Soccer Rally 2 Review

Soccer Rally 2 Review

Apr 24, 2014

Soccer Rally 2 is a simplistically creative game that pulls in some interesting elements to form a surprisingly engaging experience.

What really makes the game tick are the graphics; the game looks clean and realistic, with nice renditions and the smoothest animations one can want. It makes the gameplay believable, and makes one wonder why on earth rally soccer isn’t an Olympic-level sport.

But what is rally soccer (or soccer rally)? Silly rabbit, it’s the perfect amalgam of cars, association football and soft demolition derby. At the core, cars go head-to-head, trying to use the vehicle to move an enormous soccer ball into the opponent’s goal as many times as possible, while guarding one’s own net. Whichever party has the most goals at the end of regulation wins. The “field” is generally a walled off area with two ends designated as goals, and the sr1developer does a good job of varying the environments.

There are two modes, career and local multiplayer; in career, a game starts with some bonus cash, and the game walks one through upgrading, and then on to a ladder knockout challenge. Winning earns cash, and there are bonuses that can be picked up during play; shutouts earn bonuses as well. In practice, it does take a lit bit of practice to get a hold of the accelerator, reverse and steering wheel that make up the virtual controls at the bottom of the playing area.

The game allows for customization, with the ability to use earned game cash to snag vehicle upgrades; this is just as fun, as it allows for creativity and performance tweaks. Additionally, it is possible to procure other types of balls (tennis, basketball etc.) and use them as the game piece. Even stuff like lens dirt and skid marks can be toggled in settings.

As hinted at, in-game cash (for better cars and tweaks) rules this game, because the competition gets bigger and faster mighty quick. The accumulation of such can be expedited with real cash, though it isn’t necessary to enjoy.

I do think the game could use difficulty levels; but the ability to choose balls somewhat makes up for it.

Soccer Rally 2 is one of those games that is a litmus test: normal people will like it. It brings in different elements and makes beautiful warring music with them.

Rabbids Big Bang Review

Rabbids Big Bang Review

Apr 24, 2014

If you don’t know what the heck rabbids are, you just might after Rabbids Big Bang.

Rabbids themselves are adrenaline junkie rabbits that were originally part of the Rayman world and have been spun off mainly on the strength of their zany characters. That crazy attitude is the signature value this game, which has the crazy creatures doing their crazy thing in space.

The game is leveled and task oriented, with the set up being similar to Angry Birds with the 3-star reward system. Our heroes (and I shudder to use the term) are suspended in space, in which abbreviated and whimsical laws of physics apply. The play starts easy; the first is to make contact with three coins that are suspended in a very direct, soft orbital path. Using a tap/point system, it is possible to launch a rabbid to makerab4 contact with said objects. The trick is to guide the launched rabbid in a trajectory that gains all the collectibles. When the inevitable jetpack becomes part of the gameplay, the skill lies in knowing to hit the gas and when to lay-off; with a little bit of technique, it’s possible to coast along and do most of the things that need to be done while space-born. The levels increase in difficulty and creativity as progress is made.

The accumulated gold coins can be used to upgrade a host of things: gear and outfits can all be improved on and/or purchased, with some helping out with potential success. real cash can be used to expedite stuff but isn’t necessary.

Yes, the game does feel a bit like the Angry Birds Space, and that is a blessing and a curse; it does retain enough singularity to be its own rabbid, and while that may not be the best advert, the freemium nature makes it delightfully low-risk.

Bloo Kid 2 Review

Bloo Kid 2 Review

Apr 24, 2014

Bloo Kid is back in Bloo Kid 2.

Like it’s predecessor (which we had an opportunity to check out a few years ago), this one is retro-looking — and feeling — platform game. While the first is a tale of love and kidnapping, this one is the continuation: Bloo Kid and Pink Girl now have a kid called Pink Girl… and we get a new adventure.

Again, as the first iteration, this one retains the gameplay elements some folks might associate with cross platform hits Mario Brothers and even Donkey Kong. Our hero goes from left to right in a leveled romp that starts out fairly easy and gradually increases in difficulty. For instance, the first level introduces the basics of bloo1gameplay, with virtual buttons guiding sideways movement, jumping (and double jumping) and downward movement. There are round creatures with lethal powers the roam the grounds; thankfully, they can be dispatched by jumping on them. There are also special blue stars to collect, as well as regular gold stars; additionally, there are treasure chests that can be opened by jumping on hem, and these contain goodies like more collectible stars and even lives. Through it all, the basic idea is to get all the collectibles while staying alive by avoiding or vanquishing the enemy.

But the game UI starts tossing some tougher things as new levels are activated; water hazards that have to be oxygen limits, dangerous fish, bees and more. With the increased number of moving and lethal obstacles, a bit more care needs to be taken to beat the levels; in fact, at some points temporary retreat even becomes prudent. It’s the little tweaks like that that, in my mind, make the game so much fun.

The game employs delightfully pixelated graphics, and for this game it works. I liked the little things, like customizable controls

Not all sequels work. This one mostly does.

Cut the Rope 2 Review

Cut the Rope 2 Review

Apr 23, 2014

Even though it didn’t feel like it was gone (thanks to some well-timed seasonal outputs), we should take time to welcome back Cut the Rope 2. Om Nom is back, of curse, and brings new characters and some fresh tweaks to the gameplay.

The cutscenes tell the woeful story of appropriated candy and an inadvertently lost Om Nom, and how our roundish hero goes about getting home while re-collecting his hoard. As with the previous iterations of the game, get the basic concept is to manipulate the playing area to get the candy piece into Om Nom’s mouth while nabbing as many of the three stars available in the process.

The general mechanism remains the same: swipe gestures sever the ropes holding the candy, and if done correctly, On cut1Nom gets his treat. Balloons and platforms make early and continuous appearances; the former works to complicate puzzles in an interesting way, as they (as everything else in the game) follow general rules of physics. As progress is made, new folks with interesting powers make their acquaintances.

Failed levels can be repeated, and there are plenty of upgrades and such that can be applied after procurement from the in-app purchasing depot. There are bonuses that can be used to help with solutions, as well as other exhaustible power-ups.

The graphics look familiar, which is a good think. the different environments are mostly unique, but retain the look most folks know and love. The use of color os well done, and the hi-res, glossy imagery coupled with the occasional cutscenes work well to convey the gameplay. The animations are smooth, down to the soft bounces of inflatables and flail of the severed restraints.

Cut the Rope 2 seemingly manages the difficult art of being a sequel to a well received game that stands on its own feet without wrecking what worked to make the original popular in the first place. It’s a great time waster that reaffirms Zeptolab’s mindshare.

Wind-up Knight 2 Review

Wind-up Knight 2 Review

Apr 22, 2014

Some things never stop being cool. Afros. William Shatner doing karaoke. Swashbuckling knights.

Wind-up Knight shows that even wound-up armor can come correct. It also shows sequels can live up to the hype.

The graphical presentation is done quite well, with cute characterizations and excellent use of color. The animations are fluid, and work well with the scene-to-scene stills that make up a lot of the background. The artwork is vivid, and becoming.

As far as gameplay goes, we get side scrolling platform action; our wound-up hero is armed with a sword and a wind1shield, and can jump and duck too. Correspondingly, their are virtual buttons that control jumping, attack, defense and such towards the bottom of the screen.

The first level launches the gameplay in all its glory. The knight progresses from left to right, jumping across obstacles and working to acquire jewels. Soon, there are correct live creatures blocking the way, and jumping won’t work. Here, the sword becomes useful to slash through these beings that can do end the the run otherwise.

In this initial level, the appreciable quirks show up. At one point, the knight starts going in the opposite direction after a downwards jump, and then switches back to left-to-right again. I liked these little switch-ups a great deal, as they ensure players stay on their toes. Down the line, other dangers appear, like dropping seeds that require the shield. The environments become more varied as well.

A finish line denotes the end of the level, and success depends on the number of jewels collected, with gold coins being the payout. The entire game can be unlocked for a fixed price, but isn’t necessary to enjoy. Customization and power-ups are also available; for the truly competitive, there is a tournament mode (with leaderboards) and side quests to tackle, and I especially like the latter because it gives a reason to play levels again. The in-app store allows for upgrades to equipment and customization efforts for gold coins or real cash.

The game is pretty tight, easy to get hooked on priced right. Ready and waiting, Sir Gamer.

PuzzleBits Review

PuzzleBits Review

Apr 22, 2014

PuzzleBits is as easy-going as they come.

It’s an easily digestible game, and fairly intuitive with regards to figuring out. The playing area is 2D in nature, with a shaped white grid (usually patterned after animals) taking up the top part; to work within the game concept, the shapes are generally made up of defined lines and angles. Just below this are colored pieces, all of which are polygons of one sort or another; few are generally identical. At this point, the basic idea becomes apparent: fit the smaller pieces to completely fill in the space in the big grid, much as one would do with jigsaw pieces, via dragging and dropping the given pieces to “holes” in the grid.pu1

The developer has done a good job of being just a bit tricky here; the pieces are very deliberately shaped, and the initial gambit is most likely to drag a piece that looks like it can fit into a specific area. Most of the time, this works, but it is clear that there are some false leads built in, because one misplaced piece means the puzzle will be incomplete at the end. At times like this, it is easy to just drag the pieces one thinks are placed incorrectly back down, or simply reset the puzzle back to the empty beginning.

Completing the puzzle causes a burst of color, and the next one is opened. Hints are available, and they allow for players to get free correct piece placements. Hints are exhaustible, but can be bought in bulk with real cash; I do like the fact that the developer includes free ways to get a hint or two during gameplay.

From a simplicity standpoint, the game is hard to beat: simple gameplay, truly optional in-app purchasing and low-frills playing environment.

Polymer Review

Polymer Review

Apr 21, 2014

We see the graphics; we can enjoy the sounds, the action and the concepts across gaming genres. We love to see how different game engines perform across different pieces of hardware. At the end of the day, when it’s all said and done and the fingers are resting and devices are at rest charging, there is just one thing I think ALL gamers want.

Choice.

The choice to relax. The choice to rock it. The choice to pause all willy nilly and come back, ot to hunker down and rack up points non-stop for 12 hours. The choice, to, well, choose.

Games like Polymer do choice quite well.

On he surface, it is a simple, 2D matching game, with a bunch — and I do mean a bunch — of differently colored pol1seemingly polymorphic shapes, each in their own row of squares. Each row and column can be pulled or slid as one unit, much like can be done on a rubik cube. Each shape/piece has at least matching end denoted by a black dot; when black dots from different pieces are aligned by maneuvering, both shapes take on the same color and become homogeneous. When all black dots are joined in a particular shape, the shape can be “popped” for points. Bigger poppable shapes lead to bigger points. Thus, a little bit of strategy can be used to match and score points.

The strength of the game, as noted, is the number of options available. The game can be played in different modes: endless, which is gentle and undemanding. There is the bomb mode, which rewards speedy point garnering. Two minute is a fast paced with a time limit, and one polymer looks to allow players make the biggest continuous piece possible. Some of the modes are restricted, and can be unlocked by accumulated points or real cash.

All in all, its a spiffy game that packs a lot beneath its flamboyant exterior.

Volt Review

Volt Review

Apr 21, 2014

Volt is an interesting game that tacks together puzzle-solving with leveled platform play and dresses the end product with a dash of arcade.

The basic quest is to get our adventurous battery on his way; in the game, this translates to moving the battery from its opening position to the exit hatch, the opening position usually being suspended from the top by en electrical beam. To accomplish the movement, the player has to harness the electric beams to solve the movement puzzle thus created.

The problem is that there are a limited number of beams, and they can only be used within a particular radius. To move the battery, it is sometimes necessary to create a path of beams from the top and swing towards the target volt1like Spider-man. But, wait… only two beams can be connected to the battery simultaneously; a slashing gesture can be used to dispose of old beams. The rules of physics are generally followed; for instance, if the battery is connected to a surface by two beams, and one is slashed, the battery will swing with decreasing momentum just as one would expect in real life. Tapping an unsuspended battery causes it to jump, but too many taps cause it to explode and ends the run.

And the game has plenty of obstacles and situational setups that make getting the battery through the level difficult. There are white surfaced (usually bladed) that are lethal, and other dangers that need to be avoided. Not all surfaces can be beamed from, and some (yellow) allow the beam to exist for only a short time.

The game boasts 60 levels and the ability to repeat levels endlessly. There are bosses and goodies to unlock, and the visuals prove the game just wants to played.

At $1.99, the biggest thing at risk is potential fun.

Breakfinity Review

Breakfinity Review

Apr 21, 2014

The problem with the Flappy Bird craze, at least for developers, is that so many of them decided to capitalize on the craze of the game and its eventual removal by making more games about flapping. What few realized is that they should be making games that capitalize on its key values: short, challenging games with high replay value that can be played with one hand. That’s what Phil Hassey, creator of Galcon and dynamite Jack, has done with Breakfinity.

Breakfinity-5

This is a brick-breaking game not dissimilar to Breakout and Arkanoid, with a twist: the game is endless. Patterns of blocks will constantly descend from the sky, and players must constantly bounce a ball off of the paddle at the bottom to break the blocks, with a new formation arriving once the block hits the top. Along the way, players can pick up powerups to do things like extend their paddle, fire lasers, and send the formation back to the top. As well, 3-hit blocks can be broken that give players a gem, which can be used to continue one’s game.

Breakfinity succeeds because it’s fast and challenging. This is a well-worn concept, but presented in a way that’s meant to test the player. The game picks up in speed quickly, and survival requires quick thinking and reflexes. Thankfully, the controls, which work great with one thumb and have sensitivity settings, make this a perfect game to play one-handed, great for when on public transit. Sessions are usually short enough that it’s easy to come back to again and again whenever there’s a free moment. With these short sessions and the well-known style of play, this has that sensation of “I know I can do better if I play again” that makes for an incredibly-replayable game.

The Android version is lacking a few features from its iOS counterpart. Google Play Games features are not integrated, so there’s no high score leaderboards for comparing scores with friends in an easy way. There’s also no in-app purchases for buying more gems instantly. There are still the ads for getting a free ball right away. Interestingly, this system is best used by spending gems to buy earlier continues, then using the free ball last. While the gem system does make the high scores impure in a sense, that it’s possible to just stockpile gems for them, the costs to continue get so untenable that it’s still a fair skill barometer.

Breakfinity is a must-have free download. The fast Breakout action feels great, and makes high scores rewarding, and the game is perfectly designed to be picked up and played whenever, wherever.

Trial of Bones Review

Trial of Bones Review

Apr 18, 2014

Man, skeletons are stupid. The undead kind, not the good kind that is just calmly resting inside of our bodies. I mean, animating a skeleton should be about the most difficult thing in magical world, because there’s absolutely no way they could move on their own – and yet, walking skeletons are the most basic enemy a hero can ever meet. Trial of Bones takes it to the next level by making skeletons the sole enemies. Sturdy and dangerous enemies, at that. I don’t want my life to be ended by a pile of calcium – give me real monsters!

Bearing that in mind, Trial of Bones is actually quite good, although it severely lacks content. There’s a short prologue that I frankly can’t remember by now, but the problem at hand is that the main hero is trying to get through a dungeon that is filled with skeletons with the help of his awesome sword, as well as the objects he finds on the way.

Trial of Bones 4Game screen is separated into four lanes, and player can switch the hero between them, trying to kill as many advancing skeletons as possible, before he is himself killed. The skeletons are endless and become more and more challenging to kill, with greater damage and more health. If the hero isn’t fighting a skeleton, his health begins to replenish – but if he evades fighting all the time, then he doesn’t get leveled up and will promptly die at the bony hands of the stronger skeletons. The upgrades that add to the hero’s survivability always come in fours, with an upgrade per lane, meaning the player can pick up only one of them. There are also potions that restore health or give a raise in damage and special expendable weapons that can deal a lot of damage when launched.

Alright, so maybe Trial of Bones doesn’t severely lack content, but I still feel like it’s too repetitive. Maybe it’s because there’s nothing to unlock or reach, so each run is exactly like the previous. Or maybe it’s because there’s no progress to mark, like unlocking new areas and enemies or whatnot. Whatever the case, I think the game feels a lot more repetitive than it should be, because I loved the actual gameplay quite a lot.

Fly Catbug Fly! Review

Fly Catbug Fly! Review

Apr 18, 2014

Fly Catbug Fly 4

This is a game about a cat. Not just any cat – it’s a game about a flying insect cat that collects flying trash. Fly Catbug Fly is a bit close to Flappy Bird, but it’s closer to the old helicopter game that Flappy Bird was ripped off from. Catbug (of Bravest Warriors fame) flies through the never-ending corridor, bordered by solid matter on top and bottom, and has to evade it, as well as some small “islands” in the middle, while collecting trash. The trash consists of truly random items, ranging from old bottles to what to my twisted mind looked suspiciously like dirty toys, to leprechauns. There are portals scattered around the levels, which take the trash from Catbug, and give some cash in return. After picking enough trash, a hyper mode of sorts kicks in and you lose. At least that’s what happen to me all the time.

The background and music changes after a while, and ranges from weird to yet weirder. To be fair, the same can be said about every in-game object. The fun part is that Fly Catbug Fly isn’t even trying to be strange – it’s an endearing little arcade that just happens to be rather insane. There are lots of obtainable paraphernalia, divided into four kinds. First, there’s swag that Catbug can wear and look cuter/even more bizarre. Then there are upgrades that improve Catbug’s health, diving ability that can help evade the sudden dips in the corridor.

Additionally, there are power-ups that are unlocked, and then can be found around the level, like magnets. Finally, there are unlockable people with level-destructing weapons that you can pick up like power-ups, but that hang from under the Catbug and fire their weapons into the level, clearing chunks of it out. It’s not only strange, but also rather counter-productive, as their giant height and explosions actually make it harder to navigate the level, and the only use they have is clearing out the little islands in the middle – and there are several of them, with an option to upgrade each one.

Anyway, apart from the strange armed people, Fly Catbug Fly is pretty neat. It’s just an infinite round of picking up trash and leveling, but it’s quirky and is fun enough to last for some time. If you pick it up, at least play until you see the partying lettuce horse people, and I do believe it’s the first time anyone has typed “partying lettuce horse people”.

Sonic Racing Transformed Review

Sonic Racing Transformed Review

Apr 18, 2014

When it comes to kart racing, Sonic is the man. And the hedgehog. Whatever… Sonic is the consummate console competitor, and he and his friends have done well on mobile devices too. Sonic Racing Transformed is yet another opportunity for us all to see how fast our blue bandit has come on Android OS.

It is an intense game, and definitely not for the device spec faint of heart. There are two modes off the bat, Single player and multi player, with the single optioning into the advertised new World Tour. There is also the Weekly Challenge, which allows players to compete for streaks and prizes.

In the World Tour, it’s all about racing as we know Sonic to race. The vehicles are closer to real gear than karts, but the mechanism and feel is still the same. Using optional virtual controls that are nestled in the bottom left sonic1along with the miscellaneous gear counters on other parts of the screen, the idea is to jockey for position, avoid obstacles and deployed weapons while deploying your own to thwart the competition. It’s leveled play, with success in a current level needed to unlock higher levels. One interesting aspect is the ability to play these levels at different difficult levels, with correspondingly different payouts. This makes it possible to have a semi-new feel even after cycling through a few times, as there is a tangibly different feel on different difficult levels.

The basics of Sonic racing are all present; windy, windy roads, light play, collectible goodies and more. The different racing environments are a discovery all by themselves, with creatively transformative vehicles matching the creative locations. The game employs tasks, and there are rings that can be garnered by placing well. Rings can be used to get the boosts and characters necessary to be successful, but they are in short supply.

The multiplayer option allows for folks to compete with others, local and otherwise. While the game is stated to be compatible with third-party controllers, I didn’t get an opportunity to use one.

It’s a fun piece of software; there are in-app purchases, even after purchase, but it does pack a lot of play in its fine-tuned raceways.