Green Throttle Games and SEGA have announced that they will bring two Sonic the Hedgehog games to the Green Throttle Arena with full Atlas Controller compatibility. An update is on its way that will provide Green Throttle support to the Android versions of Sonic 4: Episode I and II.
â€œThe opportunities in mobile gaming today are extremely exciting, and partnering with Green Throttle to bring a console-like experience to our mobile games is one example of whatâ€™s possible with the processing power of new devices,â€ said David Zemke, Director of Mobile Business Development for Sega of America. â€œThere is great value in Green Throttleâ€™s Arena app and it was a simple integration to add support for the Atlas controller to our games, giving fans a new way to play. We hope to bring even more games to the Arena in the coming months.â€
In this side scrolling aquamarine game, I got to guide my adventuresome koi fish on gold collecting errand. The game made me think of arcade games, with its soft color schemes that made up the background. Visually, it was made up of mostly stills; the animations were not groundbreaking, but they worked. Air was air, water was water and little ambiguity existed. The extras, like fish and birds, were utilitarian in looks and movements.
The gameplay was equally simple. Coins lined the travel path at different levels. I had two touch controls; tap to dive, and multi-touch to increase speed. The trick was a combination of timing the dives to get deep coins, and also getting enough latent energy to arc into the air to capture highly placed coins. When you add in the objects that could slow me down, it became quite the challenge to get a set amount of coin in the shortest time possible. For a side scrolling game, it was not boring.
I liked the different flavors of challenges. Want to race to 10 coins? 100? Fine. Differing levels of difficulty helped round out the playability of the title.
And then there is the Green Throttle Bluetooth Controller compatibility that I hinted at earlier. At the risk of sounding like it has mystical powers, I truly felt the accessory really made the game POP. I do not dare belittle the work of the developers, but I really loved this game when it was played with a conventional-felling controller. Frankly, it makes it stand apart.
For a no frills time waster that works well with Green Throttle peripherals and transforms to a two-player game on the big screen, one cannot go wrong with Fish Tails. It’s lack of frills is a tribute to the inevitable occasions when some basic, mindless fun is sorely needed.
Simple games will always find a home with me. Blocks Party, come on in.
Blocks Party is a game with an easy premise. You guide a rolling ball on a track with plenty of bonuses and obstacles to the end as fast as possible. Now, it’s the type of obstacles — coupled with the breadth of control options — that really made the game such a compelling option for me.
The colors were sharp, allowing for the visual separation that made playing a quick-reaction game of this type possible. It was a rich fantasy environment, with beautiful pastels outlining the sky, the ground and everything in between. The green foliage that showed up in most screens evoked memories of the Dorothy prancing down the Yellow Brick Road.
Controlling the game via the touchscreen was mostly intuitive, if a bit jerky at first. The default movement of Mr Rollio — the ball, thank you very much — was forward. Even after hitting an obstacle, he gathered his wits, and continued the forward movement. I could touch the screen to the left or right to guide evasive or purposeful movement in the respective direction. I had goals on the runs, one of which was to free caged comrades by barreling into the jail structures. The gameplay moved from fairly easy, fixed structures to moving barriers that forced me to think proactively. I liked the special powers; jetpacks ALWAYS make things better.
I would be practically criminally derelict if I didn’t mention the Green Throttle functionality. My review of the bluetooth gamepad led me to this game. It worked very well with this title, and I actually think, for better or worse, the game actually worked better with it. Simple joystick movement replicated the onscreen inputs, and there was no noticeable lag. I loved that the game morphed into something more when paired with the control (along with HDMI adapters).
All in all, it was a fun game, with or without the gamepad, and that was its true testimonial.
Frankly, I love what is happening in the mobile gaming space. With more powerful hardware and a dedicated corp of eager developers, the segment is booming. And why not? We manage business, control communications and so much more from our smartphones? Why shouldn’t we be able to play console-quality games on the go?
Yes, you can get any of the dedicated gaming devices, but what’s the fun in that, especially when cell-based games sewn so much cheaper?
The pair of review pieces came in a nondescript box that his the well packaged goodies inside. The boxes themselves each came stacked, weighing in with a gamepad, instructions, HDMI adapter and — this really impressed me for obvious reasons — batteries.
To be honest, I was surprised at how light the controller was. It seemed sturdy enough though, surviving two drop tests on hardwood without any discernable damage.
To get the controllers up and running, I had to download the companion app Arena, which not only streamlined the pairing prices, but collated compatible games very nicely. Pairing was painless, and the distances allowed was equitable.
I tried the controller with several compatible games, and the performance was impressive. I didn’t detect lag, and I found the experience quite enjoyable. I thought the re-pairing process was slightly inconsistent, but I was generally back up in seconds anyway, albeit manually.
The added HDMI cables take the whole system to a whole new level by allowing for functionality with big screen TV for portable entertainment.
When it comes to handheld gaming, I liked this item enough to want to splurge on compatible titles. This testament to its efficacy also reveals my biggest quibble: I want more games! Thankfully, with available SDK and an all-call to developers to join the party, I am sure that that specific gripe will be licked soon. Customer service was topnotch in my limited interaction.
In a word? Fantastic. This is an item that is helping change the gaming paradigm, and it is always awesome when great ideas actually make it to consumers. With cost effectiveness and mobility on its side, the Arena Controller does seem like a compelling item.
I saw many, many Android controllers at GDC, all with different particular hooks to them. However, Green Throttle’s angle is particularly interesting: they want to promote mutliplayer gameplay.
That’s because by connecting to the Green Throttle app (available for both Gogle Play and Amazon Appstore), up to 4 controllers can connect to a device via Bluetooth, and the individual controller will show which player number it is, similar to an Xbox 360 controller, of which the design is practically identical.
To help promote this, Green Throttle is actually self-publishing some games that feature multiplayer support like Crystal Storm, a dual-stick shooter that also works with touch controls, but is at its best when taking on monsters with players together. Other third-party games like Gunslugs will also support the controller
The controllers do not support HID at the moment but this functionality could be coming down the road.