Jumping Heroes Review

Jumping Heroes Review

Apr 29, 2014

Jumping Heroes is a match-three game. If you don’t know how a match-three game works, welcome to the wonderful world of the future, filled with joy and micro-transactions. There’s a field, full of colored blocks that need to be switched, in order to create lines or rows of three or more blocks together that immediately disappear, making place for more colored blocks. Gameplay-wise, this particular game is more complex than other match-three arcades in exactly zero places. In fact, it’s even simpler than others – and frankly, I can’t say it’s a problem.

There is no description of the connection between player’s block-breaking business and the hero’s flying capabilities, but the relation is obvious. It doesn’t matter whether the blocks are destroyed in large quantities or not: the only thing that matters is that the player makes at least one connection every couple of seconds, until the bar above the game field completely goes away and the hero plummets to the ground. To be fair, there’s no indication that the so-called “heroes” have any heroic qualities. For all we know, they’re Jumping Heroes 3just jackasses in capes and a jetpack in their back. Anyway, the farther the player launches their jackass, the better score he gets.

Jumping Heroes has three difficulty levels: low, with just your basic match-three gameplay, medium, which I think is actually the hardest of the three and in which there are four square-wide glass frames on the field that won’t let the player swap the blocks inside with any surrounding blocks, and hard, in which one or two different rows get randomly hidden and locked down every half a minute. To compensate, the heroes have a special regenerating power that destroys three rows when activated.

Although Jumping Heroes lacks any depth or unlockable content, it also lacks any FTP mumbo-jumbo, just quietly playing ads in the bottom, without any interruptions to the game process. It’s a small, comfy arcade. It’s great to try and reach for the global high score with Google’s high score system, and is great to pass a couple of minutes. Underachieving is achieving, too.

Qix Galaxy: Space Adventure Review

Qix Galaxy: Space Adventure Review

Apr 29, 2014

Qix is a very old game for Atari, which started a small subgenre of arcade games. Players need to navigate with arrows and cut pieces off of the game field, while evading Microsoft Windows screensavers. Qix Galaxy: Space Adventure does this part pretty well – but every other mechanic isn’t helping the experience.

Although I can’t say that Qix Galaxy: Space Adventure is a bad game, it’s quite disappointing. The story tells about a space explorer, who boldly goes where no man has ever died before, accompanied by a female-looking AI. He needs to “explore” parts of space and destroy the strange Qix invaders that fly around it. The basic gameplay hasn’t changed, but to complete a level now, the player needs to fill the region that has a planet, after which the level is completed and the players gets some gold as a reward – the amount of said gold is laughably low, by the way, and it hardly changes even for advanced levels.

The main way of getting gold, or the rarer currency, is by completing small challenges, like surviving for some time. There are also power-ups that can slow the invaders that can be picked up. The gold is mostly spent on ship upgrades that are very basic, don’t add any new elements to the gameplay, and cost quite a lot. There are also lives that can Qix Galaxy 2only restore after more than 10 minutes. They’re a lot better than energy, to be fair, since you don’t need to spend one to successfully complete a level, but still end up limiting the game time – especially on advanced levels.

The only mechanic that actively helps the player in Qix Galaxy: Space Adventure, is booster – a magical red button to the right of the screen that boosts the ship’s speed, wasting more fuel in the process – the boost is ever so slight, but it’s enough to make many otherwise challenging levels a cakewalk.

In conclusion, I didn’t like Qix Galaxy: Space Adventure very much – but it might just be because it’s not as interesting, or different from other level-slicing games, as I expected. It looks pretty good, and it’s still free, so if you don’t mind the free-to-play limitations very much, it’s a pretty fine arcade.

HP Slatebook 14: Android in a Curious Form Factor, a Laptop?

HP Slatebook 14: Android in a Curious Form Factor, a Laptop?

Apr 29, 2014

HP has a curious new Android device, the Slatebook 14, on the horizon. This is an Android-powered laptop — and not one convertible to a tablet — featuring a 14″ 1080p touchscreen, 2 GB of RAM, HDMI output, three USB ports, and possibly a SIM card slot. In a world where Windows devices are becoming more tablet-esque, this is an interesting move for HP, but it could be one that fills a particular niche. As well, ZDNet says “There has been talk of some Chrome OS/Android integration and I imagine we will see more about this possibility at Google I/O in June.” We’ll keep an eye on this curious device. Until then, you can watch video of it here.

Antec SmartBean Bluetooth Receiver Hardware Review

Antec SmartBean Bluetooth Receiver Hardware Review

Apr 29, 2014

When it comes to accessories, it’s easy to go for stuff that increases the functionality of existing hardware. That’s why stuff like Antec SmartBean Bluetooth Receiver is so relevant.

As the review unit Antec sent us showed, the device is relatively small, with gentle edges; the square body tapers into a clip that forms on the backside. There is a 3.55 mm slot that is built into the tapering top, while there is a micro-usb charging port at the bottom and a microphone hole on the side. It’s mostly made of hard plastic, mostly white with a light blue frame that encircles the white center square that serves as the play/pause button. On said blue frame, there are are control buttons forwarding and rewinding/skipping and volume. The clip is firm without being rigid, and altogether, it’s a compact piece of hardware that feels exceptionally light in hand. Also packaged with the unit is a USB cable and documentation. The unit is also offered with grey or pink accents.

Out of the box, the SmartBean requires a stated 2.5 hours of charging to prep it for pairing. After the sb8requisite charge time, long-pressing on the center button puts the gadget into pairing mode, and getting it linked to a Bluetooth source is easy as it gets. After the pairing, the utility of the gadget really comes forth.

What the SmartBean does is convert audio output devices with the standard 3.55mm input jacks into pseudo-Bluetooth devices; it is, in essence a wireless receiver. I connected a bunch of different headphones and wired speakers, and the puck handled the audio duties very well. The audio fidelity transfers well, with hardly any noticeable distortion. Smartphones, tablets, mp3 players, TVs, car auxiliary ports and more with coaxial connectivity are all supported, and the lessened amount of wires is nothing but positive. The presence of rechargeable battery can’t be taken for granted, as some competing products do not include this.

I liked the ability to take calls with the unit; on non-continuous calls, it came close to the advertised six hours of talk time. It claims a standby time of 130 hours too.

The range isn’t unlimited, of course, and with walls and such between the source and output, the audio did cut out, so the closer the streaming source, the better. Another gripe I have is one I have with several Bluetooth peripherals: the infernal flashing blue light. Yes, it makes sense, and it is a good indicator, but there are times I wish I could toggle it off.

When it comes down to it, the drawbacks don’t even come close to taking preventing the SmartBean from being a great pickup; pricing and functionality make it that much more of a steal.

Beach God Review

Beach God Review

Apr 29, 2014

Some games ask important questions, as old as humanity itself. What is power? Is there really a free will? Will we ever be advanced enough to go to other planets? Other games ask simpler ones, like what if you were a superhero? Could you defeat a dragon? Does the damn princess even exist? And finally, there are games like Beach God that ask another kind of questions altogether. What if you would disintegrate into a pile of bones every time a woman on the beach thought badly of your upper arm muscle mass? Truly, gaming is a revolutionary medium.

Victor Hugo wrote: “the greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves”. This inner struggle is perfectly envisioned in the unanimous person in Beach God, whose very existence depends on his acceptance by women, who go past him on a metaphoric beach. The women are obviously symbolic, as they all look perfectly identical. They represent the unreachable beauty that the man strives for, ever so conscious about his own appearance. Although the player may woe an untold number of women with his flexing, his record crumbles to dust as soon as he allows even one of them go past him in disgust. There is a line in the sand before the hero, and if his flexing fails to impress a woman on her way past, he unleashes a violent cry of despair, falling Beach God 3apart.

But maybe the answer is to just “flex” through life, without thinking of your own well-being? Beach God has an answer to this question, as there is a “strength” meter on the top of the screen. When the man flexes, it starts disappearing. If he doesn’t take short breaks for the meter to refill, and it reaches zero, he will suffer the same boney fate. Just like in real life, if we don’t stop and take a break, our self will be stripped away, leaving only an empty husk.

And that’s everything there is to Beach God. There’s nothing to unlock, no different levels or modes. Just non-stop search for balance between flexing every time a woman crosses the line in front of the main character, and letting the “strength” indicator restore, all to reach a higher score before inevitably dying in front of several purple octopuses. If this isn’t a perfect metaphor for living, I don’t know what is.

Kabam’s Fast & Furious 6: The Game Gets Heist Mode and New Cars Including Nissan 350Z in Update

Kabam’s Fast & Furious 6: The Game Gets Heist Mode and New Cars Including Nissan 350Z in Update

Apr 29, 2014

While Fast and Furious 7 is well on the horizon for next year, Fast and Furious 6: The Game is still getting updates. Kabam has updated the game with a new Heist mode, and adding new cars, such as the 2008 Nissan 350Z, a well-respected mass-market sports car. Check out screens and video below. The update is available now on Google Play.

Sheep in Hell Review

Sheep in Hell Review

Apr 29, 2014

In Sheep in Hell, the player controls a wolf that gets into hell and has to kill sheep in order to stay “alive”. So, it’s nothing like a wolf hell at all. Regardless, the player needs to control this wolf, who looks like a monster from original Alone in the Dark, by tapping around, and leave hell by completing challenges.

The controls are simple, but get in the way of the game a lot. The player needs to hold his finger on the screen, so wolf would go there, and tap on the sheep so the wolf would jump towards them. If he crosses paths with sheep while jumping, the sheep will be killed. The problem is rather obvious: when you hold a finger on the screen, there’s no way you can see what’s going underneath it. This is usually solved by also making alternate control scheme, like touch sticks and buttons, but for some reason they are absent from Sheep in Hell.

There are three difficulty levels in Sheep in Hell – 10, 20, and 99 levels deep. While the first two are rather simple to complete, 99 is, unsurprisingly, not. The game also has an unusual level structure. Sheep in Hell 3Each level is infinite, so it’s possible to go from room to room, kill sheep and chickens and more sheep, lose and restore health, without making any progress. The only way to make progress is to complete a challenge. Every time the wolf is going to a new room, the game gives a challenge description – like destroy 10 enemies in 9 seconds, and if the player beats the challenge, a door to an elevator opens, and the wolf transcends to another layer of hell. While the idea is good, there are only several challenges, and half of them simply require the player to outlive his enemies. Most of them are also pretty unimaginative.

I’m conflicted whether this game is good or not. It’s just okay. It lacks any customizable or unlockable elements, and each new run is almost exactly like the previous. If there were more mechanics, or if the challenges were more complex and numerous, then it would actually be an unusual roguelike of sorts, but with such limited options, and I count the later bosses and new enemies, it’s just a mediocre action game with a hero that Minecraft would consider too blocky.

13 Coins Motion Comic App with Art by Eisner Award Winner Simon Bisley Now on Android

13 Coins Motion Comic App with Art by Eisner Award Winner Simon Bisley Now on Android

Apr 29, 2014

13 Coins, an original motion comic designed for mobile devices, is now available for Android. The comic features art by Simon Bisley, an Eisner Award winner for his work on Judgment on Gotham, and writers Martin Brennan and Michael B. Jackson. The app makes use of its interactive nature for things like 3D effects, as seen in this Vine video. The app is available now on Google Play and the Amazon Appstore.

Backchat, Anonymous Messaging App Created by Teenager Daniel Singer, Now Available on Android

Backchat, Anonymous Messaging App Created by Teenager Daniel Singer, Now Available on Android

Apr 29, 2014

The anonymous messenger app Backchat, previously known as Backdoor, is now available on Android. Created by tennager Daniel Singer, creator of YouTell, users can start conversations with their contacts and Backchat friends, including being able to send photos & videos, trying to have them guess who the sender is. For more details, read my interview with Daniel Singer on 148Apps back during the iOS launch. The app is available now on Google Play.

Astro Golf Review

Astro Golf Review

Apr 29, 2014

Astro Golf is a putt-putt game that does a visual switch on players.

Players substitute sun-kissed greens for the metal and somewhat unpredictable futuristic confines of a space ship. Our cuddly robot becomes the ball, and the goal is to finish levels by guiding it into holes in a set number of shots. Moving the spherical robot is a matter of long-pressing and “drawing” on the sphere (like one would do on a pinball machine) and releasing; the amount of power on the pull determines how hard and potentially far it goes.

The gameplay is defined by the environment; the elements will be familiar to anyone who has dabbled in miniature golf; the path from the start point to the hole is rarely a straight, flat line. There are obstacles, bumpers, bridges, ramps and more to traverse, and the playing area has different-colored nuts lining the play area that canastro1 be collected for gold. A lot of times, there is more than one way to solve what u=is in essence a riddle, as there might be another way to get to the cup, prior to the first shot, it is possible to zoom in and scan to study the area. At the end of a level, gold is generated based on performance, and if the level is passed, the next one is unlocked. levels can be repeated for more gold and/or better scores.

The gold can be redeemed for other characters and power-ups. the power-ups make the game easier, which is key at some junctures when the gameplay gets harder. Real cash can be used as well, but doesn’t feel necessary to enjoy the game.

It’s a fun diversion, and I especially like the customization options and the cheeky ode to mechanics, and the physics and such work well with the fantastic graphics.

Doctor Who: Legacy Version 2.0: Rise of the Master Update Has a Lot of Doctors

Doctor Who: Legacy Version 2.0: Rise of the Master Update Has a Lot of Doctors

Apr 28, 2014

The free-to-play puzzle game Doctor Who: Legacy has released its Version 2.0: Rise of the Master update. Claiming to contain over 20 hours of new gameplay, a perk system, and expert levels, players will not only have more game to play, but more Doctors and Masters to interact with. The Masters played by Roger Delgado and John Simm are in the game, along with multiple incarnations of the Doctor: the First, Second, Ninth, and John Hurt’s War Doctor, making for ten total Doctors out of, what, thirteen total? That’s a lot of Doctors Who. Feel free to chime in the comments to tell me that there’s no actual “Doctor Who.” The update for the game is available now on Google Play.

Abyss Attack Review

Abyss Attack Review

Apr 28, 2014

Here comes Abyss Attack, a submarine shooter with arcade credentials.

The gameplay feels a lot like AirAttack HD, in that the main goal is to keep the ever-shooting craft going. This caper is in the depths of the ocean, and the lethal obstacles are fantastical sea creatures that are as creepily dangerous as they are easy on the eyes. Any contact with these creatures is lethal to a degree; they are quite varied, with some stretching from the sides, and others emanate from the “top” of the playing area, and each with an interesting way of moving that makes them hard to avoid. Our sea craft is guided via one finger continuously on the screen; the craft follows the finger as long as contact is made. As noted, the submarine is always shooting, so getting it in ab1position to destroy the weird sea fauna while simultaneously avoiding them is key. If one so chooses, tilt controls can be utilized in settings.

Dispatched enemies usually leave behind crystals, and crystals are important as a form of game currency; picking them up can be hazardous to the health, because the game UI ensures there is an opportunity cost associated with trying to retrieve them. There are also timed powerups to pick up, like crystal magnets or heightened weaponry. The garnered crystals can be used to upgrade powerups (which are especially useful for the bosses). and to procure better subs. There are also special relics than can be collected in-game.

The game also employs tasks, and there is a ranking system too. Real cash can be used optionally to expecite things, but the game can be enjoyed without.

For all the fun, this game is a bit of a one-trick pony with regards to gameplay; the upgrade process breaks this up a bit, but the game sticks to its job. The playing area feels a bit cramped too.

All in all, I can’t help but appreciate the game. It’s simple, it’s engaging and it can be played in small burst or long episodes across generations.