Super Monkey Ball Bounce Review

Super Monkey Ball Bounce Review

Sep 17, 2014

Super Monkey Ball Bounce has a lot of problems, and being a cash cow is just one of them. It is a shame to see what Sega has done to the once beloved series of challenging games.

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When you love Peggle or games like Peggle, you will clearly enjoy Super Monkey Ball Bounce. That game doesn’t just take inspiration from Peggle, it rips it off completely. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing; one can better steal something good, than make up something bad. It is all in the details; and with details, I mean stuff like themes, power ups and level design. And that’s the part Super Monkey Ball Bounce doesn’t fail to be enjoyed by gamers. Because the base is pretty good.

But the other problems – oh my God. This game has some pretty annoying performance issues. Not only did my LG Nexus 5 (which is a more than decent phone to play new Android games on, I might add) get pretty hot, like, all the time, it also showed some irritating slow down, frame drops and left me with an overall impression of lazy development. These kind of issues are fixable, even before launching a game. Or maybe it is just to heavy for Android phones nowadays, I don’t know.

Being a free to play title, I can assure you that you will be bothered with making in-app purchases. Although they might not be that annoying and present at first – the further you’ll come, the more the games will ask you to pay for something. You can get special coins to play on after losing all of your balls, get some new outfits for the gang or monkeys, and so on. And this makes the app stutter even more. Damn, that is so annoying. Sega, please fix this, because, you know what…

I actually like to play this game.

I am willing to sit through those irritating ads in moments the game asks me to pay up some dollars. I am willing to forgive the publisher for turning one of the best franchises on GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox around in to a casual experience. And I am willing to accept that I like this game, despite those things. So when the performance issues are gone, I can actually recommend this game. But for now, when you download it, you’ll have to be patient.

On A Loop Review

On A Loop Review

Sep 15, 2014

On A Loop is one of those game I did not know what to expect from, but quickly turned into one of my favorite games on Android. Man, this game is clever.

This is one of the most clever puzzle games I have ever played. And looking at my app history and my score on the puzzle genre my Google+ profile, I realised that I have been playing a lot of puzzle games on my Android phones. On A Loop has a very simple gameplay mechanice that forces players into thinking a billion steps ahead of their move, calculating every possible outcome there is on the action he is about to take. Well, sounds a bit dramatic, but that is how I felt.

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In On A Loop, players get tasked with making sure the black object, shaped in basic forms like a triangle, block or circle, becomes white. To do so, they must press and hold the object on screen, keeping an eye on the little black bar that has to make a number of circles to complete the players goal. But beware: when that little black bar touches anything, like objects that are hanging still or moving or even other black bars, the almost white shape will turn black again.

That means that players will need to start over with a new strategy in mind, because, clearly, the previous one did not succeed. One can argue that holding the shape and letting it go randomly can lead to a victory, but that’s bullocks. If something like that happens, that player must be very lucky in life and I would recommend buying a lottery ticket in order to cash in on that luck. Because let me tell you: in order to finish this game, you do need to plan ahead.

That means players’ll have to decide the correct speed that black bar will need in order to complete his rounds, while not touching anything. It is really addictive and the mechanic is genius. The only downside to me is that when I put my finger on screen, I could not always see that bar, so sometimes I’d had to let go to see what would happen. And than it always ends up bad. So yeah, if one is looking for a challenging, yet very relaxing puzzle game, go and download On A Loop. It’s well worth your time.

Help Me Fly Review

Help Me Fly Review

Sep 11, 2014

There is no shortage of puzzle games in all of the app stores, including the Google Play Store. But finding that must play puzzle game, might be a challenge. Don’t look any further, because we’ve found one.

Puzzle games and app stores: it’s like a combination made in heaven. And why wouldn’t it be? Most of those puzzle games are easy to understand, offer a great challenge and have some pretty user-friendly interfaces for us to enjoy. A good puzzle game has all of the above mentioned elements and I’m glad to say that the game Help Me Fly vg fits right in to the description of a good puzzle game. It even has some solid looking graphics that are easy on the eyes.

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In Help me Fly, the goal is to make a little red airplane fly again. The premisse of the story is that the pilot of that plane need to lift off. But without power, it has no chance of doing so. Now it is up to the player to make the plane fly again. And how does he do that? By making sure the plane gets some juice again. Players need to hook up the stranded airplane to a nearby battery with some funny looking blocks that conduct the electricity to the flying machine.

By placing a red block next the battery, the block turns green – meaning that the electricity is running right through it. When the players connects another block to the green one, the other one turns green also. Now, when all blocks are green and connect the battery to the plane, the plane can lift off. Goal completed, right? Nope. There is also the task to light up all the stars in a puzzle. It’s a bit odd when you look at the… story… but it does offer a great layer of challenge.

And that is where Help me Fly really shines. It never is to hard to make to plane fly again, but when players want to go for the maximum score – and that is something I also want to do – they need to be on there end game to prove themself to the game. Because right from the start, the game throws mind boggling challenges at you. Combine that with the great looking and colorful graphics, a great interface and controls, and Help me Fly is one of those golden puzzle games.

Angry Birds Stella Review

Angry Birds Stella Review

Sep 11, 2014

The new Angry Birds Stella game just came and that can only mean one thing: it’s time to give the birds a swing again. Only this time, we’re swinging female birds with more tactics at their disposal.

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With every new Angry Birds installment I always ask myself: what did Rovio do this time to not make me think this game is just like the one before? The gravity mechanic in Angry Birds Space was a first for me, thinking the developer actually did something to improve the basics of the game. And now, I’ve got the same feeling. Angry Birds Stella is, to be very direct, a new Angry Birds game that builds upon the basics of the core of the franchise and really offers something new.

Then again, it isn’t that drastic of a difference, of course. Because we’re still sling-shotting birds across the screen in order to get rid of those nasty little green pigs, but this time around, players get a different move set all together to play with. The different kind of female birds all have their own unique ability to experiment with and, while the controls are almost the same, it really does offer some unique gameplay mechanics for the series. Nothing really ground breaking, but it works.

Angry Birds Stella offers a story as well. At first I was like: why does this game have a story. But then I understood: it offered the developer some room for improvement in terms of boss fights. Well, not really boss fights, but levels that are more challenging than the levels before, but not as hard as the levels after it. It really fits with the story, whether I think the game needs it or not. If one can clear those levels with just one, flying, female bird, they are true Angry Birds masters.

And the game offers more stuff. Players can get one of those Telepods and with these things, they can unlock the other characters (but just by playing the game, you can do that too). And there is even stuff to collect besides the proven three star rating. Overall, Angry Birds Stella genuinely feels more balanced than any other Angry Birds title out there and it definitly feels like the developer put a lot of effort into making this game. Angry Birds Stella is a fun experience which many of us can enjoy.

SkyHeroes Review

SkyHeroes Review

Sep 9, 2014

SkyHeroes is one of those games for me of what I did not know to expect from. It looks really colorful and has lots of menus to tap through and therefore, it should have lots of depth to its gameplay, right?

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When I first came across SkyHeroes, I was pleasantly surprised. The game is really cheerful, has a lot of colors and even the soundtrack made me happy. The almost kiddie look of the game is in stark contrast with its own gameplay. SkyHeroes isn’t a game for people who like to enjoy casual games, and really asks a lot of the player. The gameplay is really fast and players should keep their attention at all times at the screen to not die an inconvenient death… because that will happen, eventually.

But how is that possible? The game looks so cheerful and look at all those colors! Yes, don’t be fooled by its charms and looks, because they are, in fact, deceiving. Underneath all the colors and smileys and even pets there is an honest but hard side scrolling shooter that will offer a great challenge. It is more common to just die at the level boss then to defeat it, but I found myself always enjoying the game, never to be bothered with the fact I wasn’t good enough.

Beneath all that is a system based on in-game and real life money where one can upgrade the chosen hero, buy stuff from the store, get additional bonuses for a level or feed the pet; all with the collected coins or bought gems. Those gems and even the coins can be bought in the store, but frankly, and thank God for that, it is not completely necessary to invest your own money to get the best out of this game. It is possible for some cool stuff, but it is not pay-to-win.

Swing Copters Review

Swing Copters Review

Sep 8, 2014

After Dong Nguyen has put his feelings of guilt and regrets aside, he started to develop ‘the next Flappy Bird’. Is Swing Copters as good (or bad, depends on your point of view) as Flappy Bird?

Dong Nguyen’s next game is Swing Copters. Just like Nguyen’s last game, Flappy Bird, it is a game with the most simple control scheme there is: by tapping on the screen, the copter dude will fly left or right, depending on its position. The goal for the player is to come as far as possible, of course, but to do so, players must embrace the simple controls and concept as it were their lives. Because one needs to be very patient playing this game; Swing Copters gets on your nerves real fast.

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Flappy Bird had two gimmicks. One: the flying Cheep Cheep look-a-like from Mario that would only go up when one taps the screen. Two: the hit boxes were just awful. Unfair and plain awful. The goal was to jump between green Mushroom Kingdom pipes. In Swing Copters, the base remains the same. This time around, players need to navigate the bud on screen through construction support beams, while avoiding the hammers of death. All while being irritated with the controls.

The controls aren’t that awful, actually. Unlike Flappy Bird, one might consider this more of a game where players can get good at. The mechanic here is that the copter goes right or left when the player doesn’t tap the screen. When he does, the copter turns around immediatly. This means that, when players wait a bit, the copter gets some momemtum going, something one need to keep in mind when tapping the screen again. It is a matter of life and death in Swing Copters.

But because of the awful hit detection, it doesn’t really matter how good one gets with the concept, the struggle, the controls or the momentum. It just isn’t fun anymore. We’ve played to many Flappy Bird like games already and the momemtum mechanic isn’t even new. It makes one wonder why Nguyen even bothered to produce this abomanation of a video game, because of its lack of a fun factor. Just don’t play this game. Don’t even download it. Maybe Nguyen will stop making games.

Ice Cream Nomsters Review

Ice Cream Nomsters Review

Sep 8, 2014

Ice Cream Nomsters is a new game from the Dutch studio Firedroid Games. It is a game where players need to deliver ice cream. Also: the success of this game will decide the fate of the studio.

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Firedroid Games, known for games like Kings can Fly and Barrr HD, released their newest title: Ice Cream Nomsters. This is an hectic time management game where players need to bring ice cream around a town full of monster houses. The goal for each time one plays is to bring around as much ice cream as possible in the truck, before the timer (the temperature meter) runs out (reaches one hundred degrees celsius). Later on in the game, players face challenges like road blocks.

The idea of the game is one that came from a couple of other ideas. One of those ideas was to make a game with a control scheme where players needed to drag a route for a car – at first, this was meant to be a race game, but the idea to deliver something (that something later became ice cream) was much more appealing for the young and struggling game developers. Why are they struggling? If this game fails, the studio will cease to exist. That would be a shame.

Therefore, they’re putting everything they have in to Ice Cream Nomsters and we can honestly say, the quality and the amount of fun the game gives is, is quite high. The game’s art style is comparable with other Firedroid Games, but has a face on his own. And the gameplay, although not very original, has a distinct feeling about it within the chosen context. Those house are scary – in a cute and funny way. And the music has a very happen tune about it, it is a delight to listen to.

The ice cream one delivers brings money in the pocket of the player and with that money, players can buy upgrades for the trucks and cooling system and even a funny hat. What I didn’t like is that I had to collect experience points to unlock a level (that being so is okay, but), I also had to pay up some in-game money to unlock it even more (before that, the level isn’t playable). But besides that, this game is well made and fun to play – and you won’t have to spend a dime to do so. Get it now.

Game of Thrones Ascent Review

Game of Thrones Ascent Review

Sep 5, 2014

Finally, Game of Thrones Ascent is released on Android devices. But will the trip through Westeros be worth your time? Let’s find out.

One of the coolest aspects of the Xbox 360 game Fable 3 is that players could make a string of decisions at the end of their adventure. Maybe it wasn’t the best solution for that game at that very moment, but the ability to decide what is best for yourself or others is a concept in video games I very much enjoy and appreciate. The Android game Game of Thrones Ascent starts with a couple challenges waiting to be tackled by choosing the option one prefers. A very strong start of the game.

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Actually, a great deal of Game of Thrones Ascent’s gameplay is about making decisions on behalf of others. Sometimes there are only two choices to choose from and sometimes there are three, but there is always room for asking for more information or making an immediate decision (either fair or harsh), each with his own benefits en consequences. It’s nice and easygoing gameplay that suits a touch screen device very well, but the player must find reading a pleasure… you’ll do a lot of it.

As one makes one’s way through the story, the character the player has created keeps on evolving into something the player wants it to be. It feels that way too, with the choices it provides in, for example, titles of background. The other major gameplay part is building up a keep from scratch and maintain it while being attacked; the main goal of the game is to be the biggest name in Westeros. That, along with some other names and stories, is the only things the game inherits from the books.

That last point really makes the game feel welcome, because it is strong enough to stand on its own two feet, so to speak. With Game of Thrones: Ascent it is your turn to compete with the other houses in Westeros, instead of being the spectator of the impressive books or TV show. This game is not only good enough for Game of Throne fans, it is a fantastic strategic semi-action RPG for genre fans. Really one which is worth your time, building your house from the ground up.

Sumico – The Numbers Game Review

Sumico – The Numbers Game Review

Sep 4, 2014

Who would’ve thought that solving math challenges would be so much fun? In my book, that can only be when the game’s design is top notch and with Sumico, from the Dutch developer Ludomotion, that is just the case.

In Sumico, players will face some harsh math problems. That sounds utterly dull, but bear with me here. The game’s design is really flawless. At it’s core, it is solving math, yes. But this game offers clever use of the renowned Candy Crush design. Players need to solve those problems at a grid full of hexagons. On these hexagons are numbers displayed. Players need to combine them with hexagons showing typical math signs, like the plus and minus, etcetera. By holding the first number, swiping and combining it with a math sign on to another number, a sum is made and the answer shows up on screen. With the answer, it is possible to make a new sum.

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The coolest thing about this game, is that players can use as many tiles as they would like to use to come up with an answer for the to be solved problem (displayed at the left corner on screen). To more hexagon one uses, the greater the reward will be. Answer tiles will have extra benefit bonusses, like a multiplayer of just some extra points. Those will be add up to the score the player makes while solving a math problem, making him earn more points. And, just like any other Candy Crush-esque mobile game: the higher to score, the more stars one will get; with three stars at its maximum. After that, it is possible to compare high scores with friends.

What makes this game so challenging, is that when players use a math sign, it dissapears form the grid. And sometimes, it will not get replaced with a new one. So that means that players must think ahead of what to do, within the smallest numbers of swipes, but with the best possible outcome. It is a balance between going for some easy one star victories (which feels good) and going for the true golden three star masterpieces (which feels awesome). But I must say: it is unclear to me when I get three stars or why I just got one; so I hope this will be fixed. Also: it wasn’t always clear to me when or why I got a particulair bonus; they just came to be.

At the end, Sumico is a clever and fun game to play. However, it fails to communicate directly to the player when and why some things happen on screen; as a player, I just took them for granted. But it felt I wasn’t in totall control of my own score and that actually bugged me. But like I sad: the game design of Sumico is genius and solving math problems wasn’t fun untill Sumico came around.

Crash and Burn Review

Crash and Burn Review

Sep 2, 2014

Crash and Burn is Lunagames’ newest attempt to take your money with a video game in the endless runner genre. Gamers do not need to pay any money to play the game, but, as one might have guessed, it sure as hell makes things easier.

In Crash and Burn, players are racing with a awesome street race car (or, if one succeeds in the game, other type of cars too), while collecting coins, bumping other drivers on the road and using power-ups. The goal of the game is to get as far as humanly possible and the endless road ahead of you. Meanwhile, the game makes it harder for players to navigate that road, because it constantly will put more cars on the road for players to evade. It really gets challenging.

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To make life a little bit easier, Lunagames implemented some neat little power-ups, Mario Kart style. Players can collect different kinds of power-ups, like a bomb (that explodes anything near the player), a rocket (dat seeks out the cars in front of the player) and even a boost (that will make the player’s car so fast, it can bump other drivers of the road). It really mixes up the gameplay in a way that it is actually fun the play Crash and Burn. But then, there is the downside.

The downside of the game are the coins. Yes, one can collect them by simply playing the game and collecting them on the road, but the really make progress in Crash and Burn, players will need lots of them. So, as it is usual with most of these kind of games, it is possible to invest real money in the game to progress quicker. It is always a choice of course, but the progress in the game is going quick at all, making players think that they will have to buy coins to get the cooler cars.

It is a shame, really. Because production-wise, it is an awesome game. It looks really nice on my Nexus 5, plays very well without any kind of lag and even has some cool dubstep to listen too – and most importantly, that compliments the game. Let’s not forget the controls. They are marvelous. So it is really to bad the focus is on getting peoples money within a free game. Next time, maybe it is better to just put the game in the store for a couple of bucks and be done with that.

Topia Review

Topia Review

Aug 11, 2014

There aren’t much god games out there – not on pc, consoles or phones. So Topia is very much welcome, promising all kinds of cool stuff. But does it deliver on the promise?

Topia was a game I was very excited for. I love god games where I’m able to create land, water, life and flora. The ability to oversee life itself – and making it grow or die with just one tap on the screen – is an idea that really appealed to me as a gamer. I was thinking of ways to play the same game over and over again. This time without water, that time without threes and another time without land. Or with just docile animals, that really don’t do anything but eating leaves.

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At first sight, Topia promised me this kind of gameplay, with many features to experiment with. But, as one might have guessed, it did not live up to my expectations. Expectations I got after reading the description of the game and after firing the game up for the first time. There are supposed to be a thousand creatures to play with, complete with a natural ecosystem and a food chain. Three straight up lies if I think about it. I did not find any of it in the game.

Well, in some there is. There could be a thousand creatures. By choosing one of the six (!) animals and by tapping on screen, holding your finger on it and dragging it across the screen, there will be hundreds maybe thousands of creatures popping up. But those are all the same – the eat the same thing (sometimes each other), walk around aimlessly after eating everything they wanted to eat and then just drown themselves in the water or just die. Die in vain. And just disappear.

The only ecosystem there is, is the one that when there isn’t any water, the threes and animals die. The only food chain there is, is the one where bigger / faster animals eat the smaller / slower ones. There isn’t any other variation on the formula and there isn’t anything to do after I molded the ground like I wanted and putting threes and animals where I wanted. There are no goals and the game is to narrow to create your own goals. Frankly, there isn’t anything to do over here.

So after all that, I got excited over nothing. Really nothing at all. I wanted to have a god simulation game where I could mold flora and fauna the way I saw fit – instead, I got a narrow game experience which I cannot recommened to anyone.

Mucho Party Review

Mucho Party Review

Aug 4, 2014

Ever wondered how WarioWare of something like it could look like on a Android device? Look no more: enter Mucho Party.

Mucho Party is a gaming app full of ridiculously funny games. When I fired up the app for the first time, it asked me to make a smiling face, a sad face and a normal face (when possible, of course). It then made three pictures of my three different faces. While I didn’t know what to expect of the photo’s, I curiously started one of the twenty mini games and found myself laughing on the first site of seeing my own face in game. I laughed when I won, and drew a sad face when I lost.

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Although this idea is certainly not new in any way, it is executed like it should be. Seeing your own face constantly didn’t disturb me as the player of one of the mini games. In fact, it helped enjoying the game much more. Especially in multiplayer, where up to eight friends can join in on the fun, with there own expressive faces and pictures. Even the object around the photo can be chosen and colored in the way it suits your style. It’s so simple, and yet so effective.

Mucho Party offers four different modes, a random mini game function and the ability to just select a game from the grid and play it at once. Two of those modes offer gameplay for a two player multiplayer game, where one could either battle a friend or battle the computer controlled oppenent. The same goes for the multiplayer games suitable for three players or more. The computer controlled opponents can even be set to easy, medium and hard.

Being colorful and all, providing in single- and multiplayer matches and giving players some crazy mini games (like smashing some nails in to wood with a hammer, collecting your own spouse as a duck or playing football with cars) it has a distintive WarioWare feeling to it. It only lacks more games and the ability to play all those games right after each other, getting more challenging as the game goes on. Although the doesn’t really need it to be fun to play.

Mucho Party is one of those surprisingly fun to play apps, with its collection of crazy and original mini games, colorful and cheerful esthetics and cool features like three of your own expressions in-game. It has some solid multiplayer features, offering games for up to eight players – who can al make pictures of their own faces and enjoy the game the same as the main player.