Age of Zombies is a dual-stick shooter featuring Barry Steakfries as he battles his way through time, defeating the hoard of zombies that have been released throughout history by the evil Professor Brains.
Large-scale role playing games don’t generally make their homes on mobile platforms. By nature, mobile gaming takes place in small bursts – while you’re waiting in line at the store, or on the bus, and RPGs generally lend themselves to longer play sessions. Illusia attempts to bring the genre onto the Android platform with action-oriented gameplay. Is the result worth the investment in time?
Illusia is a side scrolling, action-oriented RPG steeped in repetition and generic RPG constructs with a plot that fails to engage the player in any meaningful way. The loosely knit story just serves to move you from objective to objective, but never feels truly interesting or unique. The gameplay is pretty basic – walk from left to right, or from right to left, and hit one on screen button to jump, and another to attack. You can also use items when necessary, but overall the simple gameplay gets lost in the unwieldy control scheme.
The mobile gaming market has seen a renaissance for dual-stick shooters, and Meteor Blitz is another entry in this venerable genre. Meteor Blitz is less akin to a game like Geometry Wars (and many, many other dual-stick shooters on mobile OSes), but rather closely follows after Super Stardust HD for the PS3. You’re dropped on to a planet, tasked to destroy asteroids and other assorted enemies, including fire and ice meteors that you must destroy with your ice and fire cannons respectively, along with your neutral element cannon. You have the standard bombs that you can unleash to clear the screen, a boost attack to get out of hairy situations, and a gravity gun that you can use to suck in asteroids, and shoot them back out at enemies. You have an Arcade mode that takes you through 25 levels and has you collecting rings that go towards persistent upgrades, and a Survival mode that puts you somewhere in deep space, and tasks you with scoring as many points as possible with only 3 lives. This mode also makes you start out with all your upgrades from scratch each time you play.
Fast, easy to use and customizable, Mozilla’s browser is packed with features. You can sync your history, bookmarks, tabs, settings and passwords across all of your devices for a unified browsing experience. Plus, Firefox 4 runs on the same platform as the desktop version, so you can be sure you’re getting all of the speed and power of its bigger brother.
When it comes to entertainment, finding a good title can be difficult. Part of the failure of the show “Terriers” can be attributed to the fact that the title conveyed nothing about the show itself through its title alone, and fans of the show often had to add the qualifier “It’s not about dogs” when talking about it. The Impossible Game will not suffer from this problem, as its title perfectly conveys what this game is about – it is very difficult. The Impossible Game is a platformer that has you traveling constantly forward and onward, trying to make it through the level without dying. This is far easier said than done, as you’re traveling at a high speed, and you can only tap on the screen to jump quickly, or hold down to jump rapidly in succession – and you will often have to alternate between the two techniques. If you die, then you have to start all the way over from the beginning. Thankfully, to help you out, you can lay down flags to enter Practice Mode, where you can respawn from where your flag was laid down.
Geared experienced great success on the iPhone, and now it has made its way to the Android Market. The fundamental difference between the two versions is that the Android version is ad-supported, while the iPhone version costs money. As it turns out, you don’t have to spend money to get a top notch puzzle game.
The premise of Geared is simple: there’s one yellow gear on screen that’s moving, and one or more blue gears that aren’t. Your job is to power the blue gears by connecting them to the yellow one with a series of gears provided to you at the beginning of each level. The concept seems extremely simple, and at first glance, it might seem like Geared is incapable of providing a real challenge, but with the addition of no-drop zones, and multiple blue gears that need power, Geared becomes extremely challenging very quickly.
Tap Tap Revenge is a series that should be synonymous with iOS. The rhythm game that has players tapping along to the beat as notes come down 3 tracks has its origins with the pre-App Store days of iOS as Tap Tap Revolution, being a jailbreak-only game, before the series went ‘legitimate’ with Tap Tap Revenge.
As the series went on, sequels got released, including collaborations with popular artists for branded versions of the game. Starting with Tap Tap Revenge 3, the series began to focus on in-app purchases of new songs and went free as soon as Apple allowed free apps to sell in-app purchases. Since then, developer Tapulous has been bought out by Disney, and a new chapter has been opened as Tap Tap Revenge 4 is now available. In a first for the franchise, it is making an appearance outside of iOS, as TTR4 is now available on Android.
Over on the Android Developers blog, it was announced that in-app billing would be coming some time this week.
In-app billing will enable developers to do micro-transactions, subscriptions or app upgrades right through their app. In an example given on the Android Developers blog, you can see several virtual items for a “dungeon” game that the player can purchase to use in game. The possibilities are virtually endless and allow app developers numerous ways to increase their revenue stream beyond the initial app purchase.
For Slate readers on Android, this moment has been a long time coming, but it’s finally here. No longer do you have to feel snubbed by Slate for catering to those with iPhones and iPads, because now, you can have Slate on your Android device, as well. Your day has come!
The Slate Group have announced that the Slate app is now available for free on the Android Market.
While many of us have been anxiously awaiting Google’s cloud music services to arrive, Amazon has gone ahead and pulled the rug right out from under us and released their own cloud services. Anyone with an Amazon account and a valid U.S. billing address can now access 5GB of free cloud drive storage along with Amazon’s Cloud Player for the web and Android (Sorry iOS).
I’ve continued to wrack my brain on what exactly has stood between Android and wider success with the gaming market, and I still find myself struggling to come up with good reasons that made sense. So, as I still consider why things aren’t what they seem with Android gaming, my thoughts turned to one special Android device that could mean a lot for Android gaming, a phone designed for gaming from one of gaming’s biggest names – Sony Ericsson’s Xperia Play.
The Xperia Play is a wonderful idea. A cell phone that has actual gaming controls? That ought to shut up a lot of the people who whine about and deride mobile gaming’s controls STILL. Of course, Sony keeps making ads that mock mobile gaming and their supposed lack of “real games”, whatever those are. Of course, the Xperia Play, a cell phone, will be getting so-called “real games” through the PlayStation Suite, which will start off with a variety of Playstation 1 ports, like Syphon Filter and Wild Arms. Oh, and Sony’s unleashed their marketing A game on this one, launching a hilarious series of ads with the incredibly funny Kristen Schaal. The problem is that none of this really matters – the Xperia Play won’t really change much in the scheme of things for Android gaming.
The first problem is that not everyone can even get their hands on this phone. For whatever reason, Sony’s launching it on only one carrier at first – Verizon. It’s kind of a shame, as even if you’re interested in the Xperia Play, if you’re not on the Verizon network, you’ll either be SOL or looking for another phone. And it’s not like we’re talking about an iPhone either – that device seems to exist in a different universe where people will jump carriers just for it, but no one’s ever accused Apple fans of living in a rational universe, either. The Xperia Play is certainly not going to make people jump ship from their current carriers and contracts just so they can play Cool Boarders 2 with their phone. And by the time it likely hits other carriers, the technology won’t be as attractive, especially as other phones launch, and especially the iPhone 5. Remember, Apple is the only company that can get people excited for hardware released half a year ago, and I don’t know if the Xperia Play, being a phone barely associated with the PlayStation branding, will be able to draw Apple-level interest with future models.
Also, let’s get to the real problem here – this isn’t the next PSP. Sony punted on this one – if they wanted the Xperia Play to be taken seriously, they would have made this the next PSP model. It will likely wind up being like the iPad, where its 3G access will be solely for entertainment value, rather than as any kind of significant communication device, which will still make it a #2 option for entertainment. The phone has the advantage of being something that is always in someone’s pocket – handheld systems are usually something that are brought along if there is room or if there is some intent to play a game at some point. The NGP will be just like the PSP in that regard – and it’s hard to look at it next to the Xperia Play, and not be potentially disappointed at what could be.
Granted, the Xperia Play is a really neat idea, and the Playstation Suite could be really exciting if Sony works on expanding it out to devices beyond just the Xperia Play and NGP, and it could be great for Android gaming. The problem is that once again, a company is punting when it comes to trying to push mobile gaming. Apple has succeeded in part because they’ve been willing to go all in with the iPhone and iOS, especially since the App Store launched. Apple has the major advantage of being Apple, having that fanbase and their design philosphies that others don’t, but with companies like Sony unwilling to take major risks with their products to to try and topple the App Store’s gaming dominance, how will they ever actually do so? Because Android gaming is advancing at a slow crawl compared to iOS at times, and it needs a kick in the pants to speed it up. The Xperia Play could have been that kick – but I do not see it happening.
Of course, would such a phone even succeed? I may be giving Sony far too little credit here – I’m sure they’ve done plenty of market research and maybe decided that the correct direction to go in with a PSP successor was to launch with primarily wi-fi with 3G options. Of course, considering how Sony has fallen from the heights of console dominance by mismanaging the PS3, and how the PSP has become an increasingly irrelevant platform in recent years, there’s part of me that doesn’t have the kind of faith to say that I trust their judgment here in essentially making the Xperia Play act as second fiddle to their own upcoming product. So, forgive me if I’m not quite sold on the Xperia Play as the future of mobile gaming – I fear it will only be an interesting blip on the radar, and not quite the revolution it could be, if only Sony was willing to work at making it a real possibility.
Ed note: after spending way too much time on youtube, watching all of these hilarious videos, I have to say this one is my favorite:
Developer: Angry Mob Games
App Reviewed on: Motorola Droid X
Kill ‘em all! That’s what Guerrilla Bob would say, if he said anything other than cheesy one-liners while blasting away bad guys.
In this third-person, top-down shoot-‘em-up, you play as Bob, a US Army soldier who’s been set up by his ex-best friend, John Gore. After being dishonorably discharged for crimes he didn’t commit, Bob decides to take justice into his own hands and become the rebel known as Guerrilla Bob. Ever since then, he’s been hell bent on taking John Gore down, personally.