Doraemon Gadget Rush Review

Doraemon Gadget Rush Review

Feb 27, 2015

I’m totally oblivious to Doraemon. Other than seeing his cute blue face on a number of lunchboxes, backpacks and t-shirts, I have no idea what he or even it is about. So imagine my surprise when it turns out the Doraemon is actually a cyborg cat, sent from the future by a time-travelling scientist. Like The Terminator but only not.

Still, you don’t have to be a up on your Doraemon knowledge to be able to enjoy Doraemon Gadget Rush, all you have to do is be able to recognise when three tiles are of the same colour and are connected to each other. You then swipe the tiles and they disappear, you get points and more tiles drop onto the screen to replace them.DGR2

There’s a reason given for you to do this – it’s something about robots stealing gadgets and I think the robots are from the future as well, though I’m not sure. Naturally, the only way to defeat these thieving mechanoids is to try and get a high-score in the previously described tile-matching game.

To help you get as high a score as possible you can take characters and gadgets into each battle. The different characters you take into battle will offer you different perks, such as boost to score, extra time and bonuses for chaining together more tiles than 3. The same can said of the gadgets that you use as well, equipping one item to one character.

Similar to games like 10000000, Gadget Rush asks you to play the game over and over again but incentivises this with the awarding of experience points and coins at the end of each round. Levelled up characters and items will have stronger bonuses whilst coins can be used to buy buffs that can be used in future attempts to beat that high score.

This creates a loop of you wanting to beat your score, levelling up characters to make this more likely and then unlocking new items and characters that are better than their levelled up peers. It doesn’t hurt that the games presentation is kind on the eyes. Doraemon’s bright blue face is plastered all over this thing and everything’s beyond cute and cuddly. The music and little voice-clips that pop off when you do well don’t hurt either, even if it leaves such a sugary sweet taste that you risk diabetes every time you play.

Considering this is a game that many will write-off as ‘licensed rubbish’, Doraemon Gadget Rush is an incredibly solid puzzle game that has been built upon to include systems that reward and encourage continued play. The In-App-Purchases which are often egregious in most titles like are handled well and aren’t advertised in an intrusive or annoying way. A real pleasant surprise.

Motorsport Manager Review

Motorsport Manager Review

Feb 23, 2015

Managers. We always think we can do better. Any form of manager who’s managing any type of team – we can do better. Especially when it comes to sports, people inherently feel like they know more than the people in charge.

It’s this feeling that Motorsport Manager taps into. For a start, you can forget the fact it’s ‘about’ motorsports. Whilst it may be slightly easier for you to get into the game if you do watch Formula 1 or IndyCar, even if you’re not interested in anything with 4-wheels (like me) you’ll still have a great time with Motorsport Manager.

To start with you have a pretty terrible team of mechanics, drivers that don’t know where the brakes are and your car is pretty crummy too. From this launchpad you’ve got to work your way across multiple racing leagues and build up a team that can rival McLaren.

The game is all menu driven so it’s a good thing that the UI is a thing of beauty. Everything is incredibly intuitive and whilst a basic tutorial helps out to begin with it’s not entirely necessary. The game is incredibly simple to play but don’t start thinking that this means the game itself is simple.MM3

Within Motorsport Manager you’re often spinning multiple plates. You have sponsors to keep happy, as they pay the wages. You’ve got drivers to keep an eye on, for obvious reasons they need to be performing well. Upgrading your HQ is a big consideration as this will allow you to build a better car. There are also lead engineers to be mindful of and the potential to set-up a driving academy so you can train up your own drivers from a young age. All of these elements require attention and financing, so you’ll need to juggle several needs at one time whilst also keeping an eye on the team’s bank balance.

You may have noticed that I’ve not even mentioned the racing yet. Don’t take that as a yellow flag because the racing is fantastic. There’s two steps to each race as you have to go through qualification followed by the race itself. Whilst you don’t have direct control over racers (this is a management game after all) you can provide instructions to your drivers.

Like with everything in this game, instructions you can provide are simple. During qualification you have to find the right setup for your car. You can tune your engine to focus on top speed or acceleration or somewhere in-between. You can also alter the aerodynamics to help on straights, cornering or leave it to be neutral also. This is important as getting a good time will put you in a strong starting position and it’s also key to find the right set-up for your car as this is what you take into race day.

The race itself is tense. You need to keep track of how your tires are doing as their tread will wear away. This a car with bald tires will slow down and is more likely to crash out. It’s therefore important that you time and plan your pit-stops according to how many laps are left and how your opponents are doing. Races are won and lost based on how well you execute the timing of your pit-stops. On top of this, dynamic weather will also come into play as will safety cars and mechanical faults. You’ve always got to be on your toes.

So in the end, Motorsport Manager is a fantastic title that’s intuitive to start with, has some basic systems but all builds up to something that’s incredibly compelling to play. Even if you’re not interested in motorsports, this is totally worth it.

Blood Brothers 2 Review

Blood Brothers 2 Review

Feb 20, 2015

We all know that most ‘free’ games are built around hooks. Hooks that get you to come back to the game once a day. Hooks that make you want to spend a little bit of money here, a little bit of money there. Hooks that make you want to know when the next update is coming.

Blood Brothers 2 knows exactly what it’s doing when it sets up all of these hooks right off the bat. To start with, Blood Brothers 2 is essentially a strategic card game where you can play through an extensive story mode or play online against human opponents.

The hooks come thick and fast. Firstly, with this being a card game, there are a TON of cards to unlock. You can claim three free cards every day, you can also spend a little money to buy some cards and you can also unlock cards through the story mode. There’s also a daily ‘log in’ bonus that will either be a piece of in-game currency or, you guessed it, a card.bb3

The card battling is fairly straight-forward, though does contain several layers. You place three cards onto the virtual table and opposite each card is an opponent’s card. Your card’s statistics are taken into account and the attacking team deals damage first followed by the defending team.

What’s important to note is that each card will either be a sword, mount or arrow type of card. Taking a leaf out of the ‘Rock-Paper-Scissors’ design guide, these three card types are weak and strong against each other. Sword beats mount. Mount beats arrow. Arrow beats sword. You get the idea.

This means you have to think about who you place your cards opposite. It also means you need to ensure you have a well balanced group of cards. You’ll also want to take into account that each card has a special move it can perform once it’s charged up. Some of these moves will deal a lot of damage to one opponent, some will deal damage to all opponents and some are random.

So the battles are simple enough to get to grips with but if you really want to dig into Blood Brothers 2’s systems there’s certainly room to. For those that stick with the game there’s loads of cards, potential to level up your best characters and items you can equip your best cards with too.

The story mode also has a strategic map element to it. On most levels of the story mode, you can take two or three groups of cards into battle. You then move the cards around a grid, ensuring that enemies on the grid don’t take over your base and also ensuring you complete your objective (which is usually ‘kill everyone’). What’s interesting about this element of the game is that whoever initiates a battle, done by ‘bumping’ into a rival, gets the upper hand of attacking first. Take into account that you get boosts to your chances of winning if you have adjacent friendly troops and you’ve got another strategic element to what started off as a very simple game.

Blood Brothers 2 starts off like any other card game and at first glance seems a little too simple to be worth bothering with. Stick with it and you’ll soon see that there’s hidden depth to the gameplay and with the constant updates the game’s receiving you’re never left with nothing to do. Well worth a try.

Dot Up Review

Dot Up Review

Feb 17, 2015

There are certain games that are nothing more than ‘time-killers’. Games that don’t ask you to play for long periods of times, they simply exist as a way to kill 3 minutes before your bus arrives. There’s nothing wrong with a game that shows you all that it has within the first 30 seconds of playing. Nothing wrong at all.

So the fact you can see everything that Dot Up has to offer in under a minute isn’t a knock. It’s a fact.

Dot Up tasks you with bouncing a dot on the screen, propelling it further upwards. You don’t move left or right, you simply tap to apply an upward force to the ping-pong ball. In your way are barriers of varying types.

Some barriers will have rotating arms, some barriers will pound together and other will have fan blades attached to them. They require some expert timing to get past, but they never ask you to do anything different.DU4

Move the dot upwards without touching anything.

There’s no bosses, there’s no unlockables and there’s no ‘winning’. You just try and get the high score and that’s it.

Not a problem. A simple game trying to do something simple is fine – but there are a couple of issues here.

Firstly, advert placement. At the bottom of the screen is a banner advert. This means you can’t actually see where the ‘bottom’ of the screen is. Your ball hides behind this advert making it very tough to time your taps. This is pretty crucial as some barriers require you to hold your position, which is near impossible to do unless you time your taps just before the ball hits the bottom of the screen. A huge oversight.

The second problem is that for a highscore game not to have working leader-boards is downright unforgivable. Every time I pressed on the leader-board button, nothing happened. Whilst there’s the ability to share your score via Facebook or Twitter, there’s no worldwide leader-boards. This is a fairly trivial component to get working in a game, so I can’t see what went wrong where.

The last issue I have, and this is something of a personal preference, is that there’s a very bland feeling to the game. There’s an argument that the creator was going for a ‘clinical’ or ‘clean’ look, but it comes off a little dull. Also, with the only piece of audio in the entire game beinga ‘thonk’ as you hit the bottom of the screen or a barrier, the audio is hardly worth writing about either.

There’s nothing wrong with simple games, but they’ve got to do the basics right. For there to be poorly placed adverts and a total lack of leader-boards is pretty shocking in a game that doesn’t exactly do more than bounce a ball upwards.

Garden Fever Review

Garden Fever Review

Feb 12, 2015

Good things come in threes, they say. How many ‘connect three’ games make their way onto the marketplace every month? More than three, I’d imagine, so it’s becoming very difficult to find games in this genre that really stand out. Garden Fever, it has to be said, does everything well, though I can’t think of any one thing that it does differently. Which, when the Google Play Store is so flooded with these titles, is a bit of a killer.

You should know the drill. Colored block (in this case they’re fruit) are aligned on a grid and it’s your job to slide adjacent blocks so that there’s at least 3 of the same color in a horizontal or vertical line. If you happen to align 4 or even 5 blocks, you not only clear more blocks but you get left behind with more powerful items that can clear even more blocks. To complete each level, you need to meet certain requirements such as ‘clear 60 red apples’ whilst also dealing with squares that have ‘mud’ or ‘ice’ in them.GF4

I find it hard to believe anyone has learned anything from that last paragraph. If you’ve even looked at Candy Crush before, you know exactly what this game is.

In the game’s defense, the presentation is nice enough and the music also fits in nicely. However, the game does what all games of this sort do and it constantly puts barriers between you and actually playing the game. You have 5 lives which whittle down each time you fail to complete a level in the set number of moves. You can either pay some money for the privilege of some extra lives or you can wait.

As well as being able to buy lives you can also buy other one-time-use items. These items will clear single blocks, lines of blocks or give you a few extra moves. This brings into question some of the level design, which seems made with the intention of being impossible to complete without the use of these items or a whole lot of luck.

Which brings me to the biggest issue I have with this game and others of its ilk. It’s always hard to distance the payment model of the game with the way it’s been designed. It’s hard not to think that the unfair nature of the later levels is intentional and used to get you to part with small sums of money on a regular basis.

In summary, Garden Fever is ‘one of those games’. It’s a connect-three affair that shares an awful lot in common with Candy Crush, including its often unfair level design, and it doesn’t offer anything new. Nothing bad in that, just don’t expect to see anything you haven’t seen before.

Zombie Madness II Review

Zombie Madness II Review

Sep 23, 2014

Zombies! Are you tired of them yet? Well, I hope not, because here comes another game featuring a whole bunch of undead brain-eaters.

Zombie Madness II is a wave-based shooter where the aim is to survive for as many days as you can. Along the way, you’ll pick up gold that the zombies inexplicably drop and use this to strengthen your frontline.

The game’s main gameplay mechanic comes from the fact you get to control one bunker in particular. An on-screen cone lets you know where you’re aiming and a ‘fire’ button on the bottom left of the screen cause you to shoot whatever weapon you’ve got equipped. You can also double-tap the screen to launch a grenade.zm4

The cone is important as it means that your weapon isn’t as precise as perhaps you’d like. As we all know, when it comes to dealing with zombies, you really want to be aiming for the head. This is also advisable because shooting zombies in the head causes them to drop more gold. Again, don’t ask why this is.

The previously mentioned upgrade system comes in two forms. You can update the central bunker which you control or you can build further AI controlled bunkers that will also help you.

Your own bunker can unlock new weapons and upgrades that improve your aim, reload speed or likelihood of scoring a ‘critical’ attack on a zombie. The other bunkers can be upgraded in a similar way too. If I were to go through each upgrade in the game, it would take up my entire 500 word count. What I will say is that the upgrades have a meaningful effect on how you play and they’re a good incentive to play just one more wave.

The zombies themselves look a little stilted in their animation and there’s not too much variety to them. Some zombies are slow and take a lot of hits, other are holding some armour and there’s a few that have somehow managed to strap explosives to themselves. It wouldn’t have hurt to have a few other variations on the shuffling foes as you’ll soon see all of the different enemy types rather quickly.

Whilst I’ve praised the variety and amount of unlockables, it does seem that some of the game suffers from balancing issues. For example, you’ll soon unlock the ability to do an absolutely devastating bomb drop. It clears the screen almost instantly and it recharges pretty quickly. Once you get a few skills and upgrades under your belt, you’ll find it hard to lose.

Still, despite the simple graphics and the skewed skill tree, it’s fun to take on wave after wave of zombie. A few areas lack polish as, for example, zombies will talk over the top of the on-screen buttons and there are some spelling mistakes within the game. So whilst Zombie Madness II is fun, there’s still room for improvement and it doesn’t quite manage to be great.

Exotic Fishing Review

Exotic Fishing Review

Sep 22, 2014

I’m not really a ‘fisherman’. I’ve no real interest in sitting down by the side of a lake, in the cold and fiddling about with maggots, worms or whatever other gross creatures count as bait. It’s just not my bag.

It’s weird then, that I’ve played and enjoyed so many games that are about fishing. Ridiculous Fishing, Sega Bass Fishing and a slightly obscure Game Boy Color game call Legend of the River King all hold a certain fondness to me. Perhaps it’s the fact they’re nothing like real fishing that I enjoy them so much.

Like the previously mentioned titled, Exotic Fishing holds little in common with real fishing. You simply have a hook at the top of the screen and you press down on the screen to have the bait-free line descend. Whilst this happens, fish swim from each side of the screen and it’s up to you to try and make sure the aquatic creatures end up colliding with your hook. All of this happens whilst a timer ticks down as you have 60 seconds to land as many fish as you can.ef3

It’s incredibly simple. When you have a fish on your line, nothing happens. The game automatically reels them in and you get a couple of points added to your score. Sometimes certain fish will give you a bonus of some kind. Some will give you a score multiplier, others will give you some extra time.

There’s really not a lot to it. I can’t overstate this.

Occasionally you’ll net fish that give you coins or rubies. These forms of currency can be used to unlock skills that ensure following fishing sessions start you off with more time, give you a reel that moves your hook quicker or you can even buy bombs that clear the screen and improve your score instantly.

The problem is that although you can unlock extra ‘things’, none of them matter. Nothing you unlock really changes the way the game’s played it’s therefore difficult to justify spending time unlocking. Extra levels consist of different still background images whilst the fish you catch remain the same. Different fish give you different scores but are caught and reeled in exactly the same.

The real kicker is the fact that the rate at which you gain coins and rubies (which you need to unlock anything) is painfully slow. The only way you can guarantee any coins or rubies is not by playing but by watching sponsored videos. In fact, the way the game’s designed is to almost force you into sitting and watching 3 adverts just so you can unlock a few extra seconds for your fishing sessions.

But it’s ultimately not worth it. There’s no visual or audio charm. The gameplay is beyond simplistic and there’s little to no value in the unlockable skills. Reaching certain milestones offer you a slight goal to aim for, but meeting these goals only unlock crude images of cartoon trophies.

Exotic Fishing is a game that doesn’t ask you to do much and in return it offers nothing much either. A bizarrely pointless title.

Lex Review

Lex Review

Jul 1, 2014

Since the dawn of hangman, people have been obsessed with word games. Most word games often put focus on creating the longest word or the word that uses the less common letters.

Where Lex differs is that it puts the onus on quickly finding words. If you’re to get anywhere with Lex you need to break the habit of showing off your vocabulary and instead you need to learn to be satisfied with typing out the word ‘cat’.Lex2

The reason for this is simple. A set of tiles fill the bottom of the screen and each tile has a letter on it. Like traditional word games, these letters have a numerical value to them but unlike word games they also have a timer attached to them.

The letter tiles will fill up with a red hue. How fast they turn completely red depends on how common they are. For example, vowels seem to have the quickest timer, presumably because they’re the ‘easiest’ to use and should be put into action sooner. If you let one tile fill up with red completely, it’s game over.

Incredibly simple as the game is, it really took me some time to get over the desire to want to spell out a fancy long word. My years of watching Countdown (it’s a British TV show – Google it) have ingrained a desire for me to only settle for 9 letter words. As mentioned before though, you’ve got to get over that. Carol Vorderman (she was the co-host of Countdown – Google her) isn’t watching you play the game, so there’s no need to impress.

This gloriously simple premise is then refined by some initially soothing presentation. A calm ambient track lulls you into thinking you have all the time in the world but as you reach the higher scores the bass drum will kick in and this will only add to the tensions as tiles fill up faster than ever. The game suggests it’s ‘Best played with headphones’. This would normally cause me to roll my eyes but in this case soft ambient soundtrack could be lost without some in-ear audio.

Adding to the ambiance is the visuals. A really nice touch is that as you press on each tile to make your word the corresponding letter starts to fill the background in an effective kaleidoscopic way.

In summary, Lex is dead simple, extremely well presented and doesn’t do anything majorly different from other word games. It’s this slight difference that somehow manages to make all the difference. Well worth your time and well worth plugging your headphones in for. Just brush up on your 3 letter words beforehand.

Flick Soccer Brazil Review

Flick Soccer Brazil Review

Jun 26, 2014

I blinked and I missed it. England’s run in this year’s World Cup has been close to shambolic and to be honest I missed a lot of it. Mainly because I was playing Flick Soccer Brazil.

The setup’s simple. A ball, a goal and a keeper. The aim is to swipe at the football and then as the ball’s mid-flight you swipe at the screen again to apply some extra dip, lift or swerve.FlickSoccer2

This sounds easy but there’s a real skill to swiping at the ball just quick enough to get enough height on the shot so it reaches the top corner. Even a fraction too much velocity to your swipe and the ball will end up in row Z.

You can drag above the ball to get the camera to swing around the ball. This helps you line up your shot better, especially if you’ve got a pesky defender willing to stick their face in the way of your shot. In the end.

With the basic controls understood, it now boils down to how challenging and interesting the game makes these simple mechanics. Luckily there’s enough here that even the England defence could give it their full concentration for 45 minutes.

A series of different modes include The Crossbar Challenge, where you need to hit the crossbar as many times in a row as you can. Then there’s a consistency challenge that provides simple enough targets to hit, though to get a good score in this mode you can’t afford to miss a single shot.

The real challenge, funnily enough, comes in the game’s Challenge Mode. The challenges range from ‘Trainee’ level all the way to ‘World Class’. The challenges get harder as the targets in the goal get smaller, the keepers get better and the number of defenders in the wall get more plentiful. To unlock each new level you need to reach a certain score threshold. Even once you’ve unlocked the subsequent level, you’ll still be reminded that you’re a certain number of points away from unlocking the gold medal at that level.

I’d like to point out that you gain nothing from unlocking the gold medals on each level. Nothing except pride and a sense of achievement. I could make another England football team joke here, but right now, it feels like kicking someone when they’re down.

Medal-chasing and score beating is the crux of the entire game. From the outset, most of what the game has to offer is available and the only thing that’s going to keep you coming back is the desire to beat your old score and to simply enjoy swiping at the ball and seeing your perfectly placed shot nestle into top corner or, the sweetest of them all, ping in off the post.

It says a lot that the game’s simple controls hold up so well and are the main selling point. This isn’t to say that the game doesn’t have other strengths. The game has, for example, been given a Brazilian makeover and as such has plenty of South American music playing in the background alongside some quite nice 3D visuals.

At the end of the day (to use a soccer cliche) Flick Soccer Brazil offers a great test for those that enjoy beating their own high scores and provides a control scheme that should be easy enough for anyone to try and tricky enough to be worth conquering.

Hazumino Review

Hazumino Review

Jun 19, 2014

Often videogames get criticized for retreading old ground. People will complain that ‘they’ve played it before’ but sometimes revisiting old ideas that you get new ones. Hazumino goes back in time to visit both Tetris and Canabalt and by doing so comes back with something new yet reassuringly familiar.

The reason that Hazumino‘s goal will be instantly clear is because of the world famous shapes that occupy the right-hand side of the screen. These ‘tetrominos’ need to be rotated and shifted up and down before being launched to the right. The reason why you’re placing these shapes is because you need to form a bridge of sorts.Hazumino3

This bridge is needed to help out your character who will keep walking forward with no regard to the fact that sometimes there’s no floor to walk onto. This is where the Canabalt ‘infinite runner’ influence is seen. You need to be sure to place your blocks carefully as your character doesn’t take kindly to walking into walls that you may end up creating if you’re not paying attention. Equally as negative is launching a shape directly into the face of your avatar. Both scenarios will see your end run.

As is the way when dealing with two tasks at once, sometimes you’ll be too busy concentrating on placing your shapes correctly that you’ll forget to jump any gaps or hop onto any ledges your previous shapes may have made. Equally, if you’re too focused on hopping about and navigating your homemade platforms you’ll soon run out of platforms entirely.

On top of this basic desire to survive, there are also coins randomly dotted along your linear journey. These coins are smartly placed at different heights. This means that you’ll want to place your blocks in a ‘stepped’ manner so you can reach the higher coins or you’ll be trying to create a slide made of right-angles to reach those placed lower.

These simple mechanics are supported by some charming and blocky visuals. This game’s audio, with quite a thumping soundtrack also aids the game in standing above its competitors.

As with any good mobile game there needs to be a hook to keep you coming back. Of course there’s the obligatory high scores to beat but there’s also a decent amount to unlock too.

Extra characters, though they do nothing, add an extra incentive to keep playing and give you a reason to collect the previously mentioned coins. You can also unlock new stages to run forward in and these are unlocked by reaching accumilative distance milestones. Like everything else in Hazumino the stages add to the experience. The early stages will help you see where your shapes are about to be placed by drawing helpful lines whilst the later stages will speed up and contain distracting backgrounds. It’s simple but it’s these slight changes in what the game throws at you that keep you interested.

Hazumino manages to combine two ideas extremely well and carries on to provide enough content to keep you entertained beyond what you’d imagine a Tetris and Canabalt combination could provide.

FreeDum Review

FreeDum Review

May 23, 2014

FreeDum is a fairly straightforward title. You’re a little bug that needs to escape from treacherous shoe-box sized obstacle courses. Along the way you also need to run into baby bugs to save them as well. You’ve been placed in these cardboard confines by an ill-mannered youth who doesn’t really appear in the game much beyond the opening scene. Like I said, it’s straight forward.

The obstacles you’ll come across range from other, much more tougher bugs, to saw blades and rotating razor blades. These don’t offer too much of a challenge other than ‘don’t touch them’.freedum2

In total, there’s around about 30 levels of this and it’s all rather too simple. Levels do change theme every 15 stages or so, but this doesn’t impact on the game in any real way at all. It’s also incredibly difficult to move through the tightly packed-in collection of razor blades and killer bugs that litter each level. Very quickly, say after about the first 10 levels, you’ll hit something of a difficulty spike that aims right for the heart.

So whilst the levels sound difficult enough, the player’s not helped by the fact that the real challenge comes from the control scheme. To move your critter character you need to tap on the screen and it’ll make try and move to that position in a straight line – taking the shortest route.

The control scheme sounds simple but in reality this controls really quite poorly. You’ll often accidentally tap on an obstacle instead of the floor and because you don’t have direct control of your character, the stupid bug will walk straight into a razorblade. You also have the ability to double-tap on the screen to get the creature to run, but this is finicky and hard to guarantee it’ll work.

Other than that, there’s just not much else going on. The game has a nice presentation to it, though it’s hardly groundbreaking. Little blood splatters will soon litter the levels as they highlight the number of times that you accidentally command your ladybird to run into a blade, but aside from that, there’s not a lot else of note.

The audio doesn’t really do much either. Squeeks play every time you die and little cheers ring out whenever you grab a baby bug. There’s no real music to speak of which again only cements my opinion that this game’s just a little to basic.

FreeDum is an extremely simple maze game that could have been fine or even good, but when the controls are going to be the player’s main enemy, you have a problem on your hands.

Brandnew Boy Review

Brandnew Boy Review

May 2, 2014

BNB3The first thing that will most likely strike you about Brandnew Boy (apart from its odd title) is that it looks great. Brandnew Boy is built using the Unreal engine and even though I reviewed the game on a Nexus 4, it still managed to pack a graphical punch. The game itself revolves around you playing as a young man (or if you’d prefer, a young woman) who’s got a bad case of amnesia.

What they (you) can remember though is how to kick and punch. This is handy as each level you complete is full of bizarre creatures, ranging from odd-looking ‘egg men’ to what can only be described as a demon with an umbrella.

The game as a whole has a great visual appeal to it and everything’s been designed to look extremely unique. It does come across as a case of style over substance though as the story is pretty cliche and the combat is nothing too special.

Combat boils down to tapping the screen to initiate a combo attack. To keep the combo going you need to keep watch of an attack gauge. You need to time your following taps so that the gauge is in a yellow zone, otherwise your hits will fail. This means that more often than not you’ll be too busy staring at a moving bar than taking in all of the great visuals and animations going on in front of you. To make this worse, enemies will sign-post their attacks, but again, as you’re too busy looking at the bar, you’ll often miss these queues. In the game’s defence, this is less of an issue when playing on a larger screen.

Another factor that makes the game tricky is that the developers have made it that way. The game quickly ramps up its difficulty leaving you with two options. Pay to improve your character or grind away on the same levels to unlock experience that way. It’s a tried and tested method of making ‘free’ games profitable, so why this spike is inside of this ‘premium’ (i.e. you have to pay for it) title, I have no idea.

As you could probably guess, you get to spend your experience points on improving your character’s stats. More health, stronger attacks and special moves are all available for those that invest the time. Special moves are extremely useful, especially ones that break through your enemies’ defences or can clear a large group in one go. Also adding to the depth of combat is the ability to summon any defeated bosses. These summons don’t act any differently than the previously mentioned ‘special moves’, but it’s still pretty cool to see the tiger you defeated earlier on now being on your side.

In summary, Brandnew Boy oozes style and looks pretty stunning. The combat’s not the most interesting, but there’s such a wealth of content on offer here and it’s all presented so well that you’ll likely be driven on to see what areas, enemies and moves unlock next. Well worth your time if you don’t mind a bit of a grind.