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.

Chicken Scramble Review

Chicken Scramble Review

Sep 25, 2014

We haven’t seen a Threes clone for a while now, so Rocket Bottle Games developed Chicken Scramble. Is it worth your time?

The developer behind Chicken Scramble describes its game as an all-new, free 2048-style puzzle game. These days, many of the Android gamers out there know what a 2048 (or perhaps Threes) kind of game is, but yet, even though the developer itself says it is that type of game, they feel the need to explain the basic rules to the player. That’s just weird: first you try to sell the game on the back of another game and then you waste my time explaining me what to do.

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So yeah, the base of this game is a Threes game if I ever saw one, despite the new graphical appeal. This time around, players need to combine eggs into cracked eggs, to busted eggs, to little chicks and so on. The theme of the game is build around it and gives a nice, cheerful farmy look, complete with the softness of the little chicks. And the music is very soothing to, although it got me irritated by the fact it was on a constant loop. Sound designer need to be more creative than that.

Not to be a complete 2048 clone clone, Chicken Scramble does offer some of its own gameplay tweaks. For instance: levels aren’t a simple square, but maintain different variations. This makes the game a bit more challenging. Also, there are certain items to be used, to get rid of something on the field or reset a step, so you can correct an error you made. If you’re all out of power-ups, you can buy more with real money (of save up some digital coins), to get some more.

The problem that I have with the power-ups, and the extra layer of gameplay as a whole, is that it is to obvious of a way to make people spend money on an otherwise free app. By placing some objects on the field, right in the way of a perfect run, players need to get it out the way. And when they don’t have power-ups anymore, they’ll have to buy some. Yes, it is always a choice to do so, but this is a bit too transparent to pass through as a new mechanic for a type of game that has lost his popularity already.

Compulsive Review

Compulsive Review

Sep 24, 2014

Combining colored blocks has never been so zen as in Compulsive.

“A palette of beautiful colors needs your help to get organized.” As soon as I read this sentence on the Compulsive product page, I thought: that is just ridiculous. But hey, it got my attention and eventually, I ended up organising all those colors on my screen Because Compulsive is a very fun game to play when you’re either searching for a relaxing or hectic game to consume some time with. Developer TMSoft has made three modes with the basic concept.

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And that basic concept is combining blocks of colors. That’s it. That is all you do. You can pick a block up, swipe it to the location you want it to be and if that means that you will make a string of four blocks or more, than the blocks will dissapear, give you some points en will make room for another set of colored blocks. This is a continued process until the timer runs out in the Arcade and Strategic mode, where you need to get as much points as possible in respectively sixty or thirty seconds.

But the Zen mode was by far my favorite, because it really enhanced the basic core of this puzzle game. It showed me that I don’t need limitations from puzzle games alike, where things can only move one place and only with the thing next to it. It want the freedom to place any block I choose to put it anywhere I like. And man, did I play that Zen mode. It doesn’t have a timer, so you can go on and on as long as you would like. There is literraly no pressure, whatsoever. It felt so good.

At the end of the day, I like to sit down and relax a bit after a hard day’s work and I found myself quite relaxed after spending some time in the Zen mode. This is one game I will keep on my Nexus 5 for al long time. I hope you will do too.

Gravity Duck Review

Gravity Duck Review

Sep 23, 2014

Gravity Duck has a nice core mechanic that could really challenge players. But does it live up to that potential?

Gravity Duck is one of those games you either hate or love. The main mechanic in Gravity Duck is that the duck, the player, has the abillity to control gravity. That means, for instance, that the floor becomes the ceilling, et cetera. With just one push on the on-screen A button, players will switch up the gravity and the duck in the game will go to the opposite direction. Around this mechanic there are some challenges, but despite its potential, it never really gets to tough on you.

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That is something that can be a problem for players who are in need for a big challenge and thought that they would find it in Gravity Duck. Because in a way, it reminded me of a game like Super Meat Boy, with all the gravity bending puzzles that will be tougher later on. And perhaps other players had the same idea with this game – but it’s nothing like that. That is okay, because it means Gravity Duck can do his own thing and can therefore only be judged on what it is and not on what it is based on.

No, the gravity mechanic isn’t new, but the way the developer used it in Gravity Duck, it isn’t groundbreaking either. It simply works. That is actually my whole impression of this game. It’s just fine: the core mechanic works, the control works and even the retro styled graphics fits the game. Yeah, they also work in favor of the game. The only thing that bothered me is that the developer never took any chances to stretch the potential of the game’s core. Now it stays at ‘just fine’.

With a mechanic like this, some retro styled platforming action, including some monsters and even gravity switches, I expected a tough game. But it was nothing like that. The game is plain and simple and never really takes advantage of his own core. But hey, maybe the developer never intended to do that. Maybe they wanted to make a game that has everything working for it – because everything is just fine. The only thing missing, is a challange. Hopefully we’ll see that in Gravity Duck 2.

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.