Skateboard Party 2 Released

Skateboard Party 2 Released

Dec 30, 2013

Skateboard Party 2 2

Skateboard Party 2 offers more of the skateboarding awesomeness, with even better graphics. Lots of tricks, 8 completely unique locations, multiplayer, achievements, character progression and customization, and much more awaits the players. The game can be downloaded for free from here: Skateboard Party 2 on Google Play.

First Trailer Released For Final Fantasy VI On Android

First Trailer Released For Final Fantasy VI On Android

Dec 30, 2013

Final Fantasy 6 3

It may be late for Christmas, but Final Fantasy VI is definitely coming to Android soon enough. The first trailer is released, and although it’s not showing anything new, it is Final Fantasy. The game is set for release this winter.

Westbound Review

Westbound Review

Dec 30, 2013

Westbound is yet another entry in the well-worn city builder genre. Does it differentiate itself?

Westbound begins with the player saving a frontiersman named Carson who somehow got his leg stuck in a wagon wheel. Soon after, a frontier lady named Ruby Mae joins him town and from there Carson decides to build an entire frontier town right there in the canyon in an effort to impress the pretty Ruby Mae. Ruby Mae meanwhile is searching for her missing daughter. The game’s story is pretty incoherent. Battle Nations this isn’t.

Screenshot_2013-12-17-10-09-25From there, the game enters a very familiar routine that will be all too familiar for players of Farmville or other games of this type. Buildings are built, resources are harvested and gradually the town takes shape. Mini quests frequently appear to give some direction. Money is needed for completing tasks and is gained from planting crops, selling items and so on. Since the game takes place in a canyon a large part of the game is about using pickaxes to mine out new space for houses and other objects. Mining is also often used to complete quests.

Unfortunately, Westbound has a few mechanics that suck the fun out of the game. The most overt of them is the total reliance the player has on pickaxes. Without pickaxes the game cannot really be played. The town can’t expand, items needed for quests can’t be found and the entire game grinds to a halt. The only way to obtain pickaxes is to buy them with real money or download other Kiwi games. Unless cash is ponied up the player will get nowhere in Westbound.

The game also relies heavily on timers for any task. Even the most basic money making tasks take three taps and about 30 seconds of waiting and anything more advanced, such as chopping wood takes five to ten minutes or even longer.

Screenshot_2013-12-17-00-37-12Westbound features a lot of ads. One time two ads to purchase pickaxes and another ad advertising another Kiwi game appeared in the space of a minute, interrupting gameplay each time. Ads are a necessary evil in freemium games, but this is a bit much.

Westbound doesn’t look good. The graphics succeed in driving home the game’s frontier feel, but they are poorly detailed and while some of the characters in game looks OK, there is little interesting to look at. The sound is workman like as well, with all the beeps and clangs common to this type of game.

Westbound is a poor game. It has little fun gameplay, it has too many restrictions and it does nothing new with the city builder genre. There are much better games of this type in Android. For a fun city building experience, check out Clash of Clans, Total Conquest or even Castleville.

LEGO® Hero Factory: Invasion From Below, Coming Early January

LEGO® Hero Factory: Invasion From Below, Coming Early January

Dec 30, 2013

LEGO® Hero Factory Invasion From Below 3

The new Lego mobile game is coming to Android, early next year. It’s an action platformer game about a futuristic robot, fighting the monsters from the underground, who are invading the surface world. The game is licensed by Lego, so it has all chances of being really fun. The developer’s website with lots of other Lego titles is here: Amuzo Website.

Android Rundown’s Look Back at 2013: The State of Kickstarter and Android

Android Rundown’s Look Back at 2013: The State of Kickstarter and Android

Dec 30, 2013

I have been doing a lot of coverage of KickStarter over the past two years, and I have seen it grow and mature with increased publicity and a more willing user base. It seems obvious to me that Android is the best vehicle for KickStarter due to its openness and robustness as a platform, but the question I want to ask is how much of an effect KickStarter has had on the Android landscape.

First off, KickStarter is great for hilighting the most creative and well polished ideas and bubbling them up to the surface. Sure, there are duds thrown in every now and again, but that is bound to happen, and stopping the failures would in turn hinder many successful campaigns. Android prides itself somewhat on being the hobbyist operating system; the SDK is free to download, and as anyone can create the next great app, or just a personal one, for free. As we have seen over this year games are certainly a big draw on KickStarter with over $83 million being pledged to game projects in 2013; most of them in some way comparable with Android, and there is no denying this helps the platform.

FIST OF AWESOME 5A hidden issue, however, is that a majority of these funded games are also compatible with iOS, and part of the reason is because previously unavailable funding suddenly exists. xCode, Apple’s developing environment, is only compatible with OSX and includes that annoying $99/year App Store fee, but once that is paid for by supporters it is understandable that many developers focus more on a platform that only needs one or two modifications to reach 95% of users. Because of this most apps come out initially for iOS and select Android devices, leaving full Android support as a stretch goal or future endeavor.

This is not an all encompassing assessment, however, because the best part of Android, still, is its flexibility. Nobody is throwing a version of iOS7 onto a cheap, low powered game system. Ouya, as we have seen, is one of the most successful KickStarter projects ever, gaining over $8.5 million on KickStarter, and while the sales have been less than impressive it springs hope for future consoles, none of which will be running iOS or Windows Phone 8 software.

As always, some quiet reservations exist about KickStarter, and it is necessary to take a step back and take an objective look at things. I have, personally, funded a handful of projects and some have been successful, delivering great products and apps that I use everyday, and some have simply faded into nothing or have become shells of their promised outcome. Like every money making opportunity there exists those who want to extort the system, and sometimes developers don’t pan out because they are simply not ready for the spotlight. This is all necessary, as I mentioned at the beginning of this article, but it is something that is hard for most people to fully accept. Talking to some friends, KickStarter has, for some, gotten the reputation as a place where people go for free money, and while they know it is not true for the whole this stigma does exist, however lightly. As Android and KickStarter become more intertwined it will be imperative for both parties to keep creativity and innovation as a priority over using KickStarter as a money service.

Puzzle & Dragons Collaborates With Batman: Arkham Origins Again

Puzzle & Dragons Collaborates With Batman: Arkham Origins Again

Dec 30, 2013

Puzzle & Dragons 2

Another update, featuring the caped crusader and his most popular villains, is introduced into Puzzle & Dragons, a free-to-play match-three monster-fighting game. Interestingly, it’s the second time the two universes collide. There are 11 new heroes and villains, including Joker, Catwoman, and Batman himself. The game can be downloaded for free here: Puzzle & Dragons on Google Play.

Colossatron: Massive World Threat Review

Colossatron: Massive World Threat Review

Dec 30, 2013

Colossatron: Massive World Threat is all about controlling a giant, space faring robot creature, bristling with guns as he destroys everything in sight. How could it not be awesome?

Screenshot_2013-12-22-17-34-39Colossatron crash lands at a new city every level, which must be completely levelled to win the game. As he thunders around, smashing down buildings and causing havoc, the military responds with legions of tanks and choppers, dropships full of infantry and bombers. Most cities also have a boss of sorts like a massive, tough to kill plane or tank at the end. When a city is destroyed money is earned that can be used to upgrade or repair Colossatron. Premium currency can be picked up during games as well, which can be used to upgrade amour and unlock new weapons.

While Colossatron:MWT may look like an action game and in some ways it is, the crux of the game is more akin to puzzle games. As Colossatron rampages thought the city, different coloured pieces of his body float in from the sides of the screen at random. Each colour is a different weapon and they are dragged and dropped onto Colossatron. The idea is to drag pieces so they are in groups of three on Colossatron. When three pieces are arranged, they merge into one more powerful weapon. Some pieces will change colour when they are placed alongside others, such as blue and red which make purple. This is the only way to create some weapons.

Screenshot_2013-12-22-18-11-59Weapons are very satisfying in Colossatron:MWT and range from missiles to lasers and railguns and even flamethrowers. When Colossatron has a lot of weapons it’s easy to just gawk at the sheer number of bullets and lasers on screen as he slices his way through entire tank battalions in seconds. Soon into the game the player gains the ability to focus Colossatron’s fire and it is great fun to drag the crosshair over a massive squadron of bombers and watch them get torn into bits by Colossatron’s arsenal.

Colossatron:MWT is great to look at. Colossatron himself is very well detailed and very colourful. The weapon effects are amazing and there are literal hailstorms of bullets and tons of great looking laser and flame effects. The armies Colossatron fights look good too and their sharp, 2D style makes it easy to quickly see what is where and where the threats are.

The sound is extremely well done as well. The beefy weapon sound effects really make them feel powerful and the energetic music and fun voice acting really make the game sound special. Colossatron’s presentation sets a great backdrop to the action. Presented as a pseudo news report of the destruction, there are some amusing characters, like General Mustache that give the game a bit of flair.

Colossatron: Massive World Threat is a fantastic game. Its very fun to play, features a robotic snake destroying entire armies with a barrage of weapons and is truly unique. Play it today!

Bad Hotel Among Three Games Added to Humble Bundle for PC & Android 8

Bad Hotel Among Three Games Added to Humble Bundle for PC & Android 8

Dec 24, 2013

It’s Christmas Eve, and here comes Humble Bundle delivering more games for the Humble Bundle for PC and Android 8. Those who pay above the current $4.25 average get bundle veterans Solar 2, The Bard’s Tale, and the Android debut of Bad Hotel by Lucky Frame on Android. The bundle ends on New Year’s Eve. Happy holidays!

Full Fat Discounts All Of Its Sports Games For Holidays

Full Fat Discounts All Of Its Sports Games For Holidays

Dec 24, 2013

Full Fat 3

To celebrate Christmas, Full Fat has a sale on all of its “Flick Sports” games, over on Google Play. Now, the following games only cost $0.99 to purchase: Flick Golf Extreme, Zombie Flick, Flick Nations Rugby, Flick Golf!, and Flick Soccer. See the list of apps by Full Fat here: Full Fat Games on Google Play.

Samsung GamePad Officially Released In Europe, Releasing in Additional Territories Soon

Samsung GamePad Officially Released In Europe, Releasing in Additional Territories Soon

Dec 23, 2013

GamePad  2

Samsung has released its controller, fit for a Galaxy phone of any size, up to 6 inches in size. It has NFC and Bluetooth 3.0 to connect to the device, and acts, pretty much, like a proper console controller would. It even has special button to browse supported games from Play Store, and can be connected to a TV-screen via HDMI cable. It’s said that it will soon be available in European stores. See the original press-release here: Samsung Website.

Soundrop Releases Android App

Soundrop Releases Android App

Dec 23, 2013

Soundrop 3

Soundrop is a music service that allows people to get together digitally, in the so-called rooms, and talk, listen to, and exchange their favorite music. It’s tied in with Spotify, so if you have a Spotify account, you can get a lot more from your music library by sharing it with others. The app can be downloaded for free from here:

Knightmare Tower Review

Knightmare Tower Review

Dec 23, 2013

Knightmare Tower takes the endless runner genre and tips it on its head, literally. Good idea?

Knightmare Tower has the barest vestiges of story. One day a knight hears about a famous tower full of monsters. Imagining the fame that could be heaped upon him, the intrepid knight sets off with his wooden sword and cheap armor to fight a horde of monsters. This story is told though a charming introductory cutscene.

Screenshot_2013-12-13-21-59-31Rather than running away from something like most runners, Knightmare is more about destroying enemies while staying alive. The game begins with the heroic knight launching himself up the tower. Right away he is beset by all matter of flying and bouncing monster. Luckily a quick tap slices most of them in twain. As the game wears on, tougher foes appear. Some require a few slices and can fire at the player and others require a well time slash to avoid injury if he attacks at the wrong time. Bonus health and cash float up the tower in bubbles as well, daring the player to ignore the monsters and grab them.

Meanwhile a sea of lava is inexorably filling up the tower below. If the knight misses an attack and goes hurtling off the screen he’s boosted back up, but going too slowly and missing too many attacks in a short time ends the game as the lava catches up with the player.

Knightmare Tower is very skill based. You need to tap directly on fast moving; constantly attacking monsters to stay alive and any screw up can end the game fast. Its fast paced and addictive fun, although it is quite hard.

Screenshot_2013-12-13-22-01-33After the game, coins can be spent on a number of abilities and upgrades. There are most of the expected ones, such as a stronger sword and better armour and so on. A nice touch is that the knight’s sprite changes as his equipment is upgraded. This adds a nice sense of progression. The game’s money system is very fair and you’re never pressured to purchase anything. The game has no ads in it either, which is a nice change.

Graphically, Knightmare Tower looks very nice. The graphics have a nice cartoony vibe, there are plenty of different kinds of enemies and little touches like the way monster’s expressions change after you’ve chopped them really add to the visual flair. Menus are attractive and intuitive as well.

The sound is equally impressive. The music is typically heroic, knightly fare and the sound effects feature plenty of chopping and all the sounds you’d expect. Knightmare tower has some excellent presentation.

Knightmare Tower is a solid game with great presentation and no nasty freemium features. It’s certainly worth a buy for anyone who admires great gameplay or simply wants to try something a little different.