LEGO Hero Factory: Invasion From Below Review

LEGO Hero Factory: Invasion From Below Review

Mar 27, 2014

Lego has established a pretty good name in the medium of video games. Thanks to Traveller’s Tales and their ability to make charming platformers based off Danish bricks, there’s a certain level of expectation that now comes with a game that has the Lego name plastered all over it.

Lego Hero Factory: Invasion From Below doesn’t live up to quite that standard, but it’s fun and polished enough as it is.

There’s a fairly basic premise on which the game’s based around, which is to be expected given its likely aimed at those aged 5+. The story is as follows;

Robotic bugs sprout from the ground. You play as a bunch of Lego robot heroes. You shoot said bugs and then climb into bigger robots so that you can fight bigger bugs. Simple.

Gameplay takes the form of a wave-based platform shooter. The levels contain platforms and pitfalls to avoid, though lack any interactivity. Crates are dotted about and you need to open these crates to get what’s inside. What’s inside, you ask?

Well, the answer is powerups. You’ll find extra lives , speed boosts and ammo upgrades to make your waves that much easier to live through. The challenge of each wave comes in the form of little robot bugs. These bugs simply crawl and jump towards you, happy to ignore your laser shots to the face.

Once you’ve broken enough crates and have been lucky enough to three magical cogs, you’re now allowed to move onto the second phase of the game. The second phase seeing you in a big robot mech thing. The gameplay doesn’t change at all and it just looks like this is another toy you can buy. Cynical of me, I know, but no doubt the truth.

Lego4You still have to shoot robot bugs but your aim isn’t to collect magic cogs. When in your mech-suit, you need to concentrate on taking out the boss. Don’t get excited, the bosses are just as straightforward as the other enemies you face.

Cutscenes showing the heroes (available in all good toy stores) are shown between levels and contain something close to a story, but end up feeling like an advert. Then again, a 7 year old may love them.

Once you’ve completed your level you get the chance to upgrade yourself. These upgrades are rewarded for completing challenges in-game. Challenges such as ‘shoot 30 bugs in a wave’. So whilst you may want to get through the levels quickly, it pays to stick around and shoot a few robo-spiders.

Upgrades are run of the mill. Jump higher, shoot faster, more armour, etc, etc. They’ll all be needed as the game quickly ramps up the strength of the enemies you face in the story mode.

This difficulty ramp becomes a slight issue as when you die in story mode you have to spend a ‘credit’. You get a ‘credit’ every 10 mins and can only (by default) store 2 credits at a time.

So, you can either pay to not have to wait for the story mode to become playable or you can while away your minutes of waiting by playing in battle mode.

Battle mode is exactly the same as story mode though you only play against monsters you’ve come across in the main game. You still earn upgrade points though, so it’s worth doing, even if you’re not making any ‘real’ progress through the game.

So whilst the game doesn’t contain anything ground breaking and is hugely simple, it’s all done with a good level of polish that will no doubt please its intended audience.

Dream of Pixels Review

Dream of Pixels Review

Dec 6, 2013

There’s no point beating about the bush when talking about Dream of Pixels. It’s Tetris but with a twist. There’s no other way to explain it.

Dream of Pixels is a puzzle game where you have to place familiar look shapes onto the screen. Unlike the game it clearly derives from, these shapes don’t drop down from the top of the screen, so there’s no need to shift your shapes from left to right before they hit the bottom. Instead, Dream of Pixels slowly (at first) scrolls the entire screen upwards. Your job is to ensure that no empty spaces make their way to the bottom of the screen. This means you need to use your shapes to ensure that each line is full of blocks.

See how much it’s like Tetris?unnamedVWZ7E3JS

In Dream of Pixels‘ defence, it works quite well and is just different enough to stand on its own legs. What also helps the game is the extra selection of game modes on offer. The two you’ll play the most will be Classic and Puzzle.

Classic just wants to see how many lines you can put together in one run. As you’d expect, the speed at which the screen scrolls gets faster and faster until you eventually let one empty space hit the bottom, whereupon the screen fades to white.

Puzzle, as the name implies, tests your IQ by giving you a set number of pre-determined shapes. These shapes need to fit into the spaces on the screen, and whilst this starts off simply enough (4 square spaces on the screen and 4 square shapes given) it soon ramps up the difficulty and will have you considering how best to use your shapes to plug up all of the gaps.

Another thing that helps is that the controls work really rather well. Placing a shape onto the screen isn’t the hardest of things to do when you’ve got a touch-screen device to play on, but Dream of Pixels makes it entirely clear as to just how your shape will be placed when you let go of your device. This may not seem like much, but for those of you that know how finicky touch-controls can be sometimes, this is nothing but good news.

The presentation and the audio of the game are nothing ground-breaking though are nice enough. The whole game, trying to live up to the ‘dream’ within its name, has a very gentle feel to it with clouds and skies of different hues used throughout. The only time it won’t appear gentle and relaxing is when you’re rushing to place a shape as pesky gap makes it way to the bottom of the screen.

Dream of Pixels just about avoids being a Tetris rip-off by having enough of its own good ideas and the tight controls along with solid presentation helps too. It’s hardly the stuff dreams of made of, but then it’s nowhere near being a nightmare. This is an extremely capable puzzle game.


Soccer Moves Review

Soccer Moves Review

Nov 27, 2013

“He’s got a good ‘footballing brain’”. A phrase often used (by mainly English commentators) to compliment people that can’t add together ‘2 + 2’ but are good at soccer. Now it’s time to see if you’ve got a good ‘footballing brain’ with Soccer Moves.

Soccer Moves is an ‘X-Com meets FIFA’ app looks to test your smarts on the pitch and to see if you’re an Einstein of soccer. Essentially a turn-based strategy game, Soccer Moves has you starting off playing in a small park and eventually playing for your national team in the world’s biggest stadiums.unnamedCA1HYE6S

The game’s flow is as follows. Each level has a set number of opposition on the field and you’re given a number of passing moves and running moves in which to score a goal. During your turn can pass the ball and move a player once. At the end of your turn, the opposition move their players.

It’s dead simple in concept, but the game manages to make it more engaging than it first sounds. Firstly, you’ll come across a number of different types of player. Some players you’ll face are good at intercepting, and so you shouldn ‘t try and pass the ball when near them. Others are good at tackling, so dribbling with the ball near them is a no-no.

On top of that you’ll also learn a few skills of your own. Dangerous tackles can be avoide with a dribbling skill and tricky passes can be made easier with a lob skill. Both of these skills need you to time a button press perfectly to pull of though and they also cost money.

Yep, unlocking skills comes at intervals throughout the levels, but once unlocked after beating a certain level, you have to pay to then use the unlocked skill. This was a little annoying as after starting a level it would soon become clear that you’d need a skill to get through it. This then meant backing out into the shop menu and buying that skill to use.

Another minor annoyance was the unpredictability of the opposition. It was never clear if a defender would go towards the ball or carry on marking their closest opponent from turn to turn. This meant that some of my Arsene Wenger like maneuvers came undone.

Aside having to buy moves and seemingly random AI, Soccer Moves is a great game with some real polish. A good amount of content is available from the large number of levels to the ever-expanding wardrobe of unlockable costumes. Well worth a go for the more thoughful soccer fan.


My Dolphin Show Review

My Dolphin Show Review

Nov 26, 2013

Ever since Free Willy, I’ve had a desire to run a show at Sea World. Perhaps the movie was meant to make me want to save sea mammals, but no. I want to control these aquatic animals and have them jump through hoops on my command. Luckily, here’s My Dolphin Show, a game all about getting a dolphin to perform tricks for paying punters.

The basic premise of the game is that through swiping the screen you control the angle and speed at which your dolphin swims at. If you get your dolphin to swim fast enough towards the surface of the water, they’ll leap into the air. Once airborne, you get one more swipe to further direct the flying Flipper.

You’ll need to get your dolphin to jump over gates, land on targets, hit balls and so on. You get a bonus for completing a number of tasks in one leap which means you’ll get more money for the completion of your show.unnamedCA2EO10T

My Dolphin Show has clearly had some effort poured into it. The presentation is a notch above your typical free-to-play fare. The dolphin (although, not always a dolphin) swims around the screen fluidly and the 3D models in general are bright and colourful. No doubt exactly what small children like.

To the game’s credit, there’s plenty to unlock and most of it’s pretty cute. This is, after all, a game aimed at children, and the more cute things you can put into it the better. In fact, one unlockable turns your dolphin into a shark. You better believe I bought that straight away. Not only because sharks are cool, but this upgrade gave me a boost to my speed and jumping stats. Very useful.

The only real issue I had with the game was the previously mentioned controls. Swiping at the screen in a vague direction for your animal to follow was often, quite literally, hit or miss. The game rewards you for making jumps that are precise enough to hit multiple objects but doesn’t give you the controls to make this a regular occurrence. Whenever I made a decent jump, I often felt like it was down to dumb-luck rather than some sort of skill.

Aside from that, it’s hard to really argue with what My Dolphin Show is doing. A game clearly aimed at kids and offers the little ones plenty to unlock. Whilst the controls lack the finesse you’d expect from a truly great title, this is a solid enough app that will entertain and won’t cost a penny. Unless you want to pay out for the really cool costumes.

I’m currently eyeing up this penguin unlockable. The only thing cooler than sharks are penguins. Fact.


Why Android Could be the PS4 and Xbox One’s Perfect Companion

Why Android Could be the PS4 and Xbox One’s Perfect Companion

Nov 15, 2013

You may have missed that the next-generation of console’s biggest feature isn’t shiny graphics, cloud computing or superior motion controls. Nope. The next big thing for console gaming is your Android device. The PS4 and Xbox One are going to turn your smartphones and tablets into ‘second screens’ with developers looking to offer companion apps to go with their big releases.

The PS4 and the Xbox One want to ensure they have your undivided attention this time around with the use of Android apps that ‘enrich’ your gaming experience whilst you’re playing games, watching video content and when you’re away from your console.App3

Similar to what the Wii U offers, minus the need for a proprietary device, these apps will increase the scope for potential singleplayer and multiplayer options when it comes to game mechanics.

Whether you’re looking at getting a Sony or Microsoft console, both of the new consoles are getting their own Android apps that will be pivotal to how you play and interact with your new console.

Microsoft have the jump on Sony in this regard, as their app, Xbox Smartglass, has been available for quite some time. This video for last year’s Forza game shows how Smartglass technology was integrated into the game.

Whilst Smartglass has currently been limited in what it can do, it does offer a glimpse as to how your smartphone and tablet will become increasingly important in this new generation of consoles.

This head start doesn’t mean that Sony’s offering is looking to be lacking. Similar to Smartglass, the Playstation App is set to offer functionality that’s on par with Microsoft’s technology. At the recent Tokyo Game Show, Shuhei Yoshida, President of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide, demonstrated the application in action.

Big-name publishers like EA and Ubisoft are already well into development of so-called companion apps that exploit the increasingly symbiotic relationship between console and Smartphones/tablets. EA has Battlefield 4’s application that shows a detailed map and allows for quick loadout selection. Ubisoft are working on tie-ins for their Watch Dogs and The Division games. In The Division’s case, by loading up the appropriate app, you gain access to a whole new class of character that plays unlike any other and otherwise isn’t available.

This focus on apps has all come about because console makers and developers have noticed the fact that people don’t watch TV or play games anymore. They multitask. The TV’s on, but you’re also on your laptop. Yes there may be playing a great game on your console, but you’re also on your phone and tweeting at the same time.

Recognizing that not all publishers have money to spend on developing game-specific apps, it’s interesting to see that both Microsoft’s Smartglass and Sony’s Playstation App are being created with large and small developers in mind.

Shuhei Yoshida, when speaking to Playstation Blog, was keen to mention this as a key element behind the idea of the Playstation App:

“There are many big publishers creating their own apps for their games, like Watch_Dogs or Battlefield, and that’s great, but smaller developers can use PlayStation App to connect to [the] PS4 and load an application, like drawing software for example, so that you don’t have to download and install a specific app on your smartphone. It’s open to all PS4 developers to use.”

With the new generation of consoles now upon us it’s good to see that, Sony and Microsoft realise what an important role smartphones and tablets play in their customer’s life. Owning an Android device for this new generation of consoles could mean you have the upper-hand in the battlefield, more ways to enjoy multiplayer games and give you access to content that you otherwise wouldn’t see.

The old saying goes ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ and it’s about time these console manufacturers and game developers joined in with what we’ve been doing for years.

Litho Review

Litho Review

Nov 12, 2013

It’s safe to say that there’s no shortage of apps designed to make photos taken using brand new technology look like they were taken centuries ago. In this digital world we live in, it looks like we still crave for analogue media.

That’s why this review for Litho was written on paper and then faxed into Android Rundown HQ.

Litho is, as the introduction may have alluded to, an image altering app. If you don’t know how these things work then listen up. You can crop and re-size images, apply filters to make your photos look ancient and you can also apply ‘stickers’ to give your creations that unique look that can only be acquired by scribbling on a moustache or some glasses. If you’re really feeling adventurous, you can use a combination of all of these features.Litho1

What’s quite impressive is the ability to place textures and filters on top of each other. Like a mini-Photoshop, Litho allows you to layer your effects and images until you get the result that you want.

Whilst Litho treads old ground in terms of what’s been seen before in image editing apps, it’s safe to say that Litho is extensive in what it offers. A huge selection of filters and textures can be applied. There’s also an editing mode that gives you full control over alterations you’re making if any of the preset options on offer don’t take your fancy.

To be honest though, you’ll most likely never need to use these advanced editing features. Every tool is so well labelled and easy to use that most of what you’ll ever want to do to a picture will be easily done with a tool in Litho.

One minor complaint with the menus is that they’re not very responsive. There’s always a slight pause to any input. It never makes the process of editing images annoying and it won’t exactly get in your way, but it is noticeable.

One other barrier to you and your perfect image is the fact that some of the textures, effects and other features need to be purchased. It’s safe to say that for most people, the freely available content will be more than enough, but this is an app that needs to make money. So that’s how it does it.

The final part of any image’s journey through Litho will be deciding where to save your image. Considering that saving an image is no longer enough, we all know it’s about ‘sharing’ anything you make. Luckily, if you’re so inclined to do so, Litho makes sharing an absolute breeze and offers compatibility with all of the major social networks as well as some of the minor ones.

WordPress, Google+, Twitter, the list goes on. If you want to upload to a service that isn’t present in Litho you may want to change what service you use.

With Litho you have an extremely feature-full app that manages to cram in a lot of functionality whilst maintaining usability. Some of the content needs to be paid for, but considering there’s so much that’s given to you for free, it’s hard to feel aggrieved by this decision. A great app.


Tiny Death Star Review

Tiny Death Star Review

Nov 8, 2013

Brilliant. A Star Wars game. Let’s see if I can avoid using cliched quotes from the films.

So, where to start with Tiny Death Star? Let’s begin by explaining that Tiny Death Star is a reimagining of the already hugely successful and popular Tiny Tower. What this means for Tiny Death Star is that instead of being in charge of the development of a tower-block full of apartments and shops, you are now in charge of developing the Galactic Empire’s ultimate weapon – the Death Star.

Developing the Death Star floor by floor involves deciding on whether to place apartments or shops, like before, but there’s also the nefarious ‘Imperial’ floors that need to be built. These floors are concerned with crushing the Rebellion and this involves constructing interrogation chambers, building blast doors and detention centers.unnamedCAMXS73U

Tiny Death Star really does a good job of building upon the already established Tiny Tower mechanics of placing your inhabitants into suitable jobs on each floor. You’ll also be tasked with a few missions along the way which helps keep things interesting. These will come in two flavours. Firstly, you’ll get the Emperor asking you to stick to his plan by demanding certain types of floors be constructed. Also, within the ‘Imperial’ floors, you’ll be asked to meet certain criteria such as ‘build 3 droids’.

All of these missions are worth spending time on and for the most part will be completed naturally so don’t require you to go too far out of your way. You’ll be rewarded, naturally, by the way of credits.

To Tiny Death Star’s credit (no pun intended), there’s only two currencies in play. Credits are used to build floors and to re-stock shops whilst bux are used to hurry production along and unlock special characters. Bux are the part of the game that are paid for, though in the game’s defence there is a way to earn bux though it, naturally, takes some time.

Your elevator will require near constant attention as visitors to the Death Star need to be taken to the right floor. These lazy so and so’s that can’t press a button for themselves will tip you some credits and, if the floor they’re getting off on has a task underway, they’ll knock some time off the task’s countdown. A welcome distraction for when you’re waiting for a shop to re-stock or a floor to be built.

That’s right, this is a mobile game that wants you to keep on coming back to check on the progress of tasks underway, and as a result everything has a timer. For the most part, this works well as you’ve often got plenty of timers on the go at once and every time you load up the game you’ll have plenty of new tasks to set and old tasks to complete.

Boiling down Tiny Death Star to it’s most basic components is the fact that it’s essentially a re-skinned and updated version of Tiny Tower. As cynical as that sounds, it’s something that works incredibly well because there’s a real attention to detail within the game and just enough’s been added to the established game design that it feels fresh enough to enjoy all over again.

From the fantastic pixel-art of classic Star Wars characters to the music that we all know and love which has been re-jigged to sound like it belongs in an elevator. Tiny Death Star could have been a lazy update of Tiny Tower but is instead a fantastic piece of fan-service for Star Wars fans and a great update the Tiny Tower game it’s based on.

I did it! No Star Wars quotes!


Lost Chapters HD Review

Lost Chapters HD Review

Nov 7, 2013

There has to be some science behind the way certain games force you to stop playing and instead ‘come back later’. I’ll happily admit I’m no expert in the economics of designing free-to-play games, but I always thought turning people away was a dangerous idea.

They just might not come back.

It’s with this in mind that we talk about Lost Chapters HD. It’s a game all about exploration of an island, completing tasks to unlock new buildings and discovering treasure along the way.

The game gives you 4 explorers to control, though the term ‘control’ might be pushing it a little far. All you have to do is tap parts of the island to carry out a relevant task. Tapping on trees causes you to chop them down whilst tapping on wild animals has you attack them.Chapters1

Again, whilst this may sound exciting, in real terms this means you get to watch a bar tick down as each task requires a certain amount of time for it to complete. No interaction is required from you. All the game wants you to do is wait.

The progress through the island is painfully slow thanks to the game’s desire to stop you playing for more than a couple of minutes at a time.

How it does this is by making every task cost resources. Once you get past the initial tutorial quests, progression grinds to a near halt. There aren’t enough resources in the game for you to really make any inroads into in the quests and one resource in particular (water) becomes incredibly scarce.

Whilst it’s true that over time you can build new objects that dish out more water, you’re never going to build something that removes this problem entirely. The best I could manage was a well that spat out extra water every 24 hours. It’s incredibly slow and truthfully, it’s hard to see the point in grinding through this title.

Other games of this nature have you visiting other people’s places or battling other people’s armies. It’s this need to show off how much better you are than everyone else that keeps people coming back to their virtual worlds. A modern-age keeping up with the Joneses.

In Lost Chapters HD, this isn’t even a factor. You don’t interact with other players and instead the one single draw is the supposed desire to explore the rest of the island. Whilst some may be intrigued by the island and may happily check in on their explorers everyday, I find it hard to believe this will be the case for most.

Lost Chapters HD is a good looking resource collecting game that simply doesn’t want you to progress, making playing the game for more than 10 minutes at a time impossible. This wouldn’t be such a bad thing if there were suitable hooks to drag you back into the game day after day, but for me, there weren’t.

Wake the Cat Review

Wake the Cat Review

Nov 7, 2013

Cats. Lovable bundles of fur or feline freeloaders? How you feel about cats will determine how you want to look at this game.

LIKE CATS: Wake the Cat is a puzzle game where you gently roll a ball of yarn towards a sleeping kitty so that you may wake them from their peaceful slumber and play with them.

HATE CATS: Wake the Cat is a puzzle game where you launch a ball of yarn (maybe with a rock in the middle of it) so that you stir the cat from its unearned slumber. Maybe to then throw the cat out of the house. I don’t know.

Either way, Wake the Cat is an enjoyable and sizeable chunk of physics centric puzzling action. Rolling a ball of yarn around may not sound all too difficult, but the game places you and your sphere of wool in increasingly interesting and challenging set-ups.cat1

Fans will blow your ball off course whilst magical slippers act like teleporters. Toy trains run around on their track and need to be avoided, or in some cases, you’ll need to bounce your wool off of.

There’s a really good variety to the levels and the items they contain, with new objects being introduced at a steady pace to keep you interested. With 90 levels of yarn rolling fun, it’s seriously commendable that the level designers manage to keep this interesting for as long as they do.

The controls work extremely well. This is probably down to how simple they are, but still, there are plenty of examples of simple controls failing to work as they should. So credit where it’s due. At the start of the level all you need to do is line up your ‘shot’ and gauge how much power to put into it. Some levels also require timing and will need you to interact with the level whilst the ball’s rolling. For example, some levels have toy trains that need to be stopped mid-roll, some levels need fans switched on and off and some levels have tubes that can be turned around to change the ball’s course. All fairly simple, but all done extremely well.

Also worthy of praise is the presentation of the game as a whole. Playing on my Nexus 7, the 3D models had a real vibrancy to them. The cat’s exaggerated features made it the perfect cute character to base a mobile app around. Or a disgusting flea-bag to throw things at. Your call.

Other than the main campaign and its 90 levels, there’s nothing else to see here. There’s no multiplayer, nothing more to unlock and no level editor. It’s hard to really complain about this, as the already mentioned 90 levels provide more than enough value for money.

Wake the Cat is a solid physics puzzle game that provides value for money, great gameplay and a variety to its levels that will keep you happy for hours. A must buy for cat lovers and haters the world over.


Kill All Zombies Review

Kill All Zombies Review

Nov 6, 2013

Zombies just can’t catch a break. Everyone’s out to kill them, and for why? Because they want to eat other people’s brains? Actually, that sounds fair enough. We probably should do our best to kill them all. Kill All Zombies seems to agree with this sentiment as well judging by its name and content.

Kill All Zombies is an ‘endless runner’ type game. There’s no ‘ending’ and it’s all about getting further than before, killing more zombies than before and getting a higher score than before. Think along the lines of Jetpack Joyride but with less jetpacks and more undead creatures.

You play as one of 3 characters who sits at the bottom of the screen. Depending on your character, you’ll be on a bike, a scooter or a motorcycle. What you’re riding doesn’t really matter, because they all play the same. You character will be firing projectiles upwards (mounted machine guns, ninja stars, etc) and all you need to is swipe at the bottom of the screen to move yourself left or right.KaZ3

Some of the obstacles you come accross can’t be removed by simply shooting at them, so sometimes you’ll need to swipe to avoid them, whilst other times you’ll want to swipe to get in front of them and let your weapons take care of them. Where possible, you’ll want to take out the zombies (remember the game’s called Kill All Zombies?). This is because you earn coins, gain points and increase your multiplier.

Earning coins will allow you to upgrade your character’s abilities and these are similar to what you’ve likely seen before. An ability that ‘magnetizes’ your character, meaning coins don’t need to be bumped into to collect them as well as general stat increases mean that your character’s runs will become more and more profitable the longer you play. You can also purchase upgrades to special vehicles you run into during each play.

These special vehicles are only available for a limited time before they explode and you’re back to riding your bike. There’s only two special vehicles so far and they offer a good way to increase your score drastically. A rocket-powered lawnmower and a giant robot similar to ED-209 are yours for a limited time with purchased upgrades making this time longer.

The game also offers a ‘levelling’ system that allows you to acquire a better score multiplier. An interesting idea that keeps runs interesting, you level up by meeting certain requirements. For example, you’ll need to destroy 5 phone-boxes or run over 10 hedges. After you complete 3 of these missions you’ll level up.

So, for the most part, Kill All Zombies is a fine runner style game that has some nice art direction, with colourful and exaggerated cartoon-like characters all over the screen. Different zombie types keep things interesting and the world is well-laid out, meaning you’ll have to keep an eye on what’s going on as buses on their side will block your path.

One huge issue is that the game keeps on crashing. There hasn’t been a single play session (15-20 minutes) where the game didn’t stop working. I have some faith that it’s a kink that will get ironed out, but it’s something that means this great game only gets a good score. After contacting the developers, they stated;

“We’ll keep investigating it and, as part of our constant effort to make the game as smooth and flawless as we can, we shall release an update soon with this fix.”


Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign Review

Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign Review

Oct 29, 2013

Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign could easily be nothing more than a cash in on Marvel’s current popularity, particularly with The Avengers being one of the biggest films to have hit cinemas in recent years. To give Marvel their credit, this popularity has been earned in my opinion. A rich heritage of comic book characters has been looked after, with the Marvel name guaranteeing some sort of quality. So where does Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign stand in all of this?

Well, off the bat, it’s important to note the game claims it’s currently a ‘Preview Edition’. There’s no mention of when the game will no longer be a ‘preview’, but this aside, the game seems fairly polished in its current state.

The game is essentially a ‘match-3′ puzzler. You swipe at icons on the screen the match 3 of the same colour and by doing so you launch an attack with character associated with that color of icon. As well as launching a basic attack, the character also charges their special attack. It may sound familiar, but it’s a solid foundation on which to build a card collecting and team building game full of your favourite (and not so favourite) Marvel characters.unnamedCANDBFLK

When outside of battle, you have a number of choices to make. You can unlock and gain new ‘covers’, which essentially represent a character that can join your team. These covers are all high res images of graphic novels that have been released through the years and they cover a wide era, with classic covers sitting alongside newer releases.

These ‘covers’ (which I’ll simply refer to as characters from now on) can be levelled-up and trained. It’s slightly complicated and not that well explained to be honest. It turns out that to level-up a character, you first need to train the character’s moves and then you level them up separately. It’s somewhat convoluted and it doesn’t help that there are multiple currencies within the game that further complicates and confuses things.

It’s also slightly annoying that each mission needs to be replayed a number of times to ensure you receive all of the possible rewards. If a mission has 5 possible rewards, then you’ll need to play it 5 times. A touch repetitive.

It helps then that the game offers some depth to its battling. With each character having their own unique move, it adds some strategy to planning who you take into each fight. There are times where you’ll get wiped out by an enemy’s move, without much warning. Although you can read what each enemy’s move is, it’s often not that well written. I speak for myself, naturally, but I often couldn’t quite figure out what each move did until after it happened. Which, by then, it’s far too late to worry about.

In summary, Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign does nothing new, but it does what’s been done before very well and with the huge roster of Marvel character’s at the game’s disposal, there’s huge room for expansion and extra content.


The Blockheads Review

The Blockheads Review

Oct 23, 2013

Everybody. I have a confession to make. I have never played Minecraft or any other ‘crafting’ game. I simply didn’t see the appeal. It always seemed like a cop-out to me. “Make your own fun, do what you want” seemed like a lazy excuse for a lack of gameplay or objectives.

Turns out I was wrong. But you knew that already, right?

The Blockheads is essentially a ‘made-for-mobile’ version of Minecraft. Yes, I’m aware that Minecraft already is on mobiles, but The Blockheads isn’t just on mobiles, it’s for mobile devices.

Every design decision was taken with mobile devices in mind. The fact that the game takes place on a 2D plane is a move that means we don’t have to deal with awkward ‘analogue stick on the screen’ controls. Instead, you tap the block that you want your character to move to and they do it.

Sometimes it can be a little fiddly selecting items from your inventory and moving things from your person into a chest, but this will vary depending on what you’re playing on. On my Nexus 4, it was a pain, on my Nexus 7, not an issue.

Another great feature that shows the developers had mobile devices in mind is the fact you can queue tasks for your character to do. This is really handy as some of the more advanced tools take a while to craft. In fact, you can queue commands, switch out of the app (check on your email, send a tweet) and then when you come back in, the game lets you know what’s been done since you last looked.Blockheads2

Whilst it’s easy to get around the world and to use the different tools you’ll come across and craft, the real question has to be ‘what is the game’. Well, as with the open-ended nature of Minecraft, The Blockheads is whatever you want it to be.

Are you keen on making loads of money to trade with other in multiplayer? Do you want to build a cool looking fort? Perhaps the built-in achievements will give you something to aim for. Fact is, whatever you set your sites on, the game plays so well that it’ll be a joy to achieve.

One issue that can make the game a little less joyous is the number of adverts that pop-up. Sometimes, if you leave the game running in the background, it seems as if the game queues up a whole bunch of adverts for you. For example, if you’re playing in real-time, you’ll see an advert every 10 minutes or so. However, if you’re like me and leave the game running all day in the background (whoops) this means you get a flood of adverts to make up for the hours you’ve been ‘playing’.

Other than that, this game is pretty much flawless. A great control scheme makes exploring the randomly generated world a breeze. There’s a huge amount of materials to craft from and tools to create. The Blockheads is a game that will give you as much as you put in.