Max Ammo Review — Defend the Earth… in Style

Max Ammo Review — Defend the Earth… in Style

Nov 29, 2016

Max Ammo may not be the hero we need… like, ever.

The game storyline starts with Max, a supposed “hotshot” with military experience, being welcomed to the “Agency.” An alien invasion is in full force, and it’s time to get to it.

The player gets to control Max in this chaotic environment, taking on said enemies in droves. The visuals are a big part of the game, and they invoke a series of urban environments, ravished by what can only be this alien war. The graphics aren’t necessarily scary; they have a fun quality to them, but the aliens are definitely the life of the visual party, what with their grim movements and such. All in all, it is an interesting presentation that helps frame the gameplay effectively.

The action itself is in the vein of a leveled cover shooter. Sort of. Our guy looks to advance in a set area strewn with debris and structures; using these objects as cover, he takes on enemy reptiles that shoot back and more. It’s simple really — he ducks by default, and rises (and is vulnerable) to shoot. Take the enemy out, collect the discarded goodies, and make it to the endzone.

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Yep.

Except, those aliens get craftier as one goes on, with better armaments and protective gar. After a while, the challenge gets harder, with big bosses elevating the game to true cover shooting territory.

Thankfully, the player gets opportunities to craft better gear and such. The crafting piece is fairly involvd, but the game does a great job of walikng the player through it. Better weapons and even game modes are unlocked by progress, and there all sorts of challenges, including time trials. Processes can be expedited with real cash, but cash doesn’t seem all that neccessary at the onset.

If the game does take a knock, it would probably be for its focus: this is a lot of the same. Still, it is so hard to put down, and manages to me interesting over time.

DDTank gets update

DDTank gets update

Mar 22, 2016

Proficient City Limited’s trajectory shooter DDTank just received an update.

WHAT IS DDTANK?
Players all over the globe engage in artful trajectory-based combat in real time. Set in an adorable, cartoon-like world, DDTank allows players to choose a server and enjoy multiple battle modes — inviting friends to play along or competing against others in PvP. It’s imperative to take factors such as wind speed, power, and angle of fire into consideration if the goal is to strike swiftly and accurately!

NEW FEATURES
It had to happen eventually: The diabolical Gulu have recruited the aid of a monstrous dragon! Players will be given one chance to battle this new World Boss every three hours. All players on the same server will fight the same dragon — making it one epic instance for everyone involved. If players successfully slay the dragon, it’s not time to celebrate just yet: After just one minute, the dragon respawns . . . with more health and better loot :)

Cross-server battles have been added! It is now possible to compete against opponents on other servers to increase rank. (A higher rank will have access to better belts and special necklaces, which can increase speed.)

New enchantments are here! In previous builds, players used currency and items in order to enchant an item to a higher level. With the new-and-improved system, a failed enchantment will decrease the item’s level — making the process even more nerve-wracking.

The previous system allowed players to combine up to four items to create a new one. In the update, the system is more efficient: There is a primary item that can absorb others — allowing the item to take on certain traits without losing its own unique quality.

Enter the Magic Pots. When open, they reveal rare items and ever-so-valuable points — which are used to purchase other items!

DDTank is free (with in-app purchase opportunities) on Google Play

Monster Smash Squad Review

Monster Smash Squad Review

Feb 23, 2016

Dispatching monsters with extreme prejudice almost never gets old, and that’s probably why Monster Smash Squad starts off well. Nobody — no one — ever complains about shooting monsters.

It has a zany look, with deliberate characterizations and fun music and sound effects. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that works for it, with darkish colors that pay homage to its undead storyline.

The game concept is simple enough to understand, but enjoyably less easy to master; the core goal is to take out bad creatures, and to do so with as little ammunition as possible. One, in the persona of our game protagonist, usually “enters” a level from the left and beholds one or more creepies stationed. The players job is to take them out.

The key trick is in the shooting mechanism. In this one, the players touches the screen and activates a virtual bullseye. Said bullseye can be moved around, as long as one does not lift one’s finger off the screen, as doing so causes the gun to fire. Now, there is a limited amount of bullets, but the bullets have one valuable gimmick: they ricochet a set number of times. So, if one uses angles just right, it is quite possible to take out more than one monster with a shot.

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The gun-fu thingie has other uses. The game is leveled, and as one goes further, the game unfolds like a puzzle with increasing difficulty. Soon, it’s nigh impossible to get a direct shot on a monster, so one will have to bounce one of a wall or the ceiling to get it to the intended target.

Getting all the targets allows one to open the subsequent level; being able to do so with a prescribed number — remember, less is better — allows one to be awarded stars, like Angry Birds; three stars is the best. Failed levels (or levels that were completed with less than three stars) can be re-attempted.

It all comes together fairly well. The physics aspect is a nice addition in that it is fairly intuitive, and allows for different solutions to be tried by overachievers. It isn’t overly gory either, so the game can be enjoyed across the board. Still, the shooting mechanism could probably use more sight lines, and more boosts could be earned.

It’s easy to like the game, as the good all but annihilates any supposed negatives, and as a free game, it’s tough to argue against a look.

Go ahead. You’d be killing baddies after all.

Cartel Legend: Crime Overkill Review

Cartel Legend: Crime Overkill Review

Aug 16, 2015

If AL Pacino’s Scarface played a mobile game, he’d probably spend more than just a few minutes with Cartel Legend: Crime Overkill.

Some of it might look familiar.

The locations are enjoyably stereotypical for the type of game this is, from storied casinos to expansive mansions that would make even Tony Montana do a double take. On their own, the scenes look nice and visual perspective is adhered to fairly well. The player takes on the persona of a deadly assassin, and a major task is to get from the beginning point to an endpoint, designated by a green overlay.

One thing common to all areas is the presence of armed heavies; these guys look to dispatch our protagonist via gunfire. He’s packing himself though, and the controlling player has to use the virtual controls with the mapping mechanism to get through each level.

The sighting mechanism allows one to get a red-highlighted bead on an enemy, and one wants to shoot them before they reduce our dude’s life bar — again, while making one’s way to the endpoint. It’s all about looking around, taking out baddies, collecting the occasional alternate weapon, and moving on.

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A level is ranked on performance, and game cash earned. Cash can be used to upgrade gear, and some of said gear is flamboyant indeed. Bonuses tasks include stuff like time trials and taking out every enemy person.

While it is great to roam around and catch the bad guys napping, the lack of complexity might grind the gears a bit. The music is almost too stately, and the staccato of weaponry does not deviate too far from its own standard throughout the game. The panning function could be tightened a tab, as it isn’t unusual to here gunshots and not see the person doing the damage, even with the help of the mapping utility. The bad guys are not the smartest, either; this gives the game a bit of fish in a barrel feel early on. Also, there were graphical glitches that popped up.

All in all, it’s simple, which is nice, but also feels like it can be built upon a great deal, which is even nicer, in theory.

Traitor – Valkyrie Plan Review

Traitor – Valkyrie Plan Review

Jun 30, 2015

In recent times, a bit more attention has been to the plots against Hitler. There were quite a few, with varying degrees of failure as it were, but one of the ones that came especially close was also the last serious attempt; The July 20th plot is almost overshadowed by the coup attempt it prematurely spawned. Code-named Valkyrie, the plot called for the implementation of an emergency protocol that would, in essence, use reserve troops meant to resist a putsch to actually carry it out.

Valkyrie — the game — gently borrows from the true story, and creates a first person experience that pulls in other elements seemingly fill it out.

Visually, the game does not disappoint; the developer conveys a lot through the way pretend light is used. The changing scenery works well, and attention is paid to the little things, like shadows and sight perspective. The animations are relatively smppth, and while some secondary characters feel a bit stilted, the overall presentation is easy on the eyes.

As hinted at earlier, the game is in first player, and the player takes on the persona Colonel Claus (we have to assume this is based on the actual leader of the July 20 Plot, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg); like the real life model, our virtual hero is hurt in Africa, and upon returning to Germany, becomes certain that Hitler must be toppled.

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In this game, he decides to become a hitman.

The game teaches one how to play the game actively, and incorporates virtual buttons to tap and general area to use gesture entry. The opening tutorial shows one the basics, including movement, weapon use, interaction and more. As one goes on, other game concepts become more apparent, a big one being stealth. There is also come other things to think about like wearing the right uniform for the occasion, and even avoiding the dreaded gestapo.

So, in many respects, it’s a stealth/action thriller. Strategy does pay a big part, as one does need to figure out what to do when. It picks up fast, and the individual missions tie in together. It’s a cool going.

The control mechanism does seem busy, and the different sequences can be a bother. The dialogue boxes can use some polish too. In the end though, it’s all about the positives, and in this one, they (like the free demo) definitely outweigh the bad. Easily. In real life, Valkyrie failed. This game allows us to re-imagining it.

That’s reason enough to give it a try.

Hitman: Sniper Review

Hitman: Sniper Review

Jun 12, 2015

Hitman: Sniper is here. Enough said…

The game gets right into it; the tutorial is pretty much a mission of its own. It plays on first-person style such that the player takes on the persona of the sniper. He takes position from a distant perch, with the obvious weapon of choice, looking to do damage.

Using the sniper rifle, one learns to fan around using the scope, and beyond that, how to zoom in even further to get a quarry well within one’s sights. Shooting is accomplished by tapping the screen when viewing through the scope, and if everything works right, the target drops.

It’s the other aspects that add to the game’s allure. It gives the player concurrent tasks to accomplish in addition to knocking off a high level bad guy. The game engine does well to create a realistic environment, so concepts like stealth and order of operations must be taken into consideration. To explain further, a mission might require the player to take out a certain guy and dispatch four of his bodyguards. Well, our shooter probably needs to hit the main target towards the end, as that action automatically sets up an extraction (mission done). Care has to be taken with regards to dropping guards, because if a body is noticed by a guard (or, worse, a shot missed), the alarm will be raised, and the main target generally scampers to safety, causing the mission to be failed. They key element here is to do the business discretely, and get away before this get really crazy. There is a time limit too, so one can’t just tarry all day.

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Success yields awards, and every run is measured via a series of criteria, like time spent, shot difficulty and more; there are RPG elements as well, as there’s leveling up to do and weapons and attributes to improve upon. It’s simple, straightforward, and even a tad romantic in the way it makes a hero out of a killer taking out evil folks.

The animations are good, and the developer does a good job of creating some stacked scenes, but some of the views are repetitive. I think the weapon upgrade process could be simplified, and the scoring system a bit less involved.

Still, for a first-person shooter, Hitman: Sniper hits the spot in several ways, and is quite the addition to the popular franchise.

Random Heroes 3 Review

Random Heroes 3 Review

Apr 27, 2015

Random Heroes 3 is a classic 2D shooter where the humanity fights back against, unless I’m mistaken, aliens that look a hell of a lot like zombies. Although it doesn’t matter in the slightest, I can’t quite put that out of my head now. Anyway. The token military guy tells the player to go clean his base from the aliens that had captured it earlier, and then go underground and destroy their leader. It’s unknown why the army can’t try to do the job themselves, and have to rely on some random schmucks to do all the job, but here we are. For the third time, apparently.

There’s not much to say about the gameplay of Random Heroes 3, except that it’s alright. It’s a lot like the old arcade games, which is a great thing. It’s not perfect, it has weird controls, and weird balance issues, but the slight uncomfortableness gives off that nostalgic feeling. It’s definitely not intentional, but it does challenge the player to play better to compensate.

The mechanics are really simple. The player runs and guns around the levels, filled with all kinds of alien zombies. The Random Heroes 3 3player’s main task is to get to the exit, but to get all three golden stars for the level, it’s also required to kill all of the monsters on the level, and get to the exit in a certain amount of time – not on the single run, thankfully. While doing so, the player collects coins that are required to purchase new weapons and heroes. He also should seek out secret skulls in each level, which are required to upgrade the purchased heroes and weapons. The levels get tougher as you play, but the gold always stays, regardless of the player’s success, so if some levels seem like impossible, it’s simple to just “grind” the gold for a bit, and then eradicate the enemies with powerful weaponry.

I can’t call Random Heroes 3 a great game, since it’s very simple, and doesn’t really have anything new or interesting elements to it. However, the game works in all the ways it should, and it’s rather interesting to go through the levels and attempt to get all of the medals throughout. So, while the game is simple, it’s simple and fun.

Undead Land: Liberation Review

Undead Land: Liberation Review

Mar 31, 2015

I try to be timid with my reviews, but every once in a while, I come across such lazy and impossible titles that I can’t help but get infected with their stupidity. Undead Land: Liberation isn’t just lazy, it’s completely blatantly so. I don’t say that it’s completely unplayable, but it would probably be better if it was.

Undead Land: Liberation is about shooting zombies. That about describes it. The player chooses a mission on the global Undead Land Liberation 3map, chooses one of the overpriced weapons, and equips the bombs that can only be purchased with real money, then goes to a low-res cardboard cutout location and shoots cardboard cutout zombies. The zombies were very obviously taken from different sources, since most of them look drawn, but then there’s a very fast black zombie (I swear that it’s like this in the game) that just looks like some black guy’s zombie impersonation, with a weird green glow around him.

But the most irritating part is definitely the sound. All of the sounds have been pulled from different sources as well, but unlike the zombies, it’s very obvious what these sources were. The starting pistol sounds like a pistol from Counter-Strike – the first Counter-Strike, if I recall correctly. The damn headshot announcement that makes you want to rip your ears off after a while, was pulled from Unreal Tournament, a second game I’d much rather play, instead.

Naturally, the gameplay is just what one would expect in Undead Land: Liberation. It’s repetitive, doesn’t have any resemblance of balance, and since the amount of oncoming zombies is ridiculous, the player is basically required to spend the money on new weapons. The weapons that have obviously been stolen from other games, as well. The game is screwed beyond repair, and I can say this without worrying the developers would read this, since the game comes from Korea. I know this from a simple fact that the auto-translation is horrid, and small parts of the game actually still contain Korean characters. I’m not even going to describe the mechanics and the power-ups, or whatever. Just, find something better to play, instead.

2-bit Cowboy Review

2-bit Cowboy Review

Jan 21, 2015

2-Bit Cowboy is a simple and enjoyable platformer. Or, it would be enjoyable if it didn’t lag like crazy on my tablet. The tablet in question handles Unreal Engine perfectly fine, and probably shouldn’t have any problems with a two-dimensional game with Gameboy graphics, but I’m gonna give 2-Bit Cowboy a benefit of the doubt – maybe it’s not a common problem. Still, there’s no way a game like this should freeze on a tablet every time there’s more than three moving objects on the screen. Anyway.

2-bit Cowboy plays a bit like Mega-Man, but with some additional features. The game consists of pretty spacious levels that are filled with bandits, aggressive critters, and gold. The player has to find an exit, shoot everything that looks at him funny, and not get himself killed in the process. The interesting part is that the player can collect the job offer posters that are scattered across the levels. They require the player to perform all sorts of stuff, but in general, the player needs to either kill a bunch of things, or collect a bunch of things. If he does that, and has the poster by the end of the level, he will be rewarded with some cash. The cash can be spent on outfitting the hero, or in the shops that the player runs across in the level.

The hero has a pretty impressive amount of abilities for a cowboy. He can do double-jumps, ride horses and bulls, wall-jump, and even swim. 2-Bit Cowboy has enough 2-bit Cowboy 2features to be a great game, but there are also some problems with it, beside the lagging. For one, the controls are quite uncomfortable. I frequently missed the arrow buttons, and sometimes the character started shooting uncontrollably. The graphics only look neat for the first couple of minutes and start blurring together afterwards – the original Gameboy isn’t really an example of great graphic design. Lastly, the game is a bit too hard. I wouldn’t mind it, but it’s quite frustrating to play a level for fifteen minutes, only to die instantly because you fell into a pit or shot the wrong barell.

Overall, I’m not sure about 2-Bit Cowboy. The game certainly has the right spirit, but it needs some serious patching. The flaws spoil the impression for me.

Planetary Guard: Defender Review

Planetary Guard: Defender Review

Nov 17, 2014

Today, humanity has successfully landed a probe on a comet, after years of rigorous testing on Donald Trump’s massive ego, so it’s fitting that I’d review a game about defending the futuristic space stations, situated on various asteroids and the like. Planetary Guard: Defender pits the player against the hordes of presumably alien ships that are attacking the bases around the universe, with a single hover-tank. The gameplay is similar to top-down arena shooters, only in this case, the “arena” isn’t some patch of grass or dirt, but an orbit around a planetoid that the player has to defend from several waves of enemies. The rest is all the same. Each wave has a certain amount of enemies that need to be killed, before they kill the player and/or the station that he defends. When they die, the enemies drop coins and power-ups. Power-ups give the player better shooting power, and the coins are spent between the missions on upgrades. Each mission also has three objectives, granting a star for completing each one. The more stars the player has, the more advanced levels he can unlock. It’s even possible to skip a couple of levels and go straight for the hardest one, if you’re confident.

The upgrade system in Planetary Guard: Defender features several hulls, weapons, shields, and special items. Each one can be upgraded to gain better characteristics. Naturally, Planetary Guard Defender 3the most powerfull of them require a special resource that can be bought with real-world money. They are also earned after the missions, but in very small amounts. Speaking of which, Planetary Guard: Defender is pleasantly devoid of most of the free-to-play irritations, not counting the fullscreen ads at the end of each level. There’s no energy, so you can play and replay every level for as much as you like. There’s no obvious paywall, at least not in the first couple of hours of gameplay that I’ve seen, and the grinding isn’t getting on the nerves.

Wrapping up, Planetary Guard: Defender is a fun shooter for the fans of rapid old-school sci-fi action, set in a pretty 3D, courtesy of Unity engine. It takes a while to get comfortable with, but it’s worth it, in my opinion.

Battle Bears Ultimate Review

Battle Bears Ultimate Review

Jul 28, 2014

Battle Bears Ultimate is a first person team based deathmatch shooter with all the jumping and shooting veterans of Quake or Counter Strike would expect. Is it worth bear-ing with?

Screenshot_2014-07-25-00-56-03Battle Bears Ultimate is pretty light on play modes. Besides basic ranked team DM and unranked DM, the only other mode is Capture the Flag. The mian mode in Battle Bears Ultimate is Deathmatch, which features players running around trying to kill their opponents. Weapons are acquired between games from chests and are randomly awarded. Some players may have much worse or better weapons than other players.

Weapons are fairly limited as well. There are a few kinds of assault rifles, a few heavier weapons such as chainguns and a few explosive weapons like rocket launchers. While fun to use, there are no really interesting weapons.

Battle Bears Ultimate doesn’t play a particularly good game of Deathmatch, compared to the plethora of amazing online mobile FPS games like Modern Combat and Dead Trigger. It suffers from bouts of severe lag, poor weapon balancing and some poor maps that encourage camping more than a little. One map in particular has players begin in a small room and run down a ramp to enter the fray. It is very susceptible to one team simply being spawn camped the whole game.

Screenshot_2014-07-25-02-48-51Battle Bears Ultimate really embraces pay to win in a big way. The game uses a poorly though out system where the player is awarded chests during gameplay which contain a random prize, such as a new gun or a boost. Chests need keys to get the item. Keys are doled out one at a time when the player levels up. The only other way of acquiring keys is using real money, denying non-paying players the items.

The random nature of what’s in a chest is a pain as well. A chest might contain anything from an awesome weapon to a useless piece of clothing or other cosmetic object. This is especially bad for new players, who might unlock chests with useless items instead of desperately needed weapons. The default equipment new players get is no match at all for even the weakest weapons found in chests.

Battle Bears Ultimate looks pretty nice. It is amusing to see teddy bears running around blowing each other away and some of the maps have some interesting features in them. The map with a destroyed mountainous village with a flying sailing ship circling it and a futuristic city map stand out. The sound however is quite poor. Weapons sound weak and taunts and speech are very repetitive. The music salvages the sound a little bit as it’s very catchy.

Battle Bears Ultimate is a nearly unplayable FPS, mainly due to the haphazard way weapons are handed out and lag. It is certainly not worth playing when there are awesome multiplayer games like Modern Combat 4 around which provide hours of exciting gameplay with good weapons, exciting class based gameplay and no lopsided matchmaking. Battle Bears Ultimate might be fun for a few minutes, but its freemium features are its death knell.


Sky Force 2014 Review

Sky Force 2014 Review

Jul 24, 2014

Sky Force 2014 is a curious mix of freemium and old school shooter. Does it work?

Sky Force 2014 is a classically styled, old school vertical shooter. The player travels up the screen dodging around and blasting the heck out of a bunch of different enemies. Huge, ships small planes and gigantic bombers fill out the vast armies the player fights on each level. And players will have plenty of time to admire these enemies. The game works on a grading system where the player must repeat levels until they gain a certain percentage of enemies destroyed or so on. This leads to rather a lot of grinding to afford better parts to actually complete these challenges.

Screenshot_2014-06-21-15-17-24Skyforce 2014 lacks powerups and even alternate weapons, which may be a bummer for some players. Part of the fun of shooters is picking up and using different weapons and powerps. Sky Force 2014 however mostly gets by using the same main gun which can be upgraded with stars collected from dead enemies. These stars can be exchanged for upgrades between levels that make the gun fire faster and do more damage, but it never really gets more interesting than its single orange bullets without a lot of invested time. There are a few other weapons in the game, but it is not clear how to unlock them or indeed how different they are.

The lack of weapons and pretty tame gameplay kind of sabotage Sky Force 2014. With the large amount of great looking, full featured shooters on Android it is difficult to find time for one that has so few weapons and also attempts to nickel and dime the player. The game just never seems to hit a groove and the most fun part of the game is the very beginning. The player flies a very powerful ship for a few minutes, before it is destroyed and they return in a very weak fighter, pew pewing small bullets.

Screenshot_2014-06-21-13-42-52Skyforce 2014 looks great. Some sharp, colourful graphics really make the game pop and small details like the way stars sparkle and smoke hangs in the air from destroyed enemies gives the game some class. There is a great variety of enemies and the game as a whole is silky smooth and looks excellent. It nails the vibe of an old school arcade shooter while still looking modern.

The sound is similarly excellent. Skyforce 2014 has some very unique music that sounds just like 8 bit chiptunes, which are very catchy. The sound effects for shooing and explosions work well. There is a fair bit of speech in the game as well to alert the player of game events and to provide a bit of backstory. Great stuff!

Sky Force 2014 has a fair few levels and the game is quite difficult, but it is hard to tell if this is by design, or due to the in app purchase system deliberately weakening the player.

Sky Force 2014 is a tolerable shooter, but its lack of interesting weapons and annoying, grindy freemium system dooms it to take a backseat to many other shooters on the platform.