Soccer Team Bus Battle – World Cup Brazil 2014 Review

Soccer Team Bus Battle – World Cup Brazil 2014 Review

May 27, 2014

Within weeks from now, all of the world will be tuning in at the soccer world cup in Brazil. Naturally, game makers want to cash in on one of the biggest spectacles of the world by using the world cup as a theme for their football games. But the Dutch studio Lunagames does things differently.

In Soccer Team Bus Battle – World Cup Brazil 2014 players take control of a nation’s bus – which nation that will be, is up to the player. There is only one condition for the team to be in the game: they have to compete in the world cup, of course. When the player has chosen the country it will represent, the chase of the rival team will begin. Both busses will ride on a busy freeway. The core of the gameplay rests with dodging cars that drive away and at you. It is okay to bump into the once in a while, because the bus players are controlling has a healthbar which slowly drains after each hit. However, don’t go to far with that – the bus hasn’t got eternal life, so be careful when driving.

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The goal is to catch up with the bus players are chasing. While dodging cars, collecting special colored balls and ramming into other cars, I found myself enjoying the overall experience. The bus reacts very well to the on-screen contol buttons. There are only to – the bus can change four different lanes, so at its core, it’s very basic. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a negative point. It makes the game quickly understandable and very accessible at the very least. After the player destroys a bus, another will appear – making this and endless 3D runner. It only ends when the player dies by the hands of the rival bus or by the ongoing traffic. However it ends, it always ends with a bang – with Burnout-like collisions. The wheels even come off – it looks a but clunky, but it is very funny to see.

So the game plays nice, has a humoristic touch to it and, even for a world cup game without the sport itself, has suprisingly many balls in store. It also looks very well made and the music fits the overall theme. This is one World Cup game even non-soccer lovers can play. And I for one, am one of those people.

Subway Surfers Review

Subway Surfers Review

May 7, 2014

When players first encounter Subway Surfers, perhaps the will think that this is just another Temple Run clone. But look closer: this is different enough to stand on its own legs.

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In Subway Surfers, players take control of a boy named Jake. Jake is a guy who loves graffiti and trains and really likes to combine those things. When he’s spraying some grafitti on a train, an cop of some sort shows up with his dog. The first thing Jake does is running away and getting away as far as possible from the law enforcer. Because of this little back story, the game has a great concept and a new, fresh look on endless runner genre. Yes, it does look like Temple Run at its core, but it does enough to compete with and disassociate from it.

Jake runs over one of three train tracks. He can switch between them by swiping left or right. But un upward or downward swipe Jake will jump or duck respectively, jumping over and sliding under obstacles. The game reacts really well to the player input, with no mentionable lag. With a quick double tap, Jake jumps on his skateboard, riding even faster then before. This skateboard not only makes the player faster, it also provides a free hit – when players hit obstacles, it loses the game and has to start over. It’s a bit harsh but fair; paying attention is what his game requires from its players.

There are also a lot of ramps where Jake can run into and jump on top of a train. When he’s on one, he can move from train to train, as long as the game allows him to. Sometimes the trains stand still, making it particular easy to find his way. But at other times the trains will ride to the player, making them obstacles to dodge on the ground and moving platforms with increased difficulty when on top of them. It not only increases the difficulty, it also makes the game more fun by presenting players alternate ways to play and changing things up a bit. Subway Surfers provides players with lots of collectible stuff on the road (like Easter eggs and letters) and even power-ups! There is never a dull moment.

Subway Surfers plays great, looks great (those graphics a so slick, it’s incredible), has a great and easy to use control scheme and a lot of unlockables. Players can unlock extra players, boards and upgrades, all by just playing the game and collecting all the coins. While it will take them days to get everything, players can also buy it with real life money – but it is certainly not necessary. Therefore, Subway Surfers is one of the most enjoyable experiences on Android out there.

Escape from Doom Review

Escape from Doom Review

Oct 29, 2013

Escape from Doom is an endless runner that is set in the hot sands of Egypt past the era of the pharaohs. Basically, it’s a story of being transported to the pyramids during the grave-robbing 1920s, and having to escape the vengeful, dead mummified guards that still take their guard duties very, very seriously.

The perspective is first-person shooter, so most of the action is pretty much in the face from the get-go. The tutorial is pretty quick and straightforward, and gives insight into the controls and general gameplay. The default guiding mechanism involves generous tapping areas on the left and right of the screen that allow darting to the left or right, depending on the side draft. Beyond that, taps in the center elicit gunfire.

To play, the general premise is to collect goodies (by running into stuff like vases and chests) while avoiding or doom1capping marauding mummies. The mummies of a damage radius of sorts, and entering causes injury or death. Forward movement is automatic until a game ending bloody collision occurs. The goodies include upgrades, equipment and consumables like ammunition.

The gameplay incorporates a challenge system that usually rewards longevity of runs. Stuff like distance, mummies killed and the like are cumulative stats that can unlock other features or boosts when reached. The game awards gems for distance, and gems can be used to purchase perks as well. Such perks can be used in slots to gain advantages on runs. A lot of the weaponry is based on levels, but can be unlocked with treasure. And of course, the accumulation of treasure can be expedited by IAP, though I did not find real cash to be mandatory.

And the runs do increase in difficulty; the further the runs go, the darker it gets. Some mummies uncoil from the ground, making them hard to discern from the valuable vases. Different backdrops emerge and keep the game relatively fresh over time.

I like the graphics in this one. I could almost feel the sun-drenched sand in my eyes, and it is easy to appreciate the animations as exemplified by the bumbling opening sequence of every run. The visuals convey a sense of foreboding that mostly worked.

It’s the perfect runner for Halloween… and likely much beyond.

Agent Dash Review

Agent Dash Review

Aug 22, 2012

Honestly, I’m surprised that it took so long for games that take obvious inspiration from Temple Run to pop up. But 3D endless runners are starting to creep out, and Full Fat Games have one of their own with Agent Dash. This James Bond pastiche has a tuxedo-clad agent running through the jungle, a secret base, and a city in pursuit of gems. The gems can be spent on the now-standard character upgrades, consumable items, and new characters, including Bond Girl parody “Joanna Goodtug” which is a little on the nose, isn’t it?

Similar to Temple Run, players swipe vertically to jump or slide, but swipe horizontally to move between three different lanes. This means that the tilt sensor doesn’tdfdsfdafsadsfsadfasdfdsfdasfdsaf get involved at all, which is both a blessing and a curse. The game has great graphics, with a stylish almost-cel-shaded effect that gives the game a cartoonish veneer, and there’s plenty of color as well.

I have two big qualms with Agent Dash, though. First off, why is he running? There’s nothing explicitly chasing Agent Dash or his compatriots. I mean, at least Temple Run had evil monkeys and Brave had a giant freaking bear running after their protagonists. What’s stopping Agent Dash from just taking a leisurely stroll to his destination? At least in Jetpack Joyride, Barry Steakfries is somewhere he shouldn’t be, and in Canabalt, the world is collapsing. Give us a reason to run, developers!

Second, there’s a reason why Temple Run went with tilting to switch lanes, instead of swiping: it’s much quicker and forgiving to the player to let them tilt instead of swiping. When hazards require the player to go from one side to the other, they need to be able to react more quickly than the swiping controls allow.

So, that just makes playing Agent Dash extremely frustrating. Compare this to Temple Run, and really any successful endless runner: the frustration needs to come from the challenge level of the game, not from the player’s use of the controls. The reason why Temple Run has 8-digit download numbers is because they figured out the controls. Trying to remove the tilting mechanic is breaking what wasn’t broken. It’s free, yes, but so is the original Temple Run, so this only for those who really need a new 3D endless runner fix.