Falldown! Deluxe Review

Falldown! Deluxe Review

Jul 24, 2014

Falldown! Deluxe is a stylish new game in the ambiguously named falling ball genre. Is it worth having a ball?

Falldown! Deluxe is as simple to play as it is to comprehend. The player controls a ball rolling along a series of platforms with gaps that can be fallen into to advance. Meanwhile, a deadly ball cooking laser moves inexorably downwards all the while. The player must quickly roll the ball down gaps in each level of the playfield.

Screenshot_2014-07-17-23-12-54As the player advances, every 5 levels or so they reach the next level where gaps tend to be further away from each other, making it much harder to drop the ball in time.

After the player inevitably gets roasted, collected currency can be used to purchase additional ball styles and backgrounds to spruce the game up a bit.

Falldown! Deluxe is a very simple game anyone can play. Kids will likely enjoy it and its nonviolent nature and simple controls make it easy for them. It’s a good game to fill a few minutes in a queue or whenever.

Screenshot_2014-07-17-23-13-36Falldown! Deluxe looks nice. There are plenty of trippy colours and sparkly backgrounds that only become moreso after a few purchases. The frame rate is solid and there are no extraneous ads or anything else to get in the way of the game. Some nice techno music adds a lot to the game as well.

Falldown! Deluxe lacks achievements or anything else that could really give it any shelf life, although there is a high school list. After a few games the player has really seen everything it has to offer and all items in the shop are just ones that change the game’s appearance. There are no interesting power-ups or anything of the like to give the game a bit of much needed variety. Falldown! Deluxe is unlikely to hold anyone’s attention for longer than few minutes at a time.

Falldown! Deluxe is a serviceable game and it does everything it sets out to do just fine. However, a terminal lack of depth means there are much more interesting games to play on Android. Good for kids.

Bubble Box Review

Bubble Box Review

Jul 24, 2013

I like simple games.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t mind difficult pieces, as playing those give me an all too short feeling of superiority. Still, simple games that are basic in presentation yet challenging are probably my favorite type. Bubble Box firmly fits into this category.

The game is a unique type of pick three game, involving balls of different colors that are generally grouped somewhat symmetrically around the playing area. In the very middle of the playing area is a hole that continually (and randomly) spits out a colored ball that matches one of the colors of the balls in the playing area. Using a finger to drag and “fling” or throw the ball, I have to try to make a set of three; doing so cause the set of three to pop and bubble1disappear, kind of how it works in Bejeweled.

The balls stick to balls of different colors (or, if it sticks to another ball of the same color that is itself stuck to a ball of another color). To make the game even more challenging, around the center hole is a dead area circumference; if a ball touches that area, the entire game is over.

Accuracy in flinging is definitely a plus; missing a ball to stick to means the ball will rebound off the walls until/unless it makes contact with a live ball. This can be bad, because there is a countdown clock that encourages speed. You keep getting balls to fling until you clear all the balls. Bank shots can be very useful (just like in pool or billiards) to dump spheres, and I also liked the star countdown that goes with the main countdown timer.

The graphics enhance the game. Obviously, good use of color is needed, and it is mostly received. As the game progresses, there are more subtle uses, like shading the play area so that extra attention has to be paid to colors of the ball. The animations are smooth and seem quite realistic. The board art did get very intricate.

This one of those games that was good enough for me to ignore the dopey mice that make up the backstory. Well done.

Tiny Ball vs Evil Devil 2 Review

Tiny Ball vs Evil Devil 2 Review

May 2, 2013

RV AppStudios brings Tiny Ball Evil Devil 2 to the table to remind us that positional physics is still sexy. For a mobile gaming generation still entranced with Angry Birds, attack by propulsion is still a fun proposition.

In this game, there are no catapulted birds or smirking green piggies; instead, I cheerfully shot spheres and grimacing demons. It was a leveled physics game with a seemingly unending series of twists. At its basest level, my job was to dispatch the malfeasants without mercy.

In each level, I had a set number of spherical projectiles that were shot by cannot. To aim, I simply tapped the screen and dragged the bullseye to what I wanted to hit; releasing fired the projectile. The usual target was a square devil (though the shapes changed at points in the gameplay); in the earlier levels, I knocked the devils down onto lethal spikes which caused a messy, bloody end-scene. Further on, there were fiery electric fields and even saws that tiny1served as the final arbiter of fate.

The playing areas also began to change as I progressed. Ricocheting became a strategy as time wore on; timing also became a factor at some points, as I had to avoid rotating or recurrently moving objects that periodically blocked me from my target. Success unlocked further levels and features.

I got scored on a ball differential system; the less I used, the more stars I got. There were also gems and gold coins which I could garner. They could be used to upgrade my weaponry, and if that was not fast enough, I was able to use real cash. Some of the upgrades were nice (a fiery ball, a mighty “crush everything” ball, etc) but in my estimation, it was possible to play without having to use real cash. Slick additions like a spin wheel added to the fun.

Yes, call me a sensitive willy, but my biggest gripe was the gore. The red explosions will make at least one person cringe that’s for sure. I do believe something more subtle would be welcome, if only as an option.

I thought it was an engaging time-waster that erred on the side of careful.

ArkDroid Review

ArkDroid Review

Jul 6, 2011

Breakout clones have been around ever since Breakout was invented. Anyone who’s ever dabbled in game making has probably built a Breakout clone. I know I have. That said, just because a game is a copy, doesn’t mean it’s terrible. If you manage to get the balance between familiarity and new concepts just right, you might make something special.

ArkDroid is a touch screen controlled block smasher. You slide a bar along the bottom of the screen in order to bounce a ball to the top of the screen and clear all of the coloured bricks from the level. Some smashed bricks drop power ups and power downs that ranged from turning the ball into a flaming death bomb, to shrinking your bar to a minuscule size.

You can only move your bar using a space at the very bottom of the screen, indicated by a finger print. Whilst this means your fingers aren’t obscuring the play, it’s quite a small space and your finger doesn’t always register, meaning you’ll sit in anguish as yet another ball drifts past you.

It’s not the best looking game out there, either. It’s solidly built, but there’s a clunkiness to everything the game has to offer that makes it look decidedly old fashioned next to the bigger boys available on the Android Market. Don’t get me wrong, there’s fun to be had with ArkDroid, but it sometimes feels like it’s not quite finished, like it needs a little bit more work before it’s ready to be unleashed onto the public.

Put simply, it’s a Breakout clone that offers nothing particularly revolutionary, and doesn’t play quite as well as you might hope. There’s nothing massively wrong with it, and it’ll keep you entertained for as long as you play it, but ArkDroid just can’t shake the fact that it’s a clone, and a clone that’s not that much more impressive that its 25 year old progenitor.

Spinballs Special Edition Review

Spinballs Special Edition Review

Jun 15, 2011

Puzzle games work because they’re deceptively simple. Look at Tetris, the granddaddy of them all. All you’re doing is guiding blocks into a space, but it doesn’t take long for the game to turn into a fiendish and cruel mistress, goading you for daring to think that an L shaped one would ever fit down there. That difficulty sneaks up on you, which is what gets you hooked.

Spinballs is similar in structure, if not style, to those puzzling greats of the past. It doesn’t try to bamboozle you with complex controls or a mind numbing story, nor does it set its puzzles in the bleak expanses of space. It just tells you to spin balls. Clever title, then.

As with a lot of puzzle games, your task in Spinballs is match three balls of the same colour. To do this, you spin a number of on-screen dials left or right. There are seven dials in total, each of them with six coloured balls attached. Once three or more balls are matched, they disappear, to be replaced by other balls. Burst the requisite numbers of balls and you move on to the next level.

To make things ever so slightly more complicated and modern, there are icons in the four corners of the screen. If you burst the balls that are adjacent to these icons, they gradually “fill up”. Once an icon is full, you can use the power associated with it. One of them shuffles the balls around, and another slows down the time bar, for example.

There are two game modes, Classic and Zen. Classic is a more frantic affair, with a ticking timer limiting how long you have to burst the balls, whereas Zen, as you might expect, is a little more sedate, getting rid of the timer altogether.

Spinballs won’t be to everyone’s taste, and there are times when the touch screen controls aren’t quite as accurate as they should be. The lack of different modes is also a bit of a concern – with only two on offer the game does appear a bit lacking in the content department.

These are small complaints, though. Spinballs is a fun and diverting puzzler, maybe not up there with the best of them, but certainly tugging on their coattails. It’s easy to pick up and difficult to master, exactly the formula that, with a few tweaks here and there, could propel it to greatness.