Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage Review

Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage Review

May 14, 2014

Contrary to my initial thoughts, Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage is a physical puzzle game about vikings and not at all a manual to party conversations. Which is bad, because constant talk about mobile videogames doesn’t help my party cred. At least I get to rescue some vikings while continuing my sad, partyless existence.

Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage is similar to other mobile puzzles in which the player needs to slash things to achieve his goals, like, for example, Cut The Rope. It’s a lot more varied than that, though. The goal is the same in every level: get dwarfs – I mean, vikings, to your hero’s boat and rescue them. The obstacles from which they need to be rescued are quite differing from each other. Most of them are frozen in glaciers that have to be sliced through, and then moved to the boat, where the main hero will smash them with a hammer. Some are suspended on the ropes, and others are just standing there, apparently unable to make a step towards in fear of stepping on their own beards.

Variety, one of the most important features of a puzzle game, is really great in Icebreaker. There are lots of small challenges that need to be completed alongside the Icebreaker 3main task, there are chests that grant bonus coins, a sprawling achievement system, and lots of other challenges that make each level unique, even if you only spend about five minutes on it. The game isn’t too difficult, and I’ve spent more time adjusting the correct way and time to make my cuts, than actually thinking what I should do next. Of course, I’ve only played through about twenty five missions, and there are hundreds of them, so I’m sure that the challenge grows a great deal later.

In general, I found Icebreaker greatly amusing. It’s just a puzzle game, so don’t expect a miracle if you aren’t a fan of these in the first place, but it is a great, fun game with unusual challenges and nice graphics. Among hundreds of neon, minimalistic puzzles on Android, it’s nice to play a fully-featured game from time to time.

Cut the Rope 2 Review

Cut the Rope 2 Review

Apr 23, 2014

Even though it didn’t feel like it was gone (thanks to some well-timed seasonal outputs), we should take time to welcome back Cut the Rope 2. Om Nom is back, of curse, and brings new characters and some fresh tweaks to the gameplay.

The cutscenes tell the woeful story of appropriated candy and an inadvertently lost Om Nom, and how our roundish hero goes about getting home while re-collecting his hoard. As with the previous iterations of the game, get the basic concept is to manipulate the playing area to get the candy piece into Om Nom’s mouth while nabbing as many of the three stars available in the process.

The general mechanism remains the same: swipe gestures sever the ropes holding the candy, and if done correctly, On cut1Nom gets his treat. Balloons and platforms make early and continuous appearances; the former works to complicate puzzles in an interesting way, as they (as everything else in the game) follow general rules of physics. As progress is made, new folks with interesting powers make their acquaintances.

Failed levels can be repeated, and there are plenty of upgrades and such that can be applied after procurement from the in-app purchasing depot. There are bonuses that can be used to help with solutions, as well as other exhaustible power-ups.

The graphics look familiar, which is a good think. the different environments are mostly unique, but retain the look most folks know and love. The use of color os well done, and the hi-res, glossy imagery coupled with the occasional cutscenes work well to convey the gameplay. The animations are smooth, down to the soft bounces of inflatables and flail of the severed restraints.

Cut the Rope 2 seemingly manages the difficult art of being a sequel to a well received game that stands on its own feet without wrecking what worked to make the original popular in the first place. It’s a great time waster that reaffirms Zeptolab’s mindshare.

Cut The Rope: Holiday Gift Review

Cut The Rope: Holiday Gift Review

Dec 10, 2013

Cut The Rope: Holiday Gift is yet another iteration of the CTR hit game series from ZeptoLab.

For those blessed enough to have experienced any of the other iterations, this game will be familiar. It’s a lot of the same with regards to the delightful gameplay with an interesting seasonal wrapper.

The gameplay is mostly the same; Om Nom is our delightful creature, and its gaping mouth is the target. Above (usually), there is a candy piece hanging above. The goal is to use swipe gestures to “cut” the ropes that keep the candy suspended in the air. An additional task is to manipulate the candy to swing to touch and “collect” starts that are in the playing area to get the maximum score possible. Eventually, the rope puzzles become more intricate, with thought having to be applied to solve puzzles. Some levels have bubbles which serve to levitate the candy until it either floats away (ending the level unsuccessfully), gets popped and drops (hopefully in a mouth) or gets popped by cut1Om.

There is also a teleporting mechanism charmingly presented as Yuletide stockings. When a candy piece is dropped or manipulated into one of these, it gets shot out a matching one somewhere else in the playing area. Combined with the bubbles, these elements could be helpful or hindrances. It’s all leveled gameplay, with points assigned based on performance, and, in a few cases, time. Every level can be replayed without penalty. Watch out for other types of stockings too.

The Christmas build aims to be jolly, and it decks the halls with the right type of look. Christmas spirit is an intricate part of the feel and the look, from the festive trees that make up most of the background scenery to the ornaments. Lots of reds and greens make up the color scheme, and it’s a pretty fun, familiar setup.

Cut The Rope: Time Travel Coming Soon To Android

Cut The Rope: Time Travel Coming Soon To Android

Apr 16, 2013

Joystiq reports that Cut The Rope: Time Travel is on its way to Android. Om Nom stumbles across a time machine in the third title of ZeptoLab’s Cut The Rope series.

Cut the Rope for Android Now Gets to Play in the Toy Box

Cut the Rope for Android Now Gets to Play in the Toy Box

Oct 6, 2011

Cut the Rope has been a success on Android, being a perennial chart-topper on both the Android Market and Amazon Appstore. Now, the game has gotten its first major content update for the Android version, with version 1.1 hitting. This brings the “Toy Box” levels to the game, featuring 25 new levels with a new gameplay mechanic: trampolines that the candy can bounce off of into Om Nom’s waiting mouth. Or, in some dastardly cases, they can be used to keep candy away from Om Nom! The horror! The update is now available on the Android Market, as well as the Amazon Appstore. As of publication, the free version available on GetJar has not been updated with the Toy Box levels. As well, there’s still no word if the iOS sequel Cut the Rope: Experiments will be available on Android any time soon. Stay tuned to Android Rundown for more updates on Om Nom’s further candy eating exploits on Android!

Cut the Rope Comics Coming From Ape Entertainment

Cut the Rope Comics Coming From Ape Entertainment

Jul 27, 2011

Om Nom’s campaign of candy consumption is about to extend even further. Ape Entertainment has announced that they are turning the lovable protagonist of ZeptoLab’s mobile gaming franchise Cut the Rope into a comic book series, to be published by them. The goal of the comic series will be to help expand the story of the franchise, and to show where Om Nom came from. Ape Entertainment are familiar with turning apps into comics, as shown by the Pocket God comics that have come out. The art for the comics will be done by experienced artists Antonio Alfaro (known for his work on Fairly OddParents) and Ricardo Garcia, who are inking the series of 12 issues that should start rolling out over the next year, starting in August. The comics will be distributed digitally, initially through an app for iOS; an Android version is not confirmed yet. A trade paperback version is possible, as has been seen with the Pocket God comics. For more information on the upcoming comic, listen to the latest episode of The Portable Podcast, recorded at the Ape Entertainment booth at Comic-Con. As well, some plush toys of Om Nom will be released starting this September.

Android Talk on The Portable Podcast, Episode 93

Android Talk on The Portable Podcast, Episode 93

Jul 12, 2011

On this week’s episode of The Portable Podcast, Android came up as a topic with both guests.

I spoke with Todd Hamilton, a developer on iOS gamepad simulator, Joypad, and he confirmed that Joypad could possibly come to Android in the future – and could be used to control iPad games that support Joypad controls. The irony could cause the universe to explode.

As well, I spoke with ZeptoLab’s Semyon Voinov, and he revealed that the Android version is not entirely the same as the iOS version; in fact, some levels have been changed to accommodate the different sizes and capabilities of Android screens; in particular, puzzles which requires multitouch now no longer need them.

Click here to listen to The Portable Podcast on 148Apps’ The Portable Gamer.

BackStab, Fieldrunners, and Cut the Rope Released for Android

BackStab, Fieldrunners, and Cut the Rope Released for Android

Jul 8, 2011

Another week, another slate of new releases of games for Android, in particular some more new games making their way from iOS.

BackStab: This is Gameloft’s newest 3D action game, putting players in control of 18th century British naval officer Henry Blake, who is out for revenge on those who murdered his family. The game involves a stealth, and exploration of the 10 square kilometer island with three cities to explore. The game has had an interesting history, being first released as an exclusive for the Xperia Play, then as a universal app for iOS, and now finally for Android at large. Similar to other recent Gameloft releases, the device list is limited to largely phones released in the past year. The Android Market page for the game lists all compatible devices. The game is available for $6.99.

Fieldrunners HD: One of the original iOS tower defense games, and having made its way to various other platforms along the way, Subatomic Studios has finally released the game for Android. The HD in “Fieldrunners HD” stands for the fact that the game’s art assets have been redesigned for high-resolution Android devices, including Android tablets, so this is quite possibly the best-looking version of the game yet. The game is available as a limited-time exclusive from the Amazon AppStore.

Cut the Rope Paid: While the game recently released for free on GetJar, a paid ad-free version of the game has been released on both the Android Market and Amazon AppStore for $0.99. The free version of the game is otherwise the same as the paid version. As well, in an interview conducted with the developers to air on The Portable Podcast this Thursday, some changes have been made to the Andorud version of the game in order to support the various resolutions of Android devices, along with devices that don’t support multitouch. Some levels have been redesigned, in particular.

The Hills Are Greener: The Perils of Freedom

The Hills Are Greener: The Perils of Freedom

Jun 27, 2011

Is it really possible that a major game can’t sell on Android? Cut the Rope has taken the same path that Angry Birds has taken with distribution on Android, which is to give away their app for free, generating revenue by way of in-game ads instead of selling the app as a paid app like on iOS. Kami Retro from Gamevil has also gone down this path, showing that they might be experimenting with this ad-supported game model on Android as well.

It’s not quite clear why publishers and developers have decided en masse to pursue this model when releasing on Android beyond reaching a wider base of Android owners. If it’s a piracy issue that publishers are worried about, it seems kind of silly since adblocking on Android is not all that difficult for those with the technical knowhow. Essentially, if people don’t want to give a developer revenue, it’s not that much of a stretch to actually do. It seems like it’s just attacking the lowest common denominator, instead of actually solving the problem of not being able to sell paid games on Android. Plus, it just doesn’t sound smart to have a game that displays ads for other free games that people could download; while playing Cut the Rope, I’ve seen ads for not only Words With Friends for Android, but also for Angry Birds in Google Chrome! Such is the peril of allowing advertisements.

As well, this has the long-term potential of hurting the growth of paid applications on Android Market. A larger developer can make up for small click-through rates on ads by way of sheer number of users playing the game and viewing the ads; this requires a game with a name like Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, or Words With Friends. As someone trying to make money with Android has shown, when just trying to start from the ground up with an Android app, the results can be rather rough. If big-name apps and games continue to hit Android as free downloads, and users continue to expect to get premium quality apps and games as free downloads, then why would they ever pay for apps and games? Fruit Ninja has succeeded on the Android Market, but it appears to be the notable exception to the rule, rather than any kind of indicator that other developers are taking.

If the Android Market is ever going to reach a point where major developers will consider it worth the financial benefits of working on it, then it will require a market where users will expect to pay for some apps; when major apps are regularly being released for free, how can this ever happen? Do I like free games? Sure! Call me a hypocrite for playing and downloading these games when they go free, but I am still just a man who likes getting things for free. However, I still recognize that this trend ultimately is bad for smaller developers looking to grow on Android because they cannot ever expect to make meaningful revenue, even just starting out. The big guys just aren’t making it any easier for the little guys, because free is hard to beat.

Cut the Rope Review

Cut the Rope Review

Jun 24, 2011

Cut the Rope has finally made its way to Android. This puzzle game features gameplay that is exactly what it says on the tin – ropes need to be cut to get the candy from the starting point into the adorable Om Nom’s mouth. Along the way, there are three stars to collect; unlike Angry Birds, where 3 stars are based on some arbitrary point value, getting 3 stars in a level means actually collecting all 3 stars in a level. Later levels introduce things like bubbles that float a candy up toward the top of the screen, air gusts that can blow the candy around, and other things that make the game more about than just rope-cutting. The game comes with 7 level packs, comprising 175 levels total.

The fun of Cut the Rope comes from the simple gameplay that quickly turns ingenious; the game starts to add a lot of elements gradually to make the experience vary as it goes on. The controls never get overly complex, as everything is directly interacted with through taps and gestures. The game also features achievements and high scores through Scoreloop. The Android version is a great transition from the iOS version; the gameplay has translated perfectly to Android, and ZeptoLab made the game run on different resolutions perfectly without any skewed aspect ratios, unlike PopCap’s Android ports. All the content from the iOS version is here as well. The game is also a free download, with small banner ads displayed at the title screen and between levels.

The Android port is not without its issues, at least right away; the game occasionally doesn’t load on the Samsung Galaxy S, and requires to be closed out before relaunching. Some levels won’t load as well; the experience may vary based on phone model, of course. The game’s later content is locked away right from the beginning, so people who may have played the game on iOS a while back and haven’t gotten to check out the new content will have to play through the old content to get back to that point.

Cut the Rope is yet another fun game brought to Android. While more original content would be great, getting games like this on Android is only a positive. It is a free download, and the ads are unobtrusive. Go to the GetJar store and download the game now, although it will be propagating to other app stores in the near future.

Three Popular iOS Games Hitting Android This Week

Three Popular iOS Games Hitting Android This Week

Jun 21, 2011

The Android gaming library is getting a major kick in the pants this week, with 3 notable and addictive titles from iOS making their way to Android this week.

StarDunk: Released on Monday, June 20th, this freemium space basketball game featuring cross-platform multiplayer was reviewed here on Android Rundown. Click here to read our site’s review of the game.

Peggle: PopCap returns, after releasing Chuzzle and Plants vs. Zombies as limited time exclusives on the Amazon Appstore. Peggle continues the same tradition, releasing first on the Amazon Appstore before eventually hitting the Android Market at some point (they are not available on the Market at the present time). Peggle will continue this proud tradition, and should be free at time of publication, until approximately midnight Pacific time. So jump on it!

For those who haven’t played Peggle, it’s sort of a pachinko-meets-Puzzle Bobble game where balls are dropped from the ceiling, with the goal of taking out orange pegs on the board, and trying to get the ball in the basket on the bottom to get an extra ball. The game has proven to be extremely addictive across whatever platforms it has made its way to, and the Plants vs. Zombies port was faithful to the gameplay, although the aspect ratio rendering was askew. Click here to download Peggle from the Amazon Appstore, and keep an eye out for our review.

Cut the Rope: Is ZeptoLab’s iOS hit is about to be cut loose from iOS exclusivity and dropped into the game-hungry mouths of Android owners? An Android version has been mentioned before, and a Twitter account is going around teasing that an Android version of the game is coming this Friday. No immediate word on whether or not this will be published by Chillingo, the publisher on iOS, or if this will be self-published by ZeptoLab. We’ve reached out to Chillingo for comment and confimation that the game will actually be released this Friday, in case this is just a mean prankster.

At worst, this serves as a nice reminder that this is coming to Android at some point, after the demo video released earlier this year. The game involves trying to get a piece of candy hanging from a rope into the mouth of Om Nom, a cute if not needy little creature. Later levels involve elements like ropes that materialize when the candy comes in proximity to them, and even portals. We’ll find out soon if Om Nom will be devouring candy on Androids worldwide, or if Android gamers will be imitating Om Nom’s disappointed face at being fooled.