Cartoon Wars 3 Review

Cartoon Wars 3 Review

Mar 10, 2016

The third iteration is here: Cartoon Wars 3.

The game brings some serious artistic flair to bear, with fun-looking graphics and enjoyably zany animations. The stickman base is not a a strict rule, as there is plenty of visual diversity and interesting characterizations. There is a judicious use of color that is matched with seemingly appropriate sounds, and altogether, the media presentation does a fairly good job of framing and assisting the gameplay.

The game comes in two distinct gameplay flavors: Battle and Adventure. The former is more of a singular type of battle format, allowing one to play in three different sub-modes (Raid, Siege and Team Battle). Adventure is more akin to a full-fledged campaign experience, with leveled sections, a three-star success measuring system and the requisite increasing points of difficulty. In Adventure, there are different “stages” with different levels, and boss battles to contend with.

We really got into the Adventure mode, and it’s perfect for folks looking to really get involved in the game. It unfolds like a typical tower defense game, except that one has access to a limited number of unit types early on. One gets matched against the game UI. The player has a tower to defend, and the enemy has its own; each side is looking to knock out the others.


The battles are interesting to see, and the core idea is to overwhelm the enemy; this involves a bit of resource management. As one encounters more success, more potent units are unlocked, and collected gold can be used to improve the efficacy of troops. Yes, leveling is key here, and the fighting categories are best played to be enjoyed. Suffice to say they are quite atypical.

All in all, it feels like a pretty good sequel to a sequel. It’s a great game for returnees and newbies, and does the tower defense genre proud.

Dragon Blaze Review

Dragon Blaze Review

Jul 24, 2015

Another day, another half-assed free-to-play “RPG” game looking graphically better than 80% of western mobile market. Some artists either have it very good, or very bad, since all of the crappy excuses for games coming from there, look undeniably wonderful. But, after you take away the shiny wrapping, the nasty insides come out and you notice to your horror that the games’ guts are all twisted around, leaving them as half-dead husks just gobbling up playerbase by dangling the shiny sprites in front of their faces. I’m wondering how much better these games could be if the developers actually tried to make them better, instead of shuffling every ages old mechanic they possibly can inside a Skinner box.

It’s probably obvious that I don’t hold Dragon Blaze to the highest standards. It’s a tired, unimaginative gaming flick that reeks of bland corporate charts and some very tired programmers rehashing old code 10th time in a row. I don’t even want to describe the worthless, repetitive gameplay and generic, bland story. You run to the right and some monsters come up. Then you click on a single button until either your hero, or the monsters die, and then run further. There’s no skill involved, no interesting mechanics or Dragon Blaze 4turns. You have a squad that you can manage and alter, adding new equipment and learning new skills, but ultimately it’s all irrelevant, since this all doesn’t really make a difference. The story is about some dragon having attacked a kingdom some time ago, and its king hiding a terrible secret, or whatever. I don’t care one bit about any of those characters, since the developers certainly didn’t. This extends to the whole experience, really.

All in all, it’s not an unplayable game, or a cheap one, but it’s so generic and unfun that it’s impossible to appreciate whatever good parts it may have about it. Just ignore it, and continue playing any of the hundreds of similar games that have been around for years.

Darkness Reborn Review

Darkness Reborn Review

Dec 30, 2014

I find it incredibly funny that mobile platforms get tons more MMO games than the consoles, even if most of them are not exactly MMOs, but multiplayer RPGs. Darkness Reborn is a shining example of that. Maybe not too shiny, since it doesn’t offer anything unusual, except for solid gameplay, a bunch of staple mobile RPG tropes and a surprisingly vibrant community.

Darkness Reborn gives the player a task of defeating a cursed hero, who plagues the world and corrupts living creatures. The campaign consists of a linear number of missions, each one lasting no more than five or ten minutes, and all of them ending in some sort of a boss fight. There are a couple of heroes available from the start, although the game teases with more coming later. The heroes have different stats and abilities, but they all have the same general mechanics: there is a basic attack that can be spammed into a simple combo, and several special abilities that have a cooldown and require mana to use. I played as a ninja, a girl with breasts literally the size of her head that jiggle like they’re filled with water and adolescent dreams.

The gameplay is close to that of Dynasty Warriors kind of games, where the RPG styled hero managing is combined with hack-n-slash action. Darkness Reborn contains every part of Darkness Reborn 3the standard free-to-play RPG model, including but not limited to lots of loot-hoarding, equipment upgrades, passive and active skill upgrades, energy required to go on a mission, a PvP mode, and lots and lots of grinding. I mean, you can’t really call it “grinding” when grinding is literally all you do. Just like the other hack-n-slash RPGs, Darkness Reborn only gets larger in scale after a while, only giving the new, cool mechanics to the enemies. But I’ve played worse, and for all its simplicity, the battles in Darkness Reborn are actually pretty fun.

Overall, it’s basically another mission-based free-to-play MMORPG on the platform. Not bad, but in my head, it’s already getting absorbed into a collective memory of all the other fantasy MMOs like it.

GDC 2014: Gamevil Announces Their Upcoming Global Releases, Including Zenonia Online

GDC 2014: Gamevil Announces Their Upcoming Global Releases, Including Zenonia Online

Mar 19, 2014

Gamevil’s ringing in 2014 at GDC with the announcement of five new games to be released worldwide. Operating under the thought that hardcore online multiplayer games may be big in 2014, here are the new titles they announced at a press conference:

Zenonia Online: Gamevil’s popular action-RPG series goes online for the very first time this year. Already out in Korea, this entry will not skimp on the action-RPG gameplay, but will add in MMO features like lounges to meet with other players, eventually partying up to take on the game’s levels. As well, there are battle royale and PVP modes to participate in for competitive gameplay. This one will release worldwide later this year.

Dragon Blaze: This “simulation RPG” has players gathering a team of heroes, leveling them up and battling them out against other teams of heroes and villains, with the ability to participate with up to 3 other players in real-time. The global launch in the 3rd quarter of 2014 will debut the game’s online PVP mode as well. The game has been a hit in Asian territories where it reached #1 on the App Store top grossing charts according to Gamevil, so it could be an intriguing and very popular US release.

Dungeon Link: Built off of the popular “connect the dots” style of games, players build up a team of four heroes, and then battle enemies in an arena where they must try to connect as many tiles as possible between the four sets of color points in order to attack the enemies, with more tiles meaning more damage. Gamevil claims over 2000 dungeons will be available to fight in. Expect this one in the 3rd quarter of 2014.

Elements: Epic Heroes: Revealed for the first time at their GDC press conference, Gamevil showed off this 3D action-RPG for iOS and Android. Featuring online play with touchscreen-friendly controls, players will level their heroes and fight through various dangerous environments for glory when it releases later this year.

Mark of the Dragon: Gamevil finally revealed their take on the Clash of Clans genre of game that has become popular. Build defenses, train attackers, and go after enemies. Their game’s big difference is that players can summon dragons which they control to attack specific enemy structures, giving this well-worn genre a potential fresh take. This one is planned for summer 2014.

Akasha Review

Akasha Review

Jan 31, 2014

Akasha is a new mobile exclusive MMORG. Does it tip Order and Chaos from its pedestal?

Akasha isn’t the most user friendly game. After a class choice between fighter, archer or mage and a very brief series of tutorial text boxes in a small font the game basically leaves the player to their own devices. Akasha uses a instance based system much like Guild Wars. To fight monsters or party up with other adventurers the player must begin an instance which can be thought of as a mini quest.

Screenshot_2014-01-26-13-36-14After beginning an instance, Akasha plays much like any MMO, if MMOs consisted of tapping a single icon.

Regardless of the class chosen, gameplay in Akasha boils down to battering the fire icon as quickly as possible while moving between enemies. Unlike most MMOs, there are no varied classes such as clerics, tanks or nukers here since every class from fighter to mage attacks at point blank range for much the same damage.

Indeed the only reason to join a party in Akasha is because of the bonus experience that monsters give when killed, as the extremely limited number of skills in the game and the total lack of support or healing spells mean that common MMORPG strategies, such as healing the tank as he takes the damage or protecting the cleric as they keep everyone else alive don’t exist. The classes in the game are all attackers and the gameplay consists of simply attacking constantly until enemies are dead. This is hardly compelling and is completely devoid of the tactics and camaraderie that is typically found in MMORPG parties. There is just no co-operation or fun to be found in Akasha’s gameplay.

Screenshot_2014-01-29-09-03-36Akasha uses a very barebones skill system. The titular Akasha are little more than stats boosts that are attached to characters to augment their statistics and don’t make an actual appearance in the game. The player is limited in the amount of Akasha that can be equipped, adding a tiny bit of depth by forcing players to balance out stats with the right Akasha. Additional slots to equip Akasha can only be gained though in-app purchases.

Matters are not helped by the extremely basic presentation on offer. Akasha uses a 2-D sprite based style that will be familiar to players of famous mobile MMOs, such as Zeonia. Unfortunately, it lacks any sort of eye candy and features generic sprites on nondescript backgrounds. Magic effects are unimpressive and nothing in the game really looks good. Order and Chaos with it’s full 3-D environments is far better.

The player is unlikely to want to play Akasha for long either. The lack of actual MMO style gameplay ensure its button mashing becomes dull fast.

Akasha in short is not really a MMO as such. Sure the “online” and the “massive” parts are there, but it barely qualifies as an RPG. Order and Chaos is a far superior game with real MMO classes and very solid gameplay. Akasha meanwhile is not worth playing.

Kiwi Dash Review

Kiwi Dash Review

Jan 30, 2014

Kiwi collecting Kiwi while chasing totem-stealing felines is the story behind Kiwi Dash

It’s an endless runner set in a sideways scroller. In this one, the kiwi characters are running to reclaim stolen totems; cats are the crooks in this caper. The recovery effort is done in typical running fashion, from left to right. There are uneven, gapped platforms to traverse and a jump button to the bottom left to help accomplish this. Tapping and holding the jump button miraculously causes flight for a finite time. To the bottom right is the dash button that allows our running character to literally dash forward for a short stretch.

At the top left is an energy bar; the Kiwi bird expends this when jumping or dashing. It rejuvenates over time during the run, but this a slow process. Running short of this darkens the screen ominously, and running out looks ability to jump or dash, which is invariably lethal.kiwi5

Looking the running area are groups of kiwifruit that vary in their levels of accessibility. Some are as easy as running into then in the ground; others require some jumping or flying to collect. The cats are devious, and go as far as sending missiles, which need to be avoided as much as the cats themselves. The game has some fun arcade elements, with temporary power-ups that have to be touched by the running/jumping/flying kiwi. Missing a platform or making contact with a bird or its weapon ends the run. Fruit is cumulative, but points are not.

The have also incorporates quests and levels that increase in difficulty, as well as a ranking system.

Power-ups can be purchased with collected fruit, as well as other items, like birds with advanced attributes. For folks looking for expedited access to some features, real cash can be used to purchase stuff. On the downside, I wasn’t a fan of some of the boosts, and some specials (like getting better birds) would take an awful lot of playing to get the fruit.

The graphics are whimsical, with a healthy dose of color and smooth animations, and it played well on a 9″ screen.

All in all, it’s a fun game with plenty of enjoyable elements. But again, it’s what we expect from Gamevil.

Kaizin Rumble Review

Kaizin Rumble Review

Jan 10, 2014

Kaizin Rumble sees the player slip into the heels of a Great Leader, evil women who lead armies of creatures known as Kaizin.

Being evil, the evil empire the player is part of specializes in hunting down and exterminating heroes. From Kick-Ass style guys in red leotards, to actual, bonafiled heroes, Great Leaders travel the world to crush anything that is good.

Screenshot_2013-12-31-06-46-32What this boils down to is a series of strange levels where the player makes their way through each area by spinning a slot machine. Matching symbols causes different events to happen, such as finding money or, most commonly, initiating combat. Combat is a very shallow affair. Attacks are as simple as just tapping on the card to be used and the spinning the slot machine to see what happens.

Most of the game is about collecting a deck of good cards and boosting their stats to make them stronger in battle. New cards are handed out constantly during gameplay and one of two are gained from pretty much any battle.

Screenshot_2013-12-31-06-04-09The card designs are very imaginative, and this is the main draw of Kaizin Rumble. It’s just plain fun to see what alluring or odd creature will be handed over next. You’ll find everything from rocket launcher toting girls to giant robots that have refrigerators embedded in their chests. They rub shoulders with weird cyborgs and demonic children alike.

Besides the amusing card designs, Kaizin Rumble just has too little to its gameplay. An actual story helps pull the player though the single player campaigns, but it is not well told and some wonky translation doesn’t help matters. In the end the game just doesn’t last too long because of the shallow gameplay. Spinning a slot machine and watching things happen can only be compelling for so long. It doesn’t really help that the difficulty of the game is quite uneven. Normal battles are very easy most of the time, and take seconds to finish, while the commonly encountered Nemesis enemies will wipe the floor with your team in short order. The idea is to add friends in the game to help defeat Nemesis, but they show up constantly and are very annoying to defeat, even with help.

Kaizin Rumble looks fantastic. As said above the card designs are the standout, with some excellent art and some really interesting ideas for card design. The other characters such as the cute catgirl that serves as your adviser are well done too. Unfortunately battles are just dull as anything to look at. A few flashes and 90’s era flash animations are all there really is to see during combat. With such interesting card designs it’s a shame we don’t get to see them in combat. The sound is sparse as well. Some bumps and smashes is all there is to hear during battle.

Kaizin Rumble is tough to recommend. It is worth checking out for the neat card designs alone, but the rest of the game doesn’t stand up to prolonged gameplay.

Sorceress Class Released For Dark Avenger

Sorceress Class Released For Dark Avenger

Nov 7, 2013

Sorceress Poster

Sorceress joins Templar, Archer, and Berserker as a playable character in Dark Avenger, a popular free-to-play MMORPG, published by Gamevil. Sorceress is a powerful ranged character that wields lots of AOE spells, and can harness the power of ice, fire, and arcane magic. Dark Avenger can be downloaded for free from here: Dark Avenger on Google Play.

Spirit Stones Review

Spirit Stones Review

Nov 4, 2013

Gamevil is one of the biggest names in mobile gaming over in Asia, churning out such games as the Zenonia series as well as the Baseball Superstars games. Most of their lineup are great games that while tailored more for an Eastern audience, still can be enjoyed by everyone one. Most of their titles also use the freemium, or free to play model, which happens to irk many people in the west.


Spirit Stones, the latest game from the Korean mobile giant, doesn’t feel particularly special, except for the fact that it is everything you’d expect from a game from Asia. Spirit Stones incorporates both the collectible card genres and a match 3 element, both popular mobile game mechanisms in Asia. But the real let down in this game is that it doesn’t offer players anything that they can’t get out of other popular eastern titles, such as Puzzle & Dragons or similar games of that style. It’s also very much in the vein of games like Digimon with the collection element and evolution of cards. It’s another free to play game, which allows players to spend real money to get better in the game, but doesn’t give anyone anything unique or new.

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What it does give you is a beautifully laid out game, both graphically and in terms of game play. Everything, while feeling familiar, is still aesthetically pleasing and entertaining to delve into. All of the cards, while usually containing female characters wearing armor made more for revealing as much skin as possible, rather than for protecting their body, are done in a lovely artistic style. Battle sequences, however, are scaled down a little more, appearing a little more cartoonish and silly.


The downfall, though, is that there isn’t too much about Spirit Stones that will keep you captivated enough to continue playing for any length of time. Considering so many other match 3 and collectible card game crossovers are on the market, Spirit Stones does not stand out or lure you in with anything special. It’s a nice looking game and anytime a player will spend on it will be enjoyable, but this title is easily forgettable and may just end up taking up space on your device, space that could be used for something a lot less mediocre.

Monster Warlord Gets New Server, Fresh Monsters.

Monster Warlord Gets New Server, Fresh Monsters.

Aug 29, 2013

Gamevil has announced the release of the brand new server for its hit game, Monster Warlorld. The server has new tier monsters and significant bonuses as its welcoming presents, and grants an equal footing for both the pro, and casual players of the monster-collecting game. The game can be downloaded from Google play here: Monster Warlord on Google Play

Monster Warlord 1

Dark Avenger Review

Dark Avenger Review

May 20, 2013

Ever wanted to roam about some dungeons, grab some weapons, go through more dungeons and pick up better weapons? If you answered yes, then Dark Avenger is the game for you.

You may have a good idea of what the game’s like if I were to explain it as Diablo-esque. You hack and slash at enemies, level up your character and pick up weapons and gold as you go.

The dungeons are pretty straightforward, essentially forcing you down a straight corridor. This is a bit of a shame for me, as half the fun of a dungeon is getting lost in it, exploring every nook and cranny and hoping to stumble across some hidden gold. This won’t happen in Dark Avenger.

What will happen though, is a lot of combat. It’s pretty simple, as for the most part you’ll simply hold down the attack button to perform a 3-hit combo repeatedly. The strategy comes in when you launch special attacks.

Special attacks unlock as you level-up and have their own special properties that will make you think about what 3 you want to take with you into the dungeon. Some will make you invulnerable from attack, some are long-ranged whilst others will teleport you across the room.

The enemies themselves are pretty varied. They’ll be quick or slow, defensive or offensive and they’ll have a variety of ranges from which they attack. All of this adds up to make combat a lot more engaging and enjoyable than it first appears.

With this type of game, it’s all about the loot and in Dark Avenger, you’re never far away from picking up some new gear. What you do with it is another matter as loot can be sold, upgraded using ‘forge stones’ or broken down to collect said ‘forge stones’. Yet another layer to Dark Avenger‘s gameplay that makes it that much more enjoyable.

Aside from plodding through level after level of dungeons, you’ve got a few other modes to keep things interesting. There’s a time attack mode that forces you to go through previously completed levels, but much faster as a timer’s counting down and the only way to keep it topped up is by defeating enemies. Your reward for this is the fact you get 20% more gold on the run-threoughs. Well worth it.

The three other modes are ‘Infinity Tower’, ‘Deathmatch’ and the newly released ‘Boss Raid’. These modes have a multiplayer focus and either see you working with or against other players.

DarkAv2As you’d guess, ‘Infinity Tower’ tasks you with going through floor after floor of enemies, all using one life. Each day, the person who makes it to the highest floor gets a reward, with other positions in the table also getting rewards.

‘Deathmatch’ is pretty poor. The game’s combat isn’t suited very well to this style of competitive play and it’s not very balanced. As a level 13 character you won’t have much fun against a level 23 character that you’ll no doubt come up against.

‘Boss Raid’ also has a multiplayer slant, in that you’re dumped into a room with 3 other random players and you have to defeat a boss much stronger than anything you’ve faced in the single-player game. There’s nothing tactical about 4 people attacking a giant creature at the same time, yet it still feels fun and rewarding after slaying these mighty creatures.

Dark Avenger doesn’t do anything new with the dungeon crawling, loot picking-up genre, but it does do it well. Very, very well.

Baseball Superstars 2013 Review

Baseball Superstars 2013 Review

Dec 27, 2012

Gamevil’s Baseball Superstars 2013 is a surprisingly wide-ranging baseball simulation that brings more-or-less realistic baseball career management to Android handhelds.

It started out by giving me a 100 coins on the first day, and I noted that there were daily payouts for playing. I was able to pick mode (batter or pitcher), and then I was able to go further and pick stance, position and even handedness.

The gameplay was fairly involved, piecing together relatively complex concepts and adding a touch of whimsical to create fairly interesting sim. I started out as a rookie and had the opportunity to get better as the season went on, gaining experience on the way that allowed me to upgrade my skills and that of my team. At the beginning, it was made clear that I had goals to meet, and not meeting them could cause me being let go. Doing well got me praise and more.

Doing well pretty much boiled down to doing well in games. Different opposing teams had different attributes; players had different specialties, based on the game engine. Pitchers had their favorites throws, so adjusting was key. I was able to use accumulated points to make my attributes increase, and I could train to facilitate my ability to level up faster. Batting was a function of timing. Hits, of course, were precious, home runs golden.

There were a number of features here and there that added to the fun factor. I liked the quiz feature, and P2P option was a mode of gameplay that added value in my opinion. I liked the in-game challenges, and quests were cool too.

The graphics were great; the animations fit the style, and the sounds were distinctly baseball-y in nature; the strikeout calls were full of flavor.

After every game, I was given a letter grade and commentary by my manager, which was an interesting touch. At season’s end the big news was delivered.

All in all, it’s one of the best sports sims I have played, with subtle nuances of the sport worked into it in very creative ways.