Trainyard Review

Trainyard Review

May 30, 2012

Matt Rix’s iOS puzzle hit Trainyard is now on Android, courtesy of the Noodlecake Games “Game A Week Project.” This game kicks it 19th century style, with players tasked to manage train routes in order to get them all safely to the gates. However, the challenge comes from the fact that all the trains are different colors, and they must all go into the correct train station. Oh, and sometimes the trains that come out don’t match the colors of the stations, or there are more trains starting out than slots in the stations. However, trains can’t crash, per se: they can mix colors, and merge into fewer trains.

The game becomes a tricky mental exercise, where plotting and timing of routes must be used in order to figure out how to solve the puzzles. Yet, the game is oddly addictive, and trying to solve one puzzle to get to the next becomes irresistible. The game looks great on both phones and tablets. For those that hate artificial content unlocking systems, there’s the ability to unlock all puzzles at once in the options menu.

The only real issue with Trainyard is the controls: it can be difficult on a phone to make the accurate path drawing that is necessary, especially since the player’s finger obscures where a path is, and making a wrong curve is easy. It gets a lot easier on tablets, just because of the fact that the squares are bigger, and paths are easier to formulate. However, the overlapping paths become tricky to make because the latest path made goes on top, so working from beginning to end is made more difficult because secondary paths wind up coming first, which can mess up a puzzle. Switching them is easy, by double-tapping on the path, and it may be better than any control alternative, but it’s still just not easy to use.

Trainyard may be tricky to control, but it’s still fun to solve its many difficult challenges. The game is available on both Google Play and the Amazon Appstore, and this feels like it would be perfect on the Kindle Fire.

Lunar Racer Review

Lunar Racer Review

May 11, 2012

The first game in Noodlecake Games’ Game a Week Project is something of a nepotistic choice. Their 2D stunt racing game Lunar Racer has been ported over from iOS using their tools.

The game itself involves performing flips and collecting to weapons in order to try and collect turbo boosts and take out opponents on the way to get first place. There’s also MoonBux to collect to spend on cosmetic upgrades and new vehicle upgrades. Courses take place on circular planet, with laps going around the whole planet. There’s a gravity booster to pull vehicles back from the ground, and a nitro boost that can be collected by getting big air, performing many flips, and sexiest of all, performing perfect landings.

The difference between the iOS and Android versions is that there’s the ability to buy vehicle upgrades, boosting engine speed and nitro boost for example; as well, there are four additional tracks that can be bought with 5000 MoonBux. It also unlocks the best vehicle of all time: the sausage car. It’s a giant sausage with wheels that races in space. The local multiplayer is gone though. Woe and despair! I never really played it in the iOS version, though.

The game is easy to get into, with tilt controls that work very well, and simple two-finger controls for gravity boosting and using nitro. MoonBux can be bought, but they’re also earnable through in-game feats by collecting them, finishing highly, and completing objectives for a bonus multiplier. Even the harder Pro races feel like they can be done with just a perfect run. The level design is very creative, with levels that have multiple paths, and plenty of opportunities for big air.

The Android port is fantastic, running incredibly smoothly and error-free on an original Galaxy S model phone. If this is what can be expected from future Game a Week Project titles, then there’s plenty to be excited about, as Lunar Racer is kind of fantastic.

Noodlecake Games to Bring One New Game from iOS to Android Every Single Week with Game A Week Project

Noodlecake Games to Bring One New Game from iOS to Android Every Single Week with Game A Week Project

Apr 23, 2012

Android cross-platform tools are quickly increasing in quantity. However, what these tools fail to address is the issue of support. The Temple Run developers have had to deal with the literally thousands of Android devices out there, and the deluge of support emails that come along with them. So, Noodlecake Studios, creators of Super Stickman Golf, have announced that they’re going to take care of this. They have a set of tools that will allow them to quickly and easily port games to Android. In fact, they claim to be able to run iOS-native code directly on Android with their tools.

They’re so confident in their tools that through their new publishing arm, Noodlecake Games, they will be releasing a new iOS-to-Android title every single week starting May 10th. Their own Lunar Racer will launch the program, followed by Matt Rix’s Trainyard, with more titles to coming in the future.

Noodlecake Games will be handling all aspects making the games work on the many Android devices out there, from not just the port work, to making the games work on the many screen sizes and varieties of hardware out there, to even handling support issues for the games. Of course, they’ll handle the submission to various marketplaces, doing a revenue share with developers who wish to have their games released on Android with Noodlecake Games.

While the technical specifics aren’t really known of what Noodlecake Games’ tools are doing, that may not be the point – the point is that they want to get more games on Android from iOS, and believe they have the tools to make it happen on a regular basis. As well, they can take care of the most common issues that developers interested in launching on Android dread handling. If their tools can work well enough that an 8-man team can release a new port every week, then it could be possible for some games to have much smaller delays in coming to Android, which would be a major boon for the platform’s growth for gaming.