Qvoid Review

Qvoid Review

Oct 9, 2013

Qvoid is a fun puzzler that packs in plenty of fun into a simple concept. Great looking 3D graphics, fluid animations and nice coloration are its unashamed hallmarks.

The premise is simple on paper. The aim is to use a movement cube to change the colors of all the other cubes to one single color in the least amount of movers. To explain further, the play area generally consists of a set of cubes that are adjacent to one another, making a raised platform of sorts. Most of these are all black; the face of one (more on further levels) box has another, brighter color on it. Whenever the top box is rolled by swiping, whatever color one of its faces touches is adopted and taken, leaving the color of the surface block black (which is what we want). The goal then is to swipe in such a way to get rid of the spare color by matching it to another surfaceq1 face. And as noted, the key to getting a three star score is to solve the puzzle in no more moves than is suggested by the game.

The game plays much easier than its description implies, and it is fairly intuitive. As the levels are completed and gameplay progresses, it gets trickier, with more spots, tougher positioning and unique tools and workarounds. Teleporters, rotators, bridges and multiple colors all join in to make the game quite challenging. The extras can help or hinder; the rotating squares, for instance, can mess up a move or be a strategic device. So even in a relatively simple game, the developer finds a way to use strategy to potentially keep players engaged.

Still, biggest issue might be eventual monotony. I would have liked some color variations, and maybe even the ability to play user-developed levels. That is admittedly a lofty desire, but hey, fantasy is what I do.

It should be fun to see what else Gavina Games can bring to Android.

Color Zen Review

Color Zen Review

Aug 2, 2013

Color Zen is a cool cucumber. It seems to want to tease your brain while calming it. It’s a lofty idea, but thankfully, I love checking out lofty ideas.

The game is definitely interesting. The best explanation is received from playing it and actually “feeling” the game.

The object of the game is to solve the color-centric puzzles. In the game’s playing area, there is a frame color — a color that covers a thin area around the play grid, kind of like a picture frame. In the grid itself are any number ofzen1 colored shapes. In general terms, touching any of the colors against another imbibes the second with the color of the first; in other words, the color is absorbed. For simplicity, one of the colors in the grid always matches the color of the outer rim.

The overall objective is to have the final color in the grid match the frame. For this to happen, it is important to figure out how to work the colors to allow he final colored shape be the one that matched the color of the outer frame. This is how the developer is able to carve out such a fascinating and calm game out of a seemingly rudimentary idea.

As the game progresses, new elements are tossed in; white becomes a neutral color; there’s stuff liked colored shapes within colored shapes, and asymmetrical formations that really force problem-solving.

It’s a game based on colors, and the graphics are proportionately sharp. The music is gentle and soothing, and works well in the game environment.

One thing that speaks well to the game is the support. The developer of the game has a forum, segregated by platform, that discusses updates, solutions and suggestions. I like this; consistent interactions can only help make the game better, and make the playing community develop a sense of belonging.

All in all, it is a surprisingly fun game that toils very little to create a fun atmosphere.

Pixoban Review

Pixoban Review

Jun 11, 2013

Pixoban is a delightful little leveled puzzler that incorporates simple, eye-catching graphics, intuitive gameplay and a basic prop story.

The gameplay starts with a scary alien abduction. But these crafty aliens are not picking me up for abhorrent medical research, or organ-harvesting schemes, or the noble pursuit of studying the social mores of human beings in confined space.

No, these aliens are messy, and need help cleaning up their messy ship.

The gameplay is situated on a squared 2D grid. Basically, it involves moving boxes to more or less inconveniently placed airlocks. Using drag motion, I get to use my game personality to move the box to the square representing the pix2airlock. Now, the kicker is that movement goes only one way. Boxes cannot be pulled; only pushed. Thus, moving a box plush against a wall could stop reasonable progress, especially if there is not any wiggle room. Every move has to be reasonably thought through; for example, moving a box sometimes entails reversing course to get behind, on top, beneath or beside a box to change direction of movement.

After a while, multiple boxes and multiple portals start to make an appearance. Boxes have to be logically moved from the beginning, and the puzzles do get a bit tougher. Did I say that there is a timer for the solutions? There is. Quickness is definitely a encouraged, and times are recorded.

But there are helpers too. There is a reverse button that allows players to rewind course, so that if stuck, it is possible to go back and re-do steps. While it does count against you, it is handy to have.

Success opens up further levels, and the game boast more than 120 different levels, so there is plenty of gaming to be had, as well as a special Pixoban award if every level is completed.

Pixoban is another game that shows that plenty of fun can be found in games with simplistic exteriors.

Zombie Granny

Zombie Granny

May 21, 2012

Zombie Granny mixes together a puzzle solving game with cartoony zombies. The puzzles are physics based, with a swinging ball of what looks like electricity somewhere on the screen. With a swipe of a finger on the screen, the ball is dropped. Based on when the tether to the ball is cut, it may or may not hit the zombie. Think of it like Tarzan swinging from vine to vine. If he lets go too soon or too late, the result isn’t what he’d like it to be.

Farther levels bring more complex puzzles. For instance, the first puzzle of the game is to simply cut the tether and drop the ball on the zombie. Next the ball is swinging. Next there are stairs to figure into the equation. The further into the game, the more thought needs to be put into solving the puzzle. The thing is, points are based on the speed at which the level is solved.

In addition to trying to fry the zombies with the ball of electricity, other methods are available too. Boxes can be moved by hitting the box with the ball or by cutting the chain or chains holding something up. When the box is moved, there are puzzle pieces to be collected. Tap on the puzzle piece to pick it up. After the allotted amount of puzzle pieces are collected, achievements are earned.

If the level is just too difficult, a Bomb can be used to complete the level, but gain no points. More bombs can be purchased.

Personally, I like this kind of game a lot. Games like Zombie Granny, get you thinking and are not as dry as some of the other brain teaser games out there. While there probably more than one possible way to zap the zombies, some will take a lot more thinking than others. A little foresight on how the different object will react with one another based on the angle or speed of the swing or falling of the second object is what makes this seemingly simple game difficult.

Roll in the Hole App Review

Roll in the Hole App Review

Dec 19, 2011

With the multitude of games that have a similar level structure to Angry Birds, it’s probably time we stop comparing them to Angry Birds and just assign them a new category. It’s true that Angry Birds was one of the first to popularize the familiar theme of main levels containing a small army of mini sub-levels. Also, a common theme is the dual challenge of first trying to complete the level and then going back and earning “stars” by conquering the level perfectly. Roll in the Hole hardly deviates from this formula, making you roll a wronged panda through and endless myriad of levels in search of lost ice cream.

The first thing you’ll notice about Roll in the Hole is it’s a very cute app. Everything from the bright colors to the adorable changing expressions of your rolling panda scream My Little Pony. I’m not saying this is a bad thing; the graphics here are of very high quality and were very impressive. More impressive still are the physics; your rotund rolling panda has noticeable momentum and deforms when squished. The physics break down sometimes. One time I got thrown off the screen with an inordinate amount of force after getting stuck between two vertically moving platforms, but for the most part the physics systems works perfectly.

The controls couldn’t be simpler, and you get a welcomed choice between tilting the device or touching the left or right side of the screen. As expected, both styles work perfectly even though I preferred physically touching the screen over the tilting method. A problem I have with Roll in the Hole is that it is very easy. Judging by the art design I can guess that the target audience are parents who want to entertain younger children or teenage girls. Even so, this is a very solid app that doesn’t do much different than its competition, it just does it better.