World Spin Review

World Spin Review

Jan 26, 2016

If we said it once, we’ve said it several times before: complex, plot-driven games are to die for, yes, but every now and then, give us a quick-hitting time-waster to unwind with.

Something like World Spin, perhaps?

The main attribute that comes to mind when getting into this game is how simple it is; right from the start, with the sharp colors and definite shapes, one absorbs an easy-to-digest visual presentation that highlights a game that clearly wants one to focus on the goal at hand. It incorporates smooth animations, and as one finds, this is a key aspect of the game. The options reveal a whimsical side to the developer, and the cheery sounds hint at a arcade-y experience.ws3

It is a puzzle game, yes, and it’s all about the switch. The aforementioned button is the target in each level, easily identified in it’s red manifestation. It is generally nestled in a layered, somewhat irregular shape, full of aisles and more. Somewhere on this structure is a ball, gingerly resting.

Tapping on the left side of the screen rotates the structure to the left, and tapping on the right makes it go that way. The ball acts as if affected by physics, and rolls accordingly. The basic idea is to guide it to the red switch so as to open up subsequent levels and to earn points.

If the ball falls off the structure, the round is failed, and one is allowed to retry indefinitely.

Frankly, it can be plenty of fun. As one progresses, the puzzles get delightfully harder, demanding a firm touch and more than a little patience. The game engages because it manages to overstep the “basic puzzler” descriptor by adding in unexpected twists just when one thinks its figured out. It might feel monotonous to the hyper-industrious, but the developer does well to make the game more-or-less play well, even without really having to spend real money.

There is nothing wrong with being simple.

Gravity Ring Review

Gravity Ring Review

Apr 28, 2015

Gravity Ring is a very simple game that doesn’t really feel comfortable no matter how long you play it. It’s partially an issue with the game’s controls, and partially – with its very weird concept. Which is a good thing for a puzzle game, I guess.

Gravity Ring consists of a single super-massive star-like object, and a bunch of obstacles around it. The player controls the projectile that shoots out from the bottom of the screen and gravitates towards the star. The task in each level is to “collect” all of the little dots that spawn around the star. Gravity Ring gives no explanation, but I choose to believe that the player controls a meteor that wipes life off some planets. Also, space walls?

The level is always a circle with a star in the middle, but it sometimes has walls and bumps around it that have to be navigated Gravity Ring 3around, and possibly used to hit the goals. To help with that, the meteor has a guiding line at the launching point that predicts the first second of its flight. Besides that, it’s up to the player’s movement prediction abilities – which I didn’t even know I had – that are going to help him hit all of the points in a very limited flight time limit. That and a lot of failed attempts.

Gravity Ring has a bunch of levels that become a lot harder later later in the game. I presume that it’s not impossible to complete them without power-ups that are gifted every several levels, but it’s definitely really challenging, and requires a lot of replays. I didn’t even manage to get to the 20th level, despite my attempts.

Overall, I’m not sure what to say about Gravity Ring. It’s unusual and it’s difficult, and its aiming controls are really weird and uncomfortable, but it has everything that I ask of my puzzle games. It’s not flashy, and might feel repetitive or unfairly difficult to some, but it’s an interesting game with unusual mechanics, and it’s free-to-play, so there’s really no debate about it, if you enjoy puzzle games.

Naught 2 Review

Naught 2 Review

Feb 10, 2014

Blue Shadow Games hits us with a refreshed version of its atypical platformer in Naught 2

Calling Naught 2 a platformer probably does it at least a little bit of a disservice. The playing area looks and feels like a spelunker’s dream, with deep, sizable and ever-roaming caves. The darkly rendered paths are anything but flat or straight in the way they curve and twist around. Black and light grey (with judicious dashes of other colors) make up the motif of the game, and they do a good job of highlighting the motion. With silhouettes being the basic design paradigm, the game is able to be foreboding without spooky.naught1

Gameplay wise, the developer does a good job with eerie backstory, and the control mechanism can be selected from the option of either using virtual buttons or the accelerometer. Our protagonist, naught, is a cat-like being with upright mobility that, in his quest to escape the darkness, collects stuff and avoids dangerous things as he attempts to get from point A to point B.

Gravity, as a concept, is the backbone of the gameplay. the “ground” is a function of the accelerometer (if that is the control set used), in that rotating it causes Naught to treat the area closest to the ground as the source of the gravitational pull. It is pretty cool and strangely logical in practice, akin to watching how a wingless bug in a jar reacts to an inquisitive child flipping and rotating the jar. In the hands of a skilled player, obstacles become travelways.

As the leveled gameplay moves on, the ground structures become more intricate, as do the dangers. There are sliding and rotating bodies, lethal plants, bubbles, tentacles and more. Speed is exhilarating, but can be fatal. there are sections with a dearth of light, and the whole games comes together quite well.

It takes some of the better elements of the first iteration and improves on them. There is much of the same, but thankfully, it feels more refined, and the upfront pricing does help as well.

Super Falling Fred Review

Super Falling Fred Review

Dec 20, 2012

Some people are good at doing dumb things. This perfectly describes Fred. His skill is falling. A lot of games out there that are about running fast and attacking their avoiding enemies and objects. Super Falling Fred is kinda like that except the objects need to be avoided while falling. Pretty fun huh?

Super Falling Fred uses the motion sensor inside the Android phone or tablet to maneuver Fred while he falls. The movement takes a little bit of getting used to. It’s not like controlling a character who’s running and jumping, it is simply guiding his drift. Initially Fred is falling down what appears to be a ventilation shaft. Some obstacles to avoid include pipes, fans, along with spots where there are reinforcements in the shaft making it smaller.

Along the way, there are many power ups. Some of the power ups are spelling out Fred’s name by capturing individual letters, hourglasses which slow Fred’s fall, skullies which can be used as currency and numerous other icons which speed Fred up. As Fred is falling, special care needs to be taken to avoid hitting his head. If he gets hit a bunch of times in his head, he’s too beat, passes out and falls right to the bottom. When Fred smacks his leg or arm on something, they can be taken right off but the game will still continue.

Scullies can be bought using the in-game purchasing system as well as some freebies gained by linking up a Twitter and/or Facebook account. Going to the store with a few skullies to spend, try out a new character. Currently there are 11 characters to purchase and hurl down large ventilation shafts. Also in the store are upgrades such as health and slow motion. In the power up section items such as shields and Lucky charms are available to help Fred along his quest at falling as long as humanly possible.

They Need To Be Fed Review

They Need To Be Fed Review

Aug 8, 2011

They Need To Be Fed is a physics-based platformer that just seems to get everything right. It’s got a cool concept, precise controls, excellent graphics and great level design. Just about everything comes together to make this game a real winner.

The core concept has you playing as an odd looking silhouette who must run and jump across platforms while avoiding obstacles only to dive head-first into a hungry monster. Why? Because they need to be fed, that’s why. But a concept is nothing without gameplay, and this game has a lot of it.

Unlike most platform games where gravity is a constant and falling means certain doom, in They Need To Be Fed, gravity is relative to the platform you are closest to. You can never fall “down” because you are always being pulled towards platforms hanging in space. Even as you run and jump while completely upside down, there’s nowhere to fall but towards the closest platform. It can become disorienting, but that’s just half the fun.

Because it’s so easy to become disoriented, one of the things that can be hardest to grasp is trying to remember which way you are running. While upside down, if you forget to run in the right direction, you might run straight into a spike trap, laser beam or any of the other deadly obstacles that litter each level, including floating orbs that kill on contact and auto-turrets that shoot self-guided missiles. However, the game is very careful about not getting you in over your head too quickly.

They Need To Be Fed has a great way of increasing the difficulty by taking previously established ideas about the world and varying them just enough to keep you guessing. For instance, you might have become comfortable with the idea that certain platforms are stable while others constantly rotate, but how do you deal with a platform that only spins while you’re standing on it or vice versa? You have to be careful when timing your jumps and find a way to plan ahead, even when you have no idea what’s coming next. It can get very overwhelming, but it’s worth it for the fun you’ll be having.

As you go through each level, your ultimate goal is to collect enough diamonds to unlock all 7 levels in all 7 worlds. Additionally, there are “x” levels in each world which are absolutely some of the craziest levels in the game and completely worth the effort of unlocking.

My only complaint about They Need to Be Fed is that it’s short. Very short. You can complete every level in about an hour or two. Even with the achievements, I’m left wanting more.

They Need To Be Fed is a lot of fun. It can get frustrating, but without any real punishment for failure, you can just keep on playing and having a great time. For fans of quirky indie games that offer something unusual, I can’t recommend this game enough.