Kill Shot Bravo Review

Kill Shot Bravo Review

Nov 25, 2015

Yep, time to whine. Sniper games make me queasy. Such skill, such innate sneakiness… cool and cold at the same time.

Whining aside, Kill Shot Bravo just feels like one of those exceptions, and the heroic storyline does help.

It is presented as a first-person shooter, so the player gets to “live” the action as it goes. The graphics in this one are unapologetically gritty, with smooth animations, great use of visual perspective and an earthly use of color and virtual shadows. If the developer is looking to cloak the offering with a veneer of realism, it feels like a successful endeavor, especially at first glance.

Upon starting, one gets to pick the appearance of one’s player; the choices mostly involve skin tone and hair style. After, the game walks the player through a hands-on walkthrough of sorts, allowing the player to become familiar with the controls: gesture swipes allow the player to swing his/her gaze across the viewing area provided by the screen real estate, and there is a sights system on the right which allows the player to zoom in up and close. To round out the main controls, there is a prominent firing button at the bottom right.


The basic premise is that there are bad guys to take out — from a distance, preferably — and the player is tasked with the dirty job. Using the integrated controls and other visual cues, one finishes missions by eliminating the enemy.

The game is leveled, and payouts are gained from taking folks out. Such cash is essential, because as one progresses, one is going to need to both procure better weapons and improve gear already owned.

At first, a single target makes things easy; then, the targets increase, and get smarter. The game also incorporates other elements and mission styles, such that it monotony can be staved off.

It is a great game, though it does feel like using real cash is a real temptation. All in all, it is a step above your everyday sniping caper, which makes it worth a free look.

Sky Squad Review

Sky Squad Review

Nov 17, 2015

For an arcade style air shooter, one might just wanna give Sky Squad a go.

It is presented in portrait, with vibrant colors serving as the background. The control system is finger dragging, which allows the player to feel like he/she is immersed in the animations

The plane that the player controls starts at the bottom of the screen, flying forward. As noted, the plane is controlled by one’s finger. The idea is to guide the plane within the confines of the playing area, and to avoid obstacles. As one skysquad3would expect, the obstacles are never too far away, and it starts out with waves of tick-like aliens that dive in from the top.

Thankfully, our plane has a built-in weapon that auto-shoots; thus, the idea is to use the finger to direct the plane and its firing towards an appropriate target, which generally have life bars. These enemies generally destroy by contact, too, so part of the control process is avoiding the aliens. There are bosses, too, and as expected, one has to be extra crafty to get by the bosses.

The cool thing is that blasting the aliens releases coins and boosts; the former is important with regards to upgrading the ship and related attributes, while the latter are great for increasing longevity of a run. Boosts include arcade staples such as coin magnets, temporary invulnerability, additional firepower and more.

The game incorporates leveling too, allowing one to build stronger planes, increase the efficacy of boosts and even

When it’s all said and done, it is an easy game to get into. The core gameplay is mostly intuitive, and it even manages to be fun even while being engaging. The freemium method is a bit aggressive in this one, but it is possible to play without using real cash.

Worth a look.

Le Havre: The Inland Port Review

Le Havre: The Inland Port Review

Nov 12, 2015

Board games can be hit or miss when it comes to being ported to mobile devices, and with good reason; sometimes, it is hard to transfer the qualities that make them so good in the first place. Still, it’s a worthy endeavor, and I, for one, always look for an opportunity to check out mobile versions of worthy board adventures.

And here we have Le Havre: The Inland Port, a game based on a board game.

The opening menu is well stocked, packing sections for introduction, Overview and more, including a two-player mode. One quickly gleans that, like its physical source, it is a two-player game. Visually, it is a gentle looking affair, with light colors and defined pieces. Navigation boils down to intuitive taps and dragging.

The built-in tutorial starts off by teaching one how to put up buildings; it goes on in depth, going over the intricate process of procuring stuff, crafting and paying for stuff. As noted, it is a two-person affair, so it is turn based. During one’s hand, one looks to perform the actions previously described in strategic fashion.


A core aspect is the player’s warehouse. The warehouse houses currency and resources, and one needs to manage how these are used. Another idea to wrap one’s head around is using a building “effects” to increase one’s worth. In the end, it boils down to 12 rounds of battle, with the winner being the richest harbormaster at the end.

It did take me a bit of time to get the hang of things; the payment chart, for instance, threw me for a loop, and there was the temptation to simply click my way through in random fashion. Once the basics are understood, the gameplay mostly falls into place.

From the perspective of one who never played the physical board version prior, the game is surprisingly engaging. It’s a management simulation game that breathes life into the concept of opportunity costs, and manages to add in crafting elements on a turn-based template as well. It is a handful at first, yes, but it mostly comes together to form a cohesive, atypical experience.

Run Master Review

Run Master Review

Nov 10, 2015

One common theme that seems to be recurring now that mobile games become more intricate is the desire — or even the need — to have simple games. You know, games with an understandable premise that are easy to pick up and play.

Such is Run Master, a relatively fresh entry from LAST HOPE STUDIO.

In this one, we get a simple combo running-platformer adventure. It places a premium on mixing patience with daring, and uses graphics to spruce things up.

Looks-wise, it uses dark, shadowy imagery to contrast the light pastel background hue. The developer uses a scaling gradient of sorts, and the color does change, providing a calm, serene yet fluid visual experience the belies the sometimes frenetic gameplay. The sounds are cheery in a decidedly arcade-ish sort of way that makes one think of ice cream trucks.

Actual gameplay is based on getting are shadow protagonist to get as far as possible through a platformed travel way, moving from left to right. The controls are at the bottom, and verge on minimalism: left and right virtual buttons, as well as one more for jumping. These all but give a preview of the action, which entails going forward, sometimes backwards, and jumping up to scale objects and avoid dangerous obstacles.


There are jewels that can be collected by contact; of course, one has to weigh the risk versus the reward for a bunch of them. The obstackes are simple but creative, comprising of stuff like spinning blades, cannons and spiked, oscillating wrecking balls amongst others.

It is very familiar fare, yes, but it does pack a few extra tweaks to make it a bit more compelling. The moving dangers are interesting, forcing the player to think of timing and the strategy of avoidance or jumping.

Collected gems can be used for continues, but tthe game is pretty self-contained.

Simple, right?

Gun Fu: Stickman 2 Review

Gun Fu: Stickman 2 Review

Nov 10, 2015

There’s just something cool about Gun Fu. The mystical art of guns and martial arts just reeks of awesomeness, as seen in The Matrix, Desperado and Equilibrium.

Why not stickman? Why not Gun Fu: Stickman 2?

It’s quite easy to understand. Our stickman gun toter is positioned centrally on a graph paper-like background oriented in landscape. Then, from one of the sides, an armed aggressor pops up somewhere around the main person on the outer rim. The basic idea is to tap to shoot that attacker; one has to shoot before the attacker is able to level his gun to shoot our protagonist. When that is taken care of, a new one appears, usually somewhere else on the screen.

To start out, one gets a couple of easy ones, and then it really get busy, really fast.

The opponents start popping up all over the place, forcing one to combine finite finger-tapping skills with good peripheral vision. The challenge is real, because one secondary element is the need to be accurate, because missing a target not only increases the chances of a series ending shot to the head, but the game also docks a player one of three lives for every errant tap.


Frankly, the game is a blast. It really dials up the pace, and before one really knows it, one is deeply involved in a crazy, frenetic tapping frenzy that really taxes one’s reflexes. After a while, it even tests quick action memory, and uses a high score system to encourage bragging rights.

Good shooting earns coins, which can be redeemed for in-game items like new guns (hello, paintball), facial hair, head gear and more. And it even packs a multiplayer mode.

It’s easy to get into, hard to put down and uses stickmen.

Did we say “Gun Fu” yet?

The Balloons Review

The Balloons Review

Nov 6, 2015

We’ve kept an eye on The Balloons; goods things always comes to those that wait though, and with its launch on Google Play, we had to get our paws on it.

About time…

The first thing to learn is how to navigate, and the built-in tutorial does just that. With the screen in the aforementioned portrait orientation, one has to gesture swipe to “cut” the balloon loose and float. Gravity is a mean thing, though, and on its own, our solitary balloon eventually sinks to the bottom. Dropping to the bottom of the screen ends the run.tb3

The basic idea is to keep it afloat by tapping either side of the screen; this has the dual effect of “gusting” it upwards, but also pushes it towards the side being tapped. Thus, with a little practice, it is quite possible to guide the balloon upwards by manipulating the direction via multiple and continual tapping on either side. It’s an interesting control mechanism, and becomes second nature quite quickly.

There are coins that can be collected, but one might want to think about the opportunity costs, because there are ledges and such that force one to move quickly and decisively. Tarrying too long is bad because, oh by the way, the playing area is contracting; think of it as as the “ground” rising as if it expects the balloon to always go upwards. If it catches up with the balloon, it pops it and ends the run.

Progress is measured in virtual meters, and one is greeted by a record line when the prospect of breaking a best mark is close. As one goes further, the dangers become more intricate: pins, darts and more. Toss in bonus rounds, skins, lottery and more we have more than a basic high score game.

It’s a simple game, and the combination of looks and ease of play make it an enjoyable romp that’s worth checking out.

Finger VS Farmers Review

Finger VS Farmers Review

Nov 5, 2015

Mobile gaming has come a long way. I mean, there was a time when it was simply a stopgap… all about time wasting and/or bridging the time when one can get to a proper console or PC experience. Now, we are not only seeing ports of full-fledged PC and console games come to mobile devices, the reverse is indeed true; mobile-first games are getting ported to dedicated gaming platforms.

Pretty cool? Yep. It’s fun to be able to play a complex game during one’s break or on the train ride home, and slip said device into one’s pocket or pause said game to take a call. The options are almost endless.

Deep down, every now and then, I think we all have the urge to give into our gaming baser instincts. I’m talking about simple games, ones that don’t require a lot of brainpower to navigate. You know, a game like Finger VS Farmers.

The premise is scarily simple: one mans a virtual finger on the screen, and takes on a series of homicidal farmers intent on destruction. it’s war of attrition, with the player looking to drain the enemy’s life bar first by gesture swipes.


The more swiping, the better one does. Swiping allows one to attack and dodge, and fore finger dexterity is a bonus. be warned, though: this game is best played in private, so that folks won’t witness the insane body jerking gameplay elicits. There are weapons to to buy, the play is leveled, and device shaking is encouraged. Toss in achievements, family feuds, bonuses and more, and we are happy.

In the end, it’s a silly game — and that is meant as a positive. It’s a lot of finger movement, and that pretty much highlights the main skill required to be successful at it. There is no in-depth backstory, no raging quest… just the glory of dispensing comeuppance by gesturing madly on screen.

In an age where realism are demanded, it’s almost refreshing to see the whimsical hold sway. In a lot of ways, Finger VS Farmers does one thing especially well: it celebrates delightful nonsense, and does so by not taking itself too seriously.

We all win, people, one vigorous swipe at a time.

Dead Effect 2 Review

Dead Effect 2 Review

Nov 4, 2015

Dead Effect 2 is here.

The ESS Meridian is our location, a large ark sent out on a colonization mission. Things go awry, and as in the original, the player takes on the persona of our hero.

To start out, one is allowed to pick a character from a stable of three; each has a special set of attributes, including weapons, abilities and even attitude

The action is delivered first-person style, so the player is able to take it in widescreen; the disembodied voice helps the player along and get used to the general aspects of gameplay, which loosely involves completing objectives and continuing on. The tasks are typical horror-RPG stuff: get here, do this, take out them, procure that.

The elements come together well, and that’s where the game makes its money. The first stanza serves as a tutorial of sorts, showing one hints of stuff to come and understanding how to collect things, heal oneself and more. As one progresses, one finds newer and tougher obstacles: zombies, enemy units and more.


If visuals are one’s thing, this game mostly delivers. The first person perspective is especially well done, providing an immersive entrance to the gameplay as a whole. The mechanics are equally fine-tuned; swinging around by gesture swipes is intuitive, and the virtual joystick that controls movement is fairly flexible; with a little bit of practice, it becomes easy to move around and get stuff accomplished.

The backgrounds are suitably grim, almost disturbingly so. The murky backgrounds are a mix of futuristic and grimy, with cavernous rooms filled with gadgetry interspersed with half consumed corpses, non-functioning lights and pooled water mixed with… yuck. The animations are well done, from the recoil of held firearms to the ominous approach of undead enemy. The sounds and graphics are great complements to the gameplay.

In the end, it feels like a worthy sequel, with nice enhancements that allow the game to feel familiar and fresh at the same time.

Heroes Reborn: Enigma Review

Heroes Reborn: Enigma Review

Nov 4, 2015

In an age where TV and movie tie-ins are becoming mainstays, one like Heroes Reborn: Enigma does the job of catching one’s eye fairly easily. With the latest iteration of the Heroes franchise returning to the small screen, the game is a great idea on paper.

The game dives into it with the help of chat bubbles, allowing the player to glean a bit of the backstory as well as the conflict to come. At the root of this tale, “evolved humans” are the subject of suspicion, and are seemingly forced to take part in experiments. Our protagonist, perhaps ominously called Dahlia, is compelled to do what is required of her to protect her sister, who is also being kept against her will. This character is based on an actual character in the TV series.

The gameplay is broken into levels; the first gives one a hands-on tutorial of how the game navigation works. The game is presented in first person view, and swiping the screen manipulates the player’s perspective. Further, tapping on highlighted portions of screen allows the character to move towards and on the highlighted square. One also learns how to use and harness the powers the character is gifted with, and gradually, one is introduced to the puzzles that make up the core of the gameplay.

From a visual standpoint, the game is a treat. The panning that is incorporated allows for a realistic feel, and the environments therein are well done. The artwork underscores a foreboding that helps frame the gameplay in an exciting way, and the animations are pretty smooth. The use of highlights is judicious and effective, and most sensory cues work well.


At the risk of being Mr Spoiler, the puzzles are really what make this one pop. It starts with simple stuff, but then progresses to a point where our hero has to use a power to get by. Then, one gets to a point where using said powers together becomes necessary to finish a level, and so on. It never really gets boring, the puzzles are easy to get into and the progressions feel sensible. It is fantastical stuff, and the experience comes together fairly well.

The game works in some aspects because its source material doesn’t become an ironclad guide; this one stands on its own. It doesn’t go too far beyond the initial premise, and one would probably enjoy more characters and a longer series, but for the most part, it works as-is. At $4.99, it is an investment; use a good internet connection, because it’s a sizable file for the official 15 minute trial.

It just might be worth it.

Pauli’s Adventure Island Review

Pauli’s Adventure Island Review

Nov 2, 2015

Pauli’s Adventure Island is an ode to familiarity and simplicity.

It’s a mission of freedom, as our heroes are looking to free there home from invaders.

It’s a colorful game; it is straightforward visually, with deliberate splashes of color: blues, greens, grays and more, working together, but not interfering with each other too much. The shapes are close to utilitarian, and the landscapes do the job of helping along the gameplay effectively. The animations are smooth, and the backgrounds change with progress, so it does not get too monotonous over extended periods of play. Overall, it reminds one of established console games of the same type, and that isn’t a bad thing.

It’s platformer merged with side-scrolling. Action moves from left to right, and the main idea is to get from Point A to Point B. But of course… there are several obstacles which are in the way, and as such, one needs to be able to navigate around these to move on. The configurable control set incorporates left and right virtual buttons to the bottom left, and a jump virtual button along with a virtual barrel roll button to the bottom right in its stock alignment. A lot of the baddies move, which adds an additional wrinkle. Jumping over is effective, but rolling into them generally gets rid of them. There are also gaps in the walkway, and areas that entail getting to a higher platform; for these, jumping is an adept way to get around.


And of course, there are collectibles that line the travel area. In-run life, starts and more can be collected, but one does have to weigh the risk against the reward: go the extra mile and get them, or speed up and get to the end of the stage?

Decisions, decisions…

The going gets tougher as one goes on, with heavier demands on reflexes and non-linear thinking. The travel way becomes more complex, making one have to double back and move relatively quickly, and then slow down, and back and forth. It even has a time trial element

The game is really easy to get into, and is fairly intuitive. For a free game, it’s pretty fun to play.

Prune Review

Prune Review

Nov 2, 2015

Prune, from the get-go, feels so peaceful.

From the deliberate (yet soft) pastels through to the smooth, animations that frame the gameplay, it is serene in appearance, but translates relatively well visually.

With regards to gameplay, it’s a quiet game, with definite horticultural undertones. The main idea is hinted at by the the game’s name itself, in that one is tasked with guiding the growth of a plant, past obstacles and/or towards helper light, to the point it is viable and the level is completed.prune3

More specifically, one has to initiate a high-growing plant by swiping up in the defined soil area, and to tend to the resulting sprout that pops out. The idea is to manipulate the growth of the tree by slicing off errant branches and giving an opportunity to one main lead branch to reach light, which allows it to bloom and unlocks the next play level.

Of course, the game is not that simple. It starts off with dead areas that one must avoid; the light is not so easily gotten to, and as such, one has to prune in the right direction. Also, the plant grows at a fast clip, so one has to nip fairly quickly. As one advances, more wrinkles are tossed in, and they are fairly creative. For example, a gentle breeze makes swiping to cut pretty difficult, which isn’t too good, because lopping off the very top kills that level. Then there are things like colored globe viruses that one cannot stay in physical contact with too long, and layers of zones one has to get to to finish the level

It’s a very calming experience; it is almost ethereal in presentation, and somehow manages to be genteel and challenging simultaneously. It ratchets up the gameplay oh so imperceptibly, adding in new elements as it goes, and mostly disallowing for boredom to set in.

It’s a safe game, bereft of in-game disturbances, and probably worth the investment its one-time $3.99 price tag calls for.

Devious Dungeon 2 Review

Devious Dungeon 2 Review

Oct 30, 2015

It’s out now, and as such, nothing was gonna stop us from checking out Noodlecake’s Devious Dungeon 2.

To start out, when gets to pick a character/class from mage, barbarian or rogue. Each has a specific set of attributes, so the one selected does have an influence on performance.

In this one, castled treasure is the ultimate goal. Unfortunately, our main bad guy, the Summoner, isn’t particularly keen on guests, so there is a heavy cost for trying to get to the treasure.

The playing area translates to a 2D platformer adventure, with several levels laden with objects and such. It has an expected medieval feel, with fire-lit caverns and interesting looking decor. The graphics are especially retro in nature, which goes well with the pseudo-dungeon motif. It’s playful representation, not entirely unseen, but one that works well with this game in particular.

The game is kind enough to provide an interactive tutorial. Through this, one gets to learn the basics of control, including the direction system and two-button virtual touch controls: these control left and right movement, jumping, and attacking. This tutorial gets one ready, and allows one to get used to getting around and accomplishing different tasks.


The aforementioned objects are what really make the game interesting; some can be easily taken care of by a swipe of our protagonist’s weapon, and some can be jumped over; jumping is also useful with regards to traversing the layered platforms. But then, one needs to be on the lookout for dangers from above, and others that roam a particular ground level. There are bosses, RPG elements, gear to accumulate and more.

When it’s all said and done, success depends on weighing flight vs fight in some scenarios, and being quick enough to bounce around when needed, collecting all collectibles and moving on by unlocking new areas to explore. It’s pretty straightforward and fun at the same time. For $1.99 (with in-app purchases), it’s not a scary investment, either.