Scorched Monster Review

Scorched Monster Review

May 3, 2012

Scorched Monster brings together the kind of arena survival popularized in the modern era by Super Crate Box (and iterated by Muffin Knight on Android) and one of the original games in the genre: the original Mario Bros. from Nintendo. Players control a flamethrower-wielding man, who must go around and scorch monsters, presumably because they are monsters. Hopefully our protagonist understands what Nietzche once said about monsters. The goal of the game is to try and achieve the goal score on each level, rack up high scores, and increase rank with successful playthroughs until the rank of “Scorch Master” is achieved.

It’s actually difficult, if not outright impossible, to be hurt by the enemies themselves, which makes killing them easy, just come in close proximity to them to activate the flamethrower and kill them. It’s something that has to be learned, as my automatic reaction to enemies at first was “I should probably not touch them”, though until I tested whether this was true or not, I avoided bopping enemies on the head. Thankfully, they just get scorched immediately.

The pixel art looks great. The game is colorful and the pixels are crisp – the game is definitely a looker for fans of the retro art style. The game uses virtual controls, but they’re very accurate, I had no issues with them at all. The left and right arrows are spaced well enough apart to where I never had any accidental inputs.

Scorched Monster is set up great for both short sessions and long-term play. Levels take 45 seconds each (though additional time powerups can be collected), and then each level’s score goes toward a total 10 level score. Games can be picked up and resumed at any point. Then, there’s the long-term play, as the goal score in each level increases, because only true Scorch Masters should be given that rank.

The game does get a bit repetitive over time. The level layouts don’t appear to change much, though the backgrounds change. Levels use many of the same tricks, such as spikes that are on ceilings, making them tricky to jump through. The enemy types only really vary in terms of their appearance and score types, they don’t do anything besides walk around.

Scorched Monster is a fun retro-style diversion for Android. The game comes in both ad-supported and paid versions, though it appears as if the ads are only in the menu, not in the game itself. Remember, supporting indie devs is always a good thing! This is a fun game, worth the download.

Pixel Towers App Review

Pixel Towers App Review

Mar 30, 2012

For anyone who has ever been to the game room at a restaurant or movie theater recently those block stacking prize games should be familiar. Typically in those games any piece that is not stacked onto a block below it is lost and the game continues until there are no blocks remaining. Coming from the fine people at The Grey Studios is Pixel Towers, a game that is fundamentally unchanged from those arcade standards albeit with a clever new coat of paint. Even thought it is made kind of obvious by its name, the art design in Pixel Towers is pixel art and, even though there isn’t much time to take it all in, the detail in each block is quite extraordinary. Each block is a new level for an office building and they are bustling with workers and the floors are surprisingly varied keeping things fresh and interesting.

As expected, the higher the office gets, the faster the blocks fly by, but Pixel Towers throws in a sly wrinkle by slowing things down randomly; on paper, this seems like a hanging curve but in reality the dramatic change of speed is the equivalent of a change up in baseball. Another smart addition is that every so often the game will give back a lost square. For example, if there are two squares remaining, it will turn into three at random moments giving the player a second chance after a mistake. This mechanic helps make a very unforgiving game a little easier.

Unfortunately, even with these two additions the game remains just too simple to really captivate anyone for more than 5 to 10 minutes because it is essentially the TicTac of the gaming world. After playing two or three games, the Pixel Towers really loses its charm right up until about the next time five free minutes become available.