The Executive Review

The Executive Review

Dec 8, 2015

Every now and then, one comes across a new Google Play entry that catches one’s eye.


Add The Executive to the list.

Visually, does it’s thing. It uses a proprietary animation system that brings that hand-crafted, somewhat whimsical art to life, with a lot of colored effects and quick transitions. The sound complements its looks well, and off the bat, it all but demands to be examined further.

Beyond the graphics, the game employ some heady elements within the gameplay. The player controls the protagonist, who is a suited brawler, across irregular platforms and through assorted obstacles and baddies. The motion is toggled with gestures, but it’s atypical in that the forward motion of our hero is not continuous; instead, motion is just a tool to get Mr The Executive to the next action scene.


A big part of the said action involves fighting bad creatures. This part of the gameplay utilizes a dual method of 1v1 attack and defense, challenging the player to anticipate and block high and low blows from the enemy while looking to deliver a few choice jabs and kicks of his/her own. The dichotomy of the process is refreshing, as one times the incoming hits and does damage of one’s own, with the immediate goal being an attritive race to end the enemies lifebar before he does it to the player.

The game is leveled, and surviving each opens subsequent ones. At the end of each, one’s performance is graded based on stunt performance, accuracy of strikes, defensive acumen and time taken to finish; virtual cash is paid out accordingly. This cash can be used to improve the character of our lead character, which helps with the tougher levels that invariably come.

When it’s all said and done, it almost feels more like a beat ’em up than a simple platformer, and the amalgam works very, very well.



Jul 13, 2015

TMNT: ROOFTOP RUN brings us our favorite mutant amphibians… running. At the risk of name-dropping, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise is worth having a look at in almost any form.

After picking a particular turtle to unlock, one gets to start the game; it starts off as a sidescrolling platformer. The selected character runs from right or left, and, as to be expected, there are a lot of obstacles to overcome. A major one is makes sense, based on the location of this initial challenge (rooftops); there are gaps in the running area, and to navigate these, one has to tap to invoke a jump, while double-tapping creates a double jumping move that helps with greater height and distance.

There are other baddies; dark clothed characters intend upon doing our runner bodily harm. Tapping on them attacks them. The biggest enemy — which is recurrent through the game — is the Kraang ship, which hovers in the background just over our runner. This ship opens up a new element, in that if the runner loses energy (running into obstacles, etc) it reaches him, and beams him up, effectively ending the run.


Making it to the end allows th player to get to vehicle mode. This is an interesting twist, as this changes the platformer to a three-lane runner for a spell. Here, the platforming protagonist hops into a a car and looks to avoid obstacles by swiping, while collecting the same energy orbs and keeping ahead of the Kraang ship. Basically, if one is able to run far enough, he/she is able to go back and forth between th two runnng senarios, with boss challenges thrown in for good measure. It comes together relatively well, using two play elements to counter and balance each other, and hopefully, this staves off boredom. For an action game, it’s a decent entry; the addition of combat and boss challenges also add to its allure.

But, ah, the elements are here are well done, and quite familiar. 

In the end, it’s worth a look-see, if only for the great characters and the groovy graphics. For folks looking for a quick rush, it holds its own.



Jul 10, 2015

Sonic does his thing platform-style in SONIC RUNNERS, and if there is one thing we know, one almost has to do the check-up thing here. It is Sonic, after all.

It is a bold visual presentation; it pays homage to other Sonic games with its enthusiastic color scheme that exhibits purposefully vivid shades: bright blues, greens, reds and just about everything in between and beyond. The animations are quite fluid, which is pretty much a must for games of this type. The sound score is appropriately arcade-y, with highs and lows that underscore the gameplay, and the two elements (sound and visuals) come together quite well.

On the gameplay side, it is an easy-to-understand affair; 2D side-scrolling platformer, from left to right, featuring our speedster as the protagonist. Sonic races through a staggered runway, with plenty of goodies and offsetting obstacles/dangers; the opening sequences serve as a tutorial to guide a player through the basics of gaining and surviving, and do not let one go on unless a degree of proficiency is shown. Upon starting, Sonic moves forward perpetually; tapping the screen causes him to jump forward, while double-tapping induces Sonic to perform a double jump, which is quite useful in several instances.


In several respects, the game plays just like the “regular” platformer the game is based on. Beyond the stationary obstacles that are present, there are moving baddies as well, that creep from right to left. One can jump over or even on these to neutralize them, but a mistimed move can be injurious to the player, as there are lethal gaps in the running path. The devious Dr Eggman is present, and serves as a boss of sorts from early on. It is a very fast-paced game, with plenty of action to be had from the start of the run to whenever it ends, with bonuses, power-ups and more making their well appreciated presences felt. The in-app store is well-stocked, and can be accessed with both earned virtual cash or the real kind. One highlight is the ability to unlock (and run as) other characters.

SONIC RUNNERS does get busy in parts, almost too much so. In some segments, there might be the urge to just “jump” one’s way through. It is a big game as well, and the backstory feels a little contrived in areas.

As far as platformers go, it’s hard to give anything with Sonic the side eye for too long, and that is the bottom line here.

LIMBO Review

LIMBO Review

Mar 9, 2015

LIMBO is an interesting adventure game from Playdead that looks to prove that the slightly creepy can be infinitely entertaining.

The backstory is simple: boy in search of lost sister, a young boys wanders into LIMBO, a gloomy, foreboding land that would give most people pause.

The environment is a huge element in the game; the stark coloring is curiously intriguing, with different shades of white and black blending in and out to create a delightfully murky 2D environment. The dark colors are pervasive, and hide all sorts of hindrances and helpers in their depths. The animations are smooth, and convey action themes in a reasonable matter.

The gameplay itself is easy to understand; in a nutshell, one guides the character (using virtual controls) from left to right. This is, of course, easier said than done, because there are times one has think how to get through an obstacle to clear egress — and at other times, one needs to avoid lethal traps that end the run. The game gently gets one going with simple puzzles, and it’s not hard to glean the basics of advancement/survival.


Being vigilant is a biggie, as, even at the onset, one has to look for a tool or two that can help our protagonist to get moving, even including upwards. As the game progresses, quick reactions become more important, and one has to be on the lookout for the unexpected.

As one progresses even further, the puzzles become more intricate. I like how the developer has looked to prevent an over-reliance on going the “right” way. Sometimes, going backwards a bit is needed. Also, the platform elements are welcome, as they further prevent monotony. There are ropes and such as well as bear traps.

When one considers how simple the LIMBO is, one might be surprised at how addictive it is. It comes together well, looks relatively good and manages to spooky without being scary. The premium, one-time price ($4.99) is a plus in my book; the developer also provides a demo version.

Well worth a look, I say.

Gravity Duck Review

Gravity Duck Review

Sep 23, 2014

Gravity Duck has a nice core mechanic that could really challenge players. But does it live up to that potential?

Gravity Duck is one of those games you either hate or love. The main mechanic in Gravity Duck is that the duck, the player, has the abillity to control gravity. That means, for instance, that the floor becomes the ceilling, et cetera. With just one push on the on-screen A button, players will switch up the gravity and the duck in the game will go to the opposite direction. Around this mechanic there are some challenges, but despite its potential, it never really gets to tough on you.


That is something that can be a problem for players who are in need for a big challenge and thought that they would find it in Gravity Duck. Because in a way, it reminded me of a game like Super Meat Boy, with all the gravity bending puzzles that will be tougher later on. And perhaps other players had the same idea with this game – but it’s nothing like that. That is okay, because it means Gravity Duck can do his own thing and can therefore only be judged on what it is and not on what it is based on.

No, the gravity mechanic isn’t new, but the way the developer used it in Gravity Duck, it isn’t groundbreaking either. It simply works. That is actually my whole impression of this game. It’s just fine: the core mechanic works, the control works and even the retro styled graphics fits the game. Yeah, they also work in favor of the game. The only thing that bothered me is that the developer never took any chances to stretch the potential of the game’s core. Now it stays at ‘just fine’.

With a mechanic like this, some retro styled platforming action, including some monsters and even gravity switches, I expected a tough game. But it was nothing like that. The game is plain and simple and never really takes advantage of his own core. But hey, maybe the developer never intended to do that. Maybe they wanted to make a game that has everything working for it – because everything is just fine. The only thing missing, is a challange. Hopefully we’ll see that in Gravity Duck 2.

Leo’s Fortune Goes On Sale On Google Play

Leo’s Fortune Goes On Sale On Google Play

Sep 18, 2014

Leo’s Fortune, the memorable platform game from 1337 & Senri, is going on sale.

The game is a mash-up of adventure and puzzles, with scenery to match. It chronicles Leopold, an interestingly looking furball, and features, leaderboards, cloud saves, Android TV optimization and gamepad functionality.

From the Play Store datasheet:

through lush environments from mossy forests and arid deserts, to pirate cities and snowy mountains.
vicious traps and solve physics-based puzzles through 24 levels of treacherous platform adventure.
the trail of gold and uncover the truth behind Leo’s stolen fortune in this award-winning platformer.
Finish Leo’s Fortune to unlock Hardcore Mode: try to beat the whole game without dying, a rare feat among players of this epic platform adventure! Compete with your friends to beat as many levels as you can in the fastest time possible.
Leo’s Fortune supports Game Controllers and Gamepads made for Android devices, Cloud Save, Leaderboards and Achievements.

Leo’s Fortune can be purchased on the Play Store for $2.99. There isn’t any word on how long the sale will be live, so get in on it while it’s hot!

OUYA and Team Tripleslash Announce Upcoming OUYA-Exclusive Game Magnetic By Nature

OUYA and Team Tripleslash Announce Upcoming OUYA-Exclusive Game Magnetic By Nature

Apr 23, 2014

OUYA and Team Tripleslash has announced its upcoming platform game Magnetic By Nature; the game will be coming exclusively to OUYA first. The game will be available in May 2014.

The game is a redesign of an Xbox Live Arcade proof of concept Magnetic By Nature: Awakening, a proof-of-concept demo for Xbox Live Arcade.

Per the official press release, Magnetic By Nature explores platforming without platforms, putting players in the role of the last remaining robot exploring the ruins of an advanced civilization. Using the power of magnetic attraction and repulsion, players must manipulate magnets – and themselves – through wickedly difficult puzzles. Success relies on carefully balancing pushing and pulling on the level itself – go too far in one direction, and you’ll meet a nasty end. With a striking art-deco style, atmospheric sound design, and more than 100 levels of magnetic mayhem to navigate, Magnetic By Nature is an engrossing single-player experience that platformer fans will love.

[Source: OUYA Press Release]

Mikey Hooks Review

Mikey Hooks Review

Apr 10, 2014

Mark my words…

There might be a zillion RPGs, and countless board games, and twice as many hidden objects games… no matter the time frame, or the medium of gaming, there will always be a place for arcade action gaming.


Mikey Hooks, which comes to us via platform heavyweight Noodlecake Studios and BeaverTap Games, is just one of those games, and I admit that I had pretty much decided to like it at first glance.

It is a 2D platform game, and the general concept is to move rightwards, avoid the obstacles, pick up the goodies and survive till the end of the level. Visually, it’s not as outwardly festive at the beginning as preceding title Mikey Shorts; the scenery here feels a bit darker versus the initial outdoorsy look of the predecessor, but the concept is the same: people need rescuin’, and rescuin’ (with aplomb) is what Mikey is all about.

The initial frame gives a decent idea of the gameplay and how to use the given controls; there iare two direction mik1buttons that guide our hero in either direction, and there is a red jump button and a blue slide button. When double tapped, he red button initiates a bigger jump, and when there is a large gulf and a hook present, double tapping then holding the red button allows Mikey to use a special rope to swing from one end to the other, Tarzan-style. There is gold and hearts lives to be collected by contact, but some are placed precariously.

The obstacles and dangers are plenty and varied; spiked animated objects and walls; some parts of the play area move, so timing is a huge part of success. Finishing a level is not enough; the faster the better, because these obstacle courses are timed, and stars are awarded based on speed.

The in-app shop is full of extras to buy… heads ropes and more.

I thought the controls could be a bit more refined, and I would have liked more bi-directional action and time bonuses. All in all, its familiar, but still loads of fun, and can be as involving as one lets it.

Deadlings Review

Deadlings Review

Mar 18, 2014

With regards to the gameplay, Deadlings is unmistakably a platformer. But watch for the sleight of hand, because this one hides extra elements in its billowy robes.

It has to be said… finally, the zombies are the protagonists in this one. As in most platform games, getting from point A to Point B is the ultimate goal, but there are several anti-undead mechanisms around to make this harder. The backstory is the perfect entry tool, and gives insight into the quirky humor that makes up the games fabric. In this one, Death (as in Mr Grim Reaper himself) is a lonely, lonely soul. To combat this, he decided to create his own army, and to stock it with gruesome monsters — which makes sense in sick, sensible way.dead1

Anyhoo, the mazes that make up the platforms are deadly training grounds to weed out the monsters from the super-athletic monsters; and there are different zombies with different abilities.

The gameplay is leveled, and there are several visual learners placed at points to help the gameplay along. Early on, he play area is defined, always in 2D and fashioned as a room wih plenty of dangers like spikes surfaces, spinning rotary blades and explosive barriers. Touching any of these is lethal. There are also a defined entry point, and one more exits. At the base level, after a direction is picked to travel, the monster moves until stopped by a lethal danger or making it to an exit. The strategy lies in the ability to guide the moving monster successfully to the end point; as noted, different monsters have different attributes.

The first monster, for instance, can be made to jump by tapping the screen. Subsequent characters (unlocked by success, as are subsequent levels) can do stuff like jumping/adhering to surfaces directly above, or float, and more. There are treats to collect, and success, in time and collectibles, is measured at the end. There are exhaustible helpers (extra lives, obstacle-removing favors) and more can be had via in-app purchasing, which do not feel mandatory.

The graphics are vibrant, and the animations work well, even if the splashes of red are slightly sobering. I like the game flow, but would have preferred a simpler restart mechanism.

All in all? Solid game, simple layout, loads of free-to-play fun.

Foxtrot! Review

Foxtrot! Review

Feb 24, 2014

Foxtrot! is a story of eggs, and one daddy fox’s quest to get them to feed his famished cubs.

It’s a treat visually, with delightful old school stylings fronted on a 2D surface, It had that washed out look that isn’t displeasing to the eye, and a decent helping of primary colors. The characters move along with the expected retro gait, and, with the old school animations, the looks department come together nicely.

Playing the game is helped by getting into the tutorial. It teaches the control set for the game: tapping and holding on either side of the screen moves our fox in the corresponding direction. Double tapping allows the fox jump, but also is an action button near doors and such. In general, the goal is to get from point A to point B (while gathering keys and eggs), which represents the successful collection of eggs. At first, said quest is relatively easy, with Neville fox1simply getting dressed and moving on. Then, togglable elevators get tossed in, and these require some timing to navigate properly.

Eventually, there are other dangers. The structures become tougher to travel through, and then there are dangers like spikes and irate chickens. The developer does some great things with latent levels; just when one might think they have reached the end of a challenging level, an elevator might lift him to a hitherto unseen part of the same level. In the one, there are two banks of lifts, one up and down. The way the level is designed forces the use of the down lifts, even though going up is the goal. These elements of the gameplay are quite refreshing.

A failed level can be repeated as often as necessary; completing automatically bumps one to the next.

While I never really cottoned to the controls — the jump mechanism felt finicky at times — overall, it’s a nice effort, definitely worth trying out, especially with the one-shot pricing.

Motoheroz Review

Motoheroz Review

Feb 14, 2014

Motoheroz has made its way to Android.

The gameplay comes in two generalized versions: One Shot, which exists to perpetuate leaderboard bragging rights, and Career, that highlights prowess over extended levels. In the latter version, finishing a level with a star (more on this later) opens up future levels. There are eleven environments (with another “coming soon”) and each environment is broken down into said levels. Social network sign-up is necessary to take part in the One Shot series.

Racing starts off in familiar 2D platform style, with vehicles going left to right in a time trial of sorts. In Career Mode, the car “races” against a blue shadow vehicle that more or less paces the “real vehicle.” Now, an interesting wrinkle in this gameplay is that, in addition to left-right racing, in some levels, it is necessary to actually double back and complete the time trial zipping along back towards where the trial started from.

The control mechanism is extremely important, and almost equally atypical. It uses a bank of virtual controls. On themoto1 right are a pair of buttons that control direction to the left or right; as such, if using the one to accelerate the vehicle in any direction, the opposite button slows it down, stops it and eventually makes it go the other way. To the left are a couple of balance buttons. The one dips the vehicle forward by raising the back wheels, and the other lifts the hood/bonnet up by dipping the back wheels. These buttons are especially useful when the vehicle is airborne. Going up a steep hill too fast, for example, launches the vehicle much it might look in real life, with the vehicle struggling to land evenly. These balance buttons help adjust the car to prevent bad landings.

At the end of the day, speed is the name of the game. performance earns coins which can be used to upgrade vehicle attributes. Gold can be collected on the track, but the best hauls occur when starts are earned. Every level is rated thus, and stars mark achievement. For example, making specific time thresholds or beating the pace car earns some nice payouts and unlock the the next level.

There is an in-app purchase system, but it is quite straightforward; for a single price, the vehicle can be completely upgraded.

All in all, it is a well done port, with slick graphics and addictive, easy-to-understand gameplay.

Super Duck Review

Super Duck Review

Jan 6, 2014

In Super Duck, ducks need a hero to free them. They get… Super Duck.

Backstory aside, the game looks and feels like a retro arcade game. There are several ducks in a state of distress, and the goal to lead them to freedom by facilitating their movement to the exit door, which is generally out of reach of the birds in some way.

To help the birds on, the first tool is the ability of our hero to pick up boxes. Said boxes can be moved, and can be used by the ducks to get over obstacles. There are air tubes as well, which can be helpful or hinder. The blocks can be used to block the holes, or even create access to them when needed. In some levels, the one step height of a box isn’t enough; it’s possible to create ladders by combining boxes.super1

The leveled gameplay does not remain stagnant. As the levels go on, so does the complexity. Stuff like doors, for instance, create a time sensitive scenario where boxes have to be moved around to get the ducks to the exit. The action button, nestled to the right of the screen, eventually becomes useful and key to solving levels. Even explosions get a role in this one.

The game graphics are an ode to the past, with subdued colors and suitably stilted animations. The different rescue locations are rendered effectively within the confines of the game. The controls are easy and sharp on tablets.

It’s free to play, so complaining about the perceived shortness of the game feels wrong, but wrong I’ll be. I’d love to see more levels. I do like the solutions, which assist with sticky spots. I would have preferred looser controls as well.

All in all, it’s another example of he concept of simplicity winning day, and the frills-free nature makes it well worth a look.