No Limit Racer Review

No Limit Racer Review

Aug 3, 2015

Handheld adrenaline junkies just might be in for a treat with No Limit Racer.

It’s about intuitive as they come; the basic idea is to guide a spacecraft as far as possible. “As far as possible” generally means avoiding as many obstacles as possible, and boy, the visual manifestations of the obstacles do make the game.

The game plays in landscape, and the host device’s accelerometer is the key control, as the ship is controlled by tilt. The flying area is widely set, obviously, and looks somewhat futuristic and even dystopian, with skyscraper like structures emanating from the ground. The player’s vehicle flies continuously (unless, well, blocked), and the idea is to navigate around the structures while avoiding a catastrophic and run-ending smash. Because of how tightly packed the structures are, some quick reflexes are needed to keep on going. The visual aspect is interesting, with newer structures gradually taking shape in the distance.

To add to the challenge, the game incorporates colored rings; going through them gives the player a cash bonus, so it is good idea to pick as many as possible. However, there’s an opportunity cost to collecting them, as one might have a tougher row to hoe by going out of one’s way to get to one of them.

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If one goes on long enough, one will find that the obstacles evolve: moving ones (sideways, up and down, etc) and then there are ones of different shapes. The visuals play tricks on the player’s mind delightfully. As noted, a collision ends the run, and success is measured in distance traveled and cash bonuses gained (at $500 a pop). Gained cash can be used to purchase snazzier ships, or bonus multipliers. Simple, and enjoyably to the point.

It feels like an arcade game — and nicely so — but there almost isn’t enough gratification. I think the gameplay could be greatly served by more performance based awards, and simple stuff like earned/defined invulnerability would make it even more addictive than it already is. In the same vein, better use of the run continues could also enhance the experience.

Still, No Limit Racer is a great time-waster, and is the perfect small group bragging rights tool… worth a glance, and a session, if one dares.

RedShift Review

RedShift Review

Jun 18, 2014

Want a challenge? A race against time to save innumerable lives? While running through a complex with hidden rooms and levels?

Like pressure? Then RedShift is for you.

The backstory underscores the urgency that forms most of the backdrop of the game: there was an explosion at an energy plant, and the resulting inferno has caused the core to become increasingly unstable. To make things worse, the staff that could have dealt with the emergency are all dead. Thus, it is up to the player to prevent the vaporization of everything in a 250 mile radius by activating systems to control the unstable cores. red2

Moving around and finding stuff in this de facto maze is what it’s all about. At the top left is an abbreviated map with lighted points denoting pertinent points, and the main goal is to find the 5 switches before the place boils over. There are fires all over the complex that restrict access to some areas unless put out.

The gameplay is a function of the other controls; it’s set as a staggered 2D-ish runner, with virtual buttons that control running to the left and right at the bottom of the screen. When hallways or doors are encountered, an enter or travel button appears, and gives the player the opportunity to research the new area. There are also points when one can search for fire extinguishing equipment to put out the fires to be able to travel more widely.

As time reaches the crucial stages, ominous shaking and sound conveys the action quite well, and the entire dark, flashing visuals come together to create an exhilarating experience.

I probably would have liked a more seamless travel function, but the built-in system works. I think the menu is a bit clunky in places too; still, the freemium play is a great draw, and the different elements transform this from being Just Another Maze Game to an exciting experience.

Wreck’em Racing Review

Wreck’em Racing Review

May 22, 2014

Any top down race game reminds me of Micro Machines from the nineties and Wreck‘em Racing is no exception in that.

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Wreck‘em Racing is a top down race game with colorful cars on a million different tracks. A million? Well, yes, technically the number of tracks is endless, because the London based developer Ludobit has implemented a random track generator, which allows the game to make the track where the player is about the race on, on the fly, resulting in never racing on the same track. It’s one of the most strong pillars of the game and definitely something other Android arcade racers could benefit from. Although, there is one downside to the generator: players can not memorize the tracks, so training on that very difficult curve is out of the question.

And training is something players have to commit to, playing Wreck’em Racing. The game has a on-screen steering wheel instead of arrows or analog stick and it takes some time getting used to that. The wheel directly controls the car – so when its upside down, the wheel is not inverted or anything, players need to steer as if the where upside too. Mainly in the beginning, this is very rough. But when I changed the HUD to a bigger scale, it was manageable. Another negative element is the fact the Wreck’em Racing lacks the feeling of going really fast. I never got the idea of driving a fast car, mainly because the topspeed isn’t that high.

The game, however, gives players small customization options. During races, players collect piles of junk. With that junk, they can modify their car – from color to the chassis, exhausts, bumpers to the type of car they prefer. It is not that enhanced and complicated, but this way, Wreck’em Racing offers just a little bit more depth than other arcade racers. Besides racing normal races, the game offers challenges and mission to complete. When completed, players get rewarded with more junk, so they can modify the car even more and win more races.

The biggest thing holding Wreck’em Racing back, is its control scheme. The on-screen steering takes a lot of time getting used to and many times, while steering the car, it will result in a time consuming spin. But overall, the game offers enough content and just that amount of depth to keeps things interesting.

Word Puttz Review

Word Puttz Review

Mar 5, 2014

Word games come a dime a dozen on Android, and thus, it takes a decent game to make headway. Gotta tell you, with the elements Word Puttz brings to the table, it might just have more than a passing flirtation with success.

At first blush, it reads like one’s run-of-the mill crossword puzzle, except for the limited area. But the first glance is deceptive, and leaves one wondering how word search, scrabble and putt-putt (yes, people, the mini-golf game) get added to the mix.

The game uses spoon-fed tutorials to highlight the game play at pertinent points. The playing area is made up of squared grid, with a golf-style cup at one end. The most prominent element is the word search; using the tray of sevenwordfi letters that are replenished as they are used, words have to be constructed using a placed start letter, with the end goal being using crossword strategies to create a word that crosses over the aforementioned cup. No diagonal constructions are allowed; one has to go down or across.

To add to the challenge, words created score points, and each letter tile has assigned points that resemble Scrabble scoring; for example, a worth with a “J” in it is of high premium. The Scrabble element introduces the possibility of using strategy, as general rules of that game are observed, like the creation of combo words. it is also possible to “dance” around the cup while trying to earn more points, as points control the assignation of level measuring stars à la Angry Birds. There is a tile exchanger, “hintz” and reversal button, and real cash can be used to stock up on some of the boosts, including wildcard “octo-balls.”

As the game progresses through the higher levels, more challenges are thrown at the player: optional gold coins that can be crossed over for bonus points, point thresholds to open the cup, the need to spell backwards and even a race to the cup versus the game UI. Just when one suspects the gameplay might get a bit too monotonous, the developer adds in some flair.

While the game is an all-rounder of sorts, I did wish the challenge level rose faster. An optional means of shutting down ads apart from real cash might have been nice, even if it was hard to do.

Still, this is a fun free-to-play game, and one that I spent a bit too long “trying” out.

Turbo FAST Review

Turbo FAST Review

Feb 25, 2014

PIK POK usually spawns interesting games, and as such, having a look at Turbo FAST could hardly be looked upon as an imposition. Loosely based upon DreamWorks movie and television series, it highlights the tale of snails who dare to dream to live a life of speed.

It’s a racing game, and a good portion of the ambiance is based upon the creative prowess of the developer. The snail raceways are quite intricate, and rendered with three lanes of windy, challenging “road.” There are natural slow-down areas, and also boost sections built in. These boost sections are reminiscent of the speed boosts in Mario Kart in placement and functionality. It’s a colorful explosion of color, with fairly believable physics and animations that will have players mentally skidding.

It incorporates different choices with regards to controls: tilting, tapping, virtual joysticks and touch; I like this attention to detail.turbo1

Another key element are the tomatoes that line the raceway. These tomatoes can be collected by contact, and are valuable as they serve in-game cash. The placement of the tomatoes makes for collecting them a bit harder, as more risks need to be taken.

Racing proper is all about beating other jet-pack toting snails while competing in leveled “cups” so as to graduate to higher licenses which allow one to race against tougher competition. This career mode type of gameplay just works, as it allows one to race in chunks. Tomatoes are key, as upgrading equipment and attributes are important with regards to being competitive. There are pre-game boosts that can be bought (like extra speed or opponent inhibitors) and then it’s off to race. The races are quite enjoyable, and some actually end in photo-finishes. Tomatoes earned and accrued benefits are tallied at the end, and winning always provides the best payout.

I like that the game isn’t miserly with the tomatoes; it doesn’t feel necessary to shell out real cash, and the ads show other means of accumulating tomatoes (the game is compatible with Tapjoy). I think the menu is a bit busy, but hey.

All in all, it a solid entry, and has that rare ability to be companion game that encourage folks to watch the movie/show that inspired it.

Good job, PIK POK. Well played.

Friday Free App Rundown February 22 – BMX Games

Friday Free App Rundown February 22 – BMX Games

Feb 22, 2013

When I was a kid I loved my BMX bike. My friends and I used to make jumps and go on the dirt trails in the woods near where I grew up. Since I got a little older, I don’t quite have the energy and ability to rebound like I did when I was a kid. What I do now is play games about BMX bikes. This weeks games are all about BMX bike and racing or freestyle BMX.

Bike Race Free

Bike Race Free is a a game where the BMX rider is put through many realistic and imaginary courses. Some of the different courses ask the rider to be upside down for in air for a lot longer than realistically possible. The goal of the game is that of many BMX games where the rider is on a course and needs to rider jump over obstacles making it to the end of the course as fast as possible. The graphics of the obstacles could be a little bit better but for a free game it’s not bad and a lot of fun.

Download Bike Race Free

Pumped: BMX Free

Pumped: BMX Free is a popular game. There are a lot of locations to ride and thousands of different trick combos to try. The physics of the game are pretty good. The controls for the game are on screen as well as using the motion detector in the phone. This means there is always something going on and to control the rider. To get the hang of it, they ask for new players to go through the tutorial to learn the basics. Once the tutorial is done, the backyard opens up where it is more of a free ride while accumulating points.

Download Pumped: BMX Free

Stickman BMX

Personally, I am a fan of the stick figure genre. Stickman BMX is a game with a really cool Official Trailer too. The different levels and hundreds of trick combinations on make for a very replayable game. What makes the game cool is the controls are easy to use and the graphics are great.

Download Stickman BMX

MegaRamp Skate & BMX FREE

Part of the BMX lifestyle is building ramps. MegaRamp Skate & BMX FREE has some of the sickest ramps in existence. The game has 10 real ramps from real locations in Woodward West, Woodward Camp, Times Square, LA, Santa Rosa
Plus: Zurich, Mexico City, São Paulo, Santiago. These ramps are scary big! Remember though, the bigger the ramp, the bigger the tricks.

Download MegaRamp Skate & BMX FREE

BMX Boy

Glide through the levels in BMX Boy using the simple controls to accelerate and jump. While the rider is traveling along the side scrolling half, different obstacles get in his way. Hurdling these obstacles while doing tricks earns points. To finish the level simply reached the end. Along the way there are trophies to accumulate as well. This is one of the simpler games in the list but still a lot of fun to play.

Download BMX Boy

Acceler8 Review

Acceler8 Review

Jan 5, 2012

As I believe I have mentioned before, I’m a terrible (video game) driver, meaning my total lack of steering skills has me constantly crashing into barriers. Acceler8 is different though, in that you and the rugged little cars are not racing on tracks, but on open dusty plains and dunes. And when a giant hill gets in your way you can always drive over it. Very satisfying.

At first it appears that there is not much new in concept, that it is your standard racing game. But the difference becomes apparent when you see the vehicles. Low cabs, aerodynamic frames, and giant tires. These vehicles just look like are meant to be driven in the desert. They want to go up cliff faces and down into valleys. And luckily the developers have made all of that possible.

They’ve been quite creative with the different tracks, making use of different climates and scenarios. One is an ice-covered landscape which will challenge your handling skills. Another has a cross-over which can lead to hilarious accidents. And another has you facing oncoming traffic. There are even night time races, with the stars shining overhead.

The game controls are exactly what you’d expect. Tilt to turn, with the option to adjust sensitivity to compensate for your own comfort level. For example I have a tendency to flail a bit when I play, so I needed to tone down the responsiveness to stop it from being just tragic.
You can choose your cars based on their handling/speed capabilities, and winning races earns you the cash needed to buy better, stronger vehicles. You also must unlock each successive track to play it, so there is always a goal for you to reach.

I’m such a big fan of the “screw it, I’m going over” attitude toward racing that I’m very glad the developers have made that possible. The cars are fun to drive, and the landscapes look very gritty and real.

It’s unfortunate though that the graphics processing speed needed to keep up with the cars just isn’t there. I had no problems when doing time trials, but as soon as I began racing other cars the graphics suddenly got very stilted and blocky. In fact the ground under each car literally became a glitchy block of colour. Perhaps have improvements are in order.

Real Racing 2 Review

Real Racing 2 Review

Dec 23, 2011

Allow me first to mention that I am terrible at driving games, just awful. I’m that person frantically waving their controller around trying to get off of the grass and back on the track. But I have never played a race game that made it so easy for me to stay in the game as Real Racing 2 does. No, that doesn’t mean that the game itself is easy, but more that the controls are so incredibly smooth that only the slightest of motions will aim your car exactly where it needs to go. But before that, before I even ran my first lap, I was already blown away by the game’s opening sequence.

It begins with beautiful movie-quality shots of race cars speeding down the tracks, and immediately makes your heart pound – you can tell right away that this is something special. The whole game itself has incredible graphics, with no detail spared. Your view is 1st person, from inside the car. Your driver’s arms steer the car in harmony with your own movements, and I found myself playing with the phone almost touching my nose because I was enjoying the view so much. The world around the tracks is so richly detailed that it is almost distracting – on the first level alone you can see a moving ferris wheel, and a blimp fly by!

Steering is controlled by your accelerometer, with the options of gas being auto-on or self controlled, and there are different levels of difficulty to give yourself future challenges. But there is more to Real Racing 2 than just making the rounds around the amazingly detailed tracks. Before you even begin playing you must choose (and buy) your car. You start off with some seed money, and the choice between two actual Volvo brand cars. From there you can go to the pit and purchase customizations for your car, such as engine improvements, or superficial things like a new paint job. The money for these upgrades comes from winning races of course. Aside from the cash you can score, you almost have the opportunity to win a better reputation. So much thought went into creating this setup that I want to applaud the creators for taking a standard game style and making it unique.

There is something about races that appeal to us on a primal level. The incredible speeds you can reach, the skill needed to slide ahead of your opponents, and the unbelievable rush you get when you win. Add to all of this the sounds of engines revving, tires squealing, and fast beats, and you have some genuine excitement. Real Racing 2 gives you all of that and more.

It does have to be said however that all of those amazing graphics come at a price – the game clocks in at a whopping 600MB of space. Despite that it runs pretty smoothly, but it can still lag at times. I’ve also had a few problems with it locking up my phone and forcing re-starts. I don’t know if that’s the game maxing out the limits of my phone, or bugs that need to be worked out in future updates. And finally it has to be said that the price of the full version – $6.99CAD – is a bit daunting. Understandable given the work and time put into creating such a rich experience, but it’s still a bit of a kick in the wallet.