Ghostbusters: Slime City Review

Ghostbusters: Slime City Review

Aug 2, 2016

We can always be thankful towards the Ghostbusters franchise for a lot of things — Aykroyd and Murray together, hearst-like work vehicles, and new jack swing hits by Bobby Brown (in his prime, no less) etc. — and with the current-ish reboot that is out now, we can almost expect a few companion games to make the round.

No sweat… anything that gives us an opportunity to hum the iconic theme is good with us. Here goes Ghostbusters: Slime City.

At first glance, it feels as though the game adopts the zany character of its source material. It just looks cheerful, right from the start, with an un-serious look buttressed by bright colors and engaging animations. The action sequences are designed to stop you from nodding off, and it mostly works.ghost3

And then, there’s the actual action. No slagging off here, as you are almost literally tossed directly into battle. The controls are intuitive enough, with tapping and dragging being the main thing to do. Between conversation bubbles and narratives that help move the gameplay along.

Of course, dealing with ghosts that are harassing the city is the main thing to accomplish. As you play along, jobs become available, and it starts out being a war of attrition: take out or capture the otherworldly cretins before they take you out. The player’s main weapon is the iconic proton lasers, and the player’s character wields, tapping enemy to direct its output (or, alternatively, dragging to deposit the baddies in safe). Do well, and the not only will you survive, but you’ll earn game cash and other valuable goodies along with XP.

The crafting element is an interesting angle; you can make your own proton packs with the use of garnered pieces. Eventually, the goal is to win back the city, building by building, in the face of more and more nefarious foes and bosses.

In some aspects, it feels as if the game relies a bit too much on it holding franchise. It’s hard to shake the feeling that the game could be a bit more rounded. The level-centric co-op mode is fun, as is the leaderboard, but some cushioning sections might have brought some diversity to the gameplay.

Still, it’s pretty hard to dislike, and comes together nicely, while doing what it does pretty well.

And it will make you question who you’re calling.

Downton Abbey Review

Downton Abbey Review

Sep 29, 2015

Yep, it’s Downton Abbey. Enough said.

The game starts in such a way that series fans should find familiar: clan cornerstone Carson eagerly welcomes an agent to the Earl of Grantham’s residence. Early on, the idea is to solve stuff by finding stuff in “plain” site.

Completing sessions (by finding items) earns one valuable XP and items. There is also an upgrade/crafting element which comes into play and adds some complexity to an otherwise simple game.

When it’s all said and done, it is, at its core, a constructed hidden object game. The core competency sought is the ability to pick out selected items from a series of still images, and to do so as quickly as possible with as few helpers as possible. The artwork utilized reflects the time period adequately — at least, in my mind it did — and the scrolling feature that allows for more hidden objects allows the game to feel a bit more mysterious.

The artwork does have a blandness to it; I assume it’s purposely done, so as to create more of a challenge. The use of color and perspective are interesting indeed.

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There is a bit of repetition with regards to objects that need to be found, yes, but the developer does mix up locations a bit to make it less predictable; as one taps the located items, new ones get populated to one is finished with the section.

My biggest challenge ended up being able to know what the heck I was looking for in the first place; either I need to watch the show more, or bone up on period history, because looking for a flagon created all sorts of problems for me. In some ways, figuring out what was what was still an enjoyable aspect of the game.

Simply put, the gameplay, familiar characters and additional elements make for an interesting ride.

Downton Abbey: The Game Launches on Google Play and Amazon Appstore

Downton Abbey: The Game Launches on Google Play and Amazon Appstore

Sep 18, 2015

Downton Abbey is bringing its post-Edwardian charms to Android devices via Google Play and Amazon Appstore.

The game is an adventure/mystery game, with players having the opportunity to advance by success.

For the first time ever the exquisite settings and captivating characters of the hit TV show, Downton Abbey, come to life in its first interactive gaming experience.
It was one of the most exciting days of the year for everyone living and working at Downton Abbey. The day of the village fete had arrived and everyone joined in the day’s festivities. A great time was had by all, however upon returning to the Abbey it was quickly discovered that all was not well… The house had been ransacked! An unknown intruder had been through every room, stealing priceless objects and scattering items everywhere! With the Crawley family’s fortunes on the line and with so many Abbey residents with secrets to hide, no one is safe and everyone is a suspect. The Earl of Grantham has hired YOU to help return the castle to its original state of glory. However, the real reason for your employment is to uncover the real mystery of the break-in as discreetly as possible.

Features:
EXPLORE THE ABBEY: The Abbey has been ransacked! It falls to you to explore and unravel the evolving mystery.
SOLVE THE MYSTERY: Who is the culprit? What items have gone missing? For what purpose are the perpetrators working? It is up to YOU to find out!
UNCOVER HIDDEN OBJECTS: Earn the resident’s trust by returning found items to their rightful owners and earn the nobility’s favor. Leverage your relationship with the family to earn the privilege to explore additional parts of the Abbey and advance the story.
COMPETE WITH FRIENDS: Search the Abbey for damaged artifacts in desperate need of repair. Compete with friends and the world to restore the Abbey’s most prized possessions.

The game is free with (in-app purchases).

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Review

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Review

Jul 21, 2015

Geometry Wars is a game series that has been around for a long time, and has even made its way to mobile devices. With Gemoetry Wars 3: Dimensions, we get to see the latest iteration make its small screen debut.

If use of color can be rated as an element, this game would get high scores. It pops big time, with a psychedelic appeal derived from its presentation. The animations are as smooth as they need to be, and the game comes together in a visually pleasing away, creating an arcade experience in hand.

And all the eye candy frames the gameplay; the premise is simple: control a small ship, blast enemies, and avoid contact with them to stay alive. In practice, it involves using touch to keep our protagonist ship moving; there is a virtual joystick that effects this, allowing one to move in any direction in the playing area. The enemy craft emanate from different places, usually preceded by a flash of light.

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The player’s ship can shoot (depending on the game mode, auto-shooting is also a feature); as the enemies come in waves, one has to dodge, maneuver and otherwise do what is necessary to avoid contact while putting the hero ship in position to knock out as many enemy craft as possible for points. When destroyed, the enemy ships leave behind goodies — “geoms” — which also serve as score multipliers. Of course, going after liberated geoms presents a new set of opportunity costs, which adds to the challenge of the game.

So, it becomes a dizzying battle of dexterity and even a bit of strategy, with one looking to avoid losing lives while taking on waves of enemies that actually get smarter the longer one stays alive.

As hinted at earlier, there are two different main modes, Classic and Adventure; the former has a bunch of sections that can be explored and enjoyed.

It all comes together nicely, and the premium styling is to be lauded. This is one game that translated better on bigger tablets, but it was a fun experience on smartphones too.

Wipeout Review

Wipeout Review

Aug 27, 2014

Years ago, I was flipping through the TV, and stumbled across a show that forever changed my TV watching habits: Most Extreme Elimination Challenge (MXC). The show itself was a irreverent Americanized version of the Japanese obstacle course show Takeshi’s Castle. The original show was a funny in and of itself, kind of like American Ninja Warrior on funny steroids; the added layer of deliciously re-edited and re-dubbed footage from the original took the show to hysterical heights.

A “true” American-centric version of the show popped up on the scene a few years ago called Wipeout. It is very similar to the original Japanese shows, down to the pain inducing obstacles and the zany commentary by the hosts. It was only a matter of time for the game to hit consoles, and it has since come to Android.

Yes.

Wipeout will be comfortably familiar to fans of the console game and/or show; the basic premise is to make it wipe1through the obstacle course to the end in a reasonable time. The controls are pretty much all virtual in nature; the left side controls moving and running, while he right side can be used to invoke jumping and, with extra dexterity, diving. The obstacles run the gamut, and ae right in line with those from the real life game.

The action generally moves from left to right, and the player will want to jump and time movements so as to avoid being knocked or bounced into the water that is usually the only substance available to break one’s fall. If one falls or gets knocked off, one has to start right from the last section started. If one makes it the end in the time allotted, one qualifies for the ability to unlock the succeeding level with game cash.

Virtual pain gains game money (as does success); the two types of currency gained can be used in the in-app store to unlock characters, equipment and, as already mentioned, to formally unlock available levels. Equipment upgrades makes gameplay easier. These become important the further one gets in the game, as obstacles get harder. Of course, real money can be used.

It’s a fun game; I actually prefer it to the console version. The additional IAP after $1.99 purchase might give some pause, but I was able to play without going for real money. As such, the game represents the franchise well, and gives folks a relatively safe way to live life on the edge.

Timebuilders: Pyramid Rising 2 Review

Timebuilders: Pyramid Rising 2 Review

Mar 5, 2013

Timebuilders: Pyramid Rising 2 was an exceptionally interesting period placed race against time.

The graphics were nice, and even from the opening map view, it was interesting to see the detail, with fires slithering upwards, and livestock grazing solemnly on greenery that looked rich in the desert environment. The perspectives looked good, and the sun-drenched backdrop contrasted well with the animated calm of the Nile.

Per gameplay, Timebuilders is a resource management game. The storyline starts with Pharaoh Touti learning from Hapu the priest that the current Egyptian civilization was about to be destroyed unless the deities were appeased by the construction of eight — yes, eight — temples within a month. I basically had to get those temples up and running efficiently.

The game was set up in levels with a reasonable degree of logic. First thing up was clearing land of stones. By using taps, I assigned workers to clear out that rocks, which had time factor involved. Next, I had to repair bridges and open up some burial boxes. Actions that I had to do included harvesting and planting food. As the game progressed, the tasks got more complex, with amounts stone having to produced. I also got to build huts to collect income. Eventually, I was able to upgrade the huts, hire more workers and build major material-creating structures like quarries, while fending off thieving incursions.

Further down, boats, villas, camels and advanced trading became part of the script. Even crocodiles and elephants made an appearance.

The whole point of these exercises was to create enough wealth to create and/or fix the regal temples that would prevent the destruction of the kingdom. The game tested my ability to manage growth Simcity style; there were times it seemed to be smart to destroy a structure I built earlier so as to replace it with another. There were opportunity costs associated with every decision, so I loved that levels were re-playable.

All in all, the logical gameplay helped me overcome my irrational angst at not finding a full-fledged tutorial (which I think would have been appreciated). Still, this is an enjoyable medium-range game that can appeal to different age groups.