Expedition Platformer Review

Expedition Platformer Review

Apr 4, 2014

Expedition Platformer surprised me.

It’s a retro-looking 2D platform game with an arcade feel that tells the story of Bogee, a budding anthropology expert on an expedition to different environments.

The game scenery clearly looks to be framed by this narrative, and does a good job of creating a somewhat pixelated jungle environment. There are platforms that make up the playing area at different heights, and green is the predominant coloration in the early level. The controls are fairly flexible, with a movable direction-cum-jump-cum-dodge button, and a “shoot” button to dispense bananas.

The gameplay is all about retrieval. The first level has watermelons spread out in seemingly random order all eplat1around the playing area on the various platforms; the idea is to retrieve all the fruit by contact before the time bar at the top left runs out. To make it a challenge, there are violent natives and hungered monkeys roaming around that make getting tto the watermelons fairly hazardous, as the natives shoot arrows from a distance, and the monkeys inflict damage if they get too close in their starving states. Thankfully, the arrows can be dodged by crouching or ducking, and the monkeys can be bribed with bananas, which can be collected from around the playing area. Long falls are also dangerous

So, dodging baddies and collecting goodies make up the basis, but it is the setup that make the game an enjoyable challenge is the placement. it isn’t a simple left to right excursion, as it is necessary to find the lowest level, and find a way to jump or use a ladder to a reachable level, double back, get a fruit, extra life, banana or artifact, dodge an arrow and so on and so forth… with a countdown clock. As progress is made, elements get a bit tougher, like elevating platforms and such. penguins make an appearance, and even he jungle motif changes to arctic.

I thought the controls could be refined a bit, and there were portions in which the graphics felt a bit clogged (especially the menu). The ads mechanism was confusing and a bit convoluted too.

Still, it’s a hard game not to love, and quite engaging.

Little Galaxy Review

Little Galaxy Review

Jan 24, 2014

Little Galaxy is a story of hope.

It’s about dreams, resourcefulness… and moon boots. It tells the tale of a scientist who believes that sky isn’t a limit in his quest to jump from celestial body to celestial body. And the game developers, smitten with the inspirational story but unable to help improve the moon boots, do the next best thing: they create this game.


In practice, it’s a timing game with physics-based elements. The planets are represented as round, rotating objects, and our protagonist is a proportionately oversized human at the bottom of the screen. Tapping on the screen activates the moon boots and causes our guy to jump. Rotating directly above is a planet to get to. After the initial gimme, the planets are angled above each other, but the premise is to time the jump from planet to planet so as to continually travel lg1“upwards.” Missing the target causes the jumper to float off in space, ending the run. And then it is alsodd necessary to move quickly, as black clouds come in from behind, and when they reach the jumper, the runs ends.

In between the planets and around are collectible stars that breed points and can also be used as trajectory guides. As the game progresses, stuff like gravity-inducing suns make an appearance, making it necessary to jump on a curve; being too conservative or too lose will cost ya. The game incorporates quests that increase in complexity… the number of planets visited, or flags planted, and so on. All this goodness continues until, as mentioned, an errant jump is performed or the dark cloud catches up. High scoring is the name of the game.

The game’s biggest issue is that even with the extras, monotony can set in. It is a lot of the same. Still, it’s a delightful game and an engaging time-waster that isn’t Å£oo pricey and has a free version.

Space is Key Review

Space is Key Review

Jul 5, 2013

The best games, for me, are ones that are simple, easy to control and, more or less mildly infuriating. It’s why I pulled my hair, shedding years while playing Super Hexagon.

It’s probably why I find Space is Key so intriguing. It mocks me. To my face. It’s evil.

Space is Key is about as simple as they come. Looks-wise, it uses switching primary colors with opposing hues to highlight obstacles. The color changes do an interesting job of creating a psychedelic atmosphere reminiscent of Super Hexagon that doesn’t internet with the gameplay.

The play area is generally 2D in nature. A box moves at speed from left to right, towards a star. There are also obstacles that prevent them from getting to said star; with tapping to jump being the solitary control, the job is to avoid the obstacles as a hurdler would. Touching any obstacle, even slightly, ends the run.

But this is where the game gets really fun. The obstacles began to get way more interesting. They increase in number, and funky things start to happen, like falling bricks from the ceiling and ones that pop up from the ground. As the game progresses from earlier levels, space and timing become extremely key elements that govern success. The timing has to be close to perfect to get through. The game spits out blocks until a stage is completed, and that actually adds to the challenge, as a missed go can throw the timing off enough to miss a few of the repeat blocks. At certain levels, attributes (like jumping and speed) are increased for effect, and it all comes together seamlessly.

With the levels in the triple figures and different levels of difficulty, this game shows that “simple” and “exciting” can be worthy housemates with “engrossing” and “challenging.”

Mega Run – Redford’s Adventure Review

Mega Run – Redford’s Adventure Review

Apr 9, 2013

Mega Run – Redford’s Adventure is a cool side scrolling running game from Get Set Games Inc. It serves as a counterpart/sequel to the cross-platform hit Mega Jump. In this iteration, the fun protagonist (Redford) is in search of his kidnapped siblings, and intends to get them back no matter what.

As far as side scrollers go, I thought Mega Run was plenty of fun. It pitted me as a running creature, running through a fantasy land of greenery, structures, opposing monsters and all the power-ups I could shake a stick at.

But first, I have to pay homage to the use of color. The developer did well to use soft colors to actually emphasize game animations. It was a rich bucket of visual fun, and it was created in such a way that I was able to enjoy every obstacle and every assist. The game visuals actually lifted my spirit, and the accompanying music was just as lighthearted.mega1

The controls mainly had to do with either jumping, or jumping higher, so simplicity seemed to be a design element. The game demanded quick wits and reasonable timing of jumps, as there were numerous moving objects to collect or avoid. Collectibles included forest gems, coins, stars and attribute-enhancing power-ups (I especially liked the magnets). I had to race against time to get to the end of a stretch, and succeed ensured the unlocking of higher levels. A three star system measured excellence, and levels could be replayed infinitely.

In-game purchasing existed to speed up the unlocking of advanced levels. it was possible to play through without real world cash, but patience was needed in this regard.

The varied runs mixed in with leveled gameplay should be pleasing to most players, and the game is easy to pick up and enjoy without being overly simplistic. With numerous characters, a couple dozen power-ups and more, it had the doctor’s recommended daily allowance of fun and more.

Raccoon Rising Review

Raccoon Rising Review

Feb 12, 2013

Raccoon Rising is a nature lover’s dream. It is a animal vs machine story cleverly wrapped in a platform jumping skin.

In this action gamer, our masked critter sees its habitat threatened by dastardly robots, and decides to make a stand. Along the way, it saves other animals, destroys machines and generally kicks butt all the way to the top… and beyond.

The opening cutscene was a generous peek as to what was to come. Clean animation and a beautiful forest seen greeted me. The game itself looked great visually, with plenty of attention seemingly given to backdrop and effects.

I like games that have in-depth tutorials. They make games easier to understand from jump, and the developer included an action-packed one in this. Guided by a winged teacher, I was swiftly able to grasp the game concept and associated tasks.

The object was to use my thumbs to plot out a jumping path as quickly as possible by jumping diagonally from one wall to the other, collecting goodies on the way and battling the clock at the same time. Eventually, I made it to gates which served as save points and were opportunities to see my grade. There were cards to gather, an dangerous obstacles like embedded spikes to avoid. breakables (like barrels) also existed to assist with the opening of gates.

The tutorial also showed me how hold-attack; by long-pressing a breakable for an extra second or two, I could vault myself directly at it. Of course, I had to be careful, because my raccoon could get multi-pricked by spikes with a poorly planned jump. There were advanced strategies too, like jumping to a wall while in midair.

Earned credits can be used to soup up the critter, and future upgrades can be purchased.The game boasted 60 or so levels of varying difficulty.

I gotta say I was pleasantly surprised by Raccoon Rising, and liked the challenge of playing this cross-generational game.

Pig Rush Review

Pig Rush Review

Dec 9, 2011

I love pigs. It’s hard to explain why, it’s been the case for a long time. But it’s certainly a big part of why I decided to try out Pig Rush. It also seemed like one of those easy pick-up and put-down games that I like so much for my commute. And long story short that is exactly what it is. But this isn’t meant to be a short story, so:

Pig Rush is a side-scrolling platform jumping game. Except that the platforms are all at the same level, with the variation being the distance between them, which changes at intervals. The pig (which begins by being named Jumpy, but you have the option of renaming him) is an adorable little guy who just seems to like running. He trots along briskly at an even clip with no signs of slowing down, and it’s up to you to make sure that he doesn’t fall down into a ravine. The landscape is cartoonishly pastoral, with little fluffy clouds in a clear blue sky. Jumpy passes by little red barns and apple trees, flowers and picket fences. The only alarming thing about the world is that it is all hovering high in the sky with nothing supporting it. There are bees chilling out in the air above the platforms, and jumping into them earns point bonuses. Jumpy also has a few obstacles in the way of fires set along the way, but he can ward these off by jumping into and claiming a fireman’s hat, which must apparently be made of asbestos. And finally, a game about a pig would not be complete without a set of wings for him to earn, and become a flying pig. The wings can give you sustained, but not indefinite flight, and bring to mind the Tanuki suit from Mario 3.

The game’s largest draw is honestly the graphics: the designers have combined dimensions in a visually interesting way. Jumpy the pig, the trees and bees, are all 2D, but exist on the land platforms which are 3D. It’s almost a big confusing to look at, but still quite impressive. The music is also nice, with an almost Latin quality. It certainly sounds like the music of a pig running quickly.

The downside of the 3D graphics is that the game can lag quite a bit while rendering the background. This becomes a large issue quickly as it is a quick game that relies on the accuracy of your timing. A micro-second pause can mean a fall into a ravine and the end of your turn. This is compounded by the fact that ever death means that you go back to Level 1. There is the possibility of earning continues, but it comes at the cost of downloading additional programs. And the game itself suffers after time being being repetitive. I was intrigued when I first loaded it up because I was shown an assortment of variations of the theme (run as the Easter Bunny, or as a reindeer), but these side games can only be unlocked by earning a depressingly large number of points in the main game. I just don’t feel motivated to play so much of this game that I can unlock another version of the same thing and keep playing.

And this may seem like a random aside, but I was quite a bit disconcerted by some of the ads that run across the menu. I have no issue with a free app using ads to generate some revenue, but it’s a little strange that a game ostensibly aimed at young people is running ads for Mexican obesity clinics. I don’t know if it’s worse if no one is screening the ads, or if they are and that was allowed to pass.

Death Worm Review

Death Worm Review

Jun 28, 2011

Destruction is the nature of the world. For change to happen, the old must crumble and decay. If that crumbling can be sped up a little, then all the better, especially if it can be sped up by introducing a player controlled giant man-eating worm into proceedings. Video games have long understood the primal desire inherent in most humans to smash things. Smashing things in a safe and controlled environment is fun. That’s the principle that Death Worm is built on, and it makes for a really rather satisfying experience.

In Death Worm, you play as the eponymous worm, bringing wormy death to anyone who dares to walk on the ground above your head. You control your worm with an on-screen d-pad, throwing him around in order to kill and blow up anything that moves. There are a variety of modes for you to smash your way through, as well as a couple of mini-games if you get bored of the constant slaughter.

There’s a remarkable sincerity to Death Worm that few other games can boast. It sets out its stall from the get go, and whilst it adds new layers and challenges, it never shies away from its core goal – making sure the player is having as much destructive fun as possible.

Some might be put off by the simple graphics, or might find the endless blowing up of things too repetitive, but these are small criticisms. Death Worm engages you with such aplomb that it’s difficult not to get swept along by the leaping, genetic horror that you play in game.

If you ever watched the film Tremors, and really wanted Kevin Bacon to lose, then Death Worm is the game for you. It’s fast paced, addictive and above all else, a stupid amount of fun. Killing innocent people, trucks, helicopters, birds, camels and tanks might be wrong if you’re a human, but if you’re an amoral worm, then it’s a riot.

Stellar Escape Review

Stellar Escape Review

Jun 7, 2011

The endless runner genre is one that’s taken off in popularity since the advent of the smartphone era. The premise is simple – something or someone is coming to get you and you need to escape before it does. The screen constantly moves and all you have to do is get yourself over the obstacles in your path.

Stellar Escape follows the same basic template, but adds a few more buttons into the mix, along with a few nice graphical touches and a story that you can quite easily miss. It’s not a revolution, but it does what it does rather well, and for the price, that’s all you can ask for really.

Sprinting through a space station, you are presented with a variety of space walls, space holes and space rails that you have to navigate to proceed. There are five buttons; jump, grab, slide, fall down hole and dive through gap. Each of the spacey obstacles you encounter refers back to an action – press that button, pass that obstacle.

The problem with the many-buttoned approach is that things can get mighty convoluted when you’re facing large strings of walls, gaps and holes. Not only is the game testing your reaction times, but it’s forcing you to remember which of five buttons you need to press. That doesn’t sound particularly taxing, but when three of the buttons are different kinds of jumps, it can be.

Stellar Escape has taken the running genre and tried to make it more like a “real” or conventional videogame and the results are mixed. It’s still a lot of fun, and once you get the hang of things you’ll be leaping and ducking and falling in holes with the best of them. But the game lacks the instant addictive thrill of something like Cannabalt, or one of the huge swathe of clones you can find on the Android Market.

It’s not terrible, it’s not broken and it is a lot of fun, but you can’t quite help thinking that Stellar Escape has run a little bit too far from the template that makes games like this work.

Cordy Review

Cordy Review

May 16, 2011

I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover; I know that it’s not style over substance and I know that beauty is only skin deep. Right now though, I don’t care, because Cordy is one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever had the pleasure to look at.

Taking its cues from LittleBigPlanet, Cordy is a platforming adventure with light puzzle elements. You lead the eponymous hero through a gorgeous 3D world, collecting particles of energy to “power up” the level and open the door through to the next one.

You control Cordy by pushing and tapping the on-screen buttons, solving simple puzzles and leaping from platform to platform as you go. There are four levels included in the game, each split into five sub levels, with more available to purchase through an in-app payment system.

It’s difficult to put into words just how good Cordy looks. If you want an app to show off what your phone can do, then this is it. Everything moves seamlessly, the textures look gorgeous and the character designs are excellent. Cordy just oozes quality and charm. The level design is on par with the visuals as well. Each level is full of cogs to collect, some of which you’re going to miss on your first play through, and a simple star rating system ranks your progress as you complete each part of the world.

If you were being overly critical, you might complain that the jump button is a little too close to the side of the screen and that there’s only one, albeit delightful, song throughout the whole game. You might even baulk at the idea of having to buy extra levels, but in the end these are minor criticisms of, what is, a major achievement.

In terms of polish, Cordy is a Triple-A title through and through. It acts as proof to any naysayers that mobile and casual games can be just as impressive as their console based equivalents. It’s fun, easy to pick up and impossible to put down. Cordy is already a classic, get it whilst it’s hot.

Robot Unicorn Attack Review

Robot Unicorn Attack Review

Apr 27, 2011

Be honest, we’ve all dreamed about being a magical robot unicorn, who jumps, gallops and excretes rainbows. Nothing would be greater than rushing through a magical world, stained with a lavender hue, traversing islands of ground and butting your way through the star-shaped boulders that block your path. Luckily, thanks to Robot Unicorn Attack, all of our dreams can finally come true.

Already a huge hit on iOS and as a web-based flash title, Robot Unicorn Attack is the latest in a reasonably long line of side scrolling run ’em ups. Your robot unicorn constantly sprints from the left to the right of the screen and you control the horned horse’s leaping and rainbow thrusts. Each game grants you three lives, or wishes and your final score is a total of the three runs.

The game is almost exactly as garish as you’d expect, full of rainbows, bright colours and twinkly, tinkly sound effects. A single song plays in the background of everything you do, “Always” by Erasure, which you’ll either find utterly hilarious or massively infuriating. Robot Unicorn Attack is camp, funny and only ever hits a single, high-pitched and utterly bonkers note.

Whilst Robot Unicorn Attack is a perfect example of pick up and play gaming, it does lack depth. Nothing changes, save for your unicorn gradually running faster as you progress through the randomly generated level. For brief gaming stints, that’s not too much of a problem, but if you’re looking for a game with a bit more meat on its robot bones, you’re looking in the wrong place.

Robot Unicorn Attack blasts along like a glittery fireball and because the gameplay is so simple, it’s easy to get caught up in its wake. It’s by no means a perfect game, but what it does, it does spectacularly well. It won’t change your life, it won’t reinvent the wheel, but for 99 cents, you can’t really complain.