Cat Basket Review

Cat Basket Review

Feb 4, 2014

Cat Basket features a crazy cat lady with a basket riding on a giant cat. More cats plummet form the top of the screen. The object, unsurprisingly is to catch the cats in your basket. The more cats grabbed in a row, the higher the score multiplier climbs. Besides the rain of pink felines dogs also inexplicably fall from the sky. Catching a dog in the basket or allowing it to fall onto the cat below injuries your cat transport. Missing three dogs ends the game. To avoid this tapping and holding the screen flips the basket over and turns it into a spiked barrier. If the dogs fall on this they are spiked away . Of course while the basket is flipped cats can’t be caught.

Screenshot_2014-01-31-11-47-21Besides the rain of cats and dogs healing items that restore a life can be caught and another sparkly item that has a random effect. It might starts a super heavy rain of cats or it might unleash a torrent of dogs or just give an extra life, among other things.

That is Cat Basket, its gameplay is very basic and it’s a simple game for anyone to play.

I personally would not recommend Cat Basket to kids however as I feel the violence against animals portrayed in it could be a bit much for younger players.

Screenshot_2014-01-30-19-15-44It is worth mentioning that Cat Basket features no microtransactions of any kind. While this is very welcome it also means that the game lacks the drive to upgrade skills or items, a common theme in many casual games of this type. Without new items or upgrades to unlock and work towards Cat Basket loses a fair bit of long term appeal. The game just doesn’t take advantage of the possibilities of mobile gaming.

Cat Basket is certainly eye catching. The game is a cornucopia of bright colors and smooth animation. The game’s simple yet slick presentation makes it inviting.

The sound, while cute and all can get very annoying. In particular the constant high pitched mews as you catch cats can get irritating very fast. It would be great if there was an option to disable this. The hyperactive music gets the job done however.

Cat Basket is decent enough for a free game. While it won’t win any awards it is still a game with no microtransactions and competent gameplay.

Garfield’s Defense Review

Garfield’s Defense Review

Aug 6, 2012

Following the launch of Garfield’s Diner, game makers Web Prancer added yet another lovable game. Garfield’s Defense is a funny tower defense game where Garfield needs to ward off invaders from conquering his prized possession – the fridge.

First of all, I love that the graphics quality in this game is better than the SD mode in Garfield’s Diner. This makes for a better gaming experience, along with its cute graphics and clever animation.

Second, the game is playable without going for in-app purchases. This, however, comes with a price – and that price is making the game a bit more challenging. Sometimes one might have to play a level several times to get through the next one. This being said, I did not mind losing repeatedly because every round is as entertaining as it is tough.

As in any other tower defense game, the main hero (Garfield) needs to defend his home (refrigerator) using his army (Odie, among others) and weapons (toy cars, boxing gloves, etc.). There is a popcorn machine that determines which army or weapon is available after a few seconds of waiting (minimum is 5 seconds). Garfield himself initially has a rolled up newspaper for hitting enemies in close quarters, which can be upgraded for something more painful (like a rolling pin or a frying pan) as long as one has enough cookies. Yes, cookies are the currency of this game.

The alien invaders are also outlandishly comical, with equally humorous weapons of their own. This does not mean, however, that they are easily defeated. To succeed, it takes quick, well-timed decisions on which army to use, when to use a certain weapon and so on. One also has to think long and hard before upgrading or buying items from the store, as this will determine the chances of surviving the next round.

Since Garfield is programmed to “attack automatically”, the game controls are as simple as tapping on either sides to move him back and forth, but it sometimes does not respond as fast as I want it to. However, tapping on boxes to activate an army or a special weapon works okay without any issues.

As mentioned earlier, in-app purchases also exist for this game although one might not need it much. But for impatient gamers who want to get ahead, cookies are available to buy at the Play Store.

It’s not really clear how many levels there are – but unlocked items usually hold the clue. Because of this and the degree of difficulty, this can either motivate gamers to keep playing it, or make them give up entirely. In my case, I was able to hang on until Stage 21 with no intentions of backing down.

Garfield’s Defense might be cute and it can easily be classified as something meant to be played by kids. This is not the case at all. The level of difficulty is enough for it to be engaging but not too much that it gets frustrating. With great graphics and interesting characters, this game is a good addition to the tower defense genre.

Bonnie’s Brunch Review

Bonnie’s Brunch Review

Jun 22, 2012

I never really gave cooking games much attention – I used to think they’re just for kids. The last time I played this kind of game was during my early Facebook days with Restaurant City. I must say I quite enjoyed those days. I liked the challenge of running a food business with the best possible results. It’s the same feeling I got from playing Bonnie’s Brunch. It felt childish at first, but after a few levels (and one upset customer) it became a challenge.

Bonnie’s Brunch has been available for iOS for a while, but it was recently released for Android. The cooking game requires Bonnie to serve breakfast to different customers, with a goal of making them happy – and for them never to leave without getting served.

Food items start as bagels and croissants, with more complicated items like waffles and sandwiches added as the levels go higher. The key to serving all customers effectively is to know their personalities. Some customers are more impatient than others, so this is one thing you need to consider when deciding which one to serve first. Another factor to consider are the food items. Some items are readily available – like a bagel – while some can take a few seconds to prepare such as a waffle or a ham and cheese sandwich.

The best part of the game is the design. Great, crisp graphics and responsive game controls will make you want to keep playing the game. The game characters are also amusing – ranging from an impatient granny to a former singing icon. When new characters are present in the next level, there will be a brief introduction about that character before the level starts. The player can then learn about the characters’ personality from these short information clips and serve them accordingly.

The first fifteen levels are free to play, but succeeding ones can be played by purchasing the game’s full version. I don’t usually purchase anything from the Play Store, but this game really made me reconsider. I eventually went ahead and made the purchase, and I haven’t regretted it since.

Bonnie’s Brunch has one of the best graphics and smooth performance in Android games so far. It makes a cooking game more fun than it really should be. With the vibrant, animated characters and yummy-looking food, it’s a great eye-candy game to pass the time – not just for kids, but for adults as well. It even makes me hungry at times, I had to take a break and grab a quick snack.

No lags, delays or force closes were experienced during game play – which is a relief for me since I did invest money (albeit a small amount) in this app. The game and its graphics run smoothly and are responsive to touch controls such as fixing an order and dragging it towards the customer. However, I wish there were more levels to this game – though I have not finished all of them due to the level of difficulty in the last few stages. Yes, it does get harder.

If there is ever a cooking game face-off for Android in the future, I can very much vouch for this game. It’s fun, visually stunning and surprisingly addictive.

Slime vs. Mushroom 2 Review

Slime vs. Mushroom 2 Review

Apr 17, 2012

There are tons of games in the Google Play store that look too much like Plants vs. Zombies. Maybe this is because people just can not get enough of the more kid-friendly, fun and light version of the tower defense game genre. Not all of these knock-offs are great, however. It’s even frustrating to see most of these games just do not live up to the standards that gamers loved from Plants vs. Zombies. Slime vs. Mushroom 2 does not disappoint in this aspect. The new follow-up to a previous version, it’s an entertaining game with a funny premise.

The game starts with the user choosing their heroes, or in this case, slime. A requisite slime in all stages is the equivalent of the sunflower in PvZ, a purple-colored slime called Mom slime which gives birth to a baby slime – which in turn generates the needed points to purchase other slime heroes to defend their village. Slime heroes each have their own “powers”, such as shooting fire or ice towards the mushroom enemies, or being a suicide bomber to fend off multiple attacks in one row. Some slimes also act as a physical barrier to prevent the enemies from passing through. As the game progresses, more slimes can be purchased by using diamonds. Diamonds are earned throughout the game from Mom slimes, or one has an option to buy it online. Existing slimes that user already have can also be upgraded using diamonds. This can be an investment as the mushroom enemies can get tougher to kill as the levels get higher.

For an interactive game, the interface is quite smooth even on my low end device. The size of the app itself is smaller compared to other similar tower defense games (8.99 MB). Tapping on objects are sometimes done more than once, but that is mainly due to my phone’s small screen size. Otherwise, game controls are responsive and lag-free.

In addition to smooth gameplay, the graphics are cute enough to keep the player engaged – even if one is not winning. I particulary like the way the mushrooms “fight” with the slime in close combat. The characters are unique enough in their own right, making one forget that the idea was practically drawn from another (more popular) tower defense game. Despite that little flaw, the game still brings its own fun twist that’s refreshing and very entertaining.

There is a small tutorial when one first starts the game, but it doesn’t really explain a lot except for how to earn points and position the slimes. Once the game is started and throughout the next levels, there are no additional tutorials to explain new things – like a new kind of slime or upgrading an existing slime. The user would have to read through and look at visual clues as to how everything else works. This might be fine for one who’s very familiar with similar games, but it might throw off a first-time gamer. In this aspect the game definitely needs some additional tweaking to further educate the player. There is also a lack of warning system when the attacks are going to be “heavier” than usual so the player can anticipate and position their slimes accordingly.

A good addition would be a portion that explains the different kinds of mushrooms and what they are capable of in terms of strength and speed. I made the mistake of thinking all mushrooms were the same and were surprised later on to see that some actually attack better than others. Again, this might discourage new players if they get the impression that the game seems to be hard to play for no apparent reason.

As all other free apps in the Google Play store, this is an ad-supported game – but the ad placement (on top of the screen) is not so bad and does not prevent the user from playing the game properly. Other than being a minor visual distraction, the ads are quite acceptable in this case.

Overall, Slime vs. Mushroom 2 is one of the more quirky, kid-friendly tower defense games out there. With smooth graphics and fun characters, this game can keep you smiling for a long while. Ideally, these games are meant for kids but it’s still equally enjoyable to be played by adults. With certain additional information about the characters and game rules, in general, this game can be one of the best tower defense games thus far. The game has 100 levels and is free to play, with in-game purchase options for buying upgrades and characters.