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.

Robo Guy Review

Robo Guy Review

Nov 30, 2016

Robo Guy is a simple game with a simple objective: make it from point A to Point B.

The game utilizes a utilitarian aesthetic; simple backgrounds, with straight to the point objects and characterizations. The game has a somewhat muted feel from the get-go.

The gameplay proceeds simply; using the virtual controls (for jumping and moving left or right), one learns how to traverse the original playing area. There walls of differing lengths, simulated caverns and the like, and the jump button is useful to get atop/over these.

In several instances, a regular jump might not be enough, and this is where the wall jumping comes in handy. By using the jump and direction buttons together, it is possible to get our hero to move upwards by launching from one wall to another adjacent one. This method of springing upwards allows our dude to get to heights otherwise impossible to reach.

In addition to the structures, other obstacles exist: spikes, for instance, should be avoided (as should the other live, mobile creatures), as they are usually lethal. These can be dispatched by jumping on them a set number of times, Mario-style.

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The game extends on and on, with several different levels that have different configurations. It spits a lot of more intricate levels, and formal strategy is a bit more important, as an errant move can reduce the life expectancy. Newer enemies also show up after a spell.

One aspect of the game that works is that it does not confine itself to movement in one direction. A successful sequence might entail going up and down, and then back up again to reach the exit. One might start off going leftwards and rightwards, doubling back a time or two, especially if one wants to pick up all the goodies that are available to be collected.

The game shows up as completely free, which makes it a low-risk try. Potential for fun? Extra.

The Archers 2 Review

The Archers 2 Review

Nov 30, 2016

Ah… The Archers 2. Here we go…

The game relies on the current fav of mobile gaming — stickmen — for characterization. The artwork is simple, with dark bodies superimposed on a pastel backdrops, creating a setup that makes the subsequent animations really pop. Indeed, the visuals seem to focus on keeping players interested in the action, and in this regard, the game mostly succeeds.

As far as actual action goes, again, simplicity is the core concept; this I’ve boils down to an archery based war of attrition. The game comes in two modes, player vs AI and multiplayer, but we cut our teeth on the former.

In single player mode, you get to control an archer nestled to one side of the screen; there is an opposing archer on the other side. Using gesture controls to control the potential strength and path of the arrow (just like the mechanism made familiar by Angry Birds), you then lift your finger to release the shot.

It takes two body shots (or one accurate headshot) to take out the opponent. And no, the opponent isn’t some pacifist that ducks and hides; he/she is shooting back, trying to end your run. You got to get him first.

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If you’re able to get past the archer, another one appears with the same goal in mind, but subsequent archers don’t says start from the same height or distance, so the player has to adjust on the fly to the new angle and distance. Of course, through it all, it becomes challenging to gain levels. Hint: look out for those apples… they are valuable.

Multiplayer plays out in similar fashion.

It is a fun romp; it qualifies as a difficult game, but it works because it is not infuriatingly hard. The simple mechanism is easy to glean, and the high score system helps make an excuse for continued play. It packs in ads, but those can be removed via in-app purchase.

Max Ammo Review — Defend the Earth… in Style

Max Ammo Review — Defend the Earth… in Style

Nov 29, 2016

Max Ammo may not be the hero we need… like, ever.

The game storyline starts with Max, a supposed “hotshot” with military experience, being welcomed to the “Agency.” An alien invasion is in full force, and it’s time to get to it.

The player gets to control Max in this chaotic environment, taking on said enemies in droves. The visuals are a big part of the game, and they invoke a series of urban environments, ravished by what can only be this alien war. The graphics aren’t necessarily scary; they have a fun quality to them, but the aliens are definitely the life of the visual party, what with their grim movements and such. All in all, it is an interesting presentation that helps frame the gameplay effectively.

The action itself is in the vein of a leveled cover shooter. Sort of. Our guy looks to advance in a set area strewn with debris and structures; using these objects as cover, he takes on enemy reptiles that shoot back and more. It’s simple really — he ducks by default, and rises (and is vulnerable) to shoot. Take the enemy out, collect the discarded goodies, and make it to the endzone.

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Yep.

Except, those aliens get craftier as one goes on, with better armaments and protective gar. After a while, the challenge gets harder, with big bosses elevating the game to true cover shooting territory.

Thankfully, the player gets opportunities to craft better gear and such. The crafting piece is fairly involvd, but the game does a great job of walikng the player through it. Better weapons and even game modes are unlocked by progress, and there all sorts of challenges, including time trials. Processes can be expedited with real cash, but cash doesn’t seem all that neccessary at the onset.

If the game does take a knock, it would probably be for its focus: this is a lot of the same. Still, it is so hard to put down, and manages to me interesting over time.

Gun Strider Review

Gun Strider Review

Nov 28, 2016

I’ve said it before: I am a sucker for gun fu. There’s something especially cool about gun-based martial arts practitioners. John Woo is my hero. Heck, I bought John Wick almost entirely based of of one scene.

Yes, The Matrix deserves to be in the Library of Congress. No joke.

Not all of us have John Woo (with his fantastic equipment and effects on speed dial); as such, Gun Strider might — should — be the next best thing.

In this game, you might be forgiven if one unconsciously draws parallels between it and the gun kata manifesto Equilibrium. The backstory involves a futuristic society run by brutal dictatorship that is looks to extinguish emotion. The player takes on the persona of a an angered individual that goes against a corrupt establishment.

In gameplay terms, this boils down to armed thugs looking to end our hero. The on-hands intro helps players get in: the game plays in landscape, and our hero starts off in the middle of any one of the numerous playing environments, armed with two pistols. Then, the bad guys begin to pop up, guns up and ready to shoot soon.

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The key is to tap these enemies; tapping on them allows our hero to perform a quick gun-fu maneuver while shooting the tapped enemy. Taking too much time (or… the horror… missing the target completely) allows the enemy to have time squeeze off a shot, so speed and accuracy are of particular importance.

As one would expect, there are some curve balls. Every now and then, there are innocent civilians that pop up. Careful, because tapping (shooting) them is very bad. Then, tougher cops also appear, ones that require more than a single shot. Eventually, with enemies and tricks popping up here and there, the game becomes a crazy fiesta of quick tapping.

The upgrade process is simple: finishing levels earns game cash, and game cash can be used to improve tools and attributes.

It’s a simple game, one that doesn’t require too much thought; it has been done before, but works well as a time waster.

Space Marshals 2 Review — the Mustachioed Space Cowboy is Back!

Space Marshals 2 Review — the Mustachioed Space Cowboy is Back!

Nov 25, 2016

Calm me down as my heart stutters. Space Marshals 2 is here.

See, the first one was awesome. It’s hard to m=nail down why. Was it the space cowboy storyline? The chapter-based gameplay? Or was it the lead character that would have Tom Selleck begging for an autograph? Either way, it is a game that still resonates.

The sequel manages to bring back all that goodness, with a dash of more that makes it even cooler.

The core gameplay remains similar to the first iteration. We get some backstory — our famed Marshal Burton and some comrades are stolen off the marshal transport Artemis while in stasis; they awaken at a mining colony. Seems like there is bounty on the Burton, and some enterprising space bandits are only too happy to collect.

The opening scene helps folks get in on the controls and take in the visuals. With the help pg TAMI, and AI mechanism, the player learns how to control the lead character (through leftwards gestures) and the shooting mechanism (which is by touch/targeting). The player has to roam about, collecting items, working minor puzzles and interacting with people and objects.

The action works through missions which are further broken down into tasks. Each mission as an overarching goal, and there might be additional extras to get at as well. A lot of the action involves taking out space pirates, and there is a logic with regards to the best way to tackle this. They generally roam around, and have a visual field of vision that moves with them. If the player is “seen” by the enemy, they start shooting, and that might bring more baddies running.

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To combat this, the game not only allows Burton to crouch into stealth mode, but he can actually creep around and, if the enemy’s back is turned, can dispatch them quietly. Or, one can take the bull by the horns and come in with guns blazing.

There are goodies to collect, and health and safety bonuses that can be used during missions.

The visuals help make this game pop. Fine animations, a hint of ragdoll physics and the landscape presentation make it all so becoming. Good guys are green, bad red and the oranges can go either way… interesting all round.

It’s hard to come back from a great game with a worthy sequel. This is how it’s done.

Battleship Lonewolf: Space TD Review — Beating Back the Flenarrets

Battleship Lonewolf: Space TD Review — Beating Back the Flenarrets

Nov 25, 2016

Strap in. Battleship Lonewolf: Space TD is a hard ride, and being a hero is never short journey.

Queen Rucca and the Flenarrets are the aggressor, and its up to you, as the captain of Lonewolf, to stave them off.

Graphically, it’s easy to enjoy. The battle scenes highlight some engaging graphics, and the outer space motif is mostly well done; blended simulated lights and great use of color are present throughout. Superimposed on this are the primary graphics: ships here and there, projectiles, explosion remnants along with delightfully smooth animations.

The sound pops as well, giving the game a futuristic feel while helping create a battlefield experience.

It all comes together as a battle against waves and waves — and bigger, scarier waves — of opponents. The hands-on tutorial helps one to understand the basics, which consists of prepping the ship for battle using a selection of weapons available, and proceeding to the mission on hand.

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The ship is controlled by finger gesture; it perpetually goes forward, and the player can turn it on its axis to guide its general direction. A radar system of sorts tells players of incoming enemies and shows them where they are coming from, and the player can then direct the automatic turrets in their direction, and, with some maneuvering, duck incoming fire. All combatants (including the player) have life bars; of course, the idea is to empty theirs before they empty yours.

Destroyed enemies leave behind valuable materials, so the player can look to collect these orbs. The action usually continues until a boss vessel appears. This final one usually has a special ability that makes it tough to beat. And, by the way, there is a time limit.

Success opens subsequent levels.

One aspect of this game that is commendable is its simplicity. There isn’t any convoluted upgrade mechanism involving multiple types of currency; in this, you complete the missions, and get more stuff unlocked. You can also upgrade ship attributes at your own pace, and failed missions can be repeated.

It might feel a bit monotonous, but for the most part it does wave battling quite well.

Being a futuristic champion of the people is not easy, Captain.

Dustoff Heli Rescue 2 Review

Dustoff Heli Rescue 2 Review

Nov 22, 2016

Got a hero complex? Dustoff Heli Rescue 2 is here.

Chunky graphics hold sway, but don’t affect the smooth animations. The attention to detail is impressive, and it frames the gameplay to come quite well.

The on-hands tutorial does a good job of presenting the game and simultaneously allowing players to get their toes wet. It starts off with our friendly neighborhood chopper, and learning to get it off the ground. The player also learns how to land — safely, by the way — and the basics of balance and flying.

After this set, the tutorial hints at the type of missions, and allows one to take part passively. rescue, drop-offs and even firefights; as one goes on through this short sequence, one learns how to use the simple directional system, and to understand the color-coding and other subtle gameplay elements.

The actual action emanates from this simple premise. It’s leveled, and every “mission” is preceded by a small informational that details the goals. Then, it’s time to do it, and do it well; rewards for proficiency include gold game coins, plus a star-based ratings system. Mission times apply, so finger dexterity and timing are pluses.

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As one goes on successfully, more levels and goodies are unlocked. Better choppers can be unlocked at particular levels, or one can look to expedite the procurement of upgraded flying equipment. The same goes for weaponry and the like. It’s also possible to purchase boosts at the beginning of a mission, so gold coins do have their purposes.

The management piece helps keep the game interesting. It’s not all about just upgrading and moving on, because there are some junctures that one might look to pick the best tool for the upcoming job, versus simply going for, say, the biggest guns.

It comes together quite well, and works through the different elements found therein.

Pixelfield Review

Pixelfield Review

Nov 22, 2016

From a visual standpoint, Pixelfield certainly looks atypical, in a retro kind of way. The sticky animations make the action sequences pop, and the extra effects blend in effectively. The deliberate blast-from-the-past delivery does its duty by powering piquing one’s interest from the get go.

Graphics aside, the gameplay had its own familiar cornerstone: it swings in as a first person shooter adventure. You have the choice of two modes to pick from — single or multiplayer — and the main idea is to, well, stay alive.

Single player mode is where we cut our teeth. After picking location and enemy creepers (robots? Zombies? Choices…) it is time to go.

The player’s character gets dropped into a playing area, usually set up for exploration and the like. The view is, as previously noted, in the first-person, and at some point, this character will come upon an enemy thingie. It’s pretty straightforward here: kill or be killed… while looking for pigs, by the way.

Rinse. Repeat.

The action does feel harrowing at times. The baddies move quick, and do their damage by prolonged contact, so at the beginning, using a gun, moving and keeping as much action as possible in front of you is probably the best collective strategy. The online play is more collaborative, which should appeal to group players.

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It is almost necessary to do upgrades as you get further into the game. One can improve looks, skins weapons and more, and there are boosts to utilize as well.

It’s a lot of the same, yes. Still, multiplayer functionality has a way of covering up a multitude of perceived ills. I also think an interactive map which shows incoming enemies is a drawback, but hey, one man’s drawback is another man’s challenge.

Challenging, interesting, and cute to boot. Old school never gets old.

The Trail Review

The Trail Review

Nov 18, 2016

You might not believe you have a New World pioneering spirit deep down inside, but The Trail, a new-ish game under the Kongregate banner, just might have you doubting that surety.

This one has some great pedigree too, being another Peter Molyneux production; this one definitely reaches for the inner pilgrim; it’s set in a what feels like a newly populated land, and the player takes on the persona of one of the brave souls looking to make their fortune in the mostly uncharted territory.

The game begins with a very detailed, extensive tutorial; it leads one through selecting a character, and then gives the hint of a backstory which involves trail3the player arriving in the new land by ship. Thereafter, the game leads the player through the activities that hopefully ensure success. With the use of an in-game guide, the game slowly comes to life.

There is a lot of exploration; there are target destination in place, and the core idea is to make it to the checkpoints, replenish the life-source, and continue on. Secondary to that, there are plenty of mini-tasks to accomplish. One is collecting materials as one travels the pathways. This is very important, because this supplies the entire game, and involves things like collecting edibles and other things which can be crafted for trades.

This collection element is interestingly layered. After a while, one gets to do stuff like hack tree stumps and/or hunt game. There is also a resource management aspect; there is limited space to collect materials, so one needs to know what to carry or discard. Does one item have better trade-in or crafting value than another? Energy depletion is a real danger, so does one have an emergency snack onboard? Decisions, decisions…

These opportunity costs really make the game interesting. Stuff can be expedited with real cash, but play can go on without it. Progress unlocks more and more stuff, and the game continually unfolds, which is surprising for something that, at first glance, looks like a gingerly walk along the path. Take the trading battles for instance; losing is not to be condoned!

It comes together nicely; the graphics feel stilted at times, but the visuals do the job of adequately conveying the gameplay. All in all, it is easy to enjoy, and tough to put down; the combination of action, strategy and management make it easy to get addicted to.

PinOut Review

PinOut Review

Nov 15, 2016

‘Tis the season of retro, and PinOut helps one to reminisce.

It’s a really glitzy affair, with pulsating colors and contact-ignited visual sequences. The animations are silky smooth, and as game the depends so much pn believable simulated physics, it is feels quite authentic. If one is looking for something that looks like an old-school arcade thriller, this one works well.

But this ain’t your grammy’s pinball, no sir. The mechanics are the familiar, and the controls are equally as intuitive: keep the ball from dropping by pinout3using the paddles to propel it upwards. Tap controls can be used to manipulate the original set of flippers; tapping on either side controls the flipper on the corresponding side.

But unlike a regular pinpall-style game, there isn’t just one set section to bounce around in. The main goal is to travel “higher” and forward, so as to make the ball travel as far as possible. Think of it as a pinball machine that has an endless height area, and you, the player, is looking to keep on geting higher and higher, using subsequent flippers to keep the movement going.

The playing area is very pinball-like, with arches, targets, bumpers and more serving as either obstacles or helpers depending on the goal at any given point. With a bit of practice, it it possible to be fairly accurate with regards to propelling the ball through a particular pathway. This one utilizes time trials, so it’s a matter of looking to go far fast, and to pick up as many performance-enhancing boosts on the way.

In the end, high score glory is the name of the game. There are mini-games, and one can open up checkpoint continues via in-app purchase.

If anything, it definitely is interesting; one could described as, well, an endless “pinballer” (maybe?) with time trials, The optional premium checkpoint continues increase potential value, and the opportunity to reach newer sections helps players keep motivated.

It’s simple and enjoyable, and sometimes, that can’t be beat.

Galaga Wars Review

Galaga Wars Review

Nov 14, 2016

Galaga Wars is an old-school experience built for a mobile generation.

Based on the eponymous arcade hit from decades ago, this one recreates a space shooter invasion scenario, and allows folks to partake of it on our varied smartdevices.

Definitely worth a look. On paper, at least.

It plays in portrait, and utilizes brazenly expressive graphics that pop and sizzle… almost literally. The player uses a continuous finger gesture to guide the ever-shooting spaceship as it battles a futuristic cadre of lethal, bug-shaped enemy that is eager to destroy the last vestiges of humanity.galaga3

It boils down to a war of attrition. The main job is to take out the enemy craft, which dive and swoop in intricately adventurous motions, sometimes while shooting. So, one must position the craft to take out the enemy, while avoiding run ending/delaying enemy fire. As the game goes on, the enemy craft get craftier, as does the fire, and the bosses add an interesting wrinkle.

Better stuff can be purchased in the app.

It’s simply laid forth, so much so that one need not have played the original to like it; indeed, its roots as an arcade space shooter allow it to retain an intuitive feel that make it especially easy to get into and enjoy. The microtransactions, while understandable, do blunt the upgrade experience; one almost wishes that coin accumulation, however prolonged, were an option with regards to getting better craft and attributes.

The control mechanism can be an obstacle sometimes, but that is a reality of games if this sort that use gestures. What one might lose in the area of complete view of the playing area might be gained in accuracy of control.

All in all, at first play, it comes across as a competent port, and it doesn’t rely too much on nostalgia to make its presence felt.

Just as well, because the blast to the past can then be an added benefit.