Micro Machines Review

Micro Machines Review

Sep 30, 2016

We always have time for a game like Micro Machines.

It’s a fun game with an old-school look and feel, which shouldn’t be too surprising given its roots. It packs in an admirably toy-ish ambience with plenty of smooth animations.

At launch, one is invited into the tabletop worlds, and gets some basics.

Next, it’s time to assemble the car using the provided parts; this isn’t too complex, as it involves dragging the components into their logical place. Then it’s time to race.

Racing is definitely where the fun is at. As a player, your car gets dropped onto one of the aforementioned tabletop tracks, and the biggest objective is steering. This is done with the virtual buttons on either side of the screen, which take a touch or two to get used to (be careful; don’t oversteer!), but is effective. There are several ways to sabatoge oneself, so it pays to be careful.

There are three modes to pick from: random, race and battle. The first race I got into was basic: player vs 3 game UI cars, make it to the finish line first. Nitro, gold coins and gems to collect.

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After the initial race (and earning some valuable gems), you can then procure a pack, which contains car parts and a mystery prize. Extra pieces become spares which are good for future trades.

After that first, get-your-feet race, the action ratchets up even further. One can choose do do some battle, taking on opponents with weapons, kind of like a demolition derby. Eventually, better virtual hardware might be needed — hence the packs — and one can use the collected coins to improve the attributes of the vehicle, with gems having the ability too speed things up. Then, after a car has been improved, one can then add mods to be more effective in battle.

The game incorporates league play for bragging rights; there is a rent-a-car system, boosts and more — keep a lookout for some interesting Hasbro nods further on

Micro Machines is a bit more than just a blast from the past, even if it does that very well. It manages to be fun and challenging at the same time, melding battling with straight racing. It doesn’t get overly complex, and the multiplayer function makes it a whole lot easier to get addicted to.

Micro Machines Comes to Android

Micro Machines Comes to Android

Sep 27, 2016

A blast from the past…

Micro Machines has new life… on Android via Google Play courtesy of entrenched mobile developer Chillingo.

Micro Machines pays tribute to the original toy-based series with a miniature multiplayer combat adventure with a lot of fun features. The best news is that Codemasters, creators of the original, are still front and center in this port.

Four players can play, and there are several tracks with different locations players can pick from. There are literally dozens of vehicles, and just as many weapons to choose from. G.I. Joe is represented in vehicular fashion — Cobra RAGE… Hello! — and even NERF blasters to procure.

One choose from a host of small-scale vehicle types: emergency vehicles, SUVs… even hovercraft.

Leaderboards, events, battle arenas. Check, check and CHECK.

All this goodness is available for free (plus optional in-app purchases) on the Play Store. Check out the trailer:

Colin McRae Rally Review

Colin McRae Rally Review

Mar 27, 2014

Colin McRae Rally is a heavily modified port of the original PSone classic known to any racing fan.

Colin McRae Rally brings all the dirty, sliding racing action you’d expect to Android. The excellent car physics model is in place and some solid controls make navigating the game’s tracks easy. Both single player championships and multiplayer are available.

Colin McRae Rally has four championships and all but the very first one will offer a stiff challenge. Only one car, the iconic Ford Focus is available at the beginning and new cars are only unlocked by winning championships. One car feels very limited at the outset.

Screenshot_2014-03-23-13-29-20Embarrassingly, this port of Colin McRae Rally 2.0 is missing content that the original game had. It has only four cars, which is not even a third of what the original game had. While this is bad enough the real kicker is the fact that anything relating to tinkering with cars is gone. The player cannot adjust gear ratios, suspension stiffness or indeed anything to do with their car at all.

A lot of tracks are missing too and the game only features three environments, a tiny bite of what was in the original game.

Another problem with Colin McCrae Rally is that it is rather outdated. With games like GT Racing 2 and even the 2010 Real Racing 2 on the platform it looks positively anemic by comparison. It’s tiny amount of cars and PS1-era graphics aren’t impressive at all nowadays. Playing Colin McCrae Rally is like going back in time and not in a good way.

Screenshot_2014-03-07-21-06-14As said above Colin McRae Rally’s graphics and sound are poor. While they are slightly dolled up from the original game they are not impressive at all for an Android game. The sound is limited to generic music, basic engines and the emotionless voice of the co-driver.

Another problem with the game is the low frame rate. Often the game will hiccup or lag, which is a great way to slam into a tree if it happens at the wrong time. A recent update has done nothing obvious to fix this problem. Hopefully later updates will rectify this issue.

Colin McRae Rally is not a great game and it’s a very stripped down port. The bumper crop of excellent Android racing games mean there is no reason to purchase Colin McRae Rally.


Dizzy: Prince of the Yolkfolk Review

Dizzy: Prince of the Yolkfolk Review

Dec 12, 2011

Dizzy: Prince of the Yolkfolk is a remake of the 1991 platform/adventure game from Codemasters. Players control the egghead Dizzy; literally, he’s an egg; as they try to get him to rescue his girlfriend, also an egg, from the clutches of Rockwart the troll. As well, the cherries from Daisy’s cherry pie must be collected! 
 
Players largely go on a variety of fetch quests, trying to deliver items to other characters, and to use items to try and capture creatures, for example. The game has 16 achievements to earn, that correlate with the major tasks in the game; as well, players compete for high scores by collecting stars that add points, which tick down with each second. Players get hints when the clock hits zero, but obviously this means fewer points for players to score. The controls have also been optimized for touch screens and for Android tablets, with buttons on each side for horizontal movement and diagonal jumping.
 
This is unfortunately one of the most infuriating platforming experiences I have ever had the misfortune of playing. The game moves at a glacial pace, so any missed jump means that the player has to get Dizzy back up to the jump spot…slowly. Very slowly. Also, most platforms can’t be jumped up through, so there are occasional points when a jump has to be made where Dizzy won’t hit his head lest he falls all the way down, and the trudge back up through the platforms to attempt that stupid jump again begins again. It’s absolutely not fun, and I just quit in frustration at these points. The game is relatively short, but most of the length comes from these repeated platforming attempts. If Dizzy could climb up ledges, or move faster than a sloth on tranquilizers, then it would be less frustrating.
 
This game has a fun premise that works great for mobile – it’s just absolutely not fun to play because of the slow pace and frustrating platforming. With some amplified speed and user-friendliness enhancements, this game could have some promise. For now, stay away. This game has not particularly aged well into the modern era.