Criminal Legacy Review

Criminal Legacy Review

Jun 30, 2014

Criminal Legacy plays a lot like Rage of The Immortals. Players build their own gang from the ground up, building a headquarters to craft and upgrade gear, generate cash and so on. There is a long, long list of single player missions to do and some amusing dialogue. Players work their way cross the map, taking over locations and working to track down Volkov, the man who put them in prison to begin with. Volkov sends text messages often during the game taunting the player and generally commenting on whatever your gang is doing, which is a nice touch.

Besides single player there is also a PvP arena where other player’s gangsters can be fought. Winning multiple fights in a row awards items.

Screenshot_2014-06-28-20-29-38A rather insidious mechanic to PvP however is that win streaks required to gain items are much higher than the player’s max energy. Ergo, the only way to gain higher level rewards is to either spend diamonds or play every minute or so over and over. Criminal Legacy would really like your money.

Gathering a gang is as easy as finishing single player stages. Completing certain ones awards new gang members. Each gang member has an element and they can only equip matching gears, which boost stats. The elemental system adds some much needed complexity to the game as building a team to counter enemy gang elements is important to success.

The actual combat in Criminal Legacy is automatic and pretty much identical to Rage of the Immortals. Combat is still pretty fun to watch; the character design is really nice, the animations are smooth and there’s plenty of gang bangers getting shot or sliced to bits. Each gear has a different weapon, so it’s fun to see what weapons your gangsters will acquire next.

Screenshot_2014-06-28-20-34-15Criminal Legacy, like most games of its type is full of loot. Winning battles awards sets of gear and items used to craft new items. Gears can be enhanced. This uses one gear to straighten another gear, much like the strengthening system seen in card battlers. Players can also combine two sets of gear into another random, but usually stronger one.

Criminal Legacy has a lot of freemium features. Players can spend diamonds to buy vaults full of high level gear and they can also be used to heal gangsters and restore PvP energy. Without spending diamonds gang members heal very slowly indeed, to the point where the player can really only do 1 or 2 high level battles an hour before their team has to rest. This is very frustrating.

Criminal Legacy looks pretty good. The game is 2d but very detailed and there is a nice variety of gears and enemies. The sound is decent enough as well. Combat sounds good, but the game has a critical lack of music. There are only a few tracks in the game and they aren’t very good.

Criminal Legacy is a decent freemium title and its plot and elemental system make it a little more interesting than the typical freemium battler.

Deus Ex: The Fall Review

Deus Ex: The Fall Review

Feb 18, 2014

Deus Ex is one of those PC gaming franchises that defined its space. For some enthusiasts, it is to traditional big(ger) screen gaming what Angry Birds is to handheld play. And now, Square Enix brings Deus Ex: The Fall to Android OS.

For folks who like eye candy, this will be a pleasant experience. The graphics bring the action to life, and the scaled down imagery is impressive; it’s easy to get lost in the danger latent in every crouch and the adrenaline in every sleeper dart shot. The little thing, like shadows and rendering of sunlight is positively surreal. The movements, while a bit stilted in places, are fluid enough to induce random player movement.

The gameplay is a function of the cyberpunk backstory. The year is 2017, and earth, as to be expected, is quite different. Apocalyptic diseases are rampant, the rich are further separated from the poor, and a world government is nigh. Beyond ensuring that all major conspiracies are accounted for, the game introduces us to special soldiers that deus1combine humans with cybernetic body parts, thus creating super soldiers which are initially tasked with protecting the interests of the elite.

Our hero is Ben Saxon, and he gets stuff going. We learn the basics of gameplay through him: stealth attacks through brazen dispatches, and the results of such actions. One of the biggest elements is the concept of actions and consequences; a lot of the time, different options exist by way of form of attack or way to go, but each has it’s own type of resultant sequence. The basic premise is to use that, pick the right weapon for the job, avoid and or get rid of enemy combatants, and make it through to where Ben needs to be. Doing specific actions give experience points, which add up to create a valuable. “praxis” when leveling is accomplished. Credits are assigned as well, and can be used to purchase equipment and such.

It’s an exhilarating adventure, and packs in a surprisingly diverse amount of play. The built-in tutorial makes sense, and the control set is fairly logical. Some elements do stretch the imagination (beer to revive health, for example), and the sequences can be a bit dry, but the fillers work well. There is also some salty language, but the game is not too gory.

It’s not the cheapest Android game around, but it packs in enough action and mini games to make it worth it.

Blastron Review

Blastron Review

Aug 26, 2013

Blastron is a heady trip into a fantasy world where robot combat is not only the norm… it is encouraged.

It all starts with the graphics. Simply put, I like the look of this game. The virtual landscapes are bright, and there was an eerie feel to the 3d renderings. The animations employed, like the robot characterizations, are whimsical without being too cartoon-y, and as a whole, the whole package comes together nicely.

For games of this type to get on my good side, I like to see a decent tutorial. This game is on my good side. The teaching mode makes up one of the three modes (the others being multiplayer and single person campaign), and shows how to use the dual virtual buttons that make up most of the controls. The game uses adjustable arcing controls to control blast1the metal-bending artillery. In may ways, it mimics the dimension bending arcing in Angry Birds, in that dragging and manipulating that specific button adjusts power, velocity and more for the weapon chosen. With practice, it actually feels logical, and the physics feels almost natural. The other button controls movement in the fighting area.

Actual gameplay is best described as a war of attrition: blast others, and avoid being blasted. It’s fast and furious, and both actual play modes provide a good deal of fun, even though the limited play turns per time period in campaign mode was a tad disappointing. Real cash can solve this particular problem.

The game does give rewards, but I am still a bit salty about the ticket system. As a consolation, I cannot find the same restriction on the multiplayer mode, so there’s that, as well as the daily gift.

It’s a fun quick-hitter, with upgrades that can keep folks engaged.

KickStarter Spotlight: Wars and Battles

KickStarter Spotlight: Wars and Battles

Jul 24, 2013

So, maybe I’m not as deeply intrenched into the world of tabletop strategy games as some, but I share a deep appreciation for those classic, tactile games. There are not many things that can replace the feeling of moving a physical token around the board or jealously guarding a handful of unit cards. Basically, in order for a mobile or computer game to eclipse this it has to bring something new to the “table” and give me a compelling reason to choose it over the established, because staring at a tiny screen cannot replace friends around the kitchen table.

So what does Wars and Battles do differently that would make it the next great thing in strategy war games? Two words: simplicity, and authenticity. A lot of games throw the player into the midst of a hypothetical war without a great magnitude of backstory, and make them duke it out with faceless minions. What makes this KickStarter hopeful different is that every battlefield and army are real world places and nations. The two examples given are Gettysburg and Normandy; i.e. some of the biggest military battles in history. Each unit is lovingly displayed with a full paragraph description about their history and contribution to the war effort. The game developers has actual historians working with the programmers in order to make this the most historically accurate game it can be. Oh, did I mention that they also have active officers and veterans analyzing strategies and maps? No? Well, they do; which is awesome.

Walking in the shoes of our ancestors; as well as a vastly simplified yet unique command system, makes for a very compelling game that can be played on nearly any device; alone or with friends. While Wars and Battles might not replace that Risk board when friends come calling, it has a great opportunity to win out in nearly every other situation. Unfortunately, because these battlefields are so detailed, a $10 donation will only allow for gameplay on one. This is lessened by the fact that each map has 10 different scenarios which supposedly delivers around 100 hours of gameplay. I would assume that these maps are able to be bought later on, and most likely at a price below $10. After thinking about it, this really is not as bad of a deal as it seems on the surface, and with a new map coming out ever two months, the long term rewards really are endless.

So, get to it internet. Check out Wars and Battles and help this game; which these great developers have been meticulously crafting, become as real as the wars it contains.

Cross Horizon Review

Cross Horizon Review

Jul 18, 2013

Yes, I know: there are a LOT of RPG titles for Android. Can Cross Horizon be one that is worth checking out?

The dialogue cutscenes were okay, but where the game really excels is in the “live” action sequences. These graphical representations highlight the fantasy world in rich three dimensional form, with perspectives done quite well. The greenery is not too green, and while the shrubbery won’t be confused for a live wallpaper, they work in the context of the game. The mythical creatures look suitably gruesome, and the animations (especially attacks) are relatively life-like. The entire art presentation makes the game stand out in a positive way.

I liked the customization options. At the beginning of the game, I got the opportunity to create a character. Face, skin color, hair type… even the shape of the eye can be tweaked. In a post-racial world (stop and dream with me), options like this signal, to me, the work of a developer that has an eye on details.cross1

The gameplay does not wander too far from standard RPG fare; the backstory lends itself to the adventure, and lets our created hero/heroine understand that he or she, along with two friends are the only hope against a meanie head known as the Bandit King. To procure this type of information, challenges generally have to be accepted (for example, to earn the trust of locals at the beginning). For example, one was to defeat a specific beast in battle.

The game tosses out hints in between level loading, and they work well in conjunction with the surprise in-game fighting tutorial. Success yields different types of rewards, and these rewards can be used as in-game currency to buy upgraded equipment, or to increase attributes, or for revival powers. And of course, real cash can be used to expedite leveling, though I didn’t find real money to be overly necessary.

RPG games are literally a dime a dozen on Android, but this one is most definitely worth an extra look or two.

World at Arms Review

World at Arms Review

Dec 13, 2012

Games where where a civilization or community is built and needs to be maintained are pretty popular. World at Arms takes a different approach to this. The goal of World at Arms is to create a powerful army able to withstand attacks from foreign countries. Ok, the idea isn’t all that new, but there are not a lot of games of this style using the American army like this.

World at Arms shows a lot of similarities to other games in the way that the buildings need to be built and troops need to be trained in order to protect the base. Even with outside forces continually try to attack and weaken the forces of the base.

There are numerous quests to go on. Some of these quests are preemptive strikes. Essentially, troops are sent to thwart potential attacks, not actual attacks. Going on these quests will go usually results in acquiring loot. Keep in mind however, going on these quests requires manpower and resources like oil. Erecting buildings also requires the use of resources. It’s a good idea to build a mess halls and oil fields as soon as possible. These are both essential to the expansion of the base. Also, the mess hall and the bar will bring in a decent amount of income. As everyone knows, without income, things can expand.

Controlling the troops while in battle is pretty straightforward. The selection is done either manually by choosing which forces should be involved in the attack. The other option is to have the troops auto deployed. The auto deployment simply picks out a mixture of troops, mechanical weapons and airstrike capabilities to try and overpower the opposing forces. On quests while the battle is going on, different obstacles could be in the way as well as the threat of incoming artillery. If something like this pops up on the screen, a simple tap on the object will destroy the opposing object.

Parts of the game require metals to be used to purchase items. These metals can also be used to speed up the building of buildings retraining of troops. While these are little harder to come by, they can be purchased through the in game purchasing system using real-world money.

Colosseum Heroes Review

Colosseum Heroes Review

Dec 19, 2011

Ordinarily, I don’t play a lot of side-scrolling fighting games because I’m simply not very good at them. But every now and then I do enjoy a challenge, and Colosseum Heroes seemed different enough to be worth a look. I’m glad I checked it out, it’s proven to be very fun. I think it’s because, skill levels aside, some days we all love hitting monsters with an axe. It’s a great way to unwind.

Colosseum Heroes stars a young, unnamed gladiator who is just fighting to stay alive in the arena. He has a grim look of determination on a boyishly young face, as he marches around the pit, fighting off the…orcs? Okay, so they decided not to go for historical accuracy with this one. The gladiator is fighting orcs and can win gold off of their corpses as he goes, and then use that gold to buy himself better weapons and armour. That’s not exactly how I remember gladiatorial combat from my history lessons, but I’ve decided that I like it. Sometimes a little humorous anachronism goes very nicely with monster-axing.

The controls are interesting, but bear in mind that right now I don’t really have much to compare it to: it is a side-scroller, and at the bottom left of the screen there are a pair of buttons for left and right, to be triggered by your thumb. At the far right are your weapons, to be triggered by the thumb of your other hand. Your little gladiator will march around as you direct him, but with only two buttons there is no option for jumping. The weapons you have are all always displayed in that field on the bottom right, and are used by tapping it in the menu. Some weapons have faster reload capability and you can button-mash them to your heart’s content, but others have a reload time that is measured by the time it takes for the weapon’s icon to reappear after triggering it. You use the gold won in battle to upgrade or purchase weapons to give you a greater chance of success in battle. You can also use your gold to buy HP potions, which is vital as you begin each new round with the HP level that you finished the last with. If you are unfortunate enough to die, then you have the option of relinquishing your hard-earned goal, or actually purchasing real credits (with real dollars) to revive without losing your gold. This means that there is a fair amount of strategy to choosing what to spend your gold on, to keep going in each level for as long as you can.

The game has a cool style going for it, but in my opinion even better than that is the alternate version that comes bundled with it – you can play as a vampire! Not as a vampire in the gladiator arena (that would be silly!), but it’s truly a different game using the same design and engine. You still kill enemies for gold, but now you are fighting werewolves and instead of axes and javelins you can now purchase crossbows and magic bats to attack enemies for you. I quickly realized that I actually prefer the vampire version a bit, and feel like this is so much more than a bonus level that I can’t believe that I didn’t have to unlock it to play. I love the thought behind it and this alone raises the game up even more in my estimation.

It’s just very unfortunate that the movement for the character is actually incredibly difficult to control. Given that your thumbs have to remain on screen at all times, it can obscure the game field quite a bit. As well they don’t always seem to react as fast as they should, and so instead of turning back to meet a foe you’ll simply stand there and get an axe in the back. As well, all of your weapons being on screen at the same time means that in the heat of battle it’s very easy to suddenly realize that you’ve switched to the dagger instead of the battle axe, and then you’ll get stabbed by an orc before you can switch back and put up a fight.