Tank Invaders: Shmup Evolved Review

Tank Invaders: Shmup Evolved Review

Nov 21, 2014

Despite its name, Tank Invaders: Shmup Evolved is neither a shmup, nor is it particularly evolved. It’s still pretty good though. The story and characters put McBane to shame with their corniness. The player becomes a missile commander for allied forces that are fighting against the Terror – as in, an organization that literally calls itself Terror. They employ lunatics and fanatics to their side, lacking but a swastika and the actual Devil as their commander to complete the image of a perfect enemy for the forces of democracy and everything that is good. Anyway, the player has to endure endless waves of enemies as they try to destroy the thingy that the player is trying to protect (what is that that we’re trying to protect, by the way?) by shooting a barrage of missiles onto advancing enemies.

The gameplay of Tank Invaders: Shmup Evolved isn’t anything new, but it’s executed in a pleasant way, so the repetition isn’t too tiresome, and the difficulty can be played around for quite a while. The enemies come from the top and the player needs to tap onto them to order a missile hit. The missiles take half a second to drop, so the player has to aim a Tank Invaders 3bit in advance, although that’s not a big factor in the game’s difficulty. Mostly, it’s about reaction time, as the enemies grow in numbers, and their speed starts increasing. Besides the missiles, the player has expendable nukes, a bunch of power-ups that, when picked up, make the missiles stronger of faster for a while, and a special “On fire” mode that’s activated when the player hits a number of targets in succession, without missing once.

The enemies differ quite a lot, and I’d say, they’re the most interesting part of Tank Invaders: Shmup Evolved. There are tanks, aircrafts, missile silos and various bosses. The boss encounter is a challenging test of the player’s skills, although, strangely, it isn’t the most likely place to get defeated. When the player’s base health bar is completely erased by enemy shots, the enemies getting through the player’s defenses, or the player hitting the allied vehicles, the game is over, and the player gets money based on how long he lasted and whether he completed any of the three special missions. Then he can spend the money to resupply his nukes or upgrade some part of his armory, before going on the line again.

Tank Invaders: Shmup Evolved is fun, and it’s the most that matters. Sure, it’s free-to-play, and has its limits, but it’s not punishing the player for not paying, and the ads aren’t shoved in the face – you can actually get bonus gold by watching a 30-second video ad. Regardless, it’s a fun game with cool graphics and corny dialogues for anyone who likes explosions with a bit of tactics on the side.

Joinz Review

Joinz Review

Nov 21, 2014

Joinz is a puzzle game with deceptively simple gameplay, starting out easy, but very quickly becoming a test for your brain, particularly that part that is responsible for not throwing violent tantrums when you fail to beat a high-score.

The gameplay of Joinz is somewhat similar to Lines. There is a square field that has a single building block. The player can slide this block in four directions, making it travel until it hits an object or a border. Every time the player moves a block, another block appears on a random position on the field. Unlike lines, where the player has to create lines from the blocks of the same color to remove them from the field, Joinz requires the player to create one of the three shapes that pop up on the top of the screen. When the shape is complete, the player gets another one to make. As the player progresses, the shapes get gradually more complex, starting from simple tetris-like forms, to the complexities that fill up half of the game board. Also, appearing blocks start to get additional colors, making the field even more difficult to navigate. The player has to “jump” off of the existing blocks in order to create the required shapes. Don’t forget that once two or more blocks are connected to each other, it’s almost impossible to break them apart, so they’ll behave like a singular shape.

Although Joinz has a pretty demanding set of rules, it also has power-ups that can extend the game for a long while – if the player knows how to use them, of course. Every once in a while, a special “gift” block appears. Tapping on it gives the player a choice of different power-ups. The longer the game goes, the more power-ups can be summoned from the gift block. It’s a pretty cool system, since the player can choose the most fitting power-up that he requires, but then he still needs to move it in the position where he wants it to be.

Overall, Joinz is a decent and unusual puzzle that requires quite a lot of skill and forward thinking on behalf of the player. It lacks additional game modes or special challenges, and general variety, but it’s still a fine treat for the fans of brain-bending puzzles.

Ironkill: Robot Fighting Game Review

Ironkill: Robot Fighting Game Review

Nov 20, 2014

Ironkill: Robot Fighting Game wants you to fight; it might be the easiest directive to follow in handheld gaming.

The gameplay boils down to combat. The initial run is a tutorial of sorts, and the gameplay is laid out with the help of an appropriately named intro robot. The fighting is works as player against a CPU opponent, and is a war of attrition: whoever depletes the other’s life bar first wins, and doing a damage is performed with the help of the control buttons at the bottom. One initiates a quick attack, one does a harder type of attack, and there is a defense button.

To be the most effective fighting is done by using the virtual buttons in a creative tandem while keeping an eye ironkill2on both life bars. Winning is ranked with a star system (just like in Angry Birds) and payouts are given. The play is leveled, so one gets to battle successively harder opponents the further one gets into the game. Winning yields experience points too; eventually, the idea is to have a team of robots to choose from.

The game cash serves an important purpose: upgrades. it is possible to improve one’s offense or defense in increments with game gold, and doing so increases the rating of one’s robot, and gains experience points as well. As one goes on, other elements show up… championship funds, match boosts, faction advantages, special timed bouts and more. Of course, real money can be used to expedite progress, but does not seem entirely necessary.

The game’s greatest attribute is probably the artwork. It’s grim and underworldly, with a dash of desperate. The animations are fun, if a bit repetitive, and the cutscenes are quite helpful.

The game flows smoothly, and the elements all tie-in well together, creating a gladiatorial series that is quite fun to traverse. The freemium nature is the perfect lure, too. All in all, it hearkens respectfully to the genre and underlying concept (related movies) in equal parts, which is probably why it is easy to fall in love with.

Huey Review

Huey Review

Nov 20, 2014

Huey is an old school platformer featuring cute monkeys! What’s not to like?

Huey has all the elements of a classic platformer. Players guide Huey along precarious platforms, jumping over deadly pits, avoiding traps, bonking enemies by jumping on their heads and grabbing coins on the way to the stage’s exit.

Screenshot_2014-11-17-05-38-26Huey lacks any kind of tutorial. While the titular monkey can grab coins to trade for extra lives or even the ability to skip levels, it’s unclear what the eggs are used for.

Hey is quite tough. Like most old school platformers, one wrong step generally results in death and enemies aren’t pushovers either. The challenge is engaging without being overwhelming and makes Huey a tense experience. For players that really get stuck the ability to skip levels with coins might come in handy.

The game does have some pretty cheap moments however. Snails and hedgehogs fire nearly impossible to see projectiles and there are quite a few very cheap obstacle courses involving instakill spikes. With the way the game allows skipping of levels it is tough to tell sometimes if these puzzles are designed solely to frustrate players into paying for coins. The game is never impossible however.

Screenshot_2014-11-17-05-41-13Huey looks average It feels a few years old and lacks the sharp pixel art found in other games of its type. It certainly looks 16 bit and has some personality. There are plenty of enemies to fight and besides the aforementioned hard to see projectiles the game is easy to see.

The sound could be a lot better. With nope speech at all and very muted sound effects Huey feels a little amateurish. The music suits the game well though.

Huey controls well enough. The stick works fine, although sometimes I could have sworn I pressed the jump button an instant before it responded, resulting in me falling onto spikes. The game does not support external control pads, which is a pretty big oversight in this age of mobile gaming.

Huey has a lot of levels and the game’s stiff challenge will ensure it will take a lot of time to work through them. The game makes reference to future updates as well so expect more levels in the future.

The game has a few ads bit these only appear between levels and are very short. Coins can be spent to remove ads.

Huey has few surprises, but it is still a competent platformer, if nothing too amazing. Players who grew up with 16 bit games should check it out.


Sweet Drmzzz Review

Sweet Drmzzz Review

Nov 19, 2014

Sweet Drmzzz is a cool, collected brain teaser collection that might actually be named counter-intuitively. It is a tale about sleepy fantasy, alarm clock travel and space adventures.

The game is leveled, and packs in puzzle after puzzle based on a several templates. As to be expected, the mind benders presented start off at an easy keel, and as progress is made, the difficulty gets ratcheted up. Now, while the graphics and sounds are definitely soothing, I think its true strength is in the simple quality of the puzzles.

For example, one of the early capers had to do with capturing stars with definite moving beings. The beings can be moved as right angles by taps, and the idea is to pick up all the stars. Down the line, the developer gradually adds elements that make it a bit tougher: stuff like extra beings controlled by the same taps, ghost guards and color-coded collectible stars etc. it eventually comes to feel a little like a free-moving Pac-Man without the alleys.

Then there is an interesting hole-filling segment; there is a sprinkle of colored dust that has to be directed into the holes by using gesture movements to create slides. This gets harder too, with set amounts of dust, and the need to convert the dust to another color to fill a specifically colored hole. More elements get added, and the challenge becomes greater.

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Then there are memory tests and such. The developer does a good job of making it fun, and increasingly difficult without be illogically unsolvable. I like the intricate nature of the puzzles, as the easy parts aids familiarity such that the harder versions are more fun to tackle.

The graphics are cutesy, and more or less frame the gameplay quite well; it looks easy on the eyes, the pastels are clean looking, and the moving parts are quite smooth.

For some, it might feel a little repetitive though, as the gameplay does rely a bit on the templated styles. The upfront pricing is welcome, and goes far in my book.

So… back to the title. it’s an awesome time waster, but I did find myself losing sleep; the leveled gameplay got me again and again. It’s charm creeps on you, and that is okay.

So what if I lose a little virtual sleep…

Battlestation: First Contact Review

Battlestation: First Contact Review

Nov 19, 2014

Battlestation: First Contact Is an interesting mix of RTS and tower defence.

As commander of a large space station the player simply needs to survive by any means possible while wiping out the enemy. Gun turrets can be built in a number of slots on the station. These range from fast firing anti fighter lasers to slower heavy missile launchers for pounding the snot out of big ships. Having a good balance of weapons to combat different threats is as important here as it is in any tower defence.

Screenshot_2014-11-14-08-15-18As well as towers however the player can also construct Hangars. Once built these spit out fighter in a steady steam, providing mobile defence that can be sent to attack the enemy or cover the station as necessary. Fighter squadrons can be individually ordered about and while they cannot be moved directly, the player always feels like they have firm control over their pilots.

A shuttle bay can also be built that allows marines to be sent in troop carriers to opposing enemy ships to take them over and steal them from the enemy. Lastly, Earth can be contacted for reinforcements to bring in the big guns. This doesn’t come cheap however.

Screenshot_2014-11-14-08-37-08Of course all this fancy gear costs credits which are gained by destroying enemies and tapping on salvage. Marines and pilots are also a finite resource, so flippantly throwing away fighters or troops in futile combat will swiftly lead to disaster.

Battlestation: First Contact offers quite a few tactical options. Everything the player builds or uses can be customized like any good RTS. Turrents can have their targeting priority changed, while fighters can be more or less aggressive or dock with the station for upgrades. Shields can also be tweaked to either have more capacity or recharge faster. All of this makes a big difference depending on the situation.

Battlestation is a rougetype. This means when the player dies that saved game is deleted and they must start all over again from wave 1. It is very easy to lose it all very fast in Battlestation: First Contact if a tactical blunder is made. This makes the game tense but it is very aggravating being blown up after twenty minutes of gameplay. This is not helped by the repeated dialogue each game. Battlestation barely has a story to speak of and it is irritating to click though dry dialogue.

Battlestation: First Contact looks nice and minimalist. Its bright, simple graphics give it an inviting TRON like look with chaotic battles that are fun to watch. The sound is well done as well. A pumping techno track accompanies the action. The “pew pew pew” of combat gets the job done in a retro way, but a few more sounds would have been nice.

Battlestation: First Contact offers its first episode for free while additional episodes cost $3.50. If you’re good enough to reach the end of the first episode the later ones will likely be a good buy.

Battlestation: First Contact is a slick well-made game with a great meshing of styles its exciting tactical combat and fresh graphics make it a winner, even if it can be just a little too brutal sometimes.


Duck Destroyer Launches on Android Courtesy of Chillingo

Duck Destroyer Launches on Android Courtesy of Chillingo

Nov 18, 2014

New game Duck Destroyer is now on Android courtesy of Chillingo.

The game takes a fox’s search for dinner and transforms it into a cutscene-driven arcade-type shooter

When hunger strikes, grab a shotgun and put some dinner on the table. Look down the sights and put those sharpshooting skills to the test as you blast flocks of ducks out of the sky.

From slingshots to rail guns, dynamite to robots – there’s nothing this duck destroyer won’t use to get his paws on a delicious meal. Load up on power-ups in the store and come out guns blazing!

A simple errand to fetch dinner takes this fox on an adventure that’s out of this world! Chart his incredible journey as he’s plucked from his humble home and thrown into the Arctic and beyond in fully-animated cut-scenes.

Duck Destroyer is available for free (with in-app purchasing) on the Play Store.

Civilization Revolution 2 Review

Civilization Revolution 2 Review

Nov 18, 2014

The original Civilization Revolution was a flawed game with a bad interface and rather lopsided battles. It was saved mostly by its multiplayer and the fact that it was civ on mobile. Now Civilization Revolution 2 is upon us. Does it fix any of the original’s problems?

Screenshot_2014-11-15-01-54-22Civilization Revolution 2 like the other games in the series tasks the player with taking a civilization like Russia or the Aztecs though history and building them up from a few scattered hunter gather types to a wondrous civilization of the future, either crushing all rivals or simply proving their superiority to such a degree that the entire world falls under their control.

To do this the player creates cities and armies and researches new technology to unlock new buildings or units that can be used to defeat rivals or push the borders of your empire outwards with your cultural might, eventually simply absorbing other cultures under your enlightened rule.

Compared to its PC brethren, Civilization Revolution 2 loses a lot of depth. Terrain improvements are gone as is any real diplomacy. Enemy civs are kind of stupid and often don’t seem to research much of anything or keep up with technology. The complete lack of any multiplayer features further exacerbates the shortcomings of the AI.

The interface, while simple isn’t terribly intuitive. There is no world map, which can make it difficult to work out just who owns what. The diplomacy screen doesn’t even tell you who you’re at war with! Civilization Revolution 2 feels very dumbed down. There are some positive interface elements however, like the way the player can set a destination for a unit and it will move each turn. The Civilopedia works well too and is an interesting read.

Screenshot_2014-11-15-01-25-06Civilization also presents an air of immaturity. World leaders are clichéd, wildly gesturing oddballs, spies look like superheroes, the dialogue is often very silly and it is hard to take Civilization Revolution 2 seriously as a strategic game when it insists on unfunny jokes and animations. Sure other games like Great Little War Game and Romans in My Carpet! are less than serious as well, but CR2 seems to err on the side of annoying and silly, rather than amusing.

An old problem with Civ is its random battles. Civilization Revolution 2 is no exception Watch as catapults get mysteriously killed off by half dead archer units and warriors run up and kill defending archers. The civilization games are famous for this kind of idiotic combat and the fact that’s it still hasn’t been fixed after two decades is a bit ridiculous. It was about the time one enemy archer unit in a city defeated a catapult, two legion armies (six units) a unit of my own archers and two units of knights one after the other that I wondered how the game was released in this state.

Civilization Revolution 2 at least looks pretty nice. Bright 3d graphics add some flair, although they may be too cartoony to some compared to the original CRs more restrained graphics. The sound is nicely done as well with some good musical stings and solid combat and movement sounds.

Civilization Revolution 2 is a mixed bag of shoddy battle mechanics and missing features. It might be fun for casual fans of strategy, but the vast amount of better games on Android, like Ravenmark or Great little War Game dim its appeal a bit.


Planetary Guard: Defender Review

Planetary Guard: Defender Review

Nov 17, 2014

Today, humanity has successfully landed a probe on a comet, after years of rigorous testing on Donald Trump’s massive ego, so it’s fitting that I’d review a game about defending the futuristic space stations, situated on various asteroids and the like. Planetary Guard: Defender pits the player against the hordes of presumably alien ships that are attacking the bases around the universe, with a single hover-tank. The gameplay is similar to top-down arena shooters, only in this case, the “arena” isn’t some patch of grass or dirt, but an orbit around a planetoid that the player has to defend from several waves of enemies. The rest is all the same. Each wave has a certain amount of enemies that need to be killed, before they kill the player and/or the station that he defends. When they die, the enemies drop coins and power-ups. Power-ups give the player better shooting power, and the coins are spent between the missions on upgrades. Each mission also has three objectives, granting a star for completing each one. The more stars the player has, the more advanced levels he can unlock. It’s even possible to skip a couple of levels and go straight for the hardest one, if you’re confident.

The upgrade system in Planetary Guard: Defender features several hulls, weapons, shields, and special items. Each one can be upgraded to gain better characteristics. Naturally, Planetary Guard Defender 3the most powerfull of them require a special resource that can be bought with real-world money. They are also earned after the missions, but in very small amounts. Speaking of which, Planetary Guard: Defender is pleasantly devoid of most of the free-to-play irritations, not counting the fullscreen ads at the end of each level. There’s no energy, so you can play and replay every level for as much as you like. There’s no obvious paywall, at least not in the first couple of hours of gameplay that I’ve seen, and the grinding isn’t getting on the nerves.

Wrapping up, Planetary Guard: Defender is a fun shooter for the fans of rapid old-school sci-fi action, set in a pretty 3D, courtesy of Unity engine. It takes a while to get comfortable with, but it’s worth it, in my opinion.

Racing Randy Review

Racing Randy Review

Nov 17, 2014

Racing Randy is a new endless runner featuring a long eared pilot and his doomed attempts to peacefully fly his airplane. Will the fur fly?

Racing Randy lacks any surprises for avid fans of endless runners. Players fly their plane along a course, avoiding hazards along the way. Hazards include electrified barriers, stationary clouds and flying missiles, among others. The sky is inexplicably filled with gold coins just waiting for an enterprising lope eared pilot to snatch them up. These coins can be spent on a small collection of disposable items. Unlike most runners, there are no permanent upgrades or buffs here to work on. Items instead are all one shot deal that destroy incoming hazards or speed up the player’s movement.

Screenshot_2014-11-13-11-16-53The problem with this system is that it is quite boring. The game isn’t all that interesting to begin with. It moves quite slowly and there is nothing in the game mobile gamers haven’t seen done many, many times before. The lack of interesting upgrades or gameplay quirks really hurt Racing Randy’s long term potential as well. This is compared to a game like Jetpack Joyride where there is endless fun in combining items and the fun vehicles. The only vehicle RR has is a very expensive alternate plane. Randy just has little to it.

Racing Randy’s presentation doesn’t do it any favors. Sporting rather plain sprites and little animation to speak of, the game looks very poor even compared to games several years old, such as Jetpack Joyride or even Temple Run. Compared to the visual feast many runners dish up Racing Randy doesn’t provide much to look at.

Screenshot_2014-11-13-11-18-31The sound is poor as well. There are only about two sound effects in the game: one for collecting coins and one for hitting obstacles. The music is very repetitive.

A final nail in Randy’s coffin is that it features a lot of video ads. Whenever a new game begins a 20 second video ad buffers away.

Racing Randy is an uninteresting and poorly presented runner with nasty ads and there are simply far too many better examples of the genre to warrant spending any time playing it.

Dragon Quest Review

Dragon Quest Review

Nov 14, 2014

If you’re in to old school RPGs and you haven’t played the first Dragon Quest, then you’re in for a treat.

Ah, the first Dragon Quest. Although I did not played it when I was young, I did manage to pick the game up later on. And as a RPG lover (especially turn-based ones), I loved what I saw and played. Now I that game is out on Android (for a very cheap price, I might add), I is time for everyone to relieve one of the classic and leading RPGs of all time. Well, if you’ve got the time, that is.

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Because Dragon Quest is one of those first classical Japanese role-playing games. It provided players with countless hours of fun turn-based battles in a massive world to explore, while living the story the game’s developer told through hundreds lines of text. When the game first came out on the Nintendo Entertainment System, it was a first of its kind and later on became the fundamental base for one of the most loved RPG series ever.

This Android version contains everything what made the first game in the series so great. It has that typical storytelling of some youngsters that need to save the world, it has the classic turn-based gameplay where you could put a lot of strategy into and it has that feeling of a great adventure to experience. So the fundamentals are all there; how do does standards live up to today’s standards?

Well, you need to really want to spend time in the world of Dragon Quest. Granted being one of the best RPGs of all time, doesn’t mean it won’t feel like a chore to play. Sometimes you don’t know where to go or you need to grind some levels in order to move on, so it is really a matter of choices.

Just know what you’re getting yourself into, that is the advice I want to give to the newcomers or gamers who’ve never played the first entry in Dragon Quest. But if you’re up for the task, you won’t be disappointed – not even by the choice of digital controls.

Boogey Boy Review

Boogey Boy Review

Nov 13, 2014

Boogey Boy is an interesting middle ground between the classic platformers and infinite runners. Okay, it’s more of a runner, but it does match all of the staples of a platformer game, along with a price tag of two dollars. I’m not sure if there’s a lot of people willing to purchase an infinite runner when there’s quite a lot of them for free, but regardless, Boogey Boy is pretty fun.

The intro shows a boy and his sister, sleeping in a room that’s probably situated on an Indian cemetery for serial killers, judging by the amount of its creepiness infestation. The sister gets kidnapped by a boogie-man, and a boy has to rescue her by collecting batteries for a flash-light that can destroy nightmares. But while he does it, he has to escape said nightmares, as they aren’t shy of preemptive devouring. The boy can perform jumps, long jumps, and double-jumps, which will come in handy in the multi-layered Boogey Boy 4nightmare world. The hero needs to avoid meeting any enemy face-to-face as they will slow him down, letting the advancing nightmare catch up to him. However, he can jump on certain enemies to destroy them, and collect power-ups that give him a temporary boost that can be activated with a special button at any time (along with a cool activation sequence). The goal is to collect three batteries in story mode, or simply last as long as possible in arcade mode.

Overall, Boogey Boy is just a great endless runner. It has cool style and its levels are a lot more dense with stuff than other runners. It doesn’t have any pay-to-win elements, although it doesn’t have any kind of in-game store either, which makes it a bit aimless. It’s a fine game overall, but it’s still a runner. The gameplay is always the same and isn’t that unique, the story is insignificant, and the mechanics are few. I think that it’ll be a lot of fun for the people who like the mechanics of endless runners, but are tired of the free-to-play clutter. I know I am.