Faif Review

Faif Review

Mar 24, 2014

Faif is an ultra-minimalist take on the RPG combat/puzzle game that is commonly seen on Android like Puzzle Quest. Faif is a game that was created as part of the Ludum Dare game jam and was made in a very limited amount of time.

Faif’s concept is an interesting mix between a fighting game and a puzzle game. The playfield is compared of a grid of tiles. On each is a skull, sword, gem or heart. Players take turns stringing together any five tiles on the board. When five tiles are selected, the game randomly picks a tile from that set and the tile selected has an effect. Matching a sword allows the player to attack the opponent, but only if skulls are also matched. The number of skulls in the combo affects how much damage is done, but if a skull is selected instead of a sword the player hurts themselves instead. Landing on a heart heals the player and gems can be exchanged for powerups in the shop.

Screenshot_2014-03-23-12-40-13Since the game randomly picks a tile, the idea is to match enough skulls to do decent amounts of damage without having so many that there’s too great a chance of the player doing damage to themselves. Thus there are several different strategies such as high risk attacks or weaker attacks that are safer. It’s also possible to employ defensive strategies, such as a lot of healing.

Computer opponents are randomly selected and range from out and out attackers to more defensive players. Faif lacks multiplayer which is a shame, as it would be a fun game to play online, despite its randomness.

Screenshot_2014-03-23-10-05-28A shop is also available in game that stocks spells and other affects the player can buy with gems. As the player plays more games and levels up, they start with more gems thus unlocking the purchase of spells from the start of the game. This feeling of progression is well done and makes it possible to get further and further into the game. A nice collection of achievements also motivates play.
Faif’s presentation is very slick. The tiles are easy to see and the colours used are contrasting and good to look at. With its fancy backgrounds, pulsating buttons and smooth animation Faif looks really good.

Faif’s sound really meshes well with its combat vibe and is as striking as its graphics. Strange but awesome wild westernish style songs play in game and it just nails the one-on-one-somebodies-gonna-die feeling of the game. The sound is well done as well and is a complex as it needs to be.

Faif is one of those games where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, it might be simple but it has a laser focus on gameplay and involving the player and its graphics and sound really show what can be done with so little. Faif is as much art as it is game and is worth a close look.

Dubstep Hero Review

Dubstep Hero Review

Mar 6, 2014

Many people, including myself, often ask just what the heck is Dubstep. The simplest explanation is that it’s a form of electronic/techno music that focuses on drum and percussion lines that focus on bass and sub bass frequencies. To some, it’s just a lot of noise. But to a growing number of folks, dubstep is the hottest musical trend, brought into the spotlight like artists such as Skrillex. Despite your feelings on the genre, there is no denying it’s growing popularity and adaptation in contemporary pop music.

Now, some of you will also remember for a moment when rhythm/ band karaoke games were all the rage. Titles such as Rock Band and Guitar Hero were quintessential titles to have if you owned a gaming console. However, those times are a thing of the past, with interest in those games being as great as public opinion of freemium games. But that doesn’t stop some indie devs from making games similar to the old popular rhythm titles, such as Brus Media’s Dubstep Hero, which brings the world of Dubstep to the once loved rhythm game style.


Dubstep Hero uses the familiar 5 different colored circles that designate which notes to hit for whichever song you are playing. Also, just like those two aforementioned console titles, colored notes will come flying at you based on the beat of the song. However, the similarities between the three games end there.

Dubstep Hero is a very watered down version of Rock Band or Guitar Hero. The art and game presentation aren’t all that spectacular. The score and multiplier text are also extremely hard to read, and the game doesn’t give great feedback as to whether or not you actually scored on any notes. This game also has limited features unless you pony up money. If you do unlock the full game, you’ll get the opportunity to import your own tracks, on top of the many tracks you can buy for download. You can also add other customizations, but many can get away without dropping a penny. That is, unless you are a big Dubstep enthusiast.


Dubstep Hero is an alright game for the price and for what it is. As a Rock Band/ Guitar Hero clone, it’s very ordinary, and very much lacking in a lot of options, such as changing the difficulty. The graphics and overall presentation are extremely vanilla and terribly uninspiring. This title just feels so plain, lacking any originality to it, but plenty of wub-wub-wub.

CrowdFunding Spotlight: Atlas on IndieGogo

CrowdFunding Spotlight: Atlas on IndieGogo

Feb 19, 2014

It is no secret that the whole technology industry feels that wearable tech and fitness tracking tech are certain to become the next big thing. Giants such as Apple and Google have notably thrown their collective hats into the ring with Google Glass and the iPhone’s new M7 motion coprocessor. The problem with fitness trackers, as this weeks KickStarter Crowdfunded Spotlight quickly points out, is that they are essentially glorified pedometers; crudely equating vertical movement with movement and a work rate.

Allow me to introduce Atlas: the first fitness tracker that actually tracks your workouts. The innovative aspect of Atlas is that it tracks movement in three directions and accurately relates that movement with a set of programmed exercises. By paying attention to heart rate as well as movement, the matte black watch is acutely aware of the amount of effort going into each rep. This means that cheating on reps is now a little bit harder than before. Their IndieGoGo page claims that the included sensor is so accurate it can tell the difference between regular and triangle pushups, squats from deadlifts, and dual-bicep curls from alternating bicep curls.

This is honestly one of the most impressive crowdfunding projects in recent memory and above all I have to say that I find the entire yellow text on flat black to be very cool. The generously sized display is divided into two sections, one containing one large number that can be set as reps, heart rate, or elapsed time, and the other containing the remaining two stacked vertically. At the very top is a bar that lists the current exercise to ensure that what is being logged is accurate.


The Atlas delivers a gold mine of information for fitness tracking apps, and it has announced compatibility with popular apps as well as an incredibly impressive in-house app that displays metrics such as stability, average heart rate, and workout intensity in addition to tracking workouts and suggesting different exercises to work underutilized muscles or rest overworked joints.

I have to say the total package of Atlas is incredibly impressive, which is probably why it has almost quadrupled its initial goal of $125,000 with still 17 days to go. As can be expected the Atlas watch is not particularly cheap, but $169 for a pre-order still feels like a great deal. So, I am sold. Spread the word; the fitness revolution is upon us!

Double Fine’s The Cave Now Available on OUYA

Double Fine’s The Cave Now Available on OUYA

Dec 4, 2013

The OUYA just doesn’t go away, with more and more games making their way to the once promising alternative to the major consoles. Double Fine and Ron Gilbert have brought their acclaimed indie console and iOS game The Cave to the OUYA Android console. No word if there are any future plans to bring The Cave to Android phones or tablets, though this game is available on the iOS app store.

Trailer Park King Review

Trailer Park King Review

Nov 26, 2013

The portrayal of people in media has been a hot topic as of late, especially with egregious misrepresentations of any protected classes in anything from TV to games to advertisements. One would think with this being a hot topic that a game which pretty much paints every single character in the worst stereotypical light possible, should be going through the ringer. However, you’d be dead wrong.

Trailer Park King, originally enjoying success as a XBLIG title some time back, is one of those games at first glance that looks like a dud. This title involves the story of the most stereotypical “white trash” redneck who is framed for murder after a date gone bad. Throughout the trials and tribulations of the protagonist named King, you will run into a myriad of scantily clad women, sexual innuendos and more stereotypes than you can imagine. With all that in mind, this point and click title is sure to anger a few people.


Be as it may, Trailer Park King itself is an entertaining and well done puzzle adventure title. While one could easily label this a sexist title, no actual sex happens within the game. Instead, a path of puzzles in order to clear your main character for a murder he was framed for are laced within the threads of the noticeable cleavage and portrayal of dumb yokels. The controls are fairly simple, being that it’s a point and click adventure title as well, with almost every game control involving a tap of the controller. The sleuthing, however, is still up to the player.

Anyone who remembers Al Lowe games from the 90s such as Leisure Suit Larry or Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist, will appreciate the immature, toilet-bowl humor that Trailer Park King uses. It’s the thing that is either the selling point or the turn off for this title, depending on which camp you subscribe to. If you enjoy adult humor, and can take a joke, no matter who you are, you’ll get a kick out of the humor and atmosphere of this title.


There will be a ring of controversy surrounding this title, regarding its treatment of women, or painting those who reside in trailer parks as dumb hillbillies. But it’d be a dull world if everyone had the same sense of humor. Trailer Park King doesn’t do any one thing particularly amazing, but what it does do is give people an opportunity to smile like an immature 14 year old, no matter their actual physical age, while also using their head to solve puzzles. It’s nothing worse than what you see in games such as Grand Theft Auto, and something a lot more tame than most movies people go to nowadays. A throwback to the days when PC was king, Trailer Park King is a point and click adventure that’s both fun and crude all in one.

Morphopolis, An Interactive Art Novel, Is Released

Morphopolis, An Interactive Art Novel, Is Released

Nov 19, 2013

Morphopolis 1

There are certain games on the market whose genre is nigh-impossible to pinpoint, and Morphopolis is one of them. It’s not so much a game, as it is interactive artwork, and the screenshots are probably going to say more than words. This gorgeousness can be purchased for $9.99, with Android and computer versions bundled together, from here: Morphopolis Official Website.

Audionaut Review

Audionaut Review

Nov 6, 2013

Audiosurf is a little indie game that’s quite loved among game critics. It is a PC title that puts users into a space ship which must hit all of the beats dictated by whatever song is playing. The neat thing about Audiosurf is that a user’s own mp3 collection can be used, rather than having to play from pre-selected songs. Audiosurf also boasts a way better menu system for selecting those songs than a game like Beat Hazard Ultra.


Alas, Audiosurf is not available on Android. However, a comparable substitute, which shares many of the same game mechanics and themes, is available on the Google-powered mobile OS, going by the name of Audionaut. This game, which just released in early October exclusively onto the Google Play store, has players take the role of an audionaut, which appears to be a little figure flying through space on a mission to collect magical musical notes corresponding to the beat of a song of the player’s choice, just so long as it is on their device.

This small indie title differs from Audiosurf in a couple of different ways. In Audionaut there are moments when your little flying guy or girl (the game doesn’t really indicate either way) must hit jumps in order to catch musical notes in the sky. Players move the little astronaut on 5 different paths, collecting notes, but avoiding barriers, which they can fly outside of these paths temporarily in order to avoid obstacles. Also setting Audionaut apart from its other counterparts is the fact that Audionaut gives you power ups to boost your score, based on how many consecutive notes you’ve collected. It resembles using star power in Guitar Hero or Rock Band games.


Visually speaking, Audionaut isn’t all that impressive. The little flying character doesn’t look like much and the atmosphere you fly through doesn’t change at all from song to song in terms of its looks or colors used. That can make this game come off as a bit repetitive at times, though the game does change the layout of the levels based on the song one chooses.

There isn’t a lot of good games in the Google Play store that incorporate one’s music on their device, nor a lot of spectacular rhythm titles. However, this tiny indie title known as Audionaut allows one to incorporate their music library on their phone or tablet, giving players a Audiosurf or Guitar Hero like experience. While it doesn’t appear that this game allows players to use cloud music services like Amazon Cloud Player or Google Music, one can select from any mp3s they may have stored on their device and are greeted with awesome challenging levels in which they must guide an audionaut to safety while collecting musical notes. It’s a fairly simple concept without any frills to it, but Audionaut offers players a lot of fun with a low price, as well as a small learning curve but a giant package of fun.

KickStarter Spotlight: Freedom Planet

KickStarter Spotlight: Freedom Planet

Feb 6, 2013

It has been a while since we have really taken an in depth look to one of the fields in which KickStarter has benefited the most; indie game developers. As most everyone knows, indie game sales have exploded over the last few years; bolstered by better distribution methods like Steam and a more willing Sony and Microsoft. It goes without saying that a strong indie market is one of the most important factors to a great gaming industry. Recognizing this, our choice for this week’s KickStarter Spotlight is Freedom Planet, a game that will harken strongly back to the days when Sonic and MegaMan were dominating the console market.

And by harken, I mean to say that I could see more than a few people finding this to be a strange, ill-advised Sonic offshoot; that is how similar Freedom Planet looks like the classic Sonic The Hedgehog games. There is a large difference between retro graphics and pixel art, and Freedom Planet’s graphics are most certainly encamped in the former. While I see where the developers are coming from, I feel that the execution is potentially just a little weak and the levels just do not seem to have the same pop and charm of the games it is emulating. What is charming, however, are the character models. These wide-eyed Powerpuff anthropomorphic animals certainly deliver the looks and will garner anyone’s sympathy upon their virtual demise.

In terms of gameplay, it is not surprising to note that the game does borrow heavily from Sonic, but there are enough new elements interwoven to make it really stand on its own. Each character has their own special move and these seem to work in a myriad of ways ranging from conjuring a motorcycle to reflective shields. I do not have a hard time imagining how the wide range of character options and breakneck game speed would attract modern gamers who, as a whole, are very willing to give any deserving indie game a shot. This is aided by the fact that Freedom Planet is being developed for just about every platform other than the PS3 or Xbox 360, including potentially an Android version. Any remaining doubt of this game’s success is quelled upon looking at their KickStarter page and noticing that with still a week to go, Freedom Planet has garnered almost nine times its original goal. Their biggest challenge now is getting approved for Steam through Steam’s Greenlight program, so for any platformer fans who are looking for a new indie game, head over to the Freedom Planet KickStarter and Steam Greenlight page and help make this game a reality.