The Sims Mobile Review

The Sims Mobile Review

Mar 14, 2018

Ah… yes. With the fairly engaging news that we have a new — proper? — game on mobile, one overarching thought refused to leave my mind.

More on that later.

But yes, Sims Mobile is here on Android. Drink that in. Sims goodness in the palm of your hand, on the go. Everything we could ever want in Sims game made for an increasingly mobile world. It’s been in development for quite some time, so its official release should be momentous.

Right? Let’s see.

The Sims franchise has come a long way, and, in its own way, is kind of a living history of modern gaming in and of itself. The latest PC-borne versions retain the original charm, but clearly give it a mobile bent

Play-wise, you start with a singular Sim. You can start with a template (and there are several to pick from) and then tweak to perfection. Then, you get a starter house in a community. Through the beginning stages, the game walks you all the way through the selection of property and introductory merchandise, and gives you a feel for the game.

Bottom line? Help your Sim thrive. Interactions — with purple and objects — are performed by tapping, and successful interactions earn goodies like game cash. Game cash can buy stuff line furniture, which improves your character’s lifestyle and ability to do better at work. Get better at stuff, unlock hobbies, so on and so on.

sims3

Thrive.

There is an energy requirement, but that’s almost to be expected in a free-to-play game like this. A weak Sim can be uplifted by snacking, or doing stuff like resting, but one great way is to leave them be… go away and come back.

All in all, it won’t replace the PC version, nor is it meant to be. Crossover play would have been nice, as a one-time “unlock everything” fee as an in-app option, but for folks who are looking fora quick hit, this might satisfy the craving.

Smashing Four Review — shuffleboard on steroids

Smashing Four Review — shuffleboard on steroids

Feb 15, 2018

Full disclosure: at the risk of being soundly mocked (as I probably should be), I just learned how to play Shuffleboard the other day. Loved it… so much so that I am negotiating with my better half to get one for the house. I can dream.

All that to say this… it was a good time for Smashing Four to come across my desk.

Look, to be fair, the shuffleboard comparison gives a comparative baseline, but really doesn’t completely describe the game. It is group battling and strategy in a rosy presentation.

Almost like shuffleboard.sf3

It starts with the glitzy visuals: bright use of color that highlight the main playing area, which comes into focus with an effective top-down view; the animations, on which the gameplay depends a great deal, are well done, with plenty of whimsical touches and appropriate sound accoutrements.

I know, I know… you wanna know about the gameplay proper. Well, shuffle shuffleboard out of your mind. The built-in primer helps you learn the game, which is all about gathering troops and knocking the sense out of opposing troops in a war of attrition. To further explain, you line up against a random opponent, each of you with four pieces and alternate turns. You project your pieces, one after the other, and reduce the lifebars of your opponents, before they do the same to you.

And “project” you do… by dragging and releasing your piece, Angry Birds catapult style. You can aim, and look to do maximize damage by direct hits and secondary rebound damage. You can also look to strategize, because the game also plays like billiards, you can also look to play defensively, making it harder for your opponent to hit you when it is his/her turn. Oh, you can’t tarry too long, as every turn has a time limit.

As the pieces lose life, they varnish, and the player that loses all pieces loses. Winners get game coin and orbs, which, when matured, yield new cards and more. The orbs add a time requirement of sorts, as they require maturing (which can be shorted by green gems or real cash).

The cards can reveal new players (with new attributes) or clones of cards already owned and/or deployed. Clones can then be used to upgrade existing pieces do that they can be more useful in battle.

It comes together well, and has been an enjoyable pastime for the past few days.

Better than shuffleboard?

youtube bbDGD-XrVxo 600

World of Warships Blitz Review

World of Warships Blitz Review

Feb 5, 2018

At this point, naval battlers are a dime a dozen in the mobile markets; finding a really good one is where the real challenge lies. With the recently launched World of Warships Blitz, you do get the advantage of pedigree.

Wargamimg Groupd does have a bit of experience in WWII era battling games, after all.

When it comes to the fighting action, there is a host to choose from: Random Battles (which further break down into Solo Battles and Team Match), Co-op Battles, Campaigns, and the soon-to-come Ranked Battles.

After the intro sequence, the game will prod you to start a co-op battle, which involves the game adding you to a group of online folks to do the team thing. This is a mini-war of points and attrition. It is interesting to get thrown out there so quickly, but it’s the perfect opportunity to use the skills you just learned. On an individual level, you shoot and look to avoid being shot, making repairs when necessary, and otherwise helping your team gain the points needed to win the matchup.

wwb3

We spent more than our fai share hashing it out in the Solo battles. The action is quick, ships are responsive, and again, it’s all about winning the battle of attrition. The game utilizes plenty of rewards, and real cash can be used to expedite upgrades and the like.

The game is exceptionally well done. It does a good job of making the game feel fairly realistic, adding in gameplay elements that make it interesting for naval acolytes like this one. From the steering mechanism, through the battling systems, upgrading… heck, even the repair methodology. It comes together well and makes a lot of sense.

But… it is just another World of Tanks Blitz set on water? The similarities are clear, but the seafaring aspect is a decent shield for those looking to avoid a clone.

But more importantly, it’s a whole lot of fun, and is probably the easiest game of the new year to get addicted to.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Game Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Game Review

Jan 8, 2018

It’s practically expected now. Make a major motion picture in this day and age, and we, the consumers want — no, we demand — a companion mobile game. As we’ve said a bunch already, it makes sense; the franchise gets more buzz, which helps the game, which helps the franchise… a beautiful circle.

If the game is good, that is…k7

With the sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle out for our viewing pleasure, we are quite okay with checking out NHN PixelCube Corp’s companion game, well, Kingsman: The Golden Circle Game.

It’s a pretty good looking game, featuring recognizable characters bathed in non-glossy colors and housed in stark environments, with matching sounds buttressed by voice boxes and hint flashes. The animations are nice too, incorporating slick action moves and underscored by slow motion effects.

The game takes you on a journey, and play is simple. To begin, you finish up training, and the gameplay gets explained: you fight by match-3 action. Yes, your actions are determined by your dexterity with your fingers, and your ability to combine the right color of ammunition at the right time.

Good action leads to success, which leads to game coin, which allows you to improve attributes and accumulate stuff (ah, the clothes); real cash can be used, and there is an energy requirement… bummer.

What the game does well, in the first, is to ably meld a few genres into one cohesive experience. Most prominently, taking a match-3 and allowing it to be the conduit for a card-based action game works here. It’s not the first time we’ve seen it done, but darn it, when done well it still makes for a great caper.

But let’s not forget the source material. Juvenile or not, the Kingsman movies provide great action material, and getting to work with familiar characters is almost always a good thing. Fans of the franchise should love that aspect.

Go Plane Review

Go Plane Review

Jan 8, 2018

Go Plane is one of those games that looks to be an easy pickup. Let’s see…

I was able to get going without any explanation. As noted, it plays in portrait orientation, and it opens up with a seemingly unending aerial environment with a solitary plane flying in it. Ah, yes: you get to control it with your finger, by slashing on the screen or, better yet, dragging it in the direction you prefer. Here, the plane feels responsive, and the action is easily imbibed.gp3

Don’t get too comfortable, though; almost immediately, this leisurely glide becomes a lethal, somewhat one-sided dogfight. Why? Well, that is a missile on your six, and it’s coming in very fast.

If your immediate instinct is to use your freshly discovered powers of plane control to scamper out of the way of the missile, it’s a good one. This is the only way to survive. But wait… this missile has some advantages.

First, it’s that cool type of movie missile that follows you, mirroring your evasive actions in a scary shadow dance, until (hopefully) it’s energy runs out. Secondly — and much worse — this intro projectile is just the first of an endless wave of missiles. That’s right, a bunch of missiles chasing you for you to dodge.

Go Plane gets to be a cool game because it doesn’t attempt to do too much, and still finds a way to do that relatively well. The concept is simple, the gameplay barely needs an explanation and the it mostly keeps you engaged. Sure, we could yearn for a few more elements, like clearer plane attributes and even more power-ups, but as-is, it does a good job of melding simplicity with action.

True, the barebones thingie cuts both ways, but we’re willing to go out on a limb and say in the case of Go Plane, it is net positive… especially from a time wasting point of view.

Fire Up! Review

Fire Up! Review

Jan 2, 2018

Another day, another grind. The busier we get, the more we need pastimes. Fire Up! is a new game on Google Play looking to make sure your day gets the proper punctuation marks.

Graphically, it is simple, with a good color mix and plays in portrait.

The gameplay concept isn’t hard to get. You, the player, use your finger to control a shooting tank, one that moves forward (upward) continuously; the main idea is to keep traveling forward. Now, it shoots fiery missiles of a particular power and speed.fu3

Ah, but there are obstacles blocking the way. Think of a wall of bricks in the way of your piece. Each piece has a point value attached,and this numerical value tells you how many times you have to shoot it to break up that piece and carve a path through the wall. So, one with 2 (two) requires two shots, and so on.

So, with the main idea being to gain space, you have to direct the shooting piece so as to create paths. However, making contact with the wall (or any piece) ends the run. Every restart, you’ll begin to notice the barrier pieces have higher and higher values, meaning more shots required to break them up.

Thankfully, the runs you make gain points; these points can be used to improve the power and speed of the shooting, which becomes very necessary if you plan on seriously taking on the bricks. This goes on and on: do well, gain points, improve firepower so as to cope with tougher pieces. And yes, different tanks can be unlocked.

This game feels especially dutiful with regards to bringing a fun arcade experience to the forefront, unabashedly so. Its straightforward presentation and easy-to-understand gameplay lend themselves to plenty of pick ‘n’ play episodes, and the upgrade path is as elementary as it gets. It is very, very self-contained — if a bit one-dimensional — because all you really need to play is right there.

Bring the deft fingers, though.

Run Sausage Run! Review

Run Sausage Run! Review

Dec 28, 2017

If you ever wondered what life would be like existing as a sausage — a running sausage, that is — then maybe, just maybe, Run Sausage Run! is probably the living, breathing, playable mockumentary you need.

Yep, the premise is simple: you are a sausage that is flexible and somewhat fleet-footed. You like to run, yes, but there are plenty of hazards here. Watch your step, because you can sliced, diced, smashed or worse. rsr3

Visually, Run Sausage Run! has a simplistic, whimsical look to it, which probably helps take the edge of the, well, bloodier aspects. The animations are equally playful, with non-serious depictions and the like; even the lethal blades look genteel.

The controls are easy to master in this… the lead hotdog trots at a slow pace by default. Soon, the aforementioned obstacles begin to appear, and the game teaches you to tap the screen to allow the sausage bed backwards and simultaneously sprint faster; holding the tap keeps him bent and running. Based on how the obstacles are moving (mostly like guillotines), you can alternate between regular movement and run/ducking to avoid the dangerous items and travel further.

Very simple, no?

Outside this, the game offers powerups, and coins can be used to garner new sausage skins. It doesn’t necessarily require a bunch of real cash, and is mostly self-contained. Now, if bloody meat decapitations make you queasy, this one might give you pause.

It is quite the mindless game — and that is far from negative. It is a quick study, in that you are off and running as fast as you can figure out the quick touch control. As with most running games, distance traveled is the name of the game, and all you need to do is move far.

… and, well, avoid the dangers every sausage should be aware of. Apparently.

US Army Zombie Slayer 2 Review

US Army Zombie Slayer 2 Review

Nov 13, 2017

Say it with us: “Zombies never get old.”

It’s true. Another day, another zombie outbreak, another hero needed. ready to take the mantle? Check out US Army Zombie Slayer 2: The Zombie Hunter Returns. Yes, this mouthful is the sequel to US Army Zombie Slayer 3D 2017.

The graphics are gritty enough, perceived in landscape first person perspective. The visuals comprise of cityscapes to start, providing plenty of area to explore. There is plenty of movement, and effects to advance the gameplay.

Gameplay? Not rocket science, really: it has a few different modes, and take out the zombies before they have you for a snack. To avoid becoming nutrition, you should look to master the controls, which comprise of virtual buttons for movement, shooting and swinging your torso round. You get to pick out a weapon, and after a learner session to get used to it all, it’s off to the battling.

One of the best parts of the action is the virtual map, which shows where the undead are in relation to you; this way, you can go find them, and even make strategic decisions as to who to hunt first. The creepers make heir way slowly, and have lifebars that you want to deplete as quickly as possible — headshots are especially lethal.

usz3

Ah, but watch out for the quick ones. Giant rats, spiders and other animals are also infected. Doing well and clearing levels yields game cash, which can be used to unlock better weapons. Feeling impatient? Real cash can be used.

It’s definitely not a bad shooter; as noted it, it includes the basics, such as swarms of enemies, diversity of monsters, upgrade paths and more. With regards to the gameplay, it feels quite familiar, but doesn’t have some of the refinements some may expect in such first person shooters. For instance, the sight mechanism is very basic as is the method of swinging round. Now, one could argue that it just gives the game a bit more of a challenge, but when compared to other games, it might feel a tad rudimentary.

When it comes a quick-hitter, this just might do the trick. Why? Zombies never, ever get old.

Into the Dead 2 Review — the sequel

Into the Dead 2 Review — the sequel

Oct 31, 2017

Into the Dead 2, from Pik Pok, looks to give us another reason to revel in zombie-mania.

Graphically? It’s a slick affair, with shadowy looks and amenable first-person stylings. The animations are just as smooth as we’d expect them to be, and the sound effects are quite apocalyptic.

The game incorporates short clips to advance the storyline and frame the gameplay; essentially, basic zombie trope is used, and you have to guide the player character to make it through infested space to rescue other survivors… as well as living to see another level.

As already noted, the main action is taken first person, you are armed with weapons, and you run forward by default, continuously, as soon as the level is started.. As you run through, zombies rise and/or walk towards you, and you can shoot or avoid them somewhat — as you should, as they will kill you if they get a hold of you. If you’re able to make it to a specific distance, you complete the level, and open up a new one.

itd3

The game goes on as such… make the distance (hopefully), get the rewards, build up and improve your arsenal, rinse and repeat. To be fair, it doesn’t plod along; there is something to be said for the need to approach each run with a willingness to strategize. As noted, the ammunition is limited, and it probably isn’t prudent to depend on running through munition crates that may or may not have a troop of undead around it; as thus, you might wanna look to pick and choose engagements versus looking to dart and pick the better part of valor.

With regards to the upgrades, they do essentially become very necessary as you progress, because the flesh eaters get craftier, and the run thresholds get higher. Real cash can be used to expedite your ability to get ahead faster, but with some patience, real money need be used, especially since completed levels can be replayed for extra goodies.

The extras are done well too, with special levels, goodies crates and more spread throughout.

Simple, tried and true, yes, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Tower Defense Battle Zone Review

Tower Defense Battle Zone Review

Oct 19, 2017

Just because it’s been done — and done well — doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it again, no?

Tower Defense Battle Zone called, and we answered.

If anything, it does look good. The graphics are vibrant but far from cartoon-y, and the use of color is pretty good, too. The game incorporates a top-down view for the “true” action, which reflects well in the default landscape orientation. The sound is better than just perfunctory, and at first glance, it is an appealing production.

Gameplay-wise, this one goes on and gets right to it. Yes… which is how it should be. You start out with a few basic wrappings that auto-fire, and the enemy come from the left, looking to make it all the way to breach your home base which is rightward.

The enemy, at the start, consists of motorized vehicles; the defensive units have different costs. Basically, you have to place the cannons strategically, and accumulate cash by destroying the enemy vehicles.

The usual tower defense opportunity costs apply: do you wait to accumulate enough cash to get the best cannons and risk getting overrun due to inadequate firepower, or do you spend the incoming cash on several smaller, cheaper units? Do you create banks of units, or lines and rows?

Decisions, decisions.

tdb3

The waves keep on coming, and, as expected, the enemy gets better. The game is leveled, and success yields game cash, which can (and should) be used to upgrade weapons. Real cash can be used to expedite operations, but doesn’t not feel mandatory.

Truth be told, this is a tough genre to stand out in, as there are many — so, so many — different titles to choose from. Tower Defense Battle Zone manages to have a few superlatives attributes that just might make it worth the while though.

As noted, the visuals are great, and the play form is about as straightforward as a gamer on the go could hope for. It is a fairly self-serving experience, in that it doesn’t need an advanced molecular theory degree to decipher, but is still avoids the ever-present trap of being overly simplistic.

Big Cruise Ship Games Passenger Cargo Simulator Review

Big Cruise Ship Games Passenger Cargo Simulator Review

Oct 9, 2017

Driving is cool.

Not cars… not necessarily. Let’s talk about tanks. Big rigs. Trains, even.

Boats? No, cruise ships. Now we’re talking. Like in Big Cruise Ship Games Passenger Cargo Simulator.

It’s decently done from a visual point of view, with good graphics and relatively smooth animations. There isn’t too much

Playing this one is quite straightforward. You get to control a long cruise ship, as advertised, and the idea is to dock it some distance away. To accomplish this formidable task, you get a virtual ship wheel and throttle, the one for bearing left or right and the other for moving at speed.

Now, you need to get the ship moving from point A to resting point B, which is usually a red-marked “parking” area. Between that, you get other ships, interesting topography and a beastly structure to guide, which provides the challenge. As an added tweak, you also have an optimal path to follow, notated by stars. Collecting all stars is the secondary goal. Now, said stars can be a stubborn foil, especially in the later levels, when they appear perilously close to, say, boulders and icebergs. At first, it is a slow going, by the way.

cruise3

The initial boat is fairly lowly rated with regards to speed handling, etc. Success yields coins, and these coins can be used to purchase ships that have better attributes.

If you are looking for something radically different from the host of vehicle manipulation games that are already on the Play store, you might be a bit disappointed; this one should be — has to be, really — accepted for what it is: a time waster first. The change of scenery makes for an interesting change of pace when compared to similar games, as does the type of vehicle.

As noted earlier, the speed and preciseness required probably prevent it from being a true furtive time-filler, but they pause button helps a bit. A wider array of ships (or some type of upgradability of a core ship) could really help with keeping folks coming back, but even as-is, it does possess a certain charm.

The Catapult Review

The Catapult Review

Oct 5, 2017

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times: give us life, give us liberty, and give us a good, down-to-earth time-waster. You know… a game suitable for furtive rounds during the boring meeting, or the doctor’s office, or maybe even between innings at the kid’s softball game.

So much spare time, and so little fun things to fill it.

And here is where a cool mobile game can make all the difference. Something like The Catapult, perhaps?

It comes across a very simple from a visual standpoint. You get the ubiquitous stickmen as main characters, and the background does not distract from the main action at all. The animations are clean, and the sound effects are equally decent.

This one plays in landscape. The action is straightforward, too. You, the player, are a stickman defending a castle, old-school style, with a boulder-launching catapult. Of course, there are opposing stickmen equipped similarly. Starting out, you play against the game engine, looking to hit the opponent on the right with a boulder.

cat3

To fire the boulder, you pull and drag the primed catapult. If you’ve played any of the early Angry Birds games, this will come naturally. You can adjust the distance and path of the boulder by the “force” and angle of the pull.

And then, the basic idea is to get the enemy before he gets you. Boom, don’t celebrate too long, because there will be a new opponent appearing, usually at a different height than the last.

Then, just when you get good (hopefully), the game starts to throw in some wrinkles. Two opposing shooters simultaneously? Bring it. The game has two mode: the single player option, and a two player option that might feel a little cramped on smaller devices. Success yields coins, which can be for better shells.

Interestingly enough, even while bandying around the “time-waster” descriptor, I admit — almost reluctantly — that it somehow, some way feels like a bit more. The simple scoring method is easy tto keep up with, and the simple escalation process just makes sense.