Need A Hero Review

Need A Hero Review

Jul 24, 2014

Need A Hero is a game that challenges folks to match objects while being a hero.

On the surface, it looks like a simple turn-based game that pits our protagonists against several fanciful foes in his quest to save the princess. Beneath the surface, however, it is a bit more complex.

After the preliminary backstory, the game’s core elements are initially represented by a playing area with dueling parties at the top: our hero and a baddie. The action between the two is generally determined by the main element.

The main course has to deal with matching like objects in a column that sports several different colored pieces.need1 Using colors as the main guide, the idea is to connect as many matching colors via gesture dragging in straight lines and adjacent angles. Connected pieces, ordinarily, dissolve and get replaced by new ones in a seemingly random manner. The longer the chain, the more attack power is generated, so longer combinations are definitely encouraged. Combinations yield special pieces, which in turn can trigger boosted reactions which are great for some specific situations.

In essence, the efficacy of the matching game determines the effectiveness of the strikes. As noted, longer chains create hits with more damage, but one has to take into account the return hits as well. There is a palpable arcade feel, with special combos yielding boosts like donkey kicks and lightning strikes, or even the ability to freeze the opponent for a set number of moves. In the end, it is still a turn-based war of attrition; whoever depletes the other’s lifeline with life left in their own wins. It’s leveled with crafting elements, and accumulated game cash can be supplemented with that of the real kind. There is an energy requirement (boo!) but it isn’t too strenuous in nature.

It is a simple game; if one is after complex logic, it might not hold much appeal. It works in that it does multiple things proficiently at the same time.

Luminux Review

Luminux Review

Jun 10, 2014

Luminix is a story of saving worlds pleasantly cloaked on match-3 robes.

The backstory is simple, but players should be happy to know that their efforts in this game go to keeping a solar system alive; matching the tiles releases energy that prevents disastrous cosmic meltdowns.

The gameplay deviates somewhat — positively — from “standard” match-3 gameplay. The playing area is a grid made to fit the square tile playing pieces in a 5 X 4 manner, and the luminescent tiles pop up randomly on the grid. The tiles themselves come in different colors: green, yellow, blue, purple and orange, and the key is to line up three or more sets of the same color to dissolve them, release energy and score points.

Moving the tiles to be matched can be done by tap, holding and dragging tiles to where one wants them to be. With lum2tiles popping up all over the place, quick movements are key, and it is also strategic to keep the board as empty as possible by matching early and often. Keeping holes open is another valuable concept, as it is tough to find space to manipulate movement when the board is filled up. Getting fixated on a color when the board is getting crowded can backfire too, as there are usually several possible combinations at any given time. As one progresses, the action gets wild, with quick, continual gestures needed to continue the matching which makes longevity possible.

If the board gets completely filled, the run is over, and points are tallied. When particular point thresholds are met, a player can level up, and it’s interesting how the game tells players how close they are to the next rank in percentage points.

I think the gesture controls are intuitive, but could use a sensitivity meter; landscape play functionality might also be welcome. All in all though, its simplicity is hard to dislike.

Polymer Review

Polymer Review

Apr 21, 2014

We see the graphics; we can enjoy the sounds, the action and the concepts across gaming genres. We love to see how different game engines perform across different pieces of hardware. At the end of the day, when it’s all said and done and the fingers are resting and devices are at rest charging, there is just one thing I think ALL gamers want.


The choice to relax. The choice to rock it. The choice to pause all willy nilly and come back, ot to hunker down and rack up points non-stop for 12 hours. The choice, to, well, choose.

Games like Polymer do choice quite well.

On he surface, it is a simple, 2D matching game, with a bunch — and I do mean a bunch — of differently colored pol1seemingly polymorphic shapes, each in their own row of squares. Each row and column can be pulled or slid as one unit, much like can be done on a rubik cube. Each shape/piece has at least matching end denoted by a black dot; when black dots from different pieces are aligned by maneuvering, both shapes take on the same color and become homogeneous. When all black dots are joined in a particular shape, the shape can be “popped” for points. Bigger poppable shapes lead to bigger points. Thus, a little bit of strategy can be used to match and score points.

The strength of the game, as noted, is the number of options available. The game can be played in different modes: endless, which is gentle and undemanding. There is the bomb mode, which rewards speedy point garnering. Two minute is a fast paced with a time limit, and one polymer looks to allow players make the biggest continuous piece possible. Some of the modes are restricted, and can be unlocked by accumulated points or real cash.

All in all, its a spiffy game that packs a lot beneath its flamboyant exterior.

Glint Review

Glint Review

Apr 7, 2014

Glint gets straight to the point.

The game has the looks to tie people in, with sharp, dark backgrounds that do an excellent job of highlighting the spheres that make up the biggest part of the gameplay.

The gameplay, at first blush, feels a bit like Tetris, with colored spheres (dots in specific game parlance) falling from the top into the portrait play area that tapers into a funnel at the end. The general concept of the play is to swipe through dots of the same color, and to keep going to beat threshold mark of some kind. Swiped through dots disintegrate, allowing for more dropping dots to occupy the space just vacated; the general rules of physics are adhered to, so there is a general sense of what a set of actions will cause.

The first few levels help players get acquainted with how it works, and gives some relatively easy goals to glint1achieve, like a set number of dots to clear before time runs out, or the dots rise to the top and fill up all the space. As noted, swiping like colors as quickly as possible racks up the points; when one gets good and going, it becomes a frantic, continual swiping party. The connecting gestures do have to connect, or there is the risk of precious seconds being wasted while the sequence is repeated. As the game progresses, things get harder, and the goals significantly tougher; success opens up following levels.

A valuable part of the gameplay is the “ring” award, which, beyond the 10 the game gives by default, is earned by scoring 100 points in a level. They are hard to earn, but are available to purchase with real cash. There are also special dots, dangerous ones and boosts, which can shorten gameplay if not avoided, or can extend gameplay if funneled to the bottom of the pile quickly enough.

All in all, the game is fun, easy on the eyes and quite engaging. The freemium nature makes it easy to try, and the gameplay should do the rest. While I think the game engine can be tweaked a bit, it’s an interesting puzzler worth a look or two.

Blitz Block Robo Review

Blitz Block Robo Review

Aug 6, 2013

Blitz Block Robo is a newish pick-3 game sporting retro clothes.

The have is relatively easy to traverse, but it’s still great that it has a cool, optional tutorial section. It gives pointers with regards to how the game works, and how to maximize scoring.

And it works quite well; the game is, as noted, a match-3 deal, but one that involves squares. The squares come on several different colors in the passing grid, and the key is finding (and creating) sets of three or more adjacent blitz1squares. Interestingly, there is a lot of user interaction, as tapping sets of three classes the selection, and there is also the ability to use features to slide boxes into open space to facilitate more matches.

But wait. There’s more.

The open space that is necessary to manipulate square positioning isn’t infinite; the game engine fills up the space randomly, so quick decision-making is definitely a plus, lest the entire grid gets filled up and kills all chances for movement. And oh yeah… there is a countdown clock, meaning all the sliding and tapping has to be done very quickly to maximize the point output.

Another cool element is the presence of unique squares. The usual arcade staples are here: multipliers, dead blocks, spinners and others. When used effectively, even the hindrances add to the fun of the game.

The game includes some social networking compatibility, and the high score recording is a great self-challenge. It is also nice that the developer caters to different types of player temperaments by providing three levels of difficulty… easy, normal and hard. I thought the controls were a bit iffy, and that was after trying them on a few different devices. As the gameplay is a race against the clock, this is a bit dismal, but the developer notes that on Google Play that a fix is on the way.

Cool game, simple concept, nice graphics. 2013 is the year of the re-thought match 3.

Sugar Rush Review

Sugar Rush Review

Aug 5, 2013

Match 3s never get old, but I do like the fact that development houses seen to keep pushing the boundaries of the genre. Sugar Rush seems to want to do just that.

The gameplay is fairly easy to understand and get into.

There are two sets of candies that move towards each other fro opposite sides. Play involves looking for sets of virtual candies, and popping these clusters as fast as possible. Of course, at least three candies must appear adjacent to each other for the popping to work. Additionally, the game allows for swipe gestures to be utilized to move candies to matching clusters so as to create bigger swathes of matching sweets. Popping combos earns game coins sugar1that can be used for game extras.

To add to the overall arcade feel of the game, the developer tosses in special candies with unique powers, like jackpots. Also, at the beginning of each round, it is possible to equip one’s self with up to three boosts. These boosts are interestingly varied, such as one that increases the score multiplier, or one that increases the amount of special pieces. These boosts cost game money though, so the coins garnered in the game have to be managed carefully.The Facebook functionality allows for daily contests and competition between Sugar Rush-playing friends. Game is leveled too, so eventually, it is possible to get new titles as progress is made.

Visuals are a big part of the game, so it makes sense that brightly colored candy makes up a lot of the graphics. The background art is decent, and the animations were hitch-free.

Sugar Rush is a delightfully simple game, with plenty of familiar elements and timed gameplay that can be easily learned. The social networking component is a welcome piece that should appeal to folks as well.

Color Zen Review

Color Zen Review

Aug 2, 2013

Color Zen is a cool cucumber. It seems to want to tease your brain while calming it. It’s a lofty idea, but thankfully, I love checking out lofty ideas.

The game is definitely interesting. The best explanation is received from playing it and actually “feeling” the game.

The object of the game is to solve the color-centric puzzles. In the game’s playing area, there is a frame color — a color that covers a thin area around the play grid, kind of like a picture frame. In the grid itself are any number ofzen1 colored shapes. In general terms, touching any of the colors against another imbibes the second with the color of the first; in other words, the color is absorbed. For simplicity, one of the colors in the grid always matches the color of the outer rim.

The overall objective is to have the final color in the grid match the frame. For this to happen, it is important to figure out how to work the colors to allow he final colored shape be the one that matched the color of the outer frame. This is how the developer is able to carve out such a fascinating and calm game out of a seemingly rudimentary idea.

As the game progresses, new elements are tossed in; white becomes a neutral color; there’s stuff liked colored shapes within colored shapes, and asymmetrical formations that really force problem-solving.

It’s a game based on colors, and the graphics are proportionately sharp. The music is gentle and soothing, and works well in the game environment.

One thing that speaks well to the game is the support. The developer of the game has a forum, segregated by platform, that discusses updates, solutions and suggestions. I like this; consistent interactions can only help make the game better, and make the playing community develop a sense of belonging.

All in all, it is a surprisingly fun game that toils very little to create a fun atmosphere.

Dessert Storm Review

Dessert Storm Review

Jul 22, 2013

Dessert Storm is a cleverly named matching game that will make you think of a particular B game that most likely inspired it.

As far as Pick 3 games go, it is fairly familiar. The graphics are very colorful, which somewhat goes with the sett eats motif. The backgrounds are almost literally explosions of color, with animations like rising balloons occurring continually. The tokens themselves are colorful desserts that make the use of pastels to come to life.

Again, the gameplay is very familiar. It’s bejeweled in with a sweet tooth’s dream exterior. The playing area is made up of a grid with 81 pieces at any given time; to score points, sets of three have to be created by switching positions of eligible pieces. Horizontal and vertical sets count, but diagonals don’t. When a set of at least three matching, consecutive desserts is made (by tapping adjacent pieces to switch their positions), they explode, generate points and disappear, and gravity takes over, with the resulting space being filled by pieces above and from beyond dessert2the playing area; this way, there are always 81 pieces in play. If any other matches are made as a result of the cascade, they too follow the action sequence.

To be successful, a keen eye for shapes and colors is always good, as shapes are not the only category for successful matches. A lot of times, building from the bottom yields the best result.

The game comes in three modes: Relaxed, Classic and Rush. They are all fairly self-explanatory, but I thought the classic version was kind of long. That particular mode comes in levels with score requirements to proceed.

On my review devices, the play pieces were almost intolerably small, and I could not figure out how to change this. This made the pieces hard to swap, and, for me, fat fingering was common.

For a Bejeweled clone, it does the job of keeping the game close to heart without duplicating it, which for a lot of gamers, makes the perfect time waster.

Triple Town Review

Triple Town Review

Feb 2, 2012

There are some words I don’t like to throw around lightly, in case it devalues them. The example I’m thinking of is “addictive”. There are a lot of games that are fun, but the list of games that I physically can’t put down is not long. But some games really are so entrancing that they consume my thoughts even when I’m not playing them. And Triple Town is one of them.

The makers of Triple Town, Spry Fox, have done a brilliant job of combining three gaming aspects that are sure-fire draws: pattern-completion, building, and strategy. It’s called Triple Town because items on the game field must be matched in threes. Place three identical items in proximity of each other and they combine to make a new item of a higher class. Three swatches of grass become a bush. Three bushes become a tree. Three trees become a hut, and three huts become a cottage. I haven’t found out yet what three cottages might become because it is much harder than I expected to build up the item levels without filling the gamespace too quickly. Each game session ends when the gamespace is completely filled with items and there are no more moves to be made. And to make things more complicated there are opponents in the way -bears!- slowing down progress. The bears are adorable and when I saw them in the game logo I assumed that they’d be friendly. But once they are in play, they roam around the board and growl menacingly at the tiny villagers that dare poke their heads out of the huts. Luckily the bears can be of some use. Trap a bear and it becomes a gravestone. Three gravestones become a church, three churches become a cathedral, and three cathedrals become treasure.

There are some hitches though. Items appear for placement in a seemingly random order (think Tetris pieces), and can be difficult to plan around. As well, items can only be placed so long as there some in queue. Play too fast and the queue empties, halting the game. The queue can refill over time, or additional items/turns can be purchased with the in-game coins. This is still maddening as the game really does cast a hypnotic spell that is painful to have interrupted.

It’s a very simple concept but beautifully executed. Pattern-completion is inherently appealing to the human psyche, and the little villages are a joy to create and behold. As items are placed the points rack up and the quest to achieve higher points ranking never ends. I’ve made it to the second level of points only a few times, and I really want to get to level three. Every time I’m playing and have to stop (to eat, sleep, work) I’m sad. And I’ve fallen asleep more than once dreaming about placing some trees in the perfect place.

There is a pretty huge problem with Triple Town though, and it seems to be new as of the last update. The game freezes a lot and badly. Nearly every single time I’ve opened it to play it has frozen irreparably. Twice it has spontaneously re-started my phone completely. It’s a pretty serious problem that affects more than just my enjoyment of the game.

Riot Rings Review

Riot Rings Review

Jan 13, 2012

I have been on a search, ever since I got my Android phone, to find the perfect commuter game. What that means to me is a game that loads quickly, one I can jump in and out of without crashing or data loss, and nothing too heavy on story that can be difficult to follow in spaced out intervals. It also wouldn’t hurt if the game is fun, funny, engaging, and a bit of a challenge. And in Riot Rings I have finally found all of these things.

It markets itself as being the “funniest game ever”, and I cocked a skeptical eyebrow at that declaration. So far it has proven to be quite humorous, perhaps even chuckle-inducing. The premise is simple: you are a zookeeper tasked with managing your rampaging animals, collecting them by matching them in groups of three or more. You operate from the safety of a dugout in the habitat while the animals circle around you. You match the animals by throwing new ones out into the rings, causing them to…well, it’s a little strange because they seem to explode with a pop, but I assume that no animals are harmed. If it all sounds confusing, then think of the game Zuma. You also have a few attacks in the form of meat (thrown to trick the animals out of the circle), drugs (to slow down rapidly spinning rings) and a Rhino (thrown to bash his way through the rings and knock animals out of the rings). It’s a very cartoony looking game, highlighted by the fact that the animals are little fat spheroids, and the rabbits are pink. They also tend to growl menacingly as they circle your hiding place, which is also made funnier when it’s the rabbit.

And a game like that could eventually get old, but the makers of Riot Rings have worked hard to make each and every level of the game unique and a challenge. You start out with one ring of animals, but soon you are faced with animals joining the ring from outside, multiple rings, stones that block your aim, or giant killer bees!! The bees are my favourite aspect of the game because you defend yourself by throwing other animals them. What a terrible zookeeper.

This game is fantastic, and it is my perfect go-to when I’m only riding two stops on the subway. I’ve never had a crash, and I am about 20 levels in with no repeated challenges yet. The different level names are pretty hilarious too.

My only quibble is that there are times when the rings (which will occasionally expand or decrease in size, to mess with you) will sometimes grow to the point that the edges are no longer visible on screen. It bothers me because I can’t be sure if it is a deliberate choice by the gamemakers, to challenge us, or if it’s a result of not accounting for screen size.

Google Goggles Now Does Background Searching for Any Photo via Camera App

Google Goggles Now Does Background Searching for Any Photo via Camera App

Sep 16, 2011

Google has updated their Google Goggles app for scanning photographs to version 1.6, and with it, a brand new useful feature. The app can now run in the background as any photograph is taken, and then automatically scan it for any relevant content. This process happens entirely in the background once a photo is snapped, and a notification will appear in the notification bar when content is found in the photograph. This means that users can easily use the app without remembering to use the app, or without opening up its interface at all. This can easily be used to replace any kind of QR code or barcode reader, and with some phones having a dedicated camera app button, this makes scanning potentially even easier. This automatic searching can be enabled by going into the app’s settings and enabling searching from the camera. The automatic searching feature works on Honeycomb devices as well as Froyo/Gingerbread phones. The Google Goggles update is now available from the Android Market.

Color Link Review

Color Link Review

Jul 22, 2011

Every once in a while, it’d be nice to see a puzzle game that isn’t grid-based, doesn’t have lots of brightly coloured blocks in it and doesn’t reward you for connecting blocks of the same colour. That’s the dream, but until then we’re going to have to keep playing games like Color Link.

Don’t get me wrong, Color Link is a good game, and it offers an interesting spin on a style of game that we’ve all been playing for a good long while. It’s just a shame that the game hasn’t tried to do anything different visually. The game mechanics would have worked equally as well in a monochrome swirl as they do in a multicoloured grid.

Those mechanics are simple. The on-screen blocks, as well as being different colors, also have different shapes emblazoned on their faces. You can swap any block with any other block that has a corresponding symbol, regardless of their colour. There are also blocks that explode, blocks without symbols and blocks without colours thrown into the mix.

Like I said, Color Link isn’t a bad game, but it does occasionally get trapped beneath its own ambitions. Early on in the game you feel like you’re having too many new things thrown at you at once, and they’re never particularly well-explained either.

There are some great ideas on show here, and Silly Cube, the team behind the game, clearly have a lot of talent when it comes to puzzle design and coding. What’s needed though, is a lighter touch, a slightly subtler approach to revealing the different parts and processes of the game.

Color Link is certainly worth a look. It adds a new twist to a genre that’s getting stale fast, and whilst it may look like every other puzzle game out there, it certainly doesn’t play like them. If you can get over the problems, you’ll find a rewarding and entertaining experience. And if Silly Cube can pin down their formula, their next game should be pretty impressive.