Rapala Fishing – Daily Catch Review

Rapala Fishing – Daily Catch Review

Feb 11, 2016

Rapala Fishing – Daily Catch is an interesting-looking fishing sim from cross-platform powerhouse Concrete Software.

To start, the game is played in portrait; it packs in a lot of mature graphics that make use of well-blended colors. As with most fishing games, a lot of the visual output is defined by the virtual underwater experience, and in this one, the water scenes are well done, from the graceful movement of the inhabitants to the sustained murkiness all the way to the engulfing bubbles. It’s very creative, and melds looks with sound to effectively underscore the experience.rapala3

The fishing itself involves cool locations, and after selecting one, one can select a Solo Trip, Tournaments or peruse the Record books, like any serious angler would. Selecting “Solo” allows one to get to go through fishing challenges for a set period of time. Challenges include catching a number of species present, and this mode serves as an excellent beginners proving grounds.

After selecting a challenge, one is presented with a screen that has the equipment to be used, and it’s off to to the sport.

One casts by gesture swiping the lure into a hotspot, and as soon as the lure breaks the surface, the game view shifts to underwater, and one gets to shake the lure to get the fish to bite. As soon as one does, one needs to use the game mechanism to reel it in; said mechanism includes sliding the reel, knowing when to pull hard or relieve tension (using green/yellow/red imagery) and such. Success earns game currency.

The thing is, there are several different fish, and one needs to have the right equipment, and even use the right lure sequences to get the right one. As such, the game cash (and real cash, if one so desires) can be an important factor with regards to moving on.

Competition mode requires Facebook access.

The game works because the controls are fairly easy to understand and manipulate, with intuitive color-coding that denotes active occurrences that require attention. Also, the gameplay mechanism isn’t too complicated, and still manages to avoid being too illogical. It does require a tiny bit of skill with regards to being successful over time, but is simple enough to be enjoyed across generations.

Well worth the free look, in our opinion. Go ahead. Check it out.

Sage Solitaire Review

Sage Solitaire Review

Feb 9, 2016

Combining two very different card games? I am curious as to how Sage Solitaire intends to do that.

If the game sorta kinda feels like a mix between solitaire and say, poker, you ain’t crazy; Sage Solitaire actually merges elements from both card games. Off the bat, it may be hard to imagine, but as as one goes on, it is fairly cohesive.

In terms of layout, it is played in portrait, with a simple top-down view that reveals cards stacked in three rows and three columns. The artwork is simplistic, and the cards are easily identifiable to anyone who has played around with a deck of playing cards; helping out with the visuals is the color scheme, as the developer adds color-coding to each suite. The game is controlled by taps, and the resulting animations and such are quite smooth.ss3

With regards to gameplay, again, one need not think too long about “conventional” solitaire. Yes, one constant element is flipping cards, but getting point-garnering “hands” (just like in poker) is a main goal. So, taking chance into account, one can look to get, say, a pair (two matching numbers for a modest 10 points), or one can shoot for big payouts by going for the admirable straight flush (hello: 150 points)… or any of the combos (like three of a kind, regular flush, four of a kind, etc). One can trash cards — up to two, and regenerated by successive combos. It takes a bit of skill to go along with luck, and several scenarios inevitably play out… should one gamble on “trashing” a card, or go for what’s safe? There are hints and special cards as well.

In the end, clearing the board completely is what one hopes to do.

It all comes together quite well, almost surprisingly slow. It is quite addictive, and the high score system encourages one to get in battle with self and others locally. Extra modes (past the stock two) are available via in-app purchase, as well as other goodies.

When it’s all said and done, this is game that has to be played to be properly beheld. Get on with it.

Zombie Catchers Review

Zombie Catchers Review

Feb 9, 2016

Like Juice? Hate Zombies? Zombie Catchers might just be for you.

This one flips the good old zombie apocalypse trope on its head; Planet Earth indeed is on the brink, but in a scarily brilliant not to interplanetary capitalism, two aliens figure out a method of disposing of the evil undead and make some hard cash to boot: they create a drink stand. The main ingredient? Yes, you guessed right… squeezed zombie.

Look, don’t get too caught up on the label. Folks enjoy this interesting libation. The thirst is real, honey.

In any case, translated to the game, the backstory gives one a direct glimpse into the whimsical nature of the game. Starting with the artwork, we do get several views that line up with the different aspects of the game, with the main action scenes rendered in 2D in landscape orientation. It makes use of vivid imagery brokered by live color, with smooth animations and genial characterizations. The soundtrack is part groovy, part schematic, and clearly designed to frame the experience. For the most part, the media aspect works well.

The game does its due by bringing several gaming elements to bear. The goal is to keep the zombie juice coming; to do this, one needs to hunt zombies. The hunting field is a digitally-created zombie swamp, with a dark feel and several bodies of water that have zombies hiding.

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Our chief zombie hunter, AJ, jumps out of an airborne undead jailbird armed with a basic harpoon and some brain bait. Using the virtual buttons, the main idea is to tease out the zombies, and then chase the spooked vermin and harpoon them for future juicing.

The zombies are a skittish lot, but they do possess the ability to stun our guy if he gets too close. They are also not without smarts, as they won’t come out if our hunter stays close to bait, plus, when spooked, they can escape if not caught quickly enough. In this way, a bit of strategy and speed are useful, and each hunt can be quite engaging. As one goes on, the zombies get tougher to catch, which adds to the gameplay value.

As noted, caught zombies are juiced for eventual profits, and said profits (in the manifestation of gold coins) can be used to enhance a host of attributes: weapons, juicing tools and more. Some elements are level-dependent, so it behooves one to get as far as possible. A secondary collectible, plutonium, can be used to speed some projects up.

Alas, the game does make use of energy requirements, which does keep progress in check. For instance, it takes some time to “find” zombies to hunt. Real cash can be used to expedite things.

All in all, the energy requirement doesn’t ruin the gameplay, and accruing gold is possible for the patient. The game ticks several check boxes, and is worth a look.

Boom Boom Football

Boom Boom Football

Feb 6, 2016

As we fast approach SuperBowl season, I thought it’d be as good a time as any to take a look at Boom Boom Football. A fairly simple title that asks you to build a team by collecting cards, Boom Boom Football doesn’t do too much that’s new but for what it’s worth it’s a polished title that should scratch that footballing itch.

The set-up is straightforward. Your team is made up of 7 players and each one has a ‘skill’ value attached to them. The idea is that you want to have 7 players with high numbers as the higher the number the more likely you are to win the game.

Each game is made up of 7 moments where one of your players will go up against an opponent and they’ll either win or lose the moment. These moments will be familiar to anyone that’s watched a game of American Football as you’ll see a linebacker tackle a running back, a QB throw over a CB.

During these animated moments, which look very nice by the way, you’re tasked with pressing circles that randomly appear on the screen. The bigger circle stays on screen for the longest time and the smallest is on for the shortest time with the benefit of hitting smaller circles being that you have a higher chance of ‘winning’ the moment. ‘Winning’ the moment consists of a spin of a virtual wheel with the ‘winning’ are being larger if you pressed a smaller circle. If you don’t tap any circle then you lose straight away.screen640x640 (1)

It’s really simple and even if you are particularly sharp and hit all the tiny circles that appear during the game you might still lose. This is because the factor that affects the outcome of the wheel spin is the player’s skill values. If you have a player that’s 20 or 30 skill points worse than their opponent, then it’s next to useless even trying to win.

So with the game boiling down to numbers Vs numbers, the veneer of this being a game of skill soon fades away. Luckily, the game keeps the carrot within view at all times as each game played rewards you with new player cards and some cash. You can then put the new player cards into your starting line-up or feed the card to other cards to level them up. Feeding cards to each other costs in-game cash, which is where IAPs come into play.

On top of in-game cash there’s also in-game gold. Gold is used to buy ‘booster’ packs that contain players cards much better than anything you’d ever get by playing the game. This is a slightly convoluted system, with 2 in-game currencies muddying the waters but it’s made even worse when you take into consideration there’s also a 2 tier energy system too.

Energy, in the form of lightning bolts, is used to play season games. Season games are against the AI and culminate in cup games for bigger rewards. Then there’s the energy system made up of raffle tickets. These raffle tickets are used to buy entry into special event leagues that take place every now and then and also offer rewards for having the most points. Naturally, players willing to buy more raffle tickets and therefore play more games, will likely win the best cards.

So the game is extremely simple, very nicely presented but then has a too convoluted system of currencies, energy tokens and card boosting, evolving and leveling up – all with the aim of squeezing some cash out of the player. It doesn’t make the game unplayable, but it certainly gets in the way of enjoying what is a good diversion for football fans.

Armadillo Gold Rush Review

Armadillo Gold Rush Review

Feb 3, 2016

Armadillo Gold Rush… what gives?

The game has a definite old-school feel to it, as seen in the graphics. it makes use of a lot of jumpy animations, and the animations are deliberately stilted, with muted colors across varied playing areas set in landscape.

The first few levels highlight the game well. Our protagonist creature can be launched to roll in either of the for cardinal directions, and this is initiated by gestures. Using paths in the playing area, one is gently guided to collect coins (which is the overarching goal) by completing the puzzle therein. As one gets used to the style of play, the puzzles do get a good deal more creative, with several things like switches, trap doors, lethal gulleys, bodies of waters and more (lobsters? Say what?). The creativity fused with the whimsical is an engaging mix.

Success is measured in time and points; as such, one can always look to better one’s high score; using less moves is best. As such, the extra goodies all involve a measure of opportunity costs. The race against time also adds to the game’s allure.

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As the game evolves, it retains the core elements, and surrounds the basic premise with plenty of interesting material. Several new gameplay gimmicks begin to mage an appearance, from fans to movable boxes on to death traps and beyond. The difficulty level is directly proportional to the implicit requirement to think out of the box, and in this regard, the developer does a great job of bringing the player along with this tenured game. The puzzles become more intricate the further one goes, everything ties together fairly well

Still, the game might feel a bit unilateral after a few rounds; it does what it does well, but one might be forgiven for considering it a tad one-dimensional.

In the end, the pros do seem to outweigh any perceived cons, and this game is well worth a look.

CLOCKS Review

CLOCKS Review

Feb 1, 2016

If you know us, you know we like em simple.

CLOCKS is simple.

The premise is pretty easy to understand, and even funner to play. There are two modes: Survival and Quest, and we started off in Quest, which brings leveled gameplay. The game is oriented in portrait, and in its basic form, uses basic colors as the background. On said background, several 2D clocks of differing sizes are placed, somewhat randomly on the grid. Each clock has an hour hand, spinning around the clock… some go clockwise, and others anti-clockwise.

Now, imagine that each moving hour hand is a loaded cannon. Using the prominent “shoot” button at the bottom of the clocks3playing area, the idea is to start with THE prominently highlighted start clock and shoot into another clock — or, pass on the playing pellet if you will. It takes a bit of timing to hit the shooting button right at the exact time; missing automatically ends the run, so one needs to be pretty sure-fingered.

As soon as one hits the one clock, it’s off to shoot the next, and so on and so, until the clocks are cleared.

Oh yeah… did we talk about the clock? There is a nefarious countdown timer, and one can earn a cool bragging star for clearing it. Finishing a level opens the next, and failed levels can be re-played.

Survival is more of a “go-on-till-you-miss experience; no clocks here. Just play till one can’t.

It works because it is able to bring a challenge, but isn’t crazily difficult. One has to do several things, and do them quickly: identify the starter clock (and it isn’t always the same one, for those wondering). Then, dealing with clocks that move at different speeds makes for engaging play. It comes together well.

There are ads, and some that open a chance for a last shot re-play; ads can be killed via in-app purchase.

All in all, simple but fun, and quite worth a look.

Shapeout Review

Shapeout Review

Jan 31, 2016

Shapeout feels familiar.

For the uninitiated, it might look and feel a lot like the cross-platform classic Tetris, what with the portrait orientation, 2D playing area and cascading pieces. The color scheme is fairly simplistic, but that does work for this particular game. It also employs easy animations and light effects which help enhance the overall experience and underscore the quick thinking aspect of the game.

And hold up… just to be clear, this is far from being a JATC (Just Another Tetris Clone); the similarities are beyond just cosmetic, but in this one, instead of working to arrange falling 2D shapes to clear rows, one looks to rotate bi-colored shapes such that the hues create closed shapes that dissolve the housing squares, thereby prolonging one’s gameshape3 life.

It comes in three modes: Classic, Survival and Endless (we tarried in Classic).

It has to be played to be really understood it. The cascading squares, as noted, are either of two colors, lime green and/or black. One way to imagine it as green squares with black indents. The indents are somewhat random, and the idea is to create closed, symmetrical shapes by rotating squares such that the aforementioned shapes are formed. When a qualifying shape is formed, it is highlighted, and dissolves, and is replaced by a new cascading square.

One can also manipulate each square by tapping. Tapping on a square causes it to rotate 90 degrees clockwise. Using this tool, one with an enterprising eye can create a dissolver with a quick roll. Thing is… one has to think through the rotations; every time a square it rotated, an additional square drops, so it pays to have a purpose with every tap. When the entire playing area is filled, the run ends.

It’s simple, is able to squeee in a few modes, and is a great time-wasting tool.

All good.

Gangster Granny 3 Review

Gangster Granny 3 Review

Jan 31, 2016

Gangster Granny 3. Yep, she’s back.

Off the bat, this one makes use of pleasantly zany graphics, Miss Madam is just the way we remember her, as are other characters. The environment is decidedly 3D, and protagonist movements are guided by virtual movements that control the abbreviated first person view the player has. The game uses an animated mapping system, and the developer makes use of color well. The dialogue is light-hearted and fits well with the overall sound scheme.

The intro manages to merge the comedic with the ominous: using stills cobbled together into comic-book cutscenes, the player learns that our sweet protagonist character is under siege since a particular heavy with plans of domination needs something she has, and sends his minions to get her. The bozos snatch her up, and take off in a chopper; Granny isn’t having that, and ends up parachuting from the damaged helicopter.

Then, interestingly enough, we get a mini-game of sorts, which entails helping GG to land, from there, we roll into the game proper.

The game breaks down into missions. The first  all-encompassing objective is to find a new flying machine in the town-ish place Granny landed in. Roaming around is interesting, and almost boring, but for one fact: there are a lot of thugs on looking to pick up Granny, and they are not shy about using force. Some wield heavy tools, others shoot, and it’s up to Granny to avoid damage from them while inflicting her own.

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The combat is pretty engaging, with plenty of offense and defense, and even a bit of strategy involved with regards to temporary retreats or aggressive posturing. The ability to avoid fire is fun, and the bad guys inject just enough sneakiness to make the engagements non-monotonous.

Besides the bad guys, the game incorporates collectible goodies, like health refills and ammo packs. There are accompanying opportunity costs, and goodies can be left for later. There are boss battles, other mini-games and a bunch of puzzles.

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The game comes together well, and feels like a full-fledged arcade experience on the go. It’s easy to get lost in, and pays homage to the concept of endearing characters.

Skytek beware.

Traffic Rider Review

Traffic Rider Review

Jan 31, 2016

Be honest… deep down, everyone wants to race.

It isn’t even all about being first all the time. It’s about freedom, and the ability to defy physics, be it a game of tag, or being the test driver looking to break the land speed record.

We like speed.

Mobile games allow us to push the limits, albeit in a safe, legal way. If there are leaderboards to reinforce bragging rights, even better. Give me good graphics, decent sounds and a heady experience, and I’m good.

Traffic Rider: check, check and check? Let’s see.

What do we have? A bike riding adventure, and by “bike,” we are referring to the mechanical kind. Visually, it’s nicely done, with great use of perspective. It comes in landscape orientation, and gives the player a first person view of the action. The colors and manipulation of virtual light is admirable, and the artwork frames the action to come capably.

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From the beginning, it’s easy to glean the leveling aspect of the game. There are four game modes: Career, Endless, Time Trial and Free Ride, as we happily obliged ourselves with the first. One starts with a very basic machine that looks and sounds suspiciously like a moped. No need to fear though, because this game is all about moving up the ranks via action.

On the first go, one is taught how to increase speed and break; one moves left or right (as in switching lanes) by tilting (which can be changed in Settings). Initially, the main concept is to make it to checkpoints and finish “missions” by avoiding cars and other obstacles. It took a little while to get used to working all the controls together, but it is actually quite fun once one gets a hang of it. Racing up from the rear is engaging, especially with the break lights and occasional lane switching. Accidents “feel” real, and the game manages to avoid gore.

The further one goes (or better yet, finishes the section) the more cash and LP one can earn. Earned cash can them be moved to improve one’s machine, and there are some nice whole pieces to pick from. Leveling up opens more levels, so everything is somewhat interconnected.

It’s a simple game, but works because it doesn’t overly rely on real money to advance. It incorporates ads to give folks an alternative for continues for instance, and it also gives decent game cash payouts. Having several game modes allows for the game to be consumed in different ways, and that can only be good.

All in all, it is a fun product that is easy to enjoy.

Dogfight Elite Review

Dogfight Elite Review

Jan 28, 2016

Air battling is almost always fun, especially that of the gaming kind. Add in retro aircraft and weapons to the picture, and we get an idea of just what Dogfight Elite is looking to be.

Not a bad goal if you’re asking us.

The artwork in this one gets straight to the point. We get interesting skyscapes and and admirable use of virtual perspective; one almost yearns for the horizon. The view is first-person (adjustable to behind) in landscape, and this helps frame the gameplay with a veneer of realism. The colors are a tad muted, but are still effective, and along with the sounds, it’s a fun media experience.

The control mechanism is admirably optioned; early on after launch, one gets to pick between tilt control or virtual joystick (we picked the former to begin). There are also two control frames — cockpits — to select from: one for lower spec’ed decides, the other for more powerful machines (we began with the latter).

One can also adjust the tilt sensitivity, which is definitely a big plus.

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The gameplay comes in two flavors, Practice and Multiplayer; Practice exists to provide players an opportunity to hone their skills. It’s split into a few missions, allowing different elements to be explored. Using text, the game encourages the player to handle the virtual throttle, which gets the plane up in the air.

Training comprises of, initially, flying through rings, and then stuff like attacking and landing. Doing such takes a bit of doing at first, but after a while, it was possible to sharpen our flying/attacking proficiency with the preferred tilt controls; the gliding, diving and even crashing feel natural. The Practice section actually manages to be fairly engaging all on its own, and feels more than just another tutorial as it morphs into full blown dogfight missions.

The dogfighting does feel a bit insurmountable in places; it does take a great deal of patience to down enemy craft; still, it admittedly feels satisfying to do so. Also, one might crave a little bit more depth, but this game works-as-is on several levels.

Edge of Tomorrow Review

Edge of Tomorrow Review

Jan 28, 2016

All hail the continued extended experience that major motion picture companion games bring.

Looks like they’re here to stay for the foreseeable future, and we sure as heck are not complaining; what’s not to love in games that are based off of movies and animated shows that we are going to see anyway? It makes sense for all parties involved, plus we get to see new games that are mostly commissioned by studios that have loads of cash to throw at mobile development.

Games like Edge of Tomorrow, based on an interesting movie that came out a while back featuring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt.

The opening cutscene is a direct cut from the movie, which should be a boon to fans of the movie, as it does a great job of the mimicking (see what I did) the opening battle scene, with plenty of explosions, crashing ships. landing troops and enemy creatures. The artwork is pretty engaging; one practically can feel the kicked up sand in one’s mouth, and feel the fear.

The method here is fairly easy to understand; it comes in FPS/portrait, and swiping across the screen swings one’s view and the gun sights. A generous virtual joystick is provided on the left side, and the main idea is to avoid hazards (especially the blighted Mimics) and make it to a waypoint. When the sights land on a Mimic, the gun auto-shoots till it is out of ammunition, at which point one generally uses another weapon, or is killed by the eventual Mimic.

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There are goodies to be picked up, yes, so the game is able to feel a bit like an arcade title.

There are several enjoyable elements that make the game stand out. For one, the shooting mechanism is fairly easy to get with and use. The auto-fire makes it easier to wield, and the system works very well with the first person view. Then, the way the game incorporates the reincarnation aspect from the source movie is fairly seamless — not exact, but close enough to be noted.

On the other hand, the gameplay’s innate action creates quite the chaotic experience, and sometimes, it feels overly busy… almost as if the game is being forcibly restrained by the source material.

All in all, it comes across as a pretty great companion game, and is strong enough to survive as a standalone FPS adventure.

World Spin Review

World Spin Review

Jan 26, 2016

If we said it once, we’ve said it several times before: complex, plot-driven games are to die for, yes, but every now and then, give us a quick-hitting time-waster to unwind with.

Something like World Spin, perhaps?

The main attribute that comes to mind when getting into this game is how simple it is; right from the start, with the sharp colors and definite shapes, one absorbs an easy-to-digest visual presentation that highlights a game that clearly wants one to focus on the goal at hand. It incorporates smooth animations, and as one finds, this is a key aspect of the game. The options reveal a whimsical side to the developer, and the cheery sounds hint at a arcade-y experience.ws3

It is a puzzle game, yes, and it’s all about the switch. The aforementioned button is the target in each level, easily identified in it’s red manifestation. It is generally nestled in a layered, somewhat irregular shape, full of aisles and more. Somewhere on this structure is a ball, gingerly resting.

Tapping on the left side of the screen rotates the structure to the left, and tapping on the right makes it go that way. The ball acts as if affected by physics, and rolls accordingly. The basic idea is to guide it to the red switch so as to open up subsequent levels and to earn points.

If the ball falls off the structure, the round is failed, and one is allowed to retry indefinitely.

Frankly, it can be plenty of fun. As one progresses, the puzzles get delightfully harder, demanding a firm touch and more than a little patience. The game engages because it manages to overstep the “basic puzzler” descriptor by adding in unexpected twists just when one thinks its figured out. It might feel monotonous to the hyper-industrious, but the developer does well to make the game more-or-less play well, even without really having to spend real money.

There is nothing wrong with being simple.