Appointment With F.E.A.R Review

Appointment With F.E.A.R Review

Sep 12, 2014

Appointment With F.E.A.R casts the player as a hero with powers of their choosing out to stop an evil meeting of the minds as the criminal organization known as F.E.A.R meet in three days to hatch an evil plot to take over the world.

Screenshot_2014-09-03-01-06-00Players begin by picking their powers. What powers they have affects the story great deal. They may be able to fire energy blast from their hands or simply be a Batman like gadget genius with no actual superpowers besides being clever, among others.

A few of these feel a bit half-baked though. The engineer type doesn’t really get enough chances to use his gadgets and the mind reader doesn’t get to really read minds, more just use their physic skills to hurl objects at enemies and so on.

Screenshot_2014-09-09-12-51-31After creating their character the player embarks on a long, interesting adventure in Titan City. Picking the right way to react to events, what to prioritize and the correct dialogue responses to uncover clues are essential to success. The game has a strict time limit of the three days until the meeting. If the player hasn’t found clues as to where the F.E.A.R meeting is by then the game is lost. There are many red herrings and wastes of the time player can fall foul of and sometimes the most sensible choices may not be the right ones.

Appointment With F.E.A.R uses a similar battle system to other Fighting Fantasy books, but the mechanics are quite different. During combat the player can pick between easy, normal and hard to land attacks which do increasing amounts of damage. The chances of landing an attack are random, just leak the dice rolls in the gamebooks of yore, but these dice rolls are hidden from the player.

Finishing combat quickly is often required to get the best outcome of a situation, so unleashing risky attacks is sometimes important. The game doesn’t have too many battles however compared to other FF books. It tends to be more dialogue based.

Appointment With F.E.A.R is an enjoyable story and brain power is required to make headway though the game. It is also packed with humor, like the ability to ignore a crime scene in order to purchase a custard tart or finishing coffee before checking out in progress crimes.

The game has some annoying glitches however. More than once I had an issue with the game simply blanking out when I tried to start it or text becoming black on a black background and being impossible to read. Both times this could only be fixed by reinstalling the game which is not an ideal solution.

Appointment With F.E.A.R doesn’t read much like a Fighting Fantasy story. While an enjoyable read with plenty of silly dialogue like any campy superhero story, it is a complete departure from Livingstone’s earlier books and this may not sit well with some players. Hero names are very silly as well. I laughed when a suggested name for my heroic energy blast firing heroine was Velcro Pants.

Appointment With F.E.A.R tells a good, funny story and is an enjoyable game. While it may be a little frustrating sometimes working out where to go and what to do the general air of ridiculousness and fun really make it an inviting game.


Tiny Tower Vegas Review

Tiny Tower Vegas Review

Sep 4, 2014

Tiny Tower Vegas might have a different name but it feels very similar to the first Tiny Tower. In the original Tiny Tower the player slowly built a huge tower with dozens of floors. Each floor could be either a business or a residential floor.

Residential floors held the tower’s population and businesses made the player money. Staffing each business with employees with matching skills boosted profits and restocking floors and selling items worked on a familiar freemium basis.

Screenshot_2014-09-03-19-31-42Tiny Tower Vegas is pretty much the same gameplay, except with a cool Vegas theme, added minigames and other tweaks. Some floors, like slot machines, feature neat minigames that can be played to earn a large amount of extra bux. This is a great feature. The games are fun and the player wins often. TTV is very generous indeed with its bux to the point where they barely even feel like premium currency. Besides the coins and bux from the first game, a new currency, “chips” makes an appearance. These are mostly used to play casino games, although players get free spins now and then as well.

Other than that TTV is still Tiny Tower. The core gameplay is very similar and just as addictive and satisfying.

Tiny Tower Vegas has a few changes that fans might not be happy with. It costs money now to place bitizens in jobs. High skilled bitizens cost 1000 coins or more to place, which is just as annoying as it sounds. At the start of the game much time is spent just waiting for cash to tick up to place bitizens in useful businesses. This is not fun and was not the case in the original and slows down money gain. Floors earn a lot of coins though so it’s easy enough to make this money back rather fast.

Screenshot_2014-09-03-18-03-46New floors also cost an insane amount of coins. In the original game it took quite a while before building floors became expensive. In Tiny Tower Vegas floor three costs 10,000 coins, rather than the 1,350 it cost in the original game. Floor eight costs 48,000 and these costs balloon very quickly until it takes days to build new floors, which will happen sooner rather than later.

The game also has a lot of ways to drain the player’s bux to balance out how much it hands over. For example, floor upgrades which are required so floors don’t run out of stock in minutes get over 200 bux very quickly.

It is also just as annoying as ever to place bitizens in hotel floors. Unless the player ponies up bux, the only way is with the inching, creeping slow elevator. Still, the game supplies plenty of bux so this isn’t really a problem.

Tiny Tower Vegas, with its high floor costs and irritating money sinks isn’t quite as good as its predecessor. While the new casino games are fun and the game certainly looks and sounds good it still pales somewhat to the excellent original. Worth a look though.


WWE Supercard Review

WWE Supercard Review

Sep 3, 2014

WWE Supercard is a curious mix of collectable card game and wrestling. Players familiar with other card battlers maybe be forgiven for dismissing WWE Supercard for another microtransactions filled game with little depth, but they’d be danm wrong.

WWE Supercard has players assembling a deck of wrestlers. There are four superstars, one diva and two extra cards to a deck. These extra cards can be objects like a chair or 2×4 that boosts stats, or even a manager to boost the whole team.

Screenshot_2014-08-27-00-39-04Superstars and Divas come in various tiers from common to legendary, but strangely the same superstars have different versions of themselves. So the player might find a common Batista with rather low stats then a rare Batista with far better stats.

Actual matches boil down to best 2 of 3 confrontations where each match compares different wrestler stats and the higher one wins. For example a Singles or Diva match might be decided by toughness, so the player would pick their toughest wrestler or indeed their weakest if they had little chance of winning and may want to keep hold of their better cards. Another match might be won by the more charismatic wrestler.

Tag matches are similar, but both wrestlers’ stats are compared and an additional compatibility factor gauges how well the wrestlers gel.
Wrestlers that like each other work well as a team. This is shown by a wedge shaped diagram on the cards. Wrestlers whose wedges fit together are compatible and gain a boost. Being the same tier grants another boost. Wedges that are the same shape incur no penalty, while wedges that differ signify incompatible wrestlers and the team suffers a 10% penalty.

Screenshot_2014-08-26-19-23-58Matches are fun to watch and building a balanced team and ensuring they work well together is fun and engaging. The sheer number of wrestlers on offer is a plus as well. Heroes from past and present are up for grabs, such as the late great Ultimate Warrior and legendary Stone Cold Steve Austin, to current stars like Batista and John Cena.

Winning a match allows two picks from a face down grid of cards. Rare cards can be found as well and even a loss allows one pick. The game is very fair indeed with new cards and the player gets a constant supply of new stuff to see. Like most card battlers, cards can be used on other cards to boost their stats and constantly reshuffling your deck for maximum strength as newer, stronger cards are found is fun.

WWE Supercard has a goofy, but very enjoyable presentation. Matches are pretty funny as cards waddle down the ramp and in the ring they perform actual wrestling moves, like suplexes and piledrivers on each other as one card explodes. The music is nice and intense and the sound is well done.

Some of the game’s stats are bit off though. Because there are different tiers of cards you might end up with an RVD that is slower than a Diva or even someone like Kane or a Wyatt brother with great charisma, even though they are mostly silent heels.

WWE Superstar is a surprise and an enjoyable game. Its odd mix of spandex and cardboard works very well the game is addictive and there are no nasty microtransactions. That’s the bottom line!


Transport Empire Review

Transport Empire Review

Sep 1, 2014

Transport Empire starts the player off with a single train route and not much else. From there the player must build a huge, sprawling, well, transport empire!

Screenshot_2014-08-28-05-07-44Despite the name, Transport Empire only features trains, with some apparent Zeppelin action late in the game. Much like a certain other transport based game that was recently released on Android the player builds stations next to natural resources, such as wood or coal and ferries them back and forth by fulfilling contacts, which are just a fancy way of saying a single trip with resources.

Each trip in Transport Empire earns the player a small chunk of resources or money and has a freemium timer of at least a few minutes. Delivering resources allows those resources to be used for other things. For example to upgrade a wood production structure stone may be needed.

Transport Empire is very on-rails, so to speak. Tracks and stations can only be built where the game says and there is less of a feeling of building an empire and more of simply going through the motions.

Screenshot_2014-08-28-05-06-46Transport Empire just isn’t fun. The game lacks much spice and feels very dry. Most freemium game have something for the player to do while timers tick down, such as fighting battles or repeating old stages or the like. Transport Empire however is only about ordering trains around and once all trains have destinations there is nothing for the player to do expect twiddle their thumbs and wait for something to finish or spend resources so they can begin another un-skippable train journey.

And Transport Empire has a heck of a lot of timers. Even early updates to buildings take a good half hour and when the payout is simply more dull gameplay, it just isn’t worth waiting for.

What really makes Transport Empire unplayable however is its appalling interface. On a good phone like my S4 the game’s text and interface are completely unreadable. Text is so tiny it looks like simple black lines and teeny icons and buttons a fraction of an inch wide are a nightmare to use. There is just no excuse for slap dash Android games like this that don’t take screen size into account when scaling text anymore.

Transport Empire is a already-mediocre freemium game that is ruined by its interface. Players who enjoy their trains really only have one in-depth choice and that choice is Transport Tycoon. Freshly released on Android and reviewed at this very site, TT will scratch that locomotive itch better than Transport Empire ever could and it doesn’t ask for money.


Rush Rally Gets Major Update.

Rush Rally Gets Major Update.

Sep 1, 2014

Brownmonster, the boffins behind the enjoyable rally racer Rush Rally have cracked out a huge update for their already fun game.

The update contains three new cars to throw around the game’s dusty locales and in depth tuning options to get the most out of cars. Now you can stiffen suspension or sacrifice down-force for speed all you like.

These additions should give Rush Rally a nice chunk of added depth and anyone looking for fun should pick up this little racer.

Bik Review

Bik Review

Aug 29, 2014

Bik is a love letter to 1980’s adventure games. Taking control of a heroic boy and a couple of “heroic” aliens, the player works their way through an amusing plot and varied locations while grabbing random objects that come in handy for solving puzzles to work their way through a bunch of oddball situations.

Screenshot_2014-08-23-13-23-59Bik has great dialogue. Each character in the game, from the slightly bumbling Ammut to the resourceful Bik himself has a lot of personality and the strong, funny dialogue really encourages the player to play through to see what happens. There are countless funny dialogue options and indeed stalling characters is more than useful, it’s required.

Like any good adventure game featuring kleptomaniac heroes, Bik has lots of puzzles that involve the most unlikely items. Whether it’s fashioning a gliding boat from windmill sails and thorns, saving someone from a fire with a mop or using a rusty pipe to cave in a guard’s head, there is no shortage of creative and interesting uses for objects that make perfect sense when used the way they are in game.

Bik is just full of amusing moments too. From killer sock monsters, to finding a gun and accidentally blowing everyone up, as well as two spaceships and four planets Bik is always funny. The developers obviously know what adventure gamers are like and achievements are regularly handed out for doing something stupid, like killing Ammut by blowing a hole in an airlock wall or dropping a heavy crate on Bik’s own head.

Screenshot_2014-08-23-18-09-53Some hilarious puzzle solutions make the game a treat as well, like using the starship’s engines to cook a toasted sandwich and knocking out a guard with a badly made brownie. Bik has heaps of puzzles but they are always common sense and using your noodle to work them out is lots of fun. There are several gameplay styles in the game too; there are even a few action sequences and even a mini shoot em up, which is very pleasing.

Bik looks fantastic. A great pixel art style perfectly captures the feel of old adventure games. The game‘s art direction is also stellar. Many locations feature strong colours and stark landscapes that really make an impact. Bik has the kind of graphics that are just worth gawking at.

The sound is also extremely well done. The music is some of the best heard on mobile. It is full of feel and atmosphere, from the desolate theme as the player walks down a rainy, derelict street to the lofty notes of a farming village. Bik really nails its music and the player will stop just to listen.

Bik clocks in at about 10 hours and this is a very reasonable length. The game is very dense and packed with things to do and see. It is also very cheap considering the quality and amount of gameplay on offer.

Bik is a fantastic game that not only emulates classic adventure games, but improves on them and is a top notch game in its own right. Its excellent presentation and humour really are the icing on the cake. Play it today!

Star Fleet Deluxe Review

Star Fleet Deluxe Review

Aug 28, 2014

Star Fleet Deluxe is a tactical game that apes Star Trek more than a little. Taking command of a huge starship, the player stands alone against a huge force of murderous aliens, hell-bent on eradicating any and all humans in the galaxy.

Star Fleet Deluxe is a very in-depth, turn based strategy game. The game takes place over a huge area, 81 quadrants of galaxy space to be precise, filled with stars, colonies, planets and starbases.

Screenshot_2014-08-24-21-18-32Star Fleet Deluxe has the player defending a vast universe. Using a slick icon based control system, the player zooms around the universe, seeking out and destroying the warlike Krellan that serve as the game’s primary foes.

Combat is quite in-depth. The player has both phasers and torpedos at his/her disposal and after targeting an enemy the intensity of phasers or the number of torpedos in the spread can be controlled. This allows the player to either destroy or disable targets. Disabled targets can be towed back to a starbase to capture the ship and take prisoners, both of which are usually required for mission objectives.

Screenshot_2014-08-24-16-21-35As the player cruises the universe, reports come in of colonies and starbases coming under attack. Colonies must be protected and starbases, while armed, may need aid as well. Both starbases and planets can resupply the player, so keeping them safe is important to surviving as well as passing the mission. Colony defence and supply management is the whole point of Star Fleet.

Unfortunately Star Fleet Deluxe sucks every iota of fun out of the gameplay with its insistence that every single vessel and base is destroyed in the time limit. It is extremely disheartening to spend twenty minutes on a mission, only to fail because one or two enemy bases on planets couldn’t be found in time. Never mind the fact the player just destroyed 40 ships single-handedly and saved all colonies and starbases, if there’s a single enemy ship or base anywhere, the mission is failed and the game must be started from scratch. This is terrible. There is no need for this exactness. Why not simply base it on the amount of met objectives rather than having to get every single one?

Also the way that boarding combat is handled is completely arbitrary. There is absolutely no control over it. Space Marines may simply flat out fail to take the smallest fighter or take it with nearly no causalities.

Star Fleet Deluxe’s graphics aren’t special at all. Like many strategic games the player spends most of their time reading text and thinking, not gawking at graphics. Star Fleet has a very good interface with plenty of detailed reports to help the player keep on top of their task. A series of icons is used to execute orders and it works very well.

Star Fleet Deluxe is a good strategy game that demands perfection just a little too much. With a less draconian mission structure this game could be great, but it is still a competent strategy game and worth playing.

Fairbits launches worldwide on Android!

Fairbits launches worldwide on Android!

Aug 27, 2014

Fairbits Gaming, a new gaming startup released its first app today, cunningly named Fairbits. Fairbits in the words of its creators is “a virtual currency of luck based on simple game of chance. It is first-of-its-kind non-sleazy non-glittery casino app trying to appeal to a broader spectrum of social gamers”.

Fairbtis looks like another interesting asynchronous multiplayer experience and its bright colors and friendly graphics are easy on the eyes. Look for a review of this one sometime in the future!

Battle of Tanks Review

Battle of Tanks Review

Aug 26, 2014

Battle Of Tanks is another entry in the rather crowded online tank battler. Does it HEAT things up?

Screenshot_2014-08-23-11-06-24Battle of Tanks‘ gameplay is too simple for its own good. There are no mission briefings or story; it is just the player in a tank of their choice. The player just drives around a featureless, treeless field (even if the description mentioned an outpost) using one of three weapons to blast enemy tanks into twisted metal. Weapons include the tank cannon, missiles which are very similar to cannons and machine guns, which are nearly useless.

The game lacks any interesting enemies either. There are no aircraft nor tank destroyers nor infantry, just other tanks firing in random directions.

Screenshot_2014-08-23-11-07-39One of the worst parts of the game though is the environments. Comprised of grassy fields with no interesting cover or things to look at, Battle of Tanks loses nearly all of its tactical potential. Without an environment to move around and take cover behind, the game is little more than a contest of who shoots first, which doesn’t make for exciting gameplay.

Battle of Tanks has very poor graphics. While it is indeed 3D as touted in the game’s description, the game just looks really bad. Most tanks are simply dull colored boxes, with nary a detail to be seen and the game’s environments are extremely poor without even a tree to look at. Explosions are simply expanding orange spheres and enemies all look the same. The resolution is low, the animation is nearly non-existent and Battle of Tanks just looks primitive.

The sound isn’t much better. There are no engine sounds at all, weapons all sound the same and the music is very generic.

Battle of Tanks‘ biggest failing however is its extremely imprecise controls. While it uses a familiar twin stick setup with one to control the tank and one to control the turret, these sticks are incredibly imprecise. Just driving in a straight line or rotating your turret in the general direction of an enemy is a huge pain because the game just won’t react correctly to touch.

Battle of Tanks is a difficult game mainly because it is so hard to move the tank with any kind of grace. Avoiding enemy shots is nearly impossible because often the controls won’t respond and the game spawns tanks behind you often and there is no radar to keep track of where enemies are and no cover to be used.

Battle of Tanks is a very poor game and it is clear from its title it is trying to emulate World of Tanks, but it is little more than a knock off. There are many, many better choices for tank based combat on Android. Check out Iron Force for super fun online tank combat with far better controls and actual environments.

Earn to Die 2 Takes Zombie Splattering To The City!

Earn to Die 2 Takes Zombie Splattering To The City!

Aug 25, 2014

Earn to Die was a cool game with fun gameplay, lots of guns and appealing graphics. Now Not Doppler has announced a sequel to the original zombie splatterer unsurprisingly named Earn To Die 2. Earn To Die 2 looks similar to it’s predecessor, but takes place in a very different city environment instead, instead of the deserts of the original game. This should add some new gameplay wrinkles. The trailer seems to suggest that cars may be destructible this time around too, which should make gameplay more challenging.

Check out the cool movie style trailer here!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Review

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Review

Aug 25, 2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles features everyone’s favorite mutant abominations beating the heck out of a bunch of thugs and cracking one-liners. What’s not to like? TMNT is loosely based on the rather lukewarmly received movie. Does it fare better than its big screen brethren?

TMNT plays less like a beat ‘em up and more like a kind of strange rhythm game. Swiping at an enemy automatically moves the turtle next to that enemy and from there swipes in different direction results in different attacks. Some attacks are fast, some ignore blocking and others allow the player to dodge easily. New enemies constantly drop in and each stage involves defeating a bunch of them as stylishly as possible. The swipe based system works very well and it is a nice change to not have to deal with a virtual pad.
Enemies about to hit the player glow with lighting and a tap anywhere on the screen will stop their attack and counter attack them instead.

Screenshot_2014-08-15-09-04-43After a bit of combat a sequence can be unleashed where two or more turtles attack together. Some neat mini puzzles have to be completed to trigger the attack correctly and this is good fun and looks really cool.

TMNT’s gameplay is fun stuff. Combat is satisfying, counter attacking is fun and the excellent sound and graphics really help the gameplay along. Between levels there are comic book cutscenes to expose more of the rather silly plot involving thugs taking over pizza restaurants and a proliferation of non-good mutants and these are lots of fun to watch.

Screenshot_2014-08-21-19-13-34Between bouts, players can spend coins earned on upgrades to turtles, such as making them stronger or faster. Gems can be spent on learning new moves as well. Gems are premium currency but are handed out rather often during gameplay. After finishing some levels the player will receive a few gems. Of course the player is never given enough gems to buy everything, but this doesn’t really matter as the game is fun enough without all the moves.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles looks great. A coo cel-shaded style is easy on the eyes. Battles look very smooth and animate well and there is a good variety of enemies and punishing looking movies.

The sound is excellent as well. The game has tons of speech that is well acted and some pumping music and there is always something cool to look at or listen to. TMNT is very highly polished.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has a lot to do. There are plenty of stages and things to unlock and the game is fun so it is worth replaying older stages for more coins.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a fun game and a great surprise considering the track record of most movie games. While the gem system may be slightly irritating, the game itself is good stuff and very well made. Play it today!

Freaking Math Review

Freaking Math Review

Aug 22, 2014

Simple games often thrive on phones. The format just suits simple games that can be played for minutes or even seconds when there’s a quiet moment or passing a phone between friends, trying to beat each other’s record. Freaking Math takes simplicity and files it down into something even more simple that simple. The result is a pretty damn simple game that looks like it took a few minutes to make, but is addictive, tough and a bit of fun.

Screenshot_2014-08-16-05-25-00Freaking Math is aptly described by its title. It makes you say f…reaking a lot and it is math. A series of sums appear on a colored screen that may be correct or incorrect. They are always very simple, elementary math level problems, such as 1+1=2 or 2+3=4. There is a tick and a cross button and the object is to tap the button to say whenever the sum is correct or not before time runs out, much like the little known 1977 Atari 2600 game Basic Math. Easy right? The catch is the time limit is literally one second. Taking more than one second to answer the sum or answering it wrong ends the game and displays the high score. The game is hard so games rarely last more than a minute and the game has a distinctly Flappy Bird-ish vibe to it, what with its super simple presentation and short game length.

The game gets harder the longer it is played and there are a series of achievements to shoot for, showcasing the rare players that can make it to 200 correct guesses. A high score list is also provided.

Screenshot_2014-08-16-05-23-11Despite seeming like a bad idea for a game, Freaking Math is addictive because of its challenge and how quick it is to play. Anyone who has played Flappy Bird will know the slightly masochistic tendencies that game tends to bring out in its players and Freaking Math is similar. The game is free and there are no irritating ads or anything in get in the way of its sole idea.

Freaking Math looks very basic. Graphically it consists of white text on brightly coloured screens with a large pair of buttons with a cross and a tick. This stark presentation is all that’s needed though and leaves no room for excuses about being unable to see or missing a button. The sound is limited to a click for a new game, a fanfare for getting one correct and a bzzt for losing. Get ready to hear that one a lot.

Freaking Math is simultaneously one of the easiest and hardest games on Android and perfect for a few moments with friends or just to work your brain a little. It is a testament to how just about anything can be made into a game and work well.