Batman: Arkham Origins Review

Batman: Arkham Origins Review

Jul 31, 2014

As Gotham City and the world at large looks towards the future and Batman: Arkham Knight, Android-centric gamers are only now getting a taste of what caped crusading in the early days of the Dark Knight’s career entail.

Batman: Arkham Origins, at its core, follows the template set by Infinity Blade. It’s a path taken by many a mobile title– including quite a few licensed ones, such as Man of Steel– but for the most part, Batman does it better than numerous others which have nipped at the popular title’s heels. It takes some of the key aspects of the console title of the same name– features such as story, setting, visuals, etc.– and grafts it onto a game more streamlined and arguably better suited for a mobile title.

As the recently-debuted Batman, players find themselves having caused a fair bit of trouble for one of Gotham City’s top crime bosses, the Black Skull. Black Skull is not terribly keen on this, and so he sets a massive bounty in the head of the Bat that draws in mercenaries from all over to take a stab– or various other kinds of lethal blows– at claiming the bounty. Among those the Dark Knight will contend with are the likes of the Electrocutioner, Copperhead, Bane, and Deathstroke the Terminator– as well as a number of random masked thugs here and there.

batmanarkhamorigins1The game is free-to-play, which of course means that while playing is free, investments are needed in order to secure more desirable components in a timely manner. Though you can slowly accumulate soft currency, hard currency (the most expensive option of which is over $100) is likely the only way that anyone will be dressing up in a variety of the Batsuits available (each with their own stats and bonuses) in a timely manner. Among others is the Beyond Batsuit, which makes the prospect mighty tempting.

One can also customize the Batman in a number of ways, from different tools to restore health or unleash a flurry of bats on an opponent to increasing the effectiveness of punches and strikes. Different stances are even available, for those who would rather focus more on defense than offense. Certain options, however, require leveling up to a certain degree before they become accessible.

As players progress, more missions open up for Batman to swoop in and put a stop to. They begin in the upper-west side, but soon spread to all four quadrants of the Gotham City map, and no sooner than one crime is foiled than another pops up, along with occasional ambushes by those hunting the Black Skull’s Bat-bounty. This is where Free-to-Play rears its ugly head, as Batman can only go for so long, as measured by his Stamina bar. When depleted, there are of course two options: Wait for the bars to replenish over time until the amount required for a mission has been refilled, or say “Screw the rules; I have money!” and just buy a second wind.

Batman: Arkham Origins looks good and sounds great, too, presumably sharing its voice acting with the console title as Not-Kevin Conroy does a good job as a younger Master Wayne. The music is quite nice and fitting, reminiscent of the kind of tunes one might associate with the classic Batman: The Animated Series or some of the World’s Greatest Detective’s higher points in cinema. The touch and swipe-based controls work well for the most part, though we did notice that Batman seems slower to guard than he is to strike, the problems with which should be obvious.

All told, if one considers themselves a fan of Batman, yet for whatever reason could or would not play the console version, the mobile version of the game is a pretty good alternative for those still wishing to experience the story.

Friday Free Game Rundown September 7th

Friday Free Game Rundown September 7th

Sep 7, 2012

What goes up must have jumped. Isn’t that how the saying goes? Regardless of how the saying really goes, this week is all about games where the main action is to jump. Sure, fighting games are cool and games with puzzles keep the brain fresh, but games with a lot of jumping pose quite the challenge for some reason.

Think back to games like Mega Man and Super Mario Bros. Both involved a lot of jumping. At the time, they were both pretty difficult for a lot of people. Don’t let the simplicity of a jumping game make the game seem like it will be easy. Most of these jumping games for Android take quite a bit or timing and hand eye coordination. Warm up those leg muscles and let’s get to the games.

Miss Jump

A while back we talked about games based on stick figures, Miss Jump is a similar game to those in that post. The screen scrolls to the side and increases in speed as the levels progress. The object is to jump, duck and slide past objects. “Deceptively difficult!” says the New York Times (if they would have reviewed it).

Download Miss Jump

Worm Jump

Picture being a little worm and needing to get to the top of what seems to be the tallest tree EVER! Using the jumping skills only a cartoony worm can have, the object is to jump from green leafy ledge to the next collecting different berries along the way. Every now and again with certain power ups, the worm with crazy jumping skills will shoot up through the leaves like a rocket. Be prepared for the warp speed.

Download Worm Jump


Imagine if Pac Man had legs. Okay, not think of the damage he could do if he would jump around when he was chasing those ghosts. Yeah, he would be kind of unstoppable if he could get away from moving in that preset grid. This is just such a game.

Download PAC’N-JUMP

Jumping Monkey 2

Monkeys are entertaining. That being said, this game has a monkey jumping around in it so the game must be good. Using the motion sensing parts of the phone to control the jumping monkey is a great way to fling the phone across the room when playing so be careful not to get too excited playing.

Download Jumping Monkey 2


Um… it’s a ninja game, ’nuff said. Ninjas have these mystical powers to defy gravity among other skills. Using the Spiderman-like building climbing ability, the little ninja will need to jump from one building to another to avoid the balconies and other obstacles. Power ups are gained by touching 3 of the same item such as a birb or throwing star. The power ups will help to make the climb easier.

Download NinJump

Extreme Road Trip Review

Extreme Road Trip Review

Nov 30, 2011

Extreme Road Trip is an endless runner…well, endless driver, I suppose, that puts players in control of a vehicle that burns fuel at rates that make fossils cry out in fear. The goal is to drive as long as possible, mostly by performing flips with good landings to get turbo boosts to keep going. Runs end when either the vehicle is stopped by running out of fuel, or when the vehicle crashes. The latter happens far more often. There are 9 vehicles in total, and 4 environments to play in.

The game is free to play, and requires that the other 8 vehicles, from a monster truck to a cop car, be unlocked either by payment, or by completing offers. One is unlockable through liking the game on Facebook, the rest can be unlocked for free by installing and loading free apps. This is actually one of the more free to play games out there. Unlocking the other vehicles in some form is worth it, as they are much more fun and easier to use than the default vehicle.

The controls, which are simply done by holding left and right on the screen to rotate the vehicle in that direction, work well for touchscreens and are very responsive. Tablet owners will be glad to know that the game is optimized for them, as well. The chiptune-inspired soundtrack by Magnus ‘Souleye’ PÃ¥lsson of VVVVVV fame is particularly enjoyable. 

That initial vehicle being so poor compared to the unlockable ones seems like a poor design choice, especially for a game that is looking to hook players into either spending money or supporting their ad network. It is just so inferior and difficult to use will likely turn many users away after the initial download. If it was more balanced, it would make the initial proceedings much more entertaining. As well, each vehicle should have some kind of descriptor as to its abilities before using it. They become apparent after usage (read: the cars are faster but more fragile, the trucks and jeeps are easier to land), but some kind of concrete differences would make things more user-friendly.

Extreme Road Trip is an entertaining free diversion for Android, and great as a pick up and play title. Those looking for a good endless runner, or a free to play game that doesn’t sell currency for real-world money should check this out.

A Space Shooter For Free Review

A Space Shooter For Free Review

Sep 23, 2011

From the strange and unusual intro movie, I get the impression that Commander P. Jefferson is kind of a jerk. I also get the impression that that’s exactly the impression I’m supposed to get. And is Commander supposed to be his rank or his first name? Ambiguous personality and naming quirks aside, one thing we can be sure of is that Commander P. Jefferson hates aliens, but he loves shooting them in the face. And cursing. He’s really into cursing.

With a name like A Space Shooter For Free, it would be perfectly acceptable to expect this to be a real-time strategy game with puzzle elements. However, that’s not what it is. Surprisingly, A Space Shooter For Free is a space shooter that is, get this, free. Ah, but the ironic twist is that while the game is free, you’re only getting part of it. The full game is a US$0.99 add-on that you purchase in-game. And to be brutally honest, you’re going to want to purchase it if you hope to eke out more than about an hour or so worth of play time. The full game includes a survival mode, more levels, more bosses, more weapons and, well, more.

Featuring some down-home, old school space shootin’, you can expect quite a challenge ahead of you. Enemies come from every direction and have a variety of attacks. Ships will form lines around you, trapping you in as they bombard you with weapons’ fire. You’ll have to avoid laser traps, dodge kamikazes, and blast asteroids as they swarm and fill your screen. The game features non-linear progression, meaning you can jump into any level you wish, but you should really just stick with the levels you can handle until you can purchase weapon and ship upgrades. I found that, until I had collected enough fragments to spend on upgrades, some levels were just way too hard. Do the words “bullet hell” mean anything to you?

The controls are a little odd. Don’t go looking for a directional pad or a “fire” button because you won’t find them. You control your ship by touching the screen and dragging the ship to where you want it to go, to any point on the screen. The ship fires automatically, but it only fires while you are touching the screen.

While this control scheme seems like a natural fit for a touch-based device and gives your ship a level of agility you couldn’t get from a directional pad, call me old fashioned, but I miss the d-pad. Your mileage may vary.

What I got from A Space Shooter For Free was a fun, visually pleasing arcade shooter that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The jokes can be half-baked at times, becoming increasingly worse the more you hear them, but it means well. Thankfully, the gameplay is there to back it up with hundreds of aliens to shoot, genuinely tough bosses to fight and cool upgrades to purchase.