Archery King Review — Own the Range

Archery King Review — Own the Range

Dec 22, 2016

It seems that archery games are popping up everywhere, and probably with good reason. Archery — the real, physical kind — is definitely a fun experience, pitting concentration against the elements and physics.

The virtual kind lends itself to the same, somewhat, and it makes sens that Android development stalwart Miniclip has thrown its hat into the ring with Archery King.

It is definitely a brightly-rendered game; the many environments are done relatively well, and the use of perspective is especially striking, as one should expect from a game of this type. The equipment is tightly done, and the animations are fairly smooth.

When it comes to gameplay, we get a few different modes, some in multiplayer and others in single ak3player against AI. More specifically, there is Classic (multiplayer), Rush (multiplayer), Challenge (single), Time Race (single) and a Mini Game section. Checking it out in Classic mode seemed like a plan.

It is fairly easy to understand. The game shows the player have to shoot, which involves gesturing to use the sights, and then adjusting to get as close to the bullseye as possible. Releasing shoots the arrow.

Now, in the perfect conditions, the arrow flies straight, and hits the center (or very close) for a 10. The game incorporates a degree of physics though, so one has to contend with stuff like wind, so getting a high score every time isn’t as easy as it may seem.

But back to Classic gameplay… when the control mechanics are understood, one gets to go against another player that is randomly chosen. There are different entry tiers (using virtual cash); generally speaking, more cash yields higher payouts. At this point, it is a shooting contest between the two players, and best of three rounds wins the jackpot, plus some XP. There is a time limit to shoot, and tie-breakers when the tallies are even after three.

As one plays on, competition gets tougher. One can pick up better gear as they become available.

Rush Mode is a race, and Challenge is a lone. leveled adventure with interesting challenges.

The multiplayer aspect is fun; the ability to choose players (as in local multiplayer, especially) would be nice. It is possible to earn coins by watching ads, but premium stuff requires extra cash.

All in all, it is a nice diversion mostly. It works well free, and the Facebook connectivity option will appeal to some folks.

Bowmasters Review – Mayhem Unlimited

Bowmasters Review – Mayhem Unlimited

Dec 11, 2016

Bowmasters definitely catches the attention, but not in the way want might think.

Old Palm heads may liken it to Sid Meier’s Civilization IV: A War of Two Cities, what with the arcing barrage-based gameplay. This one is decidedly more lighthearted though; dispensing pain shouldn’t be fun, should it?

The artwork is quite zany. At first glance, it’s clear that this game refuses to take itself too seriously, and that decision works quite well. The characters are all loose-limbed and ragdolly, and exhibit cheerful dispositions. The backgrounds are all bright and engaging, and altogether, the visuals border on the comical.

Simply put, Bowmasters is a war of attrition. In the core mode, the main idea is to take out the enemy before you are taken out. The combatants are placed across from each other, and basically fling deadly projectiles in turn till one of their life bars is completely drained.

The true skill is in landing a hit. See, the enemy is shown at first, but then pans out of sight; you (the player) has to deduce how much power and distance — while accounting for simulated gravity — to put on the shot to strike the opponent. Too much or too little, and it flies high or drops short. You don’t want to miss too many opportunities, because the opponent probably won’t. Yes, fight to the death. And by the way, a direct hit might move the target, so you might have to adjust aim on the fly.

bow3

The physical result of hits are gruesomely funny; the invitation to “finish” defeated opponents with a final shot has to be seen, as do the breadth of characters and weapons (hello, flaming football!).

The game also incorporates friend play and other mini-games, like going for apples and birds. Doing well yield game coins, and extra characters can be unlocked with this (or real cash).

This one is a fantastic timewaster, and the free-to-play nature makes it well worth a try.

Plague Inc. Review

Plague Inc. Review

Jan 25, 2013

Handheld gaming is almost always a crusade. Good versus evil, with us all fighting to make sure Darkness never wins. Angels, conflicted protagonists and heroically flawed characters. I mean, everyone wants to be Austin Powers, but what about Dr Evil?

Plague Inc., from Ndemic via Miniclip.com is a strategy game that put me on the side of megalomaniacs of James Bond lore.

Plague put me at the helm of a plot to wipe out the human population, one infection at a time. My weapon of choice? The choice of picky villains everywhere: a deadly pathogen that could evolve. Now I had to groom my weapon to do as much damage as possible while reacting to and overcoming anything humankind threw at me to defend against the threat I had so cruelly unleashed on the human race.

Strategy pretty much shaped the gameplay. Logic was a part of the fabric; for example, when selecting a location to start the disease. Of course, countries with better infrastructure (read: richer) were more likely to combat the outbreak at outset, so targeting a country that was less well-to-do made sense. To create damage at the national level, I had to breed my pathogen to overcome resistance. using accumulated DNA points, I also had to strategize as to how to effect further transmission. As the game went on, I had to weigh full-on assaults against under-the-radar, gentler type of infection patterns. To start, I had bacteria, with other seeds (like bio-weapons and fungus) available to be unlocked and/or purchased. There were also three levels of play to pick from.

To grow my disease, I had to understand what I was growing. I could cultivate transmission traits and symptoms. Quicker infection rates kicked back more DNA points to me, as well as destabilized cure efforts. Landlocked countries were good for quicker transmissions; islands were understandably less helpful in spreading the contagion. Things like climate and mutations affected gameplay as well. I liked the little things that added to the overall mental portion of the game. This was a freemium model that actually worked.

The game was set on a global map, with scary coloration used to show diseases spread overlaid with boats, planes and flashing information. The sounds ranged from spookily panicked to the innocuously disquieting. You’ll never view a cough the same way again, or nursery rhymes for that matter.

All in all, it is an excellent port of an excellent game. I found it to be more than a little addictive, and had plenty of fun things to discover at the different levels. Designing killer viruses was never so much fun, and I am not entirely sure whether to be happy about that.

Hmmm…

Spellsword Review

Spellsword Review

Dec 31, 2012

For those who are all about swords, and magic spells cast from swords, then Spellsword, Everplay and Fire Fruit Forge’s arena-based action-RPG brought to Android by Miniclip, is worth seeing.

Spellsword takes a bit of a different spin on the traditional Super Crate Box formula – which really needs to arrive on Android proper at some point, not just via PlayStation Mobile – by making magic cards the item to be constantly picking up. These cards all have different effects, like summoning fireballs, poisoning enemies, or shooting out ice shards. They’re also far more powerful than the plain vanilla sword is, so collecting them is key. Success is defined by more than just card collection though, as there are plenty of enemies to take down. They drop rupees, which can be spent on upgrades to make the cards better, and items for increasing health or modifying stats. There’s a secondary dragon coin currency that also appears periodically which is used to buy certain other items.

The game’s two-pronged structure works well for it. Mission mode does well to introduce players to new elements, as well as providing short bursts of challenge to tackle. Meanwhile, endless mode serves as the culmination of those efforts: a chance to put one’s skills to the test in the three arenas, with three difficulties each. The two modes also inform each other: endless mode hands out a lot more rupees, but the best way to unlock new cards and content is by progressing through mission mode, so balancing out the two is necessary. The pixel art is very colorful, and character armor can be viewed on the characters themselves when equipped. The soundtrack is particularly memorable as well; the songs are basic but I found them sticking in my head long after playing.

Spellsword is not most the intricately-assembled game ever. There’s a lot of slowdown on newer devices. The game doesn’t really inform the player of when they have taken damage. The Nexus 7 controls are a bit too big perhaps to be comfortable for most; I felt like they were usable but I would prefer less thumb stretching.

For those looking for a great pick-up-and-play arena brawler with enough RPG elements to satisfy long-term desire, then Soellsword is a must-have free download.

Fragger Review

Fragger Review

May 18, 2012

Ever wonder what Angry Birds would look like if the heroes were humans instead of birds? Fragger has the answer. It’s a military slingshot game with the same principle – albeit with different human methods (the hero can’t really fly).

The objective of the game is to kill all enemies by throwing grenades. The hero of the game needs to overcome physical barriers such as concrete walls so his grenades land and explode in the right place at the right time. When all enemies are killed the player can proceed to the the next round. The game has 370 levels and 12 worlds to unlock. The first few levels are super easy, giving the player enough time to improve his grenade-flinging skills. One can buy unlimited grenades, or more viewable solutions and even a detonator – all for a certain price.

Game controls are pretty simple and self-explanatory. Tap on any area near the enemy and hold down to point the arrow to aim. Swipe up and down to adjust the intensity of the throw. Strategic positioning of the arrow is needed to blow up the enemy effectively. If the grenade somehow does not fall where the player intended, there is a button to abort the explosion – although if you don’t abort it and it explodes near the hero, it doesn’t really kill him.

If at a certain point, a player can not get past a level, there is a View Solution button shown after the failed attempt. Note that there is only a limited number of solutions that can be viewed. There is an option purchase more solutions ($1.99) or get it free by downloading other affiliate games and earning free coins. Additionally, there are three free Skip buttons available at the end of each level which enables the player to skip the current level and move on to the next one. Succeeding “skips” again requires some form of purchase. The game is also connected with the OpenFeint network for posting high scores on Leaderboards.

Graphics and sound are excellent in this game. I constantly find myself grinning just to see the cuteness and humorous things that happen all throughout the game. It certainly is one of its best features. Gameplay is also smooth and responsive – like most casual games, it doesn’t really demand that much power from the phone. Loading time is also pretty decent and there are no lags seen in between levels or screens.

Sadly, ads and in-game purchases are present in this game. The placement of these are acceptable and do not take away from the game’s great interface and design. I supposed in-game purchases are welcome to some players who want to get ahead of the game.

Because of its simplicity, Fragger might prove routinary (for easy stages) and frustrating (for challenging stages) after a while. But it also can be addictive to others, and this is great since there are so many levels to continue playing the game for a long time. Either way, any short or long time player should enjoy this game for its great interface and mind blowing fun.

Gravity Guy Review

Gravity Guy Review

Jan 12, 2012

What do you get when you cross Mega Man with Ender’s Game? Well, you might not be expecting it, but the answer is Gravity Guy. This is a constant-runner game with a twist. Or rather, I should say, with a flip.

In Gravity Guy you play as this guy who is trying to escape prison. Well, you’ve broken out, but now you’re a fugitive and being doggedly pursued by a little Stormtrooper-looking fellow, who is just waiting for the microsecond when you hesitate in your flight to blast you mercilessly out of existence. But here’s where it gets different: this is a platform game that has no Jump function. Instead you navigate stairs and divides by manipulating gravity. What this means is that you can run along the platforms, come to a hole in your path and, with a tap on the screen, flip up to begin running along the ceiling. You never lose momentum unless you rebound off of something, and the gravity change is permanent until you switch it off. This took a little getting used to, as I would flip up to avoid a hole and then when I didn’t flip back down soon enough I would fall straight up into the sky to my death. You also cannot change gravity orientation mid-leap – you must rebound off of something and flip to change direction. It is possible to flip in a second with one tap, which is vital as Gravity Guy is fast. There are even platforms that speed you up even more. There are also distractions in the form of massive jets that zoom past and shake your whole screen.

Gravity Guy also has many different modes of play, but you have to earn them. I’ve been playing it for a few days now and can still only play in Storymode > Run. There’s apparently a mode called Rescue, but I can’t play it until I beat Run, or unless I want to pay another dollar. I’m okay to wait because I am enjoying Run mode a lot. There are frequent save points that you pass through, and this is fortunate because I don’t think there’s a single stage int he game that I’ve passed with less than 5 attempts. Luckily you have unlimited lives. There are also a few power-ups in the form of shields and slow-mo mode (slow down game play to help you navigate a particularly tricky area). This game relies on some hair-trigger reflexes and a single hesitation can send you falling down or up to your death, or get you trapped long enough to get you zapped by the storm trooper.

I’ve been playing this game with every free second that I have, and it still hasn’t gotten old. The only thing that makes me ever stop is the anxiety levels that start to build up when I get trapped in a level that I just can’t seem to beat. I’ve had to do certain area over and over till I feel like I might throw my phone at the wall, but I never do because I’m always certain that this time I’ll get it. I rarely find a game that I get so obsessed with that I must finish it at all costs, but right now Gravity Guy is this for me.

It does need some significant improvement though in one important area: you change gravitational orientation by tapping anywhere on the screen. because he runs left-to-right I’ve had to get used to tapping with my left hand (I’m right-handed) because otherwise I’m obscuring my own path. But that’s not the problem. Rather, the screen requires a pretty firm strike to register a flip. There are too many times that I know I hit the screen but I still die abruptly. I don’t know how the sensitivity can be adjusted, but if it’s at all possible it would reduce some of my frustration and stress, which would make it infinitely more enjoyable.