Trigger Happy Review

Trigger Happy Review

Oct 31, 2014

Lunagames launched a Halloween-themed shooter for Android, but is it worth you time? Well, that depends: do you like murdering zombies?

Trigger Happy from Lunagames is a straightforward action packed shooter. In it, you need to shoot every zombie or other Halloween themed monstrosity that’s coming right for you. You can do that with just your handgun, including unlimited ammo – the way I prefer to play my Halloween/horror games. But that won’t do the job in Trigger Happy.

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So luckily, when you play the game, you can earn all sorts of bonuses. One of them is earning coins by shooting at them when they lay down on the ground, right after they popped out of the zombie you just killed. With those coins, you can upgrade your current weapon or buy new ones – and if you want the special weapons, you can always throw some real money at the screen. But that is optional, as I did not get the feeling the game forced me to do so.

But before you can start upgrading your stuff, you need to get a lot of points to raise you level. Because at higher levels, you can get better weapons. It is as simple as that. For a free game, it actually has been balanced out – putting fun at the first place. And that is something I can really enjoy in a free-to-play video game.

The only thing I didn’t like about Trigger Happy from Lunagames is that I stood still on one point. There wasn’t a moment where I could move – either automatic or normal – and I thought that was a shame. The action feels kind of static now and therefore the game can be repetitive at a faster rate than normal. Which is a shame. Because if you’re looking for a fun little Halloween game, which doesn’t charge you for every move and let’s you have fun with every fired bullet, you can give this game a chance.

MIRAGE 2.0: unrecorded essence of offline communication

MIRAGE 2.0: unrecorded essence of offline communication

Oct 27, 2014

mobli Media has announced MIRAGE2.0, an updated version of its ephemeral instant messaging app. We got the chance to speak with CEO Moshe Hogeg. “Ephemeral messaging imitates the feeling of a natural, real-life, unrecorded conversation.”

MIRAGE was launched by mobli in July 2014. The stand-alone app is an instant messaging platform that enables users to send and receive messages that disappear after a few seconds. The app’s interface is based on a one-tap principle. As soon as the user opens the app, all of their contacts are immediately available. Even if a contact does not have the app installed, they can receive the message from a link via SMS.

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MIRAGE is focused around ephemeral messages: messages that disappear just seconds after the receiver opens them. CEO of mobli Media, Moshe Hogeg, thinks that these kinds of messages are important, because of the way that people communicate in real life. When we say something, the message will disappear as soon as the receiver heard it and there is no non-technical way to retrieve them.

This form of communication is very different when compared to digital communication, where the reader or viewer can always look back at what he or someone else said. “The first generation of communication apps focused mainly on providing us with ways to communicate that were not possible without technology. However, we are now seeing a break away from these forms of now ‘traditional’ communication technologies”, says Hogeg.

“Ephemeral messaging imitates the feeling of a natural, real-life, unrecorded conversation. People are seeking out messaging apps that enable a sense of light, easy and free conversation. We don’t need to examine every word, or make sure that every picture is exactly right. It frees us to have a normal conversation, digitally.” Also, Hogeg would like to point out that nothing is recorded or stored. “It’s making our digital communications real.”

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MIRAGE is an app where people can send text, voice, photo and video messages within one application. However, Hogeg doesn’t think that there are ‘too many’ options, compared to apps specifically designed to do one thing. “The user interface is incredibly simple and easy to navigate. Everything can be done with one simple tap.”

“In fact, I think that because we have created an app where users can very simply switch between voice recordings, photo messages, video messages and text messages, whether sending these to an individual or a group, we are making the experience for our users much easier because they can come to MIRAGE, and do all of these things within the one app simply by tapping and swiping the screen. It’s that simple.”

And what it gives them in return is one single app that they can enter to have their online communications that comes with an “incredibly fun and empowering feeling of spontaneity and privacy that emulates their offline interactions”. The MIRAGE app, designed to take the dynamic, spontaneous and unrecorded essence of offline communications into the digital world, is now available in the Google Play Store.

Five Nights At Freddy’s Review

Five Nights At Freddy’s Review

Oct 23, 2014

It is nice to see that some pc games are being ported to Android and that the idea behind the game stays intact. Same goes for Five Nights at Freddy’s.

If you have played Five Nights at Freddy’s on pc, than you know what you are up for in this Android version of the game. It is a port of the pc version and one that is very well made. Everything from the first version is the same, only now you use the touch screen as an input source, instead of the mouse. Input methods aside, these game is freaky. Very freaky. The first few times it gave me the creeps and my first reaction was to close the game. When that happens, I say: the objective of the developers must’ve been a success by then.

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But if you are not familiar with the concept, let me introduce you to it. You play as a security guard at night, keeping in eye on not only the property, but also the mechanical beasts inside. By day, those mechanical beasts are there to entertain children; by night, someone will put them on free mode, so they can walk freely. But when they see someone after midnight and before six o’clock in the morning, they assume that that is also a mechanic beast, but out of his costume. So they will take you away when they see, that’s all you need for a motivation.

But you’re need completely harmless — no, you can open and close two doors, the two doors that are right beside you. You can keep an eye on the mechanimals through some camera’s, in a lay-out of a map so you will know where they are. You won’t see them move, but when you switch camera’s, it is possible they left their original position and are getting closer to you. When you think they’re right next to you, you can close the doors, but that will cost electricity. And without, you cannot close them and you will instantly lose.

So the game is a constant struggle between the idea of being caught and being save by and from those mechanical animals. You need to plan a strategy at the very moment they’re coming to close for your taste, but have to always keep in mind that when you run out of electricity, the game – and your life – is over. That will put some pressure on ya. Overall, the sense of being hunted is very well produced by the developers and it’s good to see more people can enjoy this creepy horror game. If you like creepy horror games, that is.

Cars: Fast as Lightning Review

Cars: Fast as Lightning Review

Oct 22, 2014

When it comes to movie games, we’re all victims here. But sometimes, when a developer really takes time to produce something nice, it can work out for everyone. Enter Cars: Fast as Lightning.

The Cars movies have been loved and praised by many of us. I for one only saw the first entry in the film, and I liked what I saw. But this game is a kind-of direct sequel to the second movie within the franchise. And therefore, we see our buddy Lightning with his buddy Mater, whom I didn’t knew up until this point. But that’s okay: what really matters is your goal: trying to rebuild Radiator Springs. (Because apparently, there were some problems — the game assumes you know all this.)

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So here we have the first part of the two major gameplay pillars: rebuilding a whole town. And just like other town building games, there are simple controls and those nasty waiting bars. And yes, they go faster when you pay real life money. But, even though I had to wait quite some time now and then, I was glad to see that you are able to play the whole game, without spending any money. That way, I felt save when my little four year old nephew was playing the game on my Nexus 5. I was even able to turn the IAP off, completely.

But how do you unlock everything, without paying up? Well, by playing the race sections of the game and earning some shiny gems (which are buyable). The races are quite simple: you hold down the gas peddle and let it go in a skid, only to press it again when you’re out. It kind of resembles the old electric cars on a track idea (you know, the ones where you hold a controller with one button). Things you can unlock are several Radiator Springs landmarks, like the Luigi’s Tire shop, Cassa Della or Flo’s V8 Cafe.

Besides the fact the game offers two distinctive popular game mechanics under one roof and the feature to turn of IAP, Cars: Fast as Lightning looks amazing. It really sets up the bar for mobile games and gives that authentic Pixar movie feeling the movie gave me. So, yeah, it is save to say that this is one of the best Cars games out there and it’s awesome it is on Android.

Road Smash 2 Review

Road Smash 2 Review

Oct 21, 2014

If you thought Road Smash 2 was an arcade styled fast paced racing game, then guess again. This game is nothing like that. I even feels unfinished.

Road Smash 2 is a game about racing, fast cars and loud music. In a way, it has the perfect mix of what a racing game should have. But even with the right ingredients, you can make a bad meal and Road Smash 2 is the living proof of that theory. In racing game, controls are I think the most important part of the game, and when a developer fails to put some responsive controls in a racing game, the project has failed.

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So it doesn’t matter if a game offers different modes. In the case of Road Smash 2, you can choose four different kind of modes: the campaign, career (why these two a different category, I don’t know), free ride and the multiplayer beta. But they all suffer from the same thing: the lack of good controls. The game just doesn’t get it right. It feels unfinished to say the least. There are two types of controls: the one where you use the on screen steering wheel or the tilt controls. And both feature a delay in input and in response – it is practically unplayable.

Why a race game like this hits the Google Play Store, I don’t know. Maybe the developers wanted to cash in on the popularity of race games like Need for Speed, because it is save to say that Road Smash 2 borrows some elements and inspiration from that game. And maybe they hope that players will spend some money on the in-app purchases. But let me tell you now: don’t download this game, so you don’t have to think about all that.

Road Smash 2 even has some dull story moments where the non-playable characters never seem to care if the player is male of female. I played as a female, because it was the first choice presented to me and I didn’t care which gender I would play, because I didn’t think it would matter. But it did, in a bad way. It’s really sloppy. That’s kinda the feeling this game gave me: sloppy development, resulting in a unfinished product.

FIFA 15: Ultimate Team Review

FIFA 15: Ultimate Team Review

Oct 10, 2014

This year, EA shakes things up by only presenting us the Ultimate Team mode in FIFA 15 for Android. That’s a fact that you either hate or love, but I must say: I was surprised by that choice.

Normally I would start a soccer game review with the words that the game is bigger and better than the version released a year ago. But that is not the case with FIFA 15: Ultimate Team. Instead of making the game, sometimes unnecessary, bigger, Electronic Arts tried to built upon the core of the Ultimate Team mode. You know, the mode where you need to collect cards of players, technical staff, coaches and attributes and build your own team based on the cards you collect. You get those cards by fulfilling certain goals.

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Although it is quite the unusual decision to make a big game small again, I found myself enjoying the game much more because of the lack of more features. Also, the concept of the Ultimate Team mode is excellent for smartphones and tablets, because of its strategic nature and the fact you will spend some time in a menu or two. It just works very well; I was never lost. It is also possible to compete in quick games with your own managed team, so it is not the case that you can only be a manager in this game.

But if you’re like me and you find more fun into managing a soccer team rather than play with one, like you would on the consoles, you can always choose to simulate games – just like Nintendo Pocket Football Club on the Nintendo 3DS, for instance. But now with real players and everything that screams EA, soccer or buy my shit. Luckily, you can play FIFA 15: Ultimate Team without spending a single dollar, but than you know you’re in for the long run. But true FIFA players won’t mind that. They just want to manage the game and kick a ball.

Note that you need a lot of free space in order to play the game: make sure you have 1.35GB free internal space or on the SD card. Also, it is not possible to connect this game to your console version, so you cannot manage your team on the road, go home and see the results on screen.

Escape Bird Review

Escape Bird Review

Oct 9, 2014

When I saw the screens for Escape Bird, I thought: this looks like the Dark Souls version of Flappy Bird. Was I right?

We all know the type of game Flappy Bird was. It was an unfair and unpolished, but somehow hilarious game about a bird, trying to escape whatever through some odd looking pipes, that somehow reminded us all of a Italian plumber. By tapping we made sure the bird didn’t fall or touch anything and by doing good, we all scored higher points. Or not, depending on the (lack of a good) hitbox.

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A million Flappy clones came around, some ‘good’, some awful, but all with their own style. Because how much can a game differ from another game that has the same tapping mechanic. Now, here is Escape Bird. Escape Bird is a title that offers more hope than it should, because the bird in this game has no room to go. It is stuck and the only way out is to die. And it will die.

So despite the colorful character of the game (the chosen colors really suit each other), Escape Bird is quite dark. The goal is to get the highest amount of points by tapping, so the bird can fly from one side to another, avoiding the spikes on the wall. You must land the bird in the area between the spikes in order to let him live and fly another round, but there comes a point the bird will die.

He will die and you won’t be mad. Not just because he’s a cartoon bird in a video game, but because it is your own fault he is dead and the game is over. Unlike Flappy Bird, this game has a serious hitbox, meaning you know how to avoid the spikes. It doesn’t feel random – like it did in Flappy Bird. But where does the comparison with Dark Souls start?

Well at the moment you think you can do it better next time, because you know what to expect, while still knowing it could be the last thing you’ll ever do, you’ve got the core of a Dark Souls game if you ask me. The only difference is that at the end of a Dark Souls level, you make it out alive… Or… Something that still walks… And in Escape Bird, you’ll never escape. But you can always try your best.

The Walking Dead Pinball Review

The Walking Dead Pinball Review

Oct 8, 2014

The Walking Dead Pinball goes to show that two rights can make a wrong.

If you haven’t heard of the Walking Dead by now, than it is possible you have been sleeping for the past couple of years. The franchise, once only a comic book and now grown in to a TV series and multiple games, is massive and keeps on going forward. Zen Pinball, creators of my most memorable digital pinball experience to date, created a game I never saw coming: a pinball version of the point-and-click story-driven drama game from Telltale Games. And I’m not sure if I like it.

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So on one hand, we’ve got the best pinball game developer there is and on the other hand we’ve got Telltale, making sure we get to play the Walking Dead video game out there. But combined… well, let’s just say that it isn’t a winning formula. This pinball machine (you can download it separately or withing the existing Zen Pinball app) offers story driven gameplay, including making some choices, but it always leads to unnecessary distractions or unclear goals.

But the base of the game, the pinball machine itself, is how it is supposed to be. It is the pinball magic we’ve come to know and love by now. It man, does the game look great – it has the same graphical appeal of the Walking Dead game bij Telltale, so you’re in for a treat. But like I said, the game does offer a great deal of distraction, making you loose a ball when you think your attention is need elsewhere – but the fact is, you always need to focus on the ball, otherwise it is gone.

And another thing I found quite… odd: there is the option to ball an extra pack of pinballs, a dollar per three, when you’re game over. I understand Zen Pinball found a extra way to make a quick buck, but it defiles the basic rules of pinball. The rule that game over is game over, that you’ve just lost your points and that you can always try again, next time. This just feels wrong.

Goat Simulator Review

Goat Simulator Review

Oct 6, 2014

Five dollars for an Android game is quite the price. Especially when that game in particular is Goat Simulator. But you know, this is fun. Even on Android.

By now you could be familiar with the concept of and idea behind Goat Simulator. The development of Goat Simulator started of as a joke during a Game Jam, but quickly gained popularity amongst the internet. The idea was to make a stupid game where players could do everything but nothing and live the life of a goat in a big city, while they ignore the basic laws of physics. It was called a simulator, because of the surprisingly popular games like Farming or Truck Simulator on pc.

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This is a product of mockery. In every pixel. In every sprite. And it’s stupid. And you should not buy this game on pc. Or mobile for that matter. Even the developers said so on their own product page on Steam. But you know what, this game, as dumb as it is, is damned fun. It is the perfect game to escape real life and just goof off in a strange world where the rules of physics are different and where nobody seems to care that a small goat is actually a penguin.

It kept me busy for quite some time – longer than I would like to admit. I missed the hype on pc, because I don’t have a laptop where I can comfortably game on, so I was actually glad I could try it out myself, after seeing some of the most hilarious Let’s Play video’s in a long time (looking at you, Steam Train!). But there were two things I didn’t like: the game world isn’t as big and doesn’t feature as many places to go to as in de pc version and there weren’t many other styled ‘goats’.

But is it worth five bucks? No, God, no. For a gamer, there isn’t anything to invest in. Is it a fun way to escape a busy life? Yes. So if you would like to play it, I’m sure the developers don’t mind you downloading a .apk file from somewhere on the internet, so you can play it without actually have to pay for it (figure of speech, the developers need to eat to, you know :)).

Cannon Crasha Review

Cannon Crasha Review

Oct 3, 2014

Man, Cannon Crasha is ‘one of those games’. In a good way! When you like games like Worms and Swords and Soldiers, you will definitly like this instant classic Android game.

Go play it. No seriously. This is one of those games. One of those games where the only thing you need to know is that you need to play it. It should be one of those games everybody should talk about, you know, like the time you were in high school, still playing those GBA games. Cannon Crasha is a turn-based-ish, real time strategic-ish game that borrows elements from games like Worms and Sword and Soldiers, covered up in light-humoured conversations and easy to learn controls.

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When I say Worms and Swords and Soldiers, you kinda get the idea of this game. On screen, there are two bases. One is yours and the other one is your enemy. That’s basicely all you need to know. The goal of the game is to destroy each others base, the castle. You can do that by simply rocking your cannon. That part is similiar of how Worms games felt at the moment you tried to launch a well aimed bazooka attack. But the next layer resembles Swords vs Soldiers and offers more options.

That layer offers different kind of helpful characters and items that can help you in your goal to destroy the enemies base. There are also options to enhance the speed of much needed resources so that you can build even more items or produce more soldiers to aim you. And you do this all while defending your own castle, by building structural steel that takes a lot – a lot – of inspiration from the Worms games if it comes to design and the way it is placed on to the field.

There is so much stuff you can do and the game makes it easy for you the get used to the controls, gameplay and mechanic, with massive and not irritating tutorials that are levels on its own. From the start, Cannon Crasha is a fun game to play. And it stays fun, right ‘till the very end.

Asphalt Overdrive Review

Asphalt Overdrive Review

Oct 2, 2014

When I think of the name Asphalt, I think of a fine Need for Speed like racing experience of mobile phones. Asphalt Overdrive offers some of the same experience, only in small, repetitive packages.

Asphalt Overdrive is an endless runner type of game, meaning that, in this case, the car on screen drives itself forward – the only way to go. Overdrive isn’t the typical Asphalt game in a sense that it offers exciting races, but it does a lot that the series is known for. Those graphics are just to damned slick and the way the game controls… Man, it just couldn’t be any better than this. Even the music isn’t as irritating as most games – in fact, it’s pretty good electro music on its own.

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So yeah, presentation wise, this game is awesome – that eighties style and feeling really suits the game. Gameplay wise, there is a lot to do. You can compete in different kinds of challanges, among racing away from the cops or getting as much points as possible while doing stunts. In a way, Asphalt Overdrive feels like an authentic Asphalt experience, but the developer has chosen to put that experience in to small dosages of fun. And it works, because of the genre of the game.

But because it is a free endless runner, you can’t run from certain necessities. Like the system the game is based on. You can not play the game for as much as you like, and you will run out of energy that is needed to play the game. Yes, you can buy more energy, but it will cost you real-life money. Asphalt Overdrive has another paywall like layer on top of it and I got quite sick of it – but, in all honesty, that second layer isn’t that much present as the first one, but it’s irritating nonetheless.

So if you’re not bothered by the fact you are restricted in the amount of time you may play (and don’t mind the game make push notifications to alert you that you’re energy is refilled), you can enjoy a solid race game, with excellent audiovisual appeal. One of the best there is to play.

Empire Run Review

Empire Run Review

Sep 26, 2014

Will Empire Run be different enough to stand out from all the other endless runners out there?

Endless runners need to pack some great content to be noticeable in the Google Play Store. Either that or they must have a great theme or graphical appeal to have a chance to be downloaded. Because there are lots of endless runners out there. Perhaps to much – but that is for another rainy day. The endless runner Empire Run is a game that does things right: it has a very nice graphical style and offers some nice gameplay tweaks, in its attempt not to be overlooked by the public.

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Empire Run offers three gameplay modes with three layers of difficulty each. As a player, the goal is always to complete a stage, but the sub-goal differs from one another. In the first, players need to win from another character in a one on one match. In the second, they need to defeat a certain amount of enemies and in the third, it is necessary to survive the level. That last one is a classic endless runner mode, but even than the game keeps his own appeal.

The character on screen needs to collect an amount of coins to get access to his superdash. With that dash, players can defeat enemies and break stuff that would otherwise slow of even kill them. Collecting those coins isn’t just for the sake of it – it has some meaning to the gameplay, and that is something I can really appreciate in a video game. There are also special history coins: they give players little did-you-knows about the period of history the player is playing in. It’s great!

The runner in the game is a student that is learning for his history test. During his studying, he falls asleep and dreams of the stuff he just learned about. This gives the developer the chance to put many different styles in the game – the levels are based on different real-life history periods and leaves us with colorful and vibrant levels. If there would be one endless runner to download right now, I would say that this game is my number one pick from now on.