Royal Revolt Review

Royal Revolt Review

Feb 27, 2013

Royal Revolt is an arcade battle game with just the right amount of cute characters and kid-friendly game play. If you’re a parent concerned with too much violence in fighting games, then this one can guarantee less of the gore and more of the action.

In a faraway kingdom, a young prince is in his quest to reclaim his father’s throne after his tragic death. The prince must battle his evil aunts and uncles and their horde of soldiers to conquer and take back the fallen kingdom.

The young prince is a cute little soldier, and he has his own army to fight with him. These soldiers are categorized into sword or arrow, and there’s a button for the kind you want to “spawn” and join you in battle. Spawning is done in time intervals, and you’ll need to wait a few seconds before you can spawn more troops.

Coins are lying idly along the war path, and are yours for the taking. If you manage to collect at least a thousand of these, then you can start upgrading spells, troops and the hero himself.

While you may think it’s fine if you don’t upgrade, think again. Royal Revolt is what they call a reverse tower defense game. This means your opponent is reinforcing his defense and upgrading his offense. So just when you’re confident you’re good to go, you might end up failing too early in the next round. So upgrading your gear, powers and army is a must.

Graphics are great, although it does have that cartoonish quality that appeals more to young children. That’s not to say you won’t like it, it just may not be too compelling of a game when you realize how “cute” these characters are when in fact they’re aiming arrows and hacking swords.

Game controls are pretty solid, and I had no problems bringing the hero to where I want him, or spawning troops when I needed them. A recent update also indicated improved responsiveness when moving the hero around the battlefield.

Royal Revolt offers a lot of action while maintaining a wholesome interface. It’s a joy to play if you’re looking for something that’s not too intense nor too easy. This game has the right combination of that, and it only proves battle games don’t have to be violent, bloody or grotesque to be enjoyable.

Paper Galaxy Review

Paper Galaxy Review

Feb 11, 2013

There’s a lot of paper-themed apps and games on the Play Store these days. When I first reviewed Paper Monsters, I understood the visual appeal and “cute” factor that has so many gamers enamored. Paper Galaxy is a great and welcome addition to this paper-themed genre. It’s essentially a jumping game set in outer space, with planets as platforms and a small moon as the hero.

Like Temple Run and other more popular running games, the goal is to beat your highest score (or farthest distance). The conflict is that evil monster hot on your trail. You’ll need to orbit and bounce off planets and other heavenly bodies to push up and go as far away from the monster as possible.

Game controls are as simple as tapping once to bounce off planets and double-tapping to Super Sneeze — which accelerates the hero even without orbiting a planet. Super Sneezes can be bought, along with other special abilities.

Orbiting planets help you gather stars along the way, which is the game’s currency. Use these stars to buy special powers from the store. Some planets have their own little qualities — others have lots of stars while others may spin you faster. While these help you go forward, there are also things you should avoid such as the sun and black holes — both of which are bad news. The sun scorches you and black holes make the monster move towards you faster.

To help you on your quest for zooming through the galaxy, there are missions lined up for you to accomplish. Once these are done, you are rewarded with stars which you can then add to your collection. These missions may be as simple as getting scorched by the sun, or something more complicated as orbiting specific planets for x number of times.

That’s pretty much it. There’s not much to this game than to bounce off planets and go as far as you can. The visual value, however, is worth every second you spend on it. The graphics are crisp and vibrant, and the subtly magical animations are top notch. Sound effects also put you in a zen-like trance while you tap away from planet to planet.

For those who like paper-inspired graphics, Paper Galaxy is a treat. Great for casual gaming, I love that it can be played with one hand. Again, the major appeal is in the crafty graphics and animation — something that’s similar to ClayJam and Paper Monsters. This makes the game excellent for toddlers or young children, but adults may themselves playing a few rounds, too.

Devil’s Attorney Review

Devil’s Attorney Review

Feb 4, 2013

Devil’s Attorney is a turn-based strategy game with a legal theme. Max is a dashing, young lawyer who would do anything to win a case — even playing outside the rules.

In the game, you need to win cases so you can maintain and improve your lifestyle — your apartment, car, clothes and accessories. Each case has its price, and it’s all yours as long as you win it. It doesn’t matter how you win it — in Max’s dog-eat-dog world, rules are meant to be broken.

You can start by going to your office — which will be shabby at first — and pick a case. A brief background of the case and the client is provided along with how much is at stake if your client gets a Not Guilty verdict. There’s also a bonus if you win the case in a specified number of rounds.

Now starts the tricky part. Once you’re in the court room, you will need to read the tutorial carefully so you fully understand how the game works. To your left would be a menu with all your skills, a life meter (Guilty or Not Guilty), and your Action Points. Each skill has a required amount of Action Point so you can use it. You’re only given a limited amount of points, so use it wisely.

To your right would be your opponent’s witnesses and evidence. Their damage are indicated in big white numbers inside a red square box. Your job is to lower these numbers down to zero to remove them and to ultimately win the case.

The game lets you use all action points before the opponent makes their move. When you’re done with your moves — you have to consume all action points — then the ball goes to your enemy, and there is nothing you can do to stop them. If their damage depletes your life meter, then your client is found guilty and you lose the case.

The game’s level of difficulty can be adjusted between Easy, Normal and Hard difficulties, found in Options in the main menu. You can play three separate games without having to complete the first one. Simply choose New Game on the start up screen.

The graphics in this game is absolutely superb — this alone makes the purchase worth it. Performance and game controls are smooth and responsive, too. Lastly, the audio and sound bites are quite impressive. I particularly like the cheesy exchanges between Max and his rivals before the start of each case.

Devil’s Attorney is a simple math game disguised in a nice, appealing way. If you like to see a unique strategy game with lots of court room puns, then by all means download this now!

Spellwood Review

Spellwood is a puzzle strategy game with a twist. It’s very similar to classic board games like Scrabble, but it makes it more interactive with its RPG style. Here, brains (and an expansive vocabulary) are your best weapon to destroy the enemy.

The game has Adventure mode, which is for a single player, and Duel Friends, where you can play with Facebook friends.

It starts in Spellwood Academy, where the player is a wizard who must battle with other wizards in a word-spelling challenge. Both hero and opponent take turns to fill the board with words from a set of seven randomly selected letters. A player can append his word to what’s already laid down on the board, or make another word using at least one letter from the previously spelled word. If a word is valid, the wand button becomes available to tap and the word’s score is revealed. This score is also used to lessen the opponent’s life meter. The last player standing is the winner of the battle.

If a player can not put together words from his set of letters, he can tap on the swap button to lose his turn and swap up to five tiles. While this may be beneficial, it’s also an opportunity for the opponent to gain more points and cause bigger damage.

As the game progresses, there are special powers given to the hero. Some tiles on the playing board holds bonus points when a letter is placed on it, and in later levels, a hero is granted control over where to place these bonus tiles. Special items are also given throughout the game, depending on how well one has played. Special items can only be used once in battle, and only during a player’s turn. These items include the ability to change a letter from a consonant to a vowel, or vice versa — however, a player cannot control which letter will be given.

Spellwood‘s game design and vibrant interface makes it a delight to play for kids of all ages. Dragging tiles around is super smooth, with no performance issues. It also provides you with lots of levels, securing a long term residence in your phone. It may look like a game made for kids, but after playing a few rounds, I was glad to see how it builds the challenge gradually.

With its unique game setup, colorful graphics and fluid performance, I’d say Spellwood is a fine way to have fun while expanding your vocabulary.

My Singing Monsters Review

My Singing Monsters Review

Dec 17, 2012

My Singing Monsters is a world-building game with a musical theme. To make the game stand out from all others, the characters — which are monsters, in this case — have the ability to “sing”. The player is then encouraged to take care of these monsters in exchange for coins and other rewards.

Other than feeding, a player can also increase a monster’s happiness by buying and placing their favorite items near them. These items are indicated in a profile info page, which can be accessed by tapping on a monster. Monsters can either be bought or bred. To breed monsters, one must purchase a breeding tree — where existing monsters can be cross-bred to give birth to new, more powerful monsters.

Certain monsters cost more than others, and in return give more coins. Coins can be used to buy monsters, structures and other decorative items. Another currency are gems, which can be collected by building mines, or through in-app purchase.

Experience is also gained and certain items can only be unlocked at specified XP levels. Experience is awarded when baking food, upgrading structures, clearing objects and breeding monsters.

Another great thing about My Singing Monsters is the number of different islands one can buy. For a huge amount of coins, which would require ample time to accumulate, one can purchase more islands to build another world with old and new monsters. The song also varies with each island. The coins, gems and food collected from all islands can be used in any of them.

It’s important to note that the game requires an internet connection, as it needs to get game data from it servers. Being internet-based, it does let one share progress through Facebook and Twitter, with an option to add friends who also play the game.

Perhaps the best thing about this game is its stunning graphics. For a free game, the quality is more than what is expected. The latest update also includes a world “makeover” that decorates some worlds with a holiday theme. For instance, in Cold Island, rocks are wrapped in ribbons and Christmas trees light up the place.

World-building games often feel a bit silly and childish, but with this game, it feels completely appropriate. It’s easy to be amused by the monsters and how they complement each other in song. For something that’s free and playable without IAP’s, My Singing Monsters delivers excellent worlds with lovable, singing characters that’s fun to take care of.

Falcon Pro (for Twitter) Review

Falcon Pro (for Twitter) Review

Dec 13, 2012

Having tried every Twitter client there is for Android, I can confidently say that Falcon Pro stands out from all others. Falcon started as a widget for Twitter only, but is now available as a fully functional Twitter client that’s even better than the official app.

The interface is not as clean and polished as the official Twitter app, but that’s not to say it doesn’t look good. On the contrary, Falcon Pro‘s double-sliding menus and dark theme creates a unique Twitter experience. Swiping the main page to the right shows follower and following details, timeline and other filters including mentions, direct messages and retweets. The app settings page is also accessible from here. Swiping to the left shows Twitter lists, if any, as well as saved searches and trending topics.

Getting new tweets are done by pulling down and releasing the timeline. Individual tweet functions like retweets, delete, mute and share are all available by holding down a tweet from the timeline page. On the settings page, one can set how often the app refreshes the timeline, notification types, and enabling the Tweetmarker.

Two notable features in Falcon Pro that’s often missing from other apps are Tweetmarker and Mute. This is not very common among other Twitter apps, and doesn’t look to be a future functionality of the official Twitter app. I like the mute function for more control of the timeline, choosing which ones I want to focus on. Tweetmarker remembers where you left off when exiting the app, so it’s easy to get back on track when using it again even from another device.

The app boasts of fast load times, and it seems to hold true to that promise. Timelines refresh at fairly acceptable speeds, even with average mobile data connection.

Photos and videos included in tweets can be viewed inline using the app’s built-in web browser and video player. However, if one prefers to view media content with an external browser, this feature can be turned off in the app settings.

There are more things to like about Falcon Pro, and it’s clearly a very competent Twitter client that is not to be ignored. With a unique interface and lots of impressive features, this app makes tweeting extremely flexible.

Clay Jam Review

Stop-motion animation, usually with clay figurines, has been an age old medium in film and TV, and become instant hits when done right. It seems this holds true for mobile games as well. Clay Jam is a unique running game that probably has the best looking claymation in the gaming world. On top of its brilliant stop motion graphics, the colors are pleasantly vivid and game play is as easy as it should be.

The game requires the player to flick a small pebble down a hill, squashing clay monsters along the way with the goal of flinging the beast that awaits on the end of the hill as far as possible. The pebble can squash clay monsters that are small enough, but should avoid bigger ones until it is big enough to squash them too. The distance of a thrown beast is the main measurement of success, as this determines how well you are rewarded in the form of power ups. In each level, there is a certain distance a player must have thrown the beast before a power up is given.

The amount of clay collected are later converted into coins, which can be used to purchase clay monsters, power ups or hill upgrades. The more clay monsters in the hill, the more chances the pebble can grow and squash bigger monsters. Power ups include double-scores, shrinking clay monsters and acquiring more clay than usual. Power ups are either awarded when a certain distance is reached, or can be purchased with game currency or real money.

Game controls involve swiping left, right, forward and backward (but not too much otherwise a wave of hot, red lava will swallow the pebble). It’s a bit tricky to master, but one should get the hang of it after a few rounds.

Another thing that sets Clay Jam apart from all other games of its kind is that one does not need to complete all levels of a world before proceeding to the next one. In this game, all hills can be played at any time, as long as there are enough coins to unlock them.

Having played the game for days now, I’d say it’s addictive as it is entertaining. It’s not too hard to the point of getting frustrated, because any trip down the hill feels like a blast — win or lose. Clay Jam is Zynga’s best new game release to date, and it’s a definite must-play, must-have running game.

Motley Blocks Review

Motley Blocks is a uniquely addictive puzzle game with an arcade twist. While its goal is as simple as connecting blocks with the same color, the execution is not as easy as it seems. For something that’s visually sparse, it’s still pretty addictive and fun to play.

The challenging element of Motley Blocks is not so much as connecting same-colored blocks, but managing to do it while they rotate within a limited amount of time. In this game, you not only need to clear all blocks, but get it done on time.

To connect the blocks, one only needs to swipe through them and release when finished. The longer the link, the bigger the points earned. Blocks can be linked together as long as they’re near each other and are not blocked by other blocks with a different color. All blocks should be cleared before the time limit. The game makes clearing boxes more entertaining by having the cleared blocks form different images such as human figures, animals, and even food items.

One does not need to complete a level before going to the next one, and there is an option to replay a level or proceed to the next one regardless if the current level was cleared or not.

The game requires internet connection and a registration (by providing an email address) or a link to a Facebook account. This is needed to play the game’s main mode, which takes the player to all levels and saves game data. There is, however, a Quick Play mode, which can be played without a network connection, but will not store game data. As a result, one would have to start over every time Quick Play is restarted.

The main game mode also allows for accumulating points, social sharing, leaderboards and power ups. At the start of each level, one can purchase different power ups such as bombs to clear off blocks faster, freeze blocks, and a time extension for longer playing time. These can be bought by using points accumulated throughout the game.

Another nice addition is being able to create images and sharing them to other players.

The loading screens are a bit clunky on my HTC Sensation, but once the game starts, the lag seems to disappear. Tapping on blocks and linking them might be easier if the blocks where bigger, or some might actually prefer a bigger screen to see where their finger is going.

The game is 80 levels rich, and have interesting images with a Lego-esque feel. This should keep one entertained enough even without replaying it.

I must say Motley Blocks is the first block-breaking puzzler of its kind. It’s unique, fun and surprisingly interactive. While its game play may not be for everyone, those who get the hang of it and try to build an expertise are greatly rewarded. I almost gave up on it at first, but giving it a few more rounds actually had me hooked. After all, puzzles should be challenging while being fun at the same time.

Paper Monsters Review

Paper Monsters is a 2D platformer made in a beautifully crafted 3D world. As paper-themed games are a dime a dozen, this one is an absolute stand out and one of the best there is in its category. Detailed graphics, simple game play and smooth controls all make for a pleasant and engaging game time.

In Paper Monsters, the hero is a little paper robot making his way through the paths of collectible buttons and paper clips while jumping on monsters and bombs. Buttons serve as the point system and are classified into silver or gold. Gold ones are obviously more valuable, thus scarce and difficult to reach. Paper clips offer bonus points when collected throughout the game. As one reaches a certain part of a level, an area is tagged with a pinwheel, indicating a jump-off point should the hero die and has to start over. This is pretty neat, since one doesn’t have to start at the very beginning, wasting precious time and energy. There are four worlds, presented as chapters, with four levels for each. Finishing all levels unlocks a mini-game section.

The game can be played by using two control types: virtual joystick and classic touch pad. Virtual joystick allows the players to swipe his thumb left or right to move the hero forward or backward, while classic touch pad provides arrow buttons to press for the same purpose. This is strictly a matter of preference, but as I used both controls, I find there is not much issue with its responsiveness. Jumping is done by tapping on the right side of the screen, and double-jumps are done by tapping twice. Using these two controls together work in sync and gets the desired results with no fuss.

The most impressive thing, I feel, about this game is its use of background areas for another part of game environment. The hero can go in tunnels and reappear further in the background, go through collectibles and return to the foreground by going through another tunnel. This makes all the difference, making the game even more engaging and avoiding the pitfalls of a dry and repetitive platformer.

Above all, the sheer imagery and intricate world designed for the game is outstanding. Graphics are crisp, bright and beautifully rendered. For something that costs a measly $0.99, it’s a rare steal and a must-have. There’s also no need for in-game purchases, as the only thing that can cost real money is for dressing up the hero, which really doesn’t add any abilities and is for aesthetic purposes only. This way, there is no need to pay for anything to be able to keep playing the game.

Paper Monsters is an excellent game that’s entertaining and visually rewarding. For its price, it brings you a lot of value where other games fall short. It has everything one would want from a platformer, even for novices who prefer a casual gaming environment and more advanced players who are looking for a more interesting take on the platformer genre.

Pizza Boy Review

Pizza Boy Review

Nov 21, 2012

Pizza Boy is a food-themed platformer with a retro feel, employing cute, pixelated graphics that are all the rage these days. The object is for our hero to run after the thief who has stolen the pizza. Pizza boy now has to dodge evil dogs, birds and collect as many strawberries and pizza slices along the way.

The storyline is not that compelling, but the eye-friendly graphics of this game begs you to at least stick around and see what lies ahead for our pixelated hero. The details that went into each element and character of the game is nothing short of what one would expect from a paid game. Instead of looking like an excuse for poor graphics, the game’s pixelated style is impressively polished — even for something that is supposed to look like it was made in the 90’s.

As in platformer games, one has to keep moving forward to lead Pizza Boy to victory and on to the next level. In this game, our hero needs to avoid enemies, or kill them by kicking bottles or jumping on them. This takes a bit of practice to perfect, and the first few tries might cost you a life. Lives are in the form of a pizza slice and the player is given three of these at the start of the game, with extra slices found along with the strawberries that our hero must also remember to collect.

Game controls are kept simple in Pizza Boy, with left and right buttons for moving the hero, a Pause/Play button in the middle and the throw/jump controls on the opposite end. The buttons look too tiny that at first I felt like I won’t be able to hit them properly, but as I kept playing, I sort of figured out a way to hit them just right.

The music and sound effects are also reminiscent of the retro platformer era, however this can be turned on or off before the start of the game. This is probably what I enjoyed the most about the game. Both graphics and sound complemented each other well, completing that nostalgic charm. As a child of the 90’s that’s enough to make me like anything.

That’s not to say that this game is not appealing to the younger generation. Pizza Boy is a fun, easy and entertaining game regardless of its retro theme. Yes, the objective may not be too meaningful, and it feels a bit silly to throw bottles at flying birds, but it’s all in good fun.

In a nutshell, Pizza Boy is a great platformer game to purchase, even for first-time players with no attachment to 16-bit game interfaces. However, the retro theme is there to appeal to a specific audience, so it should take to more mature players who just want to take that forgotten road down memory lane and experience old school gaming with new school devices. Regardless of the player, Pizza Boy guarantees a solid platformer gaming experience that is way ahead of other games of its kind.

Martian Mansions Review

Martian Mansions Review

Nov 12, 2012

Martian Mansions may be based on a classic game, but a few seconds spent on the game and you’ll realize it’s not as easy as Tetris. For starters, the environment of falling blocks is in 3D, and blocks are lined up to form a cylinder instead of a straight wall, making the game harder than usual.

Although the execution differs from the classic Tetris game, Martian Mansions‘ game objective remains faithful to its predecessor — which is basically piling blocks without leaving gaps to clear them out and prevent falling blocks to accumulate on top. But there’s more to playing the game than one might think.

Blocks are shaped to form a cylinder instead of a straight wall. To ensure that the first block layer is filled, one must rotate the platform to avoid dropping blocks on the same spot. As in Tetris, individual falling blocks can be rotated on midair to fit the gaps made by other blocks. Once a layer has all areas filled, it disappears, giving more room for incoming blocks. If the blocks are getting crowded and there is an urgent need to clear lower blocks, two “filler” blocks are available to tap on (located on the upper left corner of the screen). These blocks can fill in little or big gaps at the time when they’re badly needed. However, the number of special blocks one can use for this is limited, so one has to use them wisely.

After playing the game for a few days, I realized that game control buttons might be the reason that I have a hard time clearing blocks. The left/right buttons for rotations are on opposite ends of the screen, and in the middle is the rotate button for falling blocks. This setup caused me to rotate blocks when I meant to rotate the platform to the left. With other games, the left/right buttons are next to each other, while the shoot/jump/do-whatever button sits on its own on the opposite side.

Graphics are fairly good, and the alien-themed design certainly puts a modern spin on a classic game. Performance is also great, as there are no lags or delays in animations or responses to touch. This is not a problem at all, and at times I wished it was especially when I make bad brick drops and it’s too late to adjust them.

One interesting thing about Martian Mansions is that there is no way to check how many worlds or levels are left to be completed. The game just shows a simple animation, and tapping the play button immediately starts the game. I haven’t gone too far into the levels, so there is really no telling what kind of re-play value one can expect from this game.

Martian Mansions is a fresh and interesting way to play an old and forgotten game. However, it might need a bit of improvement in terms of game controls and overall navigational design. Having played the game, I can say it’s off to a good start, although it has plenty of room for improvement to make it more player-friendly.

Zombie Toss Review

Zombie Toss Review

Oct 26, 2012

Zombie Toss dares ask a question no one was ever crazy enough to ask: what do zombies taste like? Not good, I’m guessing. In this slashing game, the object is to hack as many jumping zombies as possible to survive. The food chain has definitely come full circle, and the undead is now a part of the human menu.

The game has four worlds with 30 levels in total. A survival mode can be unlocked by collecting enough keys which are accumulated as one plays the game. The currency is in two forms: cash and tooth. Both of these are used to buy items such as weapons, ammo and health packs.

The game’s rule is very simple: slash zombies and avoid letting too many of them go, as this can lead to your death. Melee weapons are used to hack these zombies into pieces, starting with the kitchen knife. These can be upgraded to machetes, fire axe, claymore and katana depending on how much cash or tooth you have accumulated.

Zombies are not the only ones popping up the fence. There’s a toxic barrel of chemicals that explode and slow things down so it’s easier to slash through zombies around it. There are also other things floating around once in a while: health packs and bonus round boxes. Bonus rounds are a few seconds where you can use a bonus round weapon. This is a chainsaw by default, but one can upgrade to more powerful weapons like a shotgun, machine gun or a flame thrower.

Another extra weapon available only when seen flying through the fence is a super attack, which is activated by the red button on the bottom right corner of the screen. Note that when a super attack is activated, one only has a few seconds to push the button, after which it deactivates.

Graphics and sounds are quite impressive, although I can’t say the same for performance and game play. There’s a split second lag in responsiveness when slashing across zombies and objects. It’s not too slow that I’m not able to play the game, but it is noticeable and hampers an otherwise great gaming experience. It also doesn’t take the entire screen of the device, and black borders are present on each side of my HTC Sensation.

The developer page in Google Play says that registration to the gaming network is required before playing the game, and that may be a deal-breaker for most casual gamers. This game is also ad-supported, and there are some users who complain about ads popping up every now and then.

Zombie Toss is a new way to play slashing games, something that’s unique and interesting. There are certainly performance and display issues, but these are part of the game’s growing pains and should hopefully be resolved within a few updates. Besides, it’s not every day that one gets so many chances to slice zombies into pieces of dinner meat.