Wayward Souls Review

Wayward Souls Review

Jul 14, 2014

Wayward Souls looks and sounds like the spiritual successor to the well-received Mage Gauntlet. Prepare to be surprised!

Wayward Souls is an old school rougelike with style. A virtual stick moves the hero, while a tap on the screen executes a normal attack. Abilities are handled with swipes. For the Warrior a downward swipe uses his shield, which defends against any attack or projectile for a few seconds. An upward swipe unleashes a throwing axe for defeating enemies that are too dangerous to get close to. This super slick control scheme works very well indeed and is much less fiddly that a collection of small icons.

Screenshot_2014-07-13-04-19-51Players can pick from three initial classes in Wayward Souls. Like many RPGS it features a Warrior, a Mage and the ever popular Rouge. The Warrior is tough up close and can throw axes and gain high health. The Mage can attack from a distance, but must allow her energy to recharge to attack, so she’s very vulnerable to getting overwhelmed. The Rouge meanwhile attacks and moves very quickly, but isn’t as good in a stand up fight as the Warrior.

Expect to die early and often in Wayward Souls. Wayward Souls is HARD. The player will die repeatedly. Enemies move around faster than even the Rouge and do loads of damage and there are tons of them. A lot of skill and constant attention are needed to survive for any length of time. Enemies are deadly and even the weakest ones, like berserk miners who throw pickaxes will do a lot of damage. A few enemies ganging up on the player can drop their health like nothing else. Of course like all rougetypes, as soon as the player dies, they must start the game all over again.

This is compounded by an almost total lack of healing. Getting hit kills the player fast and healing potions drop so rarely from enemies I wasn’t aware they even existed for a long time. The main source of healing is the small amount of health restored by reaching the end of a dungeon level and descending into the next.

Screenshot_2014-07-12-07-09-21Wayward Soul’s challenge is a breath of fresh air. While a lot of mobile games embrace pay to win and do not require skills, Wayward Souls is unashamedly a game in the vein of old school, rock hard SNES games which will eat players alive if they don’t have gaming chops and this is something not seem very often on Android. Indeed, it is often ports from other systems, such as Dragon Quest VIII and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas that aren’t afraid to kick the player around if they can’t hang tough.

Thankfully, a satisfying persistent upgrade system is in play. Coins can be grabbed during games and traded for permanent upgrades. These can boost the chance of doing critical damage, boost attack damage or recover energy for special attacks faster. Each upgrade also boosts maximum health and energy, so characters will gradually become stronger. This allows players to make it just that little bit further before becoming just another stain on the floor. This kind of slow burning gameplay is an acquired taste, but the game hands out plenty of coins and there are no nasty in-app purchases to dilute the feeling of progression.

Some smart game design ensures this needed replay never feels like grinding either. Like most Rougetypes, Wayward Souls is procedurally generated. Each time a new game is started the layout of the dungeon and enemy type and placement is randomly determined to ensure an entirely new brand of rage inducing death. This makes each game feel new and guards against frustrating repetition. It also prevents the player learning patterns and making the game too easy.

Wayward Souls is tough then, but it is the good kind of tough. It’s what gaming should be; a game that punishes you for not playing well and rewards the player when they do. Players who relish the challenge of extreme games like bullet hell shooters will likely revel in the unapologetic ass kicking Wayward Souls will deal out if they slip up.

Screenshot_2014-07-10-06-27-32Wayward Souls looks incredibly good. A super smooth, warm pixel art style defines the game. While pixel art on Android isn’t exactly hard to find, the great lighting effects, detailed sprites and the attention to detail make Wayward Souls look like a very pretty 16 bit game. The way the player’s character changes appearance as they get stronger is great as well. The music is extremely well done as well. Some excellent ambient tunes warble on in the background and really suck you into the game. Noodlecake are known for their great music and Wayward Heroes is another example of this skill.

Wayward Souls
has enormous replay value if players can stomach the challenge. The extreme amount of skill needed to even begin to get anywhere in the game will require much practice and stat boosting and the three classes and three more unlockable ones give plenty of replay value.

Lastly, Wayward Souls has a good bit of story. Each time the player descends a dungeon level more about their character and their motivations are revealed. These simple story scenes really reward progression. Rougetypes aren’t known for their story, so this is very engaging.

Wayward Souls is unabashedly made for a specific kind of player and helps propel mobile gaming into a more hardcore, serious level of gaming. Players who are dyed in the wool gamers who take any challenge in stride and will persevere and will take the time to learn the game will enjoy it. However more causal mobile gamers, such as those who like their freemium city builders and such will find it an impenetrable game. Even fans of Mage Gauntlet may not enjoy Wayward Souls due to its difficulty. Well-made but merciless Wayward Souls is the Dwarf Fortress of mobile gaming and only the player can decide if Wayward Souls is the game for them.

Punch Quest on Android Goes Free and Gets Updated

Punch Quest on Android Goes Free and Gets Updated

Feb 28, 2014

Punch Quest, the hig endless puncher from Rocketcat Games and Madgarden, published on Android by Noodlecake Games, has gotten an update on Android along with a new price tag: free. Yes, the game is dropping down to the free price that it is at on iOS, so if a dollar was too low to enjoy Punch Quest, then, good news! This update also brings along snakes, new Power II abilities, incentivized video ads for coins, and other tweaks and fixes. The update is available now on Google Play, Amazon Appstore, and soon the Humble Bundle version, which was made without IAP, will be updated as well.

Rocketcat Games and Madgarden Announce Death Road to Canada

Rocketcat Games and Madgarden Announce Death Road to Canada

Aug 12, 2013

Rocketcat Games and Madgarden, creators of Punch Quest, have revealed their next collaboration, Death Road to Canada. It’s a “randomized permadeath road trip simulator” featuring zombies. Lots of zombies. Oh, and the ability to tell people and dogs to “Cool it.” In the Canadian post-apocalyptic landscape, that’s an important feature. The game is planned for release this fall, and an Android port is promised. If it doesn’t happen, I’ll use my Punch Quest skills to convince them otherwise.

Punch Quest Review

Punch Quest Review

May 9, 2013

One of my favorite games of 2012 was undoubtedly Punch Quest. Rocketcat Games’ endless puncher’s only flaw? It wasn’t on Android yet. Well, Noodlecake Games, in their first published title after the launch of Super Stickman Golf 2, have rectified this situation. And oh how sweet it is to be playing this amazing game on mobile.

Unlike most endless runners where there’s little to no combat, this is all about punching one’s enemies. It’s more of a beat ’em up with automatic running instead of an endless runner. The fighting is surprisingly complex despite there only being three different inputs: forward punching, uppercutting, and blocking, though each has different functions based on different situations. For example, uppercutting in the air is actually a dive punch. Upgrades can tweak the way that punches work, or give them special functions. But it’s the interplay of the attacks and the way that each enemy has a particular strategy that works best – and ones that don’t work quite so well – that players need to learn and master in order to do well at the game.


The thing that I have realized in playing the game over with a clean slate has been just how much skill is actually involved. Yes, the upgrades will definitely help, that is undoubtedly true. But the skills I’ve accumulated by playing the game for hours on end have gone a long way toward improving the kinds of scores that I’m getting with minimal upgrades. For really high scores, will they require some more expensive upgrades? Oh, definitely. Later upgrades get pricey, and definitely make spending money on coins worth it, but that’s after many hours of play. Its the way that games like this should work. The game has launched as a paid app on Google Play because it’s impermissible to go from being a free app to a paid app, so they launched as paid, like the app briefly was on iOS. The game has launched with all the latest upgrades, however, and there’s plenty to do for free.

The port to Android is on par with Noodlecake’s other work – it’s high quality and virtually identical to the iOS version. All the content from the latest updates are here. What’s missing is the support for leaderboards. I’ll say it again: Google needs to release a Game Center equivalent now!

Punch Quest does not disappoint. This is an absolute must-play. It was last year, it still is now.

Punch Quest Punches Through Orcs, Skeletons, and Gnomes, Will Soon Arrive on Android

Punch Quest Punches Through Orcs, Skeletons, and Gnomes, Will Soon Arrive on Android

Dec 12, 2012

Android, get ready to start punching. Punch Quest is coming to Android very soon. The culprit? Noodlecake Games, who have made a habit (or a business model) out of releasing and supporting iOS-to-Android ports. Punch Quest combines and endless runner with beat ’em up gameplay, as players run through a dungeon, punching and uppercutting the foes they come across. Coins can be earned to be spent on new skills, power ups, and hats. Sweet, sweet hats.

Developers Rocketcat Games and Madgarden are making their Android debut with this title. Initially released as a free-to-play title, the game saw over a million downloads and critical praise (including a 5 star rating at 148Apps ) before issues with making money off of the game arose. While things were tweaked to try and improve its monetization, it eventually just went to being a paid game. However, with Noodlecake’s success promoting Happy Jump on iOS and Android, the game may be getting a second life and a fresh start on a new platform.