NBA Live Mobile Review

NBA Live Mobile Review

Jul 28, 2016

NBA Live Mobile. From Electronic Arts.

Yes, we’re on board.

This one is brightly done, with sharp colors and fine animations. Menus are visually descriptive, and the players generally conform to real life sizes and facial appearances. EA has a reputation in design, and mostly lives up to it here.

Off the bat, it’s important to note that this isn’t one’s usual basketball simulation; it doesn’t have current-ish NBA rosters in place for players to select a familiar and/or favorite team from. It isn’t really a management strategy game either, as there isn’t a traditional salary cap to contend with.

Instead, it’s more like a multi-mode sports RPG with NBA players in the mix, remixing teams from the start. After selecting a franchise, one gets a bunch of players divvied up into a few “lineups” with unique abilities.
Adding in Zach Lavine for the dunking lesson is savvy, as is tossing in Steph Curry for the special abilities tutorial.

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One can get into game challenges, or look to go against other folks, or engage in a seriously abbreviated season; mostly, he goal is to win resources and unlock players. Then, with some savvy trading and acquisitions, one can build a super team of sorts.

The action segment is fairly well done; it goes 5v5 with current players in one’s lineup, and onscreen virtual buttons control the movements and actions of the players. There are a set of defensive actions, and when possessions change, one gets

Ah, but just when one gets into it, one has to deal with the energy requirement. Be if far from us to complain about monetization, but this one sorta creeps on one, what with the use energy buckets to get things rolling, redoing a challenge can be costly. There are ways to get refills, and one can use real money to supplement.

The game does a feel a bit busy in sections, and the aforementioned energy requirement might deter one from simply playing. The play rules are fairly loose, so basketball purists might balk at some elements as well.

As noted, for a folks looking for a realistic sim akin to the console titles, this one probably won’t cut the mustard. If one is able to see it for what it is meant to be — a management/building game with familiar names as the pieces — it isn’t too bad of an experience.

Need for Speed Most Wanted is on Sale for $0.10 on Google Play

Need for Speed Most Wanted is on Sale for $0.10 on Google Play

Jan 20, 2016

…and the title says it all: Electronic Art’s popular auto-racing game, Need for Speed Most Wanted can be had for the eye-catching price of 10 cents.

MAKE TROUBLE, GET WANTED
Evade a relentless police force while you clash with street racers. Race and chase hot cars like the SRT Viper GTS, Porsche 911 Carrera S, Hummer H1 Alpha, and many more. Feel the intensity of no-brakes-allowed street racing with realistic full-car damage for the first time on mobile.

LEAVE YOUR MARK
Log into Origin to check the Wanted List and find out who is the Most Wanted across platforms and among your friends. Then, challenge your friends and prove your racing skills in nonstop competition.

GO FROM ZERO TO MOST WANTED…
• Drive and customize over 40 of the world’s most exciting cars
• Race the way you want! By popular demand, you can now touch or tilt to steer
• Use Mods to enhance your car and get ahead of the pack in style
• Experience the action with mind-blowing graphics and intense full-car damage
• Earn Speed Points to unlock new cars
• Trick out your phone with an exclusive Most Wanted live wallpaper

Your rivals will do everything they can to stop you from getting to the top – but in this world, there can only be one Most Wanted.

We really liked the game when we formally reviewed it a while back.

Have fun “shopping” now!

[via Slickdeals] [Our Need for Speed Most Wanted Review]

EA SPORTS UFC Review

EA SPORTS UFC Review

Jun 23, 2015

If anyone should try to tackle a sports sim, it should be EA Sports. And tackle fighting it did with EA SPORTS UFC.

Somehow, the tutorial is quite enjoyable on it’s own. It’s of the hands-on variety, so one is able to learn while doing with visual cues that help folks to understand the control system — which incorporates gestures and swipes to control the basics. With said tutorial we see attacks and special attacks, defensive maneuvers, take-downs and even submissions. The controls require dexterity and a keen eye, as there are times a very precise tap is needed. The teaching tool also doesn’t clear until one is able to execute the moves proficiently.

After this, one is able to get into a practice “fight,” which gives one an opportunity to bring the recently learned moves to bear. The same goes for the next level too. After those two are completed, one can decide to try out the other modes.

The battling is straightforward, with two fighters going at it; the game engine feels realistic, and the artwork and animations are excellent, from the authentic-looking fighting area to the simple things like the UFC logo on the mouthpiece. One can pick a fighter, and it’s pertinent to note that a recent update brings female fighters to the fold.

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After each fight, performance determines how much game cash is awarded; the health left determines how many stars are given.

So, it does boil down to a war of attrition, as the overriding goal is to ensure that the opponents life bar is depleted before the player. At the base level, in career, one keeps on fighting and trying to move up the ladder — much like a real MMA pugilist would. Of course, as one makes his/her way up the charts, the competition gets better, which is where “training” and earned coins can be useful. The in-app store has a bunch of boosts and training packs and such that can be used to improve a character’s chances. Real cash can be used as well.

It all comes together well: nice graphics, fun options (like Live Events) and familiar names. It’s an easy way to fall in love with the sport it portrays, which underscores its value.

SimCity BuildIt Review

SimCity BuildIt Review

Jan 16, 2015

Electronic Arts didn’t do very well with its latest PC entry of SimCity. It messed up with a bunch of different stuff, so I had high hopes for this mobile version of the game. And, well… Guess what.

When you think of SimCity, you think of a time being a mayor. You provide houses for the people of your city and also appropriate buildings for services like the police and firemen, energy, water, and so on. And although things like that are still possible, it is not that same as you would imagine it to be. But is that a bad thing?

If you do like the traditional SimCity gameplay, than yes, it is a bad thing. But since this is a free-to-play game, you have to consider the waiting time you need to endure while playing this game. And SimCity was, at least for me, always fun, because you could do anything you want, when you wanted. Well, if you had enough money, but it didn’t took the game long to give you some. But even though I still needed to wait a bit longer on my money, I always felt connected. Engaged, if you will.

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In SimCity BuildIt, that is not the case at all. Being the free-to-play title that it is, it constantly presented me with those waiting times. Of course, it is inevitable and understandable, but I wonder if the development team stopped and questioned itself if this was the right way to go for the series. Because next to thinking logically about placing fire departments close to a residential area or putting a factory as far as possible from it, there isn’t most of the management or stragetic gameplay the series always offered.

The game has been heavy simplified if you ask me. You start with a factory, farm its resources and build a residential area from them. When they’re all done, you get some coins and with those you can buy more utilities to keep the city from going dark or without water. Th bigger the city gets, the more utilities it needs – so you’ll have to keep on repeating the above process to expand.

And quit frankly, this isn’t much fun. It feels like work. Ironically maybe the work of a real mayor. But when I play a game, I want to be entertained. I don’t mind learning a couple things along the way or do mandatory stuff to proceed, but SimCity BuildIt, how promising it looks (no really, graphically, this game looks fantastic), it all work and no play.

FIFA 15: Ultimate Team Review

FIFA 15: Ultimate Team Review

Oct 10, 2014

This year, EA shakes things up by only presenting us the Ultimate Team mode in FIFA 15 for Android. That’s a fact that you either hate or love, but I must say: I was surprised by that choice.

Normally I would start a soccer game review with the words that the game is bigger and better than the version released a year ago. But that is not the case with FIFA 15: Ultimate Team. Instead of making the game, sometimes unnecessary, bigger, Electronic Arts tried to built upon the core of the Ultimate Team mode. You know, the mode where you need to collect cards of players, technical staff, coaches and attributes and build your own team based on the cards you collect. You get those cards by fulfilling certain goals.

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Although it is quite the unusual decision to make a big game small again, I found myself enjoying the game much more because of the lack of more features. Also, the concept of the Ultimate Team mode is excellent for smartphones and tablets, because of its strategic nature and the fact you will spend some time in a menu or two. It just works very well; I was never lost. It is also possible to compete in quick games with your own managed team, so it is not the case that you can only be a manager in this game.

But if you’re like me and you find more fun into managing a soccer team rather than play with one, like you would on the consoles, you can always choose to simulate games – just like Nintendo Pocket Football Club on the Nintendo 3DS, for instance. But now with real players and everything that screams EA, soccer or buy my shit. Luckily, you can play FIFA 15: Ultimate Team without spending a single dollar, but than you know you’re in for the long run. But true FIFA players won’t mind that. They just want to manage the game and kick a ball.

Note that you need a lot of free space in order to play the game: make sure you have 1.35GB free internal space or on the SD card. Also, it is not possible to connect this game to your console version, so you cannot manage your team on the road, go home and see the results on screen.

Monopoly Millionaire

Monopoly Millionaire

Jun 3, 2013

Devastating news: you’ve probably been playing Monopoly all wrong. No need to fret though; Monopoly Millionaire is made for the rebel within us.

Monopoly is a generational landmark. The game that Parker Brothers immortalized embodies its own gameplay remarkably well: its humble beginnings and explosive popularity practically tell the story. In this modern day version (an electronic port of a physical reboot of the classic version), the story is tweaked a little, but the fable mostly remains recognizable.

One tweak I liked was that the dollar values were adjusted to better reflect current values, as anyone who has mono1ruefully dropped $2 in rent can attest to this. Also, there are new luck (fortune) cards, and the missing utilities and railroads contract the board a bit, so it took a little bit of adjustment to do dice roll counts in my head. Also of interest was the Pass Go upgrade mechanism, which allows tokens to be spruced up with cash.

The biggest difference is the format. Instead of a war of attrition, Monopoly Millionaire is a race to a financial goal, in this case $1 million. Thus, gambles and deals are highly encouraged.

The general look is remarkably similar to the original. Properties are laid out by color, and though the names are different, the colors followed the original setup with regards to placement. The jail exists in all its animated glory, and, like that, just about everything is similarly jazzed up. Every landing is an event, with an explosion of animated stars occurring at particular junctures.

The portion that I really like is the multiplayer functionality. With this, games can be played with opponents on different devices via local wi-fi. This is in addition to the pass and play option on the same device for multiple players.

As an added bonus, the bling-y Monopoly Millionaire Live Wallpaper is cool, though, like all live wallpapers, it taxes battery life.

As far as reboots to classics go, this is a compelling one. The option set makes it an enjoyable diversion.

Bejeweled Blitz Review

Bejeweled Blitz Review

May 8, 2013

Bejeweled is an icon in gaming. It’s the definition of cross-platform fun, and since I played it on my Palm ages ago, it dates me. It’s the perfect time killer, and has the benefit of appealing to folks from all generations.

Bejeweled Blitz is yet another souped-up version of the original, with time-based gameplay, jazzed-up scoring and an emphasis on communal sharing.

The game itself had plenty of familiar elements.The playing area is made up of a square grid containing 64 jewels of random different shapes and colors. My job was to use swiping gestures to create matches of three or more jewels which translated to points. As in the original, matches could be made vertically or horizontally, but not diagonally. Every blitz1time I created a set, the diamonds burst and disappeared, allowing for more random jewels to drop from the top and replace the ones that were gone. If I was good enough to create sets with 4 or 5 matching jewels, some great bonusing super-jewels were created. And all the wheelin’ and dealin’ could be done 60 seconds at a time.

The one-minute time limits were what took the game to a crazy place. And I do mean “crazy” in a good way. The limit created a challenging environment were speed of movement was beneficial. I learned that strategically, the first set of three that I could create wasn’t necessarily the best option; at the same time, the game favored the quick of hand. The duality of choice was fun in and of itself.

The bonuses were nice, with stuff like T-shaped set-ups invoking explosions and bolts of lightning. I really liked the animations, as they worked well with the bright color scheme. The moments were smooth, and I was unable to find any lag or even minor stuttering. There were extras that could be procured with gold coins, and that could be expedited with real cash. The game encourages sharing a great deal, though it isn’t necessary.

All in all, there is little not to like in this fun iteration.

Real Racing 2 Review

Real Racing 2 Review

Dec 23, 2011

Allow me first to mention that I am terrible at driving games, just awful. I’m that person frantically waving their controller around trying to get off of the grass and back on the track. But I have never played a race game that made it so easy for me to stay in the game as Real Racing 2 does. No, that doesn’t mean that the game itself is easy, but more that the controls are so incredibly smooth that only the slightest of motions will aim your car exactly where it needs to go. But before that, before I even ran my first lap, I was already blown away by the game’s opening sequence.

It begins with beautiful movie-quality shots of race cars speeding down the tracks, and immediately makes your heart pound – you can tell right away that this is something special. The whole game itself has incredible graphics, with no detail spared. Your view is 1st person, from inside the car. Your driver’s arms steer the car in harmony with your own movements, and I found myself playing with the phone almost touching my nose because I was enjoying the view so much. The world around the tracks is so richly detailed that it is almost distracting – on the first level alone you can see a moving ferris wheel, and a blimp fly by!

Steering is controlled by your accelerometer, with the options of gas being auto-on or self controlled, and there are different levels of difficulty to give yourself future challenges. But there is more to Real Racing 2 than just making the rounds around the amazingly detailed tracks. Before you even begin playing you must choose (and buy) your car. You start off with some seed money, and the choice between two actual Volvo brand cars. From there you can go to the pit and purchase customizations for your car, such as engine improvements, or superficial things like a new paint job. The money for these upgrades comes from winning races of course. Aside from the cash you can score, you almost have the opportunity to win a better reputation. So much thought went into creating this setup that I want to applaud the creators for taking a standard game style and making it unique.

There is something about races that appeal to us on a primal level. The incredible speeds you can reach, the skill needed to slide ahead of your opponents, and the unbelievable rush you get when you win. Add to all of this the sounds of engines revving, tires squealing, and fast beats, and you have some genuine excitement. Real Racing 2 gives you all of that and more.

It does have to be said however that all of those amazing graphics come at a price – the game clocks in at a whopping 600MB of space. Despite that it runs pretty smoothly, but it can still lag at times. I’ve also had a few problems with it locking up my phone and forcing re-starts. I don’t know if that’s the game maxing out the limits of my phone, or bugs that need to be worked out in future updates. And finally it has to be said that the price of the full version – $6.99CAD – is a bit daunting. Understandable given the work and time put into creating such a rich experience, but it’s still a bit of a kick in the wallet.