Battle Bears Ultimate Review

Battle Bears Ultimate Review

Jul 28, 2014

Battle Bears Ultimate is a first person team based deathmatch shooter with all the jumping and shooting veterans of Quake or Counter Strike would expect. Is it worth bear-ing with?

Screenshot_2014-07-25-00-56-03Battle Bears Ultimate is pretty light on play modes. Besides basic ranked team DM and unranked DM, the only other mode is Capture the Flag. The mian mode in Battle Bears Ultimate is Deathmatch, which features players running around trying to kill their opponents. Weapons are acquired between games from chests and are randomly awarded. Some players may have much worse or better weapons than other players.

Weapons are fairly limited as well. There are a few kinds of assault rifles, a few heavier weapons such as chainguns and a few explosive weapons like rocket launchers. While fun to use, there are no really interesting weapons.

Battle Bears Ultimate doesn’t play a particularly good game of Deathmatch, compared to the plethora of amazing online mobile FPS games like Modern Combat and Dead Trigger. It suffers from bouts of severe lag, poor weapon balancing and some poor maps that encourage camping more than a little. One map in particular has players begin in a small room and run down a ramp to enter the fray. It is very susceptible to one team simply being spawn camped the whole game.

Screenshot_2014-07-25-02-48-51Battle Bears Ultimate really embraces pay to win in a big way. The game uses a poorly though out system where the player is awarded chests during gameplay which contain a random prize, such as a new gun or a boost. Chests need keys to get the item. Keys are doled out one at a time when the player levels up. The only other way of acquiring keys is using real money, denying non-paying players the items.

The random nature of what’s in a chest is a pain as well. A chest might contain anything from an awesome weapon to a useless piece of clothing or other cosmetic object. This is especially bad for new players, who might unlock chests with useless items instead of desperately needed weapons. The default equipment new players get is no match at all for even the weakest weapons found in chests.

Battle Bears Ultimate looks pretty nice. It is amusing to see teddy bears running around blowing each other away and some of the maps have some interesting features in them. The map with a destroyed mountainous village with a flying sailing ship circling it and a futuristic city map stand out. The sound however is quite poor. Weapons sound weak and taunts and speech are very repetitive. The music salvages the sound a little bit as it’s very catchy.

Battle Bears Ultimate is a nearly unplayable FPS, mainly due to the haphazard way weapons are handed out and lag. It is certainly not worth playing when there are awesome multiplayer games like Modern Combat 4 around which provide hours of exciting gameplay with good weapons, exciting class based gameplay and no lopsided matchmaking. Battle Bears Ultimate might be fun for a few minutes, but its freemium features are its death knell.


Modern Combat 5: Blackout Review

Modern Combat 5: Blackout Review

Jul 28, 2014

The mighty Modern Combat series has long been one of the premiere shooters on mobile. While obviously aping Call of Duty, there is little argument that a series of well-made modern shooters is welcome on Android. Modern Combat 5: Blackout hopes to carry on the series of excellence and make Deathmatch loving gamers hot and bothered all over again.

Screenshot_2014-07-25-17-25-43Modern Combat 5 features a single player campaign but, unlike Modern Combat 4, it simply feels and literally is training for MP. In MC5 the player character is shared over MP and SP, so experience gained for killing enemies and beating missions in SP also boosts the player’s MP prospects.

The single player campaign is very similar to other modern shooters. There are terrorists, a sinister plot and plenty of turncoats and intrigue. The acting isn’t terrible, but it just pales compared to Modern Combat 4’s story.

Modern Combat 5’s gameplay is pretty much the same as MC4. There is cover to hide behind lots of enemies to fill full of lead and hostages to save. The biggest difference is that Modern Combat 5 features very short levels that are generally 2-3 minutes long. They are nowhere near as good as the 20-30 minute epics some missions in Modern Combat 4 turned into. Modern Combat 5’s missions feel too much like a collection of small rooms and isolated shootouts, rather than one homogeneous battle.

Screenshot_2014-07-28-04-30-03Between single player missions, the player is forced to grind though pointless side missions that must also be beaten to continue. These range from just killing all enemies, to killing all enemies and defusing a bomb. These missions are boring and simply serve as filler and experience fodder to gain levels.

Multiplayer is largely the same as Modern Combat 4, but since weapons unlock based on kills it’s much easier to focus on gaining a few weapons the player likes, rather than having to level up and arbitrarily be awarded new equipment. The wonky controls really make multiplayer feel like a crapshoot however. The matchmaking is fatally flawed. Level 5 players will be paired with any enemy at all, even lv 32 players who will effortlessly cap them.

Modern Combat 5 fails majority in the controls department. With no external controller support on release and loose, awkward touch controls, actually playing Modern Combat 5 with any kind of grace is exceedingly difficult. Things like sweeping your aim over to an enemy that just appeared takes a very long time and MP seems more luck based since the player can’t react very quickly without precise controls. MOGA support will likely improve the game a great deal.

Weapons in Modern Combat 5 just aren’t punchy or fun to use. Assault rifles have no recoil to speak off and sound very tinny and unimpressive. Shotguns lack a satisfying boom.

Modern Combat 5 is a competent, but unpolished entrant in the venerable Modern Combat series and for the price is tenuously worth a buy. Its issues will likely be tightened up with post release patches.


Falldown! Deluxe Review

Falldown! Deluxe Review

Jul 24, 2014

Falldown! Deluxe is a stylish new game in the ambiguously named falling ball genre. Is it worth having a ball?

Falldown! Deluxe is as simple to play as it is to comprehend. The player controls a ball rolling along a series of platforms with gaps that can be fallen into to advance. Meanwhile, a deadly ball cooking laser moves inexorably downwards all the while. The player must quickly roll the ball down gaps in each level of the playfield.

Screenshot_2014-07-17-23-12-54As the player advances, every 5 levels or so they reach the next level where gaps tend to be further away from each other, making it much harder to drop the ball in time.

After the player inevitably gets roasted, collected currency can be used to purchase additional ball styles and backgrounds to spruce the game up a bit.

Falldown! Deluxe is a very simple game anyone can play. Kids will likely enjoy it and its nonviolent nature and simple controls make it easy for them. It’s a good game to fill a few minutes in a queue or whenever.

Screenshot_2014-07-17-23-13-36Falldown! Deluxe looks nice. There are plenty of trippy colours and sparkly backgrounds that only become moreso after a few purchases. The frame rate is solid and there are no extraneous ads or anything else to get in the way of the game. Some nice techno music adds a lot to the game as well.

Falldown! Deluxe lacks achievements or anything else that could really give it any shelf life, although there is a high school list. After a few games the player has really seen everything it has to offer and all items in the shop are just ones that change the game’s appearance. There are no interesting power-ups or anything of the like to give the game a bit of much needed variety. Falldown! Deluxe is unlikely to hold anyone’s attention for longer than few minutes at a time.

Falldown! Deluxe is a serviceable game and it does everything it sets out to do just fine. However, a terminal lack of depth means there are much more interesting games to play on Android. Good for kids.

Sky Force 2014 Review

Sky Force 2014 Review

Jul 24, 2014

Sky Force 2014 is a curious mix of freemium and old school shooter. Does it work?

Sky Force 2014 is a classically styled, old school vertical shooter. The player travels up the screen dodging around and blasting the heck out of a bunch of different enemies. Huge, ships small planes and gigantic bombers fill out the vast armies the player fights on each level. And players will have plenty of time to admire these enemies. The game works on a grading system where the player must repeat levels until they gain a certain percentage of enemies destroyed or so on. This leads to rather a lot of grinding to afford better parts to actually complete these challenges.

Screenshot_2014-06-21-15-17-24Skyforce 2014 lacks powerups and even alternate weapons, which may be a bummer for some players. Part of the fun of shooters is picking up and using different weapons and powerps. Sky Force 2014 however mostly gets by using the same main gun which can be upgraded with stars collected from dead enemies. These stars can be exchanged for upgrades between levels that make the gun fire faster and do more damage, but it never really gets more interesting than its single orange bullets without a lot of invested time. There are a few other weapons in the game, but it is not clear how to unlock them or indeed how different they are.

The lack of weapons and pretty tame gameplay kind of sabotage Sky Force 2014. With the large amount of great looking, full featured shooters on Android it is difficult to find time for one that has so few weapons and also attempts to nickel and dime the player. The game just never seems to hit a groove and the most fun part of the game is the very beginning. The player flies a very powerful ship for a few minutes, before it is destroyed and they return in a very weak fighter, pew pewing small bullets.

Screenshot_2014-06-21-13-42-52Skyforce 2014 looks great. Some sharp, colourful graphics really make the game pop and small details like the way stars sparkle and smoke hangs in the air from destroyed enemies gives the game some class. There is a great variety of enemies and the game as a whole is silky smooth and looks excellent. It nails the vibe of an old school arcade shooter while still looking modern.

The sound is similarly excellent. Skyforce 2014 has some very unique music that sounds just like 8 bit chiptunes, which are very catchy. The sound effects for shooing and explosions work well. There is a fair bit of speech in the game as well to alert the player of game events and to provide a bit of backstory. Great stuff!

Sky Force 2014 has a fair few levels and the game is quite difficult, but it is hard to tell if this is by design, or due to the in app purchase system deliberately weakening the player.

Sky Force 2014 is a tolerable shooter, but its lack of interesting weapons and annoying, grindy freemium system dooms it to take a backseat to many other shooters on the platform.


Heroes of Atlan Review

Heroes of Atlan Review

Jul 22, 2014

Heroes of Atlan is a new demon slaying tactical adventure. Does it stand out from the recent flood of entries in this genre?

Heroes of Atlan is a tactical RPG in its purest form. The player takes no active role during combat. Instead, the player is relegated to equipping their team and positioning them to support each other. Unlike most RPGs of this type, there is absolutely no way to influence a fight once it begins; it’s all about the planning. Battles are short enough that they don’t drag on and the cool monster designs and decent animations make watching battles fun. Like any RPG, it is always satisfying seeing upgraded equipment or boosted levels turning the tide of battle.

Screenshot_2014-07-11-15-08-54A great thing about Heroes of Atlan is that it has an actual story. There is plenty of dialogue to read and some surprising moments. Nearly every battle has some interesting pretence to it and there is a real feeling of the kingdom galvanizing behind the player.

Heroes of Atlan uses a map based system where energy is expended to enter each battle. After winning a battle, the player earns experience and cash and moves onto the next battle. Previous battles can be replayed for more loot. As long as the player tempers their equipment and so on the difficulty is quite reasonable. Heroes of Atlan also includes a PvP arena, but it is filled with very high level players. Combat is completely hands off, just like single player so it really comes down to a pay to win scheme; the player with the best equipment will always win.

Upgrading equipment in Heroes of Atlan can be accomplished in two ways. First there is Tempering, which is a cheap, immediate boost to an item’s stats. This only requires money. Crafting is much more complicated and involves using a wide range of reagents to change an item’s form. Reagents take time to hunt down, but crafting makes equipment much more powerful. Once an Item has been crafted, it can be tempered all over again and the cycle starts anew.

Screenshot_2014-07-11-14-30-00Heroes of Atlan looks decent. Presented in a bright, colourful 2-d style the game features pretty nice character design and there are always new enemy types to see. The animation is fairly primitive, but the graphics aren’t really relevant to a game of this genre. Cool looking characters are just a bonus. The sound is likewise middle of the road. The music gets rather repetitive and there is no voice acting or even battle cries.

Heroes of Atlan is a pretty fun tactical RPG, at least in single player. While its lack of control and obvious freemium-based multiplayer might annoy some players it tells a good story and there is enough game here that gamers will keep gaming for a long time.


Stick Soccer Review

Stick Soccer Review

Jul 22, 2014

Stick Soccer is yet another attempt to celebrate the now-passed World Cup. Is it worth playing?

Stick Soccer is less soccer and more a series of penalty shootouts. Soccer balls bounce across the screen and a simple swipe arcs them towards the goal. A goalie and a few opposing players stand around to block shots. There is no actual soccer played in Stick Soccer. It is simply a series of shots on goal and no other players move besides the keeper. Despite this, whatever team opposes the player scores regularly during the game. Winning the game by scoring more goals than the opponent completes the level and unlocks a new, harder one against a different nation. Stick Soccer gets tough in a hurry. The first few levels aren’t too hard, but the game rapidly requires pinpoint accuracy and there is never any indication as to why certain shots beat the keeper or not. The game lacks a power meter or any other influence on shots besides swiping, which just isn’t accurate or engaging enough to be enjoyable. Besides the normal single player mode, a Time Attack mode is also included. This features the same gameplay, except even harder.

Screenshot_2014-07-08-05-01-29Stick Soccer’s gameplay is framed in a neat system where scoring goals adds to that nation’s global total which is shown in the main menu. Thus the game is sort of a global competition which is a nice motivation to play.

Stick Soccer isn’t a very fun game. It is difficult and its shallow gameplay is uninteresting. It is often unclear how to beat the keeper and most of the time scoring seems like simple luck. Fueling this belief is the fact that there is an in game shop with soccer boots for sale which boost the player’s stats. Some pairs can be unlocked by playing the game, but the criteria for unlocking them is tough to complete and the game would really like you to pay.

Screenshot_2014-07-08-05-02-24Stick Soccer lives up to its name. Tall, stick like soccer players dominate the game and the animation is very basic. Stick Soccer just doesn’t have much to look at. Soundwise, the game is just as simple. Besides a roaring crowd and the sound of bouncing balls, there is little to hear.

Stick Soccer’s replay value can be measured in minutes. Its one dimensional gameplay and reliance on in-app purchases doesn’t really make it an enjoyable experience.

Stick Soccer isn’t much fun and is little more than another shallow game based on soccer fever. There are much better World Cup themed games to play on Android. check out Winning Kick instead for a more interesting gameplay experience.

Great Little War Game 2 Review

Great Little War Game 2 Review

Jul 21, 2014

Great Little War Game 2, much like the first game in the series has the player taking control of the blue army vs. the ever present red army menace. Using infantry, tanks and artillery the player will fight across deserts, beaches and forests to wipe out the enemy.

Screenshot_2014-07-20-12-53-02Great Little War Game 2 is all about using the terrain well and using units together so they can support each other. Units on elevated terrain can shoot further and thus can avoid return fire. Using artillery well, covering base approaches with snipers and backing up your grunts with medics among other tactics is both fun and vital to success.

Great Little War Game 2 features no in-app purchases whatsoever. All sixty levels are available from the beginning and unlocking new units to use boils down to collecting bonuses during levels and beating missions. Once the player earns enough battle points they can spend them on both unlocking new units, like better tanks or infantry or improve the ones already available. There are no shortcuts here. If a level is lost it is always down to improper tactics or a lack of skill, instead of not spending enough money on the game. This is a wonderful feeling and sure to be a big boon to players.

Screenshot_2014-07-19-16-51-58A minor downer in Great Little War Game 2 is the removal of the often funny and always interesting mini cutscenes that provided so much entertainment in the first game. No longer do players get to see the latest ridiculous reason the Blue Army goes to war for or the latest pervy comment at female soldiers. Each mission is simply served up with a screen showing the map and the objective. This is an understandable sacrifice given that there’s a massive 60 missions in this game, but it’s still hard not to miss the window dressing. The complete removal of multiplayer is a somewhat larger sacrifice however. Hopefully this is restored in a future update.

Luckily, the game still features lots of highly amusing banter and snide anti-war snippets thrown in as units blast the stuffing out of each other. Hobo turd indeed. The game also looks very good, nearly identical to the first game although with better terrain effects.

Great Little War Game 2 has tons of replay value. As said earlier with sixty missions, loads of unlockable units and addictive tactical gameplay GLWG2 will last for a very long time.

Great Little War Game 2 is a fantastic game both for newcomers to the series and veterans eager for a boatload of new missions to play. A premier mobile game, it is a must play.


Evolution: Battle for Utopia Review

Evolution: Battle for Utopia Review

Jul 15, 2014

Evolution: Battle For Utopia is an interesting mix of small scale combat, exploration and base building. Is it a gaming utopia?

The combat portion of Evolution: Battle for Utopia is actually very robust. Attacking is handed automatically and the player can select a target. After every few shots the player must reload and this can be sped up with a well-timed tap Often one enemy will have a crosshair over them and attacking these targets will dish out more damage. Human enemies shoot back and glow red when they are about to allowing the player a second to duck behind a shield with a swipe before the lead starts flying. Incoming grenades also need to be tapped on to avoid them detonating in the player’s midst. There is a lot to do during combat and the mechanic for picking targets and taking cover make it feel like a real gunfight, which is impressive. Picking targets is important as some enemies are far more powerful in melee and must be dropped fast while human soldiers need to be taken out one by one to cut down on the number of people shooting.

Screenshot_2014-07-15-07-35-24Beside combat, there is a map based mode where dialogue and exploration take place. This is well done. Base building is done in typical freemium style with timers a plenty and many buildings to construct and tech to research. The graphics are noticeably poorer than the combat here and buildings are just dull, static blocks. The base building isn’t very satisfying and there are very few building types. This is in stark contrast to the cool combat segments. The game does have an interesting story which helps push it along.

Screenshot_2014-07-13-07-43-39Of course, as is common with mobile gaming, freemium comes along to ruin any fun the game might have had. The game’s difficulty shoots up extremely quickly after the first few missions and resource generation is a slow, plodding affair that requires logging in constantly to tap on buildings. Combat goes from fun and doable to tough and failing a battle once locks that battle away for 20 hours. Twenty hours. Missions can only be attempted if the player has sufficiently long range helicopters to reach them and this generally means that failing 1 or 2 battles can prevent the player from playing the game at all for the better part of a day. The tragic part is that if this was a premium game without paywalls it would be absolutely worth playing. The gameplay is satisfying and unique.

Multiplayer is a bit of a joke as well. Pay to win is the rule in Evolution: Battle for Utopia. The matchmaking system seems flawed as well; every multiplayer battle I ran into was against much higher level opposition.

Evolution: Battle For Utopia looks great, sounds great and has a lot of varied gameplay styles. As a whole it is very in depth for a mobile game. Unfortunately, some terrible freemium features and some very long timers really go a long way towards killing the game.


Wayward Souls Review

Wayward Souls Review

Jul 14, 2014

Wayward Souls looks and sounds like the spiritual successor to the well-received Mage Gauntlet. Prepare to be surprised!

Wayward Souls is an old school rougelike with style. A virtual stick moves the hero, while a tap on the screen executes a normal attack. Abilities are handled with swipes. For the Warrior a downward swipe uses his shield, which defends against any attack or projectile for a few seconds. An upward swipe unleashes a throwing axe for defeating enemies that are too dangerous to get close to. This super slick control scheme works very well indeed and is much less fiddly that a collection of small icons.

Screenshot_2014-07-13-04-19-51Players can pick from three initial classes in Wayward Souls. Like many RPGS it features a Warrior, a Mage and the ever popular Rouge. The Warrior is tough up close and can throw axes and gain high health. The Mage can attack from a distance, but must allow her energy to recharge to attack, so she’s very vulnerable to getting overwhelmed. The Rouge meanwhile attacks and moves very quickly, but isn’t as good in a stand up fight as the Warrior.

Except to die early and often in Wayward Souls. Wayward Souls is HARD. The player will die repeatedly. Enemies move around faster than even the Rouge and do loads of damage and there are tons of them. A lot of skill and constant attention are needed to survive for any length of time. Enemies are deadly and even the weakest ones, like berserk miners who throw pickaxes will do a lot of damage. A few enemies ganging up on the player can drop their health like nothing else. Of course like all rougetypes, as soon as the player dies, they must start the game all over again.

This is compounded by an almost total lack of healing. Getting hit kills the player fast and healing potions drop so rarely from enemies I wasn’t aware they even existed for a long time. The main source of healing is the small amount of health restored by reaching the end of a dungeon level and descending into the next.

Screenshot_2014-07-12-07-09-21Wayward Soul’s challenge is a breath of fresh air. While a lot of mobile games embrace pay to win and do not require skills, Wayward Souls is unashamedly a game in the vein of old school, rock hard SNES games which will eat players alive if they don’t have gaming chops and this is something not seem very often on Android. Indeed, it is often ports from other systems, such as Dragon Quest VIII and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas that aren’t afraid to kick the player around if they can’t hang tough.

Thankfully, a satisfying persistent upgrade system is in play. Coins can be grabbed during games and traded for permanent upgrades. These can boost the chance of doing critical damage, boost attack damage or recover energy for special attacks faster. Each upgrade also boosts maximum health and energy, so characters will gradually become stronger. This allows players to make it just that little bit further before becoming just another stain on the floor. This kind of slow burning gameplay is an acquired taste, but the game hands out plenty of coins and there are no nasty in-app purchases to dilute the feeling of progression.

Some smart game design ensures this needed replay never feels like grinding either. Like most Rougetypes, Wayward Souls is procedurally generated. Each time a new game is started the layout of the dungeon and enemy type and placement is randomly determined to ensure an entirely new brand of rage inducing death. This makes each game feel new and guards against frustrating repetition. It also prevents the player learning patterns and making the game too easy.

Wayward Souls is tough then, but it is the good kind of tough. It’s what gaming should be; a game that punishes you for not playing well and rewards the player when they do. Players who relish the challenge of extreme games like bullet hell shooters will likely revel in the unapologetic ass kicking Wayward Souls will deal out if they slip up.

Screenshot_2014-07-10-06-27-32Wayward Souls looks incredibly good. A super smooth, warm pixel art style defines the game. While pixel art on Android isn’t exactly hard to find, the great lighting effects, detailed sprites and the attention to detail make Wayward Souls look like a very pretty 16 bit game. The way the player’s character changes appearance as they get stronger is great as well. The music is extremely well done as well. Some excellent ambient tunes warble on in the background and really suck you into the game. Noodlecake are known for their great music and Wayward Heroes is another example of this skill.

Wayward Souls
has enormous replay value if players can stomach the challenge. The extreme amount of skill needed to even begin to get anywhere in the game will require much practice and stat boosting and the three classes and three more unlockable ones give plenty of replay value.

Lastly, Wayward Souls has a good bit of story. Each time the player descends a dungeon level more about their character and their motivations are revealed. These simple story scenes really reward progression. Rougetypes aren’t known for their story, so this is very engaging.

Wayward Souls is unabashedly made for a specific kind of player and helps propel mobile gaming into a more hardcore, serious level of gaming. Players who are dyed in the wool gamers who take any challenge in stride and will persevere and will take the time to learn the game will enjoy it. However more causal mobile gamers, such as those who like their freemium city builders and such will find it an impenetrable game. Even fans of Mage Gauntlet may not enjoy Wayward Souls due to its difficulty. Well-made but merciless Wayward Souls is the Dwarf Fortress of mobile gaming and only the player can decide if Wayward Souls is the game for them.


SoulCraft 2 Review

SoulCraft 2 Review

Jul 10, 2014

Soulcraft 2 takes a leaf out of Diablo’s book. Its story revolves around the endless war of Heaven vs Hell. Heaven sends some badass angels down to smack around Lucifer himself until he cries uncle. Meanwhile humanity is attempting to discover the secret to immortality. This would halt the flow of souls to the angels and thus rob them of their power.

Screenshot_2014-07-10-01-02-58Soulcraft 2 is a fairly average hack and slasher. The player moves with a virtual stick and a few buttons to control attacking and special skills. Soulcraft 2 is split into missions that boil down to either killing a lot of smaller demons, or fighting a boss. Most of these missions are quite short and never get more complicated than just hanging around and killing everything.

Soulcraft 2 features two currencies, Souls and Gold. Gold is a premium currency and must be used to unlock most items before they can be purchased with Souls, which are picked up during gameplay. Needing to pay to unlock equipment before even getting to pay for it by other means is a bit ridiculous. Buying the second cheapest gold pack awards the player permanent gold membership. This removes ads and doubles the number of Souls dropped by enemies.

Screenshot_2014-07-10-02-28-27Soulcraft 2, while its base gameplay is decent enough, lacks what makes a dungeon crawler great. Namely loot. The fun of dungeon crawlers is finding that next bit of swag that makes the player just that little bit tougher and able to take out more enemies. Finding a new flaming sword, cold resistant armour and so on is fun and keeps the player playing to see what comes next. Enemies in Soulcraft 2 very rarely drop loot. Only a few enemies even have the possibility of it and I saw no loot drops during my time with the game. Since the player spends most of the time with the same equipment due to the lack of loot, this can cause Soulcraft 2 to get rather dull.

Soulcraft 2 is very glitchy. Switching away from the game or receiving a call almost always causes the screen to simply go black, forcing the player to terminate the app before it can be played again. Levels sometimes load up as glitched messes and bouts of random lag are common. This detracts from the game a great deal. These issues are on a Samsung Galaxy S4, so owners of older devices should beware of Soulcraft 2.

When it is not glitching out, Soulcraft 2 looks quite nice. The character design nails the heaven vs hell vibe and there are plenty of intimidating enemies and killer angels to see. Combat looks pretty good too, with plenty of nasty looking animations. The sound gets the job done as well, but isn’t exceptional.

Soulcraft 2 isn’t a bad game. Its bugginess and lack of loot detract from it a great deal, but its reasonable gold membership is a pretty good deal. Hack and slash fans could do worse than taking a look.


Swipe Quest Review

Swipe Quest Review

Jul 9, 2014

Swipe Quest is a strange game to say the least. It blends classic 8bit era RPG gameplay with a bizarre grid based system where monsters and items are represented by tiles. As the player moves around, running into enemies fights them and sliding into items grabs them. There are also stones and trees which can be collected for gold and experience points, representing resources.

Screenshot_2014-07-06-03-02-16Combat in Swipe Quest is a strange beast. Each enemy has a number in attack and defense. The player boosts their stats by sliding around and grabbing swords and shields to boost attack and defense respectively. Both can also be purchased from the in game shop. Running into an enemy with enough of each uses up the equipment to kill them and leaves the player undamaged. If the player has enough swords, but not shields they take damage directly to their health instead. Defeating enough enemies boost the player’s level, which increases their maximum life and grants a few shields/swords.

Gaining levels also unlocks new quests and tougher enemies begin to appear. Tiles move along with the player and tiles of the same type that run into each other combine. This includes enemies. If the player moves in such a way that they are surrounded by enemies, a timer begins to count down and the player will be killed if they can’t escape.

Quests also randomly appear that are worth a good chunk of experience. Quests range from finding a lost boy, to killing a certain amount of enemies. The dialogue for quests is very strange and is obviously a parody of the often terrible translations found in classic RPG titles. Not good orcs indeed.

Screenshot_2014-07-06-03-21-17Despite Swipe Quest’s unique gameplay, it is just not very interesting. The game is so simple that after a few games the player has seen most of the game and the one dimensional gameplay just isn’t compelling for very long. There is little skill in the game and calling it a puzzle game is rather disingenuous. The player simply needs to keep searching to find sufficient swords and shields to defeat enemies. The only real danger is becoming surrounded, which is easily avoided. Swipe Quest just has no depth.

The game doesn’t look good either. Despite its attempted 1980s PC RPG style graphics, it just doesn’t make use of the medium at all. Repetitive, boring tiles of monsters on a plain green field and endless tiles of samey items just don’t do the game any favors. True retro style games have a style all their own, but Swipe Quest doesn’t play to the era’s strengths.

Swipe Quest won’t hold interest either. Its many unlockable characters just have slightly different starting numbers of swords and shields. They do not actually play any differently.

Swipe Quest is a prime example of why gaming conventions aren’t bad. Swipe Quest’s interesting ideas don’t hold up past a few games and it doesn’t look or sound good either. For a buck it’s worth a look as a novelty, but don’t expect much fun gameplay.


Danger Boat Review

Danger Boat Review

Jul 8, 2014

Danger Boat is a new; boat based endless runner style game by Pixelocity Software. These guys have done work on Age of Empires III and, unsurprisingly, Spyhunter!

Screenshot_2014-07-06-00-08-01Danger Boat sees the player navigating a sleek speedboat though a maelstrom of bombs, rocks and whirlpools, Steering uses the accelerometer. While avoiding hazards is all well and good, the real goal of the trip is the lines of buoys planted around. Passing ten buoys on the indicated side awards a random power. These powers range from coin magnets, turbo boosts, backup allied helicopters and even lasers to shoot though any threats in front of the speedboat. These cool powers are usually used for completing challenges, such as destroying a certain amount of rocks, gaining a certain amount of coins or so on. Completing challenges builds up a score multiplier, so later games let the player achieve higher scores.

Like most games of this type, gold coins float on the waves, just waiting for a speedboat to grab them. Coins can be used to buy upgrades to powers such as a longer duration or new boats to use . Barrelling over jumps and avoiding missiles in a riverboat is always fun.

The great thing about Danger Boat is that it is very well made and has no nasty in-app purchase surprises. The game is fun and challenging. Not being nickel and dimed every five seconds will likely be a breath of fresh sea air for Android gamers. Coins can be purchased in game, but the player is never nagged about it and a few dollars will buy enough coins to unlock quite a few upgrades.

Screenshot_2014-07-06-02-03-09Danger Boat looks slick without being overcomplicated. The game’s elements are really well drawn and the game looks and feels a lot like a spy film. The James Bond style surfy music, floating bombs and mysterious black submarines that try to blow the player’s boat away give the impression this little boating escapade isn’t entirely innocent. Indeed, one of the coin purchases is a replacement for the starting harbour, a shady headquarters. A really cool touch is that as the player motors along, the weather changes now and then, so there are snowy sectors with ice instead of rocks and stormy sectors with lighting strikes.

Danger Boat has plenty of replay value. There are daily challenges to work on, as well as standard challenges to boost the score multiplier. There is always something new to try.

Danger Boat is a super stylish game with lots of good ideas a cool vibe and a focus on fun. It’s worth a look for any mobile gamer.