Happy Jump Review

Happy Jump Review

Nov 30, 2012

Retro Dreamer apparently figured out something kind of silly after all the turds they released on Android: if they cleaned up their act, they had some fun games with mass appeal. And so here we are with Happy Jump, published by NoodleCake Games (to help get the word to the masses). Players control a smiling jelly, who squishes and bounces his way higher and higher, avoiding dangerous flies, crumbling platforms, and coin layouts that threaten to leave the happy little jelly feeling distraught as he falls back to the ground.

The game falls somewhere between Doodle Jump and Mega Jump on the endless jumper scale, as there are both platforms to jump on and coins that propel the happy candy higher up in the air. There’s also Bejeweled Blitz-esque pre-game boosts, like getting head starts, shields, or special point bonuses.

The game is fairly simple, but it executes well, as the tilt controls work very well, and the gameplay doesn’t get overly-complicated. There’s a variety of character skins to unlock, such as ice cream, cupcakes, and hats. Every game improves with hats.

Of course, it is a fairly basic game, and one that has been seen before. My one quibble with the mechanics is that the flies tend to be just way too annoying. They’re extremely difficult to avoid, and any kind of meaningful run requires the shield powerup to be used just to survive hits from them, as the timing windows to avoid them is often very, very tight. As well, it can be difficult to discern between a fruit boost that can take out enemies and just a coin boost; I died often from thinking I had one when I really had the other.

While this isn’t Retro Dreamer’s most innovative or even their best game, its effective simplicity and cute characters do have plenty of appeal. Not sick of endless jumpers? Check it out.

SilverTree Media’s Cordy Sky Appears On, Then Suddenly Disappears From, Android Market

SilverTree Media’s Cordy Sky Appears On, Then Suddenly Disappears From, Android Market

Feb 17, 2012

SilverTree Media have become known for releasing their titles first on Android, then later to iOS; this has been true with Cordy, Sleepy Jack, and now Cordy Sky, their latest title, an endless jumper starring the Cordy character who has appeared in the other two titles. The game has some similarities to Mega Jump in the way that it has items that propel the player character further upward, though these tend to be along paths, and are not the entire basis for upward movement. In fact, players have a manual jump button, along with a double jump to use to go further upward. The double jump also pulls in any nearby gears, which can be used to help fly further upward.

The game is freemium, offering a short demo for free, and the rest of the game available as a $0.99 unlock. This unlocks both the rest of the game’s story mode, and an endless mode.

So, want to play this game? Well, too bad. The game is currently pulled from the Android Market. The reasons for this are unclear. SilverTree Media have not said anything publicly about the game, and related Twitter accounts have either said nothing or removed any comments about the game’s release. Attempts to contact SilverTree Media directly have gone unanswered regarding Cordy Sky.

The game does tend to suffer from some slowdown when playing it on the Samsung Captivate, but it runs perfectly fine on the Motorola Xoom, and pulling a game from the Android Market entirely seems odd if device-specific glitches are a concern. The in-app purchase unlock currently does not work at all becuase the game is not available on the Android Market any more, it appears.

There’s plenty of reasons to speculate why this may be the case – perhaps Amazon negotiated an exclusive release and the Android Market release was accidental? Perhaps the game was set to release at a certain date and was accidentally pushed to the store early? There is at least one review of the game that doesn’t mention any kind of fatal bugs, so this disappearing act from one of the most prominent primarily-Android developers is very strange.

Escape Review

Escape Review

Jan 23, 2012

Notable Flash games site Kongregate has launched their first published title for mobile, Escape. Developed by Incredible Ape, this game can be most easily described as a cross-between the wall-jumping gameplay of NinJump or Ninjatown: Trees of Doom, with the retro art aesthetic and unforgiving difficulty of Semi Secret’s Gravity Hook HD. Players control a ninja who must escape from the pit it finds itself in by rapidly jumping between walls, and staying above the laser that is coming up to try and vaporize it. Also, the walls have spikes on them, because what is a task without some obstacles in the way?

Escape‘s pixel art is simple but looks great on high-resolution screens. The chiptune soundtrack fits well, being fast-paced and high-intensity, a great fit for this game. The sessions are very short, lasting only a few seconds before death, due to the challenge, which means that a high score is typically not far away. The game’s fast pace and ability to jump faster when perfectly timed leads to an interesting dilemma for players: risk sudden death by trying to ascend quickly, or take it slow-ish, knowing that one wrong move might be the end? It’s an interesting amount of strategy for such a fast-paced game.

Yet, this mid-game strategization comes with a curious subtlety to the jumping controls that I don’t quite know if it works that well given how fast the game goes. Holding down longer causes the player to jump higher, and tapping quickly causes a shorter jump. It just seems too difficult in the environment of the game to determine just how precise of a jump must be used in order to not die.

On iOS, the game doesn’t use Game Center at all, it uses a Kongregate login solely for high scores and achievements. I understand that they published the game, and I wouldn’t have a problem if it was alongside Game Center integration, but to leave it out for their proprietary network is not fair to iOS gamers. As well, is there any reason why an in-app web view couldn’t have been used instead of kicking out to Safari to view leaderboards and achievements on the Kongregate website?

Escape is a fun, challenging diversion for the retro-minded endless jumping fan. Try out the Flash-based web version first, and enjoy the mechanic that sadly didn’t translate to mobile: hitting the escape key to jump.

Froggy Jump Leapfrogs On To Android

Froggy Jump Leapfrogs On To Android

May 5, 2011

Invictus Games’ iOS endless jumper game Froggy Jump has been released for Android. In this game, the player controls a frog that jumps upward and onward , slipping the surly bonds of earth and flying into space, by way of conveniently placed platforms. The game is similar to its iOS counterpart, featuring identical gameplay, and crossplatform leaderboards via OpenFeint. As well, there’s a daily word game that can earn players gems that are used to unlock new content by collecting letters strewn throughout the game’s levels. The game is freemium, where gems can be bought to purchase in-game items. These are not purchased through Android Market’s built-in in-app purchases, but through direct to carrier billing through a service called Zong. However, the game lets you unlock a theme called Infernal for free by reaching a height of 50,000. Players who reach the incredible heights of the alien planets will have them named after them by Invictus in the next update of the game. Invictus warns that “extreme addiction is inevitable!” – the game is available for free for users who wish to risk Invictus’ warning. Check out a trailer below, and click this link to download the game.