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.

King of Thieves Review

King of Thieves Review

Apr 21, 2015

It’s incredibly frustrating to see a game, think that it’s gonna be a great one, judging from the screenshots, and then find out that it’s utter crap. Oh, wait, that’s exactly why I have a job. Never mind, then.

King of Thieves is an arcade game that, halfway through development, decided that it doesn’t really want to be one, and changed itself into a free-to-play manager piece of garbage instead. The player plays as some Super Meatboy-like creature that, as we find out from the start, was once the King of Thieves, but was ousted by his (her?) arch-nemesis. Now the player has to steal his way through the endless missions, in order to get to the throne and steal it back. Also, some weird crap about stone idols and gems?

King of Thieves is basically divided into two parts. The first part is a standard casual arcade, where the player needsKing of Thieves 3 to jump around, evade the traps, and get to the treasure chest at the end. Come to think of it, it’s also a lot like Super Meatboy, except a lot slower and not entirely as exciting. The controls are boiled down to a simple button, making it even simpler than most infinite runners. The second part is a crappy excuse for a free-to-play manager, crossed with a simple level editor. Basically, the players have a supply of gems that can be multiplied, if left idling in a stone idol for some time. Don’t ask, I don’t have the slightest idea how that works. Anyway, other players can try to steal them, but to do that, they have to get past the traps the owner had set up. It’s not a bad idea in itself, but when put into a restrictive, time-consuming, weird, free-to-play environment, it all kinda falls apart – especially since it’s really unclear as to why exactly you should do any of this, if all you want is a simple arcade.

Overall, King of Thieves contains too many elements for such a simple core concept. If it was stripped of all free-to-play crap, then it could become a cool, simple dollar-worth arcade. However it’s not, so I’d much rather go play some of that, instead.

Puzzle House: Mystery Rising Review

Puzzle House: Mystery Rising Review

Apr 21, 2015

Puzzle House: Mystery Rising is a puzzle game about… I’m not exactly sure, what. In the great tradition of puzzle games – or quests, as they were known in them olden days – the story is a greater mystery than the game itself, and is virtually impossible to discern, even though the game is an hour long. Speaking of which, the game is incredibly short, and it’s may main issue with it. There are complete adventures that are offered for this price range, and Puzzle House, while being an interesting and well-executed game, isn’t offering a lot to cover its short length – especially considering that there’s going to be more of it later – I presume, and correct me if I’m wrong – for an additional price.

Gameplay-wise, Puzzle House: Mystery Rising is a classic first-person quest, and, besides smooth scene transitions, doesn’t really differ from the oldies, like Myst. You drag the finger around the screen to look around, and then tap on an object of interest to zoom in on it. Sometimes, you have to crank or drag something in-game, but it doesn’t really make a difference in the gameplay.

Spoiler alert, but Puzzle House: Mystery Rising doesn’t even get to the house in question. Instead, it contains the Puzzle House 2protagonist’s journey to find it. It’s hidden well, and to get to it, the player has to solve a whole lot of puzzles, which the game is pretty densely packed with. Although it’s very short, Puzzle House certainly requires a fair share of puzzles to solve. The puzzles aren’t that complex, but certainly require some thinking. To help with it, the player has a diary of someone who may have or may have not been abducted by aliens, and/or opened a secret to cross-reality movement. Or something. The diary is pretty criptic, but contains concrete clues about the puzzles, so don’t forget to check in with it, if it seems that you’re getting stuck.

Overall, Puzzle House: Mystery Rising left a pleasant feeling, but it’s definitely either too expensive, or too short. Otherwise, if you’re okay with purchasing a game that is essentially a hook for the story yet untold, it’s certainly not a bad game to play.

LEGO ® Marvel Super Heroes Review

LEGO ® Marvel Super Heroes Review

Apr 6, 2015

LEGO has been releasing almost identical action games for the last ten years, and it doesn’t seem to stop any time soon. Although it’s forgivable, since these games are identically enjoyable, as well. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes can be perfectly described as “another LEGO game”, but this time, the players can play as each of a huge number of superheroes and villains, trying to stop Dr. Doom and his rag-tag bunch of potential future world dominators, from becoming just that.

The game is divided into separate levels, which are pretty distinct and rich with enemies, objects, and lots and lots of blocks. The player has to complete the main tasks on the levels, as well as a number of bonus quests, if he wants to unlock the best characters to play with. It’s tempting to call this “grinding”, but the process is pretty fun and enjoyable, so it acts more like replay value. The gameplay itself is a pretty standard brawler. The player can perform various simple combos, activate the hero’s superpowers, move, jump, and even fly around, and switch between the two heroes he has in each mission. It takes a while to figure the controls out, but apart from the weird double-finger swipe required to set a hero flying, they’re pretty comfortable. The graphics in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes are also quite great, and while the background lacks certain crispiness, the game looks pretty damn good.

But side-quests and the ridiculous number of unlockable characters, is what ultimately drives this game. Figuring out all of the Marvel Super Heroes 4level secrets and Easter-eggs, as well as attempting to play a certain way, definitely gives the game the level of variety that is required at its price tag. Speaking of which, I would normally say that five bucks for a mobile game is a bit too much, but I actually think that it’s a fair price for the sheer amount of content and playtime that LEGO Marvel Super Heroes grants.

Overall, I don’t want to say that it’s the best action game ever, since it’s still just another chapter of the endless barrage of LEGO action games, but it definitely contains a whole lot of great gameplay and content, so that all fans of Marvel, or LEGO, were thoroughly entertained.

Undead Land: Liberation Review

Undead Land: Liberation Review

Mar 31, 2015

I try to be timid with my reviews, but every once in a while, I come across such lazy and impossible titles that I can’t help but get infected with their stupidity. Undead Land: Liberation isn’t just lazy, it’s completely blatantly so. I don’t say that it’s completely unplayable, but it would probably be better if it was.

Undead Land: Liberation is about shooting zombies. That about describes it. The player chooses a mission on the global Undead Land Liberation 3map, chooses one of the overpriced weapons, and equips the bombs that can only be purchased with real money, then goes to a low-res cardboard cutout location and shoots cardboard cutout zombies. The zombies were very obviously taken from different sources, since most of them look drawn, but then there’s a very fast black zombie (I swear that it’s like this in the game) that just looks like some black guy’s zombie impersonation, with a weird green glow around him.

But the most irritating part is definitely the sound. All of the sounds have been pulled from different sources as well, but unlike the zombies, it’s very obvious what these sources were. The starting pistol sounds like a pistol from Counter-Strike – the first Counter-Strike, if I recall correctly. The damn headshot announcement that makes you want to rip your ears off after a while, was pulled from Unreal Tournament, a second game I’d much rather play, instead.

Naturally, the gameplay is just what one would expect in Undead Land: Liberation. It’s repetitive, doesn’t have any resemblance of balance, and since the amount of oncoming zombies is ridiculous, the player is basically required to spend the money on new weapons. The weapons that have obviously been stolen from other games, as well. The game is screwed beyond repair, and I can say this without worrying the developers would read this, since the game comes from Korea. I know this from a simple fact that the auto-translation is horrid, and small parts of the game actually still contain Korean characters. I’m not even going to describe the mechanics and the power-ups, or whatever. Just, find something better to play, instead.

Cinderella Free Fall Review

Cinderella Free Fall Review

Mar 30, 2015

The interesting thing about Cinderella Free Fall is that it doesn’t have anything in common with the Disney’s classic cartoon. Considering that the game was actually licensed by Disney, I can’t understand this logic. The game doesn’t have any story at all, and the graphics don’t even hint at the cartoon, which is pretty weird. Besides that weird disassociation, the game is just a pretty free-to-play princess-themed arcade.

Cinderella Free Fall isn’t really trying to set itself apart from any other free-to-play match-three games, so if you’ve played a single one of them, and since they keep making them, I can imagine that literally everyone on Earth already did at this point, you can probably imagine what the game is about. The player must connect the colored gems together to break them. There are several tasks the level may require to complete, like getting a certain amount of points, or clear the board of the Cinderella Free Fall 3blocks, in a certain amount of moves. There are a couple of powers that the player can use to complete the level, but they’re are pretty restricted and require some money to purchase. If the player fails, one of his hearts is destroyed, and the level must be replayed. The hearts restore over time (a pretty long time, I should add), but of course, it’s possible to spend some money to purchase the additional hearts.

By this point, a pattern emerges. The game isn’t impossible, but it gets really difficult to complete the levels without resorting to the power-ups, or restarts, after the first 15 levels or so. Since this game is obviously for children, I can’t help but notice quite a cynical approach, especially when it’s mixed with the whimsical graphics and sounds.

So, while I tried to maintain a simple mind with Cinderella Free Fall, it’s just not good enough – especially for young children, who I can already imagine bouncing on their parents’ heads with demands to purchase some power-ups for a pretty unimaginative match-three clone. And it’s not even connected to the classic cartoon! Disney really should pick their gaming department up.

Real Steel Champions Review

Real Steel Champions Review

Mar 27, 2015

In case people don’t know what it is, True Steel is a movie that proved that even a movie about a bunch of robots who punch each other can be boring, if you make it about some young kid and his family. A concept, commonly known as “The Transformers Principle”. Likewise, True Steel Champions proves that you can make a game about said robots irritating, if you make it free-to-play, and mess up the actual fighting.

True Steel Champions doesn’t have anything resembling a story, and instead simulates a boxing tournament, in which the player has to defeat a bunch of increasingly powerful opponents. The only difference it has to the other boxing sims, is that you can change the parts of your robot in-between the fights. Which would be fun, if the parts would contain at least some form of individuality. Instead, you just hoard up money from the fights and purchase whatever part has higher numbers next to it. There’s also an option of purchasing a ton of unique moves and combos – but even all of them put together could hardly fill a couple of Tekken characters. And Tekken is exactly what this game tries to be. The low-poly, glossy look of the fighters Real Steel Champions 4basically makes the game look like Tekken 2, with Mokujin as the only available fighter. The free-to-play stuff messes up the game even more, introducing such fun concepts as energy bar and unobtainable currency.

Of course, it’s not about the graphics, or the managing – it’s about robot fighting! And that part sucks, too. The combat is clunky as hell, and while all the fighting elements are there, they are not put together very well. The movements aren’t fluent, the combos aren’t comfortable, and the fights end up looking unsettingly close to the Rock’em Sock’em face-outs.

So, in the end, True Steel Champions is a very restrictive, not graphically impressive, boring and repetitive game that doesn’t explore any unseen parts of the movie world. I don’t really see any reasons to play it, unless you are really damn captivated by the generic robot designs.

Dudeski Review

Dudeski Review

Mar 26, 2015

Winter is finally over, so it’s about time people started missing it. For those that already do, here’s a great little game called Dudeski, that transports you to a snowy landscape – and into the nineties as well.

I imagine that most of the people have played, or at least heard about the rather old game, called SkiFree. It was extremely simple, but was able to kill hours of your time. Dudeski seemingly aims to recreate that with a similar theme and mechanics. It’s also covered in nineties slang like a Vanilla Ice song.

Dudeski puts the player on top of a Shred Lord mountain and challenges him to make it all the way down. For some Dudeski 2reason, conversely to real world, the mountain gets more challenging the lower you go, and when you fail, the hero gets transported all the way back to the top, no doubt by those jerk penguins. The controls are very simple. Press on the left side of the screen and the skier slides to the left. Press on the right side of the screen, and the skier slides to the right. Press and release both sides of the screen, and the skier will jump slightly. That’s it. However, the simple controls don’t translate into a simple game, since the track is pretty difficult to traverse and contains a lot of trees, rocks, and crevices, not to mention the giant avalanche that is following the player character.. The skier also moves at a pretty high pace, to the point where the passing terrain slowly begins to blur together. Which might be bad for my eyes, but definitely makes for great game.

Dudeski is free-to-play, but it doesn’t really have any restrictions, so I guess you could say that it’s free. The in-game “store” which is just a couple of penguins that sell protective equipment and shortcuts at certain points, is entirely trading on the pine cones that can be collected on the track.

In short, Dudeski is an amazing free-to-play skiing simulator that is simple, interesting, and exciting at the same time. Definitely a pick for everyone, who isn’t very bothered by the fact that this game is RADICAL, man!

Pixel Heroes: Byte & Magic Review

Pixel Heroes: Byte & Magic Review

Mar 16, 2015

Mobile gaming has a really weird habit of mispricing its games. The price of the game here never seems to reflect the game’s quality, polish, or really anything. There are free triple-A shooters, and there are indie RPGs, twenty pixels high, whose cost reaches the price range of some PC games. Of course, Pixel Heroes: Byte & Magic is an example of the latter.

It’s nigh-impossible to pinpoint what Pixel Heroes: Byte & Magic is actually about. It presents itself as a parody, I can tell that much. But what it supposed to be a parody of, is quite uncertain. The story is but a collection of funny characters and references to other RPGs, Cthulhu mythos, and god knows what else. The humor is alright, but the game seems to bet on it, as the gameplay is not much different from other mobile RPGs. It’s certainly not a rip-off, but there’s really no unique feeling to it. Basically it’s, a very compact jRPG, with pixels instead of spiky hair. It should be noted that the RPG part is pretty well fleshed out. The three heroes have their own equipment, abilities, and stats. There’s tons of randomly-generated loot that grants different bonuses, and lots of unique enemies.

The game consists of three things. A town, where the heroes sell loot, buy stuff, and get quests. A road to the instance, where Pixel Heroes 3the party encounters different things and, well, encounters – it’s, probably the most interesting part of the game. And then there’s the battle phase. In battle, the three heroes stand in line, before one to three monsters. The heroes take turns and attack the monster of their choosing, considering their weapon can reach it. There are different weapons and different spells. Some grant bonuses, some drain the enemy of health – there’s quite a variety.

Unfortunately, for me it didn’t translate into a compelling gameplay. It’s a pretty subjective reason, but I just didn’t feel any excitement. I don’t like jRPGs, simple as that. The constant micromanagement, the awkward battle process, the weird progression – it’s just not for me. So, what I’m trying to say is, if you really like the jRPG-style battles and management, then this game is right up your alley. But I still think that 7 bucks is quite expensive for a game, in which the characters are shorter than 30 pixels.