Hello readers, it’s Carter Dotson here, editor for the last three-plus years at Android Rundown. Today is my last day at the site, as I move on to other exciting ventures. I’ll still be out there talking about mobile games across the internet, just not here any more.
I’m rather proud of the site over the last few years. I think that we have a unique place as a site that covers Android in a different way than what others do. I believe that it’s important to focus on what an Android device can do â€“ and not just talk about the latest app or game that’s been ported to the platform, or to keep talking about the next phone or tablet when people are buying them and keeping them for years. I’m proud of that.
And I’m proud that I’ve been in charge of writers who have gone on to work for other sites, and to do cool things with their career. I don’t know how much I’ve had to with it â€“ but if I helped, then I’m glad.
And I’m proud that Tre Lawrence, who’s been with the site for a long time now, is the new editor, and getting to I’m sure he’ll do a wonderful job. And he’ll get his opportunity to guide the site in his own way in the coming weeks and months. And I know he’s going to do a great job with it, and I hope you support him. I know it’s in great hands, and I believe the site has a great future with him in charge.
I asked Tre to contribute to this, but he chose to let me have the spotlight here.
As for me, this is a sad goodbye: this is me leaving a site that’s been a daily part of my life for three-plus years, and the 148Apps network as a whole changed my life, being the springboard for my current professional career. But life goes on, and so must I.
I’m out there on Twitter, and you can email me if you ever need to reach me. It’s been an honor, readers. See you all around.
More than 30 years since its initial release, Pac-Man is still one of the greatest video games ever created. Although Pac-Man holds up surprisingly well today, the gameâ€™s formula could use some tweaking and updating for modern audiences. Well, at least that seems to be the thought behind Globberâ€™s Escape, a new Android title that puts a modern spin on the Pac-Man formula.
Globber is a gelatinous glob attempting to escape the science lab where he is being held. It is up to players to help Globber find its way through the rooms of the lab. Along the way, players must guide Globber away from evil scientists roaming levels and towards alien flunkies and objects. The premise is refreshingly simple, and gameplay is frantic and fast-paced.
Like Pac-Man, Globberâ€™s Escape is easy to jump right into, which is perfect for mobile gamers. In fact, the gameâ€™s lack of menus is almost confusingly simple. Boot up the game and one simple tap will take players directly into gameplay. There are no simple tutorial levels to educate players or option menus to browse through; Globberâ€™s Escape is all about the gameplay.
While Pac-Man is based on gobbling up all objects located on the entire screen, the objective in Globberâ€™s Escape is to get to one specific area of a level at a given time. While mad scientists roam the lab, aliens pop out of machines spread throughout levels, requiring players to react quickly to collect the aliens while avoiding scientists. Once players are able to corral all aliens in a particular area, a special power-up will appear nearby, allowing Globber to break apart into multiple forms to make getting around the lab easier.
In the spirit of Pac-Man and popular mobile titles, there is no way to actually complete Globberâ€™s Escape, or even any of the levels in the game, a fact that can be frustrating for the objective orientated gamer. Instead, the object of the game is to advance through as many levels as possible without dying and accumulate the highest score possible.
Once players collect enough aliens in a particular area, a door opens up and players can make their way through it. As players advance, labs begin to offer more of a challenge. Scientists eventually give way to larger and quicker robots.
Dying doesnâ€™t have to be the end all in Globberâ€™s Escape. Gamers can use hammers acquired during gameplay to be brought back to life. However, hammers are difficult to obtain–the only clear way to get them is through an awkward post-death slot machine mini-game–so using them wisely is necessary.
Globber’s Escape is just the right mix between Pac-Man and something new. The game pays homage to one of the most popular games of all time and honors its legacy. However, it is not a Pac-Man clone. There are enough new gameplay elements to make Globber’s Escape an original title, and it feels right at home on mobile devices.
The frantic pace and ability to jump right into the game means players will be returning to help Globber escape over and over again.
Rush Rally harkens back to the warm, hazy past of video games where top down racers sat in smoky arcades waiting to eat quarters.
Rush Rally is a cool topdown rally racer. Itâ€™s the player against the clock in their steel gray steed of speed. Using a very simple control scheme with just buttons for turning left and right and a brake and accelerator the player throws their little car around various courses. The player races both at night and during the day and on sand, snow gravel and good old tarmac so there is always something new. There are plenty of barricades and trees to run into, but if the player goes too far off track or seems to get stuck, the game will helpfully replace the car back on the track, ready to roar off.
Rush Rally lacks other opponents. Like most rally games, itâ€™s all about beating the clock. At the end of a course the player is issued penalties for slamming into objects and leaving the track and if their adjusted time is under the target time they win and proceed to the next stage. The time limit is very friendly, so the game never feels unfair.
Rush Rally nails the mobile game format. Racing is simple and addictive as anything and the races are just long enough to be enjoyable and engaging, but short enough to squeeze one in no matter where you are. This kind of bite sized but super fun gameplay is just perfect. Rush Rally can be played for an hour or just a few minutes.
Rush Rally looks just great. Smooth, clean environments mesh well with the pleasing detail of the playerâ€™s car and the way dusty surfaces kick up behind the car is nice too. The game has a warm look reminiscent of games gone by, but still modern enough to hold up against other racers.
Rush Rally is virtually devoid of annoying in-app purchases. The only shred of freemium in the game is a fuel system. Each race costs a fuel point of which there are 5 and they take about 6 minutes each to recharge. A one off payment of about $4.50 completely removes the fuel system. There are no other microtransactions of any kind in Rush Rally and it is well worth the price as it is lot of fun.
Rush Rally is fun stuff and a raft of updates promised by the developer includes new cars and improvements to gameplay so it can only get better!
When I looked at the screenshots of Digits, I immediately thought “great, another copy of 2048“. Not that I’ve seen lots of them, but it’s a pretty cheap move. If you want to rip something off, at least find something a bit more challenging. Anyway, my rage went unfounded, as Digits has nothing to do with 2048. What Digits is is a very satisfying puzzle that’s all about reducing numbers, not increasing them.
The game consists of dozens of different levels. Each level is a square field of numbers. The numbers and the field’s size change between the levels. The player’s task is to remove all of the numbers from the field by clicking on them. When the player clicks on a number, it is reduced by one point, along with any numbers that are above, beneath, and to the sides of it. So, if there’s a line that looks like “2-3-2”, clicking on the three will make it “1-2-1”. Clicking on the three again will remove the ones, and leave the player with “1” in the middle, which means that the player failed to remove all of them. The trick is to click on the squares in such pattern that no number gets left behind, as the player can’t click on a number that’s not connected to at least one other number. Thankfully, there’s no penalty for using an undo button and retracing the steps to any point of the level. And really, there’s not much need to do it, as when you get to know the ropes of Digits, it becomes almost impossible to fail.
That’s almost an issue for me, actually, as I’m accustomed to more challenging puzzles. I don’t know, maybe the game becomes more challenging in the expansion packs, but I’ve played through the first 50 levels without a stutter. Speaking of which, expansion packs? Really? Digits doesn’t seem like that complex a game that it would require purchasing additional level-packs. They’re not too expensive, but they already put it in the line of HD bestsellers among Google Play games. I guess that it’s alright if you like it, but I’d expect something heavier for $0.99 than just a level pack. Still, it’s fun, and free to try, so if you’re a fan of puzzles and don’t mind them being a bit simple, try Digits out.
As Gotham City and the world at large looks towards the future and Batman: Arkham Knight, Android-centric gamers are only now getting a taste of what caped crusading in the early days of the Dark Knight’s career entail.
Batman: Arkham Origins, at its core, follows the template set by Infinity Blade. It’s a path taken by many a mobile title– including quite a few licensed ones, such as Man of Steel– but for the most part, Batman does it better than numerous others which have nipped at the popular title’s heels. It takes some of the key aspects of the console title of the same name– features such as story, setting, visuals, etc.– and grafts it onto a game more streamlined and arguably better suited for a mobile title.
As the recently-debuted Batman, players find themselves having caused a fair bit of trouble for one of Gotham City’s top crime bosses, the Black Skull. Black Skull is not terribly keen on this, and so he sets a massive bounty in the head of the Bat that draws in mercenaries from all over to take a stab– or various other kinds of lethal blows– at claiming the bounty. Among those the Dark Knight will contend with are the likes of the Electrocutioner, Copperhead, Bane, and Deathstroke the Terminator– as well as a number of random masked thugs here and there.
The game is free-to-play, which of course means that while playing is free, investments are needed in order to secure more desirable components in a timely manner. Though you can slowly accumulate soft currency, hard currency (the most expensive option of which is over $100) is likely the only way that anyone will be dressing up in a variety of the Batsuits available (each with their own stats and bonuses) in a timely manner. Among others is the Beyond Batsuit, which makes the prospect mighty tempting.
One can also customize the Batman in a number of ways, from different tools to restore health or unleash a flurry of bats on an opponent to increasing the effectiveness of punches and strikes. Different stances are even available, for those who would rather focus more on defense than offense. Certain options, however, require leveling up to a certain degree before they become accessible.
As players progress, more missions open up for Batman to swoop in and put a stop to. They begin in the upper-west side, but soon spread to all four quadrants of the Gotham City map, and no sooner than one crime is foiled than another pops up, along with occasional ambushes by those hunting the Black Skull’s Bat-bounty. This is where Free-to-Play rears its ugly head, as Batman can only go for so long, as measured by his Stamina bar. When depleted, there are of course two options: Wait for the bars to replenish over time until the amount required for a mission has been refilled, or say “Screw the rules; I have money!” and just buy a second wind.
Batman: Arkham Origins looks good and sounds great, too, presumably sharing its voice acting with the console title as Not-Kevin Conroy does a good job as a younger Master Wayne. The music is quite nice and fitting, reminiscent of the kind of tunes one might associate with the classic Batman: The Animated Series or some of the World’s Greatest Detective’s higher points in cinema. The touch and swipe-based controls work well for the most part, though we did notice that Batman seems slower to guard than he is to strike, the problems with which should be obvious.
All told, if one considers themselves a fan of Batman, yet for whatever reason could or would not play the console version, the mobile version of the game is a pretty good alternative for those still wishing to experience the story.
Soul Historica is a new RPG from the house of RPGs; Kemco. Kemco have been cranking out quality RPGs for Android for several years now and Soul Historica is no exception.
Soul Historica tells the story of York, a young man drawn into a sinister plot and Eris, a young girl unwittingly used as a tool. The game has a major twist about 20 minutes into it and it doesnâ€™t stop there. Some excellent dialogue and great translation really bring the characters to life. There are constant breaks in gameplay for story exposition and anyone who likes a good story and believable characters will enjoy these.
Soul Historica has an in depth battle system that really makes the player think. Each character has a Soul Cage, an item for capturing and using monster souls in combat. Killing enemies sometimes causes them to drop their souls and these can be equipped into a characterâ€™s Soul Cage for various effects. For example a goblin soul raises that characterâ€™s attack power. If the player equips two souls of the same type this unlocks a new class for that character depending on the type of souls equipped.
Equipping a Mage type character with two magic/physical souls unlocks the Druid class for the Wizard who combines magic with much stronger physical attacks. New skills for each class can be unlocked as well. The stat boosts and alternate classes provide a ton of depth to combat and encourage playing the game in new ways to unlock all the skills.
Weapon based combat is similarly in depth. Each weapon in the game has an optimum range and a range where it is nearly useless. Both enemies and characters can move around the battlefield freely and keeping the correct distance from enemies is vital to success. A party full of bow users will just get creamed by a group of melee enemies, while swordsmen lack the range to pick off opposing mages who often stay far away, behind their melee friends and blast the party from a distance.
Soul Historicaâ€™s biggest weakness is its presentation. A familiar, pseudo 16 bit style common to Kemcoâ€™s RPGs gets the job done but isnâ€™t exceptional. Character art looks very nice. The portraits during dialogue are especially good. Still Soul Historica isnâ€™t the game to play for players expecting a graphics extravaganza. Combat is very drab. There are no spell effects to speak of and very basic attack animations.
The sound is very basic. There is nearly no sound in combat save a weak little, â€œpukâ€ when someone is hit. There are no magic sound effects or anything fancy like that. The music saves the day somewhat as it is pretty good. Tunes repeat bit too often however and a few more music tracks would help offset the lack of sound.
Soul Historica is an excellent, deep, RPG and anyone who enjoys a good story or accessible tactical combat will have a great time with it.
Dungeons of Evilibrium is part exploration, part card battler. Players select a dungeon to enter and begin with the entire area covered with tiles. Tapping a tile removes it and reveals whatever is underneath. This may be money, a chest with an item or a battle. Money and items are used to evolve creatures. Once the player finds the exit they proceed to the next dungeon. This part of Dungeons Of Evilibrium isnâ€™t particularly interesting. Since there is nothing to see in dungeons but random objects that block the playerâ€™s path, monsters and chests any excitement to discover the unknown is lost.
Like most games of this type cards can be evolved to strengthen them. This requires certain items and these can be found either by randomly finding them in chests or buying them from the in-game shop using gems, the premium currency. Cards also level up slowly, but this only adds a minuscule amount to their strength.
Dungeons Of Evilibriumâ€™s combat is completely random and doesnâ€™t involve the player at all, save for selecting a target at the start of the battle. Creatures take turns attacking each other depending on their speed and their skills activate (or not) purely by chance. Battles are generally either very easy for the playerâ€™s team to beat or impossibly hard.
Since the player has no control over battle and evolving creatures is also completely down to luck, due to items being randomly found, there is no reliable way for the player to strengthen their party. Unfair, impossible to win battles also pop up seemingly at random, which feature much stronger enemies. These battles exist apparently to force the player to use gems to revive their creatures at periodic intervals.
Enemies that are defeated have a chance of being captured. Not only is there only a small chance of a creature being capturable, there is only a small chance of actually capturing the creature unless the player – again – pays gems. A normal capture attempt still costs money and has a small 35% or so chance to get the creature. Getting any creature to even a halfway useful state will require buying gems as well, without enormous amounts of grinding.
Dungeons of Evilibrium doesnâ€™t look good. About the only interesting part of the game is the way cards change as they are evolved. Small cats suddenly transform into panthers and snakes evolve into mini dragons. Combat is a very dull affair involving sprites sliding into each other and the dungeon itself lacks any interesting design.
Dungeons Of Evilibrium is unlikely to last players long. The core idea just isnâ€™t very interesting and the game either plays itself or forces the player to fight unwinnable battles.
Dungeons Of Evilibrium is an extremely disappointing game. It is not enjoyable to play, lacks any interesting gameplay and is loaded with annoying freemium elements. There are far, far more enjoyable card battlers on Android. For a good simple RPG with autocombat try Heroes of Atlan. for card combat try Deadman’s Cross.
Super Battle Tactics is a strange combination of random combat and tanks. Will it make you armour-ious?
Super Battle Tactics begins with the player acquiring a team of vehicles. These range from big heavy tanks to lighter, faster attacking jeeps and armored cars. New tanks can be bought, but most of the really good ones are locked behind paywalls or are unreasonably expensive.
Combat in Super Battle Tactics is almost entirely luck based. During each round of combat each tank â€œrollsâ€ a number. That number is how much damage they do and also controls which tank shoots first. The player has several points to spend per turn, which can be used to reroll numbers, call in additional, more powerful attacks, or select a target enemy for their tanks to fire at. When the player ends the turn, the tanks take turns shooting at each other, randomly if the player did not choose a target. The next round then begins and the cycle repeats. The player to have all their tanks reduced to twsited smoking hunks of metal first loses.
Ultimately, for a game named after battle tactics Super Battle Tactics doesnâ€™t have much in the way of them. The random nature of combat and the lack of skill needed to play make it more an exercise in luck based gaming than anything strategic. The only tactical; thing in the game is basic stuff like selecting targets.
A major problem with Super Battle Tactics is its thoroughly broken matchmaking. The game seems to either always match the player with someone who is much stronger than they are or someone much weaker, leading to either instant death or a kerb stomp battle. This is very frustrating. There is no single player mode, so the broken matchmaking is just something the player has to put up with.
Super Battle Tactics is packed with microtransactions. From whole new tanks, to parts for existing tanks and even chances to get parts for tanks from crates, get ready to pay and pay often for any chance at success. The game also uses an energy system which is very slow. About 5 matches an hour is the limit. There is no real way to properly play Super Battle Tactics without paying real money.
Super Battle Tactics looks decent enough. There are plenty of colourful tanks to choose from and an interesting game show based presentation adds a bit of flair. The sound is pretty decent as well and guns sound nice and punchy.
Super Battle Tactics is beset by issues and relies heavily on a pay to win mentality. With little fun on offer, there is little reason to play Super Battle Tactics.
Looking around the KickStarter universe and it becomes apparent that consumers want to charge their phones by any means necessary. There are chargers for wallets, paper towel racks, purses, and now thermoses. Thermoses? Yes, that metal double-walled container that holds the morning coffee now contains a 1,000 mAh lithium ion battery in the base that charges via the hot morning liquid. The device, the ThermaCharge, takes advantage of what is known as the Seebeck effect which creates power from of a difference in temperature between two surfaces.
Certainly sounds like one of the more outlandish projects we have covered here, and I would absolutely agree. But after thinking on it some more I can really see the times when this would be useful. Imagine going camping and being without power for a few days, but still wanting to be able to call a family member or keep in touch with civilization while out in the wilderness. Simply boil some water over the campfire and in a few minutes the ThermaCharge has enough juice to bring any standard phone up to 60% or 70% battery.
For those who do not hear Nature’s call as loudly as most the internal battery can be charged via conventional means for a quick mid-day pep charge. The biggest thing for a project like this is the price. The ThermaChare is definitely not a product that is worth spending a lot of money considering most people take their morning coffee mug into the office with them and there is no shortage of USB ports there. I could see this being really successful as a camping or hiking product or even for students who do not bring a laptop with them to class.
Fortunately, the smallest ThermaCharge is being offered for only a $60 donation, and the largest runs for a cool $75. For those who are just looking for a cheap gift there is also a non-thermal-charging version that comes with an internal battery which more than doubles the capacity of the standard ThermaCharge at 2,200 mAh. But considering that, even if the ThermaCharge is never used for the containing of a beverage, it is still a $60 thermoelectric power source; which is not something to take lightly.
As discussed previously, Space Forest Dilemma is an Android game which knows where its priorities are. Whereas the “game” in “video game” has been diluted to the point of implying little more than interactivity to go with its storytelling, Papquark clearly set out to make an actual game first and foremost.
The result is something almost more akin to an electronic board game like Simon than a Sonic, a Final Fantasy, or even an Angry Birds. There is something of a narrative– or at least an implied one, but it’s so minimalistic as to be almost inconsequential, save for talking first-time players through the tricks, traps, and nuances that they will be introduced to over the course of the game’s 100 levels.
Space Forest Dilemma‘s concept is as simple as its graphics: Each level presents a number of blocks marked with an arrow, and the goal is to tap each block so that it moves across the playing field to bounce off the other wall a few times without hitting anything. The inclusion of more blocks makes this more complicated, as players must time each just so that they are able to travel along their paths without hitting each other, back and forth until the number of bounces needed is satisfied. The addition of further obstacles and different blocks steps up the difficulty as one progresses, and while the premise remains simple, the complexity of the arrangements can lead to some real brain benders.
Though the game can rack your brain, it remains rather low pressure. There are no time limits, nor are players afforded a limited cache of lives to burn through. Just wait, try, and try again as necessary while a rather soothing soundtrack persists throughout the program.
If there is a (rather subjective) downside, it’s that some puzzles can feel rather brutal in their difficulty. While that may be desirable for some, others may feel turned off by it. On the plus side, players are not forced to play the game sequentially, meaning that they are not locked into the current level or previous ones until it is completed. If someone wants to skip a level, they are more than free to, whether they just want to bypass a particularly challenging level or just feel that the early goings are altogether too simple to complete. And for what it’s worth, the controls are easy to use and as simple as the graphics; any failures fall on the shoulders of the player, rather than the game.
Space Forest Dilemma harkens back to a very early, very simple, and still very enjoyable time in video gaming’s history, but does so with a modern flourish, thanks to the advances in graphics, sound, and of course, touchscreen technology. Playing it leads to a largely enjoyable time (if occasionally frustrating, albeit in a good way), and whether or not it reaches the heights of an Arkanoid or a Tetris, it should at the very least find an audience among the fans of such games as those.
Spy vs. Spy is, for me at least, one of those games I have fond memories of. Did I enjoyed myself while playing the just released Android version? Canâ€™t say that I have…
Man, back in the days, I loved playing Spy vs. Spy with my friends. Just sitting here, writing my review on the just released Android port of the game, is making me more and more nostalgic. Like I want to go back in time and play the game for the first time, as an â€“ what â€“ seven year old boy who just got a way to old Sega Master System, ten years after its initial release (I was born at the end of the eighties). Seeing this game just got out on Android, I just had to play it. It just had to be.
But then again, with only a couple of rounds in, I wonder: why the hell am I playing this game? In a way, it is just how I wanted it to be. The game offers two version of Spy vs. Spy: the new, modern one and, of course, the classic version. And both of them play like the one I cherised in my head for years. Two spies get the same assignment: get for important things from a house with very similar looking rooms and make sure to come out as the winner. Oh, and everything is permitted, nothing is true.
While the player is searching the house for those important items, he is allowed to lay down some traps. But he has to beware of other traps to, layed down by the computer controlled enemy spy. By standing in front of a cabinet or painting (or whatever clickable household item there is), players can check if any of the important items are there. Sometimes there is a trap inside a cabinet (or, again: any other object), what will always result in losing massive amount of time on the players side.
And time is of the essence in Spy vs. Spy. The more time one has, the greater the chance he will come out as the winner of the game. But that may be tougher than it sounds. The controls are just aw-ful. Man, how is it possible to make them this awful. It is not responsive at all and doesnâ€™t provide any feedback other than seeing the character on screen wobble around. Some games are just better played with a joystick and real buttons â€“ especially games with a time limit like in this one.
The game doesnâ€™t look that bad. Better said, the comical approach of the modern version suits the game very well. And I really liked the retro-styled version. But it doesnâ€™t save it as a whole. The controls are way to clunky for that and sometimes, and it feels hard to admit, the game makes it harder for the player to search for the stuff he needs, because the rooms really, and I mean really, look-alike. And in my eyes, that is just plain unneccesary. Iâ€™m so sorry this game came out in 2014. It should have been left in the eighties were it truly belongs.
To be frank, I was prepared to write up a review of Thomas Was Alone even before installing it on my tablet. I’ve already completed it on my PC several months ago and been listening to the soundtrack ever since. It’s really tempting to call it a masterpiece in game design even though, in all fairness, the game owes most of its appeal to the supreme soundtrack, writing, and voice acting.
At its core, Thomas Was Alone is a platformer puzzle with a simple premise. There’s a bunch of rectangular characters that have to make their way to their portals through different levels. The characters slightly differ in size, shape, and abilities. Well, “abilities”. They can only move left and right, and jump. One of them jumps higher than the others, one of them can double-jump, one can walk on the ceiling, stuff like that. Each level the player gets some combination of them and has to make them work together to pass it. It’s a compelling puzzle and it has a golden amount of challenge that is exactly difficult enough to not be frustrating, but let’s say, it wouldn’t be named among the best indie games in the world just from that.
The magic happens when you add a majestic story, as told by a talkative englishman and a simple electronic soundtrack that easily beats orchestral arrangements of the modern blockbusters in memorability. Actually, I’m listening to it right now, because it’s always on my playlist. Together, these elements create such a compelling charm that I admit getting rather emotional while playing Thomas Was Alone, even though it doesn’t try to shove any kinds of emotions in your face. The simple square shapes become fully fleshed-out characters, despite not uttering a word, and a simple puzzle becomes a brilliant story about fate, exploration, and free will.
As much as I hate to admit it, there’s a couple of issues with the Android release.of Thomas Was Alone, besides a hefty price tag. First, the character switching on the mobile isn’t that comfortable, although now that I think of it, it wasn’t that comfortable on PC either. Second, it started to stutter on my Samsung Captivate after a while. While it’s understandable that you should play it on something more powerful, and I didn’t have issues with my tablet, it could come as an unfortunate surprise for anyone who purchases it and doesn’t notice issues right away. Basically, just play it on a tablet and there won’t be any issues. Oh, and it’s a bit short, so expect to finish it in about three to four hours, including the additional campaign.