Blitz Brigade, Gameloft’s online multiplayer FPS, has been updated for Android. Adding in new unique skills for each character, a capture the flag mode, a new map, and other tweaks and improvements, now Android gamers have a version on par with the iOS original. The update is available now on Google Play, and you can check out an infographic of just how many poor virtual souls have gone to the great brigade in the sky…
Punch Quest, the hig endless puncher from Rocketcat Games and Madgarden, published on Android by Noodlecake Games, has gotten an update on Android along with a new price tag: free. Yes, the game is dropping down to the free price that it is at on iOS, so if a dollar was too low to enjoy Punch Quest, then, good news! This update also brings along snakes, new Power II abilities, incentivized video ads for coins, and other tweaks and fixes. The update is available now on Google Play, Amazon Appstore, and soon the Humble Bundle version, which was made without IAP, will be updated as well.
Cloud Raiders is a real-time strategy in which the player control giant floating islands that in time become fortresses, equipped with deadly defenses and raging armies. Then they fight against others’ islands for gold and glory. The game looks fun and pretty, and is available for free from here: Cloud Raiders on Google Play.
Ustream is an app that lets anyone broadcast live feed from their device to anyone. The new update brings some special features. If you have a Verizon Wireless subscription then you get a special, Verizon branded channel with the following bonus features: private casting, no ads for up to seven watchers, 720p broadcasting resolution, and friend notification. Ustream can be downloaded for free from here: Ustream on Google Play.
Red Bull is releasing a new racing game for Android. Red Bull Racers is going to be an arcade racing game, where the players will compete against bots or each other in four different modes: Elimination, Domination, Cup, and Endurance, across three different car types: Formula, Off-road, and Street. There’s already a hundred different tracks and lots of licensed cars announced. The game will be free-to-play and feature IAPs.
This dedicated space for fans of the game to gather, meet, and even improve how they play the game is jam-packed with detailed toy guides, character profiles, strategy guides, achievement listings, community screenshots, fan art, and much more besides.
Best of all, it’s a space that’s shaped by you, the fans, giving everyone the opportunity to help build the greatest Angry Birds Go! site ever made.
Secret of Mana is an old-school J-RPG from Square Enix, the developers of Final Fantasy. The upcoming game is also a role-playing game, but it’s more of an action-RPG, familiar to many mobile gamers. It will feature 3-D graphics and is going to be free-to-play, as well as a compelling story and interesting characters. Here’s a quite marvelous website (in Japanese): Rise of Mana on Square Enix Website.
Two interesting things occurred while working on this review. One was highlighted during a commercial. A couple were working on creating an online account, and were having some difficulty coming up with a strong enough password they could remember. Yep, it advertised a password utility. On network TV.
The second thing was an interesting article I read while researching an unrelated article. The Adobe security breach reveals that the only password more widely used than “password” is “123456.”
What’s clear is this: password management needs to be taken very seriously. PasswordBox looks to be just the tool we need.
Starting up the app requires registration so as to set the master password which controls access to one’s data. After that, one is greeted by a clean interface that has some common websites like Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, PayPal and more somewhat preset in boxes; all that’s needed is to input username and password for the particular service. There is also a tab that allows for one to add a website that is not n the pre-populated set.
A gesture to the right of the main screen opens up a side menu that hints at more functionality: Safe Notes, which acts as a locally encrypted diary of sorts; Wallet, which can be used with credit card data and memberships; Password Generator, which automatically generates passwords based on criteria selected by the user; and an interesting Legacy Locker, which allows designated persons to access data in the user’s absence or death.
A big part of this app’s functionality is the built-in browser; it allows the use of “1-Tap Login” a service that allows one to login directly from the app with one tap. This feature can be toggled for specific apps. The service can be accessed from internet browsers as well, which makes it reasonably cross-platform.
PasswordBox offers AES-256, which is serious encryption and the additional option of using a PIN to further secre data.
Unfortunately, to use the free version of the app, one can’t have more than 25 passwords. To do more, an $11.99/year subscription is required. Folks that prefer one-time payment options might balk at this. I think the password generator could add an option for pronounceability as well.
Still, for what it does, PasswordBox does it well, and looks good doing it. The featureset is robust, accessibility is great and there is room to grow: well worth a free look.
Most people wish they were doing something extraordinary, such as running Google, being an Ice Cream taste tester, or piloting a space ship. Sadly, most of us will only be able to act out these dreams through some sort of simulation or game, which is where Planet Descent comes in. In this title, you pilot a space ship around a 2D playing area, dodging asteroids while collecting minerals for fun and profit.
This game inhabits a similar approach to the PC game Lunar Flight, except Planet Descent, as previously mentioned, is 2D rather than 3D. Planet Descent is also quite a bit easier, lacking a lot of the realism or complicated controls used on similar type games. That’s not to say that this mobile title isn’t challenging, but you certainly won’t need years of NASA training to get it either.
Probably one of the best things going for this game is that the developer took what appears to be a simple game, and gave it some variety. While collecting the green minerals is almost always your primary goal, there are plenty of secondary goals involving keeping your hide safe and doing some intuitive flying. Things such as clobbering surface to air guns or avoiding an asteroid belt will also be spun into the mix, making what could have been a dull game, a slightly nerve racking but lively time in Planet Descent.
The game also uses a noir-like art style, reminiscent of games such as Limbo, but with color. This actually helps the game stand out a little more while also making it easier to distinguish your ship from other objects.
Planet Descent is well worth the 99 cents, and will make you feel a lot better than you would after eating something off the dollar menu. It’s usage of physics, great controls, and neat art style combine to make a pretty delightful experience. Planet Descent isn’t going to rock anyone’s socks off, but it is a hidden gem in a sea of disastrous apps and games.
If you peruse around the Google Play app store, you see there is a race to fill the void left by the departure of Flappy Bird. Most of these clones coming out are the exact same thing, just with slightly altered graphics, some of them actually try to change some things. But then, from minds only St. Louis, MO could produce, comes a game with a slightly similar idea, but way better, called Roid Rage.
Roid Rage isn’t some game about Jose Canseco or Sammy Sosa. Rather, it’s a game about the extreme rage you the player will suffer while guiding your spaceship through a massive asteroid collection, while collecting puddles of “Juices” throughout space. Your ship appears to be a one man vessel without weapons, but can turn like no other and doesn’t have a break pedal. You could try to throw the word “endless” on this game, but the better description would be the Atari classic Asteroids on super serum.
It’s not like Roid Rage is a linear game where you guide a ship through stationary asteroids either. Everything in this game, which just includes Asteroids and “Juices” are placed randomly, while also moving at random. Therefor, unlike the Flappy’s of the world, it requires a touch more skill to avoid death. The added bonus is the collection of “Juices” which are just bright blue blobs on the playing area. The whole goal of the game is to collect as many of those as possible before you die.
The controls for this game are also pretty simple, and worth noting. You can only turn the ship, as it never stops. A right turn is executed by touching the right side of the screen, while a left one is done by touching the left side. That’s it, a pretty simple control scheme that will give you a false sense of superiority. Those controls, while simple, do little to tame the ultimate anger and sheer frustration intentionally caused by the crafty developers.
Fans of other Butterscotch Shenanigans games (Towelfight 2, Quadropus Rampage) will recognize the art style, as well as the generous in-app-purchases approach. However, this game is not quite on the same level as their smash hit of last year. Roid Rage is part of a series of mini games that the two brother studio plans to put out while working on their upcoming title Crashlands. No word on what future mini’s will hold, but if Roid Rage is any indication, you will want to check them out.
Roid Rage may not compare to the greatness that is Quadropus Rampage, but that doesn’t mean this title is a throw away either. It may be hard as heck, but it’s still a simple and fun arcade game. Just be prepared for a rise in your blood pressure while stress-fully trying to dodge asteroids, while you undoubtedly avoid work to play this petite IP.
CastleStorm: Free to Siege is the upcoming mobile version of Zen Studios’ 2013 game about destroying castles, and destroying those who would dare destroy castles besides one’s own self, because only one person can really destroy castles. Only one.
While the game released as a premium title for consoles, the mobile version will be free-to-play. While Zen Pinball uses a free model, it’s about content unlocks, not consumable IAP. Thus, Zen is doing something smart: a soft launch of the game that will allow them to sort out how their game will monetize and any of the technical issues that arise.
Screw that – I didn’t get this job to get a heart attack. Generally, I have a love-hate relationship with horror games. I like horrors because of the atmosphere and feeling of abandonment and solitariness. What I hate them for is when some monster jumps right at you and your heart goes through your digestive system and escapes from below, buys ticket to Hawaii and lives there, hourly taking Prozac. Dungeon Nightmares is a great combination of both, and I already place it among the best mobile horrors, but if I knock out the next person who pats me from behind with my heels, as I’ll be starting off in an opposite direction, I know what to put my blame on.
Dungeon Nightmares will feel familiar to people who played mobile horror games like Slender and SCP-173 and the like. Player needs to go through a lengthy dungeon that consists of various barely-lit rooms and passages and collect an artifact. Then he needs to get to an exit. There are other things that can be collected, like gold bars and creepy notes that try to warn the hero of an impeding doom, but they’re not necessary to complete a level. Just find an artifact and get to an exit. I think it’s obvious that there’s something in the dungeon that doesn’t really want our quick departure from the dungeons. I won’t indulge in details because spoiling the mood is the one thing you don’t want to do with a horror game.
But I can say that unlike previous horror games that consist of nothing but walking around an empty area and waiting for the enemy to jump at you at any second, Dungeon Nightmares holds suspension with more than that. Also, it looks really great. It’s not the most beautiful game on Android, but it feels like a proper game, instead of a prolonged screamer with cheap textures. Another great thing about it is the big, changing levels. When the hero gets to an exit and the next night starts, dungeon layout is completely changed. I can’t say for sure, but I suspect that the objects’ whereabouts in the dungeon are also shuffled each time you play. By the way, there’s a handy map that even keeps track of your steps, although it doesn’t show any objects or exit.
Wrapping up, I can’t really think of significant flaws in Dungeon Nightmares. Maybe the graphics could be a bit better and the dungeon rooms could have more variety with more objects of interest, and the story could be richer, but really, it’s fine the way it is. I want to say that it’s a great “screamer”, but I really think that it would be a bit insulting, because Dungeon Nightmares is a great horror game.
Eventseeker is just what it says: an event seeker. It finds various concerts, exhibitions, sport events and more, across more than 200 cities. Its main feature is that it doesn’t just show every concert in the area, but taps into the user’s social site history and interests, to bring events that might be more interesting. It can be downloaded for free from here: Eventseeker on Google Play. And here’s Eventseeker Website.
Fashion Star Designer gives the player control of their own fashion label. Everything from leather trench coats to chainmail sleeved shirts can be made and sold to clients for cash.
Fashion Star Designer features mission style play. A client gives a vague design of what they want and the player makes it for them, using whatever materials and design they see fit. Each client has different preferences, such as the use of a certain material or design, such as floral print. Matching these traits grants additional cash. Traits are discovered by simply making clothes for that client though trial and error. Once all of a client’s traits are discovered, a new piece of clothing is unlocked.
Besides dealing with clients, players can also just make clothes at random and sell them in their boutique. As expected, each design fetches a different price depending on what it is and takes a time to sell. The longer the time selected, the higher the amount of money earned, like most freemium games. Super annoyingly only three designs can be sold at once without paying a lot of premium currency for boutique space, greatly limiting income.
Fashion Star Designer unfortunately fails to take notice of the player’s designs. Loading a bunch of designs haphazardly onto a shirt for example with some garish colors is just as effective as tasteful clothing. It is not possible to have a design rejected or even to receive meaningful feedback on a design. This makes designing good looking clothes rather pointless. Multiple colors also cannot be used on the same piece of clothing, except for belts and undershirts and the like. This makes most designs quite dull.
Fashion Star Designer is also full of in app purchases. For the vast majority of clothes, specifically anything cool or classy looking the game asks for large amounts of Gift Cards. They cannot be bought with in game Coins. While Gift Cards can be gained by leveling up, only minuscule amounts are awarded. This is compounded by the fact that leveling up often requires purchasing Gift Card only designs.
Graphically FSD features a confusing interface. With the pay store at the top of the menu and somewhat confusing creation controls there is much scope for improvement. Resizing items is especially slow and awkward. There are limited colours and styles on offer, which is surprising for a game about fashion. Very few accessories like bows and buttons are available as well. The sound is limited mostly to some inoffensive music, but it suits the tone of the game.
Fashion Star Designer purports to allow players to use their imagination and cater to client needs. But the large amount of in app purchases that greatly limit design choices and the lack of actual feedback on designs makes it little more than a glorified tap and wait simulator.
When it comes to image capture on mobile devices, competition is fierce. Better hardware, more megapixels, yes, but almost more importantly, better image manipulation tools. This is the space VSCO Cam is looking to fill.
Starting the app starts a device optimization sequence; after this, the app menu appears, and it gives us a clue as to the app’s core functionality. The app menu is rated in greys and blacks, besides the Camera button, there are tabs for Library, Store, Settings, Journal and VSCO Grid, and these tabs are set in a slide-out panel that can be hidden on the left.
The camera function is probably the most important, and selecting it opens up the shooting utility. This specific environment is minimalist in nature, with menu and sizing buttons. There is also a toggle to important pictures for manipulation. Taking a picture is as simple as it is on any smartphone camera (obviously); VSCO Cam‘s assumed value is mostly in its ability to tweak images.
And, at first blush, that value is high indeed. The option set is superb, allowing for the user to actually create pre-sets that can be applied to pictures. Further, there is a slider that can be utilized to perfect tat particular look. Picture tweaking utilizes elements like temperature and exposure to create balance, and the comparison feature is phenomenal, as it allows for before/after checks by long-pressing the edited image. For folks looking to get a hand in selecting the perfect combination of tweaks, there are preset packs available via in-app purchase.
The app also covers the social angle, allowing sharing via social networks and via its own aforementioned VSCO Grid. The latter is an interesting concept that makes sense, allowing folks to discover and be discovered. This is social aspect adds to the attraction of the app.
It’s a third-party app that is fluid and actually fun to use, and is great for all ages.
Timewinder is essentially, a timer that allows the user to save the recorded intervals and organize them. While some people may wonder what good is a recording timer, I can think of several great uses for it – for example, trying to beat your own time for sports routine, or comparing different routes to different parts of town (what? Am I the only one who does this?) Timewinder is available now on Google Play.