Jelly Defender Review

Jelly Defender Review

Oct 5, 2011

Arcade shooters have been set in a wide variety of locations, but you don’t see too many of them set underwater. Jelly Defender is one of the rare exceptions, putting you in the briny blue as a lone submarine attempting to survive 40 levels of attacking jellyfish, shooting down as many as possible for the highest score.

With each level comes a new type of jellyfish that moves in a different way. Some go very slow while others go very fast. Some oscillate between very wide arcs while others make very short arcs, making them hard to hit and hard to avoid. In order to succeed, you must kill a certain number in order to unlock the next level. You only get one life per level, but unlimited attempts to pass it. If you crash into a jellyfish, you have to start the level again from the beginning. In later levels, it can get pretty tough. Some of the challenge of the game is made up in the way points are deducted from your score for each missed shot. You don’t lose anything if jellyfish swim right past you, but for the best score possible, you need to make every shot count.

Beyond anything I’ve mentioned so far, Jelly Defender is in a pretty sorry state. The gameplay is about as shallow as they come. All you do for the entirety of the game is shoot and dodge jellyfish; you can’t even move around. You’re constantly set to the far left of the screen, only capable of moving up or down while a steady barrage of jellyfish flow in from the right. For a game that borrows the name “defender,” hoping to evoke a bit of that arcade classic was wishful thinking. This game is only like Defender in the most barebones way possible — the game is set to landscape view and you shoot things. And that’s about its deepest connection.

Levels end when they end, giving no indication of progress, of how far you have left to go or any kind of conclusion. The level just ends, shows you a score and asks if you’d like to continue. In all likelihood, I don’t see too many people wanting to after the first few levels. The graphics are very basic, without any special effects to make it interesting at all. For example, your shots are nothing more than a tiny, black streak while jellyfish simply disappear when hit. The background looks nice but reminds me of an image you might stick to the back of a fish tank, with schools of fish frozen in space and seaweed leaves standing still. Even worse, the background is also the wrong size; jellyfish swim right off it and onto a black bar at the edge of the screen. As for the jellyfish themselves, they’re hardly animated. Tentacles stiffly hang down as they move towards you.

Overall, I’d say Jelly Defender is a must to avoid. It’s too basic and doesn’t offer much fun aside from endlessly shooting boring, cartoon jellyfish.

Super Medusa Review

Super Medusa Review

Apr 26, 2011

If there’s one thing that mobile phones do well, apart from making calls, it’s action-puzzle games. The bite-sized nature of mobile gaming means developers are constantly trying to cram more and more excitement into every level of their fiendishly difficult creations, turning sedate brain benders into frantic, quick thinking reaction-time testers. We’ve come a long way since Tetris.

Super Medusa is a fine example of this fledgling genre, testing not just your timing and reflexes, but taxing your grey matter as well. A cutesy game in both sight and sound, it casts you in the role of a constantly bouncing jellyfish. Using the accelerometer, you tilt your phone to guide the buoyant Cnidaria in a quest to free its fishy friends, who have somehow become encased in different coloured blocks. You bash said blocks with your head, and once you’ve freed all the fish in a level, you move onto the next.

Of course, it’s not as simple as all that. Your jellyfish can only break blocks that are the same colour as it, which means you’ll have to find the star blocks on each level that let you change colour. Add to that the different varieties of predator that patrol the undersea realm, all of whom will kill you instantly if you come into contact with them, and the game becomes an addictive, frustrating, bobbing joy.

Super Medusa is a lot of fun, mixing elements of classic platformers with a hefty pinch of block-breaking puzzler and a visual style that’s pleasing on the eye but never provides any “wow” moments. There are levels enough to keep you entertained, but things do get a little samey sometimes; Super Medusa lacks the visual chicanery that other titles employ to keep your eyes and your mind interested.

This isn’t a game that you’ll lose hours in, but it is one that can easily while away a boring commute or a lonely lunch break. The charming art style and distinctly old school sounds are almost certain to bring a smile to your face, just don’t expect your play time to extend into the wee small hours and you won’t be disappointed.