Mesh Review

Mesh Review

Apr 4, 2014

Mesh looks like a neon drenched coin muncher game of old, but is it worth playing?

Mesh is all about tapping accurately. Formations of blocks rain down the board interspersed with bombs. The idea is to tap the blocks without hitting the bombs, which ends the game. Missing too many blocks also ends the game. As the player survives longer, the formations get much tougher with many blocks surrounding bombs and it becomes tough fast.

Screenshot_2014-04-01-02-15-43A robust combo system rewards players for tapping blocks quickly and without missing taps .Since the game scrolls blocks down quite slowly it’s a good idea to let the screen fill with blocks before starting a combo so the player can’t just tap as quickly as possible. This adds a nice risk dimension to gamepay.

While this is a simple idea, Mesh’s trace like music and eye popping look maker it an enjoyable experience. Mesh feels a lot like a 1980’s arcade game with its focus on simple gameplay and its trippy graphics.

<img src="×300.png" alt="Screenshot_2014-04-01-02-14-15" width="175" height="300" class="alignleft size-medium wp-image-38888Of course the upshot of this is that, like an arcade game, Mesh doesn’t have the longest shelf life. It is designed to be played for a few minutes here and there and it won’t be long until the played has seen everything mesh has to offer. The game also doesn’t because to kick it up a notch and become hard until a few minutes into the game which may be frustrating after a lot of games. Those who have played Fruit Ninja will know this feeling only too well. There isn’t much in the way of gameplay variation and this can lead to the game getting samey fast. An option to start from later waves would be an excellent addition.

” />Mesh doesn’t have much in the way of extras. It lacks Google Play Games functionality, but at least a global scoreboard is there to shoot for. In particular a short tutorial would be useful as it is quite confusing as to how to disable certain traps in the game, like the electrical traps that appear later.

Mesh has an eye-catching look, the neat neon like look of the game gives it a stylish quality and the game as a whole looks great. Little touches like how menus “pop” after they ripple into view and the constant pulsing rainbow colours really make Mesh look slick.
Mesh trumpets its music in the app description and while the music on offer is super catchy there just isn’t enough of it. A few more tracks would be great, but what’s here is good enough.

Mesh is an enjoyable game. It’s not quite a puzzle game, but more a reaction game like you’d see in an arcade. While somewhat short lived, it’s a fun game to past the time.

Glyph Quest Review

Glyph Quest Review

Mar 28, 2014

Glyph Quest is another in the crowded field of combat puzzlers. Will it cast a spell on you?

Glyph Quest boils down to a long series of fights that take place across a map. There are dozens of fights to get though and between fights earned coins can be used at the shop to buy new upgrades and items to help in battle.

Screenshot_2014-03-28-20-58-40Glyph Quest has highly focused and enjoyable gameplay. The game takes the form of a battle, like a lot of puzzle games today. Matching elemental symbols results in an attack of that element, the more symbols the stronger the attack. Alternating between elements results in bonus damage if opposite elements are used, but linking opposing elements in the same attack results in a backfire, which damages your mage. A steady stream of abilities and spells are unlocked as the player levels up, enemies are nice and varied and there are plenty of status effects and other quirks to force players to mix up their strategies. For example, goblin mages can hide all the tiles under question marks and spiders can use web attacks that make certain tiles unavailable to use in a combo.

Glyph Quest really has some personally too. Just about everything in the game is tongue in cheek and there are plenty of amusing item descriptions and funny bits to uncover.

Screenshot_2014-03-28-20-59-50The game keeps track of what spells and enemies the player has seen and it is fun collecting everything in the game just so you can see what funny description or neat monster graphic will show up next. This gives the game a nice feeling of progression as well.

These fun collect-a-thons give the game heaps of longevity and along with the extensive single player mode ensures that gamers will get plenty of life out of Glyph Quest.

Besides the quest mode the game has a change mode that is pretty much just a survival mode to see how far the player can get with no access to items. Online leaderboards are available.

Glyph Quest looks great. Charming, hand drawn graphics mesh very well with the stylish spell effects and really give the game a soft, welcoming look that is unassuming without being boring.

The sound while limited is enjoyable. Each spell makes a different sound and the music suits the game well. It is unfortunate that there are only two pieces in the game but what’s there is well done.

Glyph Quest will likely win points with many gamers for its lack on microtransactions, the only purchase in the game is a $2 once off fee to unlock the rest of the game once the player reaches level 5. This is a nice change and more than reasonable with the amount of gameplay on offer

Glyph Quest is a fun game and while its gameplay has been seen before it’s rarely executed this well.

Colin McRae Rally Review

Colin McRae Rally Review

Mar 27, 2014

Colin McRae Rally is a heavily modified port of the original PSone classic known to any racing fan.

Colin McRae Rally brings all the dirty, sliding racing action you’d expect to Android. The excellent car physics model is in place and some solid controls make navigating the game’s tracks easy. Both single player championships and multiplayer are available.

Colcin McRae Rally has four championships and all but the very first one will offer a stiff challenge. Only one car, the iconic Ford Focus is available at the beginning and new cars are only unlocked by winning championships. One car feels very limited at the outset.

Screenshot_2014-03-23-13-29-20Embarrassingly, this port of Colin McRae Rally 2.0 is missing content that the original game had. It has only four cars, which is not even a third of what the original game had. While this is bad enough the real kicker is the fact that anything relating to tinkering with cars is gone. The player cannot adjust gear ratios, suspension stiffness or indeed anything to do with their car at all.

A lot of tracks are missing too and the game only features three environments, a tiny bite of what was in the original game.

Another problem with Colin McCrae Rally is that it is rather outdated. With games like GT Racing 2 and even the 2010 Real Racing 2 on the platform it looks positively anemic by comparison. It’s tiny amount of cars and PS1-era graphics aren’t impressive at all nowadays. Playing Colin McCrae Rally is like going back in time and not in a good way.

Screenshot_2014-03-07-21-06-14As said above Colin McRae Rally’s graphics and sound are poor. While they are slightly dolled up from the original game they are not impressive at all for an Android game. The sound is limited to generic music, basic engines and the emotionless voice of the co-driver.

Another problem with the game is the low frame rate. Often the game will hiccup or lag, which is a great way to slam into a tree if it happens at the wrong time. A recent update has done nothing obvious to fix this problem. Hopefully later updates will rectify this issue.

Colin McRae Rally is not a great game and it’s a very stripped down port. The bumper crop of excellent Android racing games mean there is no reason to purchase Colin McRae Rally.

Rage of the Immortals Review

Rage of the Immortals Review

Mar 26, 2014

Rage of the Immortals is a collection RPG with a interesting modern era setting. Is it a knockout?

Rage of the Immortals has a fairly incoherent plot. There is a vague vibe of rebellion against some sort of oppressive corporation, but this doesn’t really manifest itself in game. A modicum of story is provided by in game missions which helps the feeling of progression somewhat.
Rage of the Immortals is a typical collection RPG, despite its unique premise. Players start with a small group of fighters and recruit more by defeating enemies and clearing stages. Fighters can be levelled up by training them, which expends other fighters and fused together to create one stronger fighter. This kind of gameplay has been seen in countless other Android games.

Screenshot_2014-03-25-11-27-22The actual fights are almost entirely automatic. The player cannot switch out fighters or even choose a target which is irritating when your fighters refuse to finish off a nearly dead enemy and attack fresh ones instead. The only interaction the player has during fights is tapping to use a critical hit when a meter maxes out.

There is also a small amount of base building. This boils down to placing a bunch of buildings on pre-defined spots to generate more coins.

Frustratingly, the cheaper buildings generate a lot of money, but have a very small storage capacity; this means that unless the player logs in once every ten minutes or so they will not make any money. For example, the Park, the cheapest building generates 800 coins an hour, but only holds 50 and will not accrue more unless it is tapped to collect the money every few minutes. There is little depth in the base building since every building seems to exist just to generate coins and there are no interesting item producing buildings or the like.
Rage of the Immortals has pretty average graphics. Fighters are fun to look at and collect, but the actual animation is very plain and the game constantly recycles animations.

Screenshot_2014-03-25-11-10-29Rage of the Immortals is packed in in app purchases. New fighters that are actually worth using are gained from trucks that must be hijacked. Keys to hijack these trucks are handed out at a very slow rate and if the player has no keys trucks can be purchased with cash. This equates to about 50 cents a truck. Generating coins is extremely time consuming as well because of the amount of clicking required on base buildings. Unless the player spends 24 hours a day playing Rage of the Immortals they will never make much money. The in app purchases are very expensive and coins are used very quickly.

Rage of the Immortals has an interesting presentation, but the gameplay has been seen many times before on Android and its copious in app purchases make it not worth playing. Check out Brave Frontier instead for similar gameplay with fewer annoyances.

Faif Review

Faif Review

Mar 24, 2014

Faif is an ultra-minimalist take on the RPG combat/puzzle game that is commonly seen on Android like Puzzle Quest. Faif is a game that was created as part of the Ludum Dare game jam and was made in a very limited amount of time.

Faif’s concept is an interesting mix between a fighting game and a puzzle game. The playfield is compared of a grid of tiles. On each is a skull, sword, gem or heart. Players take turns stringing together any five tiles on the board. When five tiles are selected, the game randomly picks a tile from that set and the tile selected has an effect. Matching a sword allows the player to attack the opponent, but only if skulls are also matched. The number of skulls in the combo affects how much damage is done, but if a skull is selected instead of a sword the player hurts themselves instead. Landing on a heart heals the player and gems can be exchanged for powerups in the shop.

Screenshot_2014-03-23-12-40-13Since the game randomly picks a tile, the idea is to match enough skulls to do decent amounts of damage without having so many that there’s too great a chance of the player doing damage to themselves. Thus there are several different strategies such as high risk attacks or weaker attacks that are safer. It’s also possible to employ defensive strategies, such as a lot of healing.

Computer opponents are randomly selected and range from out and out attackers to more defensive players. Faif lacks multiplayer which is a shame, as it would be a fun game to play online, despite its randomness.

Screenshot_2014-03-23-10-05-28A shop is also available in game that stocks spells and other affects the player can buy with gems. As the player plays more games and levels up, they start with more gems thus unlocking the purchase of spells from the start of the game. This feeling of progression is well done and makes it possible to get further and further into the game. A nice collection of achievements also motivates play.
Faif’s presentation is very slick. The tiles are easy to see and the colours used are contrasting and good to look at. With its fancy backgrounds, pulsating buttons and smooth animation Faif looks really good.

Faif’s sound really meshes well with its combat vibe and is as striking as its graphics. Strange but awesome wild westernish style songs play in game and it just nails the one-on-one-somebodies-gonna-die feeling of the game. The sound is well done as well and is a complex as it needs to be.

Faif is one of those games where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, it might be simple but it has a laser focus on gameplay and involving the player and its graphics and sound really show what can be done with so little. Faif is as much art as it is game and is worth a close look.

Royal Revolt 2 Review

Royal Revolt 2 Review

Mar 21, 2014

Royal Revolt 2 does a good job of making the player feel like a king. As one of a huge number of feuding kingdoms providing subjects with food and gold is just as important as raising armies to plunder enemies and gain more power.

Screenshot_2014-03-20-04-33-58Royal Revolt 2 follows the tried and true Clan of Clans formula, at least as far as building up a kingdom. Players will partake in all the familiar tropes for this genre, such as constructing and upgrading resource buildings to generate resources, which are then used to build new buildings and upgrade existing ones in a never ending snowball of economic growth.

A big different however is that military don’t need to be created as such. Once a unit type is researched at the academy, that type can be summoned at any point in battle at no cost.

Once on the battlefield, Royal Revolt 2 plays like a bizarre reversal of tower defence. The king and a cadre of troops need to muscle their way through whatever defences the opponent has set up to stop them, as well as several waves of troops. The king can be controlled directly and a series of icons are used to summon troops to the battle. A constantly replenishing meter shows how many points are available for troops and summoning a troop uses up points.

Screenshot_2014-03-20-14-59-08Smashing though an opponent’s defenses is great fun, there are towers, traps, waves of enemy troops and more to break though and the king is a powerful warrior so using him well is key to victory. Several spells can also be used to tip the balance and these range from healing spells to weaving clouds of toxic gas.

Troop AI is decent, but not great. Soldiers feel much like the ones in Clash of Clans in that they typically attack the first thing they see regardless of if something more dangerous like a guard tower is around. They also cannot be directly controlled or told to follow you, so they can’t be told to move out of the way of attacks or made to go a certain way, which can be annoying.

Of course Royal Revolt 2 has a few freemium annoyances. There is plenty of waiting during building construction and battles are limited by the kingdom’s food supply, which builds up quite slowly. Still, there are no annoying energy systems or insurmountable paywalls and there is loads of gameplay on offer for free. The game rewards smart strategic choices and they’re usually more important than who spends the most.

Royal Revolt 2 looks and sounds great. Battles are cool to watch and it’s fun to see the kingdom take shape as well. The sound is very well done, with plenty of clangs and dings and the ever satisfying sound of resources building up. For a free game Royal Revolt 2 is presented very well indeed.

Royal Revolt 2 is an excellent, original game with a lot of depth and some great ideas. It’s worth a very close look for any RTS fan.

Card City Nights Review

Card City Nights Review

Mar 17, 2014

Card City Nights couples some Magic: The Gathering type gameplay with some of the oddest artwork yet seen on Android. Does it succeed?

Card City Nights has plenty of depth. Players take turns placing cards with varying numbers of arrows on their sides onto the board. Matching up three cards so all their arrows are connected forms a combo. Depending on what sort of cards are matched, the result might be an attack on an enemy’s life points or healing your own. Attacks can also disable an enemy’s card, rendering it useless or revive one of your own disabled cards, depending on what you match.

Screenshot_2014-03-17-03-54-59This already interesting gameplay is reinforced with a multitude of different card effects. Some cards might rotate or move themselves around the board each turn, or do extra damage when used in an attack Often the more powerful cards have quirks that make them more difficult to use and working around these effects is fun and strategic. Earning new cards is simple as well. For each opponent there is usually a weaker, easier opponent nearby who hands over booster packs of cards every time you defeat them. This makes building a good deck an easy, but skill based process.

Screenshot_2014-03-17-03-55-44Card City Nights is just packed with personality. There are an endless procession of amusing characters like suited turnips and drunk foxes with silly decks and amusing strategies to defeat and the dialogue manages to be insane and clever at the same time. The playing cards themselves constantly reference other games by the developer and there are heaps of imaginative and hilarious ones. Especially amusing was the appearance of the Frog Guard from Ittle Dew who actually moves up and down the board in card form just like the guard did in that game.

Card City Nights has excellent graphics. Best described as a mix between Mambo and Ren and Stimpy, the game looks fantastic with heaps of great little touches and funny artwork. Great stuff.

Soudnwise the game is a lot simpler. Lacking voicework, most of the game is made up of inoffensive music and a few bangs and paper-y sounds. More could have been done with the sound.

Card City Nights is not an easy game. Making up several decks to deal with certain opponents will be all but required such as heavy attacking decks for more aggressive opponents. The game has no in app purchases whatsoever so winning games is all about skill and earning better cards. This is extraordinarily refreshing after the recent glut of obnoxious freemium games.

On the downside the interface can be a bit messy at times. while the button based interface for talking and the like is fine switching cards in and our of your deck is a bit clumsy and some filters for certain arrow combinations would be nice.

Card City Nights is an inventive, laugh a minute game full of great art, funny characters and compelling strategic action. For the price it is a must buy for any card game or strategy fan.

Sorcery! Review

Sorcery! Review

Mar 17, 2014

Sorcery! is an unabashedly classic homage to game books and D&D where story is king and vanqushing great evil is par for the course, Does it capture the magic?

Sorcery! is an RPG but it lacks any true free roaming, Instead it has a fantastic story, many branching paths and a huge selection of magic and ways to handle a situation. Venturing out to recover a sacred artifact of great power from the clutches of evil, the player runs into many varied situations from mysterious old ladies in cottages to capture by headhunters.

Screenshot_2014-03-15-04-34-44There are many ways to handle each, whenever though a strong sword arm or some smart use of magic. For example, a minor quest is digging a large cesspit in return for money. Rather than spending the whole night doing it, the player can simply cast the BIG spell which boosts their muscle size and get it done in a few minutes. Using spells of control on dumb enemies can do such varied tasks as avoid a fight or create a living ladder made out of snakes to escape a pit.

Combat is fun and intuitive as well. Countering the opponent’s moves generally lets the player strike them without being attacked. For example a reckless charge attack interrupts the lightest one, while middling attacks tend to stop heavy ones. A well written, detailed description describes what happens in the battle and often contains subtle hints as to what the enemy might be doing next. The super visceral description of the combat really makes it satisfying.

Screenshot_2014-03-15-04-32-43And indeed the writing in general is of a very high standard. Anyone who is a fan of the Fighting Fantasy books will feel right at home with Livingstone’s writing and will relish every amusing description or grisly fate dealt to them.

Sorcery!’s presentation echoes the books as well. With a handrawn, lightly coloured style and black and white illustrations it feels almost exactly like you’re playing an interactive gamebook. Battles likewise are very simple affairs, as sprites slide towards each other to deliver their attacks but it works very well in the context of gamebooks.

The sound is quite minimalist. A few sounds like footsteps and birdsong accentuate the solitude of traveling alone on the quest and some snatches of music help the game along.

The only downside of the game is its length; it only takes two or three hours to work your way through the game and while there is plenty of replay value up for grabs by going back and doing things a different way, it’s hard not to wish the game was a bit longer, such is the quality of the story and the fun of its choose your own adventure gameplay/ Part 2 should be arriving soon and this will hopefully be a bit longer.

Sorcery! is a very high quality game with a great plot, an excellent old school feel and captivating gameplay. If you’re a fan of Fighting Fantasy its a no brainier.

Deadman’s Cross Review

Deadman’s Cross Review

Mar 11, 2014

The best thing about Deadman’s Cross is that it takes a complete left turn from the standard card game RPG by adding in varied gaming styles that have never before been seen together.

The basic idea in Deadman’s Cross is that the world has ended and the few survivors left after the zombie apocalypse use teams of zombies, known as deadmen, to defend themselves. These deadmen need to be hunted down to be added to the army and taken care of to grow in strength.

Screenshot_2014-03-05-20-25-34This boils down to a very familiar deck like interface in which each zombie the player owns is a card. The standard options for boosting a cards strength by absorbing other cards are there and at certain levels cards can be fused together to create stronger versions.

What differs from other card games is how these zombies are acquired. The player literally has to take a rifle and go out to hunt down new deadmen for their army. Using a first person shooter interface the player snipes the deadmen. Every one killed is added to their deck and timing shots results in one hit kills. A 60 second time limit necessitates quick shooting. Hunting requires Hunter’s Permits, which are handed out regularly as rewards for job competition.

Jobs are like mini missions that form the game’s story. A job typically involves going to an area where a first person interface is again used. The player walks along fighting zombies, grabbing items and searching rooms until the items are found that are needed for the mission.

Mission rewards are pretty good too, with large wads of hardware and items up for grabs. Some good dialogue sequences during missions add some much needed personality to the proceedings. This story heavy approach gives the payer more incentive to work their way through the game compared to other card RPGs.

Screenshot_2014-03-10-16-28-13Unfortunately some annoying freemiuem features mar the game more than little. The energy system in particular is irritating. During a mission a stamina count decreases as the player walks. When it depletes which is almost always before the mission ends the player can do nothing but either use an Energy Drink , which costs 100 Deadman Coins for one or just wait the batter part of a day for their energy to restore to maximum. This is extremely annoying in such a story based game. Hunting is affected as well. A large amount of Deadman Coins buys 60 seconds of elite hunting, where much more powerful and rare deadmen appear.

Deadman’s Cross looks good. Some really imaginative card designs make battles fun. Building an army of strippers, bicycle couriers and mutated animals adds some flair. The interface is good too. As expected of a Square-Enix game the music is good stuff. Some atmospheric exploration themes accompany jobs and some pumping battle tunes play in battle.

Deadman’s Cross is hobbled slightly by freemium features, but its distinct meshing of gameplay styles and its sharp presentation make it an interesting game to be sure.

Slash of the Dragon Review

Slash of the Dragon Review

Mar 6, 2014

Slash of Dragon is a collection RPG with a difference. Working though a world map with a team of monsters and warriors it’s the player’s job to chop their way through increasingly harder staged with parties of enemies. Completing a stage awards more monsters and these monsters can be used to level up other monsters and eventuality evolve them into new, more advanced versions.

The big difference in Slash of Dragon is its combat method. Rather than tapping enemies and just watching the battle, the player must slice their way through blocks that appear on the screen.

Screenshot_2014-02-20-02-05-06Dragging a path though each block boosts attack power. This Fruit Ninja style gameplay is very engaging and offers players an active role in battle, rather than their relegation to a more passive observer. The slicing motions really make the game feel more like an actual fight.

Extra wrinkles are added as the game continues, with blocks that can only be sliced one way and such.

Evolving monsters is fun and your monsters have plenty of text quotes for different events that give them some personality, rather than just being simple pawns used to fight. Some of the quotes are a bit silly, but this just adds to the game’s charm.

Monsters are nice and varied as well. Everything from fire mages to angry wolf people are available to use in battle and there is some really nice art that gives them some flair.

Screenshot_2014-02-08-13-19-46On the downside, Slash of Dragon makes a terrible first impression. After an initial 20 minute download when the app is opened, a basic 2 minute long tutorial is shown. After this, get ready for another download. This one is almost an hour long. This wait time is very off-putting. The game crashed whenever it was switched away from as well while downloading.

Graphically, Slash of Dragon varies wildly. Some monster art looks good and there are plenty of neat anime monsters and warriors, but others are little more than blobs or circles and are quite uninspired. The game’s interface is decent enough, but features some odd translation in places. Attacks in battle are a major downer however, with dull fireballs and other such projectiles the only animations. Considering the vast wealth of fighters available there could be a lot more interesting attacks to see.

There is a lot of gameplay in Slash of Dragon. Like most collection style RPGs there is a nearly endless array of monsters to grow and train and doing so will take a long time indeed. There are a lot of single player missions to work though as well.

Slash of Dragon is a long lived RPG with a unique premise and battle system. Any RPG fan should check it out.

Slam Dunk Basketball 2 Review

Slam Dunk Basketball 2 Review

Mar 4, 2014

Slam Dunk Basketball 2, despite its name is all about shooting basketballs rather than dunking them. A very simple drag to aim interface shoots the ball. Scoring baskets scores points and clean shots that don’t touch the rim of the basket score much more highly. Extra score bonus are awarded the higher the ball flies before going in and a combination of these bonuses is all but required to win any games.

Slam Dunk Basketball 2 is online only. Rather than Words With Friends style asynchronous multiplayer matches are played in real time. Rather than seeing the opponent play only their score is shown, which is kind of a letdown. Matches tend to be about how many clean shots are scored rather than anything else because of the very high score they award. Since the game is about aiming precisely this extreme bonus makes sense.

Screenshot_2014-02-22-13-29-48Besides one off games, short tourneys can be played online. Beating several people in a row awards a ton of coins and experience. Experience is used to level up, which unlocks new levels and tournaments. Large amounts of in game money must be spent to unlock new venues as well and the price of entry constantly rises.

Besides the main game, Slam Dunk Basketball 2 features a few minigames. A familiar spin to win game awards coins and balls while a scratchie type game awards even bigger prizes. Super annoyingly, the spinner can only be used once a day while the scratchies seems unusable unless you pay real money for tokens. This is a bit ridiculous. Neither of these games are required the play the main game however.

Winning matches awards coins that are needed to enter games and new basketballs can be purchased between games with them. There are a fun selection of balls to buy such as tiger ones, steampunk ones and lots of different colours. None of the balls actually change the game, they are just for fun.

Bafflingly, a few balls cost large amounts of real money, including one ball that costs about $50au.

Screenshot_2014-02-22-13-28-20Amazingly for a game that offers freemium purchases there are no actual in game boosts. All purchases are simply cosmetic and the game boils down to whoever has more skill and plays better rather than who spends more money on powerups and items. This is a very refreshing change compared to the multitude of pay to win games available on Android.

Slam Dunk Basketball 2 looks decent enough. The ball physics look very realistic and some nice lighting effects like filtered sunlight add some flair. Even on smaller phones it’s an easy game to play.

Soundwise the game is spase, but good. Some catchy music pumps in the background while players are treated to the crisp sound to bouncing basketballs. A few tings and swishes for special shots round out the sound.

Slam Dunk Basketball 2 is a fun game and a good timewaster. Its lack of annoying freemiuem features and enjoyable core gameplay make it a winner.

Mikey Shorts Review

Mikey Shorts Review

Mar 3, 2014

Mikey Shorts is a unique game. Part platformer, part race and with a name so weird you have to play it.

Mikey Shorts is an old school platformer at heart, with plenty of running, jumping and sliding under low walls to be done.

The story is that Mikey’s friends have been turned to stone and can only be restored by being touched. Restoring his friends to flesh gives Mikey energy, which is then used to break though barriers blocking his progress. Saving all people in a stage wins the stage. Short story scenes take place between levels.

Screenshot_2014-03-02-23-23-39Along the way Mikey can grab coins that can be exchanged for amusing costume items like glasses, makeup and hats. There are no gameplay boosts or other such things to be bought with coins, so Mikey Shorts is all about skill.

Mikey Shorts uses a 3 star system common in games since Angry Birds. Getting three stars is all down to speed. Coins and other gameplay elements don’t factor into the ranking. Getting three stars then almost always leads to an enjoyable frantic dash though a stage where one mistake means the stage might as well be restarted. There is no real benefit to getting three stars, but it is sure fun to try.

Screenshot_2014-03-02-23-25-26A really neat feature is the way the game clocks the player though each section of the stage and how much faster or slower they are compared to their own personal best, this is great for knowing if the player is going to beat their best time or not.

Google Play Games is supported so there are achievements to shoot for and the costumes are fun to buy, even though they have no real gameplay impact.

Mikey Shorts is a very fun game. The frantic gameplay and the game’s cool retro vibe really make it worth playing.
A problem however is the lack of challenge. Levels are far too easy and some serious Mario style platforming challenges would be welcome. The challenge in Mikey Shorts comes from doing the levels quickly, but they still feel too easy much of the time. This can lead to a lack of replay value as it doesn’t take long to blow though all of the stages.

Mikey Shorts looks great. Pixelated retro graphics give it a clean look and it’s full of old school charm. Levels are full of colour and great to look at.

The sound however doesn’t really match up to the graphics. Jumping and collecting statues makes the same sound only with different pitches and the coin collection sound is nearly identical to Mario. A lot more could have been done with the sound.

What’s striking about Mikey Shorts is how high quality it is. The graphics and controls are smooth, there are no nasty ads or grabs for cash and it just comes off as a solid, quality game.

Mikey Shorts is an enjoyable game. While it lacks challenge, it still has a lot of fun gameplay on offer.