Thumbzilla Review

Thumbzilla Review

Oct 31, 2012

Watching the video for Thumbzilla when I came across it in the Google Play Store, it took me about 5 seconds for me to decide I wanted to play it. The story for the game is there is a thumb monster, kind of like all those old Japanese monsters Godzilla or Mothra, attacking the city. Playing as the monster, try and rack up as many dollars in damage as possible.

To control the “monster” use 2 thumbs to make a walking motion. This will stomp on buildings and vehicles and anything else in the monster’s path. Swiping a finger back to front is like kicking. The kicking motion can knock over buildings and send cars hurtling through the air. Tap the screen to stomp on the cars or people or buildings.

There is only one power up. When kicking over random buildings, a question mark may appear. Stepping on this question mark will equip the thumb monster with, get this, ballerina shoes. The shoes are pink and dainty with some soft music in the background. While wearing these shoes, the damage inflicted is much greater. Most of the buildings will fall in two kicks vs. 3 or 4 without the shoes.

The city will be fighting back while the monster is ravaging the city trying to kill it. After receiving a lot of damage from the tanks and army shooting at it, the monster will die. It takes a lot though. A lot of the damage can be avoided by keeping moving. It didn’t seem like there was an end to the city so keep running and knocking things over and stomping.

I thought the game was a lot of fun to play. When I played it the first time I was giggling as I thumbed through the city and knocked stuff over. Aside from the cartoon blood, it’s easy enough for kids to play and hold their attention.

Plague Inc. Review

Plague Inc. Review

Oct 22, 2012

Plague Inc. is my new favorite game. The goal of the game is to kill off the human race through disease. Pretty different, huh? Starting out, the only option to kill off humanity is bacteria. After the humans are eradicated with one type of plague, a new option opens up. There are seven different ways to kill off the humans. Each one has pros and cons to it. Some will transfer from person to person better than others while some may travel better through the air with ease.

Start off by picking a country to start infecting people. My recommendation is to start in Australia. Also, in the top right corner, it is possible to fast forward time so the game doesn’t take as long to play. Popping the orange and red bubbles will produce DNA points. The points are used to “buy” upgrades to the disease. The upgrades will help the plague transfer faster or dodge a cure better.

What I found to work as a good strategy is to make the plague as infectious as possible then make it lethal. Adding the symptoms after it is super transmittable will make it less likely for a cure to be started early on in the game. Also countries will be less likely to close their borders. The more tame the plague is, the less likely it is to be noticed. Use the bars at the bottom of the screen when adding symptoms and making it more infectious. The meters will show how much more lethal one symptom will make the plague than another.

Sit back and watch the world try to fight off the end of the human race. As more people die, the progress of the cure slows because there are less people working to find a way to stop the plague. After the game is done, there is a rating of how well the task of killing everyone was completed. If desired, in-game purchases of are a possibility. For example, one of the purchases is to unlock the next plague option. All of the cheats can be earned by playing the game though.

Ounce Bounce Review

Ounce Bounce Review

Mar 8, 2012

With some games it’s not too difficult to guess where the inspiration came from. Others are deliberately random, and that adds to their charm. And some are just sort of inexplicable and are attention-drawing in that way. Ounce Bounce falls into the last category, which is why I tried it out.

Ounce Bounce is the story of a young owl is undertaking flight-training when he accidentally topples backward into a well. The tiny crash-helmeted owl is trapped at the bottom underneath a vast field of strangely suspended debris. Users help him make his way back to the top. In his way are bricks and boards. When crashed into the boards will move slightly, and the bricks will explode for points. It’s an endurance game and Ounce is constantly fighting against gravity, trying to drift up to the top of the well and not falling back down to the bottom. Users help him by swiping their finger up along his path to send him up. Users can rebound him off of boards to gain height, or into bricks to blast a path. The longer Ounce is kept in the air, the higher the score.

It’s a cute game, and the idea is interesting. Crashing into the bricks is quite satisfying, and it’s fun to challenge myself to see how long I can keep Ounce going. But that’s really all I have to say that’s specifically positive.

Truth be told I just didn’t like this game very much. It’s weirdly slow and lackluster, and there is actually very little accuracy when controlling Ounce. He is such a tiny object that swiping across his path only has about a 60% success rate and the lack of control makes it very defeating to play. Ounce himself looks so gloomy and defeated that it makes me wonder why he even wants to leave the well. I gave it a reasonable go but it just didn’t pass the cut.

Overload Review

Robot toasters, mad scientists, a girl with an electro-gun, and a snarky pal. More than just a video game concept, Overload’s story brings to mind an 80’s Saturday morning cartoon. It’s even set in an airship! This game has so much whimsy I found myself grinning the second I got to the cut scenes.

The plot is simple: Professor Goodman is visited by his granddaughter Elle and her ennui-stricken friend James. Elle, to story’s protagonist, is a spunky girl who wastes no time getting to business when Goodman’s lab is attacked. His rival, Doctor Shwarzmann appears with destruction in mind, armed with a fleet of evil/possessed household appliances. Desk fans, toasters, and tea kettles begin destroying the airship and endangering the crew. Elle takes up Goodman’s most recent invention, the Elec-Glove, and uses it to literally over-power the robots until they explode. For such a developed storyline the gameplay is quite simple – tap the robots as they appear on screen until they explode.

The robots are released onto the game field via portals. The portals open slowly so you have a half-second’s warning before another one pops out. All you need to do is tap the robots enough times to blow them up. The stronger machines take more taps to blow up, and the evil toasters are my favourite because their little piece of toast pops out with a ding. They also zoom around the screen with increasing speed as you progress. At time the game field looks like a strange ant farm with all of the robots flying around blasting holes in your airship. You are fighting a timer in a lot of levels, so speed is the key to success in this game.

Overload’s strongest point is its simplicity. No complicated walk throughs are needed. Robots appear on screen, you tap them, they explode. It really is that simple. But just the same the developers clearly enjoyed creating this steampunky world. They put a lot of thought into the character personalities, the opponent design, and the music as well. Even the menus are steampunky, with clanking sounds as the options reveal themselves. The design is delightful from start to finish, it’s a game you’ll want to show your friends. Lots of little detail makes what is really a very simple game more engaging than you’d expect. My favourite touch is the *ding* sound made by the toaster as it explodes and toast pops out.

Unfortunately I found that Overload’s biggest drawback is that same simplicity. You tap robots and they explode – nothing more. The story is cute, but unnecessary to learning how to play. Not all games need a story (did Asteroids have a story?), but Overload needs help from its characters to get you to buy in to the action. After all, frantically tapping frantically on your phone’s screen gets old rather quickly. The story is cute, but there’s not a lot of draw to return to it.

This app has proven to be a nice, quick diversion when I have a few moments to kill when waiting for a bus, but otherwise it’s not worth devoting much time to.