Crossy Pamplona Review

Crossy Pamplona Review

Feb 26, 2016

Ah… Crossy Pamplona.

First the looks. delightful old school vibe, with chunky descriptions and purposefully washed out colors. At first glance, it does look interesting enough to compel one to get a more in-depth understanding of play style.

Gameplay? Think about the famously fear inducing rite of passage that the game somewhat gets its name from, the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Now, we are not necessarily worried about running with the fearsome animals; no, our protagonist characters are more concerned with lumbering across the bulls’ travel way. Thing is, we are not just talking about a single group of animals; the bulls travel almost in singe file, and the area they cover is endless.

In essence, the main goal is to travel as far as possible, avoiding the bulls and the obstacles they dislodge, which, sadly, include folks actually running with the bulls.

Oh my.


The control mechanism took a bit to figure out, but boils down to using taps and gestures. The former advances our character forward, and the swipes can be used to make he/she to slide a step to the left or right the general travel direction is north to south, across the direction of the bulls, which travel east to west (or right to left). Said controls can be used to avoid and get around the marauding animals. One has to continue to travel northwards, as one cannot allow the screen bottom to catch up with the character. If a bull or any other knocked obstacle hit our crosser (or gets caught by the screen) the end runs; a run is measured in forward movement. There are collectibles, and such can be used to upgrade characters.

After the first few lines, the game gets trickier, as one would expect. The Bulls and runners travel at different speeds, and even change direction at times. There are narrow bridges to traverse, and even skidding runners to avoid. One needs to measure risk versus reward, but can’t tarry too long. The retro feel works, and the game is fairly enjoyable.

It’s an easy way to enjoy the bulls while avoiding real life horns, I say.

Headup Games Launches Retro-Feeling Pixel Heroes: Byte & Magic on Android

Headup Games Launches Retro-Feeling Pixel Heroes: Byte & Magic on Android

Mar 7, 2015

Android development vet Headup Games is going big with is latest cross-platform offering, a retro-feeling roguelike RPG named Pixel Heroes: Byte & Magic.

Per the press release:

Listen! The end is nigh!! Hear my words and prepare! An ancient cult has set foot in our lands! They call themselves -The Sons of Dawn- and pray to some dark elder god. They have started recruiting people for their cause all over the country. I fear that they want to try to awaken something which should be left sleeping. Something dangerous and sinister! Something that might destroy us all. Spend your last of days wisely…“

Enter the world of Pixel Heroes and prepare yourself for a thrilling RPG/Roguelike experience like you have never seen before! Explore a randomized world full of hilarious events, deadly dungeons and the weirdest NPCs you will ever meet in a game! Choose three heroes for your party and take them on a journey that will be completely different each time you start a new game. Bath in a pool of procedurally generated loot and defeat the evil forces that threaten the township of Pixton!

Thirty unique hero classes to unlock, each with individual skills and attributes.
More procedurally generated axes, spears, maces, swords, shields, bows, crossbows, spells and prayers than a llama has hair on its body.
Thirteen mystic and beautifully cruel dungeons to explore. Epic bossfights waiting!
Three campaigns to unlock, each with its own final dungeon and boss.
Permadeath! You know you want it.
A detailed graveyard where you can mourn your dead heroes, compare their statistics and see which of their choices led to their tragic death.
Completely crazy NPCs, each one of them with a significant storyline that you can follow to unlock cool stuff!
Tons of random events that you will encounter on your way, expecting you to make important choices. Will you yell at the cat like a crazy idiot?
Many achievements and unlockables, try to get them all and become the most badass Pixel Hero in the world!

Pixel Heroes: Byte & Magic is available for $6.99 on Google Play.

[Source: Headup Press Release]

Square Haste Review

Square Haste Review

Mar 6, 2015

Looking at Square Haste’s screenshots in the Play Store might make you wonder if it is indeed a game at all what with its blocky screenshots and complete lack of anything resembling graphics. More venerable gamers might think it an Atari 2600 emulator. The nostalgia is hard with this one.

Screenshot_2015-03-02-07-45-45As game concepts go Square Haste has about the simplest possible. Players control a square that moves along a simple retro styled course. The course is punctured with gate like ledges and running into these ends the game. Tapping the screen causes the square to mysteriously jump in the air and another tap sends it shooting forward, hopefully right through the gate. The trick is to time your jump and dash so that the square is at the right height to make it through each gate. As the player gets further without making a mistake the game gets faster and gates become narrower.

Square Haste is very basic indeed but it is strangely addictive, and the idea is unique. It also has that just-one-more-go extreme difficulty that games like Flappy Bird often have. A disappointment however is the lack of achievements. There are online leaderboards at least.

Square Haste has a few ads. These pop up now and then after games and there is also a banner ad on the game over screen. There are thankfully no ads during gameplay. A small fee removes these ads.

Screenshot_2015-03-02-07-44-16Visually, Square Haste is about as basic as a game can be. Flat, clean retro graphics abound with strong colors and basic shapes. The game even has an “attract” mode where it cycles colors just like an old Atari 2600 game! Indeed anyone who has played 2600 games like Surround will likely feel nostalgic. Pumping 8 bit tunes accompany the stylish graphics and suit the game well.

Square Haste is a simple, fun game with a great retro style and some addictive gameplay. It’s worth a play and fans of older game consoles will likely get an extra kick out of it.

Classic Educational Puzzle Zoombinis Looks to See Revival on Android this Summer

Classic Educational Puzzle Zoombinis Looks to See Revival on Android this Summer

Feb 18, 2015

Zoombinis, the popular educational game from a while back, is looking to make comeback on — amongst other platforms — Android OS; it is set to be revealed this summer via Kickstarter funding.

The award-winning game tells the intriguing tale of the Zoombinis, small blue creatures with differing characteristics. Children and adults test their logical reasoning, data analysis, pattern finding, and problem solving skills as they help Zoombinis complete unique challenges, escape imprisonment from the evil Bloats, and reach the promised land of Zoombiniville. On their epic journey, they must face a series of increasingly difficult challenges, including Pizza Pass, Titanic Tattooed Toads and Mudball Wall. The Zoombinis travel in groups across multiple levels until all 625 blue creatures are saved.

Fans of the adorable Zoombini creatures can pledge their support for the game on the newly unveiled Kickstarter to expand future platform support. If successful, it will assure that the modern remake reaches an audience beyond the iPad and Android tablets to include PC, Mac and tablets of all sizes. The full Kickstarter campaign details and how the game is evolving are available at:

To pledge support, one can check out the funding page. We look forward to getting more details as they become available; in the meantime, we have a teaser trailer below:

[Source: Kickstarter Page and Press Release]

Retro Platformer Happy Dash Arrives on Android

Retro Platformer Happy Dash Arrives on Android

Feb 3, 2015

Happy Dash is a new game out on Google Play courtesy of developer Shinypixelgames.

The game is a 2D platformer with a retro feel, with levels that are generated randomly.

Happy Dash is a funny endless platformer that has a lot to offer! If you cherish a lovely pixel art style, mashed up with modern mobile features like achievements, leader boards and simple, intuitive touch controls, this might just be the game for you!

As you dash your way through random generated levels, you beat up tons of enemies, doing combos while gaining EXP to level up and make it to new worlds! Each run is different from the last one, but you make a progress since you can visit the Upgrade Shop after each time! So better catch a lot of coins, there’s really cool stuff to spend it on!

There are a lot of achievements to obtain and global highscores to compete with your friends and other players around the world, but that’s certainly not all! As you buy drafts for new types of blocks, unlock new power-ups and boost your character, eventually you’ll unlock your super power!

So start collecting coins, destroying blocks, killing tons of enemies, go upgrade your stuff and find new and awesome power-ups!

Are you ready to dash your way through hours of fun gameplay?

The game is free (with in-app purchases) on the Play Store.

[Source: Shinypixelgames Press Release and Google Play App Page]

Gameboy-Styled Platformer 2-Bit Cowboy Comes to Android

Gameboy-Styled Platformer 2-Bit Cowboy Comes to Android

Jan 12, 2015

Crescent Moon Games has just announced the release of its new game, 2-bit Cowboy, on Google Play.

2-bit Cowboy is a Western action platformer game, styled after classics of the Gameboy era.
‘I’ve got confidence that 2-bit Cowboy will deliver that faux-retro platforming experience I love so much’ -Touch Arcade
‘2-bit Cowboy is every bit the lost Gameboy title you want it to be’ -Gamezebo
There’s a new sheriff in this 2-bit town: you! And you’ve got a lot of work to do. Tackle challenges, earn rewards, track down bad guys, and find hidden loot. Play as a cowboy or cowgirl, then customize your look with hats, bandanas, masks, and more. Explore huge levels. Gamble at casinos and drink at saloons. Ride a horse, tame a wild bull, and traverse underground mines in a minecart. Become a legend of the old West.
* Customizable cowboy characters
* Huge levels to explore
* Gamble at casinos and drink at saloons
* Earn bits, buy powerups and costumes
* Ride horses, bulls, and minecarts
* Gameboy style retro graphics

The game is available for $0.99 on Google Play and the Amazon Appstore.


Mineshaft Review

Mineshaft Review

Dec 8, 2014

Mineshaft is one of those games that takes a simple idea and turns it into a game that is hard to put down and can be played by just about anyone.

Players control a miner on a frightfully unreliable elevator. If this deathtrap slams into anything at more than a very slow speed it explodes, ending the game. The elevator automatically moves downwards and the only player control is a brake to slow it down or stop it. When the elevator comes to a stop, a stick of dynamite is laid and the idea is to get the dynamite as close to the bottom of the mineshaft as possible to dig deeper. The force of the explosion sends the elevator hurtling upwards afterwards threatening to smash it against the top of the mineshaft. As the shaft gets deeper the fuse of the dynamite also comes into play as there is only about 5 seconds to plant the dynamite before it goes off, blowing the flimsy elevator up again!

Screenshot_2014-12-06-16-49-35The game thus becomes a balancing act of getting to the bottom of the shaft quickly with the dynamite before it blows the halpless miner into chunks, but not so fast that the elevator breaks apart like a piece of wet tissue paper. This is great fun and incredibly addictive. Mineshaft is very difficult which just adds to the appeal since every screwup in the game is the player’s own fault as there are no nasty freemium features or paywalls. The one finger controls also make it easy for even the most casual gamers to play. The game also keeps track of how far you dig, how many bombs you plant and how many miners have been “retired”.

Mineshaft does feature ads, but they are only on the screen after the game ends, so they do not detract from gameplay. Both a banner ad and the occasional popup are present, but never any super annoying video ads. The pop up ads only appear every five games or so which is not too often and the game has no in app purchases at all. There is no “shafting” here.

Mineshaft looks nice. A clean, simple pixel style makes the game easy to play on any device and doesn’t distract from the important business of not getting blown apart. The animation for the miner being smashed apart is a hilarious as well as bits and pieces of elevator and miner go every which way and ragdoll all over the place which is always funny to watch.

The sound is simple yet effective. There is the frenetic sound of the elevator hurtling towards its doom that gets louder and higher pitched as it moves faster and faster, the nice BOOM of dynamite and when the game is over a really catchy piece of music plays. There is no music during the actual game. The screaming of the elevator cable really drives the game’s atmosphere home.

Mineshaft is fun stuff and can be played for any length of time. The super simple controls, clever gameplay and fierce addictiveness make it a winner. Pick it.

One More Line Review

One More Line Review

Dec 6, 2014

One More Line is yet another in a seemingly endless stream of brutally hard minimalist games that was kicked off with the venerable Flappy Bird. Is it the bottom line?

One More Line is as simple to describe as it is to play. A small rocket like ship flies along a course filled with strange planet like things. Tapping and holding the screen causes the ship to latch onto these planets and begin orbiting them. The aim is to use the planets to fling the ship around obstacles in an effort to get as far as possible. Hitting a planet or the sides of the course ends the game.

Screenshot_2014-12-06-21-30-39One More Line is extremely difficult. The game requires perfect timing to not slam helplessly into a wall as the player must let go of a planet when the ship is facing the right way, lest they end up facing a wall. This isn’t the fun kind of hard though as found in other games like RETRY or Mineshaft, but rather the frustrating luck of the draw type difficulty where it’s a total crapshoot as to whenever the player can navigate the course or not

None of this is fun. The game simply fails to be interesting. The flinging mechanic is very random and strange as it is nearly impossible to accurately gauge where the ship will go when orbiting a planet. The game lacks any kind of gameplay variation as well making it get dull quickly.

One More Line features rather poor graphics. The planets the player orbits are little more than circles, the player is some kind of tiny white ship and the only interesting looking thing in the game si the neat rainbow trail the player’s ship leaves behind as it moves. Retro can be cool, but this game just does nothing with the concept. It isn’t up the standards of other retro space games, such as Battlestation: First Conflict and doesn’t emulate a particular style.

The sound is fairly bad as well. One More Line boasts that it has music composed by Batterie an apparently famous Sydney based composer. It is difficult to appreciate this however as the music restarts whenever the player dies and so usually players are just going to hear the first few seconds of the song without being able to actually listen to it. It kind of seems that the game itself is an ad for the music. There is also a distracting ad banner on the screen at all times

One More Line is a punishing and dull attempt at yet another overly difficult game and there are simply far too many premium gaming experiences on Android to take the time to play it, let alone play it well.

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.

Bik Review

Bik Review

Aug 29, 2014

Bik is a love letter to 1980’s adventure games. Taking control of a heroic boy and a couple of “heroic” aliens, the player works their way through an amusing plot and varied locations while grabbing random objects that come in handy for solving puzzles to work their way through a bunch of oddball situations.

Screenshot_2014-08-23-13-23-59Bik has great dialogue. Each character in the game, from the slightly bumbling Ammut to the resourceful Bik himself has a lot of personality and the strong, funny dialogue really encourages the player to play through to see what happens. There are countless funny dialogue options and indeed stalling characters is more than useful, it’s required.

Like any good adventure game featuring kleptomaniac heroes, Bik has lots of puzzles that involve the most unlikely items. Whether it’s fashioning a gliding boat from windmill sails and thorns, saving someone from a fire with a mop or using a rusty pipe to cave in a guard’s head, there is no shortage of creative and interesting uses for objects that make perfect sense when used the way they are in game.

Bik is just full of amusing moments too. From killer sock monsters, to finding a gun and accidentally blowing everyone up, as well as two spaceships and four planets Bik is always funny. The developers obviously know what adventure gamers are like and achievements are regularly handed out for doing something stupid, like killing Ammut by blowing a hole in an airlock wall or dropping a heavy crate on Bik’s own head.

Screenshot_2014-08-23-18-09-53Some hilarious puzzle solutions make the game a treat as well, like using the starship’s engines to cook a toasted sandwich and knocking out a guard with a badly made brownie. Bik has heaps of puzzles but they are always common sense and using your noodle to work them out is lots of fun. There are several gameplay styles in the game too; there are even a few action sequences and even a mini shoot em up, which is very pleasing.

Bik looks fantastic. A great pixel art style perfectly captures the feel of old adventure games. The game‘s art direction is also stellar. Many locations feature strong colours and stark landscapes that really make an impact. Bik has the kind of graphics that are just worth gawking at.

The sound is also extremely well done. The music is some of the best heard on mobile. It is full of feel and atmosphere, from the desolate theme as the player walks down a rainy, derelict street to the lofty notes of a farming village. Bik really nails its music and the player will stop just to listen.

Bik clocks in at about 10 hours and this is a very reasonable length. The game is very dense and packed with things to do and see. It is also very cheap considering the quality and amount of gameplay on offer.

Bik is a fantastic game that not only emulates classic adventure games, but improves on them and is a top notch game in its own right. Its excellent presentation and humour really are the icing on the cake. Play it today!

Point and click with Bik!

Point and click with Bik!

Aug 18, 2014

Bik a humorous, retro styled Space Quest homage has landed on Android. With a charmingly archaic graphical style and equal parts venerable point and clickery and aliens with baked bean shaped heads It looks like a winner. “I Can’t Do That Here” indeed.

Bik is set to become a walk down memory lane for long term gamers, and at 99c it wont break the bank. Look for a full review of this one very soon.

Super Heavy Sword Review

Super Heavy Sword Review

Aug 8, 2014

Super Heavy Sword is a classically styled platformer, which aren’t all that common on the Playstore. Monster Robot Studios have freely admitted that the game is a homage to the astonishingly successful Mario games. Indeed the game feels like a mix of Mario 64 and the original Super Mario Bros. With the big N’s reluctance to bring the overalled plumber to Android, can Super Heavy Sword full the gap?

Screenshot_2014-08-04-09-30-46Super Heavy Sword opens with a scene of Pike, the Hero and Lucinda the princess. A bunch of enemies roll in and amazingly don’t kidnap Lucinda but rather begin destroying to land,. Now it’s down to a lone warrior and his girlfriend to stab them all and restore peace.

Super Heavy Sword is a pretty traditional platformer, literally Mario with a sword. Rather than jumping on turtle backs and throwing fireballs the player uses a sword to chop up goblins and monsters. collecting powerups can make this sword longer and yes, heavier for better enemy slicing. There are gaps to leap over, coins to collect and enemies to kill or avoid. Some direction is added by the medallion system. To proceed to later levels and ultimately finish the game, a series of medallions must be collected.

Screenshot_2014-08-06-09-03-00Just like Mario 64’s Stars, medallions are gained from completing various tasks. Selecting different medallions from the pre-level screen changes the actual level layout however, something that never happened in Mario 64. For example, the medallion for grabbing 7 blue coins adds coins and blocks that were not in the level for earlier medallions. This is a good feature and gives levels plenty of replay value. It makes the game more engaging that basic running and jumping. Between levels there also mini levels, like boss fights (based on the Hammer Brothers) and coin collecting competitions.

Super Heavy Sword is a little rough around the edges however. The game has a rather low framerate and the animation is very basic, particularly for enemies. A major annoyance is that the game restarts whenever it is minimized or the device enters sleep mode which is aggravating since levels are at least a few minutes long and often longer and having to restart if the device times out or a call is received can be frustrating.

The game looks nice though with warm looking pixel graphics with plenty of personalty. It certainly emulates Mario closely, right down to the pre-level screen showing the medallions to be collected and. The sound is also very similar to Mario. Pike even yahoos when he is selected and much of the music and fanfares are very familiar to gamers.

Super Heavy Sword gets challenging fast and it is always an enjoyable game so platformer fans are likely to stick with it for a long time.

Super Heavy Sword is fun stuff and has really cute graphics. It is a nice change from cutesy non swordy platformers and anyone who misses having Mario on their mobile phone should pick it up.