The Impossible Line Review

The Impossible Line Review

Oct 10, 2013

The Impossible Line (from Chillingo) is so easy it hurts.

The game is simple, but with such eventual complexity as well; the dichotomy is infuriating. Basically, it’s all about getting from point A to point B by tracing a finger from the one to the other. Then, with progress, the real puzzles show through: getting from point A to point B by tracing around the obstacles in between them. And the kicker? The obstacles become invisible, and memory and precise fingers become a necessity.

It’s the equivalent of Martin Lawrence’s character bumbling around Will Smith’s character’s unlit apartment in the the1original Bad Boys while the former was forced to pretend to be the latter; bruised shins usually result from dark, furnished rooms.

Mike Lowrey would love this game, but he did have sharp fingers. After a few seconds of starting a new level, the “walls” that have to be navigated around disappear. During the trace around the still-present obstacles, an errant touch against one end the level (which, thankfully, can be replayed). The puzzles do get interestingly challenging, with the wide arcs that help get through the earlier levels essentially being negated by the intricate nature of the obstacles in the later levels.

The game is set on a virtual chalkboard, and the animations that drive the gameplay are not over-powering. I liked the little touches (like the post-try replays and the warning radar indicator). There are helpers like lamps and such to help get through the harsher levels.

I’m not one to complain about ads. Developers deserve to monetize, and if they are nice enough to provide stuff for free, and we want to keep on enjoying it for free, accepting ads is a reasonable concession. Having said that, this is one game that I think purchasing ad-removal is almost needed (this can be done in-app). Also, monotony might set in for some players.

Still can’t knock simple as a concept, and in this, The Impossible Line delivers.

Dots Review

Dots Review

Aug 20, 2013

Dots, dots… and more Dots.

There are two flavors of play, which come as a timed 60 second rush for a points and a more relaxed mode based on a finite number of moves. The gameplay gets straight to the point, too: connect dots of the same color. Gesture-based controls facilitate the connections via swiping; as soon as the finger is lifted off the screen, the connected dots are removed from the screen, the raw count of removed dots is tallied and they are replaced by new, random dots hat fall from the top of the screen (just like in Bejeweled). dots1

The key, as noted, is to connect as many same-colored dots as possible. Because of the constant cascading, what seems like a good move a nano second earlier may not clear as many dots as it could have because of the new positioning. And not so fast… it is not as simple as just drawing lines through dots to clear them; diagonal formations can’t be connected. Lines that run through right angles can also be made.

Closing squares is the key move, as a connected square not only clears the connected dots, but all apps of the same color, thereby potentially increasing one’s point haul significantly. This creates an opportunity for some limited strategy of trying to create square-making opportunities.

Every run with completed dots earns dot cash; these dots can be used to purchase power-ups that help to accumulate points. Another fun aspect is the trophy/recognition element, with which the game awards points and a trophy for specific thresholds (like games played or number of squares made in a round). Little things like that make the game that much more enjoyable, and keep players engaged. The social networking functionality and leaderboards serve the same purpose.

The graphics are utilitarian, with the grid colorful dots super-imposed on a a stark white background. The animation connections work well, and the game has clean look overall.

Dots is a fun game that is shockingly addictive, and proof simplicity is always something to be aimed for.

EasyTether Pro Review

EasyTether Pro Review

Aug 30, 2010

Tethering. You know, siphoning the internet connection from your phone to your computer. Everybody talks about it, yet nobody seems to know just what the deal is. You might know that certain phones on certain carriers offer this feature—for an add-on price of up to $60. You also may have heard of people getting charged hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in data fees because they “illegally” tethered their phone. One app in the Android market hopes to clear up this fog of uncertainty, and that app is EasyTether Pro.

To try out the virtues of EasyTether Pro and see if the app lives up to its name, I decided to test it out on my latest road trip from New York to Atlanta. After downloading the app on my phone and firing it up, it started a nice setup wizard. First, I was told to choose my PC’s operating system. At the moment, only Windows XP/Vista/7 (32 and 64 bit) and Ubuntu/Fedora are supported. (Mac is supposedly “coming soon.”) Then, I was directed to a website to download the installer of EasyTether’s desktop client. After it finished, I mounted my phone’s sd card and launched the installer on my laptop. The software requires installing a driver on your computer. A warning pops up asking if I really want to install it…you bet I do. My virus scanner has no problem so I trudge on.