Super Battle Tactics Review

Super Battle Tactics Review

Jul 30, 2014

Super Battle Tactics is a strange combination of random combat and tanks. Will it make you armour-ious?

Super Battle Tactics begins with the player acquiring a team of vehicles. These range from big heavy tanks to lighter, faster attacking jeeps and armored cars. New tanks can be bought, but most of the really good ones are locked behind paywalls or are unreasonably expensive.

Screenshot_2014-07-06-06-27-04Combat in Super Battle Tactics is almost entirely luck based. During each round of combat each tank “rolls” a number. That number is how much damage they do and also controls which tank shoots first. The player has several points to spend per turn, which can be used to reroll numbers, call in additional, more powerful attacks, or select a target enemy for their tanks to fire at. When the player ends the turn, the tanks take turns shooting at each other, randomly if the player did not choose a target. The next round then begins and the cycle repeats. The player to have all their tanks reduced to twsited smoking hunks of metal first loses.

Screenshot_2014-07-06-08-53-17Ultimately, for a game named after battle tactics Super Battle Tactics doesn’t have much in the way of them. The random nature of combat and the lack of skill needed to play make it more an exercise in luck based gaming than anything strategic. The only tactical; thing in the game is basic stuff like selecting targets.

A major problem with Super Battle Tactics is its thoroughly broken matchmaking. The game seems to either always match the player with someone who is much stronger than they are or someone much weaker, leading to either instant death or a kerb stomp battle. This is very frustrating. There is no single player mode, so the broken matchmaking is just something the player has to put up with.

Super Battle Tactics is packed with microtransactions. From whole new tanks, to parts for existing tanks and even chances to get parts for tanks from crates, get ready to pay and pay often for any chance at success. The game also uses an energy system which is very slow. About 5 matches an hour is the limit. There is no real way to properly play Super Battle Tactics without paying real money.

Super Battle Tactics looks decent enough. There are plenty of colourful tanks to choose from and an interesting game show based presentation adds a bit of flair. The sound is pretty decent as well and guns sound nice and punchy.

Super Battle Tactics is beset by issues and relies heavily on a pay to win mentality. With little fun on offer, there is little reason to play Super Battle Tactics.


LAWLESS Review

LAWLESS Review

Mar 5, 2014

LAWLESS is one of those games that appeals to our collective decadent side. It is a game from powerhouse Mobage that is able to combine a few different elements into a neat (but explosive) package.

It is a career crime game, perfect for the straitlaced do-gooders out there. To begin, the player has the option of selecting his/her main character, which is decked out with weaponry and tasked with being good at being bad.

The gameplay is a unashamedly arcade-y in nature; the graphics are made to highlight gunfire and explosions. The natural behavior of the protagonist characters is to duck behind obstacles: corners, upturned vehicles, sofas and such, which are all in the foreground. Further on out, different opponents run into view, looking to destroy the law1player’s crew of misfits. Getting rid of these enemies is done by tapping them on the screen, which makes the shooter(s) pop out from behind cover to fire on them. Red health bars are a measure of life on both sides, and depleting that of the enemy is the name of the game. The game is leveled, with boss baddies making appearances at junctures.

The game incorporates some nice animations to enhance the aforementioned arcade feel. For example, shooters dashing from one end of the screen to the other generally provide a hard target to hit. The powerups — grenades, baby — are another element that adds to the game. The bullet-riddled environments are decently done, and the artwork is sustained indoors and outdoors.

A big element is cash/gold mechanism. They are earned by success, and can be used to buy more weapons, as well as getting more specialized helpers on the team. Facebook can be used to recruit friends, and in-app purchases are available. There is a monthly Live Event feature also.

Call me a wuss, but there is something a bit disconcerting about shooting at LEOs. For all the high-falutin’ action and explosions, the gameplay is often the same, albeit clothed in different looks.

Still, it’s a fun game, with great social portions and a career ladder that would make Al Capone swoon. It’s free to play too.

Arcade Ball Review

Arcade Ball Review

Feb 7, 2014

Arcade Ball takes the humble game of Skee Ball to the digital age.

Arcade Ball is a pretty standard game of Skee Ball. Players bowl balls down a lane aiming at targets with different point values. Landing the ball in a cup awards that amount of points and the more points that are scored the more tickets are earned after the game. These tickets can be exchanged for prizes. Tokens can also be earned that power a few special moves like bowling three balls at once.

Screenshot_2014-02-05-14-35-59Prizes take the form of icons that can adorn the main menu or different balls to use. The prizes, while useless are fun and there are different collections of them. For example the 80’s collection has a VHS tape and a very 80’s sweater. The prizes are often amusing and the retro ones will likely hit players right in the childhood. Using different balls is fun too like the colourful Psychedelic Ball or the Fake Barf Ball that trails barf behind it. The balls are very inventive and there are a lot of them, like classic 80’s windbreaker textures and even dragonskin ones. There are also new machines to play but the prices for these are very high and it will take a lot of games to reach them.

As for the actual gameplay the balls have accurate physics and there are never annoying popups or ads to bother you during the game. The game is addictive as Skee Ball always has been and since each game only takes a few seconds it’s easy to crank out a few games when there are a few minutes to kill.

Screenshot_2014-02-05-10-59-00One thing Arcade Ball does really well is nail the feeling of being in an old arcade. The wooden floors, cheesy target fanfares and flickering lights really evoke feelings of an old smoky arcade where you’re pegging balls at targets before grabbing a huge collection of tickets as they shoot out of the machine in a red torrent. Then you’d swap them for some cheap plastic toy or a new pencil. The only thing missing is the half broken machines, bored attendants and balls covered in weird goo and dried soda. A few nice effects like the starlight effect when you use a powerup add a little glitz to the game.

A downside is that there is no multiplayer. Some multiplayer would be a great addition and really add to the game.

Arcade Ball features a few in app purchases, but they aren’t important at all. None of the prizes really affect gameplay and extra tokens can be earned by bowling the ball into glowing targets during a game. While it takes a while to earn most prizes, this adds to the game’s longevity. No ads or other nastiness mar the game.

Arcade Ball is a very enjoyable game of Skee Ball with some neat retro memories thrown in – without many of the annoying free-to-play tactics that mar many other games. It’s a worth a download.

NFL Matchups LIVE Review

NFL Matchups LIVE Review

Dec 11, 2013

How is it that sports games on mobile are better when they don’t have a sports association license behind them (FIFA 14 being the expection to this)? Most licensed games with the blessing of either a sports news network or league, such as MLB or NFL, just seem to fall short and appear as nothing more than a way to take your cash. As if charging $9 on a beer and $7 on a hot dog at the live games wasn’t enough.

Even with the consumer base genuinely agreeing with this stance, leagues still continue to pump out cash grabs. The NFL, who despite making truck loads of money, still gets to claim a tax exemption, is at it yet again, teaming up with Mobage to create NFL Matchups LIVE, a game in which utilizes the Madden Ultimate Team idea of collecting players and power ups, without actually giving you any sort of interaction or effect on the random outcome of the game.

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The whole idea in this game is to collect cards, either by shelling out a lot of money, or grinding until your fingers bleed, in order to get the ultimate team, which then competes against CPU controlled real teams. So it’s not awkward at all when Jamaal Charles ends up playing for two different teams, right? But the real kicker is that the players only involvement is putting together the lineup and determining which of the unlocked teams they can pit their motley crew against. Oh, and deciding which uncoordinated jerseys to wear that day, because a team would totally have to choose the 49ers away jersey or the Packers home jerseys.

It doesn’t even feel like much of a game, and certainly makes one question where this “live” idea comes from. It isn’t like you watch the cards do things in real life matchups. Nor do the Chiefs magically become a competent team in this mobile game either. It seems as though the NFL gave Mobage the license to create a mobile version of the Madden Ultimate Team, but with the goal of making this title be worse than Madden 25 on Android. If that were the case, they succeeded with flying colors.

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With all this, it begs the question as to how this title enjoys the popularity that it does on the Google Play store. This “game” has next to zero interactivity, and serves as nothing more than a money collector for the already wealthy NFL. In order to compete in this game, players are almost forced to shell out money. It’s really a major let down for an entertainment experience. NFL Matchups LIVE is clearly the Ryan Leaf of football apps.

Blood Battalion Review

Blood Battalion Review

Oct 4, 2013

Sometimes it is fun just to watch games. Anyone who’s played the Sims knows that watching the drama unfold can be as fun as creating the drama.

These types of players will likely love Blood Battalion, a strategic RPG which is light on the gameplay and heavy on the spectacle.

Players begin the game by selecting a hero. It’s possible to pick from such heroes as a healer girl who’s fairly useless in a fight, but has the vital ability to keep other troops alive, to a swordsman who has immense power but not much else.

The chosen one then embarks on a long, long campaign. The campaign is pretty much a Screenshot_2013-10-01-20-20-46series of fights with minor snatches of story now and then. Blood Batallion’s story is largely incoherent due to some rather poor translation and the brevity of the game’s story scenes. A lot of the dialogue is amusing at least.

Battles themselves are for the most part automatic. The only things the player controls are the use of special skills and tapping the “Go” button to start the next turn. Special skills range from healing and strengthening skills to area attacks and extra hard hits and are in very short supply. Other than that, the movement of troops and their attacks are controlled entirely by the AI.

While this might seem to defeat the purpose of playing, the game provides enough control to keep it compelling while showing off a lot of pretty looking combat.

Screenshot_2013-10-01-16-44-17And boy is your army varied. From human troops like pikemen and swordsmen to giant ape monsters, gremlins and monks there is a huge selection of troops to throw at the enemy who deploys everything from odd chameleon men, to heavily armed dwarves and undead abominations. Much of the game’s appeal is seeing what weird and wonderful creatures there are to recruit next. Each unit type is lovingly detailed with some excellent art and interesting descriptions of their nature. BB does a great job of bonding the player with their troops, as any good RPG should.

Screenshot_2013-10-01-19-23-59Blood Battalion is very pretty. The game’s hand drawn appearance gives it a warm look that is a great change from other games available on mobile today.

Soundwise, the game is a mixed bag. The music is forgettable; it loops very often and battle sounds really boil down to a bunch of thuds with different pitches. On the other hand, enemies have amusing death cries and there is some nice speech when abilities are used.

Blood Battalion has quite a lot of in app purchases. It’s possible to buy packs of energy to play for longer and rare coins that enable the recruiting of top tier troops. The game is generous enough with low level troops, but I can see this unbalancing the game in later missions. Unlike most games of its type BB does not include any way to earn premium currency except by buying it.

Blood Battalion is a fun, free game. It may not have the deepest gameplay, and players may get bored of it pretty fast but the large amount of content on offer and the game’s personality make it worth checking out.

Pocket Planes Review

Pocket Planes Review

Sep 25, 2012

Mobage is here again, doing the deed with NimbleBit to bring Android users a port of the latter’s hit Pocket Planes.

Visually, Pocket Planes will be a treat to retro gamers. It was sky monopoly cavorting furtively with 8-bit graphics; there was beauty in the simplicity of the layout. Even the sliding motion of the prominent-headed characters was an ode to simpler times. This game was as two-dimensional as it gets.

Unlike most mobile games I’m used to, Pocket Planes required me to sign in with my Facebook account or a Mobage account, and this hinted at the networking component of the game.

The premise of the game was straightforward. Flex your business muscle, display entrepreneurial acumen and build an empire in the sky. With eight regions to pick as my start point, the globe was well-represented. Basically, I had to ferry people and cargo and try to make a profit. The game started with an appreciated walkthrough, which further explained the how it was supposed to work. It sounded easy to set up waypoints and flip a dollar, but not all planes had the range or capacity to do all trips or to fly to every airport, and I had to plan accordingly.

What made the game an enjoyable challenge was how it made me an air traffic controller. I enjoyed the continual movement of the four initial aircraft I controlled, and I earned money to procure more plane slots, and also earned the power to purchase customizable panes and plane parts. I was also able to purchase airports, and different cities demanded different prices (the game all but sneered at me when I tried to get an airport in Chicago without checking the price early on). I stumbled across gifts too (like a plane body).

I liked the incorporation of leaderboards and social sharing; the BitBook was hilarious. In-app purchasing existed in the name of MobaCoins, and while it can expedite progress, playing through without cash is possible. At the time I played, 500 MobaCoins got me 1 Bux, and I even found that coins could be collected when watching my planes fly, albeit very slowly. The extras, things like Airpedia and the profit-helping logs were sweet cherries on top.

I felt the controls could have been a little clearer, as well as the process of building, selling and gifting planes and parts. Also, the process of spending accumulated rewards could have been a bit smoother. Notifications seemed a bit iffy at times.

Still, Pocket Planes easily makes into the hard-to-put-down category. For an airline management simulator, it did well to take a simple approach without being, well, simple. For some fun with retro graphics, recognizable sounds and a dash of adventure thrown in, I feel comfortable recommending it. You can play the lotto, or start working on owning a fleet of jumbo jets now.

The choice is clear to me.

Tiny Tower Review

Tiny Tower Review

Nov 18, 2011

For several weeks, Tiny Tower on iOS had a rock-solid grip on my life. I couldn’t do anything without checking in on my bitizens, making sure they were getting their work done while I ignored my own. I was simply engrossed in the steady stream of activity — someone is constantly moving in, stocking items, building new floors or just looking to get a ride in the elevator. It never ends, and even the most mundane, insignificant minutia — such as moving the elevator up and down — requires your assistance.

Extremely easy to play, your main job is to fill your building with bitizens who work in the shops to make you money so you can build additional floors for more bitizens to work and live on. That’s it. There’s no real goal in Tiny Tower. You just keep building, higher and higher. That could be a turn-off if you get bored easily, but that’s why the game includes achievements and social features, allowing you to show off and compare your tower with your friends’ towers.

I do have a few complaints about Tiny Tower on Android. For example, this version isn’t as fully-featured as its iOS cousin. While the Android version features nicer menus and sorting options that allow you to quickly move through tasks, it lacks a few social features and the “bitizen builder” feature included in the iOS version. Of course, it also lacks Game Center compatibility. Mobage uses their own social network to keep you connected with friends, but only as long as they are playing the Android version as well. Also, forget transferring your existing game from one platform to another.

My biggest criticism about Tiny Tower is that notifications are either broken or don’t exist. Because tasks can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, you’ll want to close the app to use your phone for other tasks while you wait for them to finish. But the game never notifies you when the task is complete like it does in the iOS version. This means your stores are sitting empty while stock waits to be put on the shelf, new additions remain closed until you open them or a store has sold out while no one is there to order more stock. One of the best things Android had going for it was its notification system; it’s a shame to see that Tiny Tower, apparently, makes no use of it.

Like the iOS version, Tiny Tower on Android requires a network connection in order to play. This is fine if you’re at home on WiFi or your phone has a data plan, but you’re out of luck if you don’t.

I could easily see myself getting drawn right back into Tiny Tower, if I’m not careful. The cute graphics, smooth music and constant activity easily make this game range from fun to tedious to overwhelming, depending on how into it you get. But otherwise, it’s just a good game that can keep you occupied for hours, if not weeks.

Mobage and Ngmoco Reveal New RPG, SkyFall, and Other Upcoming Android Titles

Mobage and Ngmoco Reveal New RPG, SkyFall, and Other Upcoming Android Titles

Nov 8, 2011

Mobile publisher ngmoco:), a subsidiary of Mobage, has been known primarily on Android for games like We Rule and the Touch Pets series. Now they’re about to launch a free to play game that will more resemble a ‘traditional’ game than most of their releases. This new game is SkyFall, not to be confused with the new James Bond movie. Designed from the ground up for mobile, this game promises to be a deep experience unlike those seen previously on the platform. Applications to be part of a beta test are available from the SkyFall website.

The game will interestingly be coming on Android first. This is because of the underlying technology, in part: their “ngcore” technology is currently only in use on Android. As well, with being built on Mobage’s platform, the game will work best on Android originally. Mobage games use a currency called Mobacoins that are not specific to any one game, so users can buy the currency in any Mobage game and then spend them wherever they see fit. Any iOS versions of Mobage games will be required to work with a single in-game currency, as apparently cross-game currencies are not allowed on iOS, according to ngmoco’s Neil Young. It’s why Mobage games haven’t yet launched on iOS, and why a game like Skyfall will launch first on Android. Market share is also a chief concern, as there are more Android phones than iOS devices at this time.

This is just part of a larger Mobage push in the US for Android; they have acquired the rights to other titles to publish on Android, such as the wildly popular iOS social game Tiny Tower. As well, Maple Story, Fragger, and a game based on the Monster Rancher franchise are on the way, along with another original title: Dragon Craft. These titles will be coming in the next few months.

ngmoco:) Inks Deal to Bring Mobage Games to AT&T Subscribers

ngmoco:) Inks Deal to Bring Mobage Games to AT&T Subscribers

Aug 5, 2011

AT&T and social gaming publisher ngmoco have announced a partnership that will bring Mobage social games (from ngmoco’s parent company DeNA) to AT&T Android customers. The app will apparently be available through the Android Market, but may be restricted to AT&T customers. Carriers have the ability to restrict the display of certain apps on the Market to users, and to display certain apps to certain carriers. This may be the groundwork for games like Pocket Frogs, previously announced for Android via Mobage’s tools, to be released to Android owners for the first time. As well, over 100 other games were promised through Mobage when Pocket Frogs was announced, so AT&T owners may soon be getting their hands on a bunch of these titles. AT&T has been making a bigger commitment to gaming, as evidenced by this, their partnership with OpenFeint, and the upcoming release of the Xperia Play on their network.

Source: Android Central

Pocket Frogs Leapfrogging on to Android

Pocket Frogs Leapfrogging on to Android

Jun 28, 2011

One of iOS’ most original and popular freemium games is hopping over to Android. Pocket Frogs from NimbleBit is coming soon to Android, in association with ngmoco and the Mobage tool kit.

The game, a spinoff of NimbleBit’s iOS game Dizzypad, which featured frogs of different designs, is based entirely around collecting frogs. They must be caught, raised, and bred with each other to birth newer, prettier frogs, and the cycle thus continues! Tadpoles must be fed and raised to become adult frogs, and the adult frogs must be fed, so they can be bred with other frogs to make new frogs with rarer designs. The game features actual gameplay to it, as there are segments where players can hop around lily pads to collect food, and mate with other frogs. NimbleBit’s strength with freemium games is to not make users feel like they have to spend money on the game; both this and their recently-released Tiny Tower on iOS both succeed at this aspect, particularly in that they actually give out the purchasable currency through in-game tasks. This isn’t just another farming sim that is designed to extract money straight from users’ wallets.

The game is being brought to Android through ngmoco corporate parent DeNA’s Mobage tools for porting games to Android. The press release claims that over 100 other games are coming to Android through the Mobage tools. Ian Marsh of NimbleBit says “An Android version of Pocket Frogs has been one the most requested things from our fans. Working with ngmoco and the Mobage platform allows us to bring Pocket Frogs to a larger audience with a streamlined publishing process.”

The iOS version authenticates via Plus+ and Game Center, so similar to StarDunk, it likely won’t support loading of iOS user profiles. No release date has been given for the game, but this is one to be excited about.

Source: Android Central