Parallyzed Review

Parallyzed Review

Oct 21, 2016

Ah, you think you’re quick? Like a challenge? Parallyzed might be just the mobile tonic you need.

The developer is kind enough to give us some backstory… two sisters (Red and Blue), twins no less, similar on the outside, but with different personalities. Seemingly close, but in a momentary fit of madness, Red severely injured her sister by throwing her off a swing.

Devastated by grief and remorse, Red then focuses on reviving her sister from the resultant coma by using her new resolved ability to inhabit her sister’s mind.

In gaming terms, this translates to a dual (parallel) platform adventure, with two figures running left to right, gravity being discounted on the one. One sister is blue, one is red, and so the caper begins.

Visually, it is a simple affair, with dark colors holding sway. It plays in landscape, with about half the screen allocated to the running path of each sister. The animations are smooth, and the dark hues measured against the occasional deliberate splotches of color make for a nice contrast.


The intro tutorial run helps one get acquainted with the controls and gameplay; the first thing one learns is how to swap the sisters. there are several reasons to do this; one is to make it through a matching color bubble. Also, the sisters are of different heights, so an obstacle might me navigated easier b, say, the shorter sister. To be clearer, tapping on the one side of the screen accomplishes this swap.

Then, one learns how to jump by tapping on the left side of the screen. This is useful for, well, leaping over obstacles. Using both controls allows one to try to make way to the end of the runs. Then, it’s on to the next (harder) level.

There are goodies to collect, achievements to unlock, and the game mostly comes together quite well.

Narcos: Cartel Wars Review

Narcos: Cartel Wars Review

Oct 14, 2016

How many of you, when you were sat there watching the critically acclaimed Netflix series Narcos, thought to yourself ‘this show would totally work as a Clash of Clans clone?’ I would have guessed the precisely 0 people thought this. I would have guessed wrong.

This is because Narcos: Cartel Wars is exactly that. Someone thought this would be a good idea, someone got a development team together and someone made this game. In fairness, it’s a pretty solid Clash of Clans clone but also in fairness, do we actually need another Clash of Clans clone?unnamed-2

You start off with a base and it’s up to you to build up your compound say that it eventually contains more buildings that make you more money. It’s not all about the money though. This is a game called Narcos after all, so you need to make sure you’re making plenty of ‘product’ too. Once you’ve made enough ‘product’ you can then ship it off and a real-world timer ticks down whilst your plane sets off to distribute your ‘product’.

The Clash of Clans comparisons continue in every aspect of base building, with ‘builders huts’ being premium items and three currencies all being involved in the expansion of your base. Just like Clans you need to place mines, watchtowers and other defences so that you and your base stay safe whilst your not playing.

Straying away from the clans formula is the way that you fight. To start with, you have one transport boat. Each transport boat has a ‘Sicario’ who is assigned to it and each ‘Sicario’ has their own unique troops and you should be able to guess at how the troops operate. Quick but weak gunners, slow but strong grenadiers, etc.

This is now the part of the review where, ideally, I’d talk about more of the unique features of Narcos: Cartel Wars. This is where, Ideally, I’d reveal a special mechanic that allows you, the reader, to forgive the game for its blatant emulating of an already established mobile game. This, sadly, is not an ideal situation.

Narcos: Cartel Wars does absolutely the bare minimum to make it unique. This game essentially is Clash of Clans but with a new lick of paint. Why that lick of paint is a critically acclaimed drama, I have absolutely no idea. This is about as fitting a tribute to Narcos as Candy Crush is to Downton Abbey.

I’m not saying Narcos: Cartel Wars is bad but what I am saying is that its design is lazy. This game, this EXACT game has been made dozens of times before and this whole title seems like a cynical cash-in on a popular TV show by simply remaking a popular mobile game.

It’s fine but it’s been done before. It’s been done many, many times before.

Metal Shooter Review

Metal Shooter Review

Oct 13, 2016

Every now and then, it’s okay — no, its necessary — to dabble in something that takes you back. You know, a retro-ish game. Say, like Metal Shooter.

This one is fairly intuitive. Our Rambo-ish champion looks to be guided from left to right, but to do so, he has to overcome a bunch of enemy commandos in various manifestations. Our guy is primarily armed with a gun, and is capable of a melee attacks.

The playing area defines the gameplay. It works in landscape orientation, in 2D, and as such, really evokes an old school feel. The graphics are rich, the terrain distinctly military, and the sounds help complete the arcade presentation.

The playing area is also platformed, such that the player might need to move a level or two to navigate or move on.

The control system involves a multi-faceted joystick nestled on the one side, and a set of attack/weapon buttons on the other. The joystick allows one to control the height of the weapon bursts, as well as the direction of the movement of the controlled character.


The gameplay isn’t hard to comprehend. As mentioned earlier, one has to navigate enemies and platforms, and these enemies can shoot back. There are “regular” obstacles too, and one has to avoid being killed while taking them out and moving on. There are bosses, and the terrain and enemies get crafter the further one gets into the game.

All in all, it comes together well. I like the continuous action, and it has a comfortable feel. The joystick was a bit of a letdown i think, as i feel a few more actions could have been derived from it.

Still, Metal Shooter does a good job of bringing together several gameplay elements; as a platformer, it does well, and the added pieces — like the battling — make it that more interesting.

The ABC Murders Review

The ABC Murders Review

Oct 11, 2016

When it comes to crime stories, Agatha Christie is legendary; her stories and characters remain iconic pieces of literature and pop culture.

Taking a step into the recently released The ABC Murders allows us to take a step into her world. The game is based on the novel that bares the same name.

The game starts series of animated cutscenes, and these help the player to glean that our hero detective Hercule Poirot (who the player plays as) receives an interesting letter preemptively requesting he come to Andover to solve a murder. Indeed, he does go to England with his trusted confidante, Arthur Hastings speaks to the local inspector about the victim.

At this stage, the game walks the player through the game basics; it incorporates action circles, which show the player objects and people that can be interacted with. Tapping on one allows a zoom/focus intent, and then, in the case of human interaction one might get a dialogue and such, from which important information can be gleaned.

The player is rewarded for “acting” like Poirot. A pertinent example of this is an early challenge to find indications that underscore the perception that said a character is overly relaxed — by subtly studying him. Doing so leads one further into the game and earns game points.


Researching crimes proved to be plenty of fun. As Poirot, one has to get as many clues as possible by visiting every place that is marked as researchable. Obtaining some clues involves working through puzzles, and some puzzles are dependent on other puzzles. There are red herrings, and collectible items. Some objects can be examined in 3D fashion, allowing th player to around, behind, underneath and over so as to even find hidden leads and evidence.

There is a rechargeable hint system that can help if one gets truly stumped. There are also elements of Choose Your Own Adventure, such that there are choices at particular junctures. And yes, this mystery expands on. And on.

Everything fits together reasonably well, logically and neatly so. It does plod along at times, and sometimes, the puzzles feel a bit elementary. It’s still an enjoyable romp, and the CYOA element helps make a worthwhile adventure.

Six! Review

Six! Review

Oct 10, 2016

If you have heard us say it before, you’ve heard us say it dozens of times: yes, give us a batch of challenging sagas, but we also want our simple time-wasters. By simple, we mean the quick hitters that can be played for seconds, minutes or even hours.

Six! is a game from Gram Games that looks to be on the carefree side.

The concept is simple: Go lower. And lower.six3

It plays in landscape, which makes sense considering the main game element; to begin, the playing area has a hexagon perched on top of looks like a wall. Now, this “wall” is made up of 2D shapes: squares, trapeziums, rectangles and the like. Not all are the same size, even within shape types, but, at the onset, they all are packed in tightly to create the tight wall-ish platform.

The core idea is to drop the hexagon? How, by tapping on a shape underneath to remove it, and allowing the hexagon to drop into space. Tapping a shape pops it into nothingness, vacating the space it occupied. Think of as 2D jenga, with an object at the top of the assembly. The challenge is to prevent the hexagon from toppling off the structure. For every piece dissolved, points are garnered.

See, the simulated physics is really what makes this tick. The whole structure acts in a “natural” manner, such that it can tip, and gain momentum, and otherwise cause the hexagon fall off. Once it has fallen off, the run ends, so you have to try to pull out the supporting pieces oh so carefully. It gets interesting when, say, the hexagon straddles two separate pieces. Oh my…

There are also challenges and leaderboards.

The game succeeds in part because of the simple motif, light on the backgrounds and easy on the sounds.

And so it goes, a battle to get low; not much deviation, but the game still has its own charm.

Spirally Spiral 2 Review

Spirally Spiral 2 Review

Oct 6, 2016

Spirally Spiral 2 is an interesting game from Delirium Games that, on the surface, looks fairly easy to consume.

The gameplay has an genial feel to it. In many ways, I felt like a a tiny object deposited on an vinyl record spinning on spira3a turntable. The playing area is circular, with 5 lanes, and there is a simple playing piece that moves, on its own accord, around and along the seemingly circular track.

On the tracks, spread around the lanes, are triangular spikes, and the core idea is to avoid said spikes by darting into an adjacent lane before making contact with an obstacle, as doing so ends the run.

Avoiding the spikes is done by gesture swiping; one can swipe onto a free lane, but rest assured that there will be an obstacle to avoid in the new lane very soon afterwards. With the strategic spread of these dangers, it does become a bit of a challenge to dash in and out of traffic. Your timing better be on point too, because shifting too early or a second late can be bad.

One element that does add to the challenge is the shifting perspective. The view moves around a bit, and forces the player to adjust for that while playing.

Points are awarded based on the number of obstacles directly avoided. High scores breed bragging rights, of course.

The biggest gripe would be that it might prove to be overly basic to folks who aren’t looking for a dedicated time waster; indeed, it is a one-trick pony. On the other hand, the high score methodology can work in small morsels, especially for those who aren’t looking for too much by way of storyline.

For short bouts of fun, it doesn’t do badly at all, which, in essence, is the biggest hurdle for any mobile game.

Time Flux Review

Time Flux Review

Sep 30, 2016

A developer challenge, you say? Score 10?

Time Flux’s creator is laying down the gauntlet.

Visually, it doesn’t try to do too much; simplicity is the key, and is reflected in the subtly changing backgrounds and digital graphics. It plays in portrait, and the main visual tool is a simple 2D clock that occupies most of the viewing area.tf3

The clock has the requisite hour numbers, and a simple hour hand.

The imagery flows naturally into the game play. SImple stuff, really: the player taps the screen, game screen flashes a time and the basic hour hand starts moving; now, the main idea is to tap the screen at the exact hour requested. One has to be pretty exact, because tapping the screen to stop the hour hand a bit too quickly or too late ends the run.


Yea, right. Not so fast. Stopping the hand on a dime is interesting enough, but as soon as one stops it, the screen calls out a new time, and the hand starts moving in the opposite direction simultaneously. One then has to stop it on the new time, and then, if one is successful, the clock starts in the opposite direction again, and continues, till one mis-hits.

For every correct tap that prolongs the gameplay, the player gets a point. Of course, more points equal more bragging rights.

It’s challenging without being overly difficult; the innate challenge of looking at two different spots (and reacting via taps) doesn’t get old too quickly. Not knowing what time will be posted, plus the clockwise/anti-clockwise dichotomy works well.

In the end, Time Flux mostly manages to be an easy-to-like impossible game that doesn’t infuriate too much. It does provide a challenge, and the developer’s cheeky challenge only adds to its allure.

When it comes to time wasters, his one definitely holds its own.

Endless Ducker Review

Endless Ducker Review

Sep 30, 2016

When it comes to the Dude Perfect crew, crazy is a way of life. One gets the feeling that Endless Ducker is tailor-made for them.

The main control system involves tapping on either side of the screen; tapping to the left invokes a forward slide, while tapping on the right makes our runner jump. This gives an idea as to the type of action involved.

Right off the bat, the action starts, with an incorporated tutorial. Almost immediately, one has to leap over stuff and the duck, and definitely not always in order. The obstacles are everyday interior objects, like toys, doorways and the like, so it mostly feels a bit natural.

Every avoided object scores a point; as one progresses, the challenge ratchets up somewhat. Timing is everything; I found that getting past a moving object is a bit different that handling a stationary one. The spacing between obstacles affects action, and I did hit the wrong side (like jumping instead of sliding) more than once.


One element is to go so far (and get enough points) so as to open up a new “scene.” Now, there are different types of obstacles that fit the theme — watch out for the humongous linebacker on the football field — and quicker actions are needed. Then, combo actions can be performed, like invoking a slide while one is jumping.

Heady stuff.

And the game goes on and as such. It’s not rocket science, but is able to provide a bit of a challenge, since the right/left tapping mechanism to jump or slide can be a bit tricky, especially as one goes further on in the game.

The lack of complexity can be becoming or disconcerting depending on the individual playing the game; it does feel like a lot of the same. That need not be a negative though, because Endless Ducker does well in a pinch.

Submarine Dash Review

Submarine Dash Review

Sep 30, 2016

Epic mobile sagas are always of interest, but every now and then, this mobile gamer prefers something a bit simpler. Feel me? Something that I can hit while in line at the grocery store, or waiting at the doctor. Zero to playing in 3 seconds or less.

Verusoft’s Submarine Dash feels like it could be that type of game, what with the easy-to-understand gameplay and endearing graphics. I mean, who doesn’t love a ship with facial expressions?sd3

The game plays out like a three-laned runner… set under water, obviously. You take command of the friendly seafarer, and guide it (he/she?) through a seascape that has a lot of dangers and plenty of goodies.

As one starts the game, the interactive tutorial helps guide the player through the basic operations. Control is effected by intuitive gestures — a gesture up, left, right or down make the sub move one “step” in the corresponding direction. One also gets a view of the scenery here: 3D imagery, and an abbreviated top down view that allows one to see the view upfront.

There are several subs to pick from, and the use of themes

The sub moves on its own, and one element is to avoid all the obstacles that pop up… landmines, rising jellyfish, rocky outcroppings and the like. On the opposite side of the spectrum, there are a lot of goodies that line the travelways too, and, as is usually the case, one needs to weigh the risk of picking them up or playing it safe. The game also gets interesting, as a change in perspective (is that a great white creeping up from behind?) helps keep the gameplay somewhat fresh.

As the game goes on, it gets more challenging. Collectibles can be used to extend runs, improve the crafts and unlock new sea paths. The game even manages to squeeze in bosses to keep thing popping.

All in all, Submarine Dash is easy fun.

Micro Machines Review

Micro Machines Review

Sep 30, 2016

We always have time for a game like Micro Machines.

It’s a fun game with an old-school look and feel, which shouldn’t be too surprising given its roots. It packs in an admirably toy-ish ambience with plenty of smooth animations.

At launch, one is invited into the tabletop worlds, and gets some basics.

Next, it’s time to assemble the car using the provided parts; this isn’t too complex, as it involves dragging the components into their logical place. Then it’s time to race.

Racing is definitely where the fun is at. As a player, your car gets dropped onto one of the aforementioned tabletop tracks, and the biggest objective is steering. This is done with the virtual buttons on either side of the screen, which take a touch or two to get used to (be careful; don’t oversteer!), but is effective. There are several ways to sabatoge oneself, so it pays to be careful.

There are three modes to pick from: random, race and battle. The first race I got into was basic: player vs 3 game UI cars, make it to the finish line first. Nitro, gold coins and gems to collect.


After the initial race (and earning some valuable gems), you can then procure a pack, which contains car parts and a mystery prize. Extra pieces become spares which are good for future trades.

After that first, get-your-feet race, the action ratchets up even further. One can choose do do some battle, taking on opponents with weapons, kind of like a demolition derby. Eventually, better virtual hardware might be needed — hence the packs — and one can use the collected coins to improve the attributes of the vehicle, with gems having the ability too speed things up. Then, after a car has been improved, one can then add mods to be more effective in battle.

The game incorporates league play for bragging rights; there is a rent-a-car system, boosts and more — keep a lookout for some interesting Hasbro nods further on

Micro Machines is a bit more than just a blast from the past, even if it does that very well. It manages to be fun and challenging at the same time, melding battling with straight racing. It doesn’t get overly complex, and the multiplayer function makes it a whole lot easier to get addicted to.

Looty Dungeon Review

Looty Dungeon Review

Sep 30, 2016

Yep, we’ve been waiting a bit for Yodo1’s latest output, and finally — finally! — Looty Dungeon is here. Good for us, because we have really wanted to take it for a spin.

Now’s the time.

It is an interesting dungeon crawler with a twist; it proceeds in leveled fashion, and the main idea, really, is to take our crawling character from Point A to Point B. ld2

Looks-wise, this game is definitely inviting, with bright coloration that highlights the 3D presentation. It shows up and is played in portrait, and the entire production has an old school feel to it. There are a lot of animations, and the tricks and gimmicks are represented well enough to hopefully keep folks focused on the game.

Altogether, it looks and sounds quite enjoyable.

To play, one helps the intrepid explorer (you can pick from several types) roam the blocky mazes that make up the playing areas. Guiding one’s finger along the screen in short gestures allow the lead character to move one block in the corresponding direction, and here, one wants to be precise, because there are lots of ledges that even Indiana Jones would be proud of.

As noted earlier, the main idea is to get from the starting spot to the exit door at the “end” of the level. Of course, this is far from a straight shot, as there are usually several obstacles in the way of progress. One needs to get by these, and get to that exit. Simple concept.

But hey, it gets more interesting. As one goes on, the obstacles become trickier, and then one needs to contend with the area behind beginning to collapse. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place… one has a limited time to gauge the dangers behind before falling into nothingness.

Now, it’s that built-in time trial that adds to the games attractiveness. The levels progress in a reasonable manner, and it great when consumed in small-ish increments that can become bigger without one knowing. There are bosses to conquer, goodies to collect and more. Lives are not limitless, so be careful!

No shock here… another fun one from Yodo1.

Reigns Review

Reigns Review

Sep 27, 2016

So many apps are built to make our daily lives simpler. One app that has achieved true notoriety made the whole dating process as simple as swiping left or swiping right. You know the one I’m talking about, you know it’s called Tinder, don’t play dumb with me.

What’s not a simple process is reigning over a kingdom. Being a king is tough work and full of gray areas but Reigns doesn’t care. It’s a mixture of Game of Thrones and a dating app where your main aim is to stay alive for as long as possible.

This is harder than it sounds because your ‘helpers’ aren’t that helpful. They’ll tell you that the castle’s on fire and you have two choices, swipe left to save the garrison or swipe right to save the treasury. Either way, you’re screwed because if you upset the army enough, they’ll overthrow you and kill you. If your coffers run dry, the rich merchants of your kingdom will overthrow you and you’ll die, penniless, in the gutter.unnamed-19

Reigns is a totally brutal game of decisions and balancing everyone’s needs. The church, the army, the people and your finances all need to be balanced out. It’s a fairly literal in letting you know how ‘well’ you’re doing in each area, as on the screen an icon representing each element fills up. You’d think that filling up your ‘money’ meter wouldn’t end up in death, but it does. So you’re not allowed to let any bar fill all the way up or go all the way down.

It’s really as simple as that. You’re given clues as to how your decision will be perceived, as before you let go of each swipe you will see a small circle or a large circle appear over the icons that will be affected by your decision. The trick being, you’re told if the decision will be positive or negative and you instead have to read the text and infer whether it will fill up or drain the icon.

Luckily, all of this reading and very simple gameplay is hugely enjoyable and incredibly stylish. Each character you interact with clearly has their own agenda and its fun to see how their stories play out (assuming you live long enough). What keeps things interesting is the way the game dishes out and adds new characters and potential cards the more you play. You’ll be given vague clues as to targets to accomplish, such as ‘discover the traitor’, but upon finding out who’s the traitor in your court, you’ll unlock new cards that will reveal themselves in later playthroughs.

There is also an actual end to the game, though the real fun is in simply trying to see how long you can keep your king alive and how long you can get away with making bad decisions.

Reigns is incredibly simple but incredibly well polished and full of humour and style. I hereby decree that Reigns should be downloaded forthwith! Swipe right.