Fatal Fury Special Review

Fatal Fury Special Review

Apr 30, 2015

Fatal Fury Special brings nostalgic memories. Those of 16-bit graphics, cheat books, “you died, now my turn” hijinks, and lots and lots of blind adolescent rage. Fatal Fury Special on Google Play helps bring at least one of those things back, and it’s not the cheat books.

Fatal Fury Special is a direct port of an old fighting game that, as far as I remember, never went big in the western world. It doesn’t have the over-the-top violence of Mortal Combat, or over-the-top characters of Street Fighter. What it does have, however, is a solid fighting mechanic, a dozen of varied fighters with unique fighting styles, and a unique mechanic that allows the characters jump back and forth between two “layers” of the level.

There’s not a lot of content to speak about in Fatal Fury Special. There’s a bunch of locations and a bunch of different fighters. There’s a “story” mode that is actually just an arcade mode, in which the player has to defeat several enemy characters in a row, and a newly-implemented Bluetooth Mode, where two players can battle it out on their devices via bluetooth. That’s it. It’s a pretty bare-bones game, but since I got it for $.99, I don’t see any issues with that.

As for the gameplay, it’s almost identical to all of the other SNES and arcade fighting sims. Of course, it’s closest to Street Fatal Fury Special 4Fighter, to the point where some characters look quite a lot like that. There are four attack buttons, a “special” button, and a button that makes the character jump to the different layer of the level. Besides the layer-jumping, which isn’t really that game-changing, it’s exactly like the other arcade fighting games, so it’s no use describing all of its mechanics. Its fun, if you’re a fan of that sort of stuff, but it’s also incredibly difficult. The “beginner” difficulty AI had me plastered on the walls for about 10 fights, before I remembered how to button-mash. Fatal Fury Special is definitely aimed for the hardcore fans, and I’m sure those fans won’t be disappointed.

Overall, Fatal Fury Special is a straight, direct port of the original game, without any changes. Again, fans of the old fighting sims are going to be pleased, but I’m afraid more casual players will find it too punishing. Also, a couple of other things. The button layout and size can be changed in the settings, and I urge you to do that from the beginning, or the game turns into an unplayable hell, as the buttons take almost half of the screen.

Implosion – Never Lose Hope Review

Implosion – Never Lose Hope Review

Apr 30, 2015

Implosion – Never Lose Hope is a hack-n-slash action game that takes place after Earth has been invaded, and subsequently lost to, a weaponized virus that mutates humans into vile, disgusting creatures that kill everyone they see. With the question of how they sustain themselves decades after supposedly killing everyone off being left unanswered, the humans have set to the stars and created off-world colonies, being protected by a special army of special distantly-controlled robots, who are able to fight the creatures without putting anyone at risk of infection. The game follows the adventures of one of the pilots of these mechs, who has to return to Earth, in order to investigate a beacon that went off somewhere inside.

Right from there, Implosion – Never Lose Hope sounds like a high-budget game with an interesting and complex story – and, surprisingly, it is. There are cutscenes, and professional voice acting, and complex gameplay – the game honestly wouldn’t look bad if it was released on PSN tomorrow. But this all comes with a huge “but”. Implosion – Never Lose Hope is merely a trial that expires at several missions in, and requires the purchase of the whole game, which costs 10 bucks. It’s a pretty huge price for a mobile game. This means that even if the game is awesome, you’re left wondering if it’s better to purchase 5 simpler and cheaper games instead. Which is a shame, since Implosion really is a good game, but not on a 10 bucks level good.

Gameplay of Implosion is a pretty standard hack-n-slash, set in the cyberpunkish background. The player’s mech is controlled viaImplosion 2 a virtual stick and a bunch of buttons. It levels up and can be upgraded by installing special libraries that can be found throughout the levels, or purchased from the store. The mech has a main melee weapon, and a bunch of long-range weapons that are quite difficult to aim properly. The melee weapon has a relatively simple, but varied enough combo system, as well as several special abilities that can be activated in the time of need. The enemies are also pretty distinct and have different behavior and attacks, and require some skill to kill – especially if the player wants to get the perfect score after beating the level.

Wrapping up, I’d say that Implosion is a great game. I’m eager to see more of its kind on Play Store, which currently lacks serious triple-A titles. But at the same time, its price makes it comparable to the PC and console-style games – and when viewed in that light, Implosion isn’t exactly up to the level.

Titan Empires Review

Titan Empires Review

Apr 30, 2015

It’s really tempting to copy and paste a review I’ve made of another free-to-play gimp of a strategy game earlier. If the developers can’t bother with making new content and release a copycat game after game, then why should I do that? Oh, right, it’s cause I’m not a completely lazy bastard.

Titan Empires plays just as generic as it’s named. The player controls a warmongering kingdom that goes to war with all the neighboring kingdoms, completing genocide after genocide in an endless chase for gold and glory. Not to hold out my point, Titan Empires is a cheap knock-off of Clash Of Clans. Completely and utterly. Not only that, but it’s a pretty crappy knock-off, too. There’s nothing done better, or even differently, than in that game. It’s an ugly, inbred child of Clash Of Clans, without any quality to it. Still, if you’re interested, here’s a rundown.

The “game” consists of two parts. The first and main part is managing your kingdom. Here, the player has to build his defenses, Titan Empires 3construct resource-gathering mills and mines, and recruit new units. The player has an acre of land that he can fill with various buildings that will bring some value to his kingdom. The buildings can be upgraded to increase their value – of course, all of this eats up resources like crazy, so be prepared to wait for several hours to upgrade anything, later in the game. The second part of Titan Empires is the half-assed strategy, mentioned earlier. The player picks a town he wants to attack – either controlled by AI, or by another player – then selects his hired troops, and a hero that will lead them into battle, then selects where on the map to deploy them, and from then on, watches as they either trample or get trampled on by enemy units. Of course, the outcome of the battle depends mostly on whichever player spent more time and resources – real-life more than in-game – on his army. Different heroes have various abilities that can be activated – at a price, of course – to help the fighting armies, and that’s basically it.

Overall, really, there’s absolutely no reason to ever play Titan Empires. It’s merely another cash-grab that doesn’t even attempt to make itself distinct, both in terms of mechanics, and in quality. If you’re really enjoying this sort of games, just play Clash of Clans instead – better yet, don’t play neither, and spend your time with some better games out there. I’ve played it for an hour, and already feel like my life is wasted.

Blaze for Twitter Review

Blaze for Twitter Review

Apr 29, 2015

Blaze for Twitter is a new-ish option that brings a new way to consume and produce tweets. AS there can never be too many options, we were happy to take a look.

The intro sequence is humble, inviting the user to add a Twitter account. After tokenization and such, one gets an idea of the customization options available, as well as a look a the user interface. It has a clean default look, with definite lines and bold coloring. The layout option which pops up at the beginning gives one a large say with regards to tweaking the exterior. Off the bat, it is possible to adjust the way Blaze handles images, going from full all the way down to thumbnails. After that, the background color — light or dark — can be selected; there is also a theme option, which allows the user to select from several colors.

Beyond that, the app can be set up to be read from the top or bottom, and one can also pick long service to use and the frequency rate. When it’s all said and done, the app does give the user a bunch of options to make it his/her own. The app clearly pays attention the Material Design, and overall, it is a pretty vibrant-looking application.

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On the functionality side, the app incorporates a lot of the tools we’d expect in a microblogging client; one can slide through specialized screens for home, @ replies, direct messages, lists and trending topics. Each tweet in one’s stream can be manipulated individually via small symbols, and again, we get the core tools: reply, retweet, favoriting, muting and sharing. Working on an individual tweets brings even more options, like the ability to make a note or text someone a tweet. Retweeting gives one the option to quote, copy or do a simple retweet (I love the overlay). It is possible to work on one’s profile from within Blaze too.

The cherry on top? Blaze handles multiple Twitter accounts.

There’s not much to dislike; if I am to nitpick, it would be that I would have liked a “shoot-to-the-top” button, such that one can get up quickly. An option to tweet to simultaneously to multiple accounts could be handy on occasion.

All in all, it’s a great option, underscored by the option to use the ad-supported option, or the premium build. Either ay, it’s a client to appreciate, and well worth the risk-free try.

Sorcery! 3 Review

Sorcery! 3 Review

Apr 29, 2015

Sorcery! 3 is a continuation of an adventure game franchise from Steve Jackson, who is kind of a big deal. For those not familiar, Steve Jackson is a US tabletop game designer (not to be confused with Steve Jackson, a UK tabletop game designer – I wish this was a joke), who, among other great things, created a tabletop RPG system GURPS, and the bane of all geek friendships, Munchkin. He is basically neck-deep in the geek world. This should add credibility to the following statement: Sorcery! is one of the best, most immersive games, I’ve ever played.

It’s really difficult to explain Sorcery! 3 to a person that’s never played anything resembling a tabletop role-playing game. Because Sorcery! is basically that. It’s a digital tabletop campaign for one person. It’s not really an RPG in its purest sense, but it certainly feels like it. The player character is on a quest to defeat seven evil serpents that are controlled by a powerful warlock. The player must embark into a land, filled with magic, secrets, and time and space distortions, to find the ways to destroy the serpents – and to find the serpents themselves. The story is as rich and multilayered as one would expect from an RPG campaign, and describing it would take forever, so let’s not bother. Suffice to say, if Sorcery! 3 was a book, its page count would go far into the thousands.

The gameplay of Sorcery! 3 is a weird beast to describe, since it’s a mix of different elements without any anchor in established genres. At its core, it’s a really complex text adventure. But on top of that, you have a unique magic system with a couple of dozen of unique spells, a huge – and I mean, freaking huge – map with hundreds of points of interests, which change based on the circumstances, an endless amount of random encounters, and a whole lot of quests to complete on the way towards the serpents. I can’t describe how much stuff there is in the game. I’ve played it for hours, and I’m still well in the first quarter.

To be fair, while Sorcery! 3 is an incredibly great game, it’s not without some issues. The two biggest ones are the weird magicSorcery! 3 3 system and the weird battle system. The magic system could be made a lot more comfortable by removing the long transition and letter-picking mechanic, boiling it down to a simple list of castable spells. The battle system is just somewhat unintuitive. I’ve played a great number of fights, and still basically go with my instincts, rather than knowledge. The fights could also be a little more varied in terms of gameplay. Reading out the descriptions of the attacks is great, but it could very well be replaced with a more traditional turn-based system.

Overall, Sorcery! 3 is the best mobile game out there for people who like tabletop RPGs. If the thought of reading for an hour about how your character navigates through a magical forest, makes you dizzy, then it’s probably not the game for you. But, if you’re one of those people who want to try out a great tabletop RPG, but never seem to have the time, or people for that, then spending five bucks on Sorcery! is a no-brainer.

Fast & Furious: Legacy Review

Fast & Furious: Legacy Review

Apr 29, 2015

On the heels of the release of Furious 7, the Fast and Furious franchise has achieved a new level of success. With that huge success comes an onslaught of multimedia and licensed products, including video games. In conjunction with Microsoft, a Forza Horizon 2 and Fast & Furious crossover game released for Xbox One, but these days most film franchises opt for games in the mobile space. That is how Fast & Furious: Legacy was born.

Fast & Furious: Legacy is a mobile title based on the action-street racing movie series. The license is used to the fullest — players will meet some of the characters from the movie and race, drag and draft their way through the same locations seen in the films.

The first thing that sticks out about the game is its impressive console-quality graphics. Vehicles look almost as nice as their real-life counterparts, but there is a cartoonish video game art style that makes cars feel somewhat like Hot Wheels. What’s more eye-popping is the living environments in which races take place. The streets of LA, Miami, Rio and Tokyo are alive, with realistic obstacles and objects scattered across levels. The bright lights and scenery stand out and make cities pop. These locations are the true stars of the game. Unfortunately, this attention to detail causes long load times.

Fast & Furious: LegacyGameplay is a mix of elements that involve using the device’s touchscreen, and it is a mixed bag. You probably didn’t expect a Fast & Furious game to play the same way as an endless runner, but it does. As cars race across streets, players must swipe to change lanes and avoid other vehicles, road blocks and obstacles. But there are other types of events as well. Drag races utilize quick-time event-like gameplay as players wait to time their launch and gear shifts perfectly. Drifting is done in a similar fashion. This formula is unique for a racing game, but it simply doesn’t work, and Fast & Furious: Legacy ultimately lacks the intensity of a classic racer.

Exploring the menus can be frustrating. There is somewhat of a tutorial at the beginning of the game, but leading players by showing them where to click is not the same as explaining the menu system. Players can upgrade and change vehicles, but there is just too much going on in the menu screens. You get the sense that the game was built to be so much more, but had to be scaled down for mobile devices. Still, it tried to incorporate this depth into the game, and it becomes too infuriating all too fast.

Fast & Furious: Legacy is certainly impressive to look at, but that’s about as good as it gets. Gameplay is uninspiring, and it fails to live up to its namesake. Difficulty ramps up as players progress through the game, but swiping cars across the screen is neither fast nor furious. Unless you are only interested in some car eye candy, skip Fast & Furious: Legacy for a more traditional racing experience.

Joe Danger Review

Joe Danger Review

Apr 29, 2015

Joe Danger is a very nice-looking arcade game about a stuntman who may actually be completely off his mind. He rides his motorbike across landscapes, devoid of any observers, talks with a very freaky mole, races against monkeys, and encounters aliens. Despite that, the game is pretty fun.

The gameplay of Joe Danger is akin to an infinite runner, but it’s not. The game consists of lots of small tracks that the player has to complete. The tracks are linear and have a lot of scattered junk and gold around them, which the player has to navigate around. Joe can jump, double-jump, make a front and back wheelies, and duck in order to avoid the obstacles, or make use of the boosters and planks on the track. The unusual part is that the player needs not only to navigate Joe’s bike, but also use his finger to remove some obstacles from the way, and collect all kinds of stuff by pressing on it. This makes the game a pretty busy one, and despite the overall simplicity of the game, it actually takes quite a bit of skill – or repetition – to complete the level with perfect score.

Joe Danger 2Each mission has three tasks that Joe needs to complete. If the player completes some of them, he gets bonus gold. If he completes all of them on the same run, he will get a badge. The number of badges determine which levels the player has access to, so collecting them is required for progression. The gold can be spent on alternative skins that dress Joe as different characters, and gives a score multiplier. They are also required to get access on the bonus levels.

Overall, Joe Danger is a cool arcade game with great graphics and a challenging gameplay. It’s certainly one of the better-looking games on the Play Store, with colorful textures and models, a very distinct style, and a silk-smooth performance. Its price definitely feels justified. If you enjoy infinite runners, or simply a fan of casual arcades, Joe Danger is an easy choice. It’s fast, silly, well-designed, and fun.

Adventures of Poco Eco Review

Adventures of Poco Eco Review

Apr 28, 2015

I must admit, it’s been a while since I’ve last encountered an artsy game that wasn’t all just the looks, so Adventures of Poco Eco was a pleasant surprise, albeit a rather short one. Music-themed games have a special place in my heart, as well as simply games with great soundtracks, so I may be somewhat biased with my opinion. I hope it’s obvious that I absolutely loved the game, however short it was.

Adventures of Poco Eco is a story of a little creature that was sent to retrieve the long-lost sounds, in order to cancel the noise that’s doing I don’t know what, exactly, but probably nothing nice. He needs to use the magic cassette player to call out to the gods of rhythm and use their guidance in his quest. So, yeah, it’s that kind of game. However, there’s a good part: it does behave like a game – a puzzle game, to be exact. It’s not just a colorful railroad, since the player is supposed to use the brain to navigate through the fantastical landscapes on the way to his goal. It’s not very challenging, and plays out like something out of Mario 64, but even more weird-looking.

The majority of the time, the player simply needs to place Poco on different buttons in correct order, or press them himself,Adventures of Poco Eco 3 but there are some bits where timing is required. Which leads me to the single issue I have with Adventures of Poco Eco, the controls. Mario 64 comparison would suit here too, since this game would be a lot better with traditional arrow controls, instead of adventure-style click-and-go system. The player’s finger obstructs a huge part of the screen, and it’s uncomfortable to try and press on the small square you want Poco to go to – especially when the square moves around.

Overall, I’d highly suggest Adventures of Poco Eco to the people who like artsy games with unusual style in graphics and music. Of course, you also have to like the future electronica genre, otherwise there’s no reason to play this game. Personally, I’d just like it to be longer. I’ve completed it in about an hour, and it certainly didn’t feel enough. Otherwise, it’s a very interesting little game.

Gravity Ring Review

Gravity Ring Review

Apr 28, 2015

Gravity Ring is a very simple game that doesn’t really feel comfortable no matter how long you play it. It’s partially an issue with the game’s controls, and partially – with its very weird concept. Which is a good thing for a puzzle game, I guess.

Gravity Ring consists of a single super-massive star-like object, and a bunch of obstacles around it. The player controls the projectile that shoots out from the bottom of the screen and gravitates towards the star. The task in each level is to “collect” all of the little dots that spawn around the star. Gravity Ring gives no explanation, but I choose to believe that the player controls a meteor that wipes life off some planets. Also, space walls?

The level is always a circle with a star in the middle, but it sometimes has walls and bumps around it that have to be navigated Gravity Ring 3around, and possibly used to hit the goals. To help with that, the meteor has a guiding line at the launching point that predicts the first second of its flight. Besides that, it’s up to the player’s movement prediction abilities – which I didn’t even know I had – that are going to help him hit all of the points in a very limited flight time limit. That and a lot of failed attempts.

Gravity Ring has a bunch of levels that become a lot harder later later in the game. I presume that it’s not impossible to complete them without power-ups that are gifted every several levels, but it’s definitely really challenging, and requires a lot of replays. I didn’t even manage to get to the 20th level, despite my attempts.

Overall, I’m not sure what to say about Gravity Ring. It’s unusual and it’s difficult, and its aiming controls are really weird and uncomfortable, but it has everything that I ask of my puzzle games. It’s not flashy, and might feel repetitive or unfairly difficult to some, but it’s an interesting game with unusual mechanics, and it’s free-to-play, so there’s really no debate about it, if you enjoy puzzle games.

Close Air Support Review

Close Air Support Review

Apr 27, 2015

Close Air Support is a an interesting plane action game that begs to be checked out.

The game flows fairly easily; it is presented in 2D form, and essentially incorporates side-scrolling as the main means of visual movement. The protagonist plane starts off from the left, and the idea is to destroy as many ground vehicles as possible. Easier said than done, because there is a limited amount of ammo, and some of those vehicles are armored, and cheeky enough to fire back.

At the onset, the original plane defines the word “basic” with regard to looks; we’re talking about what look like a crop dusting biplane. It does have the expected retinue of weapons, and using the virtual joystick to the bottom right, it’s possible to guide the perpetually forward flying craft up or down. The bank of weapon on the right control missiles and dropped bombs, and there is also an unlimited range of bullets. Each of these munition type has an efficacy ratings (bullets least, dropped mega bombs most), so a bit of strategy with regard as to when to use what is needed to progress far.

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The direction button is useful in creating diving runs, and also to avoid the enemy fire that becomes a real hazard the further one goes. There is only so much damage the player’ craft can take, so, it eventually becomes a game of cat and mouse, diving and ascending. The concept of opportunity costs/risk reward is paramount: does one fly high in relative safety, or cruise low, get the hits but risk incurring lethal damage?

Successful destruction yields gold coins, and these coins can be used to upgrade craft and attributes. Real cash can be used — and I like the unlock tiers provided by the developer — but real cash does not necessarily have to be utilized.

It is a lot of the same; the game does not deviate much from its opening challenge in terms of varying elements, the simplicity which makes it so easy to get into almost hamstrings it a bit. Still, for those that know what it’s about, it can be an enjoyable, time-killing romp that doesn’t make one feel bad for unlocking the whole thing.

Random Heroes 3 Review

Random Heroes 3 Review

Apr 27, 2015

Random Heroes 3 is a classic 2D shooter where the humanity fights back against, unless I’m mistaken, aliens that look a hell of a lot like zombies. Although it doesn’t matter in the slightest, I can’t quite put that out of my head now. Anyway. The token military guy tells the player to go clean his base from the aliens that had captured it earlier, and then go underground and destroy their leader. It’s unknown why the army can’t try to do the job themselves, and have to rely on some random schmucks to do all the job, but here we are. For the third time, apparently.

There’s not much to say about the gameplay of Random Heroes 3, except that it’s alright. It’s a lot like the old arcade games, which is a great thing. It’s not perfect, it has weird controls, and weird balance issues, but the slight uncomfortableness gives off that nostalgic feeling. It’s definitely not intentional, but it does challenge the player to play better to compensate.

The mechanics are really simple. The player runs and guns around the levels, filled with all kinds of alien zombies. The Random Heroes 3 3player’s main task is to get to the exit, but to get all three golden stars for the level, it’s also required to kill all of the monsters on the level, and get to the exit in a certain amount of time – not on the single run, thankfully. While doing so, the player collects coins that are required to purchase new weapons and heroes. He also should seek out secret skulls in each level, which are required to upgrade the purchased heroes and weapons. The levels get tougher as you play, but the gold always stays, regardless of the player’s success, so if some levels seem like impossible, it’s simple to just “grind” the gold for a bit, and then eradicate the enemies with powerful weaponry.

I can’t call Random Heroes 3 a great game, since it’s very simple, and doesn’t really have anything new or interesting elements to it. However, the game works in all the ways it should, and it’s rather interesting to go through the levels and attempt to get all of the medals throughout. So, while the game is simple, it’s simple and fun.

Tap Sports Baseball 2015 Review

Tap Sports Baseball 2015 Review

Apr 27, 2015

The best way to view Tap Sports Baseball 2015 is to focus on what it is rather than what it isn’t. It isn’t quite a baseball sim, but it is much more than an arcade experience. If you’re the small market Tampa Bay Rays, this game likely isn’t for you, but you don’t have to set up an in-game payroll as large as the Los Angeles Dodgers to be successful.

Tap Sports Baseball follows the EA Sports Ultimate Team model. Rather than taking over an MLB franchise, gamers start off with a group of not-so-good to decent players (Nick Swisher was the best player I was given to start with). By playing games, users earn in-game cash and gold, which can then be used to acquire new players or upgrade team attributes such as Hitting Coach and Throwing Arm. This is a compelling way to sidestep the official MLB license, as real player likenesses appear in the game, but teams, logos and stadiums do not.

Gameplay revolves around the offensive side of the ball. In fact, while there are some strategy aspects when it comes to pitching, gamers only control players when they come to bat. Controls are as simple as humanly possible; simply tap the screen to swing. Users will occasionally be asked if they want to steal a base, bunt or swing away, but everything can be accomplished with only one finger. This fast-paced approach allows players to finish nine-inning games in only a few minutes.

Tap Sports Baseball 2015Navigating the menus is an important part of Tap Sports Baseball, and with no tutorial and little direction, figuring your way around can be confusing at first. It becomes easy enough a few games in, but it is not the most innovative use of screen space. Players can access tournaments and league games, which are quicker, more rewarding ways to experience the game. Random matches are handled differently, as opposing teams take turns whenever they’re ready in a fashion similar to Words with Friends.

Tap Sports Baseball 2015 is a free to play title, but it also supports the pay-to-win model. Users who pump in real-world cash to buy in-game items will rise to the top quickly. However, players will rarely find themselves overmatched. After completing 20 to 30 games, users should have enough in-game currency to assemble a competitive team. It is just a matter of balancing acquiring new players and leveling up the squad’s attributes.

Despite the game’s robust menu system, it is lacking in roster management. Users can drop players in and out of the starting lineup, but there is no way to adjust batting orders. Additionally, picking up new players is mostly a game of chance. Pay for a draft pick and a slot machine-style wheel lands on the player which you will acquire. There is a daily crop of free agents which players can hand select to add to their team, but they are often not well known and priced too high.

Tap Sports Baseball 2015 is not quite a championship contender, but it is a wild card winner. This is exactly what you’d expect from a mobile baseball game. It’s easy to pick up and play, and there’s enough depth to keep players interested throughout the season.