1001 Attempts Review

1001 Attempts Review

Apr 16, 2013

1001 Attempts is quite the vulgar game. I say this not because of any of the content in it – sure, there’s a little dude who meets their demise by missile, spike, and ghost, but the game itself is inoffensive. The vulgarity comes from when after I think I’m on a good run, when I think I’m about to get that high score, and then suddenly, it’s all yanked out in front of me because I flipped into a laser, or hit a missile, or did something that I thought would keep me alive but really didn’t. I then usually unleash a series of words so vile that I make an angel cry.

Such is the fun of 1001 Attempts: it’s a maddening high score game, but in madness comes bliss.

The goal is to flip gravity on a single-screen board, trying to stay alive and collect red gems that are worth 10 points and green gems that are worth 100. Various hazards come about, like spikes that come up from the walls, missiles and buzzsaws that launch across the screen, and the glowing green skull. He appears around the 800 point mark, and he will make life hell, or at least limit where it’s possible to move. But even he is no match for the lasers. The evil, evil lasers. Like everything else, they appear with enough warning to know they’re coming, but one ill-advised flip and dreams are shattered.

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The game is all about high scores (with Scoreloop integration) and part of the reason that going after them is so fun is that once the skull starts appearing, the game becomes simply an endurance test. Thus, knowing what to do when specific hazards arise is key, and sticking to that plan while chaos reigns is the key to reigning on the leaderboards. The game issues a reminder of the player’s current world rank, so that’s plenty of incentive to keep going.

The game is a solid port of the iOS version, with the features from the latest update including random new characters for collecting certain lifetime amounts of gems. The Android version is free with ads, with an IAP to remove them, which is worth it because the ads are full-screen and hard to close without accidentally opening them up. However, the launch version has an issue where the game crashes when tapping the “Disable Ads” text after a round. The only other downside is that the default controls do obscure the lower corners of the screen – keep an eye on them to make sure death doesn’t come from those parts of the screen!

Minus any small quibbles, this is a high score game that succeeds because of its simplicity letting the challenge of the game shine through. Everplay Interactive and Cookiebit have a winner on their hands here.

Hatchi Review

Hatchi Review

Nov 14, 2012

Pagers. The Macarena. AOL. The decline of MC Hammer.

Pray tell, what is there NOT to love about the wonderful, glorious 90s?

For those that long wistfully for a simpler time, Hatchi might be the answer. Hatchi is a virtual pet for the jet set. It’s the baby without the crying, and parenthood without the future college loans. It’s a 90s staple with a 20xx skin. It’s Tamagotchi in your pocket. Well, in your phone. Or tablet.

Hatchi is the natural evolution of the keychain virtual pet craze of the 90s. Somehow, Portable Pixels Limited, the game’s developer, was able to pack a lot of retro into the 21st century.

The game certainly had the “back-when” looks. Its simulated 8-bit look was well rendered, and it certainly recreated the look of the keychain variety of virtual pet on my mobile devices. At start, I was greeted with an opportunity to name my new family member. Apparently, monsters need love to, and “Captain Marvelous” was gonna get it.

The first thing I learned is that the level of care affected how well my pet thrived. Gameplay mainly consisted of making sure that the pet thingie had its needs met promptly. There were gauges at the top that measured things like hunger, happiness and hygiene. At the bottom, activity buttons existed: feeding, cleaning, play, and more. Now, to buy food, I needed money; to earn money, I had to play with Captain Marvelous. I loved the symbiotic nature of the different branches of the game. Playing with my per gave me an opportunity to feed it, and to boost its activity level as well. I read to my Hatchi to improve it smarts. Logical stuff like this made the game fun.

Also, it was interesting that Hatchi’s can die, and can also be released into the wild. New Hatchis can be “adopted” at particular time to increase the brood.

Hatchi has its socialization powered by Scoreloop, which hints at the ability to share scores and such via Facebook and/or Twitter.

Off the cuff, adding a feature like a Hatchi-rearing contest as a multi-player option could probably fun; giving folks an opportunity to spoil competing pets to get bragging rights would be a cool way to stimulate adoption of the game. There is a free version of the app that tops off at the “teenage” years; be careful, though. You will bond with this little squirt.

Hatchi is a great shout-out to a staple of yester-years, and does well to bring it back in an easily digestable form. It crosses generations, and can be the source of long-term fun.

Tribond Review

Tribond Review

Nov 5, 2012

I like brain teasers. I like logic-based offerings, and timed ones are the best. TriBond, from Puzux, intrigued me enough to get hooked. Based on the award-winning board game of the same name, it is a brave attempt to bring the best of the game to handheld devices.

Underneath the layers, the premise of TriBond is simple: find the common thread and find the odd man out. Well, in practice, the developer did a great job of red herrings and links of differing levels of ambiguity. The strength of this title, in my opinion is that even when I was wrong, I could look at the final answer and have the linked terms actually make sense.

The the basic gameplay was set up thus: it was broken into levels, and there were four sets of words (Threezers). In every set of four, three words had a link… a common thread if you will. My job was to pick the three words and tap the “Solve” button as quickly as possible to advance to the next step. In challenge Mode, points collected were inversely proportional to time spent, so fortune definitely favored the fast.

And yes, there is a catch. Three missed associations, and I was done. There were hints for the inevitable moments when I had brain freezes, but thankfully, the developers resisted the urge to make the game to simple and restricted the hints to three per level.

Additional levels were available for purchase, so, in that sense, there was a good degree of expandability. I also really loved the referral program, which allowed for extra Threezers to be earned by my friends and myself if they used the referral code to install Threezers on their devices. Scoreloop-powered share functionality with Twitter and Facebook was another feature that ensured that my friends could partake in my genius.

RIM Buys Scoreloop

RIM Buys Scoreloop

Jun 8, 2011

When it comes to social gaming services, BlackBerry has been traditionally left out of the picture. These platforms have launched on iOS, on Android, even on Windows Phone 7, leaving out one of the biggest players in the smartphone market, and a burgeoning competitor in the tablet market. Research In Motion (creators and manufacturers of BlackBerry) are hoping to make social gaming a reality on their platform, by buying Scoreloop.

Scoreloop have been traditionally known for their social gaming features on iOS, and especially Android, where a variety of games have used their leaderboards, achievements, and friendship connection features. As well, Scoreloop has offered mechanisms for in-app purchases through Scoreloop Coins, that users can use to wager in challenges against other Scoreloop users. With RIM purchasing Scoreloop, this should promise to bring all of Scoreloop’s features to BlackBerry OS, and could bring it in as an integrated system feature, much like Game Center on iOS. maskable speculates that the goal is to bring Scoreloop in as part of the “[BlackBerry Messenger] social platform,” so BBM users could easily connect in their games with each other, and could easily compete against each other’s high scores, and issue challenges to each other, based on their BBM PINs.

For the record, Scoreloop is claiming that they will continue to support cross-platform play, but that their support for BlackBerry will be “unparalleled.” This could serve as a long-term trojan horse for RIM, if the BlackBerry hardware line ever peters out, RIM could use this as a way to launch on an OS like Android at some point in the future. Of course, it will be interesting to see just how much of a cross-platform presence a RIM-owned Scoreloop will continue to truly have. With RIM paying the bills, there may be more pressure to focus on the BlackBerry side of Scoreloop. Still, an integrated social gaming service has done wonders for iOS, as Game Center is very user-friendly, although there are some concerns on the developer side with the way scores work, and with device support. For example, Game Center’s asynchronous multiplayer support may not be adopted in a widespread way right away, even by developers with games in development, due to its iOS 5 requirement. It will be up to RIM to make sure that they can minimize the integration and fragmentation hassles when Scoreloop launches on their OS.

Between this and the PlayBook’s limited Android support, RIM is really trying to take a bite out of Android. I have reached out for comment to Scoreloop about the future of their service on Android, and will update when word hits. We have reached out to Scoreloop for comment on the future of the service on Android and will update when if/when we hear back.

Source: Mashable

The Hills Are Greener: A Game Center That Android Can Call Its Own?

The Hills Are Greener: A Game Center That Android Can Call Its Own?

Apr 11, 2011

What Game Center has done really well on iOS is bringing a more unified leaderboard experience. Since its introduction in iOS 4.1, it’s started to be the de facto social gaming service for Apple’s OS, providing leaderboards, achievements, and even matchmaking for online games. So, theoretically, should Google implement their own kind of service on Android to match what Game Center does? I don’t necessarily think that’s a smart option right now.

I don’t know if launching a unified service at this time would be good for the development economy around Android right now. The potential for growth on iOS for services like OpenFeint and Android has pretty much been stunted by Game Center. OpenFeint continues to introduce services outside of the standard leaderboard and achievement fare, like asynchronous multiplayer services provided by games like Kalimat, as well as OpenFeint PlayTime, although these features haven’t been widely adopted yet. OpenFeint is still regularly used by developers, especially as it provides Game Center implementation alongside OpenFeint’s features, but more and more games are eschewing their service and other similar ones, and going with direct Game Center implementation.

If an Android Game Center equivalent existed, would OpenFeint have any reason to continue to develop multiplatform tools? If Scoreloop didn’t have room to get a foothold in the Android social gaming market, we likely wouldn’t see things like the “Go Android” program to help spur on Android development. It seems counterintuitive, yes, to say that not having an official social gaming service is beneficial to gamers, but the advantage is that by allowing alternative services to propagate and grow, they can bring other benefits to the platform that an official service might not necessarily provide at this point.

As well, the question of implementation has to be considered as well – developers might not be able to get a deep system integration like with Game Center in part due to the fact that OS updates are pushed out in large part by the phone manufacturers, not by Google. If an official Android social gaming service had to be a major part of a firmware update, it could take years for it to propagate to most users. As well, unlike iOS where you could go out and buy a new device that would work with Game Center guaranteed, there would be plenty of Android phones sitting out there with incompatibility issues. Of course, the solution that would be accessible to the most Android users. would be to release an app for the service on the Android Market, that would then have an SDK that developers would then implement in their games – it likely wouldn’t be as clean an implementation as Game Center is on iOS, but it would be a solution. But getting back to the earlier problem, what would be the point? All Google would be doing would be shutting out developers from services like OpenFeint and Scoreloop who are interested in developing for their platform.

So, while the social gaming quagmire persists on Android, it’s ultimately good for the platform, even if it’s not the best situation for users right now. However, I feel that in the long-run, having gaming services promoting development on the OS will help spur along the gaming community until an official service would be feasible for the OS. So until then, Android gamers will have to rely on the wide variety of services that exist on the OS.

Toobz Review

Toobz Review

Apr 5, 2011

Plumbing isn’t easy, and neither is Toobz. Similar to your Pipe Mania-type game, water flows out of a beginning point, and you have to construct a series of pipes, randomly assigned to you, to lay down to create a consistent water flow – if the water path flows out into an empty square, it’s game over. You have 4 modes to play in – Classic, where you have a limited amount of time to lay down pipe before the water starts flowing; Show, where you are shown are the next 4 pipes; Timed, where you have a total game time that you have to try to score the most points in 3 minutes; and finally, Max5, where you try to score the most points in 5 levels.

Geared Review

Geared Review

Mar 30, 2011

Geared experienced great success on the iPhone, and now it has made its way to the Android Market. The fundamental difference between the two versions is that the Android version is ad-supported, while the iPhone version costs money. As it turns out, you don’t have to spend money to get a top notch puzzle game.

The premise of Geared is simple: there’s one yellow gear on screen that’s moving, and one or more blue gears that aren’t. Your job is to power the blue gears by connecting them to the yellow one with a series of gears provided to you at the beginning of each level. The concept seems extremely simple, and at first glance, it might seem like Geared is incapable of providing a real challenge, but with the addition of no-drop zones, and multiple blue gears that need power, Geared becomes extremely challenging very quickly.

Scoreloop Introduces “Go Android” – Helping Bring Games from iOS to Android

Scoreloop Introduces “Go Android” – Helping Bring Games from iOS to Android

Mar 21, 2011

iOS has been the platform du jour for independent developers making games for mobile platforms, especially if they want to reach a sizable audience. Apple’s well-structured hardware, from testing and development on Macs down to the core similarities between different iOS devices has helped tremendously. While the Android OS is far more structured than phones that came before, especially ones that used Java, fragmentation of the various devices is definitely something that has scared developers away.

All My Enemies Review

All My Enemies Review

Feb 24, 2011

All My Enemies is a vertically scrolling shoot ’em up (henceforth referred to as a shmup) that’s a rarity – an Android exclusive, and with a unique story. Unlike other similar shmups where you play the supposed good guy who wantonly destroys everything that gets in his way, here you actually play as the villain. You work for the Emperor, who is apparently sick of not getting paid tribute from those who rules over, so he dispatches you, a single warrior, to go make some suckers pay up. So it’s your goal to use limitless amounts of ammo to shoot your enemies, and pick up the gold they drop. Otherwise, it’s all shooting enemies, asteroids, and picking up powerups, trying to survive as long as you can.