The new release derives from a popular flash game, and the current iteration on Android is the fruit of collaborative work with developer Divine Games.
Realm Grinder features fun and easy to pick up gameplay. Players start building their empire by choosing between Good & Evil. Each option unlocks unique buildings, upgrades and achievements based on becoming a benevolent ruler or a cruel tyrant. Further adding depth and strategy to the game are the many alliances you can choose, from fairies and elves to goblins and demons. Each faction offers its own distinct play style.
The game is available for free (with in-app purchase opportunities).
You might not believe you have a New World pioneering spirit deep down inside, but The Trail, a new-ish game under the Kongregate banner, just might have you doubting that surety.
This one has some great pedigree too, being another Peter Molyneux production; this one definitely reaches for the inner pilgrim; it’s set in a what feels like a newly populated land, and the player takes on the persona of one of the brave souls looking to make their fortune in the mostly uncharted territory.
The game begins with a very detailed, extensive tutorial; it leads one through selecting a character, and then gives the hint of a backstory which involves the player arriving in the new land by ship. Thereafter, the game leads the player through the activities that hopefully ensure success. With the use of an in-game guide, the game slowly comes to life.
There is a lot of exploration; there are target destination in place, and the core idea is to make it to the checkpoints, replenish the life-source, and continue on. Secondary to that, there are plenty of mini-tasks to accomplish. One is collecting materials as one travels the pathways. This is very important, because this supplies the entire game, and involves things like collecting edibles and other things which can be crafted for trades.
This collection element is interestingly layered. After a while, one gets to do stuff like hack tree stumps and/or hunt game. There is also a resource management aspect; there is limited space to collect materials, so one needs to know what to carry or discard. Does one item have better trade-in or crafting value than another? Energy depletion is a real danger, so does one have an emergency snack onboard? Decisions, decisions…
These opportunity costs really make the game interesting. Stuff can be expedited with real cash, but play can go on without it. Progress unlocks more and more stuff, and the game continually unfolds, which is surprising for something that, at first glance, looks like a gingerly walk along the path. Take the trading battles for instance; losing is not to be condoned!
It comes together nicely; the graphics feel stilted at times, but the visuals do the job of adequately conveying the gameplay. All in all, it is easy to enjoy, and tough to put down; the combination of action, strategy and management make it easy to get addicted to.
For an arcade style air shooter, one might just wanna give Sky Squad a go.
It is presented in portrait, with vibrant colors serving as the background. The control system is finger dragging, which allows the player to feel like he/she is immersed in the animations
The plane that the player controls starts at the bottom of the screen, flying forward. As noted, the plane is controlled by one’s finger. The idea is to guide the plane within the confines of the playing area, and to avoid obstacles. As one would expect, the obstacles are never too far away, and it starts out with waves of tick-like aliens that dive in from the top.
Thankfully, our plane has a built-in weapon that auto-shoots; thus, the idea is to use the finger to direct the plane and its firing towards an appropriate target, which generally have life bars. These enemies generally destroy by contact, too, so part of the control process is avoiding the aliens. There are bosses, too, and as expected, one has to be extra crafty to get by the bosses.
The cool thing is that blasting the aliens releases coins and boosts; the former is important with regards to upgrading the ship and related attributes, while the latter are great for increasing longevity of a run. Boosts include arcade staples such as coin magnets, temporary invulnerability, additional firepower and more.
The game incorporates leveling too, allowing one to build stronger planes, increase the efficacy of boosts and even
When it’s all said and done, it is an easy game to get into. The core gameplay is mostly intuitive, and it even manages to be fun even while being engaging. The freemium method is a bit aggressive in this one, but it is possible to play without using real cash.
Bullet Boy is an interesting game set in a fairy world with atypical structures and lighthearted themes.
It’s a brightly laid out game, with plenty of whimsical characterizations — starting from the lead personality himself — and from the onset, it’s clear the game is designed with fun in mind; it makes use of quick, non-permanent animations, plus vivid colors and a dash of visual perspective to help the gameplay along.
In this one, the basic idea is to get our protagonist from point A to point B. The main means of propulsion is a form of shooting barrels. Now, one wants to “fire” our guy from one barrel to the next by tapping, on and on to the end.
Thing is, it isn’t that easy.
For one, the barrels are not always lined up perfectly. In some cases, the destination barrel might be moving up and down, such that one needs a good sense of timing coupled with decent hand-eye coordination to make the transfer work. Then, one might find moving obstacles that temporarily might block one’s flight path, like big, blue birds and such. Ah…
Then, as one progresses, there are more elements, like windmills that wreak havoc on one’s aim. Two elements that do affect gameplay are the special pieces and typhoon. The former presents an opportunity cost situation, as one doesn’t need to get these pieces, but is does serve as a bonus. The latter does affect the former, because the typhoon rolls in from right to left. One needs to move quickly enough, or be consumed by the typhoon, ending the run. In essence, it creates a timed aspect.
There are power-ups and in-app content too.
If it feels a bit like Donkey Kong, that’s a good thing, and something I suspect the developer won’t be too upset with; the timing aspect works, as does the platformer element. It oscillates between 2D and 3D very ably, and the transitions in difficulty are well done.
Lemonade is the key to becoming a baron in AdVenture Capitalist.
It’s an interesting game, and exceptionally simple, kinda like Dope Wars, but simpler still and without illicit drugs. The main concept is entrepreneurial spirit, and using imaginary money to make lots and lots of more imaginary money.
The game is laid out simply, with business types laid out linearly. Starting off, a player gets an opportunity to build a lemonade stand. Once purchased, tapping on he lemon symbol yields profit, which is generated after a set time. The lemonade stand earns a modest payout, but soon, it is possible to invest in more stands, which bring in more profit. Eventually, one gets enough money to buy several more stands, or to move up into the newspaper delivery business. The same process plays out: tap on the business symbols and generate as much profit as possible.
At this point — sooner or later, depending on the player — a decision will have to be made, spurred on perhaps by a manager notification that pops up to the left. One of the biggest things to overcome is the need to continually tap on the business to get it to “run” and create profit. Hiring a manager essentially allows the business to run without physical interaction.
So, in a lot of ways, the game is about opportunity costs. One can choose to upgrade to bigger and better paying businesses, or choose to hire a manager, or become more invested in an existing business… or to upgrade the speed of output of an existing business. It rolls together fairly reasonably.
The business transitions are heady stuff; lemonade to newspaper delivery to car washes all the way to oil companies and banks. As one’s dollar amount at the top left increases exponentially, there are several ways to spend. It becomes necessary to purchase managers for every business, and these managers become more expensive as the game progresses.
One interesting wrinkle is the use of angels. Angels serve as investors and an advanced form of in-game cash, and at points, the game will offer angels for restarting the game completely. There is also the opportunity to use real money to expedite stuff.
There are times that the game lull sets in; I like that one can leave the game and the business runs in the background, but this efficiency also means that there are stretches where it feels like here is noting to do while watching the cash ticker increase unendingly. I would have liked some risk built in, say investing in the wrong industry too early causing something negative happening. As it is, I can’t shake the feeling that I can just sit back for a few days and buy everything with the resulting cash horde.
Still, it’s a great time waster, and it even has me wondering why the heck I didn’t become more serious about lemonade way back when.
Notable Flash games site Kongregate has launched their first published title for mobile, Escape. Developed by Incredible Ape, this game can be most easily described as a cross-between the wall-jumping gameplay of NinJump or Ninjatown: Trees of Doom, with the retro art aesthetic and unforgiving difficulty of Semi Secret’s Gravity Hook HD. Players control a ninja who must escape from the pit it finds itself in by rapidly jumping between walls, and staying above the laser that is coming up to try and vaporize it. Also, the walls have spikes on them, because what is a task without some obstacles in the way?
Escape‘s pixel art is simple but looks great on high-resolution screens. The chiptune soundtrack fits well, being fast-paced and high-intensity, a great fit for this game. The sessions are very short, lasting only a few seconds before death, due to the challenge, which means that a high score is typically not far away. The game’s fast pace and ability to jump faster when perfectly timed leads to an interesting dilemma for players: risk sudden death by trying to ascend quickly, or take it slow-ish, knowing that one wrong move might be the end? It’s an interesting amount of strategy for such a fast-paced game.
Yet, this mid-game strategization comes with a curious subtlety to the jumping controls that I don’t quite know if it works that well given how fast the game goes. Holding down longer causes the player to jump higher, and tapping quickly causes a shorter jump. It just seems too difficult in the environment of the game to determine just how precise of a jump must be used in order to not die.
On iOS, the game doesn’t use Game Center at all, it uses a Kongregate login solely for high scores and achievements. I understand that they published the game, and I wouldn’t have a problem if it was alongside Game Center integration, but to leave it out for their proprietary network is not fair to iOS gamers. As well, is there any reason why an in-app web view couldn’t have been used instead of kicking out to Safari to view leaderboards and achievements on the Kongregate website?
Escape is a fun, challenging diversion for the retro-minded endless jumping fan. Try out the Flash-based web version first, and enjoy the mechanic that sadly didn’t translate to mobile: hitting the escape key to jump.