Huey Review

Huey Review

Nov 20, 2014

Huey is an old school platformer featuring cute monkeys! What’s not to like?

Huey has all the elements of a classic platformer. Players guide Huey along precarious platforms, jumping over deadly pits, avoiding traps, bonking enemies by jumping on their heads and grabbing coins on the way to the stage’s exit.

Screenshot_2014-11-17-05-38-26Huey lacks any kind of tutorial. While the titular monkey can grab coins to trade for extra lives or even the ability to skip levels, it’s unclear what the eggs are used for.

Hey is quite tough. Like most old school platformers, one wrong step generally results in death and enemies aren’t pushovers either. The challenge is engaging without being overwhelming and makes Huey a tense experience. For players that really get stuck the ability to skip levels with coins might come in handy.

The game does have some pretty cheap moments however. Snails and hedgehogs fire nearly impossible to see projectiles and there are quite a few very cheap obstacle courses involving instakill spikes. With the way the game allows skipping of levels it is tough to tell sometimes if these puzzles are designed solely to frustrate players into paying for coins. The game is never impossible however.

Screenshot_2014-11-17-05-41-13Huey looks average It feels a few years old and lacks the sharp pixel art found in other games of its type. It certainly looks 16 bit and has some personality. There are plenty of enemies to fight and besides the aforementioned hard to see projectiles the game is easy to see.

The sound could be a lot better. With nope speech at all and very muted sound effects Huey feels a little amateurish. The music suits the game well though.

Huey controls well enough. The stick works fine, although sometimes I could have sworn I pressed the jump button an instant before it responded, resulting in me falling onto spikes. The game does not support external control pads, which is a pretty big oversight in this age of mobile gaming.

Huey has a lot of levels and the game’s stiff challenge will ensure it will take a lot of time to work through them. The game makes reference to future updates as well so expect more levels in the future.

The game has a few ads bit these only appear between levels and are very short. Coins can be spent to remove ads.

Huey has few surprises, but it is still a competent platformer, if nothing too amazing. Players who grew up with 16 bit games should check it out.


Battlestation: First Contact Review

Battlestation: First Contact Review

Nov 19, 2014

Battlestation: First Contact Is an interesting mix of RTS and tower defence.

As commander of a large space station the player simply needs to survive by any means possible while wiping out the enemy. Gun turrets can be built in a number of slots on the station. These range from fast firing anti fighter lasers to slower heavy missile launchers for pounding the snot out of big ships. Having a good balance of weapons to combat different threats is as important here as it is in any tower defence.

Screenshot_2014-11-14-08-15-18As well as towers however the player can also construct Hangars. Once built these spit out fighter in a steady steam, providing mobile defence that can be sent to attack the enemy or cover the station as necessary. Fighter squadrons can be individually ordered about and while they cannot be moved directly, the player always feels like they have firm control over their pilots.

A shuttle bay can also be built that allows marines to be sent in troop carriers to opposing enemy ships to take them over and steal them from the enemy. Lastly, Earth can be contacted for reinforcements to bring in the big guns. This doesn’t come cheap however.

Screenshot_2014-11-14-08-37-08Of course all this fancy gear costs credits which are gained by destroying enemies and tapping on salvage. Marines and pilots are also a finite resource, so flippantly throwing away fighters or troops in futile combat will swiftly lead to disaster.

Battlestation: First Contact offers quite a few tactical options. Everything the player builds or uses can be customized like any good RTS. Turrents can have their targeting priority changed, while fighters can be more or less aggressive or dock with the station for upgrades. Shields can also be tweaked to either have more capacity or recharge faster. All of this makes a big difference depending on the situation.

Battlestation is a rougetype. This means when the player dies that saved game is deleted and they must start all over again from wave 1. It is very easy to lose it all very fast in Battlestation: First Contact if a tactical blunder is made. This makes the game tense but it is very aggravating being blown up after twenty minutes of gameplay. This is not helped by the repeated dialogue each game. Battlestation barely has a story to speak of and it is irritating to click though dry dialogue.

Battlestation: First Contact looks nice and minimalist. Its bright, simple graphics give it an inviting TRON like look with chaotic battles that are fun to watch. The sound is well done as well. A pumping techno track accompanies the action. The “pew pew pew” of combat gets the job done in a retro way, but a few more sounds would have been nice.

Battlestation: First Contact offers its first episode for free while additional episodes cost $3.50. If you’re good enough to reach the end of the first episode the later ones will likely be a good buy.

Battlestation: First Contact is a slick well-made game with a great meshing of styles its exciting tactical combat and fresh graphics make it a winner, even if it can be just a little too brutal sometimes.


Civilization Revolution 2 Review

Civilization Revolution 2 Review

Nov 18, 2014

The original Civilization Revolution was a flawed game with a bad interface and rather lopsided battles. It was saved mostly by its multiplayer and the fact that it was civ on mobile. Now Civilization Revolution 2 is upon us. Does it fix any of the original’s problems?

Screenshot_2014-11-15-01-54-22Civilization Revolution 2 like the other games in the series tasks the player with taking a civilization like Russia or the Aztecs though history and building them up from a few scattered hunter gather types to a wondrous civilization of the future, either crushing all rivals or simply proving their superiority to such a degree that the entire world falls under their control.

To do this the player creates cities and armies and researches new technology to unlock new buildings or units that can be used to defeat rivals or push the borders of your empire outwards with your cultural might, eventually simply absorbing other cultures under your enlightened rule.

Compared to its PC brethren, Civilization Revolution 2 loses a lot of depth. Terrain improvements are gone as is any real diplomacy. Enemy civs are kind of stupid and often don’t seem to research much of anything or keep up with technology. The complete lack of any multiplayer features further exacerbates the shortcomings of the AI.

The interface, while simple isn’t terribly intuitive. There is no world map, which can make it difficult to work out just who owns what. The diplomacy screen doesn’t even tell you who you’re at war with! Civilization Revolution 2 feels very dumbed down. There are some positive interface elements however, like the way the player can set a destination for a unit and it will move each turn. The Civilopedia works well too and is an interesting read.

Screenshot_2014-11-15-01-25-06Civilization also presents an air of immaturity. World leaders are clichéd, wildly gesturing oddballs, spies look like superheroes, the dialogue is often very silly and it is hard to take Civilization Revolution 2 seriously as a strategic game when it insists on unfunny jokes and animations. Sure other games like Great Little War Game and Romans in My Carpet! are less than serious as well, but CR2 seems to err on the side of annoying and silly, rather than amusing.

An old problem with Civ is its random battles. Civilization Revolution 2 is no exception Watch as catapults get mysteriously killed off by half dead archer units and warriors run up and kill defending archers. The civilization games are famous for this kind of idiotic combat and the fact that’s it still hasn’t been fixed after two decades is a bit ridiculous. It was about the time one enemy archer unit in a city defeated a catapult, two legion armies (six units) a unit of my own archers and two units of knights one after the other that I wondered how the game was released in this state.

Civilization Revolution 2 at least looks pretty nice. Bright 3d graphics add some flair, although they may be too cartoony to some compared to the original CRs more restrained graphics. The sound is nicely done as well with some good musical stings and solid combat and movement sounds.

Civilization Revolution 2 is a mixed bag of shoddy battle mechanics and missing features. It might be fun for casual fans of strategy, but the vast amount of better games on Android, like Ravenmark or Great little War Game dim its appeal a bit.


Racing Randy Review

Racing Randy Review

Nov 17, 2014

Racing Randy is a new endless runner featuring a long eared pilot and his doomed attempts to peacefully fly his airplane. Will the fur fly?

Racing Randy lacks any surprises for avid fans of endless runners. Players fly their plane along a course, avoiding hazards along the way. Hazards include electrified barriers, stationary clouds and flying missiles, among others. The sky is inexplicably filled with gold coins just waiting for an enterprising lope eared pilot to snatch them up. These coins can be spent on a small collection of disposable items. Unlike most runners, there are no permanent upgrades or buffs here to work on. Items instead are all one shot deal that destroy incoming hazards or speed up the player’s movement.

Screenshot_2014-11-13-11-16-53The problem with this system is that it is quite boring. The game isn’t all that interesting to begin with. It moves quite slowly and there is nothing in the game mobile gamers haven’t seen done many, many times before. The lack of interesting upgrades or gameplay quirks really hurt Racing Randy’s long term potential as well. This is compared to a game like Jetpack Joyride where there is endless fun in combining items and the fun vehicles. The only vehicle RR has is a very expensive alternate plane. Randy just has little to it.

Racing Randy’s presentation doesn’t do it any favors. Sporting rather plain sprites and little animation to speak of, the game looks very poor even compared to games several years old, such as Jetpack Joyride or even Temple Run. Compared to the visual feast many runners dish up Racing Randy doesn’t provide much to look at.

Screenshot_2014-11-13-11-18-31The sound is poor as well. There are only about two sound effects in the game: one for collecting coins and one for hitting obstacles. The music is very repetitive.

A final nail in Randy’s coffin is that it features a lot of video ads. Whenever a new game begins a 20 second video ad buffers away.

Racing Randy is an uninteresting and poorly presented runner with nasty ads and there are simply far too many better examples of the genre to warrant spending any time playing it.

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!