Falldown! Deluxe Review

Falldown! Deluxe Review

Jul 24, 2014

Falldown! Deluxe is a stylish new game in the ambiguously named falling ball genre. Is it worth having a ball?

Falldown! Deluxe is as simple to play as it is to comprehend. The player controls a ball rolling along a series of platforms with gaps that can be fallen into to advance. Meanwhile, a deadly ball cooking laser moves inexorably downwards all the while. The player must quickly roll the ball down gaps in each level of the playfield.

Screenshot_2014-07-17-23-12-54As the player advances, every 5 levels or so they reach the next level where gaps tend to be further away from each other, making it much harder to drop the ball in time.

After the player inevitably gets roasted, collected currency can be used to purchase additional ball styles and backgrounds to spruce the game up a bit.

Falldown! Deluxe is a very simple game anyone can play. Kids will likely enjoy it and its nonviolent nature and simple controls make it easy for them. It’s a good game to fill a few minutes in a queue or whenever.

Screenshot_2014-07-17-23-13-36Falldown! Deluxe looks nice. There are plenty of trippy colours and sparkly backgrounds that only become moreso after a few purchases. The frame rate is solid and there are no extraneous ads or anything else to get in the way of the game. Some nice techno music adds a lot to the game as well.

Falldown! Deluxe lacks achievements or anything else that could really give it any shelf life, although there is a high school list. After a few games the player has really seen everything it has to offer and all items in the shop are just ones that change the game’s appearance. There are no interesting power-ups or anything of the like to give the game a bit of much needed variety. Falldown! Deluxe is unlikely to hold anyone’s attention for longer than few minutes at a time.

Falldown! Deluxe is a serviceable game and it does everything it sets out to do just fine. However, a terminal lack of depth means there are much more interesting games to play on Android. Good for kids.

Need A Hero Review

Need A Hero Review

Jul 24, 2014

Need A Hero is a game that challenges folks to match objects while being a hero.

On the surface, it looks like a simple turn-based game that pits our protagonists against several fanciful foes in his quest to save the princess. Beneath the surface, however, it is a bit more complex.

After the preliminary backstory, the game’s core elements are initially represented by a playing area with dueling parties at the top: our hero and a baddie. The action between the two is generally determined by the main element.

The main course has to deal with matching like objects in a column that sports several different colored pieces.need1 Using colors as the main guide, the idea is to connect as many matching colors via gesture dragging in straight lines and adjacent angles. Connected pieces, ordinarily, dissolve and get replaced by new ones in a seemingly random manner. The longer the chain, the more attack power is generated, so longer combinations are definitely encouraged. Combinations yield special pieces, which in turn can trigger boosted reactions which are great for some specific situations.

In essence, the efficacy of the matching game determines the effectiveness of the strikes. As noted, longer chains create hits with more damage, but one has to take into account the return hits as well. There is a palpable arcade feel, with special combos yielding boosts like donkey kicks and lightning strikes, or even the ability to freeze the opponent for a set number of moves. In the end, it is still a turn-based war of attrition; whoever depletes the other’s lifeline with life left in their own wins. It’s leveled with crafting elements, and accumulated game cash can be supplemented with that of the real kind. There is an energy requirement (boo!) but it isn’t too strenuous in nature.

It is a simple game; if one is after complex logic, it might not hold much appeal. It works in that it does multiple things proficiently at the same time.

Sky Force 2014 Review

Sky Force 2014 Review

Jul 24, 2014

Sky Force 2014 is a curious mix of freemium and old school shooter. Does it work?

Sky Force 2014 is a classically styled, old school vertical shooter. The player travels up the screen dodging around and blasting the heck out of a bunch of different enemies. Huge, ships small planes and gigantic bombers fill out the vast armies the player fights on each level. And players will have plenty of time to admire these enemies. The game works on a grading system where the player must repeat levels until they gain a certain percentage of enemies destroyed or so on. This leads to rather a lot of grinding to afford better parts to actually complete these challenges.

Screenshot_2014-06-21-15-17-24Skyforce 2014 lacks powerups and even alternate weapons, which may be a bummer for some players. Part of the fun of shooters is picking up and using different weapons and powerps. Sky Force 2014 however mostly gets by using the same main gun which can be upgraded with stars collected from dead enemies. These stars can be exchanged for upgrades between levels that make the gun fire faster and do more damage, but it never really gets more interesting than its single orange bullets without a lot of invested time. There are a few other weapons in the game, but it is not clear how to unlock them or indeed how different they are.

The lack of weapons and pretty tame gameplay kind of sabotage Sky Force 2014. With the large amount of great looking, full featured shooters on Android it is difficult to find time for one that has so few weapons and also attempts to nickel and dime the player. The game just never seems to hit a groove and the most fun part of the game is the very beginning. The player flies a very powerful ship for a few minutes, before it is destroyed and they return in a very weak fighter, pew pewing small bullets.

Screenshot_2014-06-21-13-42-52Skyforce 2014 looks great. Some sharp, colourful graphics really make the game pop and small details like the way stars sparkle and smoke hangs in the air from destroyed enemies gives the game some class. There is a great variety of enemies and the game as a whole is silky smooth and looks excellent. It nails the vibe of an old school arcade shooter while still looking modern.

The sound is similarly excellent. Skyforce 2014 has some very unique music that sounds just like 8 bit chiptunes, which are very catchy. The sound effects for shooing and explosions work well. There is a fair bit of speech in the game as well to alert the player of game events and to provide a bit of backstory. Great stuff!

Sky Force 2014 has a fair few levels and the game is quite difficult, but it is hard to tell if this is by design, or due to the in app purchase system deliberately weakening the player.

Sky Force 2014 is a tolerable shooter, but its lack of interesting weapons and annoying, grindy freemium system dooms it to take a backseat to many other shooters on the platform.


Godzilla – Smash3 Review

Godzilla – Smash3 Review

Jul 23, 2014

What does one get when you cross the King of the Monsters with a match-3 game? A pretty good game, actually.

When it comes to Godzilla, the first thing to come to mind is probably not a puzzle game. Nonetheless, that’s exactly what Rogue Play, Inc. has come up with as the free-to-play tie-in to the 2014 summer Godzilla movie.

In Godzilla – Smash3, players more or less adopt the role of Godzilla himself (off to the sideline, Aaron Taylor-Johnson) as he emerges from the murky depths of the Pacific and makes his way towards land to lay the king of all smackdowns as only he can. Players will instead target different enemies, which range from the various units of military resistance to larger battles against other monsters, and Screenshot_2014-07-15-06-10-20rather than control Godzilla directly, the key is to draw a continuous line between as many colored icons on the bottom portion of the screen as possible. When that’s done, Godzilla then beats the selected target(s) as appropriate at the top of the screen.

Of course, there is some nuance to it, and options grow as the game progresses. The key element are the blue, yellow, and orange icons, which range from the weakest attacks to the strongest, respectively, and as one might expect, blue icons are far more commonplace and tend to be easier to link than yellow and especially orange. Fortunately, players can take their time figuring out the best way to line things up, and once they do, the selected icons are cleared from the screen, dropping in more as Godzilla claws, bites, and otherwise shows those silly humans who is boss.

Other options come up along the way, including heart icons which allow Godzilla to regenerate health between rounds, special blue icons which help to charge up an attack with Godzilla’s signature atomic breath, and “explosive” icons, which clear away columns and rows of icons when included in a selected line. This results in an added layer of strategy, as players must choose which icons to focus on at which time, rather than just whatever is easiest or seemingly the most powerful at a given moment.

One definite plus for Godzilla – Smash3 is that it looks and sounds great. The music and roars immediately evoke the proper mood and tone one would expect from one of his many films. Meanwhile, Godzilla himself looks awesome. The developers seemingly knew what the player was more likely to be focusing on, and made sure the visuals counted where they were most important. Some of the other enemies and backgrounds may not look quite as good, but they do the job well enough should one take their eyes off the big guy for a moment.

If there’s one grievance I can point out with this free-to-play game, it’s one aspect of the leveling system. As players progress, they earn points to level up different icons to do more damage, etc. Unfortunately, it’s possible to sink those points into an area that can’t be used until a certain level is reached; one would think this is where the “reset” option for getting those points back and reallocating them would be handy, but to use it costs 99 cents a pop. That’s just cheap, and I don’t mean the price.

The game isn’t especially deep, but then, aside from serving as a warning against using/abusing nuclear energy, the movies aren’t terribly deep, either. And just as one can sit back and enjoy a classic Godzilla movie for the giant monster carnage it provides on screen, so too does Godzilla – Smash3 provide a similar pleasure as much of the joy can be derived from sitting back and watching Godzilla tear it up after performing a successful chain combo, only to do it again and again over the course of his journey.

Box-e Review

Box-e Review

Jul 23, 2014

It kind of resembles Two Tribes’ Edge, but it has its own goals and control scheme. Box-e on Android offers great challenges for puzzle gamers.

Understanding a game like Box-e is not hard at all. Box-e is a fun, colorful little puzzle game, where players navigate a color changing block through a – at first not so difficult looking – maze. At its core, it is as simple as that. The tricky part is this: players can only use every tile of the level once in order to get the highest score as possible. If one uses the same tile again, the colors of the level will make room for black blocks, letting the player know that what they are doing is wrong.

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The idea is to get as clean and colorful as possible to the end of the stage. Speed does not count toward the high score, so players can take their sweet time to lay out a strategic road for the controllable block. And that is quite necessary. Because right from the start it gets very difficult already, making it not only fun, but also challenging to play. Players really need to think before they tap, in order to finish the level as colorful as possible.

Players control the block in four directions, by tapping in one of the four corners of the screen. It is possible to go a bit lower than that – but the danger is here that one might cross over the invisible line of the direction boxes, resulting in the block going the wrong way. On the other hand, when a player does use the right corners, it is possible to open the history of used apps window or to press the back button. Luckily, that last one does not work, so that won’t disturb one’s game.

The game only has 25 levels to beat and most of them are pretty hard to get the maximum score of three golden stars. I don’t know if there will be more levels, but it is quite the downside. Most free puzzle apps have more levels to beat and this one cost money (1 dollar 21 cents to be precise), so it feels kind of weird to pay for something that has less content. But overall, the game offers an enjoyable experience in terms of challenging levels and very nice graphics.

Digital Defender Review

Digital Defender Review

Jul 23, 2014

Digital Defender is a quirky defense strategy game, where the player’s base is constantly getting assaulted by hordes of old video game consoles. I didn’t see an explanation for a sudden sinister 8-bit uprising, so feel free to presume the silliest reasons. Player operates a turret that shoots arrows at the prehistoric consoles, and can cast spells, if they are purchased, equipped, are not on a cooldown, and the player has enough mana. The onslaught comes in waves, and after each wave, if the player kept their base more or less in one piece, they get awarded with some money and a chance to upgrade his abilities and equipment. There are tons of upgrades to purchase, including new spells, turrets, specials and more, and of course most of them require an ungodly amount of grinding to get. Not to say that it’s impossible to play without paying. I played for a couple of hours and didn’t feel restricted – but still, you have to wait for a while to get anything.

The concept sounds perfectly reasonable, even if one can get pretty irritated by the free-to-play limitations – but Digital Defender has one significant issue. It’s god Digital Defender 4damn boring. The whole time I played it, I waited for it to pick up and get exciting – but to no avail. It could probably be a great game, but we’ll never know, because wave in wave, level in level, you shoot the repetitive lines of plastic bricks as they come for your blood. Probably. I frankly don’t know where the problem lies, but it’s somewhere in pacing and repetitiveness. You can play the first level and get a perfect idea about the rest of the game. I actually looked forward to a paywall just to call it a day and complain about the free-to-play model ruining videogames, for the whole article, but I didn’t get one. The difficulty was raising at a snail’s pace and after about thirty nigh-identical waves, I just gave up. Maybe it gets incredibly good some time later, but I’d rather get to see my wife again, than spend eternity killing small, jumping SEGA Genesis consoles.

The game looks alright, though. The graphics and the animations are fine, and generally, Digital Defender never looks cheap. So, this is nice.

Bezircle Review

Bezircle Review

Jul 22, 2014

Bezircle is best described in two words: chaotic and paradoxical. Both descriptions are, however, in favor of the game, because it is very addictive and has some through through its game design.

It has been months since Bezircle first launched on iOS, but now it is finally available on Android: Bezircle, from the Dutch developer Ludomotion. It is a tactical ‘beat-the-stuffing-out-of-that-button’ game. That may sound a bit contradictory: in tactical games, players need time to reach certain goals in the game and those games give players the time they need. And an old fashioned button smasher is quite the opposite: the faster one reaches their goal, the better.

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In the chaos of the paradox that Bezircle certainly is, players may find a true addictive game. The addictive nature of the game is what makes it truly unique. The goal is to ‘bezircle’ the circles on screen. Players need to move the worm from circle to circle, but that is only possible via the link road with just a tap of the only (digital) button. When the player is at the circle they want, they need to hold down the button, while the worm makes his round. After that, the circle is for the player.

In the singleplayer of the game, players are constantly getting introduced to new gameplay elements: new enemies, weapons and goals to reach – there is really nothing one cannot think of that isn’t here. Getting those circles costs energy and the worms can get that by eating smaller animals. Later on in the game, there are levels where there aren’t much of those animal to collect, so players need to think about getting them as soon as possible. Otherwise, it is game over before one might know.

That one button in game is something that makes Bezircle that much accessible. But it is also a source of irritation and frustration. It is digital, and there isn’t any feedback for the player. And because it is so small, one might press right next to the button. Also, it is all the way in the right corner of the screen; my thumb was in an uncomfortable position during gameplay. We it is not possible to just press anywhere on the screen, is a riddle for me. This is just frustrating.

The multiplayer is where the game shines. Bezircle is playable with four players, but on a smaller screen (my Nexus 5 has five inches of screen space, but that is still too small) is it hard to see what to do. The best way to enjoy this game with friends, is to play it on a tablet. That way, nobody will be in someones way with their hand or anything. The singleplayer of this game is actually a very long tutorial for the otherwise brilliant multiplayer, because it is much more fun when players know what to do and when to do it.

Heroes of Atlan Review

Heroes of Atlan Review

Jul 22, 2014

Heroes of Atlan is a new demon slaying tactical adventure. Does it stand out from the recent flood of entries in this genre?

Heroes of Atlan is a tactical RPG in its purest form. The player takes no active role during combat. Instead, the player is relegated to equipping their team and positioning them to support each other. Unlike most RPGs of this type, there is absolutely no way to influence a fight once it begins; it’s all about the planning. Battles are short enough that they don’t drag on and the cool monster designs and decent animations make watching battles fun. Like any RPG, it is always satisfying seeing upgraded equipment or boosted levels turning the tide of battle.

Screenshot_2014-07-11-15-08-54A great thing about Heroes of Atlan is that it has an actual story. There is plenty of dialogue to read and some surprising moments. Nearly every battle has some interesting pretence to it and there is a real feeling of the kingdom galvanizing behind the player.

Heroes of Atlan uses a map based system where energy is expended to enter each battle. After winning a battle, the player earns experience and cash and moves onto the next battle. Previous battles can be replayed for more loot. As long as the player tempers their equipment and so on the difficulty is quite reasonable. Heroes of Atlan also includes a PvP arena, but it is filled with very high level players. Combat is completely hands off, just like single player so it really comes down to a pay to win scheme; the player with the best equipment will always win.

Upgrading equipment in Heroes of Atlan can be accomplished in two ways. First there is Tempering, which is a cheap, immediate boost to an item’s stats. This only requires money. Crafting is much more complicated and involves using a wide range of reagents to change an item’s form. Reagents take time to hunt down, but crafting makes equipment much more powerful. Once an Item has been crafted, it can be tempered all over again and the cycle starts anew.

Screenshot_2014-07-11-14-30-00Heroes of Atlan looks decent. Presented in a bright, colourful 2-d style the game features pretty nice character design and there are always new enemy types to see. The animation is fairly primitive, but the graphics aren’t really relevant to a game of this genre. Cool looking characters are just a bonus. The sound is likewise middle of the road. The music gets rather repetitive and there is no voice acting or even battle cries.

Heroes of Atlan is a pretty fun tactical RPG, at least in single player. While its lack of control and obvious freemium-based multiplayer might annoy some players it tells a good story and there is enough game here that gamers will keep gaming for a long time.


Stick Soccer Review

Stick Soccer Review

Jul 22, 2014

Stick Soccer is yet another attempt to celebrate the now-passed World Cup. Is it worth playing?

Stick Soccer is less soccer and more a series of penalty shootouts. Soccer balls bounce across the screen and a simple swipe arcs them towards the goal. A goalie and a few opposing players stand around to block shots. There is no actual soccer played in Stick Soccer. It is simply a series of shots on goal and no other players move besides the keeper. Despite this, whatever team opposes the player scores regularly during the game. Winning the game by scoring more goals than the opponent completes the level and unlocks a new, harder one against a different nation. Stick Soccer gets tough in a hurry. The first few levels aren’t too hard, but the game rapidly requires pinpoint accuracy and there is never any indication as to why certain shots beat the keeper or not. The game lacks a power meter or any other influence on shots besides swiping, which just isn’t accurate or engaging enough to be enjoyable. Besides the normal single player mode, a Time Attack mode is also included. This features the same gameplay, except even harder.

Screenshot_2014-07-08-05-01-29Stick Soccer’s gameplay is framed in a neat system where scoring goals adds to that nation’s global total which is shown in the main menu. Thus the game is sort of a global competition which is a nice motivation to play.

Stick Soccer isn’t a very fun game. It is difficult and its shallow gameplay is uninteresting. It is often unclear how to beat the keeper and most of the time scoring seems like simple luck. Fueling this belief is the fact that there is an in game shop with soccer boots for sale which boost the player’s stats. Some pairs can be unlocked by playing the game, but the criteria for unlocking them is tough to complete and the game would really like you to pay.

Screenshot_2014-07-08-05-02-24Stick Soccer lives up to its name. Tall, stick like soccer players dominate the game and the animation is very basic. Stick Soccer just doesn’t have much to look at. Soundwise, the game is just as simple. Besides a roaring crowd and the sound of bouncing balls, there is little to hear.

Stick Soccer’s replay value can be measured in minutes. Its one dimensional gameplay and reliance on in-app purchases doesn’t really make it an enjoyable experience.

Stick Soccer isn’t much fun and is little more than another shallow game based on soccer fever. There are much better World Cup themed games to play on Android. check out Winning Kick instead for a more interesting gameplay experience.

Ninja Chicken Multiplayer Race Review

Ninja Chicken Multiplayer Race Review

Jul 21, 2014

Ninja. Chicken. Multiplayer. Racing. Say it altogether, an you get an interesting concept: Ninja Chicken Multiplayer Racing.

The racing environment is set up in 2D fashion, with the avian creatures racing from left to right. The runway is somewhat platformed, with plenty of colorful graphical elements tossed in. There are collectible goodies that line this area, on the ground and in the air, and the platforms are positioned to encourage fast decisions that border on twitch reactions. There are even rope structures and overall, the coloring is sharp and relatively eye-pleasing throughout. The animations are quite stilted, but the developer is able to effect the presence of multiple running and jumping chickens in an interesting way.

It’s a communal race, so each race has multiple chickens on the same track; the chickens start off, and are almost nin1immediately presented with obstacles that, as noted, test the reflexes. To control one’s chicken, there are simple (but fairly intuitive) controls: tapping and double tapping to jump and double jump respectively, and then there is the tap and hold which causes the chicken to barrel roll underneath low lying obstacles. The aforementioned goodies are great tempters, and getting them can be rewarding and taxing at the same time, especially since a missed move or over-exuberant jump can cause a delay that allows rivals to speed by. The obstacles are varied in nature, with spikey stuff and solid barriers being examples.

There are power-ups, and they serve to give the game a cool arcade feel in the same vein as, say, Mario Kart. The one allows a player to fire arrows on competitors in front and attempt to slow them down. Such boosts are rechargeable and upgradeable; it’s pertinent to note that other racers can use them as well.

The collectibles allow one to purchase more boosts, upgrades, clothing and eqiupment; each generally have attributes that can contribute to success. XP points are also generated, and players can level up as well as advance on the leveled course.

It isn’t a boring game by any means; there is in-app purchasing available, but it does no feel necessary to enjoy. The game’s core is challenging without being too infuriating, and the escalating challenge of the courses is a welcome element.

All in all, it packs a lot of fun into a tight, tidy intuitive package.

Nuts! Review

Nuts! Review

Jul 21, 2014

If you haven’t checked out the aerial runner Nuts!, well… you get the gist.

A tree that makes legendary Hyperion seem stunted is our running path in this one. Our squirrel starts off at a running clip up the tree; it’s pertinent to note that there are coins and other goodies that are spread out around, and one of the goals is to collect as many of these coins and goodies as possible; this is facilitated by the controls, which are tilt-based in nature. Using the controls, it is possible to run around the tree and collect as many pieces as possible with the squirrel, which moves up continuously once a run is initiated.nuts1

Or, it should be noted, it runs up continuously unless it comes in contact with an obstacle; as it’s a tree, there are plenty of branches that can be a bit dangerous to our swift, upwardly mobile rodent. The branches start to appear after a bit, and their placement increases the challenge the higher up the player travels, so quick reactions become key to survival. To begin, the squirrel can survive two hits; the third knocks it down and ends the run.

Outside game cash, there are other things that can be collected. There are power-ups, such as a speedy fireball, that, when collected, gives the squirrel super speed and branch invincibility for a limited time. The game coins can also be used for a bunch of different upgrades, like extra life, which allows for the squirrel to survive more than the standard three hit before the run ends. There’s also extra value coins, and more. These upgrades are staggered an increase with each higher level. Real cash can be used to expedite upgrades.

The game also incorporates in-run achievements, giving the player an extra element to work on while running. These tasks run the gamut, from doing hings like traveling a particular distance or collecting a special piece a set number of times. There are also leaderboards for those that connect with Google Games.

The game’s greatest attribute is that it just works. It’s as intuitive as the come, with simple extras that don’t complicate or distract from the main gameplay.

And it’s almost never, ever wrong to root for the squirrel.

Great Little War Game 2 Review

Great Little War Game 2 Review

Jul 21, 2014

Great Little War Game 2, much like the first game in the series has the player taking control of the blue army vs. the ever present red army menace. Using infantry, tanks and artillery the player will fight across deserts, beaches and forests to wipe out the enemy.

Screenshot_2014-07-20-12-53-02Great Little War Game 2 is all about using the terrain well and using units together so they can support each other. Units on elevated terrain can shoot further and thus can avoid return fire. Using artillery well, covering base approaches with snipers and backing up your grunts with medics among other tactics is both fun and vital to success.

Great Little War Game 2 features no in-app purchases whatsoever. All sixty levels are available from the beginning and unlocking new units to use boils down to collecting bonuses during levels and beating missions. Once the player earns enough battle points they can spend them on both unlocking new units, like better tanks or infantry or improve the ones already available. There are no shortcuts here. If a level is lost it is always down to improper tactics or a lack of skill, instead of not spending enough money on the game. This is a wonderful feeling and sure to be a big boon to players.

Screenshot_2014-07-19-16-51-58A minor downer in Great Little War Game 2 is the removal of the often funny and always interesting mini cutscenes that provided so much entertainment in the first game. No longer do players get to see the latest ridiculous reason the Blue Army goes to war for or the latest pervy comment at female soldiers. Each mission is simply served up with a screen showing the map and the objective. This is an understandable sacrifice given that there’s a massive 60 missions in this game, but it’s still hard not to miss the window dressing. The complete removal of multiplayer is a somewhat larger sacrifice however. Hopefully this is restored in a future update.

Luckily, the game still features lots of highly amusing banter and snide anti-war snippets thrown in as units blast the stuffing out of each other. Hobo turd indeed. The game also looks very good, nearly identical to the first game although with better terrain effects.

Great Little War Game 2 has tons of replay value. As said earlier with sixty missions, loads of unlockable units and addictive tactical gameplay GLWG2 will last for a very long time.

Great Little War Game 2 is a fantastic game both for newcomers to the series and veterans eager for a boatload of new missions to play. A premier mobile game, it is a must play.