Ninja Arashi Review

Ninja Arashi Review

Mar 27, 2017

Dastardly Orochi has escaped prison and has the gall to kidnap your son. Of course, that won’t stand. It’s time to don the black regalia again…

And this, in a nutshell, is the premise behind Ninja Arashi.

Did you say “ninjas?” Color us sold.

In gameplay terms, the rescue effort boils down to a leveled running platform adventure. It is an eerie visual experience, with plenty of dark tones; the artwork is mostly zany without teetering into the unserious… ethereal and foreboding at the same time.

The general direction is from left to right, and the running area is fraught with danger.

The first level doubles as a hands on tutorial. The main idea is to navigate the leveled action, and get our stealthy hero from Point A to Point B. As noted, there are a lot of things to avoid — gaps, glowing red punji sticks, human sentries, and even otherworldy matter. To get by, the jump/double jump button is key. There’s also other tools, like the rechargeable shiruken and conceal buttons, which are great against physical barriers and beings.

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There are also collectibles, and the game also incorporates RPG elements, like the ability to upgrade attributes. Levels can be repeated, and completing the one opens up subsequent levels. Death leads to respawning.

There is an energy requirement of sorts, though; there are only so many times one can be respawned.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen a platformer with this time of aesthetic; yes, the dark motif with splashes of glowing color lends itself especially well to this particular game genre. The bank of virtual controls are a bit cramped, which makes mishits something to be aware of.

Still, Ninja Arashi comes across as a competent platform game that is a cut above your everyday time waster.

Plus, ninjas are cool. Always.

Gravity Duck Islands Review

Gravity Duck Islands Review

Feb 21, 2017

It’s a rough and tumble world, and plenty of mobile games that mimic it. Battling, strategy… heck, even simulated “reality” games. Pick your poison, eh?

Still, there are times when we all wanna just be like the Commodores on a weekend day… this one just about gets you hummin’.

At first rip, Gravity Duck Islands looks and feels like your regular platformer. The cavernous pathways, gaps to jump and the the like allow it feel familiar out the gate; the core idea, presented in leveled fashion, is to avoid all the potential stoppers and get from the entrance door to the stage-ending exit.

The obstacles start out being relatively easy, and start getting harder by type and manifestation: endless gullies, good old lethal spikes, animals and more. To navigate his, first, we have a the ubiquitous jump button; there is also movement buttons that allow you to control the left/right movement of our protagonist duck. Running with the jump button creates a leap and all that hood stuff.

But the main gimmick in this game is the gravity button. This allows the player to literally simulate the reversal of gravity — the ground becomes the ceiling and vice versa. Now, it’s a fine tool from the get-go, as it becomes apparent from the first level that it is impossible to move on without looking to switch perspective and path to a fixed piece of play area.

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And the challenge then becomes timing jumps, gravity swaps and avoiding obstacles, while collecting collectibles and moving on. As you move on in the game, you will discover that our traveling duck does have a few more tricks up it’s wing feathers, like the ability o engorge itself with air like a balloon, and a funky teleporting skill.

It comes together fairly nicely, and overall, it’s a relatively enjoyable experience. premium, one-time pricing with no ads is the cherry on top.

Ravenous Games and Noodlecake Partner to Release Gravity Duck Islands

Ravenous Games and Noodlecake Partner to Release Gravity Duck Islands

Feb 4, 2017

Ducks!!!!!!!

Gravity Duck Islands is a new game that just launched on the Play Store.

The new game is a platformer that splits 80 levels across 4 locales, each of the locales (islands) adds new movement mechanics.

Per the presskit:

As the Gravity Duck you will travel across 4 islands with unique mechanics while flipping gravity to help you reach the end of the level. Do this while avoiding obstacles in this silly puzzle platforming game!

Features:
– Flip gravity and walk on walls / ceilings
– Unique abilities for each island – Jump, Float, Teleport and Phasing
– Collect rubber ducks to buy hats
– Tricky puzzles

Gravity Duck Islands is available for the one-time price of $2.99; we’re looking forward to checking it out!

Check out the trailer:

[via Gravity Duck Press Page]

Robo Guy Review

Robo Guy Review

Nov 30, 2016

Robo Guy is a simple game with a simple objective: make it from point A to Point B.

The game utilizes a utilitarian aesthetic; simple backgrounds, with straight to the point objects and characterizations. The game has a somewhat muted feel from the get-go.

The gameplay proceeds simply; using the virtual controls (for jumping and moving left or right), one learns how to traverse the original playing area. There walls of differing lengths, simulated caverns and the like, and the jump button is useful to get atop/over these.

In several instances, a regular jump might not be enough, and this is where the wall jumping comes in handy. By using the jump and direction buttons together, it is possible to get our hero to move upwards by launching from one wall to another adjacent one. This method of springing upwards allows our dude to get to heights otherwise impossible to reach.

In addition to the structures, other obstacles exist: spikes, for instance, should be avoided (as should the other live, mobile creatures), as they are usually lethal. These can be dispatched by jumping on them a set number of times, Mario-style.

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The game extends on and on, with several different levels that have different configurations. It spits a lot of more intricate levels, and formal strategy is a bit more important, as an errant move can reduce the life expectancy. Newer enemies also show up after a spell.

One aspect of the game that works is that it does not confine itself to movement in one direction. A successful sequence might entail going up and down, and then back up again to reach the exit. One might start off going leftwards and rightwards, doubling back a time or two, especially if one wants to pick up all the goodies that are available to be collected.

The game shows up as completely free, which makes it a low-risk try. Potential for fun? Extra.

Super Jabber Jump Review

Super Jabber Jump Review

Jun 20, 2016

Super Jabber Jump somehow feels like a breath of fresh air.

Off the bat, the graphics transport one back… way back, to a glorious time when platformers fashioned after prodigious brothers and inquisitive gorillas held sway. Yep, chunky graphics and retro-ish washed out graphics meld together to create a visually pleasing environment that helps to enhance the game.

With regards to gameplay, we have a 2D platform caper; the player controls the protagonist that moves generally from left to right, looking to make it to the finish line to complete individual levels. Movement and actions are controlled by a virtual set of controls: moving in either direction, jumping and throwing weapons.

Of course, such a bank of controls hints at some of the goodness — and dastardly obstacles — to come. There are wondering baddies that look to hurt our protagonist. With a limited amount of lives, one needs to be smart, and either avoid or jump. There are also exhaustible weapons one can use on enemies and structures, plus different leveled areas, and one can exploit special areas and block pieces to collect goodies. Coins line the travelways, there is a time trial element, and there are some tricky aspects that become apparent when one gets further into the game. Boosts are available too.

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It incorporates a simple upgrade system, with purple diamonds being the main game cowrie shell. The game issues an allotment that can be collected at intervals, and one can use them to extend boosts and the like.

It comes across as an engaging platformer, with enough familiar elements to make one fairly familiar with the gameplay. The combination of action and graphics works well, and it is able to engage by adding new twists every so often. The controls are easy to navigate, and it is also blessed with a relatively intuitive upgrade process.

Some folks might want a bit more action, but the game mostly succeeds because it doesn’t do too much, and in the long run, that is almost always a good thing.

That seems to hold true here.

Elvin: The Water Sphere launches on Android courtesy of Crescent Moon

Elvin: The Water Sphere launches on Android courtesy of Crescent Moon

Apr 18, 2016

Elvin: The Water Sphere, a new title from prolific Android game publisher Crescent Moon (via Goomster), has officially dropped on Google Play.

The game looks to be a side-scrolling platformed thriller that has arcade/running DNA.

un Elvin run! There’s no time to waste. The future of Goomswood Forest and its inhabitants is in your hands! Elfrod the Goblin has sprung out from the depths of the Earth and has stolen the Water Sphere.

Elvin must recover the Water Sphere before it runs out of power. Elfrod is a mischievous underground goblin. He is quick and devious, with the power to travel through dreams! Elfrod has tricked Elvin into fleeing through strange worlds, forbidden to the Forest Elves. That won’t stop Elvin, though. He’ll follow Elfrod til the end, even ignoring his sacred Elven laws – in order to recover the droplets left by the Water Sphere. The race has begun… Run Elvin, run!

Don’t forget to share your score and challenge all of your friends!

Features:
– Retro charm. Easy to play, Hard to Beat!
– 10 Fantastic pixel worlds to explore!
– Awesome characters – great friends and scary enemies!
– Ride on a flying cow or cruise the ocean on a penguin’s back!
– Constant action! A combination of runner and platformer with unique elements!
– Quick pick up and play – play it anywhere, anytime!

The game is free (with in-app purchases); the trailer is below:

Dragon Land Review

Dragon Land Review

Mar 22, 2016

Platforming is the name of the game in Dragon Land.

The game comes to us in glorious 3D, with a deliberate use of color that permeates the entire experience; it’s a festival of greens, blues and everything in between and beyond. The animations are deliberate with little extraneously useless motion, and it incorporates just enough flash to keep it engaging. At some points, one gets a switch in form (hello 2D) that mostly keeps the game fresh.

The sound is equally cheery, and underscores the overall arcade feel.

The gameplay is set in three flavors: Quick Play, Campaign and Multiplayer; the first and last modes are locked till portions if the middle mode are completed.

Per gameplay, the overarching objective is to guide our adventurous dragon through, over and around platforms, avoiding and/or dealing with baddies while trying to accumulate as many suspended gold coins as possible. The main controls involve a virtual joystick and a jump button to propel our creature into the air — as one gets deeper into the game, one gets additional control buttons as one gains or needs more abilities. A lot of the initial going has to to with jumping from one aerial platform to another in one’s quest to make it to the final coin. Soon, one needs to master gliding in an effort to travel and collect goodies, necessitating an extra aforementioned control button.

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Initial impressions do lead one to believe the the game is easy to understand, and it remains that way through the game, even as it gets more complex. The bad guys get a bit craftier, but so do the boosts one can use to engage them. There is an energy requirement, and there are different play pieces (dragons) with different features one can utilize, and one can level up to enhance them. Dig bosses? This one has em.

It comes together nicely. The in-app purchase system doesn’t feel mandatory, and it isn’t boring or formulaic. For most folks, it should be great for long term time investment or quick incursions.

Alpha Wolf Review

Alpha Wolf Review

Feb 27, 2016

We all have it, no?

The spirit of a wolf, and the need to be wild and free, right?

Needless intros aside, Alpha Wolf feels like a game one can come to like a lot. Maybe even love.

The game is presented in 2D, with enjoyably simplistic artwork that is bathed in soft colors and deliberate characterizations. There is not a lot of complexity with regards to items, and understandably so; when one begins to play, one finds the objects are mostly secondary to the gameplay. 

It’s broken into chapters, and the chapters are split into levels, with the completion of levels and chapters opening up subsequent ones. The opening level highlights the main element: get the protagonist wolf from left to right to complete the level.

Thing is, there are several obstacles in the way that have a mind to do our wolf harm and end the run by contact.

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To avoid said contact, one can tap to cause the wolf to move forwards, and then tap to jump over obstacles. Simple enough, no? The issue then becomes a single jump is not enough; as one progresses, a series of jumps may be needed to make it to the end, over a sequence of obstacles. Then, timing becomes an issue, as one needs to pop up at just the right moment. Soon, it becomes a twitch experience, with quick reflexes being almost as important as timing.

The developer adds other pieces and several type of obstacles, and even adds obstacles that protrude from the ceiling. It all is easy to get into, and it is quite easy to get lost in the game.

While the game is quite the hoot, it does get a bit repetitive in places; it ratchets up fairly quickly, and as a result, sometimes feels simplistic with regards to the use of new elements. 

Still, for a leveled time waster, Alpha Wolf definitely merits a try; it might surprise one with how easy it is to, well, just keep on going… and going…

Rayman Adventures Review

Rayman Adventures Review

Dec 24, 2015

Rayman is back… in Rayman Adventures.

As to be expected from folks who’ve gazed upon the earlier titles in the series, this game is quite easy on the eyes. It incorporates a platform style that is presented in landscape, and the developer uses color liberally in a way that works. The visuals merge the fantastic and the ethereal, with quick, pinpoint animations that border on the delightfully whimsical. The sounds match everything quite reasonably, and graphically, the gameplay is framed well.

The gameplay starts out with the player being prompted to pick a character; the game uses a hands-on tutorial to help one learn the basics of control, which mostly boil down to gestures and taps to invoke running/dashing in either direction plus jumping. Additionally, one learns how to effect attacks and even how to dart downwards through obstacles.

One learns how to use the protagonist to do tasks while running; one cool feature is the aforementioned ability to run in either direction, as this is useful when it comes to picking up something missed and even when performing the wall jumps that are instrumental in getting to high points. There are collectibles (get those Incrediball eggs), and levered puzzles to solve along the way. Thorough exploration is a major part of successful gameplay, as some important pieces are not readily apparent.

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So, beyond being one’s run-of-the-mill platformer, this one progresses to being a fast paced affair with puzzle-solving capabilities that encourage the player to think often and think fast, performing jumps, attacks and freeing actions on the fly. It is a frenzied going, but not overly hectic, and there are enough tweaks to the core gameplay to avoid boredom, if even for a bit. It comes together fairly well, and is familiar with regards to its source content, but thankfully not overly reliant on it.

All in all, easy to enjoy, and a great addition to the Rayman stable.

Kung-Fu Sheep Review

Kung-Fu Sheep Review

Dec 23, 2015

Been waiting on Kung-Fu Sheep for a while…

It’s set up much like one expects side-scrolling platformer games to look and feel: it is presented in landscape, with different running levels that are irregularly gapped. Action runs from left to right, such that our protagonist martial arts ovine creature is guided rightwards.

The graphics are interesting, with a whimsical theme that translates quite well. There is an expansive use of color in the play pieces and general backgrounds; the varied hues do a good job of allowing the game come to life. Additionally, the animations are fairly smooth, with nice effects throughout.

With regards to gameplay, it is easy to get into. BaaLee is the name of our sheepish hero, and kung-fu is his art of choice. Dealing with the platformed mayhem is how he proves himself, and it is a challenge indeed, with the aforementioned gaps and levels. The first order of business is to understand how to keep running, and tapping to jump is a great tool to have. One can also swipe to perform a full on twirling dive, and this is useful for traversing same-level gaps.

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There are plenty of collectibles that line the way. Some are great for points accumulation, and others as raw multipliers. There are also obstacles, and these need to be handled with care, because they generally lead to the loss of a life… and of course the number of lives are limited. There are also other animal enemies that can be avoided or attacked — jumping on them is an effective means of dispatching them. The gameplay is leveled too, so when one gets to point thresholds, the game gets more interesting.

How? It gets faster. It starts out pretty slowly, but as one goes on successfully, the gameplay starts racing, and becomes even more of a challenge.

Real cash can be used, but doesn’t feel mandatory, and the game comes well together. Just as well, because when sheep start kicking, it’s a major thing to get used to.

Run Master Review

Run Master Review

Nov 10, 2015

One common theme that seems to be recurring now that mobile games become more intricate is the desire — or even the need — to have simple games. You know, games with an understandable premise that are easy to pick up and play.

Such is Run Master, a relatively fresh entry from LAST HOPE STUDIO.

In this one, we get a simple combo running-platformer adventure. It places a premium on mixing patience with daring, and uses graphics to spruce things up.

Looks-wise, it uses dark, shadowy imagery to contrast the light pastel background hue. The developer uses a scaling gradient of sorts, and the color does change, providing a calm, serene yet fluid visual experience the belies the sometimes frenetic gameplay. The sounds are cheery in a decidedly arcade-ish sort of way that makes one think of ice cream trucks.

Actual gameplay is based on getting are shadow protagonist to get as far as possible through a platformed travel way, moving from left to right. The controls are at the bottom, and verge on minimalism: left and right virtual buttons, as well as one more for jumping. These all but give a preview of the action, which entails going forward, sometimes backwards, and jumping up to scale objects and avoid dangerous obstacles.

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There are jewels that can be collected by contact; of course, one has to weigh the risk versus the reward for a bunch of them. The obstackes are simple but creative, comprising of stuff like spinning blades, cannons and spiked, oscillating wrecking balls amongst others.

It is very familiar fare, yes, but it does pack a few extra tweaks to make it a bit more compelling. The moving dangers are interesting, forcing the player to think of timing and the strategy of avoidance or jumping.

Collected gems can be used for continues, but tthe game is pretty self-contained.

Simple, right?

Pauli’s Adventure Island Review

Pauli’s Adventure Island Review

Nov 2, 2015

Pauli’s Adventure Island is an ode to familiarity and simplicity.

It’s a mission of freedom, as our heroes are looking to free there home from invaders.

It’s a colorful game; it is straightforward visually, with deliberate splashes of color: blues, greens, grays and more, working together, but not interfering with each other too much. The shapes are close to utilitarian, and the landscapes do the job of helping along the gameplay effectively. The animations are smooth, and the backgrounds change with progress, so it does not get too monotonous over extended periods of play. Overall, it reminds one of established console games of the same type, and that isn’t a bad thing.

It’s platformer merged with side-scrolling. Action moves from left to right, and the main idea is to get from Point A to Point B. But of course… there are several obstacles which are in the way, and as such, one needs to be able to navigate around these to move on. The configurable control set incorporates left and right virtual buttons to the bottom left, and a jump virtual button along with a virtual barrel roll button to the bottom right in its stock alignment. A lot of the baddies move, which adds an additional wrinkle. Jumping over is effective, but rolling into them generally gets rid of them. There are also gaps in the walkway, and areas that entail getting to a higher platform; for these, jumping is an adept way to get around.

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And of course, there are collectibles that line the travel area. In-run life, starts and more can be collected, but one does have to weigh the risk against the reward: go the extra mile and get them, or speed up and get to the end of the stage?

Decisions, decisions…

The going gets tougher as one goes on, with heavier demands on reflexes and non-linear thinking. The travel way becomes more complex, making one have to double back and move relatively quickly, and then slow down, and back and forth. It even has a time trial element

The game is really easy to get into, and is fairly intuitive. For a free game, it’s pretty fun to play.