Nvidia's Shield system is really fascinating proof that the processor manufacturer has big plans for Android gaming - but it's an approach that doesn't necessarily involve them having much of a consumer-facing approach at all.
When Opening Day came and MLB At Bat lacked Chromecast support, it seemed like a glaring omission for the service that streams live baseball games: mostly because they support practically every other device that plays video on TVs. Well, the good news is that like Yasiel Puig, it’s shown up late: now live and archived games can be streamed from the Android MLB At Bat app to a Chromecast device. Currently, Chromecast support is Android-only. The update is available now.
Man, skeletons are stupid. The undead kind, not the good kind that is just calmly resting inside of our bodies. I mean, animating a skeleton should be about the most difficult thing in magical world, because there’s absolutely no way they could move on their own – and yet, walking skeletons are the most basic enemy a hero can ever meet. Trial of Bones takes it to the next level by making skeletons the sole enemies. Sturdy and dangerous enemies, at that. I don’t want my life to be ended by a pile of calcium – give me real monsters!
Bearing that in mind, Trial of Bones is actually quite good, although it severely lacks content. There’s a short prologue that I frankly can’t remember by now, but the problem at hand is that the main hero is trying to get through a dungeon that is filled with skeletons with the help of his awesome sword, as well as the objects he finds on the way.
Game screen is separated into four lanes, and player can switch the hero between them, trying to kill as many advancing skeletons as possible, before he is himself killed. The skeletons are endless and become more and more challenging to kill, with greater damage and more health. If the hero isn’t fighting a skeleton, his health begins to replenish – but if he evades fighting all the time, then he doesn’t get leveled up and will promptly die at the bony hands of the stronger skeletons. The upgrades that add to the hero’s survivability always come in fours, with an upgrade per lane, meaning the player can pick up only one of them. There are also potions that restore health or give a raise in damage and special expendable weapons that can deal a lot of damage when launched.
Alright, so maybe Trial of Bones doesn’t severely lack content, but I still feel like it’s too repetitive. Maybe it’s because there’s nothing to unlock or reach, so each run is exactly like the previous. Or maybe it’s because there’s no progress to mark, like unlocking new areas and enemies or whatnot. Whatever the case, I think the game feels a lot more repetitive than it should be, because I loved the actual gameplay quite a lot.
Headup Games has revealed the release date for their upcoming Bridge Constructor Medieval: May 1st. This latest entry in the hit Bridge Constructor series, developed by ClockStone Studio, will feature bridge-building in the medieval era, complete with new siege levels where bridges will come under attack from enemy catapults, as well as levels where bridges that collapse under the weight of enemy troops must be built. Check out the screenshots below.
This is a game about a cat. Not just any cat – it’s a game about a flying insect cat that collects flying trash. Fly Catbug Fly is a bit close to Flappy Bird, but it’s closer to the old helicopter game that Flappy Bird was ripped off from. Catbug (of Bravest Warriors fame) flies through the never-ending corridor, bordered by solid matter on top and bottom, and has to evade it, as well as some small “islands” in the middle, while collecting trash. The trash consists of truly random items, ranging from old bottles to what to my twisted mind looked suspiciously like dirty toys, to leprechauns. There are portals scattered around the levels, which take the trash from Catbug, and give some cash in return. After picking enough trash, a hyper mode of sorts kicks in and you lose. At least that’s what happen to me all the time.
The background and music changes after a while, and ranges from weird to yet weirder. To be fair, the same can be said about every in-game object. The fun part is that Fly Catbug Fly isn’t even trying to be strange – it’s an endearing little arcade that just happens to be rather insane. There are lots of obtainable paraphernalia, divided into four kinds. First, there’s swag that Catbug can wear and look cuter/even more bizarre. Then there are upgrades that improve Catbug’s health, diving ability that can help evade the sudden dips in the corridor.
Additionally, there are power-ups that are unlocked, and then can be found around the level, like magnets. Finally, there are unlockable people with level-destructing weapons that you can pick up like power-ups, but that hang from under the Catbug and fire their weapons into the level, clearing chunks of it out. It’s not only strange, but also rather counter-productive, as their giant height and explosions actually make it harder to navigate the level, and the only use they have is clearing out the little islands in the middle – and there are several of them, with an option to upgrade each one.
Anyway, apart from the strange armed people, Fly Catbug Fly is pretty neat. It’s just an infinite round of picking up trash and leveling, but it’s quirky and is fun enough to last for some time. If you pick it up, at least play until you see the partying lettuce horse people, and I do believe it’s the first time anyone has typed “partying lettuce horse people”.
Mojo Bones and Toy Studio, creators of The Curse, have launched their latest puzzle game: The Voyage. Featuring a similar structure to The Curse, players must solve a wide variety of puzzles across 100 levels and 6 difficulty levels, all with Captain Bucklebeard trying to stop them. The game is available now for a launch price of $0.99.
When it comes to kart racing, Sonic is the man. And the hedgehog. Whatever… Sonic is the consummate console competitor, and he and his friends have done well on mobile devices too. Sonic Racing Transformed is yet another opportunity for us all to see how fast our blue bandit has come on Android OS.
It is an intense game, and definitely not for the spec faint of heart. There are two modes off the bat, Single player and multi player, with the single optioning into the advertised new World Tour. There is also the Weekly Challenge, which allows players to compete for streaks and prizes.
In the World Tour, it’s all about racing as we know Sonic to race. The vehicles are closer to real gear than karts, but the mechanism and feel is still the same. Using optional virtual controls that are nestled in the bottom left along with the miscellaneous gear counters on other parts of the screen, the idea is to jockey for position, avoid obstacles and deployed weapons while deploying your own to thwart the competition. It’s leveled play, with success in a current level needed to unlock higher levels. One interesting aspect is the ability to play these levels at different difficult levels, with correspondingly different payouts. This makes it possible to have a semi-new feel even after cycling through a few times, as there is a tangibly different feel on different difficult levels.
The basics of Sonic racing are all present; windy, way roads, light play, collectible goodies and more. The different racing environments are a discovery all by themselves, with creative vehicles matching the creative spots. The game employs tasks, and there are rings that can be garnered by placing well. Rings can be used to get the boosts and characters necessary to be successful, but they are in short supply.
The multi-player option allows for folks to compete with others, local and otherwise. While the game is stated to be compatible with third-party controllers, I didn’t get an opportunity to use one.
It’s a fun piece of software; there are in-app purchases, even after purchase, but it does pack a lot of play in its fine-tuned raceways.
The latest Humble Mobile Bundle is now available. After the previous Humble Bundle had both PC and Android games, this latest bundle contains a variety of Android exclusives. Purchasers at any price can get open-world RPG Aralon: Sword and Shadow, retro shmup R-Type II, and the puzzle game Bag It! Those who pay over the average get Double Fine’s The Cave, hit puzzle game The Room Two, board game Carcassone, and more games when the bundle updates on Tuesday. The bundle runs through April 29th.
Pivvot from Whitaker Trebella’s Fixpoint Productions was his Android debut, but the first game he released was Polymer, a sliding puzzle game released in 2012. Now, thanks to porting maestros Noodlecake Games, Android players can take on this puzzler where the goal is to build polymer shapes from assorted connecting pieces for high scores across a variety of game modes. The game is available now on Google Play.
As we mentioned earlier, LG Electronics largely elbowed its way to Android prominence with it latest batch of devices. We had an opportunity to formally look at LG’s G Flex, and the experience was just as eye-opening.
Gotta admit, the internals are juicy. It sports a 2.26 GHz quad-core Snapdragon chip, and packs in all the radios and stuff one would expect in a high-end Android phone: Bluetooth 4.0 LE, wi-fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, GPS. The cameras are definitely not slouchy, with a 13 MP autofocus snapper in the rear and a 2.1 MP unit in the back. Top of the line requisites like LTE and a 3,500 mAh battery are present to partner with the 32 GB memory.
Cool innards aside, the physical presentation is where it will most likely stand out initially for most. It cuts an imposing figure, and wears the label “phablet” (yeah, I said it) quite well, embodied in the 6.32″ x 3.21″ x 0.31″ and stated 6.24-ounces frame. But it’s The Curve that visually defines this phone. The phone features a tangible parabola that tapers uncompromising into the 1280 x 720, 6″ HD flexible OLED Gorilla Glassed display.
The device is sleek, with its signature curved chassis and slim profile being easy on the eyes. The USB port is centered at the bottom, and the sides are delightfully bereft of buttons, as the ON button is placed on the back. The grey finishing defines it quite well, and the device feels natural in the right hand despite its non-diminutive size.
And y’all just have to forgive me for getting a bit caught up in the screen. It’s supposed to be indicative of the future of curved displays, a feature that is supposed to be enhance the enjoyment quotient. Coupled with the excellent screen, the whole structure does seem to work, though I feel those looking for something that changes the fabric of life as we know it might be a little let down. In other words, the flexible screen (along with the self-healing capabilities of the back) works well, but might not yet be a set-apart feature just yet.
The software suite also sets it apart. There is the needed Google suite, but above and beyond, that LG makes the crafty (and daresay, necessary) move to ensure customers have an opportunity to get immersed in LG’s massive consumer electronics ecosystem. Like the G Pad, the Flex works with other select LG devices and electronics. Miracast compatibility is another plus, and the device comes upgradeable to Android KitKat. In real-life use, the device is quite fluid, and doesn’t stutter under heavy lifting, and everything runs smooth.
Pauses? Folks coming from the G2 or other bigger flagships, might not be as enamored; I would have loved a bigger battery, and I will whine about available accessories. Still, it’s the first phablet I have ever wanted to be around for an extended period of time.
Bomb Buds is a turn-based strategy game, much akin to ye olde Worms franchise. There are several teams that are situated on randomly generated bits of land, and wield a mighty arsenal, shared between the team. The task is to eliminate the other team, moving one team member at a turn. The game is available for iOS, but will soon be released for Android devices as well. For more details, go here: Bomb Buds on Facebook.
Where is Dolly the Sheep when one needs her? Instation brings cloning to Android, and the replicated pieces make even the best line dancers look quaint by comparison.
The gameplay is leveled; in this one, we get a blue, somewhat luminescent running being, intent on doing what most platform side-scrolling runners want to do: run from left to right. The scenery had a touch of the futuristic tinged with a the ominous feel one gets from the occasional red lasers and bright obstacles that add context to game functions.
In its simplest form, the running creature meets obstacles. There is a jump button, direction buttons and an interaction button, with last being useful to toggle gates open or to assemble bridges. There are also green step pads that also toggle gates open and shut. As the gameplay unfolds, the obstacles get trickier; what is one to do do when the switch for a bridge is on other side?
Here’s where cloning becomes valuable. Our humanoid has the ability to create exact copies of itself when fully charged, and the clones can be placed (via intricate and sometimes infuriating sighting process) where they need to be as long as the point is not too far away.
The interesting part is how the humanoid and the clones act; they do everything in unison… jumping, running left or right… everything the “true” unit does is mimicked in time simultaneously by the clones, unless restricted by an object or obstacle. This adds a completely different feel to the gameplay, especially in further levels. For example, the aforementioned energy fields reduce clones even when only the main unit goes through them. At one point, solving the puzzle of advancement means inching back and forth, while allowing obstacles to adjust the natural movement of the clones, until the target can be reached without going through the laser.
Finishing a level quickly is the goal, and each run is graded.
It comes together quite nicely, even if I think the game could do with a tutorial, as I spent some time spinning my wheels.
Puzzles. Running. Teleporters. Multiples. Welcome to gaming in the 21st century.
Disco Zoo is somewhat of an all-rounder. It’s chunky pixels are the perfect call to the joys contained within.
One of the biggest attributes of the game is the more-or-less logical flow. It is a management sim, and as such, there are resources, and a need to spend those resources wisely to expand.
As the tutorial cycles through, the player gets a bank of coins, which is useful to procure the vehicles and animals needed to make the gameplay work. Some elements are linked; for example, buying one hot air balloon unlocks the farm, and other unlocks and upgrades are affected by other factors such as number of animals and such.
And procuring animals to keep zoo animals patron paying for acess and tips is ultimately the name of the game. The first step is to “rescue” the animals from different habitats, but different habitats need different vehicles. The aforementioned hot air balloon is the bottom tier vehicle, and good for simple animals. To get more exotic animals, a better flying vehicle is needed to get to the outback, for instance. Well, to get that money to get the better vehicle, one needs to rescue the easy local ones.
Rescuing is a whole new element in and of itself; basically, there is a grid made up of smaller squares, and the operation plays out like reverse Minesweeper: locate the animals hidden underneath before running out of tries. To rescue a kangaroo, for instance, there are four kangaroo images hidden in a standard order; getting all four in ten tries gains the animal, which in turn gains money for the zoo operation. To move on to savanna animals, more money is needed, and so on. There are also coins to be gained from these searches. As new animals are garnered, more of the zoo is developed to accommodate them.
The game is enjoyable because it doesn’t require real cash, though it can be used if needed; there’s even the option to watch ads to get extra rescue attempts. The animals yield payouts every so often, and the rate can be increased by rescuing more of the same type. Animals go to sleep, and have to me wakened to earn money, but Disco Events can be organized (for a cost) that not only keep the animals awake, but yield more coins.
It’s an engaging game; it does require some amount of attention, and feels overly easy in parts, but it’s a fun game that can be tailored to fit individual and changing interest levels
Looking for some good retro-styled games for Ouya? Well, why not take the word of the man who goes by the Twitter handle @retroremakes, Rob Fearon? The creator of Death Ray Manta and War Daddy is also a regular curator of interesting titles, and he has come up with an interesting list of retro-style Ouya titles that include some straight-up remakes and a variety of iterations on classic concepts. Check out the list on his site.
As The Amazing Spider-Man 2 from Gameloft is reaching release, more information becomes available about return of the masked superhero on mobiles. The story and gameplay will closely follow the movie as the player will get to swing around New York, beat bad guys and participate in other crime-fighting actions. Mor details can be found here:
With wearables and smartphones hitting the next level, and hardware components that are beginning to match standalone counterparts, games like Astray are inevitable. Or at least, they should be.
Astray is an interesting, augmented reality-assisted labyrinth game that touches on some interesting gameplay elements. The game walkthrough underscores some of the highlights, and ties in the important aspects together.
It would be a disservice to not lead with the fact that Astray is a 3D labyrinth game at heart; there is the maze, the metal sphere and the target location. The environment could be described as vaguely medieval, with a relatively well designed background imagery. Labyrinth core concepts are present: obstacles, gates and such. The dangers include stuff like colored portals that end the level unsuccessfully if the sphere falls into them.
The key part of the game is the picture; indeed, the gameplay starts with image acquisition. The first part of setting up a game is taking a flat object (a piece of paper, a large envelope, etc.) and getting it within the program sights. It gives a visual score of how good the image is (with three stars being the best), and then, the game uses the object as a movable part of the game. The trick is that instead of moving the device, you keep it stationary, and use the underlying paper to guide the sphere to the right hole. Progress is timed, and solving one puzzle opens the next.
The game is well thought out idea. However, in practice, some things felt a bit weird. One thing was the picture taking mechanism; it seemed quite picky. The other issue is that by default, I ended up holding two things in the air with each hand, which can be uncomfortable over time, especially since I was using a tablet.
This is one game that I feel is worth waiting for, and the developers seem responsive (having already fixed a gripe I had in the last update). It’s free and interesting; how can one not like it?
Big kudos with regards to the musical score, one of which I understand was performed on a penny whistle by the lead developer.