Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing Review

Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing Review

Oct 7, 2013

… and it’s about time.

Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing is the Android port of the ever-popular console game that brings the intense kart racing action to the mobile screen. As is clear from the title, we get the world’s fastest hedgehog and 12 of his in-game cronies as optioned racing characters. The numerous environments are engaging, if a bit whimsical… but that is part of the game’s charm.

Anyone who has played this on a console will be relieved to note that the visuals translate well to mobile devices. The swathes of color are present, making the whole game look like the candy heaven it’s supposed to look light. The sega1animations are sharp and effective, and all the characters are easily identifiable to anyone with a smattering of Sonic knowledge.

The gameplay is standard racing fare; get your vehicle, race the opponents, collect boosts, avoid deployed traps and win. There are different types of vehicles, so there isn’t a fear of being confined to something as conventional as go-kart; if racing a banana (and yes, I am not using street-savvy slang to describe a yellow sports car. I am referring to the yellow fruit) is your flavor, this is the game for you.

The single player racing comes in different flavors: Grand Prix, single race, time trial and missions. I like that it is possible to play in multiplayer mode with up to four players online and local wi-fi; Facebook sign-up ensures that social friends can jump into the action too. The built in tutorial is great, with pointers to effect drifting. It should be noted that not all drivers and locations are available at the beginning; they need to do be earned. There is an in-app store, but isn’t needed to progress.

Gaming and interaction…this game makes it look easy.

Spellwood Review

Spellwood is a puzzle strategy game with a twist. It’s very similar to classic board games like Scrabble, but it makes it more interactive with its RPG style. Here, brains (and an expansive vocabulary) are your best weapon to destroy the enemy.

The game has Adventure mode, which is for a single player, and Duel Friends, where you can play with Facebook friends.

It starts in Spellwood Academy, where the player is a wizard who must battle with other wizards in a word-spelling challenge. Both hero and opponent take turns to fill the board with words from a set of seven randomly selected letters. A player can append his word to what’s already laid down on the board, or make another word using at least one letter from the previously spelled word. If a word is valid, the wand button becomes available to tap and the word’s score is revealed. This score is also used to lessen the opponent’s life meter. The last player standing is the winner of the battle.

If a player can not put together words from his set of letters, he can tap on the swap button to lose his turn and swap up to five tiles. While this may be beneficial, it’s also an opportunity for the opponent to gain more points and cause bigger damage.

As the game progresses, there are special powers given to the hero. Some tiles on the playing board holds bonus points when a letter is placed on it, and in later levels, a hero is granted control over where to place these bonus tiles. Special items are also given throughout the game, depending on how well one has played. Special items can only be used once in battle, and only during a player’s turn. These items include the ability to change a letter from a consonant to a vowel, or vice versa — however, a player cannot control which letter will be given.

Spellwood‘s game design and vibrant interface makes it a delight to play for kids of all ages. Dragging tiles around is super smooth, with no performance issues. It also provides you with lots of levels, securing a long term residence in your phone. It may look like a game made for kids, but after playing a few rounds, I was glad to see how it builds the challenge gradually.

With its unique game setup, colorful graphics and fluid performance, I’d say Spellwood is a fine way to have fun while expanding your vocabulary.