Aug 8, 2016

When it comes to RIVAL FIRE, one isn’t left to guess what it is about for too long.

At it’s core, it incorporates the tried and true cover system style of gameplay. The player joins a team, and in its basest form, looks to take on waves of opponents while alternating shooting with ducking behind cover to prevent instant destruction.

The game helps one along to begin with, with plenty of vivid action. It starts sedately with target practice, which gives a crash course on how to use the bank of virtual touch controls nestled at the bottom of the playing area: firing, assorted weapons, ducking, darting, swinging view and the like. The controls feel easy, and make sense; the visual presentation works well. The game has 4 modes (Campaign, PVP, Survival and Co-op). Some are level-dependent, but Campaign opens up right away.

The action unfolds gradually, with the real action starting with relatively genteel enemy waves. The first few fire at one’s character, as one would expect, but as one goes on, the attackers get craftier and more varied. Soon, one encounters stuff liked lobbed grenades, which force one to use the aforementioned to dart. Snipers make an appearance too, along with transport vehicles and airborne enemy.


Success boils down to quick reactions: evaluate risks, shoot, duck, move and shoot some more. After a successful level, one garners game cash, which can be used to upgrade equipment and attributes, as well as XP.

Frankly, in the cover system genre, it can be a bit hard for a game to set itself apart; the segment is well explored, and there are more than a few iterations across platforms. RIVAL FIRE has an understandably familiar feel to it, but is still able to be a bit different when it comes to its use of angles to advance the gameplay.

The menu system feels somewhat cumbersome and even busy at times; the leveling concept could be simpler.

On the other hand, the gradual buildup does continually whet one’s action appetite, and the other modes (yes, PVP) are excellent variations.



Oct 27, 2015

It’s true, I don’t go above and beyond to do sniper games; at the risk of sounding wimpy they make me a bit queasy. Still, when it comes to SNIPER X WITH JASON STATHAM, I am willing to give one a go.

This one doesn’t tarry when it comes to getting right into it. One should enjoy the visual presentation, starting off with arid scenery. it is presented in first person perspective, with great use of pan-ins to help the player with perspective. The sounds are appropriately gritty, and there are overlays that appear now an then to help with navigation.

One learns on the go, and in a relatively quick manner, the sighting and shooting system is laid out. To player is armed with a basic sniper weapon; zooming is accomplished by using a slider to the right of the screen, and firing is controlled by its own standalone virtual button, and one can swing the rifle direction by swiping the screen.The sighting mechanism is relatively easy to understand, and works intuitively.

The gameplay itself is broken into missions, and a typical series has an objective of some sort… usually dispatching a bad guy — or two, or three — from distance. It starts with a heroic sequence, and from there, starts to get a bit harder as one goes along. It makes sense to survey the scene too, as different targets have different priority levels; one almost wants to take out the high-level targets first, because the game AI lends itself to logic, in that taking an errant shot can have bad circumstances, usually attracting a hail of return gunfire. Each level has a set time to complete, so one cannot goof off too much. For moving targets, the “focus” button can help provide immediate stability.


Successfully completed missions earn cash and XP, which can be used to up unlock/upgrade/purchase better gear. Real cash can be used to expedite this particular process; folks that want to earn more cash can take part in training.

If anything, the game does a good job of combining elements. The missions are fairly diverse, and don’t only involve shooting bad guys. There is a defined progression of complexity, and it mostly works, with vastly changing landscapes and such. On the other hand, it is a bit bloody, so be warned.

It keeps to the script, but not too rigidly, and has Statham. Not bad.

DEER HUNTER 2016 Review

DEER HUNTER 2016 Review

Sep 29, 2015

When it comes to, um, “manly” endeavors, none resonates as well as hunting game. Heck, some folks put their livelihoods at risk to shoot that of the protected kind — no love here — but gaming kings have outlets decidedly less controversial.

DEER HUNTER 2016 can easily be one of these. It has good pedigree, is easy to get into and provided the staggered gameplay that has the potential to keep folks addicted.deer3

It boils down to a encompassing series of missions, mostly to with hunting deer (obviously). The first mission is a perfect frame of reference, as it requires the bagging of a juvenile deer.

As one progresses, this first level serves as a tutorial; one learns how to move using virtual buttons, and also how to aim, zoom in even further, and how to take shots. Based on this first mission, one is also able to gather that successfully completed missions yield game cash and experience points. After this, the rest of the game is “opened” a bit more in all it’s leveled glory.

It goes on with different type of missions, adding in more specific tasks (like getting a lung shot), and, as a consequence, upgrading weapons and gear so as to deal with said new tasks. For instance, when it comes to locking in on internal organs, it helps to have infrared sights. To upgrade, the aforementioned game cash is useful to have.

The action is fairly realistic. Taking an errant shot tends to spook the animals, so being accurate with the first shot is definitely recommended. It’s possible to injure a target, but just like real deer, these virtual ones will hobble away if allowed to. On and on it goes, with an energy requirement, daring the player to bring down different types of deer while managing resources simultaneously. There are predators too; man, gators move fast.

Fair warning: the touch controls doesn’t do the game justice; it’s far from bad, but if one is used to playing hunting sims with realistic peripherals on console, it might be a bit underwhelming. In some areas, the animations feel somewhat stilted, but it works well overall from a graphical point of view; simple stuff like the slow motion bullet isn’t new, but is welcome nonetheless.

Still, mobile is where it’s at, and this one works well on the go, though the experience is better the bigger the screen is. It’s a great leveled adventure, and is a fun, non-lethal means of, well, shooting game in unique locations around the virtualized world.

Mission Impossible RogueNation Review

Mission Impossible RogueNation Review

Jul 22, 2015

Now, now… before you get mad and start ranting at the proliferation of endless sequels to action movies — Terminator, Rocky, Die Hard, and yes, Mission Impossible — remember one thing: in today’s age, we tend to get at least one possibly great byproduct in companion games.

They tend to be simple, and may or may not follow the franchise canon very closely. In any case, such games can be fun to get into, even for casual fans of said movies.

Hopefully, such is the case with Mission Impossible RogueNation… a Glu joint.

Backstory? Well, it should be somewhat familiar to folks who have watched any of the movies. The player takes on the persona of Trent Kane, who is described as “IMF Agent Extraordinaire.” As in the movies, IMF can’t catch a break and seems to always to be in the middle of palace intrigue — this time, in the CIA’s crosshairs. When it’s all said and done, it boils down to first person shooter that is broken into leveled missions.


The controls are virtual; one gets to fire equipped guns, and move to predetermined spots, use sights and even use secondry weapons. The controls are spaced well, and are fairly intuitive, and make sense together. The idea is to take the mission, complete it (which usually entails taking out a target) and profiting from the earned goodies. The missions increase in difficulty as one goes on, and one does need to upgrade weapons and level up to progress. The action sequences are easy to get into, with a bit of gore and familiar touches (salute to exploding glasses cutscenes). There are some nice angles thrown in, like silent kills, and the in-app purchasing system isn’t too intrusive.

I think the stealth aspect could be a bit more intricate, and the movement element could be a bit more complex in places, but for a free-to-try game, it’s good enough to stand on its own two feet.



Jun 10, 2015

Okay, there is another Terminator movie coming out, signaling the continued battle between Stallone and Schwarzenegger to take their respective signature movie franchises far into their octogenarian years. Before flinching, do realize we get TERMINATOR GENISYS: REVOLUTION.

The game starts with a quick cutscene-centric into which details the franchise’s history that will be familiar to Terminator feens: Skynet, 1997 and the uprising of the machines. To save humanity, the Resistance forms as the last stand against annihilation, led by — yes — John Conner.

The player takes on the persona of a potential Resistance recruit, Lopez. Here, the game leads the player on an in-game tutorial, lending visualization to lessons in combat, selecting weapons, procuring advanced weapons, upgrading weapons and using specialized tools. The walkthrough is pretty done well, without too much overt hand-holding, and does get the basics across.

It boils down to a leveled action game that utilizes a cover system as a form of engagement. Generally, the robotic machines are the enemy, and Lopez, in the foreground, uses an object to provide cover, popping up or around when invoked to shoot at the enemy. Lopez can take only so much damage, so some smarts have to be applied to move on.

When a mission is finished, Lopez gets game currency and new marching orders, which could require a new type of weapon or something else that can be obtained from the game store. There are bosses of sorts, and it’s possible to progress up through the ranks, giving it an RPG element.


The graphics are gritty, and take a dark tone also reflected in the animations; it looks good while avoiding gore. The virtual buttons work well to control the game, and most of it flows intuitively, bringing the source material alive to a new batch of potential fans.

It does feel formulaic in parts. The cash system is pushy, and I think the levels could use some creativity. The baddies get worse, but I think the whole progression could use some diversity.

In the end, it can be a fun experience, as it doesn’t get too Ahnold-y. Even within the frame of the Terminator series, it manages to stand on its own, and that is its strong suit.

Tap Sports Baseball 2015 Review

Tap Sports Baseball 2015 Review

Apr 27, 2015

The best way to view Tap Sports Baseball 2015 is to focus on what it is rather than what it isn’t. It isn’t quite a baseball sim, but it is much more than an arcade experience. If you’re the small market Tampa Bay Rays, this game likely isn’t for you, but you don’t have to set up an in-game payroll as large as the Los Angeles Dodgers to be successful.

Tap Sports Baseball follows the EA Sports Ultimate Team model. Rather than taking over an MLB franchise, gamers start off with a group of not-so-good to decent players (Nick Swisher was the best player I was given to start with). By playing games, users earn in-game cash and gold, which can then be used to acquire new players or upgrade team attributes such as Hitting Coach and Throwing Arm. This is a compelling way to sidestep the official MLB license, as real player likenesses appear in the game, but teams, logos and stadiums do not.

Gameplay revolves around the offensive side of the ball. In fact, while there are some strategy aspects when it comes to pitching, gamers only control players when they come to bat. Controls are as simple as humanly possible; simply tap the screen to swing. Users will occasionally be asked if they want to steal a base, bunt or swing away, but everything can be accomplished with only one finger. This fast-paced approach allows players to finish nine-inning games in only a few minutes.

Tap Sports Baseball 2015Navigating the menus is an important part of Tap Sports Baseball, and with no tutorial and little direction, figuring your way around can be confusing at first. It becomes easy enough a few games in, but it is not the most innovative use of screen space. Players can access tournaments and league games, which are quicker, more rewarding ways to experience the game. Random matches are handled differently, as opposing teams take turns whenever they’re ready in a fashion similar to Words with Friends.

Tap Sports Baseball 2015 is a free to play title, but it also supports the pay-to-win model. Users who pump in real-world cash to buy in-game items will rise to the top quickly. However, players will rarely find themselves overmatched. After completing 20 to 30 games, users should have enough in-game currency to assemble a competitive team. It is just a matter of balancing acquiring new players and leveling up the squad’s attributes.

Despite the game’s robust menu system, it is lacking in roster management. Users can drop players in and out of the starting lineup, but there is no way to adjust batting orders. Additionally, picking up new players is mostly a game of chance. Pay for a draft pick and a slot machine-style wheel lands on the player which you will acquire. There is a daily crop of free agents which players can hand select to add to their team, but they are often not well known and priced too high.

Tap Sports Baseball 2015 is not quite a championship contender, but it is a wild card winner. This is exactly what you’d expect from a mobile baseball game. It’s easy to pick up and play, and there’s enough depth to keep players interested throughout the season.

Robocop Review

Robocop Review

Feb 23, 2015

Poor old Robocop has had a bit of a curse when it comes to licensed products, particularity on the video gaming front. Does Glu capture what it means to be a nigh invinceable steel titan?

screenshot_2014-01-15-16-46-24Robocop’s gameplay is a bit like a dumbed down third person shooter. Hiding behind cover the player must pop out and spray down enemies that constantly filter into the area in front of them. Like any shooter timing your shots and taking cover from enemy fire is important. The player also must change cover shots to avoid sniper fire. A “scan” function can pinpoint weak points on enemies. Weak points either kill enemies nearly instantly when hit or disarm them. Disarming enemies allows you to arrest them which earns bonus resources.

There is nothing wrong with Robocop’s gameplay. It is however kind of repetitive and the shooting action lacks any visceral impact. Enemies kind of fall over silently and your guns just don’t feel punchy. Fighting robot enemies is more fun since they explode when they die and come for you relentlessly.

Robocop features a familiar strengthening system where resources can be spent on boosting Robocop’s stats. Most of these upgrades are really minuscule, such as adding 1 health point or slight, slight increasing damage. The really annoying part of this is that periodically though the upgrade tree the player must spend large amounts of resources on Breakout nodes that unlock new breaches of abilities. These are quite common and have a chance to fail to unlock, wasting the resources you spent. This all but forces players to spend large amounts of their other resources to avoid the chance of the upgrade outright failing and wasting their stuff. This is a terrible idea.

Screenshot_2015-02-18-15-57-29Freemium is well and truly in play in Robocop. Weapons cost so much money in game that it will take months of play to afford even the weakest ones. For example, a basic shotgun costs about 3000 gold. That much money in in app purchases is $20. For one virtual weapon. One of the biggest insults is the constant begging to watch a video for currency. Watching a video awards one gold. One. Robocop is playable without spending money in a basic way, but if you want any cool weapons expect to pay and pay a lot

Robocop has more popups than any game I can quickly think of. It is needier than any girlfriend. Between levels there is an ad for another game that can’t be dismissed for a few seconds, another popup suggesting you buy a first aid kit or whatever, other ones telling you that you have enough resources for an upgrade and ones begging you to watch videos for extremely small amounts of resources. It also insists on constantly sending notifications. The sheer amount of interruptions makes playing Robocop infuriating.

Robocop is a somewhat playable but very annoying shooter with too many popups, ridiculous in app purchases and gameplay that gets dull rather quickly. It’s worth a look for fans.

Blood & Glory: Legend Review

Blood & Glory: Legend Review

Oct 19, 2012

Gladiators are pretty much the most hardcore fighters out there. The fights were rigged for the one of the fighters to lose horribly but it didn’t mean people didn’t go to the fights whenever they were held. A fight to the death is pretty exciting from the sounds of it. Blood & Glory: Legend follows in these footsteps.

The tutorial is against a HUGE opponent. The basics of fighting are pretty easy to get the hang of. Press the shield to defend and swipe a finger across the screen to attack. At this point, it seems like a piece of cake; time their attacks and defend them while attacking when they aren’t looking.

After the fights, XP is gained along with victory income. Use the points to upgrade the gladiator. Throughout the story more is learned about the main character. The store is where new items can be bought to increase the likelihood of surviving the battles. Armor, weapons, shields, potions and other upgrades can be purchased using the coins earned from battles.

The enemies start out slow and easy to beat, but after a few fights, they get quite a bit harder. New attacks and combos are learned as the levels progress. The more attacks known, the better the chance of survival. Using the potions will also help the chances of living. Potions for healing, stronger attacks and better defense are available for purchase in the store.

At the end of the tournaments is a “big boss” to fight. This fight will use everything earned and learned through the fights in that tournament. Make sure to stock up on any potions and buy weapons or add skills if possible to make sure the battle is victorious. Defeating the boss will unlock achievements and the awards are also higher.

Gears and Guts Review

Gears and Guts Review

Sep 4, 2012

I have to give Glu some credit for doing two things. One, they're trying to make free-to-play titles that are still about action, and traditional gameplay, along with the kinds of 'social' and simulation titles that are popular with casual audiences as well. Gears and Guts is their newest entry of the former genre. It's the zombie apocalypse because of course it is. So, it's time for players to get behind the wheels of cars with deadly-yet-still-improvised weapons, like hood-mounted laser cannons, giant spike grilles, and flame throwers shooting out the side. The undead will be just plain dead very soon.

The game uses a mechanic similar to card games for getting new vehicles and weapons, in which there are randomized cards that are picked up during the undead slaughtering that grant new vehicles and weapons. These can either be equipped, sold, or used to upgrade existing items. The player's arsenal is given a numerical power level, which essentially shows how difficult a level is going to be. Have a lower power level? Well, it's probably going to be the zombies winning. Grinding earlier levels does become necessary to get more bolts and cards to make upgrades and new vehicles purchasable.

The game is plenty of mindless, gory zombie-smashing fun. The missions generally just involve killing different types of zombies in different locales, with randomly-generated locations for checkpoints and whatnot. Launching missiles and sideswiping with buzzsaws? Who couldn't love that?

The game does tend to run rather sluggishly on the Nexus 7, which is a shame because this is one of the first games I've seen with issues on the device. Also, the game continues the Glu tradition of locking a lot of items behind paywalls. It can be frustrating to see all these great game-changing items that might look like they can be bought with small amounts of currency, but nope, they require expensive amounts of money to buy. It is possible to earn small amounts of credits in-game, but it only happened to me once.

Gears and Guts may be another Glu game that rewards those willing to drop a lot of money on in-app purchases, but free players will find plenty to enjoy here, though there will be a lot of grinding in the long-term. Still, this is one of the more enjoyable Glu titles to come out in recent memory.

Glu and EA Mobile Begin to Publish Titles for the Amazon Appstore

Glu and EA Mobile Begin to Publish Titles for the Amazon Appstore

Nov 16, 2011

More so than any other Android device launching, the Kindle Fire is particularly newsworthy because of the separate ecosystem it is creating. This is also thanks to being a major Android device from a big-name company with the content library, technological backbone, and user payment information to become a behemoth. Of course, while their music and book libraries are massive, and their video library is expanding (along with support for other popular media services), app distribution is a big question still for the Kindle Fire. Many publishers have yet to support the Amazon Appstore for a myriad of reasons. However, it appears as if the launch of the Kindle Fire will start to spur support to the platform from big-name Android publishers not yet on the platform.

In particular, Glu and EA Mobile have announced that they are now offering their titles through the Amazon AppStore. Glu is launching Contract Killer, Bug Village, and Eternity Warriors on the Amazon Appstore; all were previously available on the Android Market. Glu will be releasing other titles on the Amazon Appstore in the future as well. all the titles were optimized for Android tablets, and should work as well on the Kindle Fire.

EA’s launch titles for the Amazon Appstore include several known titles: Bejeweled 2, SimCity Deluxe, Monopoly, The Game of Life, and Scrabble. All the game’s have been optimized for the Kindle Fire, and Bejeweled 2 is actually free on the 16th as well. The most notable title is Dead Space; while the game released a while back on iOS, and has been pre-installed on GameStop’s tablets, this is the EA title that should prove to be a test of the Kindle Fire’s horsepower, to see if it can be a capable gaming system as well as a media consumption device. All these titles are now available.

GameTanium Mobile Subscription Service Adds PopCap, RealNetworks, and Glu Mobile

GameTanium Mobile Subscription Service Adds PopCap, RealNetworks, and Glu Mobile

Oct 26, 2011

GameTanium Mobile, the subscription-based Android games service from Exent, has recently announced that they have added some more publishers to their service, including several big names. RealNetworks, PopCap, and Zulu Mobile are now providing games for the service. In particular, PopCap’s titles Plants vs. Zombies, Chuzzle, and Peggle are now available on the service. According to Andrew Stein, Director of Mobile Business Development at PopCap Games: “People play games all the time: at home, on the go, and in between. Our goal is to ensure PopCap games are available on the devices our customers want, and Exent’s distribution network helps us further our progress.” They join other publishers and developers such as Fire Maple Games, HandyGames, Hexage and Connect2Media who are already on the service. While these new games are not yet on the GameTanium service, their games should be arriving soon, providing yet another way to get a copy of Peggle for those who are way too addicted to the game.