Does it stand out from the recent flood of entries in this genre?

Heroes of Atlan is a tactical RPG in its purest form. The player takes no active role during combat. Instead, the player is relegated to equipping their team and positioning them to support each other. Unlike most RPGs of this type, there is absolutely no way to influence a fight once it begins; it’s all about the planning. Battles are short enough that they don’t drag on and the cool monster designs and decent animations make watching battles fun. Like any RPG, it is always satisfying seeing upgraded equipment or boosted levels turning the tide of battle.

Screenshot_2014-07-11-15-08-54A great thing about Heroes of Atlan is that it has an actual story. There is plenty of dialogue to read and some surprising moments. Nearly every battle has some interesting pretence to it and there is a real feeling of the kingdom galvanizing behind the player.

Heroes of Atlan uses a map based system where energy is expended to enter each battle. After winning a battle, the player earns experience and cash and moves onto the next battle. Previous battles can be replayed for more loot. As long as the player tempers their equipment and so on the difficulty is quite reasonable. Heroes of Atlan also includes a PvP arena, but it is filled with very high level players. Combat is completely hands off, just like single player so it really comes down to a pay to win scheme; the player with the best equipment will always win.

Upgrading equipment in Heroes of Atlan can be accomplished in two ways. First there is Tempering, which is a cheap, immediate boost to an item’s stats. This only requires money. Crafting is much more complicated and involves using a wide range of reagents to change an item’s form. Reagents take time to hunt down, but crafting makes equipment much more powerful. Once an Item has been crafted, it can be tempered all over again and the cycle starts anew.

Screenshot_2014-07-11-14-30-00Heroes of Atlan looks decent. Presented in a bright, colourful 2-d style the game features pretty nice character design and there are always new enemy types to see. The animation is fairly primitive, but the graphics aren’t really relevant to a game of this genre. Cool looking characters are just a bonus. The sound is likewise middle of the road. The music gets rather repetitive and there is no voice acting or even battle cries.

Heroes of Atlan is a pretty fun tactical RPG, at least in single player. While its lack of control and obvious freemium-based multiplayer might annoy some players it tells a good story and there is enough game here that gamers will keep gaming for a long time.


Timberman May Just be the Next Flappy Bird – and it’s on Android

Timberman May Just be the Next Flappy Bird – and it’s on Android

Jul 22, 2014

Timberman is the next big hit casual arcade game in the vein of Flappy Bird. Tap on the left and right sides of the screen to chop down an impossibly-tall tree, making sure you’re not on the side of the screen where the branch will whack you in the head as you cut down the tree, and keeping the timer at the top from running out. It’s devilishly challenging yet hard to put down. Download it now from Google Play.

Stick Soccer Review

Stick Soccer Review

Jul 22, 2014

Stick Soccer is yet another attempt to celebrate the now-passed World Cup. Is it worth playing?

Stick Soccer is less soccer and more a series of penalty shootouts. Soccer balls bounce across the screen and a simple swipe arcs them towards the goal. A goalie and a few opposing players stand around to block shots. There is no actual soccer played in Stick Soccer. It is simply a series of shots on goal and no other players move besides the keeper. Despite this, whatever team opposes the player scores regularly during the game. Winning the game by scoring more goals than the opponent completes the level and unlocks a new, harder one against a different nation. Stick Soccer gets tough in a hurry. The first few levels aren’t too hard, but the game rapidly requires pinpoint accuracy and there is never any indication as to why certain shots beat the keeper or not. The game lacks a power meter or any other influence on shots besides swiping, which just isn’t accurate or engaging enough to be enjoyable. Besides the normal single player mode, a Time Attack mode is also included. This features the same gameplay, except even harder.

Screenshot_2014-07-08-05-01-29Stick Soccer’s gameplay is framed in a neat system where scoring goals adds to that nation’s global total which is shown in the main menu. Thus the game is sort of a global competition which is a nice motivation to play.

Stick Soccer isn’t a very fun game. It is difficult and its shallow gameplay is uninteresting. It is often unclear how to beat the keeper and most of the time scoring seems like simple luck. Fueling this belief is the fact that there is an in game shop with soccer boots for sale which boost the player’s stats. Some pairs can be unlocked by playing the game, but the criteria for unlocking them is tough to complete and the game would really like you to pay.

Screenshot_2014-07-08-05-02-24Stick Soccer lives up to its name. Tall, stick like soccer players dominate the game and the animation is very basic. Stick Soccer just doesn’t have much to look at. Soundwise, the game is just as simple. Besides a roaring crowd and the sound of bouncing balls, there is little to hear.

Stick Soccer’s replay value can be measured in minutes. Its one dimensional gameplay and reliance on in-app purchases doesn’t really make it an enjoyable experience.

Stick Soccer isn’t much fun and is little more than another shallow game based on soccer fever. There are much better World Cup themed games to play on Android. check out Winning Kick instead for a more interesting gameplay experience.

Bamboo Paper Now on Android, with Free Premium Pens and Paper

Bamboo Paper Now on Android, with Free Premium Pens and Paper

Jul 22, 2014

Wacom’s Bamboo brand, known for their styluses for tablets, has released their official app for drawing and writing on Android. Bamboo Paper is a simple notebook app for sketching, writing, whatnot, all with a pen. It’s also easy to share creations with the app to Evernote and other cloud services.

Do note that if you have an existing Bluetooth Bamboo stylus from Wacom, there’s no support for it yet – but there’s plenty of Android phones and tablets with active stylus support, as well.

The app is available as a free download, and it’s worth getting now, as all the premium pens and paper types are unlocked for free. Get it now from Google Play](https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.wacom.bamboopapertab).