Burrito Bison – Luancha Libre Review

Burrito Bison – Luancha Libre Review

Jan 17, 2017

Some games are about skill, some will challenge your mental capabilities and others have a story to tell. There are also some games that are just exercises in repetition that require little thought and minimal technique. These games can be awesome and Burrito Bison – Launcha Libre is evidence of that.

The set-up is as follows – you’re a lucha libre trapped in a candy kingdom. The only way to escape is to launch yourself from the ropes and fly through the air to freedom. How this plays out is really simple. Drag your wrestler back and launch them, much like Angry Birds, and once you’re airborne you have nothing to do but tap the screen to perform a special ability.

With a choice of three wrestlers, you special ability will differ depending on who you’re playing as. One will slam into the ground at great force, one will launch a grappling hook to pull themselves onto an enemy and another can glide upward before falling back down.

So where’s the game? Well, this being an evil candy kingdom there’s gummy bears everywhere and you need to try and land on them to earn cash. There are different types of gummy bears, some that will slow you down and others that will launch you into the air, speed you up or give you a ball of honey that devours all the bears in your wake.

It’s really basic but it’s compelling because there’s a good variety of sugary enemies to bump into, each with their own unique affect on your character, and there’s loads of upgrades to unlock. You’ll need these upgrades if you want to get your wrestler to the end of each area. Getting to the end of each area is a feat but it’s blasting through the walls will let you move onto the next area of the candy kingdom. So all you need to do is make sure you keep your speed up, keep on upgrading and before you know it each run you make will consist of you breaching multiple cookie walls and destroying tons of gummy bears. Simple.

As you may be aware of, Burrito Bison – Launcha Libre is incredibly simple but it’s incredibly slick and well presented that it’s a real joy to play. Each of the enemies are well designed and fun to crash into, the 3 different wrestlers play only slightly differently but these slight differences make big differences to how you play and the audio gives every collision a real sense of power.

In the end, Burrito Bison – Launcha Libre is a very simple game but it’s made so well, has a lot of variety based around its simple premise and is incredibly generous with its advertising and IAPs. I can’t recommend Burrito Bison – Launcha Libre enough. It’s simple but it’s polished and it’s free but it doesn’t demand you watch a ton of adverts. Great stuff.


Cartoon Network Superstar Soccer: Goal!!! Review

Cartoon Network Superstar Soccer: Goal!!! Review

Dec 31, 2016

For as advanced as sports games have become, with realistic physics and visuals that make you think you’re watching a live game, it’s nice now and then to kick back with some arcade action. In fact, the most complicated thing about Cartoon Network Superstar Soccer: Goal!!! is trying to remember its name.

If you’ve played arcade style soccer games before, you’ll have a good idea of what to expect. Dribbling with the ball is as simple as running without it, tackling for the ball doesn’t require timing like in the real world and long range efforts hit the back of the net with frightening frequency. The World of Gumball’s Darwin is a better striker of the ball than Cristiano Ronaldo, it seems.unnamed-6

The action on the pitch is fast-paced and easy to grasp. You have three outfield players on each team with one of your players being a ‘superstar’. A superstar is capable of a special move once their meter is filled up and these special moves are simple to activate, requiring nothing more than the press of a button. Controls in general are simple, with a button for shooting, passing and dribbling being all you need. Holding down these buttons result in ‘bigger’ versions of each action, such as a shot with more power or a pass that travels further. The only difference between each player is the fact that the superstars have their own unique moves, with everything else largely being equal.

These superstars are taken from all manner of Cartoon Network shows, from Uncle Grandpa, Adventure Time to Regular Show. Odds are that you’ll find someone from one of your favorite shows but odds are that you’ll need to spend time unlocking them first. You can unlock characters by simply playing your way through matches and earning coins as you do. Coins are used to unlock characters as well as unlock equipable items, like hats and glasses, that let you customize your characters.

This is a bit of a problem, because whilst playing the game itself is fun, if a little basic, there’s really not much built around playing each match. There’s no real season mode or story mode to speak of. You can play a series of 4 matches, which the game will call a cup and that’s about it. You can also play online, which seems to work pretty well over 4G and using my home’s terrible wifi connection.

Other than that, there’s not really all that much else to say. The presentation is pretty great, with characters managing to look great in the game’s pared down 3D style, along with plenty of audio taken straight from the shows. The controls of the game are pretty tight and work well, considering they’re on-screen buttons, and the arcade action is bound to please most. There’s just nothing that’s particularly outstanding or memorable about this well made yet fairly simplistic arcade soccer game.

Dawn of Titans Review

Dawn of Titans Review

Dec 24, 2016

Dawn of Titans has been making quite a stir of late; it’s only right that we took it for a spin.

We do get some fantasy back story: long, long ago, large behemoth beings called Titans roamed the earth, and helped protect it. Then, one of the Titans decided to, well, consolidate all that power. Yep, Almarand did what folks who are stronger than everyone else do: he took on the other Titans.

Korthan, the noble king of the Titans, took it upon himself to stop Almarand, and sacrificed himself to do so. As a result of that defeat, all Titans disappeared from the world.

Until now. Looks like the Titans are back.

The action opens via tutorial; here, we begin to see the lush fictional world that makes up Dawn of Titans. Aerial kingdoms, huge castles, medieval-type soldiers and more. The game employs deliberate animations, and the in-battle audio gets intense.

The game also incorporates a very hands-on tutorial. This guides the player along and through the games’s complex gameplay via visual highlighting and pop-up screens. The main goal? Gain stuff by force, and repel efforts by others to get yours.

Simple, no?

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It’s a pretty engaging saga which starts out with the player under siege from a powerful rival; at this time, you also find out from trusted advisors that Titans are not a myth; they are here, and hey, can be used to repel and beat the enemy. There is a process to select troops, train them and such. And there is battling. A lot of battling and raiding.

The battles are were strategy is of a premium. Having well trained, varied troops is great, but nothing beats a good plan. At first (with the help of the tutorial, fighting is a matter of mapping out troops and winning a war of attrition; secondarily to that, it is necessary to have the materials to train them with and move high enough XP-wise to unlock better troops and perks. Even when numerically outnumbered, it is possible to win a PvP battle via superior tactics.

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There are a lot of elements, and they are all interconnected. To, say, upgrade one’s base, there are pre-requisites that must be met. In this way, one grows somewhat evenly. As one goes on, other elements get opened up, like alliances, and the need to protect ones accumulated lands. Titans can be collected, and XP and VP are important measurements.

It is a pretty interesting game, with a lot of depth, and one that is hard to explain adequately in a review. For folks looking for quick sagas, this might not be great; it demands a good deal of involvement to be successful.

I sense a how-to coming up…

Word Cookies Review

Word Cookies Review

Dec 23, 2016

Word Cookies might get you hungry — even subliminally — in more ways than one.

At its core, it is a straightforward word game. The visual representation highlights this, with a baking motif (plus optional Christmas theme) interspersed with dark patterns and light fonts — all set in portrait orientation.

The gameplay itself is easy to glean from the beginning, there is a jumble of letters on the screen, topped by a number of block sots for formed words. The idea is to fill up all the word slots using wc3words created from the jumble.

Now, the words are created by using finger gestures to spell out the words from the letters available. The player can gesture swipe in any direction, and hopefully will create a word that fits into one of the word slots.

A good word created a green link, and a bad or unaccepted ones leave a red trail.

One all the word slots are filled, the level is finished, and a new level is unlocked. A successful run can nets points and gold coin, and the latter can be used to purchase hints if you get stumped. There is also a reshuffle option.

As one goes on, the challenge does get harder and harder, but there isn’t a rush, so you can take a lot of time trying combinations out. Be warned though, some real words can be red herrings.

It’s a bit of a sleeper hit, in that it seemingly sneaks up on you and steals your heart. It’s so easy going though; if there is one feature I’d love to see, it would be a timer option through all the levels; I think this would add an extra layer of challenge to folks who would enjoy the scramble.

All in all, it is quite enjoyable, and the self-contained nature makes it easy to get into — stay into it.

Smashy Road: Arena Review — Gladiator Battle, Cuby-Style

Smashy Road: Arena Review — Gladiator Battle, Cuby-Style

Dec 22, 2016

Simply put, it ain’t hard to like Smashy Road: Arena.

The cubism is glorious. The game incorporates plenty of color through varying backgrounds. It is an interesting presentation, and action reflects well in landscape. Altogether, it’s a great media touch.

The game depends a lot on the controls. You get to control a car that mostly moves forward, and two broad buttons to swerve the car either left or right are on the screen. learning to use them in conjunction is quite important.

The gameplay comes in two major flavors; the one gives the game its signature name, and pits you, the player, against a few other random players in a multiplayer arena experience. The idea? use the aforementioned controls to guide the car past obstacles and away from hazards in a timed race to get as much collectible goodies as possible. XP is also up for grabs, as well as leaderboard respect.

There is also a single player experience… gameplay is similar… avoid hazards, pick up the goodies, and try to keep the vehicle upright. In addition, one has to avoid The Man.

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Yep, 5-0, and these guys roll deep; they have no compunction when it comes to ramming vehicles and the like, and they look to “arrest” the player’s car by boxing it in or wrecking it. Getting away from them can be hazardous, as they don’t mind seeing a quarry take a run-ending dive into a prohibitive body of water.

The game cash can be used to get better stuff, and can be supplemented by gift boxes and watching ads. Real cash can also be used.

Smashy Road: Arena’s true charm is that it really is an impossible game that manages to be addictive without being infuriating. The built-in themes are enjoyable diversions, and the relative unpredictability makes it a new-ish experience just about every time the game is played. the two game modes balance each other well, and the online multiplayer is great for bragging rights.

Welcome to the Arena.

Archery King Review — Own the Range

Archery King Review — Own the Range

Dec 22, 2016

It seems that archery games are popping up everywhere, and probably with good reason. Archery — the real, physical kind — is definitely a fun experience, pitting concentration against the elements and physics.

The virtual kind lends itself to the same, somewhat, and it makes sens that Android development stalwart Miniclip has thrown its hat into the ring with Archery King.

It is definitely a brightly-rendered game; the many environments are done relatively well, and the use of perspective is especially striking, as one should expect from a game of this type. The equipment is tightly done, and the animations are fairly smooth.

When it comes to gameplay, we get a few different modes, some in multiplayer and others in single ak3player against AI. More specifically, there is Classic (multiplayer), Rush (multiplayer), Challenge (single), Time Race (single) and a Mini Game section. Checking it out in Classic mode seemed like a plan.

It is fairly easy to understand. The game shows the player have to shoot, which involves gesturing to use the sights, and then adjusting to get as close to the bullseye as possible. Releasing shoots the arrow.

Now, in the perfect conditions, the arrow flies straight, and hits the center (or very close) for a 10. The game incorporates a degree of physics though, so one has to contend with stuff like wind, so getting a high score every time isn’t as easy as it may seem.

But back to Classic gameplay… when the control mechanics are understood, one gets to go against another player that is randomly chosen. There are different entry tiers (using virtual cash); generally speaking, more cash yields higher payouts. At this point, it is a shooting contest between the two players, and best of three rounds wins the jackpot, plus some XP. There is a time limit to shoot, and tie-breakers when the tallies are even after three.

As one plays on, competition gets tougher. One can pick up better gear as they become available.

Rush Mode is a race, and Challenge is a lone. leveled adventure with interesting challenges.

The multiplayer aspect is fun; the ability to choose players (as in local multiplayer, especially) would be nice. It is possible to earn coins by watching ads, but premium stuff requires extra cash.

All in all, it is a nice diversion mostly. It works well free, and the Facebook connectivity option will appeal to some folks.

Stickman Basketball 2017 Review

Stickman Basketball 2017 Review

Dec 14, 2016

It’s a stickman world, and few entities do it better than Djinnworks GmbH. When it comes to stickman-based sims, we generally like what it puts out.

It’s done basketball before; now we get Stickman Basketball 2017, a continuation of the legacy.

The tutorial is very useful in getting players familiar with the game; it runs an abbreviated 5v2 scrimmage with the numbers in the players favor. The action takes place on a basketball court with the expected stick figures taking the stage.

Using virtual controls, the game runs a jump ball sequence, and then the action commences. On the offensive side, passing mechanism is simple in theory, but not exactly easy to use without a bit of practice. The joystick allows users to guide the highlighted player, and shooting is intuitive for anyone who has played a basketball sim with virtual buttons: there is a degree of feel required to get the perfect shot off.

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Defensively, one can block or steal shots, and again, switching off players is key to doing this effectively.

The scoring goes as one would expect: three points for shots from beyond the arc, and two points for dunks and closer field goals.

After mastering the controls — or coming close to this — the player can then select from any number of game modes: Quick Game (for a simple, no strings attached session), Seasons (get in on an adjustable length “S”BA season), National Team Cups (adjustable length international play), WBCBL (an admirable mode based on female teams) and Party Mode (local multiplayer battle for bragging rights).

There are different difficulty modes; the games, at the base level, are enjoyable, and fairly competitive. The different modes are a great addition, as they allow players to find their own engagement levels. The rewards system is a nice touch, allowing folks to unlock more content and rewards by achieving specific action thresholds.

The game does have an in-app transaction to kill ads and unlock all rewards, but the game can be played without this.

Fun addition to the stickman world. Well worth a look.

LEGO Speed Champions Review – a Studtastic Experience

LEGO Speed Champions Review – a Studtastic Experience

Dec 13, 2016

LEGO’s imprint is everywhere, and with its increased attention to mobility, we get to enjoy output like LEGO Speed Champions.

The controls are as ready as they come, really: one virtual button for leftward movements nestled in the left of the playing area, and a matching one on the other side.

It feels like a tabletop game, and the controls are a big part of the reason this game might appeal to folks. The fluid car movements braced against the challenge of the racing area make for a relatively engaging experience.

The race environments are Indy-ish, quite windy, and the arcade quotient is high, with gold studs, speed boosts, hazards and more. The oil patches, for instance, work quite well, and working to avoid is an engaging aspect of the game. The raceways are lined with the aforementioned collectible studs (which serve as game cash). Visually, the game reflects the LEGO creative mindset, and the color and sounds are just about right for this type of game.

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At the beginning of any one race, the player gets to select from a host of cars, ranging from Mustangs to more exotic porsches. Some vehicles are more retro than others, but each has it’s attributes, so it makes sense to try them all. The different vehicles also increase the gameplay available.

Working the controls, as noted earlier, is key. It’s all about steering and correcting, and figuring out how to drift when necessary to get around the monster curves. When racing against the 4 or 5 AI vehicles, it feels like a virtual episode of bumper cars.

The action is about as straightforward as it comes: each race has three varying challenges (like winning or drifting thresholds). The ultimate goal? Win, collect gold pieces along the way and by completing goals, and move up the ladder and unlock new content. All self-contained.

There is also an online leaderboard feature, which is accessible with a LEGO ID.

My kingdom for multiplayer functionality. Weirdly enough, the game comes up as a Chromecast-compatible game, but we couldn’t get it up and running.

It’s a fun game; a one trick pony, yes, but it does the trick very well. For a free game, it ain’t bad at all.

Hill Climb Racing 2 Review

Hill Climb Racing 2 Review

Dec 12, 2016

The sequel is here! Say hello to Hill Climb Racing 2.

The graphics hearken to the original iteration: fun, with a hint of exaggerated physics and hilly, 2D racing and smooth animations.

The control mechanism should also be somewhat familiar to purveyors of the original version; again, two main controls to controls to control the vehicle as it bounces of hilly paths as it races from left to right. The trick is figuring out how to use both pedals in tandem. The right pedal moves the car forward and keeps it a bit front-side up; the back pedal, in essence, does the opposite. Now, the dichotomy becomes apparent when the vehicle goes airborne (and yes, it will). If you keep that forward/gas pedal mashed, the jeep will tend to tip backwards, up until it tips over — ending the run.

Conversely, being overly ambition with the back/break button can make the jeep flip over the front. With a little practice though, one might be able to manage the vehicle’s forward progress by judiciously using both buttons.

Actual gameplay comes in two flavors Cups pits you against other AI racers in a points driven series of races. Adventure is more idyllic — but just so; this is a self-indulgent high distance experience. The friend challenge allows you to take on friends in a battle to the finish line. All have their merits, but we did. lot of work in the cups.

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The race ways are lined up with gold coins and valuable gas fill-ups. The latter are important, and are one reason one doesn’t want to get caught between obstacles after, say, an errant jump. The gold coins (and the rewards for good performances) are valuable when it comes to upgrading the vehicle.

And vehicle upgrades are a huge part of going further into the game, because the raceways do become pretty tough to conquer with only the bare basic start car. It’s also possible to soup up the car and driver with better paint, clothing and hairdo. Hey… you do you.

The other play modes are easy to get into; Adventure Mode is a great way to accumulate coins in a relatively self-paced environment, while Friends looks to tap into Facebook relationships.

The game incorporates in-app purchasing for those that like to expedite processes. There are goodies chests and achievement bonuses as well.

All in all, it is a fine sequel, but one that easily stands on its own. The different modes are enjoyable as standalones, and the challenge is engaging without being infuriating.

Colt Express Review: Wild West Card Trip

Colt Express Review: Wild West Card Trip

Dec 12, 2016

Frankly, I didn’t know what exactly to expect from Colt Express. Yes, it is spawned from a fun board game, but how on earth would it translate to mobile?

Spoiler alert: surprisingly well.

Hold that thought…

The artwork is fun with a bit of the whimsical; the fast-moving backgrounds and card characters invoke the old west quite adequately. The continual might be distracting for some, but the gameplay hopefully nullifies this for most.

It took a bit to get used to the card and their permutations, but with a little bit — okay, a lot — of practice, it began to come together. The tutorial did help a great deal, but it could be said that nothing beats actually playing.

The action takes place on/in the “moving” train as described above; when playing against the AI, the player takes on the persona of a train bandit. At the onset of a game, one gets chance-assigned actions cards, and one also gets so many opportunities to use them in the round, in turn with the other players.

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The cards are straight-to-the-point: they initiate stuff like movement, punching/shoving, shooting, picking up goodies and even summoning the big bad marshal. The idea is to outwit each and out-accumulate the other bandits, avoid the marshal and end up with the most cash at the end of all the rounds.

One can move around, towards loot and away from others, on top of cars and through them, and so on.

In each around, the players have to select cards in advance; thus, there is a big reliance on planning ahead, because to succeed, one has to take into account the opponent moves. The game throws in a toughie every now and then too, so there is plenty of challenges available.

The game is smart enough to have multiplayer, though this is random.

All in all, it was fun — once I figured it out. It is a great diversion, and the board game elements really work very well.

Bowmasters Review – Mayhem Unlimited

Bowmasters Review – Mayhem Unlimited

Dec 11, 2016

Bowmasters definitely catches the attention, but not in the way want might think.

Old Palm heads may liken it to Sid Meier’s Civilization IV: A War of Two Cities, what with the arcing barrage-based gameplay. This one is decidedly more lighthearted though; dispensing pain shouldn’t be fun, should it?

The artwork is quite zany. At first glance, it’s clear that this game refuses to take itself too seriously, and that decision works quite well. The characters are all loose-limbed and ragdolly, and exhibit cheerful dispositions. The backgrounds are all bright and engaging, and altogether, the visuals border on the comical.

Simply put, Bowmasters is a war of attrition. In the core mode, the main idea is to take out the enemy before you are taken out. The combatants are placed across from each other, and basically fling deadly projectiles in turn till one of their life bars is completely drained.

The true skill is in landing a hit. See, the enemy is shown at first, but then pans out of sight; you (the player) has to deduce how much power and distance — while accounting for simulated gravity — to put on the shot to strike the opponent. Too much or too little, and it flies high or drops short. You don’t want to miss too many opportunities, because the opponent probably won’t. Yes, fight to the death. And by the way, a direct hit might move the target, so you might have to adjust aim on the fly.

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The physical result of hits are gruesomely funny; the invitation to “finish” defeated opponents with a final shot has to be seen, as do the breadth of characters and weapons (hello, flaming football!).

The game also incorporates friend play and other mini-games, like going for apples and birds. Doing well yield game coins, and extra characters can be unlocked with this (or real cash).

This one is a fantastic timewaster, and the free-to-play nature makes it well worth a try.

Water Slide 3D Review

Water Slide 3D Review

Dec 8, 2016

Water Slide 3D… a game with water? Why not?

This one is a speedy affair, set in a rambunctious water slide that is full of exhilarating twists and turns.

Visually, it is easy on the eyes, with bright graphics that create the type of fun atmosphere one would expect with a real water slide. The animations are smooth, and the game elements are not that ws3inauthentic looking, so we do get a fun-looking experience rendered in portrait orientation.

The game is a quick study; learning is helped on by an action tutorial that leads one through the basics of play and control. This one uses tilt controls by default, but if one prefers virtual buttons, that option can be toggled in settings. While a run is happening, one might use taps too; for the most part the controls are easy to understand and work well in practice.

The game also helps players get acquainted with the game currency system, which is instrumental to success.

Gameplay? Two broad play modes, each quite intuitive: guide the slider down the windy pipe to the water as quickly — and unscathed — as possible. Of course, there are obstacles that test the player’s reflexes, and these are countered by goodies like coins and power-ups. Through it all, one has to keep control of the swiftly traveling adventurer, and measure the opportunity costs of swerving to get a boost against a run-stopping wall. Just when one figures to do something safe and, say, travel straight through the middle, the game throws the paler for the loop and forces the player to change tack.

Collecting coins is a big part of the gameplay, both because its needed to procure in-game stuff and there are run collection thresholds in some segments of the game. There is a jewel system too; the game has an ad system (plus microtransactions) to help buttress these. There is an achievement system as well.

It comes together remarkably well; it may not be a game with a lot of depth, but it does well as a game one can pick up and play in intervals.