The Sims Mobile Review

The Sims Mobile Review

Mar 14, 2018

Ah… yes. With the fairly engaging news that we have a new — proper? — game on mobile, one overarching thought refused to leave my mind.

More on that later.

But yes, Sims Mobile is here on Android. Drink that in. Sims goodness in the palm of your hand, on the go. Everything we could ever want in Sims game made for an increasingly mobile world. It’s been in development for quite some time, so its official release should be momentous.

Right? Let’s see.

The Sims franchise has come a long way, and, in its own way, is kind of a living history of modern gaming in and of itself. The latest PC-borne versions retain the original charm, but clearly give it a mobile bent

Play-wise, you start with a singular Sim. You can start with a template (and there are several to pick from) and then tweak to perfection. Then, you get a starter house in a community. Through the beginning stages, the game walks you all the way through the selection of property and introductory merchandise, and gives you a feel for the game.

Bottom line? Help your Sim thrive. Interactions — with purple and objects — are performed by tapping, and successful interactions earn goodies like game cash. Game cash can buy stuff line furniture, which improves your character’s lifestyle and ability to do better at work. Get better at stuff, unlock hobbies, so on and so on.

sims3

Thrive.

There is an energy requirement, but that’s almost to be expected in a free-to-play game like this. A weak Sim can be uplifted by snacking, or doing stuff like resting, but one great way is to leave them be… go away and come back.

All in all, it won’t replace the PC version, nor is it meant to be. Crossover play would have been nice, as a one-time “unlock everything” fee as an in-app option, but for folks who are looking fora quick hit, this might satisfy the craving.

Criminal Case: Mysteries of the Past Review

Criminal Case: Mysteries of the Past Review

Mar 8, 2018

Criminal Case: Mysteries of the Past takes you way back… on a mystery solving tip.

To be clear, developer Pretty Simple has come up with a few games of the same style with the Criminal Case imprint; this one has an interesting period angle which should somewhat set it apart from the rest.

And like its predecessors in the series, Criminal Case: Mysteries of the Past is a sleuthing caper that encases a hidden objectcc3 game. The core idea? Find objects hidden stills, and proceed with the clues found to ultimately solve mysteries.

It’s leveled, and the the action itself is interspersed with procedural dialogue that helps push the secondary action along. It starts with a crime, and you, the detective, needs to find listed objects in the area shown. Of course, these items are not that easy to find, and it takes a bit of searching to find the items.

Stumped? There are hints. When you finish finding the object, the game leads you on a mission to do “real” police work, like analyzing clues, and drawing inferences by interviewing suspects. Then, it’s up to you to use the gleaned facts to solve the case and arrest the culprit.

It actually works well.

In the end, it’s a pretty fun game. The biggest plus is that it has great pedigree, in that its developer has experience in this genre, and that experience shows in this latest extension of the franchise. The scenes aren’t as haphazard as you might find in other games of this kind, and the period backgrounds are interesting almost on their own.

Now, if you’re not the biggest fan of hidden object mystery games, the continual searching might grate on your nerves a tad, but the procedural aspect of the game should help alleviate that somewhat.

As-is, it does work particularly as a spot time water at the very least, and a whole more at best.

Tekken Review

Tekken Review

Mar 7, 2018

Yessir… it has landed!

Tekken is here, we decided to check it out.

Nuff said.

Now, if you’re asking what the heck Tekken is, I’ll resist the urge to fight you, and tell you this: it was everything.

And. Then. Some.

So, first, the visuals should be a great, especially for folks who played these on those bulky consoles of the 90s. Glorious 3D graphics, with interestingly familiar swarthy characters and glitzy backgrounds. The shifting views that characterized the earlier versions of the game are reproduced somewhat faithfully, and the sound packs in the bravado, violence and overall auditory oomph of the source material.

Okay, okay… let’s get to the fighting.

tekken3

The game has a fairly extensive tutorial, and it takes you through just about the whole things, hands-on style. The controls are pretty easy to get with, and mostly involve tapping, gestures and long-pressing to effect offensive moves and blocking. Beyond that, winning yields goodies and new, better fighters and tougher opponents (in particular modes); rarity is something to be treasured here.

The cool things with the fighters is that they have special moves and such; there is a card attack system employed, and tapping a rage card at the right time can be devastating to the opponent. As hinted at earlier, there are different modes to dive into, including an online one… team vs team.

So, here’s a game that is looking to be a new portal for a fantastic tenured console game. It mostly manages to do that, even while subtly building in an RPG-style marker battler that should appeal to those folks — dare I say “millennials?” while propping myself up with me walking cane — who are new to the concept. It’s a hard feat to merge a retro hit with the modernity of mobile tablets, but I figure this one makes more than a valiant effort.

Balls Race Review

Balls Race Review

Feb 27, 2018

Here we go with Balls Race.

I suspect you might be forgiven for not describing it as a running game, especially since, because of the incorporated racing component, that fact slips right past you. Basically, you get to control a rolling ball, and the ultimate idea is to get said ball to the end — in first position.

First? Yes, there are other rolling spheres to battle against, and you went to get to the finish line before them.br3

Now, there are other obstacles, and in many ways, it feels a bit like Mario-type racing games. There are arrangements of blocks, and you can avoid these with your perpetually forward-moving ball by swiping on the screen from side-to-side. The blocks get a bit trickier and more dangerous, creating jutting solid structures, and even moving singly and together, all in an effort to create run-ending collisions. The occasional oil slick can also throw of timing.

This is a race, and in keeping up with the arcade-y feel, you’ll encounter ramps and speed tramps. Now, you have to contend with jumps and speed boosts, along with the aforementioned obstacles, plus windy roads and the like. Thankfully, you don’t really have to contend with the competing spheres; contact with them really doesn’t cause anything.

…which is my big whiny gripe. I think additional contact physics would have been a nice touch. I can see where doing so would create a whole lot of havoc — there are dozens of spheres — but I think it would have been cool.

Subsequent levels are opened as you race along.

Ketchapp really does have an enviable blueprint, and Balls Race highlights it: fun from a visual standpoint, easy to get into and invariably addictive. It begs you to take it on, and then dares you to win individual races.

Mad Skills BMX 2 Review

Mad Skills BMX 2 Review

Feb 21, 2018

Memories, memories… that’s what the new-ish Mad Skills BMX 2 does for me.

If looks are your thing — and, if we had to guess, everyone would say they are — then hey, you’ll probably dig Mad Skills BMX 2. I mean, the default side camera view is as naturalas it comes, and the better to see it all with. The color blending is great, and it really has a serious feel to it, what with the realistic animations and the detail oriented backgrounds. Visually, it is quite richly expressed, and the eye candy component helps set the tone for the gameplay itself.

And when it comes to the gameplay, Mad Skills BMX 2 really wants you to get it, and goes about that by incorporating a fairly exhaustive tutorial. Said tutorial allows you to grasp the controls; these are fairly easy, with an emphasis on leaning forward/back to jump or bare down, along with boosts buttons when available. Rest assured, the intro sessions are done in parts: for example, you learn to maximize downhill speeds and when to tap that down button — to make it worth it, you race against a mirror image of yourself doing the off-road bike thing. Winning yields game currency, and then it’s off to do the tutorials for jumping, landing and so on.

msb3

When the teaching series is done, you’re ready to start the “true” racing pathway, and these are grouped by locale; you have to finish the one series to unlock the next. As you go on though, it makes sense to pick up better equipment, and that is where the earned game currency come in. There are also specials that can be unlocked, and there are plenty of opportunities to use real cash.

It’s fun, relatively self-contained number, easy to get into and enjoy. It allows for plenty of play of somewhat different types. It does bog down at times if you go the free route, so a little bit of patience would be required.

Worth a look, and even an afternoon.

Smashing Four Review — shuffleboard on steroids

Smashing Four Review — shuffleboard on steroids

Feb 15, 2018

Full disclosure: at the risk of being soundly mocked (as I probably should be), I just learned how to play Shuffleboard the other day. Loved it… so much so that I am negotiating with my better half to get one for the house. I can dream.

All that to say this… it was a good time for Smashing Four to come across my desk.

Look, to be fair, the shuffleboard comparison gives a comparative baseline, but really doesn’t completely describe the game. It is group battling and strategy in a rosy presentation.

Almost like shuffleboard.sf3

It starts with the glitzy visuals: bright use of color that highlight the main playing area, which comes into focus with an effective top-down view; the animations, on which the gameplay depends a great deal, are well done, with plenty of whimsical touches and appropriate sound accoutrements.

I know, I know… you wanna know about the gameplay proper. Well, shuffle shuffleboard out of your mind. The built-in primer helps you learn the game, which is all about gathering troops and knocking the sense out of opposing troops in a war of attrition. To further explain, you line up against a random opponent, each of you with four pieces and alternate turns. You project your pieces, one after the other, and reduce the lifebars of your opponents, before they do the same to you.

And “project” you do… by dragging and releasing your piece, Angry Birds catapult style. You can aim, and look to do maximize damage by direct hits and secondary rebound damage. You can also look to strategize, because the game also plays like billiards, you can also look to play defensively, making it harder for your opponent to hit you when it is his/her turn. Oh, you can’t tarry too long, as every turn has a time limit.

As the pieces lose life, they varnish, and the player that loses all pieces loses. Winners get game coin and orbs, which, when matured, yield new cards and more. The orbs add a time requirement of sorts, as they require maturing (which can be shorted by green gems or real cash).

The cards can reveal new players (with new attributes) or clones of cards already owned and/or deployed. Clones can then be used to upgrade existing pieces do that they can be more useful in battle.

It comes together well, and has been an enjoyable pastime for the past few days.

Better than shuffleboard?

youtube bbDGD-XrVxo 600

Level It! Tower Falling Over Review — green is it!

Level It! Tower Falling Over Review — green is it!

Feb 14, 2018

There is no such thing as too many time wasting games; life as we know not almost begs for them. Level It! Tower Falling Over is new-ish one that looks to make folks see red when they see green.

It uses decent graphics, with interesting 3D stylings that go well with the controls and are buttressed by non-distracting backgrounds rounded up into two groups: Forest and Mountain.li3

To understand the game, you have to visualize it… by playing, yep. The “main” game pieces are sorta like legos,and are green and red. These pieces are used to create basic, non-fused monochramatic towers (red or green). Non-fused in the sense that they can be toppled and scattered, much like a jenga tower.

The core idea is especially easy to grasp, especially with the first few levels. It starts with a singular green tower, and a cannon that can be manipulated the the virtual 3D plane as described earlier. So, you simply line up the cannon as needed, and tap “fire” to shoot. Each level has a fixed number of shots you can expend, and the idea is to aim and shoot to knock down the green tower, and unlock the next level.

Now, after the subsequent level (and just as we should suspect), the game gets craftier. Multiple green towers, and eventually, the aforementioned red towers. The red towers cannot be fired upon though, so depending on how the towers are set up, knocking down the green without hitting the red with the projectile can be quite the challenge. And they get even tougher, with mixed towers, weird ledges and more, all designed to really test your creativity. Hitting the red directly first means the level is failed.

Levels can be replayed, and extra balls purchased to extend levels. Easy peasy.

So, it’s a simple game with a specific focus. You get what you get, and from a time waster perspective, it mostly works.

Hero Hunters Review — not your ordinary cover system

Hero Hunters Review — not your ordinary cover system

Feb 7, 2018

Boom, we finally get to run around with the latest from veteran crew Hothead Games, Hero Hunters.

So what’s the story here? You got your core commando fare: we’re 50 or so years into the future — a decade after the so-called Zero Day. Biological weapon? Check. Collapse of civilization? Yep. Big bad guy? Of course. His name is Kurtz, and it’s your job to get a team of hardcore fighters to ferret him out of his enclave. Of course, he’s holed up with plenty of equally weathered mercs, so it’s not going to be easy.

Off the bat, you get a really nice looking game from a visual standpoint. The use of colors really pops, and the animations are smooth. The sound is effective, and it all looks great in the default landscape orientation.

In gameplay terms, Hero Hunters boils down to a cover system shooter. The goal is to beat each level, which has something to do with bringing Kurtz down. The initial sequences serve as a tutorial, showing you how to the basics with the virtual buttons: aim, shoot, duck and more. As with most games of this type, the idea is to shoot, duck, and even dive to a new protective perch if, say, a grenade is launched at your position. Here, you get to check out what you might consider to be the game’s standout feature: the ability to switch fighters on the fly.

hh2

To better explain, you control a group of fighters… to start out, you get two, each with a different vantage points and different special traits. During the action, you might be having a slow go, or even not have a good angle to take out the baddies. Well, you can tap to switch team members, and have an all new vantage point. Then, the idea is to use everything in your arsenal to win and advance.

Success yields XP, gear and game coin, which can — and really must — be used to improve the stock of your characters, especially in the face of enemies that get more dangerous with every successive level. Even cooler, as you gain XP, you unlock new team members. It goes on and on, with interesting weapons, different play modes and a host of action set in interesting places. The game gives plenty of opportunities to use real cash, but can be played without.

It works very well, actually.

My personal gripe is an admittedly nitpicky one; seriously, I get the buxom soldier trope, yes, but if there was ever a reason to use Kevlar to project gender equality, this could have been it. Seriously.

Off my soapbox. It’s a seriously enjoyable game, and worth the time it takes to try it out.

Trust us.

World of Warships Blitz Review

World of Warships Blitz Review

Feb 5, 2018

At this point, naval battlers are a dime a dozen in the mobile markets; finding a really good one is where the real challenge lies. With the recently launched World of Warships Blitz, you do get the advantage of pedigree.

Wargamimg Groupd does have a bit of experience in WWII era battling games, after all.

When it comes to the fighting action, there is a host to choose from: Random Battles (which further break down into Solo Battles and Team Match), Co-op Battles, Campaigns, and the soon-to-come Ranked Battles.

After the intro sequence, the game will prod you to start a co-op battle, which involves the game adding you to a group of online folks to do the team thing. This is a mini-war of points and attrition. It is interesting to get thrown out there so quickly, but it’s the perfect opportunity to use the skills you just learned. On an individual level, you shoot and look to avoid being shot, making repairs when necessary, and otherwise helping your team gain the points needed to win the matchup.

wwb3

We spent more than our fai share hashing it out in the Solo battles. The action is quick, ships are responsive, and again, it’s all about winning the battle of attrition. The game utilizes plenty of rewards, and real cash can be used to expedite upgrades and the like.

The game is exceptionally well done. It does a good job of making the game feel fairly realistic, adding in gameplay elements that make it interesting for naval acolytes like this one. From the steering mechanism, through the battling systems, upgrading… heck, even the repair methodology. It comes together well and makes a lot of sense.

But… it is just another World of Tanks Blitz set on water? The similarities are clear, but the seafaring aspect is a decent shield for those looking to avoid a clone.

But more importantly, it’s a whole lot of fun, and is probably the easiest game of the new year to get addicted to.

MazeMilitia Review

MazeMilitia Review

Jan 29, 2018

It would seem shooting games are always in vogue. MazeMilitia: LAN, Online Multiplayer Shooting Game is a newish game in Android world via Google Play, available for all of our individual playing, uh, pleasures.

In any case, as you guessed, this is a shooting game, with online group play as the core element. Visually, it is a gritty game, using different views and varied locations all presented in landscape orientation. The controls consist of two thumb system, which allows you to move, swing around and (when necessary) the ability to do shoot-y stuff like firing, zooming in and the like.

After the beginning tutorial, the default action pits you and your virtual character against several other online foes in a compound strewn with different obstacles. The name of the game is to take out the others and simultaneously stay alive. Well, with the basic gear you have, staying alive long is tough; respawning is an option to use. After a set time, all stats are recorded, and XP and/or cash is/are dished out.

Now, it makes sense to improve and upgrade the gear to be more effective. In the battles, it pays to have a strategy… high ground, maybe? It does get fun, and quite addictive.

maze3

It’s a relatively slow row; be prepared to battle very often to accumulate the XP adds game cash necessary to unlock and acquire materials that are, in essence, needed to do well. In fact, it is tempting to use real cash to expedite operations so as not to die so often. If you don’t mind ads, there’s are a few ways to pick up bonus goodies, but sans cash, a bit of patience is definitely required.

Per the action, the battle segments could probably benefit from a few defensive actions (like crouching) and the mapping utility could be more dynamic, but quibbles aside, it’s a solid action battler that has the added benefit of being adjustable to local play.

Sniper Shot 3D Review

Sniper Shot 3D Review

Jan 26, 2018

Sniper Shot 3D: Call of Snipers‘ biggest attribute, possibly, is its simplicity.

The name lets you in on the game, in that it is a shooter. You get basic graphics, a bit stilted at times, but enough to convey the gameplay, along with varied backgrounds and action shot that blend in slow-motion sequences to catch the eye. The controls incorporate a dual thumb system, such that you can invoke the sights with the right side and shoot with the left.

It starts out as you basic sniper shooter; it is broken into levels, and each one has an objective. The first few help you get the basics down: how to zoom in, swing vision and the like, as well as advanced concepts like slowing down your breathing for a steadier shot. Accuracy means a lot, and as to be expected, head shots carry maximum value.

Missing a target means they might get startled, and run off, meaning that particular level is failed. Successfully completed missions yield scores, game currency and the unlocking of subsequent levels.

As for the levels, you’re generally tasked with taking out non-desirables in different scenarios: escaped prisoners, hostage situations and more. Weapon choice is important, and it is necessary to think of speed, because, for instance, the bad guys are going to hold off taking out innocent hostages for only so long. As you go on, you might need to unlock goodies and go for infinite shooting power-ups, because these get tougher the further in you get.

sns3

The game does well with regards to mission types and the gradient of difficulty; it keeps the action interesting by not being too one dimensional, and encouraging strategic play.

There are a few issues. In some areas, it even feels somewhat unfinished, like when the graphical sequences defy physics. Also, some of the action sequences might seem a bit callous to fold with Western sensibilities. Beyond the unnerving ickiness of sniper play to begin with, doing stuff like shooting fleeing baddies does feel a bit awkward at the very least.

In the end, it does the deed if one is looking for an engaging time waster, because it doesn’t overly complicate matters with intricate missions or complex upgrade mechanisms. Shoot, get better, advance.

Simple.

Finger Driver Review

Finger Driver Review

Jan 24, 2018

Ketchapp’s Finger Drive is one of those games that gets right to it.

Yes, take it in. Portrait orientation, simple graphics with roving solid backgrounds. Smooth animations, and a singular control: using your finger to control a singular steering wheel.

Which controls a singular car that needs to be guided along a very windy road.

Bam. That’s it.fd3

Wait a sec… this is quite a serious challenge. The steering while isn’t as sharp as one would hopefully want, in that the car doesn’t react instantly to turns. Now add in the exceptionally and evilly curvy roads, and you can see why it ain’t an easy ride. Go off the road — even by a teeny bit — and the level is failed. Back to the starting board.

And as if to tease you even further, the game tosses in an extra arcade element: collectible diamonds, that can be accumulated by contact. No, these are not placed in the easiest spots… but why would they be? Steer quick, but don’t oversteer, on and on and on.

This is a very “touchy” game, one that demands a positively twitchy finger. The name of the game is to as far as you can. Going far yields diamonds, and there are other arcade-y touches, such as the ability to extend the run by watching ads. The game is broken down into missions (thresholds), and finishing the one opens the next. For folks having a tough time, you can always skip a mission by buying your way through with collected diamonds.

Now, there are plenty of ads, but you can kill these with a one-time purchase of $1.99.

When it comes to games that are easy to pick up and get into, few will be able to complain about Finger Drive. It’s a tough game, yes, but has enough side roads to make is palatable for even the most impatient casual gamers out there.