Submarine Dash Review

Submarine Dash Review

Sep 30, 2016

Epic mobile sagas are always of interest, but every now and then, this mobile gamer prefers something a bit simpler. Feel me? Something that I can hit while in line at the grocery store, or waiting at the doctor. Zero to playing in 3 seconds or less.

Verusoft’s Submarine Dash feels like it could be that type of game, what with the easy-to-understand gameplay and endearing graphics. I mean, who doesn’t love a ship with facial expressions?sd3

The game plays out like a three-laned runner… set under water, obviously. You take command of the friendly seafarer, and guide it (he/she?) through a seascape that has a lot of dangers and plenty of goodies.

As one starts the game, the interactive tutorial helps guide the player through the basic operations. Control is effected by intuitive gestures — a gesture up, left, right or down make the sub move one “step” in the corresponding direction. One also gets a view of the scenery here: 3D imagery, and an abbreviated top down view that allows one to see the view upfront.

There are several subs to pick from, and the use of themes

The sub moves on its own, and one element is to avoid all the obstacles that pop up… landmines, rising jellyfish, rocky outcroppings and the like. On the opposite side of the spectrum, there are a lot of goodies that line the travelways too, and, as is usually the case, one needs to weigh the risk of picking them up or playing it safe. The game also gets interesting, as a change in perspective (is that a great white creeping up from behind?) helps keep the gameplay somewhat fresh.

As the game goes on, it gets more challenging. Collectibles can be used to extend runs, improve the crafts and unlock new sea paths. The game even manages to squeeze in bosses to keep thing popping.

All in all, Submarine Dash is easy fun.

Micro Machines Review

Micro Machines Review

Sep 30, 2016

We always have time for a game like Micro Machines.

It’s a fun game with an old-school look and feel, which shouldn’t be too surprising given its roots. It packs in an admirably toy-ish ambience with plenty of smooth animations.

At launch, one is invited into the tabletop worlds, and gets some basics.

Next, it’s time to assemble the car using the provided parts; this isn’t too complex, as it involves dragging the components into their logical place. Then it’s time to race.

Racing is definitely where the fun is at. As a player, your car gets dropped onto one of the aforementioned tabletop tracks, and the biggest objective is steering. This is done with the virtual buttons on either side of the screen, which take a touch or two to get used to (be careful; don’t oversteer!), but is effective. There are several ways to sabatoge oneself, so it pays to be careful.

There are three modes to pick from: random, race and battle. The first race I got into was basic: player vs 3 game UI cars, make it to the finish line first. Nitro, gold coins and gems to collect.

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After the initial race (and earning some valuable gems), you can then procure a pack, which contains car parts and a mystery prize. Extra pieces become spares which are good for future trades.

After that first, get-your-feet race, the action ratchets up even further. One can choose do do some battle, taking on opponents with weapons, kind of like a demolition derby. Eventually, better virtual hardware might be needed — hence the packs — and one can use the collected coins to improve the attributes of the vehicle, with gems having the ability too speed things up. Then, after a car has been improved, one can then add mods to be more effective in battle.

The game incorporates league play for bragging rights; there is a rent-a-car system, boosts and more — keep a lookout for some interesting Hasbro nods further on

Micro Machines is a bit more than just a blast from the past, even if it does that very well. It manages to be fun and challenging at the same time, melding battling with straight racing. It doesn’t get overly complex, and the multiplayer function makes it a whole lot easier to get addicted to.

Looty Dungeon Review

Looty Dungeon Review

Sep 30, 2016

Yep, we’ve been waiting a bit for Yodo1’s latest output, and finally — finally! — Looty Dungeon is here. Good for us, because we have really wanted to take it for a spin.

Now’s the time.

It is an interesting dungeon crawler with a twist; it proceeds in leveled fashion, and the main idea, really, is to take our crawling character from Point A to Point B. ld2

Looks-wise, this game is definitely inviting, with bright coloration that highlights the 3D presentation. It shows up and is played in portrait, and the entire production has an old school feel to it. There are a lot of animations, and the tricks and gimmicks are represented well enough to hopefully keep folks focused on the game.

Altogether, it looks and sounds quite enjoyable.

To play, one helps the intrepid explorer (you can pick from several types) roam the blocky mazes that make up the playing areas. Guiding one’s finger along the screen in short gestures allow the lead character to move one block in the corresponding direction, and here, one wants to be precise, because there are lots of ledges that even Indiana Jones would be proud of.

As noted earlier, the main idea is to get from the starting spot to the exit door at the “end” of the level. Of course, this is far from a straight shot, as there are usually several obstacles in the way of progress. One needs to get by these, and get to that exit. Simple concept.

But hey, it gets more interesting. As one goes on, the obstacles become trickier, and then one needs to contend with the area behind beginning to collapse. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place… one has a limited time to gauge the dangers behind before falling into nothingness.

Now, it’s that built-in time trial that adds to the games attractiveness. The levels progress in a reasonable manner, and it great when consumed in small-ish increments that can become bigger without one knowing. There are bosses to conquer, goodies to collect and more. Lives are not limitless, so be careful!

No shock here… another fun one from Yodo1.

Reigns Review

Reigns Review

Sep 27, 2016

So many apps are built to make our daily lives simpler. One app that has achieved true notoriety made the whole dating process as simple as swiping left or swiping right. You know the one I’m talking about, you know it’s called Tinder, don’t play dumb with me.

What’s not a simple process is reigning over a kingdom. Being a king is tough work and full of gray areas but Reigns doesn’t care. It’s a mixture of Game of Thrones and a dating app where your main aim is to stay alive for as long as possible.

This is harder than it sounds because your ‘helpers’ aren’t that helpful. They’ll tell you that the castle’s on fire and you have two choices, swipe left to save the garrison or swipe right to save the treasury. Either way, you’re screwed because if you upset the army enough, they’ll overthrow you and kill you. If your coffers run dry, the rich merchants of your kingdom will overthrow you and you’ll die, penniless, in the gutter.unnamed-19

Reigns is a totally brutal game of decisions and balancing everyone’s needs. The church, the army, the people and your finances all need to be balanced out. It’s a fairly literal in letting you know how ‘well’ you’re doing in each area, as on the screen an icon representing each element fills up. You’d think that filling up your ‘money’ meter wouldn’t end up in death, but it does. So you’re not allowed to let any bar fill all the way up or go all the way down.

It’s really as simple as that. You’re given clues as to how your decision will be perceived, as before you let go of each swipe you will see a small circle or a large circle appear over the icons that will be affected by your decision. The trick being, you’re told if the decision will be positive or negative and you instead have to read the text and infer whether it will fill up or drain the icon.

Luckily, all of this reading and very simple gameplay is hugely enjoyable and incredibly stylish. Each character you interact with clearly has their own agenda and its fun to see how their stories play out (assuming you live long enough). What keeps things interesting is the way the game dishes out and adds new characters and potential cards the more you play. You’ll be given vague clues as to targets to accomplish, such as ‘discover the traitor’, but upon finding out who’s the traitor in your court, you’ll unlock new cards that will reveal themselves in later playthroughs.

There is also an actual end to the game, though the real fun is in simply trying to see how long you can keep your king alive and how long you can get away with making bad decisions.

Reigns is incredibly simple but incredibly well polished and full of humour and style. I hereby decree that Reigns should be downloaded forthwith! Swipe right.


Slash Mobs Review

Slash Mobs Review

Sep 26, 2016

It’s getting harder and harder to find new things to talk about when it comes to reviewing ‘clicker’ games. Here we are with a new game that plays itself, Slash Mobs. In Slash Mobs you’re taking on enemies with each click resulting in your hero swinging their sword. After a number of swings, the enemy dies and you get some money.

Simple enough, right? You can spend your money on upgrading your hero, so your clicks are more powerful or your can spend money hiring new heroes to help you out. These heros, once they’re hired, can also be powered up and at ‘level’ milestones (10, 25, 50, 100… etc) you can unlock new abilities.

This may sound complicated but it all comes down to spending money on yourself, so your clicks are more powerful, or spending money on heros so you don’t have to click and so you earn money whilst your phone’s in your pocket.unnamed-25

I may sound a little dismissive but as far as clickers go, Slash Mobs is a well made and feature rich example of the genre. There’s plenty of carrots to keep you coming back and there’s always something for you to be levelling-up. There’s daily quests to complete, there’s daily rewards to collect, treasure chests that unlock after a number of hours and so on. Pretty much every Free-to-Play hook you can think of is present in Slash Mobs.

Again, this may sound like a negative but Slash Mobs handles its micro-transactions really well, with plenty of opportunities to earn credits through watching adverts or simply playing the game daily.

On top of the well balanced enemies it’s safe to say that Slash Mobs has had plenty of care given to its graphics and visual design as a whole. Enemies are good looking and vary greatly from area to area. Some look like Pokemon, others look like they should be from Monster Hunter but all of them are nice looking and well animated.

In fact, the game as a whole has a level of polish to it which makes it extremely fun to play. Particle effects sprout up when you level-up a hero, your character’s special abilities work well and will help you get past any particularly difficult enemies and there’s an absolute ton of levels, heroes and items to unlock.

So whilst Slash Mobs isn’t trying to do anything new, it is extremely well made and has really narrowed down what it is that makes a clicker game fun. Namely, you’re always within touching distance of a new item, ability or power-up and when you’re not playing the game your heroes are hard at working earning you money.

It’s not new, it’s not revolutionary but it is good. Slash Mobs is a worthwhile clicker that is full of content and will keep you coming back for more.

NCIS: Hidden Crimes Review

NCIS: Hidden Crimes Review

Sep 23, 2016

Make no mistake: NCIS is a cultural icon. I remember picking it up all the way back… you know, when that intense agent from the “Navy NCIS” (ha!) who first tried to put JAG darling Harmon Rabb behind bars — but the helping clear his name. With that simple beginning, that CBS spin-off has gone big, creating its own offshoots, and, for folks like us, companion games that help beget mindshare.

NCIS: Hidden Crimes is just that.

The action gets going almost immediately, with animated cutscenes allowing one to catch a glimpse of something nefarious. Then, just like on the show, Gibbs’ likeness pops up, letting us (the players/viewers) know about an untimely ncis3death somewhere in the city.

In this one, the crime has been committed, and the player, being a special agent, gets his/her “gear” on heads to the crime scene. At this point, the main foil of the adventure becomes clear: find objects. The trick, which is obvious to anyone who plays this type of game, is to pick out a list of objects that are placed in a larger scene. In this particular game, the objects are key to solving the crime at hand, starting by going into each visual puzzle and tap on the objects to “collect” them.

After objects are found, generally a secondary process begins. Evidence is analyzed and such, and eventually, a hypothesis might be formed, and, if one picks right, one might just get the person responsible.

So, the finding mechanism is enough to understand; the difficulty of the surveying task is mostly a function of the artwork in any level. It feels as though it gets tougher as one goes on, but the developer does an enviable job of using depth and simulated light to make targets less obvious to the eye. The crime-solving piece is a nice addition too.

The game feels a bit grindy in parts; the energy requirement isn’t too bothersome, and the artwork does make it feel somewhat familiar. On the other hand, it’s tough to make a hidden object game stand out, because the core element is so well known.

In the end, its hit show affiliation only helps, and the gameplay does well.

Mars: Mars Review

Mars: Mars Review

Sep 8, 2016

Space exploration is all the rave, what with lost space vehicles and ones found. Mars: Mars lets you get in on the final frontier, one well-timed hop at a time.

So… what’s the main concept here? Simple, really: guide the lander craft from one platform to another, going mostly rightwards.

The skill really lays in the mastery of the controls. As noted, it is easy enough in concept, and liberal enough to not be overly restricting. It does take some getting used to — one needs to get the tap timing just right.

One tap launches the craft; after this initial pop, the player can control the rough direction of the craft by tapping on either side to create a blast of the corresponding jets. Additionally, the player must contend with virtual nature; the craft is pulled down by gravity. Using tap controls — double tapping, in this case — is also used to slow down the craft, which is important considering the major task at hand, which is to move, and keep moving.

Landing anywhere but the platform is a fail. Landing too hard on the platform is a fail. And oh, by the way, the blasters depend on gas, of which there is a limited supply. Yep, you gotta be very circumspect with how often you blast, because once the fuel is depleted, control is lost.

Crash.

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And so the game goes on, encouraging the player to head on from platform to platform. A couple of new elements are added every so often, but for the most part, this one is a straight shot. There are achievements, as well as incorporated means of upgrading the craft. As one progresses, the platform-hopping gets trickier, and new foils get added; this invariably adds a bit of puzzle-solving to the mix. Toss in a game cash system, and it is easy to see why this game can be enjoyable.

Graphics are easy on the eyes, with several backgrounds in play, and add to the overall gaming ambiance.

Simple does it. Mostly well.

Soccer Shootout Review

Soccer Shootout Review

Aug 31, 2016

A an English person, the idea of taking penalties strikes fear into my heart. It’s just something we’re genetically unable to do. However, after some hours with Swipe Soccer, I fancy my chances from the penalty spot a little bit more.

Soccer Shootout’s a straightforward idea. It’s a penalty shootout game where you swipe at the screen to take a penalty or to get your goalkeeper to dive. You can apply swerve, direction and power to your shots by swiping in a particular way. Swipe quickly for more power, swipe at an angle to aim for the corners and draw a line that’s not straight for curve.

It’s the same thing for goalkeeper control too. Swipe left, right, high or low – it’s dead simple and actually quite fun.

The game has some added depth thanks to the fact you can unlock and buy new players. These are important as different players will have different stats. How good a player is will actually affect how hard you have to swipe and how precise you can be with your kicks. On top of this, players and ‘keepers can have special abilities. These abilities allow you to swerve the ball more wildly, reduce your opponent’s field of vision and even perform a really odd lob kick that belongs on an American Football field.SS1

The game has both singleplayer and multiplayer options. In the single player mode you take on teams from around the world, touring the globe one country at a time. As this isn’t an officially licensed product you’ll be facing off against some weird looking crests that will remind you of a real team’s logo, but most certainly are not a real team’s logo. This also goes for the names of the players, though some of the names have been so heavily altered it’s hard to recognise who they’re trying to be.

Online is fun, though you can sometimes come up against people who have much better players than you. Being in a shootout with players that are way better than your own means your keeper won’t have even moved by the time the ball’s flown into the net. I understand you want to reward players that have spent more time and money on the game than others, but it’s a little bit too much.

As you play through either mode you’ll earn money. This can be used to ‘train’ your players, which is just another way of boosting their stats. You can also save your money up and got ahead and buy an entirely new player. Those of you that are willing to part with your real money for access to the game’s fake money will have access to the more expensive and therefore better players.

In the end, Soccer Shootout is a pretty fun game that has a really simple premise but it’s so well made, it’s hard not to have fun. There’s new players being introduced regularly, so if you’re happy constantly taking penalties, there’s plenty to keep you going.

Flip Diving Review

Flip Diving Review

Aug 31, 2016

There are a lot of things that I think are pretty cool, but have NO intention of ever doing. Say what you want, but I have a healthy respect for my own limitations. I don’t mind watching professionals do these things… heck, I’d even pay to observe.

I’m talking about stuff like surfing killer waves. Skiing slopes that have a hint of dangerously cascading snow. Base jumping. All things I have no problem passing on.fd3

Oh yeah… and cliff diving.

Keeping this in mind, it’s easy to see why a game like Flip Diving — from prolific Android publisher Miniclip.com — is made for wusses like me.

If complexity is a problem, this one is all but home free. The basic premise is ultra easy-to-understand, and the graphics mostly do the job of giving context to the gameplay. The player controls a diver, with everything in a vivid 2D presentation. Using a simple tap/release system, one can make the person jump and start to do flips in the air.

One aspect to getting a good score is releasing at just the right time, such that the diving character goes hands and headfirst/feet-first into the water. This small piece really works; release at the wrong time, and the diver may default to a detestable belly or black flop.

Another element are the collectible gold coins that line the flight path, and the landing area that decreases in size as one goes further and further. New tricks are unlocked with progress, and there are other arcade elements to keep things interesting.

When it’s all said and done, having a good sense of timing is probably the easiest way to make gains. As stated earlier, the game controls are quite intuitive, and as such, getting one’s tuck-on feels natural and is easily invoked.

Flyp Review

Flyp Review

Aug 31, 2016

Having one universal mobile phone number does have its benefits, but there are also several reasons one might want a second number. Privacy, business, locale… there are times when having alternate contact digits is invaluable.

This is where Flyp – Multiple Phone Numbers looks to make its mark.

Setup was ultra easy. All I had to do was install the application, create an account and then select a number in my area code.flyp3

The app is gently set, with a simple layout that is seemingly designed with ease of use in mind. Calls can be initiated therein, as well as text messages. The app also accepts the same, with its own ring tones and such.

Making said call is a simple matter of using the app dialer. Flyp uses the host phone’s minutes, so one does need to be cognizant of that. Calls were clear, and messages prompt in testing. Numbers can be color-coded too, but unfortunately, one’s address book is separate from the home device’s.

It is possible to manage more than one Flyp number on a single device — for a price. Numbers cannot be ported in or out just yet, but this is supposed to be on the to-do list.

In a lot of ways, it feels like just what the doctor ordered. It’s a self-contained solution that works quite well, and allows one to essentially run multiple numbers from a single device. It’s a vibrant application that mostly does what it sets out to do.

On the other hand, while the standalone nature clearly has its benefits, the fact that it doesn’t work seamlessly with the Android system might give some users pause. Taking a separate set of actions to initiate and/or receive calls and texts, no matter how small, makes smart dive users flip out.

For everyday use, it’s easy to see how the benefits outweigh the negatives, and the ability to add a veneer of privacy to one’s telephony use is invaluable. I really appreciate the simplicity and extensibility of this solution.

That is the niche Flyp can carve out.

He-Man Tappers of Grayskull Review

He-Man Tappers of Grayskull Review

Aug 31, 2016

Leather underoos aside, I loved He-Man. Bulging muscles, a cool sword and a transformable pet. He-Man wasn’t just another ordinary man, he was (is?) the man.

Hey, taking on the enemies of the universe takes a man of action.

In He-Man Tappers of Grayskull, the player gets to partner with our famed champion at least one more time.

The graphics are bit more modern than the original, which should appear o newer fans. The game uses a host of gentle heman3colors to frame the gameplay, and the main game incorporates a lot of animations. The sounds are reliably haughty, and in a lot of ways, the looks and sound are the some of the best aspects of the game.

The storyline stays right about where fans of the cartoon would expect it be: mega-villain Skeletor is nothing if not a schemer, and right at the onset of this saga, he’s plotting to take over Eternia. Nothing uniquely new; Skeletor is always the epitome of dissatisfaction.

Skeletor does have a new process to effect victory, by way of misappropriated magic that enlarges his minions to otherworldly proportions. Now, He-Man has to take on enemies several times his size.

He-Man does one thing well: fighting. The player, as He-Man, takes on hoards, individually, by tapping. Enemies pop up, and one reduces the lifebars, on and on. It helps to be quick, and gold coins are the reward for doing well. Gold coins can be used to improve attributes, and down the line, bosses need to be dealt with.

Allies can be summoned, and it does take a bit of thinking to get through some boss levels. There are also achievements one can garner via gameplay.

The game works well because one need not necessarily be a He-Man feen to enjoy it. The clicker mechanism is universal and fairly intuitive, and stands on its own. The host of characters and such will be a cherry on top for fans of the franchise.

On the other hand, it is a lot of the same; some folks might prefer a bit more complexity.

In the end, it does its thing, doesn’t stray too far into details, and can be played in a pinch.

You have the power…

Tricky Test 2: Think Outside Review

Tricky Test 2: Think Outside Review

Aug 29, 2016

Got some time? Want a challenge? Ah… have a go at Tricky Test 2: Think Outside.

The graphical presentation is fairly simple; it shows up in landscape, with simple texts and diagrams on a dark background. The music is somewhat soothing, and can be toggled.

This is a brain teaser game, and it presents riddles one after the other. Solving the one leads to the next, and said solution means understanding a riddle, and somehow getting the correct answer. Thing is… these ain’t straightforward questions.tt3

The puzzles range for torturous brain teasers to the delightfully silly. At the risk of being a game spoiler, I found the creativity inspiring: some riddles demand that one isn’t too literal, while others are the exact opposite. Math questions make an appearance, but nothing overly algebraic, and then puzzles that are shielded as math questions. There are situational questions too, so one shouldn’t get too bored too quickly.

The game has a clue system that helps with tougher questions, and if that isn’t sufficient, the solution can be requested. Both have a cost in game coins though.

When a puzzle is solved correctly, the player gets greeted with a visual hand clap with matching sound. A bad guess generally yields one life lost; when all five are drained, the games energy requirement kicks in, and the aforementioned coins come into play. Thankfully, the developer does provide ways to get more coins and/or continues, like ad-watching, timed regeneration and more, including the use of real cash.

When one gets the end, the game even gives one an IQ sore. Cheeky.

It’s infinitely simple to understand and get into, but that ease almost forces a complaint… that the game is really, really short as is at 60 questions. It isn’t hard to fly through the questions, especially when one gets going. The developer does promise to continually address this via updates, so one can look forward to that.

All in all? Worth a look and a try.