May 21, 2015

Simply put, it’s Mortal Kombat X. Enough said.

There are two modes, Battle and Faction Wars, with a new one — Raiden Challenge — coming soon. It unfolds in a fairly logical manner; in the base form, one has a set of three fighters, and takes on three enemy fighters in a war of attrition. In Battle Mode (where I spent most of my time), the 3v3 paradigm is on full display.

The engaging aspect is obviously the stable of MK universe characters to pick from. Yes, originals like Sub-Zero and nemesis Scorpion are here, as are Cage and Kitana. There are some relative newbies too. D’Vorah, to say the least, is creepy. Combat is a matter of battling till the life bars go dry, and the side with a combatant(s) still standing wins the round. Attacking is effected by tapping and swiping, so battling is usually accompanied by a flurry of virtual screen action.

Within this battling system are a few more elements that add some depth. One can switch out fighters on the fly, such that if, in the middle of a match, one can pick another fighter that, say, matches up better with a particular opponent. Finishing a allows for allows one to get to the next, and yeah, there are bosses. Fatalities are present, and winning accrues payouts which can be used to improve individual fighters (an aspect that can be expedited with real cash).


In Faction Mode, one can go toe-toe with other players online for prizes and leaderboard dominance.

It comes together well. The characterizations are gritty, and even the familiar folks are done up in a fashion that ups the menace factor. The fighting is great, if a bit one-dimensional, and the card elements are not overly pronounced during gameplay. The controls are okay, but still feel like something is missing in translation. That could be due to my console history with the title.

It’s a nice port, definite;y passable, and with enough console tie-ins (reward unlocking, hello?), it’s a great game for franchise fans and future fans alike.

Real Steel Champions Review

Real Steel Champions Review

Mar 27, 2015

In case people don’t know what it is, True Steel is a movie that proved that even a movie about a bunch of robots who punch each other can be boring, if you make it about some young kid and his family. A concept, commonly known as “The Transformers Principle”. Likewise, True Steel Champions proves that you can make a game about said robots irritating, if you make it free-to-play, and mess up the actual fighting.

True Steel Champions doesn’t have anything resembling a story, and instead simulates a boxing tournament, in which the player has to defeat a bunch of increasingly powerful opponents. The only difference it has to the other boxing sims, is that you can change the parts of your robot in-between the fights. Which would be fun, if the parts would contain at least some form of individuality. Instead, you just hoard up money from the fights and purchase whatever part has higher numbers next to it. There’s also an option of purchasing a ton of unique moves and combos – but even all of them put together could hardly fill a couple of Tekken characters. And Tekken is exactly what this game tries to be. The low-poly, glossy look of the fighters Real Steel Champions 4basically makes the game look like Tekken 2, with Mokujin as the only available fighter. The free-to-play stuff messes up the game even more, introducing such fun concepts as energy bar and unobtainable currency.

Of course, it’s not about the graphics, or the managing – it’s about robot fighting! And that part sucks, too. The combat is clunky as hell, and while all the fighting elements are there, they are not put together very well. The movements aren’t fluent, the combos aren’t comfortable, and the fights end up looking unsettingly close to the Rock’em Sock’em face-outs.

So, in the end, True Steel Champions is a very restrictive, not graphically impressive, boring and repetitive game that doesn’t explore any unseen parts of the movie world. I don’t really see any reasons to play it, unless you are really damn captivated by the generic robot designs.

Natsu Runner Review

Natsu Runner Review

Jan 30, 2015

Natsu Runner is a step above the average runner. With varied attacks, a copious upgrade system and enemy filled gameplay, is it a recipe for success?

While it is never mentioned in game, Natsu Runner is based on an anime called Fairy Tail. The main character of that anime is known as Natsu Dragneel and that is who the player plays as. I have never watched the anime but this is hardly important to playing Natsu Runner, which is a strange hybrid of a beat ‘em up and an endless runner.

Screenshot_2015-01-31-03-50-21While sprinting along a landscape and jumping over gaps, poor Natsu constantly comes under attack from various enemies. Whenever it’s flying mini dragons, large enemies with axes or huge purple fireballs, everything in the game wants him dead. Luckily, Natsu has access to three attacks as well as his basic punch combo. He can unleash either a powerful fireball which wipes out any enemy in front of him, a huge burst of fire that kills anything around him or even turn into a fireball and shoot forward into enemies.

This depth is a nice change from the recent glut of simple endless runners. With three attacks and endless enemies to defeat, Natsu Runner is quite engaging and interesting.

A few technical problems really work against Natsu Runner. For starters, the collection detection is just awful. You’ll constantly be injured by enemies who somehow damage you before they touch you or simply ignore your attacks and take a huge chunk off your lifebar instead if you try to fight them. It is difficult to get very far in the game at all because of how easy it is to die. The lack of any kind of block button exacerbates this. Natsu Runner is often chaotic and it often feels like its pure luck whenever an enemy kills you or not. The graphics are a bit too indistinct for such complex combat.

Screenshot_2015-01-31-03-51-21The game is also very laggy. For some reason the game scrolls along very jerkily making it slightly awkward to play and everything in the game just feels off due to the strange scrolling. The game also lags quite a bit when a lot of enemies are on screen and often I couldn’t get a playable framerate without restarting my device first.

Natsu Runner also had a lot of very annoying ads. After every death (and you die often) a full screen ad appears that must be dismissed. Very annoying.

Natsu Runner looks nice. It looks a lot like the anime in question and Natsu looks like he should. The sheer number of enemies on screen is impressive and they are colourful and varied. Compared to most runners Natsu is very impressive. The sound is poor however. Just about every attack in the game produces a dull “bonk” sound and the music is unexciting.

Natsu Runner is a decent enough runner but its technical issues ruin it somewhat. Fans of the anime should enjoy themselves with this one but the laggy gameplay and poor collision detection will annoy most players. This is a shame as Natsu has a lot of good ideas.

WWE Immortals Review

WWE Immortals Review

Jan 22, 2015

The fans of WWE can rejoice: they got a cool new fighting game, titled WWE Immortals. It gives all of the famous WWE characters even more crazy and unrealistic abilities and pits them against each other in teams by three. If this isn’t enough for you, then mind that they also get really violent finisher moves and exciting battlegrounds to fight in. If this also isn’t enough, then I know about WWE even less then I thought, sorry.

In all seriousness though, WWE Immortals is a surprisingly good game – at least when compared to the previous WWE titles that I got to play before. It looks and sounds great, almost comparable to the fighting games on the consoles. There’s also a ton of different characters to chose from – even though they’re not as different as they seem. More surprisingly, it does require some skill to win.

The player has a collection of cards that represent the fighters. Each fighter has a power level, and a health level that go up as the character gets experience from the fights. They also have three special moves, and a passive ability. The moves can be upgraded by spending some amount of gold, also earned through fights. The player needs to compose a team of three fighters from the ones available to him, challenge the AI opponent in the tournaments, or another players in online mode (although there were some server problems), WWE Immortals 3and beat them to get the experience and the gold. The fight mechanics are simple, but pretty interesting. The player taps the screen for short punches, swipes left or right for heavy ones, and taps with two fingers to block. The punches can also be stringed together into short combos. As the player hits, or gets hit, the energy bar charges up, and can be unleashed by tapping on one of the three abilities. Sometimes, the player needs to do some simple actions here and there to improve the damage output.

Overall, WWE Immortals has a unique and surprisingly potent fighting mechanic, that’s a bit too simple, but works for me. The main problem I see in it is that it’s free-to-play, so it has the same old crap, like the energy bar, and the grinding, and other stuff like that. If you’re okay with that, and you’re a fan of WWE, it’s a cool game, and a great way to kick the butt of a WWE fighter with your own two WWE fighters.

Bruce Lee: Enter the Game Review

Bruce Lee: Enter the Game Review

Dec 10, 2014

I’m sure of one thing: there is a Bruce Lee in all of us.

There’s something about the martial arts legend that causes us to want to take on multitudes of unjust enemies, and kick them into oblivion. Watching his movies growing up almost always caused impromptu, slippered hand-to-hand combat fights.


Well, it seems we can relive those days, here and now, on our Android-powered devices, in the manifestation of Bruce Lee: Enter The Game.

The game is a 2D-ish, colorful arcade game with elements of beat-em-up and side-scrolling tossed in. Front and center, an appropriately shirtless Bruce Lee is our controlled protagonist, and right from the get go, with the interestingly set graphics, we can see our man is ready for business.

The gameplay gets straight to it. The first stanza is a tutorial of sorts, and gives an idea of how the controls work: generally, gestures rule the coop, and they guide walking and attacks, as well as counters. Intuitively, the direction of the swipe determines the direction of the hit or counter. Basically, a lot of lifebar-ed hoodlums come from either side of Bruce, looking to crash his awesome party; Bruce’s (the player’s) job is to use aforementioned moves to thwart them and reduce their lifebars to nothingness.


So, at the base level, the idea is to stay alive while accumulating spendable coins by beating up the bad guys. With a little bit of practice, one gets better at taking on the waves of thugs effectively. The gameplay is leveled, with each styled as some sort of missions, and the challenge predictably gets harder as one makes progress.

To deal with the heightening capabilities of the game engine, it becomes necessary to upgrade Bruce. Now, I know what you’re thinking. How does one improve on unparalleled greatness? This game allows us to pretend to, and Bruce’s attributes can be increased with earned coins. The increased attributes (like the ability to withstand initial hits) are invaluable further on in the game. Also, there’s the ability to acquire helpers (boosts) before every round. Each round gets scored on a star system.

The game does allow for in-app purchasing, but, with diligent gameplay, the use of real money can be avoided. Sometimes, it does feel a bit repetitive, but the complexity of the characters, the side challenges and the extra moves help alleviate this.

All in all, it is a fun game that manages to bring the past to life without lulling folks to sleep. As such, I suspect this is the type of game Mr Lee would be proud of.

Brutal Studio Brings Punch My Face to Android

Brutal Studio Brings Punch My Face to Android

Dec 3, 2014

Punch My Face is a new game from Brutal Studio, and it sounds quite interesting.

Excerpts from the Google Play page:

A funny fighting game where you can upload a picture of yourself or a friend. Customize your player by adding a funny hat or changing their clothes. Fight your player and share with your friends! Hours of entertainment and hilarious fun.

Fans of boxing games and street fighting games will love this free game. Not your typical My Face & Customization game …. this is unique and original.

Get ready for an action-packed face brawl!

✔ Upload an image or take a pic!
✔ Customize your hats and clothing!
✔ Save your customized characters!
✔ Fight & share with friends!
✔ Buy special weapons!
✔ Buy special combo moves!
✔ Follow us on social networks to obtain game coins!
✔ Challenge your friends!
✔ Buy coin packs to customize or acquire weapons faster!
✔ Remove ads for a small fee. (We know they’re annoying but hey, they help pay the bills!)

As noted, the game is free to play, with optional in-app purchasing.

Shadow Fight 2 Review

Shadow Fight 2 Review

Aug 5, 2014

Great, like the world needed another example of why free-to-play model ruins civilization. Shadow Fight 2 is a sequel to a game I had no idea existed, but I don’t feel bad about it, as it seems to be a Facebook game, and who cares about those? I don’t know the differences between them, but there’s probably no reason for fans of the original to dislike this sequel. Anyway.

Shadow Fight 2 tells a story of a ninja who mistakenly opens a crypt that unleashes demons upon this world and reduces him to a shadow. There are no shadowy techninques in the game, so it’s basically an excuse to not draw any actual character models – weird, considering there’s a bazillion of character portraits in game, but not a bit of texture or color on the combatants. The player needs to fight through the demons to get to their master warriors, and then defeat them, all in one-on-one fighting encounters. And it’s exactly as difficult as it sounds. I’ve had a hard time even getting to the second part, as it require beating a crapload of really tough enemies. To skip the details, it requires several hours fighting to improve the hero enough and get equipment good enough to take on the first level boss and unlock the ranged weaponry.

And that’s not even considering the energy bar – yes, Shadow Fight 2 has the blasted energy bar that allows starting about 6 fights in a row, before making the player wait for it Shadow Fight 2 2to refill. Or making him spend the precious gems, of course. The same old song. Since the game requires lots and lots of grinding, even if you don’t count the fights you lost, there’s going to be a lot of waiting. What’s even more enraging is that Shadow Fight 2 is damn good! It’s an honest-to-god fighting game with combos, fast-paced action, lots of weaponry, and opponents who you just KNOW are cheating bastards. There are also ranged weapons, and magic – magic! The game would be close to perfect if it wasn’t for endless grinding and frustration when you need gold but can’t get it, as you lose almost every fight and can’t restart it for the next 6 minutes.

In general, Shadow Fight 2 is must-try for fighting fans. If you can get past the energy hogwash, it’s definitely one of the best fighting games on Android. Also, that soundtrack is dope as hell.

Fightback Review

Fightback Review

Jul 29, 2014

Fightback puts the player in the bloodstained shoes of Jack a hard ex-soldier whose sister has been kidnapped by Drago, a mysterious figure from his past. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue Jack’s sister?

Screenshot_2014-07-24-19-51-11Fightback nails the old school Beat ‘Em Up vibe perfectly. Jack, the stone cold badass, makes his way through seedy locales such as trashy apartment buildings and dirty rooftops and bashes up mohawked punks and guys in leather jackets who shout at him. While doing this he wears a dirty white singlet, aviator sunglasses and jeans. It feels exactly like the kind of world found in classic fighters like Final Fight and Streets of Rage and the sweaty, dirty atmosphere is tangible. You half expect Jack to get into a Dodge Challenger and light up a smoke at the end of each level.

Combat is loads of fun in Fightback and very fluid. Taps punch, while swipes kick. A series of taps or swipes executes a combo and they can be mixed up any which way. Jacks position when you attack also affects what happens, so swiping up after ducking to avoid a punch results in a jumping knee while swiping behind Jack executes a nasty back kick. When the game’s rolling along with multiple enemies in screen it’s a dynamic mix of frantic dodging and brutal looking punches and kicks

Screenshot_2014-07-24-20-29-01Enemies can be kicked into the air and pummelled like makeshift piñatas. Lowlifes come from both sides constantly, so the player must decide whose blood gets on their knuckles first. Like any good Beat ‘Em Up, weapons like bats and cleavers are dropped by enemies that can be used. Guns also play a small part in Fightback. Shooting a punk in the face is undoubtedly an excellent way of stopping him from attacking you, but guns can only be bought between levels and are extremely expensive.

Fightback has a lot of freemium features. The game constantly bugs you to spend money on temporary buffs like bulletproof vests but money is much better spent on boosting stats. Jack starts off rather weak and boosting both his defense and attack strength is vital to surviving the crowds of enemies in later levels. Upgrades get pricey in a hurry and the game never seems to award quite enough money to play the game properly. Repeating earlier, already beaten floors isn’t just a good idea, it’s required.

Fightback also includes a dreaded energy system. Jack can handle six fights before having to rest for about an hour to refill his energy. This never changes. If Figthback dumped its energy system it would improve the game immensely.

Fightback looks fantastic. As said above, it nails the 80’s action movie style and there is a great sense of atmosphere and personality. The sound is very well done as well. Pumping action music and painful sounding combat really make Fightback special.

Fightback is yet another quality game trapped in the mire of freemium. It has some super fun gameplay on offer and players who can look past its annoying freemiuem features will find some smooth exciting gameplay.

Rage of the Immortals Review

Rage of the Immortals Review

Mar 26, 2014

Rage of the Immortals is a collection RPG with a interesting modern era setting. Is it a knockout?

Rage of the Immortals has a fairly incoherent plot. There is a vague vibe of rebellion against some sort of oppressive corporation, but this doesn’t really manifest itself in game. A modicum of story is provided by in game missions which helps the feeling of progression somewhat.
Rage of the Immortals is a typical collection RPG, despite its unique premise. Players start with a small group of fighters and recruit more by defeating enemies and clearing stages. Fighters can be levelled up by training them, which expends other fighters and fused together to create one stronger fighter. This kind of gameplay has been seen in countless other Android games.

Screenshot_2014-03-25-11-27-22The actual fights are almost entirely automatic. The player cannot switch out fighters or even choose a target which is irritating when your fighters refuse to finish off a nearly dead enemy and attack fresh ones instead. The only interaction the player has during fights is tapping to use a critical hit when a meter maxes out.

There is also a small amount of base building. This boils down to placing a bunch of buildings on pre-defined spots to generate more coins.

Frustratingly, the cheaper buildings generate a lot of money, but have a very small storage capacity; this means that unless the player logs in once every ten minutes or so they will not make any money. For example, the Park, the cheapest building generates 800 coins an hour, but only holds 50 and will not accrue more unless it is tapped to collect the money every few minutes. There is little depth in the base building since every building seems to exist just to generate coins and there are no interesting item producing buildings or the like.
Rage of the Immortals has pretty average graphics. Fighters are fun to look at and collect, but the actual animation is very plain and the game constantly recycles animations.

Screenshot_2014-03-25-11-10-29Rage of the Immortals is packed in in app purchases. New fighters that are actually worth using are gained from trucks that must be hijacked. Keys to hijack these trucks are handed out at a very slow rate and if the player has no keys trucks can be purchased with cash. This equates to about 50 cents a truck. Generating coins is extremely time consuming as well because of the amount of clicking required on base buildings. Unless the player spends 24 hours a day playing Rage of the Immortals they will never make much money. The in app purchases are very expensive and coins are used very quickly.

Rage of the Immortals has an interesting presentation, but the gameplay has been seen many times before on Android and its copious in app purchases make it not worth playing. Check out Brave Frontier instead for similar gameplay with fewer annoyances.

Real Boxing Review

Real Boxing Review

Feb 5, 2014

Real Boxing is a great looking take on the sweet science. But does it back those graphics up?

Real Boxing feels more like a game of Infinity Blade than a serious take on boxing. Rather than surgically dismantling an opponent, Real Boxing rewards well timed counter punching. Whenever an opponent swings at the player, a quick tap on a dodge button will see them duck away from the punch. This leaves the opponent open to devastating counter moves. There is a basic career mode on offer although it is simply a series of matches with no story or interesting twists. It feels very cut and dried. The only other mode is one off fights, either multiplayer or against the AI.

Screenshot_2014-02-03-17-58-04Real Boxing has a number of serious issues that really undermine what could have been an excellent game. For example the counter system is fundamentally broken as it stands. If the player manages to counter a punch from an opponent it is entirely possible for that opponent to counter the player’s counter, usually resulting in a unavoidable punch that renders the boxer dizzy, leaving them wide open to be pummeled until they hit the mat. This countering counter system is completely unfair as its impossible to know beforehand if an opponent will counter you and nigh on impossible to avoid since the attack comes out of nowhere.

The game is wildly unbalanced. At the start of career mode your boxer is just far too slow to dodge or react, let alone counter punch properly and his punches inflict almost no damage. Opponents on the other hand can definitely hurt you and can easily send you to the floor in 4 or 5 hits.

Screenshot_2014-02-03-17-57-38Real Boxing is extremely focused around a pay to win mechanic. The game features a gym to boost the boxer’s stats with some simple minigames, but the player must pay coins for these visits and they provide minuscule benefits. It can take multiple visits for a stat to rise a single percentage point. Free gym visits are offered every 5 fights but this is hardly compelling since it is nearly impossible to defeat an opponent anyway. The game also allows direct boosting of stats though large payments of coins which can be bought with real cash.

While the graphics are technically proficient, there is a startling similarity between boxers in Real Boxing. Rather than being individual people, it looks as though parts of boxers have been cut and pasted in random orders to create different people. A lot of the pugilists on offer look very similar and there are no licensed fighters. The much touted customization options don’t amount to much as they cost coins, which are much better spent training.

Real Boxing is not a fun game. Its punishing difficulty, lack of interesting play modes and annoying pay to win mechanics make it a frustrating experience.

The King of Fighters ’97 Review

The King of Fighters ’97 Review

Jan 8, 2014

Despite minimal sales numbers in modern terms, SNK’s King of Fighters series is one of the most beloved fighting game franchises ever. While not quite reaching the commercial success of other 2D fighters, such as Capcom’s Street Fighter or Midway/WB’s Mortal Kombat, it nonetheless survives primarily in arcades in Asia and on consoles for more serious fighting game junkies, with the most recent iteration appearing in 2010. With a slew of other classic games from the 80’s and 90’s making their way onto the Android OS, from titles like R-Type to Sonic the Hedgehog, it’s no wonder SNK has decided to release many of the various installments of this franchise onto the mobile platform.


Fighting games haven’t been exactly stellar on phones or tablets. Many of them have tried to incorporate the touch screen in various ways, to make it feel more than just a port with the buttons on the screen. However, trying to re-invent the wheel doesn’t always produce amazing results. Games like Injustice: Gods Among Us on mobile ended up being more of who could swipe the hardest on the screen. Other games that have used the on screen buttons, such as Fighting Tiger – Liberal, also haven’t been all that great, having wonky button controls and not the most concise response to what a player wished for the game to do.

It’s not that The King of Fighters ’97 has a progressively amazing control scheme; in fact it’s quite the opposite. The buttons on screen work well with player’s input, but aren’t phenomenal. Depending on the size of the device you’re using, your giant hands may block you from seeing most of the action on screen. Luckily, this title supports many game controllers, such as the PowerA Moga controllers, which really gives players a console or arcade like experience when playing it.

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The graphics in King of Fighters ’97 look slightly enhanced, but still use the graphics from the original 1997 release. The graphics do not look 17 years old in anyway; just enhanced to work better with the high definition screens of your Android device.

King of Fighters ’97 is probably one of the better fighting games that exist in the Google Play marketplace. While many of the same games in the fighting genre try to do something unique with the touch screen controls, KoF ’97 stays true to its roots and utilizes touch screen buttons in the classic arcade fashion, while also utilizing BlueTooth controllers. Amongst retro games and fighting titles, King of Fighters ’97 on Android is one of the better games among both of those genres.

Injustice: Gods Among Us Bursts Its Way onto Android

Injustice: Gods Among Us Bursts Its Way onto Android

Nov 25, 2013

One of the biggest console titles to come out this year, Injustice: Gods Among Us, has finally hit the Google Play store after enjoying a ton of success as a free to play title on the iOS App Store.

Much like its Apple equivalent, the Android version of Injustice features a collectable card mechanic as well as tap screen game controls to get your favorite DC heroes and villains to fight one another.

Injustice: Gods Among Us, brought to you by the creators of Mortal Kombat, is now available as a free to play title on most Android devices. Android users, if you ever wanted to see who’d win between Harley Quinn and Wonder Woman, here is your chance.