Fatal Fury Special Review

Fatal Fury Special Review

Apr 30, 2015

Fatal Fury Special brings nostalgic memories. Those of 16-bit graphics, cheat books, “you died, now my turn” hijinks, and lots and lots of blind adolescent rage. Fatal Fury Special on Google Play helps bring at least one of those things back, and it’s not the cheat books.

Fatal Fury Special is a direct port of an old fighting game that, as far as I remember, never went big in the western world. It doesn’t have the over-the-top violence of Mortal Combat, or over-the-top characters of Street Fighter. What it does have, however, is a solid fighting mechanic, a dozen of varied fighters with unique fighting styles, and a unique mechanic that allows the characters jump back and forth between two “layers” of the level.

There’s not a lot of content to speak about in Fatal Fury Special. There’s a bunch of locations and a bunch of different fighters. There’s a “story” mode that is actually just an arcade mode, in which the player has to defeat several enemy characters in a row, and a newly-implemented Bluetooth Mode, where two players can battle it out on their devices via bluetooth. That’s it. It’s a pretty bare-bones game, but since I got it for $.99, I don’t see any issues with that.

As for the gameplay, it’s almost identical to all of the other SNES and arcade fighting sims. Of course, it’s closest to Street Fatal Fury Special 4Fighter, to the point where some characters look quite a lot like that. There are four attack buttons, a “special” button, and a button that makes the character jump to the different layer of the level. Besides the layer-jumping, which isn’t really that game-changing, it’s exactly like the other arcade fighting games, so it’s no use describing all of its mechanics. Its fun, if you’re a fan of that sort of stuff, but it’s also incredibly difficult. The “beginner” difficulty AI had me plastered on the walls for about 10 fights, before I remembered how to button-mash. Fatal Fury Special is definitely aimed for the hardcore fans, and I’m sure those fans won’t be disappointed.

Overall, Fatal Fury Special is a straight, direct port of the original game, without any changes. Again, fans of the old fighting sims are going to be pleased, but I’m afraid more casual players will find it too punishing. Also, a couple of other things. The button layout and size can be changed in the settings, and I urge you to do that from the beginning, or the game turns into an unplayable hell, as the buttons take almost half of the screen.

Implosion – Never Lose Hope Review

Implosion – Never Lose Hope Review

Apr 30, 2015

Implosion – Never Lose Hope is a hack-n-slash action game that takes place after Earth has been invaded, and subsequently lost to, a weaponized virus that mutates humans into vile, disgusting creatures that kill everyone they see. With the question of how they sustain themselves decades after supposedly killing everyone off being left unanswered, the humans have set to the stars and created off-world colonies, being protected by a special army of special distantly-controlled robots, who are able to fight the creatures without putting anyone at risk of infection. The game follows the adventures of one of the pilots of these mechs, who has to return to Earth, in order to investigate a beacon that went off somewhere inside.

Right from there, Implosion – Never Lose Hope sounds like a high-budget game with an interesting and complex story – and, surprisingly, it is. There are cutscenes, and professional voice acting, and complex gameplay – the game honestly wouldn’t look bad if it was released on PSN tomorrow. But this all comes with a huge “but”. Implosion – Never Lose Hope is merely a trial that expires at several missions in, and requires the purchase of the whole game, which costs 10 bucks. It’s a pretty huge price for a mobile game. This means that even if the game is awesome, you’re left wondering if it’s better to purchase 5 simpler and cheaper games instead. Which is a shame, since Implosion really is a good game, but not on a 10 bucks level good.

Gameplay of Implosion is a pretty standard hack-n-slash, set in the cyberpunkish background. The player’s mech is controlled viaImplosion 2 a virtual stick and a bunch of buttons. It levels up and can be upgraded by installing special libraries that can be found throughout the levels, or purchased from the store. The mech has a main melee weapon, and a bunch of long-range weapons that are quite difficult to aim properly. The melee weapon has a relatively simple, but varied enough combo system, as well as several special abilities that can be activated in the time of need. The enemies are also pretty distinct and have different behavior and attacks, and require some skill to kill – especially if the player wants to get the perfect score after beating the level.

Wrapping up, I’d say that Implosion is a great game. I’m eager to see more of its kind on Play Store, which currently lacks serious triple-A titles. But at the same time, its price makes it comparable to the PC and console-style games – and when viewed in that light, Implosion isn’t exactly up to the level.

Titan Empires Review

Titan Empires Review

Apr 30, 2015

It’s really tempting to copy and paste a review I’ve made of another free-to-play gimp of a strategy game earlier. If the developers can’t bother with making new content and release a copycat game after game, then why should I do that? Oh, right, it’s cause I’m not a completely lazy bastard.

Titan Empires plays just as generic as it’s named. The player controls a warmongering kingdom that goes to war with all the neighboring kingdoms, completing genocide after genocide in an endless chase for gold and glory. Not to hold out my point, Titan Empires is a cheap knock-off of Clash Of Clans. Completely and utterly. Not only that, but it’s a pretty crappy knock-off, too. There’s nothing done better, or even differently, than in that game. It’s an ugly, inbred child of Clash Of Clans, without any quality to it. Still, if you’re interested, here’s a rundown.

The “game” consists of two parts. The first and main part is managing your kingdom. Here, the player has to build his defenses, Titan Empires 3construct resource-gathering mills and mines, and recruit new units. The player has an acre of land that he can fill with various buildings that will bring some value to his kingdom. The buildings can be upgraded to increase their value – of course, all of this eats up resources like crazy, so be prepared to wait for several hours to upgrade anything, later in the game. The second part of Titan Empires is the half-assed strategy, mentioned earlier. The player picks a town he wants to attack – either controlled by AI, or by another player – then selects his hired troops, and a hero that will lead them into battle, then selects where on the map to deploy them, and from then on, watches as they either trample or get trampled on by enemy units. Of course, the outcome of the battle depends mostly on whichever player spent more time and resources – real-life more than in-game – on his army. Different heroes have various abilities that can be activated – at a price, of course – to help the fighting armies, and that’s basically it.

Overall, really, there’s absolutely no reason to ever play Titan Empires. It’s merely another cash-grab that doesn’t even attempt to make itself distinct, both in terms of mechanics, and in quality. If you’re really enjoying this sort of games, just play Clash of Clans instead – better yet, don’t play neither, and spend your time with some better games out there. I’ve played it for an hour, and already feel like my life is wasted.

Sorcery! 3 Review

Sorcery! 3 Review

Apr 29, 2015

Sorcery! 3 is a continuation of an adventure game franchise from Steve Jackson, who is kind of a big deal. For those not familiar, Steve Jackson is a US tabletop game designer (not to be confused with Steve Jackson, a UK tabletop game designer – I wish this was a joke), who, among other great things, created a tabletop RPG system GURPS, and the bane of all geek friendships, Munchkin. He is basically neck-deep in the geek world. This should add credibility to the following statement: Sorcery! is one of the best, most immersive games, I’ve ever played.

It’s really difficult to explain Sorcery! 3 to a person that’s never played anything resembling a tabletop role-playing game. Because Sorcery! is basically that. It’s a digital tabletop campaign for one person. It’s not really an RPG in its purest sense, but it certainly feels like it. The player character is on a quest to defeat seven evil serpents that are controlled by a powerful warlock. The player must embark into a land, filled with magic, secrets, and time and space distortions, to find the ways to destroy the serpents – and to find the serpents themselves. The story is as rich and multilayered as one would expect from an RPG campaign, and describing it would take forever, so let’s not bother. Suffice to say, if Sorcery! 3 was a book, its page count would go far into the thousands.

The gameplay of Sorcery! 3 is a weird beast to describe, since it’s a mix of different elements without any anchor in established genres. At its core, it’s a really complex text adventure. But on top of that, you have a unique magic system with a couple of dozen of unique spells, a huge – and I mean, freaking huge – map with hundreds of points of interests, which change based on the circumstances, an endless amount of random encounters, and a whole lot of quests to complete on the way towards the serpents. I can’t describe how much stuff there is in the game. I’ve played it for hours, and I’m still well in the first quarter.

To be fair, while Sorcery! 3 is an incredibly great game, it’s not without some issues. The two biggest ones are the weird magicSorcery! 3 3 system and the weird battle system. The magic system could be made a lot more comfortable by removing the long transition and letter-picking mechanic, boiling it down to a simple list of castable spells. The battle system is just somewhat unintuitive. I’ve played a great number of fights, and still basically go with my instincts, rather than knowledge. The fights could also be a little more varied in terms of gameplay. Reading out the descriptions of the attacks is great, but it could very well be replaced with a more traditional turn-based system.

Overall, Sorcery! 3 is the best mobile game out there for people who like tabletop RPGs. If the thought of reading for an hour about how your character navigates through a magical forest, makes you dizzy, then it’s probably not the game for you. But, if you’re one of those people who want to try out a great tabletop RPG, but never seem to have the time, or people for that, then spending five bucks on Sorcery! is a no-brainer.

Joe Danger Review

Joe Danger Review

Apr 29, 2015

Joe Danger is a very nice-looking arcade game about a stuntman who may actually be completely off his mind. He rides his motorbike across landscapes, devoid of any observers, talks with a very freaky mole, races against monkeys, and encounters aliens. Despite that, the game is pretty fun.

The gameplay of Joe Danger is akin to an infinite runner, but it’s not. The game consists of lots of small tracks that the player has to complete. The tracks are linear and have a lot of scattered junk and gold around them, which the player has to navigate around. Joe can jump, double-jump, make a front and back wheelies, and duck in order to avoid the obstacles, or make use of the boosters and planks on the track. The unusual part is that the player needs not only to navigate Joe’s bike, but also use his finger to remove some obstacles from the way, and collect all kinds of stuff by pressing on it. This makes the game a pretty busy one, and despite the overall simplicity of the game, it actually takes quite a bit of skill – or repetition – to complete the level with perfect score.

Joe Danger 2Each mission has three tasks that Joe needs to complete. If the player completes some of them, he gets bonus gold. If he completes all of them on the same run, he will get a badge. The number of badges determine which levels the player has access to, so collecting them is required for progression. The gold can be spent on alternative skins that dress Joe as different characters, and gives a score multiplier. They are also required to get access on the bonus levels.

Overall, Joe Danger is a cool arcade game with great graphics and a challenging gameplay. It’s certainly one of the better-looking games on the Play Store, with colorful textures and models, a very distinct style, and a silk-smooth performance. Its price definitely feels justified. If you enjoy infinite runners, or simply a fan of casual arcades, Joe Danger is an easy choice. It’s fast, silly, well-designed, and fun.

Adventures of Poco Eco Review

Adventures of Poco Eco Review

Apr 28, 2015

I must admit, it’s been a while since I’ve last encountered an artsy game that wasn’t all just the looks, so Adventures of Poco Eco was a pleasant surprise, albeit a rather short one. Music-themed games have a special place in my heart, as well as simply games with great soundtracks, so I may be somewhat biased with my opinion. I hope it’s obvious that I absolutely loved the game, however short it was.

Adventures of Poco Eco is a story of a little creature that was sent to retrieve the long-lost sounds, in order to cancel the noise that’s doing I don’t know what, exactly, but probably nothing nice. He needs to use the magic cassette player to call out to the gods of rhythm and use their guidance in his quest. So, yeah, it’s that kind of game. However, there’s a good part: it does behave like a game – a puzzle game, to be exact. It’s not just a colorful railroad, since the player is supposed to use the brain to navigate through the fantastical landscapes on the way to his goal. It’s not very challenging, and plays out like something out of Mario 64, but even more weird-looking.

The majority of the time, the player simply needs to place Poco on different buttons in correct order, or press them himself,Adventures of Poco Eco 3 but there are some bits where timing is required. Which leads me to the single issue I have with Adventures of Poco Eco, the controls. Mario 64 comparison would suit here too, since this game would be a lot better with traditional arrow controls, instead of adventure-style click-and-go system. The player’s finger obstructs a huge part of the screen, and it’s uncomfortable to try and press on the small square you want Poco to go to – especially when the square moves around.

Overall, I’d highly suggest Adventures of Poco Eco to the people who like artsy games with unusual style in graphics and music. Of course, you also have to like the future electronica genre, otherwise there’s no reason to play this game. Personally, I’d just like it to be longer. I’ve completed it in about an hour, and it certainly didn’t feel enough. Otherwise, it’s a very interesting little game.

Gravity Ring Review

Gravity Ring Review

Apr 28, 2015

Gravity Ring is a very simple game that doesn’t really feel comfortable no matter how long you play it. It’s partially an issue with the game’s controls, and partially – with its very weird concept. Which is a good thing for a puzzle game, I guess.

Gravity Ring consists of a single super-massive star-like object, and a bunch of obstacles around it. The player controls the projectile that shoots out from the bottom of the screen and gravitates towards the star. The task in each level is to “collect” all of the little dots that spawn around the star. Gravity Ring gives no explanation, but I choose to believe that the player controls a meteor that wipes life off some planets. Also, space walls?

The level is always a circle with a star in the middle, but it sometimes has walls and bumps around it that have to be navigated Gravity Ring 3around, and possibly used to hit the goals. To help with that, the meteor has a guiding line at the launching point that predicts the first second of its flight. Besides that, it’s up to the player’s movement prediction abilities – which I didn’t even know I had – that are going to help him hit all of the points in a very limited flight time limit. That and a lot of failed attempts.

Gravity Ring has a bunch of levels that become a lot harder later later in the game. I presume that it’s not impossible to complete them without power-ups that are gifted every several levels, but it’s definitely really challenging, and requires a lot of replays. I didn’t even manage to get to the 20th level, despite my attempts.

Overall, I’m not sure what to say about Gravity Ring. It’s unusual and it’s difficult, and its aiming controls are really weird and uncomfortable, but it has everything that I ask of my puzzle games. It’s not flashy, and might feel repetitive or unfairly difficult to some, but it’s an interesting game with unusual mechanics, and it’s free-to-play, so there’s really no debate about it, if you enjoy puzzle games.

Random Heroes 3 Review

Random Heroes 3 Review

Apr 27, 2015

Random Heroes 3 is a classic 2D shooter where the humanity fights back against, unless I’m mistaken, aliens that look a hell of a lot like zombies. Although it doesn’t matter in the slightest, I can’t quite put that out of my head now. Anyway. The token military guy tells the player to go clean his base from the aliens that had captured it earlier, and then go underground and destroy their leader. It’s unknown why the army can’t try to do the job themselves, and have to rely on some random schmucks to do all the job, but here we are. For the third time, apparently.

There’s not much to say about the gameplay of Random Heroes 3, except that it’s alright. It’s a lot like the old arcade games, which is a great thing. It’s not perfect, it has weird controls, and weird balance issues, but the slight uncomfortableness gives off that nostalgic feeling. It’s definitely not intentional, but it does challenge the player to play better to compensate.

The mechanics are really simple. The player runs and guns around the levels, filled with all kinds of alien zombies. The Random Heroes 3 3player’s main task is to get to the exit, but to get all three golden stars for the level, it’s also required to kill all of the monsters on the level, and get to the exit in a certain amount of time – not on the single run, thankfully. While doing so, the player collects coins that are required to purchase new weapons and heroes. He also should seek out secret skulls in each level, which are required to upgrade the purchased heroes and weapons. The levels get tougher as you play, but the gold always stays, regardless of the player’s success, so if some levels seem like impossible, it’s simple to just “grind” the gold for a bit, and then eradicate the enemies with powerful weaponry.

I can’t call Random Heroes 3 a great game, since it’s very simple, and doesn’t really have anything new or interesting elements to it. However, the game works in all the ways it should, and it’s rather interesting to go through the levels and attempt to get all of the medals throughout. So, while the game is simple, it’s simple and fun.

Anger Of Stick 4 Review

Anger Of Stick 4 Review

Apr 23, 2015

I’m pretty sure that some time ago, I’ve reviewed the original Anger Of Stick, and found it pretty exciting. It’s interesting, then, that I didn’t find Anger of Stick 4 that exciting. It’s a cool little game, but for its scope, it gets repetitive far too quickly, and grows pace far too slowly. Also, how many games can you release before you start actually making graphics not on a level of a 5-year old?

Anger Of Stick 4 doesn’t have anything resembling a story, or even an explanation to the stick’s anger issues. The player is dropped right into the middle of one white figure’s struggle against thousands of differently-colour-woah-ho-ho, wait a second there. I think I’ve found a message the developer might’ve not intended to make. Anyway, your stick-figure is punching, kicking, stabbing and otherwise destroying the endless murderous crowds that are sent to erase your figure from the face of the Earth. The enemies have different weapons and looks, range from common thugs to mutants and robots, and grow increasingly Anger Of Stick 4 2annoying to fight against, as you play. The starting hero equipped with nothing but his arms and legs, but that doesn’t stop him from kicking all kinds of stick ass. By clearing the levels and killing enemies, the player gets gold that can afterwards be spent on purchasing new heroes, or special abilities that can be equipped before the level.

Anger of Stick 4 looks alright, although the stick-figure fighting looks a bit dull nowadays. The problem is that the game is supposed to be a brawler, and it doesn’t really work as one. There’s a very limited number of combos and punches the character can do, and after playing for about half an hour, it starts to be pretty repetitive. My guess is that the author thought so too, that’s why there’s an auto-play button, which usefulness is actually a bit of a mystery for me.

So, in the end, Anger of Stick 4 is a mediocre free-to-play brawler that would work a lot better if it was more focused on the variety of player moves, rather than on the enemies and additional heroes. It’s not a bad game, and it’s great to kill about an hour, but it gets too repetitive and too irritating to play it for a long time.

DomiNations Review

DomiNations Review

Apr 22, 2015

DomiNations is a great example of how good game design can help support even the worst game genre there is. And I stand by my words, I still think free-to-play manager-type games are the worst game experiences there are, short of losing at russian roulette. While I can’t say that DomiNations does anything differently from the rest of the rabble, it looks merely like an irritating game, and not like a moldy carrot on a stick.

The game borrows heavily from both Civilization and Age of Empires, to the point where it’s basically both of those games, in their worst possible interpretations. Still, the worst interpretation of Age of Empires stands above most of the best manager simulators, which means that DomiNations is pretty interesting. The player has to manage his settlement, which operates on two primary resources: food and gold. They both can be obtained from the animals or structures around the player’s town, or from the enemy encampments, owned both by AI, and by the other players.

The town managing part doesn’t really have any issues. There’s a lot to do, a lot to build, and if you’re not worried about DomiNations 3waiting for a while to complete the construction, the game is pretty fun. It even has a sense of completion as you pillage the barbarians on a simple mission sequence. I dare say, the battles are a little bit strategic in nature, as the player gets to choose whereto spawn his troops, after assessing the structure of the enemy encampment, and can even ever-so-slightly control them. Basically, DomiNations plays like a very bad real-time-strategy, but again, compared to its free-to-play contemporaries, it’s the bee’s knees.

My problem with the game lies in the option to pillage the towns, owned by other players. There’s a huge part of city construction, devoted to defenses of your city, which obviously means that the players that pay for the game’s resources, get to obliterate the free-to-play cities without any consequences, while not getting touched themselves. I haven’t personally been attacked, but I hope that the damage the enemy deals during his attacks, leaves a mark only on your resources, or the game is pretty damn unfair.

All in all, I gotta say that DomiNations is a rather compelling free-to-play manager, at least compared to the other sims that populate the genre. It’s not lazy, it actually requires some sort of player interaction, and the concept of raising a civilization from its cradle, however stolen, is still pretty intriguing. Oh, and it doesn’t have the obnoxious popping resources that clutter half the screen, which is a huge thing. So, if you’re a fan of this sort of thing, I say give DomiNations a try, it’s definitely one of the better ones.

The Mystery of Haunted Hollow Review

The Mystery of Haunted Hollow Review

Apr 22, 2015

The Mystery of Haunted Hollow is a bit cheaply-looking, but still pretty interesting puzzle game about a person that has to solve the puzzles scattered around, uncover a series of clues, and find out why the place he found himself in, is crawling with creepy ghosts.

The game starts with the main character seeing a ghost of a woman that drops a letter for him, which tells him to turn back, until it’s too late. Naturally, he’s going to completely ignore the warning and plunge right into an abandoned town, trying to understand why he’s being chased by a bunch of creepy-looking ghosts. The story is probably the best part of the game, as it ties well into the atmosphere, and while it isn’t very unique, or original, and you might even foresee how the game’s going to end, but it’s still a nice attempt at storytelling. The atmosphere is another cool thing. The game uses what seems like photoshopped images, and mostly takes place in some sorts of ruins or other long abandoned places, but it actually works really well, since, as a lot of horror junkies know, horror is dirty.

The gameplay consists of jumping between the scenes, finding all the necessary objects, and solve the puzzles to advance The Mystery of Haunted Hollow 4further. The really nice part about the objects is that it’s not that difficult to find them. There were a couple of places where I got stuck for a while, but I didn’t miss a single object I was supposed to find – on the contrary, sometimes I’ve searched through the whole town, only to understand that I already had everything I need. The only time that The Mystery of Haunted Hollow made me irritated was when I had to enter a code that I was sure was a plate number from a car I’ve found earlier, but that didn’t work. Turned out, that I was supposed to touch the number making the hero write it down beforehand. Otherwise, every time I got stuck, it was because I had to actually think for a while, to understand what I was supposed to do next.

Overall, I’m surprised at how much I enjoyed The Mystery of Haunted Hollow. It’s small, it’s a bit cheesy, and it doesn’t look like much, but it’s got that classic point-and-click feeling about it, and the creepy visuals that definitely come together to create a compelling experience.

Dream Catchers: Beginning Review

Dream Catchers: Beginning Review

Apr 21, 2015

I feel like it’s getting to a point where actually playing a G5 game won’t even be required to judge it properly. The sheer fact that a game was published G5 Entertainment means that it’s a hidden objects type game with cool, if somewhat blurry graphics, and weird story that doesn’t seem to support the gameplay in any way. Also, it’s not going to be far from the best hidden objects games out there, for whatever reason. You’d think that if a company published hundreds of similar games, they’d get to a point where making them good wouldn’t be an issue, yet here we are with Dream Catchers: Beginning.

Dream Catchers: Beginning tells a story of a person – it’s actually unclear about the gender or the looks of the protagonist, for whatever reason – whose sister, who was in a boarding school, stopped responding to his letters all of a sudden. When driving to the school, the protagonist’s car gets thrown off the road after he sees a shadow figure on the road, and the player finds himself in a dream-like place, being chased by a smoke figure. The story isn’t that unique, but it’s got some interesting turns, and it’s alright for a hidden objects game. Also, Dream Catchers: Beginning looks good, we can get that out of the way. The gameplay part. Though, is a bit of a mess.

The main problem with Dream Catchers: Beginning, is that it’s trying too hard to not be a hidden objects game. It Dream Catchers 3contains less than a dozen actual screens, where the player needs to find a bunch of hidden objects – and for the most part, they aren’t actually hidden at all. The rest of the game is made up of a bunch of puzzles, and very lackluster attempts at puzzle game mechanics. This means that the player is sent on a wild goose chase, trying to find a whole bunch of random objects that are impossible to see, and the player doesn’t even know he needs, to fix/pass/complete some sorts of mechanisms or solve other problems. It’s basically the worst possible puzzle game, that consists largely of tapping on every pixel on the screen, as well as spamming the “hint” button just as it gets refilled – since completing the game without that is just impossible. I won’t give examples, but the “videogame logic” is left wild and loose in here.

Overall, I don’t think I’d recommend Dream Catchers: Beginning to anyone. It’s going to be really irritating and pointlessly complicated to a common gamer, since it’s made and priced for hardcore hidden-objects fans. But I’m pretty sure that those very fans are going to leave disappointed, as well. Just pick another game from the million others that G5 has cooked up, and don’t waste your $5 on this. It’s got a slightly interesting story, but that’s it.