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.

EvoCreo Review

EvoCreo Review

Aug 6, 2015

There’s no going around it, so I’ll just say it. EvoCreo is a blatant Pokemon ripoff. It’s a copy of the Pokemon Red down to the T. Or, at least it seems a lot like that to me, since I never actually followed the endless franchise that Pokemon became. EvoCreo has all the same mechanics, all the same gameplay – hell, even the geography is a lot like the Pokemon. It is, for all intents and purposes, a Pokemon game, except with all obvious references cut and replaced by weirdly-named placeholders. But here’s the most interesting part: EvoCreo is actually pretty good.

For those that don’t know anything about the Pokemon, it’s basically a very simple turn-based tactical action, where the player needs to collect various weird creatures and then battle them against the enemy creatures. Each creature type has unique stats and abilities, and the creatures can level up and evolve into their more powerful selves. There’s quite a lot of management involved, so it’s very easy to become OCD about the stuff. As I mentioned, EvoCreo is exactly the same. The player EvoCreo 2takes a role of a boy/girl who travels all over a given region, gets involved with various stories, visits various places, inhabited and wild, and of course, collects a bunch of critters that will fight for him against their own kind.

EvoCreo is actually pretty fun, and copies Pokemon so perfectly that you can’t even blame it for its plagiarization, and start to actually admire its efforts. Although the creatures aren’t as memorable as the Pokemon, they’re still pretty well designed, and have different stats and abilities – there’s even 130 of them. The battles are also the same: the player can use one of his creature’s abilities, switch it for another one, use one of his items, or attempt to flee the battle. If the battle is won, the player and his creature get some experience points that allow them to level up and learn new abilities. There’s also a store that allows the player to purchase various stuff, although for some reason, I couldn’t access it – but I’m willing to write it off as a single-time bug.

Overall, EvoCreo is an almost perfect copy. So, if you’re a fan of the Pokemon and want to play it on your Android device, or simply want to see what all the fuss is about, you can try out EvoCreo. At least it’s easier than to buy a Nintendo.

Fruit Attacks Review

Fruit Attacks Review

Aug 4, 2015

All hail Fruit Attacks. We’ve been waiting…

Visually, this game is festive. It uses bright colors to highlight the gameplay, with defined choices signifying specific play points. The animations are pretty smooth, and the visual cues well done. The sound score is also engaging, and fits the game well.

Control-wise, Fruit Attacks employs a dual thumb method which allows for the player to touch and drag a precise path for the offensive projectiles to travel; releasing the screen fires it. Additionally, shaking the device adds to the fa1offensive arsenal a player has.

And where does this stuff get used? Well, in this one, the earth is under attack from alien, uh, fruit that are on a revenge mission to punish earthlings for consuming — you guessed it — fruit.

Earth’s only real hope is the previously maligned “Sound Amplification Transmission Inducer,” which can take out the dastardly fruit. SATI is our hero, and the thingie whose projectiles the player controls.

The Fruit generally float down from the top of the screen, with SATI at the bottom, and the idea is to use the aforementioned dual control method to create a path that destroys the invading wave. The weapons can bounce, so in ways, it feels a bit like creating trick shots via ricochet, taking out each line with the least number of shots. As the game progresses, one gets more difficult waves in trickier formations, and the goal is to get them before they get too close. Down the line, one can shake the device to cause a temporary stun as well. Some waves are tougher than others, and the charging system is an element that adds to the overall gameplay.

Doing well earns one golden seeds and experience points; the latter allows one to level up, while the former allows for the purchasing of boosts and the like.

While simple on the surface, there is a lot of complexity swelling under the surface. It merges familiar elements (like the three-star grading system) to a dash of the unexpected, and the whole amalgam is pretty enjoyable. It’s a fun came, especially poignant if played while munching on an apple.

Fortress Fury Review

Fortress Fury Review

Aug 2, 2015

Fortress Fury seems like it should have been released more than 5 years ago, back when Angry Birds were still kinda popular, since this seems like a logical evolution of the concept. Fortress Fury lets the player build his own fortress, arm it with various medieval weapons and fight off against the enemy fortress, trying to destroy its core while keeping your own intact. It’s very fun, and while the game looks a bit overwhelming on the first try, it’s actually fairly easy to grab a hold of.

There are two primary parts in Fortress Fury. The first part is constructing the fortress itself. The process is simple and complex at the same time. The “fortress” is a vertical, rectangular patch of squared space that the player can fill in with blocks of different material, as well as with special parts. There is a number of upgrades that the player can purchase, some of which unlock the new blocks, while others improve the stats of those that are already unlocked. The material blocks are pretty straightforward, serving as the basis for the tower, and protecting the important bits. The special blocks are all different and serve different goals. The most important special block is the Fortress Fury 3tower core. If this block is destroyed, the whole tower falls apart, so this block should be protected at all costs. Its unique ability is that it can disguise itself as any other block, so the enemy never truly knows where it’s situated.

Another important block is the armor that, when activated, can protect a certain amount of blocks from being damaged. There’s a bunch of other special blocks, which can be unlocked, but have to be put sparingly, since the more powerful blocks player puts on his tower, the heavier it gets, and there’s a maximum possible capacity to a tower, meaning the player should try to conserve his resources, or make sacrifices. Finally, there are the actual weapons. They are simple static ballistas and catapults, with the exception of the front archers, which evolve over the course of the battle, and later on become huge monstrosities, chunking blocks of land at the enemy. The aiming and shooting is the same simple drag and release action that was in Angry Birds, their spin-offs, and influences. The game tends to become spammy, but it still has a strategy requirement to it, combining perfectly the player’s ability to design a great fortress, and his ability to aim his troops for the enemy.

Overall, Fortress Fury is really fun, although it does require some concentration and dedication. It’s easily one of the funnest free-to-play strategies I’ve seen, and is a great example of why free-to-play system doesn’t automatically equal frustrating and dumbed-down gameplay.

Storm of Swords Review

Storm of Swords Review

Jul 31, 2015

A-and we’re back with the strategies. Storm of Swords, despite its catchy name, has nothing to do with Game Of Thrones universe, and thankfully, doesn’t try to. It’s a cartoony free-to-play strategy game with all the staple elements, and even with a couple more.

The gameplay of Storm of Swords looks a lot like Clash of Clans copycat, but in fact, it’s a bit different than that. There are a lot of similarities, of course. The player needs to maintain a medieval castle, while fighting with roaming bandit hordes, orcs, goblins, and other fantasy cliches. The castle requires a lot of different buildings, serving various purposes. The player can build resource-gathering buildings to haul the needed resources. He can also build castle defenses and barracks, Storm of Swords 3in order to be prepared for the possible invasion, and to maintain his own army. Lastly, the player has a hero that he can equip, improve, as well as hire new ones. They are required for the army to function, and are the most powerful units out there, so they require a lot of preparation. I doubt that any of that is very different for experienced FTP strategy players, though. Oh, also, there’s no actual battle strategy. After two armies start clashing, there seems to be no way for the player to interact with the battle.

The big part of Storm of Swords is a sprawling multiplayer element. The player’s castle is situated on a server that also holds a bunch of different castles, and whenever a player reaches a certain kingdom level, he is able to transfer to another one, with different enemies and similarly powerful players. This keeps the players on a seemingly leveled playing field, at the same time making the game feel fresh. I’d say that this system works great.

Overall, Storm of Swords looks alright. It’s not flashy and doesn’t try to re-imagine things, but it works well as a casual free-to-play strategy. The gameplay emphasizes more of an economic accent, but there’s enough fighting for the aggressive types. I definitely see it becoming a favorite for some players.

Kung Fury: Street Rage Review

Kung Fury: Street Rage Review

Jul 30, 2015

In case anyone haven’t yet seen Kung Fury, and likes all things badass, I urge you to watch it immediately. It’s on Youtube, and it’s 20 minutes of equal parts hilarious and awesome. A story about a kung fu cop who goes back in time to fight Hitler? I’m no movie critic, but I’m pretty sure it’s better than Citizen Kane. But Kung Fury: Street Rage, a tie-in videogame is not nearly as good.

My expectations for Kung Fury: Street Rage went in a completely opposite direction from the short movie itself. I started watching the movie, being completely certain that it’s going to be a cliched circle-jerk mess. Instead, I got an amazing over-the-top parody of all sings 80-s. So, I got very hyped when I got a chance to review a videogame tie-in, fully expecting it to be a great old-school brawl. Instead, I got a game that has less content than Google Play Install Permissions mini-game. It’s so short that you could fit it in its entirety in a video ad. Kind of like one of those ads that pop-up every other time you lose in Kung Fury: Street Rage.

It wouldn’t matter if the game was lacking content if the actual game was great, but I can’t even say that much. The core gameplay is a very simple brawler, with only two buttons for controls: one makes the player character hit left, and another – right. The game is just an endless amount of enemies running towards the player that need to taste Kung Fury Street Rage 4the knuckle justice. The player needs to kill as many baddies as possible, until they hit him three times. That’s basically it. There are several kinds of enemies, but that’s the whole variety the game has to offer. No combos, weapons, power-ups, levels or skins – nothing. Compared to the amount of content stuffed into the movie, it’s downright insulting. Also, it manages to screw up the only mechanic it has by introducing an irritating delay between pressing a button and the character hitting stuff, making it about as intuitive as playing it with your toes. Sure, the game is free, but those annoying un-skippable ads that show up when you lose a game, make its price a little bit of your humanity.

Overall, Kung Fury: Street Rage is a great disappointment. I honestly wouldn’t mind if it was just some indie project, but getting this after the grandeur that is Kung Fury, makes me sad. If you want to extend your Kung Fury experience, they should rewatch the short movie instead, and don’t bother with this little mess.

Shadow Strike Review

Shadow Strike Review

Jul 30, 2015

Shadow Strike is a somewhat controversial, but pretty high-quality action game for the fans of American military. It’s a game about war drones, and gives the player control over a drone, completing various missions for US military. I wouldn’t want to ignore the elephant in the room, and say that the game feels somewhat dark. I’m not sure if this was the intention of the developers, or it’s simply my own bias showing through, but the game almost feels aware of the themes that it presents. The commanding officer of the player looks just a little too villainous, and the bleak, blue-tinted night-vision screen detaches the player from whatever is happening on the screen so well, you almost don’t want to switch to the regular, full-color mode. I’m certain that I read into the game too much, so if anything, let my weird uncanny feeling be a sort of a compliment to the game’s quality.

The gameplay of Shadow Strike is pretty straightforward: there’s a progression of missions, where the player gets to complete certain objectives, such as destroying aShadow Strike 4 VIP vehicle, protecting a convoy, or simply search-and-destroy, activating and aiming the drone’s weapons systems. If the player completes the main goal, and any of the additional ones, he gets a cash reward and a rank progression. The cash can be spent on upgrading the drone itself, or its weapons. There’s a number of weapons with varying characteristics that can be purchased, or upgraded. Additional systems of the drone include countermeasures that let the player shoot down the enemy RPGs, and armor that can soak up several hits before the drone is destroyed. The game looks good, and sounds good. I didn’t play it long enough to get to the paywall, but insofar, it’s a been pretty sweet ride.

Overall, Shadow Strike is an energetic free-to-play action game that definitely puts some effort into itself. It’s definitely for the fans of everything militaristic. I have no doubts that it already has a bunch of dedicated fans, and since it has some additional content released for it already, that it’s going to last for a while. So, if you like the idea of piloting a war drone and reigning hell on the enemies of the state, this is most certainly a great game for you.

Tiny Troopers 2: Special Ops Review

Tiny Troopers 2: Special Ops Review

Jul 27, 2015

Simple, fun games like Tiny Troopers 2: Special Ops are just what one needs to make it through that hard stretch in the day. On paper, at least.

The graphical representation is interesting; it is pretty whimsical in nature, with an adjusted top down view, which helps with the controls. Not too much of the landscape is given a way, which serves a purpose with regards to gameplay. The artwork is vivid, with rich colors and a hint of perspective, and the animations are relatively smooth.

As far as the action goes, in this one, the idea is to go out and conquer. As noted, one controls a soldier from up above, tapping on the screen to get the soldier to move to that area. Our little guy is equipped with a gun too, and this is useful against marauding enemy troops, who general shoot in lieu of civil conversation. Each soldier is equipped with a lifebar, so fire fights are really wars of attrition.

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The game evolves into more complex RPG fare as progress is made; the enemy soldiers get smarter with more sophisticated weapons and tactics. To combat this, one needs to collect upgrades and other goodies which help with both survival and lethal efficacy. Things like grenades and missile launchers come into play, and the developer is cogent enough to toss in atypical survival segments to break up any monotony. If all goes well, and the player is able to hold his own, he leads his troops to the rally point, and the level is done; with success comes payouts, and this in-game currency can be used to upgrade gear or recruit new members to the squad, which is a key aspect with regards to going far.

It all comes together as a leveled game presented as missions, with the expected increases in difficulty as one moves on. it is simple, and easy to get into and enjoy.

I think the mechanics of gameplay with regards to grouped squadrons is a bit illogical; some ability to divide and conquer would have been nice.

Still, for an action game, Tiny Troopers 2: Special Ops is a fun adventure.

Dragon Blaze Review

Dragon Blaze Review

Jul 24, 2015

Another day, another half-assed free-to-play “RPG” game looking graphically better than 80% of western mobile market. Some artists either have it very good, or very bad, since all of the crappy excuses for games coming from there, look undeniably wonderful. But, after you take away the shiny wrapping, the nasty insides come out and you notice to your horror that the games’ guts are all twisted around, leaving them as half-dead husks just gobbling up playerbase by dangling the shiny sprites in front of their faces. I’m wondering how much better these games could be if the developers actually tried to make them better, instead of shuffling every ages old mechanic they possibly can inside a Skinner box.

It’s probably obvious that I don’t hold Dragon Blaze to the highest standards. It’s a tired, unimaginative gaming flick that reeks of bland corporate charts and some very tired programmers rehashing old code 10th time in a row. I don’t even want to describe the worthless, repetitive gameplay and generic, bland story. You run to the right and some monsters come up. Then you click on a single button until either your hero, or the monsters die, and then run further. There’s no skill involved, no interesting mechanics or Dragon Blaze 4turns. You have a squad that you can manage and alter, adding new equipment and learning new skills, but ultimately it’s all irrelevant, since this all doesn’t really make a difference. The story is about some dragon having attacked a kingdom some time ago, and its king hiding a terrible secret, or whatever. I don’t care one bit about any of those characters, since the developers certainly didn’t. This extends to the whole experience, really.

All in all, it’s not an unplayable game, or a cheap one, but it’s so generic and unfun that it’s impossible to appreciate whatever good parts it may have about it. Just ignore it, and continue playing any of the hundreds of similar games that have been around for years.

Spider-Man Unlimited Review

Spider-Man Unlimited Review

May 30, 2015

Spider-Man has been called many things by evil villains and adoring fans — web-slinger, wall-crawler and your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. The Marvel superhero lives up to his nicknames in the Spidey-fronted runner for Android, Spider-Man Unlimited.

Spider-Man Unlimited has all the elements of the typical endless runner, but it uses the source material to put a fresh perspective on an overdone genre. Developed by Gameloft, the title features animated cutscenes that nod to Spider-Man’s comic book history and varied gameplay that takes advantage of the hero’s unique abilities.

The game’s plot revolves around Spider-Man and his infamous group of nemeses, the Sinister Six. Nick Fury, Black Cat and some of Spider-Man’s friends make appearances in comic book-style scenes to give Spider-Man’s actions some context. Ultimately, the game is centered around chasing down individual members of the Sinister Six and defeating them. To do that, Spider-Man must call on his arachnid counterparts from other dimensions, including Mangaverse Spider-Man and Secret Wars Spider-Man.
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This dimensional dynamic is unessential to the game’s plot — the story will be the same regardless of which Spider-Man you use — but it adds new elements to Spider-Man Unlimited. Comic book collectors will find a special appeal in trying to unlock Spider-Men from every dimension, and the character variety is visually appealing for players.

Anyone familiar with Subway Surfers or Temple Run will be able to pick up and play Spider-Man Unlimited easily. Gameplay involves swiping through the rooftops of New York, Oscorp, S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters and other familiar locations. In addition to locational obstacles, Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus and members of the Sinister Six will create new burdens along your path. As is standard for any runner, there are various collectibles and power-ups to grab as you move through levels. However, there are more interesting portions of gameplay that involve Spider-Man’s special abilities.

The web-slinger will need to sling his web to cross rooftops throughout New York and the wall-crawler will be able to scale buildings in mid-level gameplay sections that require players to physically tilt their screen left or right to move Spidey. At first, this sudden change of gameplay can be difficult to get used to, but these additional elements are a nice change of pace to the otherwise tired endless runner genre.

While making purchases is not completely necessary to experience Spider-Man Unlimited, some of the game’s levels require players to recruit new Spider-Men or level up their current characters. This is where the game encourages players to shell out real-world money. Players can choose to compete in live events or random runs in order to earn in-game currency, but that pays off at rates lower than even J. Jonah Jameson would offer. Those who are unwilling to pay cash will find themselves playing the waiting game as they attempt to level up their Spider-Man corps.

There are some smart moments in Spider-Man Unlimited where gameplay varies, but the fact that it is just another runner for mobile devices can’t be overlooked. However, fans of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man will enjoy using Spidey’s abilities and hearing his sarcastic quibs.

Stick Squad 3 – Modern Shooter Review

Stick Squad 3 – Modern Shooter Review

May 18, 2015

At one point in the Internet’s short history, stick figures ruled the World Wide Web. Animated videos showed stick figures performing many activities, most of which involved brutal violence. While stick figures aren’t so popular anymore across the Internet, they have experienced a revival of sorts on mobile games. From playing golf to running endlessly, stick figures seem to be leading active lives.

Stick Squad 3 – Modern Shooter brings takes stick figures back to their violent Internet roots. A squad of sticks must snipe and shoot their way through secret agent-style missions that take place in the U.S. and Spain. Gameplay is bland, but the game manages to capture the humorous spirit of the early Internet stick figures.

Players probably won’t be expecting any production value from a game centered around stick figures, but there is some surprising storytelling involved. Animated cutscenes give players some convoluted context to missions and provide some funny moments, but the dialogue seems like it was written for 13-year-old boys. Voice acting is comically bad, and it’s hard to tell if that was done on purpose. There are also some glitchy moments when mouths move long after the dialogue has completed or is it just not in sync with the words.

Right out of the gate, it is obvious this game was made for the same people who still enjoy the Internet’s brutal animated stick figure videos. It is somewhere between niche and parody, but it could be quite off-putting to those who don’t fall into that niche.

Stick Squad 3 - Modern Shooter

Gameplay is obviously inspired by games such as Call of Duty and Sniper Elite. Most missions involve sniping specific targets. Players will see the level through a sniper scope, and will have to find and eliminate those targets. This is very simple on early levels, but players will receive more complicated instructions as they progress through the game. For instance, in one early mission, players will have to take out a target but make it appear as an accident by shooting a propane tank on a barbecue grill. In another level that has players carrying a pistol rather than a sniper, the target must be shot without actually killing him.

In addition to instructions becoming more complex, levels also expand and targets get further away. Players will have to find enemy patterns and attempt to view the whole map before taking action, which can be frustrating without the ability to get a complete map view.

Players earn in-game currency by completing missions and performing tasks, which can be used to upgrade weaponry. However, this seems to have little impact during gameplay. Weapons mostly handle the same, and levels can be completed without upgrading firearms.

Gameplay is functional, but it is not very challenging or rewarding. Missions can easily be completed through trial and error, and killing off helpless stick figures just doesn’t provide a sense of accomplishment. Maybe it’s because they’re stick figures, maybe because they can’t fight back, or maybe it’s because the attempt at a plot doesn’t make players feel like they’re really fighting bad guys, something seems eerie about shooting enemies in the head.

Stick Squad 3 – Modern Shooter is mostly just shooting for the sake of shooting, and it is not fun even as a mindless timewaster.

Fatal Fury Special Review

Fatal Fury Special Review

Apr 30, 2015

Fatal Fury Special brings nostalgic memories. Those of 16-bit graphics, cheat books, “you died, now my turn” hijinks, and lots and lots of blind adolescent rage. Fatal Fury Special on Google Play helps bring at least one of those things back, and it’s not the cheat books.

Fatal Fury Special is a direct port of an old fighting game that, as far as I remember, never went big in the western world. It doesn’t have the over-the-top violence of Mortal Combat, or over-the-top characters of Street Fighter. What it does have, however, is a solid fighting mechanic, a dozen of varied fighters with unique fighting styles, and a unique mechanic that allows the characters jump back and forth between two “layers” of the level.

There’s not a lot of content to speak about in Fatal Fury Special. There’s a bunch of locations and a bunch of different fighters. There’s a “story” mode that is actually just an arcade mode, in which the player has to defeat several enemy characters in a row, and a newly-implemented Bluetooth Mode, where two players can battle it out on their devices via bluetooth. That’s it. It’s a pretty bare-bones game, but since I got it for $.99, I don’t see any issues with that.

As for the gameplay, it’s almost identical to all of the other SNES and arcade fighting sims. Of course, it’s closest to Street Fatal Fury Special 4Fighter, to the point where some characters look quite a lot like that. There are four attack buttons, a “special” button, and a button that makes the character jump to the different layer of the level. Besides the layer-jumping, which isn’t really that game-changing, it’s exactly like the other arcade fighting games, so it’s no use describing all of its mechanics. Its fun, if you’re a fan of that sort of stuff, but it’s also incredibly difficult. The “beginner” difficulty AI had me plastered on the walls for about 10 fights, before I remembered how to button-mash. Fatal Fury Special is definitely aimed for the hardcore fans, and I’m sure those fans won’t be disappointed.

Overall, Fatal Fury Special is a straight, direct port of the original game, without any changes. Again, fans of the old fighting sims are going to be pleased, but I’m afraid more casual players will find it too punishing. Also, a couple of other things. The button layout and size can be changed in the settings, and I urge you to do that from the beginning, or the game turns into an unplayable hell, as the buttons take almost half of the screen.