Metal Shooter Review

Metal Shooter Review

Oct 13, 2016

Every now and then, it’s okay — no, its necessary — to dabble in something that takes you back. You know, a retro-ish game. Say, like Metal Shooter.

This one is fairly intuitive. Our Rambo-ish champion looks to be guided from left to right, but to do so, he has to overcome a bunch of enemy commandos in various manifestations. Our guy is primarily armed with a gun, and is capable of a melee attacks.

The playing area defines the gameplay. It works in landscape orientation, in 2D, and as such, really evokes an old school feel. The graphics are rich, the terrain distinctly military, and the sounds help complete the arcade presentation.

The playing area is also platformed, such that the player might need to move a level or two to navigate or move on.

The control system involves a multi-faceted joystick nestled on the one side, and a set of attack/weapon buttons on the other. The joystick allows one to control the height of the weapon bursts, as well as the direction of the movement of the controlled character.

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The gameplay isn’t hard to comprehend. As mentioned earlier, one has to navigate enemies and platforms, and these enemies can shoot back. There are “regular” obstacles too, and one has to avoid being killed while taking them out and moving on. There are bosses, and the terrain and enemies get crafter the further one gets into the game.

All in all, it comes together well. I like the continuous action, and it has a comfortable feel. The joystick was a bit of a letdown i think, as i feel a few more actions could have been derived from it.

Still, Metal Shooter does a good job of bringing together several gameplay elements; as a platformer, it does well, and the added pieces — like the battling — make it that more interesting.

Classic Educational Puzzle Zoombinis Looks to See Revival on Android this Summer

Classic Educational Puzzle Zoombinis Looks to See Revival on Android this Summer

Feb 18, 2015

Zoombinis, the popular educational game from a while back, is looking to make comeback on — amongst other platforms — Android OS; it is set to be revealed this summer via Kickstarter funding.

The award-winning game tells the intriguing tale of the Zoombinis, small blue creatures with differing characteristics. Children and adults test their logical reasoning, data analysis, pattern finding, and problem solving skills as they help Zoombinis complete unique challenges, escape imprisonment from the evil Bloats, and reach the promised land of Zoombiniville. On their epic journey, they must face a series of increasingly difficult challenges, including Pizza Pass, Titanic Tattooed Toads and Mudball Wall. The Zoombinis travel in groups across multiple levels until all 625 blue creatures are saved.

Fans of the adorable Zoombini creatures can pledge their support for the game on the newly unveiled Kickstarter to expand future platform support. If successful, it will assure that the modern remake reaches an audience beyond the iPad and Android tablets to include PC, Mac and tablets of all sizes. The full Kickstarter campaign details and how the game is evolving are available at: https://www.kickstarter.com/profile/zoombinisgame

To pledge support, one can check out the funding page. We look forward to getting more details as they become available; in the meantime, we have a teaser trailer below:

[Source: Kickstarter Page and Press Release]

Inferno 2 Review

Inferno 2 Review

Jan 12, 2015

Inferno 2 is an intense dual stick shooter. With its super cool looking graphics, frenetic gameplay and stiff challenge, Inferno 2 nails the twin stick shooter genre and is a lot of fun to play.

In Inferno 2 players control a small ship with the familiar two sticks for moving and shooting. Players make their way through maze like levels with barriers that must be unlocked and copious enemies to be destroyed.

Screenshot_2014-12-20-12-51-11Inferno 2 is literally packed with enemies. Each level contains Cores, tough objects that constantly crank out enemies, often as fast as the player can kill them. The idea then is to wipe out the Cores as fast as possible while trying to avoid/kill the sea of enemies that infest the levels. Of course since enemies are created as fast as the player can kill them this involves an exciting, high risk style of gameplay where the player must move around enemies and be aggressive, threading their way through them to pick off Cores and stop the flow of foes without getting swamped. There are plenty of frantic moments spraying huge clouds of enemies with powerful weapons to try to thin the herd a bit in Inferno 2. This is a lot of fun.

The game also has some fairly dirty tricks to make life difficult for the player. Some passages have tidal effects that push players down them into waiting enemies or there may be barriers that must be touched with your ship to be released. Naturally, these barriers are packed with enemies who will flood out at point blank range after the barrier is dispelled.

A robust upgrade system helps the game along. Killing enemies and grabbing items during gameplay awards experience which can be used to power up weapons or increase max armour. There are multiple weapons in the game, such as bullets which bounce off of walls and are great for tight areas, homing missiles, mines and others. Each of these is good in a different situation.

Screenshot_2015-01-07-06-56-34Inferno 2 has a whole lot of levels and additional bonus levels are unlocked with keys. Keys can be bought with in game cash and that’s it. There are no IAPs here. The only cost for playing Inferno 2 is the app’s initial cost. The only thing that matters is the player’s skill.

Inferno 2 looks fantastic. A really cool, glowy retro-style makes Inferno 2 looks like a combination of a retro arcade shooter and modern. The never-ending sea of enemies and sharp, defined graphics really make the game a great fit for mobiles.

Inferno 2 is a premier dual-stick shooter with lots of intense, fun gameplay, slick presentation and no in-app purchases. For any gamer this is a no brainer.


Huey Review

Huey Review

Nov 20, 2014

Huey is an old school platformer featuring cute monkeys! What’s not to like?

Huey has all the elements of a classic platformer. Players guide Huey along precarious platforms, jumping over deadly pits, avoiding traps, bonking enemies by jumping on their heads and grabbing coins on the way to the stage’s exit.

Screenshot_2014-11-17-05-38-26Huey lacks any kind of tutorial. While the titular monkey can grab coins to trade for extra lives or even the ability to skip levels, it’s unclear what the eggs are used for.

Hey is quite tough. Like most old school platformers, one wrong step generally results in death and enemies aren’t pushovers either. The challenge is engaging without being overwhelming and makes Huey a tense experience. For players that really get stuck the ability to skip levels with coins might come in handy.

The game does have some pretty cheap moments however. Snails and hedgehogs fire nearly impossible to see projectiles and there are quite a few very cheap obstacle courses involving instakill spikes. With the way the game allows skipping of levels it is tough to tell sometimes if these puzzles are designed solely to frustrate players into paying for coins. The game is never impossible however.

Screenshot_2014-11-17-05-41-13Huey looks average It feels a few years old and lacks the sharp pixel art found in other games of its type. It certainly looks 16 bit and has some personality. There are plenty of enemies to fight and besides the aforementioned hard to see projectiles the game is easy to see.

The sound could be a lot better. With nope speech at all and very muted sound effects Huey feels a little amateurish. The music suits the game well though.

Huey controls well enough. The stick works fine, although sometimes I could have sworn I pressed the jump button an instant before it responded, resulting in me falling onto spikes. The game does not support external control pads, which is a pretty big oversight in this age of mobile gaming.

Huey has a lot of levels and the game’s stiff challenge will ensure it will take a lot of time to work through them. The game makes reference to future updates as well so expect more levels in the future.

The game has a few ads bit these only appear between levels and are very short. Coins can be spent to remove ads.

Huey has few surprises, but it is still a competent platformer, if nothing too amazing. Players who grew up with 16 bit games should check it out.


Magnetized Review

Magnetized Review

Feb 26, 2014

I have to admit, my initial impression of Magnetized was that it’s somewhat boring, but has a potential to become good. Little did I know that the game actually does become good, you just have to play it for a while to get there. Magnetized is repetitive at first, and I’ve almost dropped it after a while. Good thing I’ve decided to wait until the second part of the game to stop, because when I actually got there, I couldn’t stop anymore. It sucked me in, and although I still can’t complete it, I think it’s a great puzzle game. Or is it an arcade game? That’s what is very unusual about Magnetized, and it’s what kept me interested in the game. On one hand, Magnetized requires fast reflexes and precision, but on the other – there’s no finishing a level on “perfect”, without deconstructing the level in your head and thinking your moves through.

The player needs to look after a little flying pixel. The pixel comes on a level from some side of the screen, moving in a straight direction. It needs to “pick up” three stationary pixels that are placed in certain places around the level, and then move out of the level, without hitting any walls or obstacles. Otherwise, the level ends and needs to be replayed. The trick is that the pixel itself isn’t controlled by the player. There are “grips” in the certain places. A gripq becomes active when the pixel comes closer to it than to others. When the player touches the screen, the Magnetized 3active grip “lassos” the pixel and performs a certain action to it. The grips in the first levels spin the pixel around themselves, much like actual lassos. When the player releases the finger, the pixel keeps moving in the changed direction. Levels become increasingly trickier, but when you get a grip on the mechanics, the game slowly starts to become a chore. But then, other types of hooks starts to show up, and Magnetized becomes a lot more interesting – especially when different kinds of hooks start being mixed together, and some parts of the level start moving around.

Magnetized is a very unusual game, no doubt about that. Very simple Atari-like graphics and chiptune soundtrack, as well as lack of hints or other in-game help set it aside from most of the modern puzzles and make it, for the lack of a better term, very old-school. I’ve personally had a blast, and although it gets quite challenging at the end, it’s definitely an interesting game.

ArkDroid Review

ArkDroid Review

Jul 6, 2011

Breakout clones have been around ever since Breakout was invented. Anyone who’s ever dabbled in game making has probably built a Breakout clone. I know I have. That said, just because a game is a copy, doesn’t mean it’s terrible. If you manage to get the balance between familiarity and new concepts just right, you might make something special.

ArkDroid is a touch screen controlled block smasher. You slide a bar along the bottom of the screen in order to bounce a ball to the top of the screen and clear all of the coloured bricks from the level. Some smashed bricks drop power ups and power downs that ranged from turning the ball into a flaming death bomb, to shrinking your bar to a minuscule size.

You can only move your bar using a space at the very bottom of the screen, indicated by a finger print. Whilst this means your fingers aren’t obscuring the play, it’s quite a small space and your finger doesn’t always register, meaning you’ll sit in anguish as yet another ball drifts past you.

It’s not the best looking game out there, either. It’s solidly built, but there’s a clunkiness to everything the game has to offer that makes it look decidedly old fashioned next to the bigger boys available on the Android Market. Don’t get me wrong, there’s fun to be had with ArkDroid, but it sometimes feels like it’s not quite finished, like it needs a little bit more work before it’s ready to be unleashed onto the public.

Put simply, it’s a Breakout clone that offers nothing particularly revolutionary, and doesn’t play quite as well as you might hope. There’s nothing massively wrong with it, and it’ll keep you entertained for as long as you play it, but ArkDroid just can’t shake the fact that it’s a clone, and a clone that’s not that much more impressive that its 25 year old progenitor.

Doodle Grub – Twisted Snake Review

Doodle Grub – Twisted Snake Review

Jun 29, 2011

It’s fair to say that if some Swedish mega-genius hadn’t decided to include Snake on Nokia’s early mobile phones, we might not be in the position that we are today. That simple act turned mobile phones into more than just phones that were mobile, and paved the way for the jack-of-all-trades multimedia devices we carry around with us today.

It seems fitting then that things have come round almost full circle. Doodle Grub is an attempt to recapture the glory days of 2D mobile phone gaming, with a bit of up-to-date polish and some rather more modern ideas about control than Nokia were able to implement in their clone of a clone. The question is, is this nostalgia gone mad or a welcome blast from the past?

First things first, Doodle Grub’s main difference from the original Snake, other than the way it looks, is the way it handles. You’re not pushing buttons or sliding your thumb around on an imaginary D-pad; instead you’re moving your snake, or grub, around using the accelerometer in your phone. In other words, to make the snake go left, you tilt your phone left.

It’s a system that almost works, but it’s not quite subtle enough to deal with the quick changes in speed and direction that the game calls for. Whilst you no longer have to dodge your own tail, there are plenty of other obstacles getting between you and the tasty apples you crave, including giant bugs, and the tilt controls just aren’t good enough when you need them most. It’s a shame, because the game’s other ideas all work really well. Some of the fruit you go after is rotten, and will lose you points if you eat it, and ladybugs act as Pacman style power pills, turning you into a spiky, bug killing machine.

Doodle Bug is a nice try to do something new with an old favourite. Sadly, it doesn’t quite pull it off, but it’s still worth a look if you fancy reliving the good old days when phone games were simple and sating the hunger of a four pixel wide snake was the only thing that mattered.

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.

Theme Thursday – Tha Shag

Theme Thursday – Tha Shag

May 5, 2011

I was born just late enough to miss most of the 70s, but not soon enough to miss some of the leftovers of that decade. Of course, when your parents don’t have a lot of money, they tend to hang on to whatever came with the house, and that included deep-pile, shag carpeting. I fondly remember spending long afternoons in front of our 26-inch, RCA console television, playing Atari 2600 video games on the floor, comfortably nestled in the greenish-yellow shag carpeting of our living room. Ahh, the good ol’ days.

That’s why, in the name of nostalgia, we’re going to take a trip back with this week’s Theme Thursday – Tha Shag.

If you don’t know the drill by now, Theme Thursday is when we highlight themes for ADW Launcher, a free, highly customizable home replacement for Android.

The idea behind Tha Shag is to cover your Android device in wall-to-wall retro. While there is a free version, for US$2.99, you get a graphically enhanced action bar, additional dock styles and over 540 custom icons. You also get 8 gaudy wallpapers that feature various scenes — from a plush, shaggy Android to rainbows, stripes and, the coup de grace of old-school home decor, wood wall panelling. Oh. yeah; this theme goes there.

On the negative side, a few common icons seem to be absent. However, the author of this theme is more than willing to create them for you if you send him an email. Other than that, only one of the wallpapers really complements the icons; the rest sort of stick out.

If you’d like to take a test spin, try the free version. Otherwise, go straight for the US$2.99 version and get the deluxe icon set. Just don’t run too fast or you’ll risk getting rug burn. Shag is all fun and games until someone gets hurt, baby.

Meganoid review

Meganoid review

Mar 8, 2011

Meganoid is a punishing, classic-inspired, tougher than shoe-leather platformer that does everything it can to pound you into a bloody pulp, and you’ll come crawling back for more.
In Meganoid, aliens are invading, and the world needs a hero. Unfortunately, all they had available was you. Adonis DNA: do you have it?

Meganoid features retro graphics, music and gameplay meant to resemble classic, 8 and 16-bit era games. However, despite the old school feel, there are plenty of modern tricks to give the game extra depth.