V8ORS – Flying Rat Review

V8ORS – Flying Rat Review

Sep 22, 2015

Arcade shoot-em ups are almost always worth a gander, and in V8ORS – Flying Rat, we seemingly have an opportunity to avail ourselves of our game-related addiction.

It plays fairly easily, in portrait, with the player’s plane in the foreground. As to be expected in an arcade game of this type, the controls are intuitive, with one’s finger being the main tool of navigation; one places a finger close to v83the plane and controls it by dragging one’s finger across the screen; the phone follows the moving finger.

The main idea is to keep flying. Easier said than done, especially when one considers the waves of enemy fliers flying into one’s area. These ships continually shoot, much like the protagonist plane, but interestingly, the projectiles emitted adjust to where the player’s ship is, so one has to be extra adept with the finger to move around quickly enough to inflict damage and avoid getting hit. Also, one aspect of the gameplay is that even a shot plan can keep firing right up until it’s destroyed, meaning the player must keep an eye on incoming missiles from everywhere.

There is very little room for error early on; in terms of sustaining damage, it’s one and done. This makes the game a bit of a challenge, in that there really isn’t room for much deviation from the main script, but on the flip side, it makes for some very straightforward gameplay. As one goes on and is able to live longer, the gameplay becomes a living maze of planes and projectiles in irregular waves. Power-ups kick in at a particular point threshold, (one of which is the ability to sustain two hits before dying) and one can earn continues by watching videos.

In the end, it’s mainly about beating the high score. Wash rinse repeat. The game has a pronounced social aspect, Facebook connection is highly encouraged.

Fun game, and worth a look.

RETRY Review

RETRY Review

Nov 28, 2014

RETRY is one of those games that is frustratingly great. Like the Flappy Bird of yore it is capable of frustrating the pants off of any player but also to keep them coming back for more.

Screenshot_2014-11-24-12-48-58RETRY’s concept is as simple as can be. The player guides a small yellow plane from the beginning of a course to the end. These courses feature lots of up and down slopes, small tunnels, water and sometimes even moving blocks. Along the way are checkpoints the player can unlock to begin again from that point.

The catch is that the plane controls very weirdly. Pressing down hard on the throttle causes the plane to flip and loop and eventually probably crash into whatever is above it. There are no directional controls. The player must control the plane entirely by pressing and releasing the throttle.

Screenshot_2014-11-24-10-52-30As awful this sounds it is also deeply satisfying. With careful use of the throttle the player can flip and loop though obstacles and feathering it at just the right rate allows the plane to glide along at the perfect angle and land safely. This is a lot of fun.

Whenever the player crashes, which will happen a lot, they can restart at a number of checkpoints found along the way. These checkpoints must be unlocked however. The player can use coins to unlock them. These coins are found along each course and often placed in positions that will cause players to crash if they aren’t careful when picking them up. Coins can also be bought with real money. Lastly – and this is the most controversial choice – they can watch a 15 second video ad to unlock the checkpoint.

RETRY embraces its old school vibe in a way few games have on Android. Older gamers will grin from ear to ear at this game’s presentation. A great fresh, colorful visual style with pixel art really gives RETRY that warm old school vibe that many games on the Play Store shoot for but few hit. The sound is extremely good as well. Dangerously catchy chiptunes warble away in the background and suit the game exceptionally well. The actual sound effects are very limited like you’d expect from an old game. There is the putt putt of the plane’s engine and the “tack” of smacking into yet another obstacle. Particularly great is the super triumphant sound that checkpoints make when you unlock them. RETRY is a smile stretcher.

For all its old school charm however RETRY feels a little dirty. The way the player can choose to watch ads to unlock checkpoints feels..unclean like the game is taking advantage of the player in a way games really shouldn’t. If the game wasn’t as hard as it is this would be less of a problem. The game also has an ad on its pause screen, which is less excusable. It doesn’t help that this is labelled “Rovio News” like its actually something interesting rather than the upteenth shrilling of a certain overexposed game license that should have ended long ago.

RETRY is fun stuff, a real challenge and it is a unique idea which isn’t often seen on mobile. Despite the insidious ad system RETRY is definitely worth a look.

KickStarter Spotlight: PowerUp 3.0

KickStarter Spotlight: PowerUp 3.0

Jan 22, 2014

Who does not remember sitting in class in middle school trying to make the best paper air planes? Invariably, there was always that one kid who would origami a perfect F-16 and throw it 200 feet down the hallway. Introducing PowerUp 3.0; a way for all those who are not born aviators to feel the wind under their paper wings.

Basically, PowerUP 3.0 is a lightweight skeleton of a model airplane that fits between the wings of most paper airplanes. The device offers power and control by means of a rear mounted propeller and rudder that is operated via bluetooth connection to any smartphone from a tiny node at the front of the device. Now, personally, my only experience piloting remote controlled planes is stalling one into the top of a 60 foot tree during its maiden voyage, but the videos on Shai Goitein’s KickStarter page seem very convincing. Small touches are very encouraging, such as the hardwired response to accelerate through turns; greatly aiding handling and performance.

The app, initially only available for iOS, looks great and thanks to an already successful stretch goal will be available to all Android phones rocking 4.3 and above. Two other stretch goals boast great inventiveness and creativity. The first is the ability to use two PowerUp modules at once opening the door for a bevy of paper mâché flying fortresses. The second stretch goal is pretty crazy, and allows for dogfighting which consists of proximity sensors that active a ‘SHOOT!” button on the phones of the users in order to determine whose engine gets shut down and who flies away victorious.

Unlike a lot of projects we have covered here before this one has already been fully funded and has earned over $1 million which is nearly 20 time what the initial goal was. This spotlight shines on a project that is overwhelmingly successful and shows incredible promise. Even though it is already wildly successful, it’s worth donating to this project solely to secure a first run PowerUp and the priceless envy of friends and coworkers.

AirAttack HD Review

AirAttack HD Review

Nov 30, 2012

Art in Games makes a name for itself with the top-down shooter AirAttack HD. Plenty of games try hard to bring WWII-era air battles to consoles, but this one makes it pop on smartphones, which is no small feat.

The graphics were, in a word, excellent. The recreated terrain was almost good enough to distract from the opposing weaponry. I loved the bridges, exploding trains and even the impertinent flair of the upgraded flamethrower. It was a visual treat, with matching sounds that took me straight to the History Channel war specials.

As already noted, it put me in the thick of an air-centric mission. At the beginning, I got to pick one of three plane choices. Control-wise, the plane was at my fingertips… literally. I used my index finger to fly and maneuver around firing planes and artillery from the ground. My ever-shooting plane took care of the offense, as all I had to do was use the plane to direct my weapons, and tap or two on the right virtual icon dispensed special weapons like bombs or lightning. Instead of my finger, I could tilt or use a virtual joypad if I so chose. Prior to starting, I was notified of the mission goals, and at the end of each, I got my kill percentages and other mission-related stats

Gameplay consisted of destroying enemy planes and infrastructure and gathering the game cash and health packets left behind. There were two modes of play: Survival and Arcade (I had to unlock the former). The scenes were diverse; there was nighttime flying, daytime missions and one over water… I even found snow. There were “bosses” too, just when I thought I had finally figured a level out.

The accumulated cash allowed me to purchase upgrades at particular points during the action. The upgrades were varied… escorting wingmen, lightning, turrets, extra lives and other game staples.

This is one of the first games that I will whine about the lack of an online leaderboard, but a game of this caliber demands one for cross-platform bragging rights, so I am whining. Also, while the developer did well to make the game fairly exciting, there is the risk of monotony.

AirAttack works well on smartphones and tablets, and will draw you in.