Voxel Invaders Review

Voxel Invaders Review

Jul 31, 2013

When it comes to arcade icons like Space Invaders, using hushed tones is very appropriate. That game was one of the granddaddies, and is still a favorite across generations. Voxel Invaders brings that exact type of fun to the Android screen.

The retro feel is underscored by the graphics. The 2D environment is presented in old-school format, with purposefully simplistic backgrounds and hues meant to emphasize visual color separation. The animations are relatively smooth within the design confines of the gameplay.

But yes… it’s quite okay to think of a specific arcade shooter of yester-years. Voxel Invaders has the same type of wave offense gameplay. Attack is the best form of defense; the lone ship starts out at the bottom of the screen, and waves of enemy ships appear directly in front, at the top. The main goal is to stay alive by clearing the voxel1enemy ships and avoiding return fire.

The ship itself shoots on its own, so dragging the ship with a finger gets it in position to be in front of an enemy ship. It also helps maneuver it out of the way of moving fire coming right at it. To begin, the waves were simple formations and the return fire is fairly slow and intermittent. As the game progresses, and waves are successfully cleared, the gameplay gets craftier, sending out sneakier gunfire, tougher enemy ships and more agressive formations. Enemy ships start coming forward faster, and shooting in multiple directions.

Thankfully, there are upgrades and powerups that somewhat help level the playing field. These usually appeared at tough spots, requiring a bit of danger to procure. There’s stuff like extra lives, invincibility, weapons upgrades and more

The game has three difficulty levels (Easy, Normal and Hard), so different abilities are covered.

All in all, it’s a superb time waster that celebrates the power of longevity.

Jelly Defender Review

Jelly Defender Review

Oct 5, 2011

Arcade shooters have been set in a wide variety of locations, but you don’t see too many of them set underwater. Jelly Defender is one of the rare exceptions, putting you in the briny blue as a lone submarine attempting to survive 40 levels of attacking jellyfish, shooting down as many as possible for the highest score.

With each level comes a new type of jellyfish that moves in a different way. Some go very slow while others go very fast. Some oscillate between very wide arcs while others make very short arcs, making them hard to hit and hard to avoid. In order to succeed, you must kill a certain number in order to unlock the next level. You only get one life per level, but unlimited attempts to pass it. If you crash into a jellyfish, you have to start the level again from the beginning. In later levels, it can get pretty tough. Some of the challenge of the game is made up in the way points are deducted from your score for each missed shot. You don’t lose anything if jellyfish swim right past you, but for the best score possible, you need to make every shot count.

Beyond anything I’ve mentioned so far, Jelly Defender is in a pretty sorry state. The gameplay is about as shallow as they come. All you do for the entirety of the game is shoot and dodge jellyfish; you can’t even move around. You’re constantly set to the far left of the screen, only capable of moving up or down while a steady barrage of jellyfish flow in from the right. For a game that borrows the name “defender,” hoping to evoke a bit of that arcade classic was wishful thinking. This game is only like Defender in the most barebones way possible — the game is set to landscape view and you shoot things. And that’s about its deepest connection.

Levels end when they end, giving no indication of progress, of how far you have left to go or any kind of conclusion. The level just ends, shows you a score and asks if you’d like to continue. In all likelihood, I don’t see too many people wanting to after the first few levels. The graphics are very basic, without any special effects to make it interesting at all. For example, your shots are nothing more than a tiny, black streak while jellyfish simply disappear when hit. The background looks nice but reminds me of an image you might stick to the back of a fish tank, with schools of fish frozen in space and seaweed leaves standing still. Even worse, the background is also the wrong size; jellyfish swim right off it and onto a black bar at the edge of the screen. As for the jellyfish themselves, they’re hardly animated. Tentacles stiffly hang down as they move towards you.

Overall, I’d say Jelly Defender is a must to avoid. It’s too basic and doesn’t offer much fun aside from endlessly shooting boring, cartoon jellyfish.