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.)


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.