Totem Runner Review

Totem Runner Review

Oct 3, 2013

Totem Runner (from mobile development heavyweight Chillingo) is an agrarian fable with an platform/endless running twist.

In this one, our hero is a valiant warrior who rises against an evil threatening his land. He is gifted with mystical powers, and along the way, also loads up stars and disperses seeds to boot.

The graphics feel hauntingly similar to fellow sideways runner Vector… and that is in a good way. The initial look of our protagonist is shadowy, with the movement from left to endless right. The backgrounds are swathed in nighttime-y pastels, which do great to highlight both the humanoid, animal and otherworldly beings hat inhabit this fantasy world. The animations are just about right; the developer mostly avoids the temptation to be a bit long-winded with regards to effects. The animations are inventive and lend themselves well to the narrative and gameplay.totem1

Gameplay? This is where the game gets fun. As noted, it is left to right. All sorts of obstacles appear to prevent progress, and they run the gamut: deathly valleys, floating blades, archers, hanging vines and, of course monsters. To deal with these, our runner has mystical powers; he is able to turn into an eagle a rhino or even a dragon. The eagle is great when it comes to avoiding the gullies and gaps, as well as getting the special orbs that hang in the air. The rhino was great for spearing and discarding dangerous items in front of our runner. The dragon was a replenishable power, and when toggled, it is able to traverse all types of terrain and obstacles efficiently. The built-in tutorial does well to explain how to play and use the special powers. The game gets harder further on demanding quick transitions and reactions.

A big part of the game is the controls. Virtual buttons toggle the eagle and rhino; each special manifestation lasts as long as the button is held. When released, the animal turns back into the humanoid runner. When fully charged, the dragon button goes live. I thought the controls could use a bit more of a visual component.

Totem Runner is able to squeeze a good deal of character into a familiar genre. The leveled gameplay makes it worth the time.

Flying Fox Review

Flying Fox Review

Jun 17, 2013

Flying Fox is a puzzle-solving adventure from Chilingo.

Scoundrel foxes have never been more adorable. Our main character, personified as a crafty black fox, reopens the long time feud between canids and poultry farmers. Basically, the fox is hungry, but the chickens in this caper are not necessarily willing to sacrifice themselves for the fox’s culinary delight.

The basic gameplay involves guiding a levitating fox to swoop down to catch chickens. There is a virtual line in the air that denotes success when a snatched chicken is carried to that point. Using the controls, you dive with the fox, snatch a bird and carry it back up, and so on.fox1

The game picks up in different ways. The level of difficulty increases, with barricaded hens soon making an appearance. In these levels, the player has to, at first, pick up and use heavy, dense items to break in and get the chickens. To up the pressure, there are countdown timers that have to be beaten, as coming in slow causes failure. The game branches into dynamite, walled flyways and more the further in one gets.

I like the controls; choice is a good think, and if there is one thing that Flying Fox gives, it is choice of control. It can be played via virtual joysticks,mainly with accelerometer (along with a dive button), or all-touch. I like when I can choose how to play games such as these, and I tend to use different controls configurations based on the screen real estate of the device I am playing on… for example, I just find touch controls a bit easier on smaller screens, and joystick guidance more accurate for my sturdy thumbs on tablets.

The game is made up of a simple, yet effective color scheme, seemingly designed to enhance the action while not being overly distracting. The animations were smooth, and the artwork was good without being overly serious.

Flying Fox is a fun time waster with plenty of levels to be enjoyed by players of just about any generation.