Voxel Invaders Review

Voxel Invaders Review

Jul 31, 2013

When it comes to arcade icons like Space Invaders, using hushed tones is very appropriate. That game was one of the granddaddies, and is still a favorite across generations. Voxel Invaders brings that exact type of fun to the Android screen.

The retro feel is underscored by the graphics. The 2D environment is presented in old-school format, with purposefully simplistic backgrounds and hues meant to emphasize visual color separation. The animations are relatively smooth within the design confines of the gameplay.

But yes… it’s quite okay to think of a specific arcade shooter of yester-years. Voxel Invaders has the same type of wave offense gameplay. Attack is the best form of defense; the lone ship starts out at the bottom of the screen, and waves of enemy ships appear directly in front, at the top. The main goal is to stay alive by clearing the voxel1enemy ships and avoiding return fire.

The ship itself shoots on its own, so dragging the ship with a finger gets it in position to be in front of an enemy ship. It also helps maneuver it out of the way of moving fire coming right at it. To begin, the waves were simple formations and the return fire is fairly slow and intermittent. As the game progresses, and waves are successfully cleared, the gameplay gets craftier, sending out sneakier gunfire, tougher enemy ships and more agressive formations. Enemy ships start coming forward faster, and shooting in multiple directions.

Thankfully, there are upgrades and powerups that somewhat help level the playing field. These usually appeared at tough spots, requiring a bit of danger to procure. There’s stuff like extra lives, invincibility, weapons upgrades and more

The game has three difficulty levels (Easy, Normal and Hard), so different abilities are covered.

All in all, it’s a superb time waster that celebrates the power of longevity.

Retro Cosmos Review

Retro Cosmos Review

May 9, 2011

The old school has found a comfortable, well furnished home in the snug confines of your pocket. You need only take a cursory glance at the Android Market to find remakes, re-imaginings and re-inventions of all the games the kids were playing twenty or thirty years ago. It should come as no surprise when I tell you that Retro Cosmos is, to all intents and purposes, a simplified touch screen version of Space Invaders.

Maybe simplified is the wrong term – changed around a bit might be more accurate. Whereas in Taito’s classic arcade game you had scenery to hide behind, you’re afforded no such luxury here. You are, however, able to move forwards and backwards on the screen – gamers in the late seventies could only dream about such a revolution.

The rest of the game plays out in decidedly familiar fashion – waves of enemies swoop down the screen towards you, firing pixel sized bullets, and you have to shoot them before they destroy you. Some of the alien craft carry power ups that they drop when destroyed, which give you extra lives and more powerful weapons.

It would be easy to dismiss Retro Cosmos as another in the swathe of old fashioned blasters that litter app stores around the world, but you’d be doing the game a great disservice. It may not win any awards for originality, but what it does, it does remarkably well. The touch screen controls – you guide the ship with your finger and it fires automatically – work fantastically, and the sense of accomplishment you get after completing a wave is almost palpable.

Retro Cosmos is by no means a perfect game, the collision detection is a little off and sometimes it’s quite bland to look at, but that shouldn’t detract from just how enjoyable it is. It’ll never win any game of the year awards, nor will it win any prizes for style or innovation, but it is a lot of fun and sometimes, that’s all you really want.

Super Medusa Review

Super Medusa Review

Apr 26, 2011

If there’s one thing that mobile phones do well, apart from making calls, it’s action-puzzle games. The bite-sized nature of mobile gaming means developers are constantly trying to cram more and more excitement into every level of their fiendishly difficult creations, turning sedate brain benders into frantic, quick thinking reaction-time testers. We’ve come a long way since Tetris.

Super Medusa is a fine example of this fledgling genre, testing not just your timing and reflexes, but taxing your grey matter as well. A cutesy game in both sight and sound, it casts you in the role of a constantly bouncing jellyfish. Using the accelerometer, you tilt your phone to guide the buoyant Cnidaria in a quest to free its fishy friends, who have somehow become encased in different coloured blocks. You bash said blocks with your head, and once you’ve freed all the fish in a level, you move onto the next.

Of course, it’s not as simple as all that. Your jellyfish can only break blocks that are the same colour as it, which means you’ll have to find the star blocks on each level that let you change colour. Add to that the different varieties of predator that patrol the undersea realm, all of whom will kill you instantly if you come into contact with them, and the game becomes an addictive, frustrating, bobbing joy.

Super Medusa is a lot of fun, mixing elements of classic platformers with a hefty pinch of block-breaking puzzler and a visual style that’s pleasing on the eye but never provides any “wow” moments. There are levels enough to keep you entertained, but things do get a little samey sometimes; Super Medusa lacks the visual chicanery that other titles employ to keep your eyes and your mind interested.

This isn’t a game that you’ll lose hours in, but it is one that can easily while away a boring commute or a lonely lunch break. The charming art style and distinctly old school sounds are almost certain to bring a smile to your face, just don’t expect your play time to extend into the wee small hours and you won’t be disappointed.