Feb 1, 2016

If you know us, you know we like em simple.

CLOCKS is simple.

The premise is pretty easy to understand, and even funner to play. There are two modes: Survival and Quest, and we started off in Quest, which brings leveled gameplay. The game is oriented in portrait, and in its basic form, uses basic colors as the background. On said background, several 2D clocks of differing sizes are placed, somewhat randomly on the grid. Each clock has an hour hand, spinning around the clock… some go clockwise, and others anti-clockwise.

Now, imagine that each moving hour hand is a loaded cannon. Using the prominent “shoot” button at the bottom of the clocks3playing area, the idea is to start with THE prominently highlighted start clock and shoot into another clock — or, pass on the playing pellet if you will. It takes a bit of timing to hit the shooting button right at the exact time; missing automatically ends the run, so one needs to be pretty sure-fingered.

As soon as one hits the one clock, it’s off to shoot the next, and so on and so, until the clocks are cleared.

Oh yeah… did we talk about the clock? There is a nefarious countdown timer, and one can earn a cool bragging star for clearing it. Finishing a level opens the next, and failed levels can be re-played.

Survival is more of a “go-on-till-you-miss experience; no clocks here. Just play till one can’t.

It works because it is able to bring a challenge, but isn’t crazily difficult. One has to do several things, and do them quickly: identify the starter clock (and it isn’t always the same one, for those wondering). Then, dealing with clocks that move at different speeds makes for engaging play. It comes together well.

There are ads, and some that open a chance for a last shot re-play; ads can be killed via in-app purchase.

All in all, simple but fun, and quite worth a look.

Bouncing Tank Review

Bouncing Tank Review

Jan 25, 2016

From the onset, Bouncing Tank looks simple — and that isn’t a bad thing.

As we have said before, there will always be a place for simple games that are easy to navigate but nonetheless provide a worthy challenge to players. Yep, we crave such.

The artwork is basic; if the developer’s goal is to not distract from the gameplay to come, that feels mostly achieved. It occurs in landscape orientation, with subdues pastels marking the background, and utilitarian artwork alongside smooth animations. Our protagonist tank is enjoyably rudimentary, and even from the main menu page, shows of the, uh, bounceability that lends itself to the games title. Sound-wise, the cheery tunes makes one think of arcades, and as actual play shows, this isn’t too far off.

Upon starting the game proper, our bouncing take takes center stage, bouncing “forwards” from left to right. Coming towards it are fired weapons looking to stop it cold. Thankfully, one gets five shells to take out the incoming weaponry.


Tapping causes the tank to fire; the trick is in the timing. That cute bouncing creates the challenge, as it ain’t that easy to line up on the obstacles while going up and down and up again; it’s probably why sharpshooters don’t use trampolines in training.

And then, there are “safe” pieces one is prohibited from shooting, and of course, these tend to fly in the path of the “bad” pieces. Yay. Hitting them decreases one’s bullet count, which brings us to that aforementioned element: the player’s shells. Yes, there are five, and as long as one hits the the baddies, they don’t deplete. Hitting a friendly or missing a target reduces one’s stash, and running out is tantamount to eventually getting struck, which ends the run.

Success is measured by the number of hits one accumulates before succumbing to contact.

It’s a compelling adventure that veers on the side of quick reflexes; the strength of this game lays in the sum of its cohesive parts: bouncing firing pieces, objects to avoid, objects to hit, and a deliciously limited supply of ammunition to make things happen. The biggest challenge is oneself, and the ability to stay alive.

The game can be played among friends locally, and also has leaderboards via Play Games, it’s ad-supported, and ads can be disabled via in-app purchase.

All in all, it’s another case of “simple does it.” Quite well, even.

Sniper Fury Review

Sniper Fury Review

Dec 29, 2015

So, yes, I whine about sniper games, but if I did have to try one, it would most likely be a game just like Sniper Fury. It’s a Gameloft joint, so we did expect the nice graphics and dutiful animations. It sports scenery invoking different locales, from tropical to temperate and everything in-between.

The game gets going without much ado, and there are plenty of visual and sound cues to help one along in an early quest to understand the game. The game is presented in landscape; from the player’s perspective, this translates to a “natural” first-person view. One is able to “swing” one’s gaze from left to right, up and down by gesturing on the screen in an instinctive manner.

Further to this, one of the biggest tools in the sniper’s trick chest is the scope, and the ability to zoom in and zoom out; in this game this is effected by a sight bar towards the right, which invokes the zoom and conventional sight mechanism folks should be used to. Shooting is then a matter of getting a target in one;s sights, tapping the fire button at the bottom right, and profiting.

Now, the shooting mechanism isn’t easy; the sighting mechanism, for instance, takes a bit of practice to work out the gate, and this becomes a factor later on. Improving one’s weapon is a normal part of getting better, and involves using game cash to acquire and improve weapon elements, including new weapons that might be a better fit for the job. Fortunately, success in previous levels allows for one to accumulate game cash; head shots are always of a premium. Real cash can be used to expedite processes, but isn’t mandatory.


What makes the game work is a bit of diversity, and how the developer is able to “mission-ify” otherwise benign things. One gets standard enemy fare, but then one also gets timed tasks, like taking out marshallers, or picking off moving targets before they take the player out. Tossing in different scenarios helps keep one on one’s toes.

it is a bloody game. The death throes feel realistic, and this is a double-edged sword.

Of course, it’s familiar. The game is quite intuitive, and that helps in terms of potential enjoyment. At the very least, it depends on individual folks how far one goes, and that is quite okay.

Metal Soldiers Review

Metal Soldiers Review

Aug 31, 2015

When it comes down it, Metal Soldiers feels like a game one should be able to enjoy.

It comes in in 2D, with simple yet effective graphics, and smooth animations, with arcade-y sounds that ensconce the gameplay quite adequately.

The gameplay itself is a varied mix of elements which are all pulled under the canopy of a staged platformer. The first and overriding task it to travel as far as possible, and the control mechanism helps it along. There are buttons that control movement, firing and jumping.

So our hero moves from left to right; off the bat, one will run into the gaps, and the jump button is of great use here. It also helps one traverse some of the boxes, walls and such that make up the play area. Early on, the player also encounters enemy soldiers armed with guns. If one tarries in front of these moving soldiers, they will shoot our enemy off the platform.

Another obstacle that presents itself are drones which look to knock off the hero by contact. These are pretty smart in the way they come from the top and into range. One option to avoid the enemy troops and the drones is to jump over and out/run them, but this can get difficult considering some of the other elements.


Another option is to use the gun our runner is equipped with; one shot takes out the flyers and soldiers when they are close enough, and can even be used to blow up the random drum and such.

There are also collectible goodies. Gold coins appear, and can be acquired by touch, as can be time clocks, which dd time. Time, you ask? Ah… yes… one concept is to move as quickly as possible, because there is a countdown clock. Now, one can extend time by collecting aforementioned clocks, but when one adds in the other variables — other obstacles, collectibles, etc. — one has to pick and choose what to pursue. Assuming one is able to keep going past the obstacles (and yes, they do get worse), time running out ends the run.

Collected gold can be used to get boosts, extend runs and such. Altogether, it is a simple game that feels particularly well-rounded.

Grand Ride NXG Review

Grand Ride NXG Review

Feb 11, 2015

Grand Ride NXG plays a bit like the well-known classic Spyhunter. Taking control is a well-armed motorbike the player powers their way up the road blasting suspicious looking cars and grabbing powerups to blast more cars. The poorly translated plot mentions something about an invasion and racing to a border but the game is little more than shooting and driving.

Screenshot_2015-02-08-13-13-24Unfortunately this isn’t very interesting. Bullets don’t seem to damage your vehicular enemies so rather than blasting everything the game is more about dodging cars until you happen to find a bomb power-up then destroying everything around you with a smart bomb like explosion. Then the cycle repeats. There are no other power-up or weapons.

Grand Ride NXG looks very unpolished. It looks quite poor to the point where it is difficult to tell what things are. The player’s bike barely animates and the bullets it fires are barely even visible, making it difficult to aim.

Screenshot_2015-02-08-10-55-59Even more glaringly, the game is very buggy. Text routinely fails to line up with windows which make it impossible to read. The game often continues to play sounds even when the player switches away from it or exits it until the phone is rebooted. Most text is full of typos. As said above It also seems to be impossible to blow up enemies. Shooting at them seems to do nothing. Fortunately, enemy guns are just as useless; their shots seem to almost never hit the player no matter where they are. This renders the game completely pointless. The only way to blow up enemies is with the occasional bomb.

Grand Ride NXG is also festooned with ads. When the game is launched it begins with a full screen ad with a “click to play” button. As soon as the game loads another ad appears. After every game another ad appears that must be dismissed.

Grand Ride NXG is a poorly made game that is no fun to play. It just lacks any spark. Players expecting Spyhunter mobile will be very disappointed with Grand Ride NXG.

Sniper 3D Assassin Review

Sniper 3D Assassin Review

Nov 29, 2014

Sniper 3D Assassin has the player assume the role of a consummate professional sniper. Perched on rooftops and sometimes at street level, each mission gives the player some background and a photo of the target. The player then finds this person among the throngs below and ventilates their head. No cheesy objective arrows here, just good old spotting!

Completing missions earns the player coins which are used to upgrade guns and even buy new ones. Extra cash is given for headshots.

Screenshot_2014-11-23-14-27-56Sniper 3D Assassin’s sniper action is lot of fun. You aim the rifle by tilting the device and this works extremely well and feels very precise. There is a shoot and reload button and reloading takes about four seconds at the outset, so players can’t afford to miss.

The game also likes to mix up missions, which keeps the game interesting. The target may be in a crowd of people and difficult to kill cleanly, in a moving car, forcing a well-timed shot or there may even be multiple targets or hostage situations. Killing an innocent fails the mission and rifle bullets go right though bodies like paper, so often the player has to think about how to take the shot. This is excellent stuff.

Sniper 3D Assassin has some annoying and easily fixed issues however. The worst one is the way that the reload button is right next to the bullets that are tapped to fire. This means that often the player will reload by accident, ruining missions and making misses very costly indeed. This could have been easily prevented by moving the button.

Sniper 3D Assassin also lacks a way to invert aim. Lots of players do not like their aim inverted in first person shooters but that is the only option here.

Screenshot_2014-11-23-15-09-38Freemium also makes an appearance, although not as overtly as some other games. The way that the game locks away missions until the player’s gun is upgraded enough is annoying, but the game often hands out enough coins to keep the gun upgraded. The game also features a dreaded energy system but players can get quite a lot of missions done before they bump into that barrier.

Lastly, some guns can only be bought with diamonds. Diamonds are rare as hen’s teeth and players will only get one when they level up unless they buy packs in game.

For the most part though Sniper 3D Assassin keeps its freemium out of the player’s face and it’s possible to enjoy the game without spending a penny.

Sniper 3D Assassin looks excellent. It feels very realistic as you scope down from a nearby roof and search for your target among the other passerbys below. The blood and gunshot effects are well done as well. The sound works well too, from the crack of your rifle to the hubbub of the city around you.

Sniper 3D Assassin is a very well done sniper game with a few silly problems that will hopefully be patched out. It has minimal freemium and varied missions and players should get at least a fun few hours out of it.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Review

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Review

Jan 9, 2014

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is a direct Android port of the famous 2004 game of the same name. Now players can drive over pedestrians, blast Ballas and rampage in a tank anywhere. Does it do the original game justice?

In case the original isn’t familiar, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas tells the story of Carl Johnson brother to the leader of the Grove Street Families, a formerly large and powerful street gang that has fallen on hard times. Carl left the city to escape the gangsta life style, but after his mother is killed he returns to the city for the funeral. He decides to stay to help his crumbling gang rebuild their fortunes and kill a whole lot of people while doing it. A massive sandbox game, GTA features everything from gang wars to night club dancing, massive deserts to drive over to VTOL fighter jets to cause mayhem with. It is the ultimate toybox, a whole world to do as the player pleases

Screenshot_2014-01-08-21-03-35GTA: San Andreas for Android is the original San Andreas, fully realized and with a few extra widgets. The most noticeable right away is the improved graphics. There are a few options that allow the player to up the resolution of the game and add additional shadow and lighting effects that were not in the original game. Thanks to modern technology it’s possible to get GTA: SA looking way better on a phone that it ever did on a full console.

The sound is fantastic and has all the classic radio stations. The sound is loud, detailed and works very well with phone speakers. There are a few other options as well, such as controlling traffic density and such, but the graphics are the real star.

Screenshot_2014-01-08-11-28-55The games controls are well done considering how many buttons are needed for GTA. Tapping on a character targets them and there is a shoot button. There is a virtual stick, slider or tilt controls for driving. A minor annoyance is the lock on system sometimes selecting targets it shouldn’t. CJ will be shooting away at some Ballas and kill one and sometimes the lock on will jump to a nearby cop or one of your own gang members, shooting them if the player isn’t careful.

GTA: SA supports the MOGA mobile controller and for the most part it works very well, but some functions like targeting or changing weapons can only be done via on screen icon, which is a little slow. The auto lockon does a good job of finding targets however. The game drains battery very quickly, because of the horsepower required to run the game.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for Android is a fantastic port of one of the greatest games ever released. For $7 it’s an incredible game and a must buy. Even for players who played the original endlessly, the much improved graphics and portability make this one worth having.

Nightbird Trigger X Review

Nightbird Trigger X Review

Nov 25, 2013

Nightbird Trigger X is the sequel to the game the similar name from Colopl Inc.

It’s a fairly easy game to understand, and is cloaked in a basic backstory: the Man is after us, and shooting successfully to destroy the gems diminishes The Man’s power and reach.

The game graphics are somewhat otherworldly, from the ephemeral embodiment of the protagonist character to the look of the moving pieces. The animations play tricks in the senses, but in a good, competitive fashion. The movements translate well, and create a fluid, continuous story on a 2D canvas.

The gameplay itself is mostly time and shoot action. Our hero has a weapon, and had to blast jewels across gaping space that trigger bridges for him to travel across. In between the protagonist abd the target is a moving obstacle.fight1 To make the shot in the least number of tries, it is necessary to get the timing just right, as there us usually a moment when everything is aligned perfectly enough to make the shot. As soon as the target shatters, said bridge is deployed and the prices repeats with a new set of obstacles. As the game and levels progress, the obstacle get way more intricate, and quite the challenge. Different shapes and a mix of movements play havoc on the senses; even rotary elements are present. And then there is the timer. That’s right; it’s a race against the clock in addition to using the least amount ammunition in the drive to get three stars in each level.

The game feels repetitive at times; most of the variation has to do with how intricate the middle obstacle can be. Then, there are times I feel the difficulty fluctuates somewhat wildly, from pretty easy to write difficult… do much so that the in-app store feels indispensable at times.

Nevertheless, it’s a fun sequel, and a decent time waster. Free to play makes it that much better.

Monster Shooter 2 Review

Monster Shooter 2 Review

Aug 7, 2013

Yep, DumDum is back… and, he is all about saving the earth in the shooter better known as Monster Shooter 2.

It has the requisite dual control system generally seen in this type of game, and that is ALWAYS welcome.I liked the whimsical nature of the game, especially as reflected in the graphics. The characters looked lively, and this is a testament to the game’s artwork. This genre lives and dies by the animations, and this game does feel alive. The firing protagonist moves as naturally as a monster can be expected to, and so do the waves of baddies. The background uses color effectively too.monster1

The gameplay is quick and furious, with the game employing waves of different type of monsters to keep players on their toes. The monsters pop out all around the place, which is why the controls for the game are especially important. The leftmost button handles movement, while the right button controls. The built-in tutorial is great; it does throw a lot of information at you, but it is done in a visual way that makes it easy to pick up. It explains the gameplay and the upgrade system. In short, move, shoot and don’t get corned. Rinse and repeat till the waves are vanquished.

The game store is a huge part of success at this game. The aliens that make up the enemy have special attributes as the game advances, and to match them, it is necessary to upgrade gear. This is wear collected tokens become extremely important. The game sports leaderboards and Facebook compatibility, and the ability to give presents to friends is definitely a cool feature.

My biggest complaint has to do with the visuals. There were times I thought the screen got a bit too, well, busy. The controls and such did take up some real estate, too.

Still, for a sequel, it is a pleasant revisiting, and plenty of fun.

The Legend of the Holy Archer Review

The Legend of the Holy Archer Review

May 9, 2013

The Legend of the Holy Archer lets us know why we want more non-English titles.

It had an interesting translation job, but I was able to gather that the earth was in danger of being overrun by a swarm of otherworldly demons. I had to stop then with my bow and and arrows.

The gameplay was fairly straightforward. I (as the archer in abbreviated first person) was armed with a big red button at the bottom of the screen. Tapping/holding that button put me into a shooting stance. At this point, I could drag and pull to adjust the projected flight path of my arrow. Removing my finger from the screen fired the arrow. Now, the perspective changed; in essence, I became the arrow. I could tap and hold the screen again, and drag my finger toarcher1 control the flight path of the arrow, kind of like I was literally riding the arrow. The goal was to guide the arrow into the demon monster, and reduce its life bar to zero. Different monsters had different weak spots, and I learned that head shots did a lot of damage.

To make things even more challenging, there was rarely a direct, unobstructed view of any particular monster. There were things like building ruins, mountains and more that made it straight on direct shot close to impossible. So, the act of picking a good flight path and the ability to dart around objects was a skill I had to develop on the fly.

Levels were unlocked with the beating of prior levels. There were special treasures to be procured, and successful outings earned me gold, which could be used to upgrade gear. These upgrades almost became required to beat higher levels.

The 3D visuals were good, and the developer did a good job of simulating a diverse set of environments. I thought the animations were well done, and the writhing of the struck monsters was gorily realistic. Still, there were some raw edges to the graphics that i thought could be refined, but overall, it was a fine-looking game. I also thought the map view could have been more informative.

Bottom line? I liked it a lot.



Feb 28, 2013

With DIE HARD, Fox shows us again that the newish strategy of releasing handheld games as companions to major motion movies is not a fleeting development.

We all have a little bit of John McClane in us, the hard-nosed defective that made dying a very difficult art. No one has more McClane in him or her than Jack, John McClane’s son and the protagonist in this running adventure set in Moscow.

The graphics in this game were gritty. The running area looked like the aftermath of a large scale conflagration, with damaged, seemingly shelled buildings and shared windows. The way the developer was able to bring out so much bleakness is a testament to the interesting use of color. The animations were sharp, and most of the motions, from the running, to the diving, to the reloading, all looked smooth and realistic in its 3D glory.

The gameplay was nice as well. I liked the slightly elevated control view, as it worked well to highlight the things that I needed to collect. I was given a few pointers by way of active tutorial. I had to guide my character through treacherous urban terrain, with gunmen popping up from the left, right and even vantage points up high. By tapping on the event shooters, I was able to fire at them with my weapon, which mostly remained in shooting position while I ran.

There was a running tally of ammunition at the bottom, and I had to swipe down to reload. I could also swipe up to jump, and swiping in front of an enemy allowed for physical melee type attack. Along the way, there were goodies I could collect that bestowed special powers, such as health, increased resistance to damage, and better weapons. Of course, I had to pick the shooters off before they got me, and that was easier said than done, in that environment with all the obstacles, round tight corners and the occasional flights of stairs. Also, there were silver rubles that lined the running area and could be redeemed in the in-game store.

It all blended together to create a chaotic, challenging game that I suspect will be quite enjoyable to a die range of people.

Asteroid 2012 Review

Asteroid 2012 Review

Aug 8, 2011

Some games take a while to get used to, but more often than not they’re all the richer for that. It’s sort of like wine. They need that time to breathe, so that they taste that little bit sweeter once everything clicks. Asteroid 2012 almost fits into that category, but it falls short in a few key areas.

The game is a simple 3D space shooter that sees you utilising the accelerometer in your phone to control a pretty decent looking spaceship. Your task is to shoot asteroids, avoid the attentions of other spaceships and generally survive in the grim darkness of the remarkably close, yet technologically superlative future.

At first, you’ll think the tilt controls just don’t work. You’ll wave your phone around and your spaceship will explode and you’ll get angry and swear and go to bed without any supper. If you persevere though, you’ll realize that the controls are far subtler than in most other titles, requiring only the slightest of movements for the desired effect.

Once that’s settled in your mind, you’ll find yourself having some fun with Asteroid 2012. It moves at a different, calmer pace than most other games, and there’s no real way of telling if you’re doing things right or wrong. Then another spaceship will turn up, kill you and you’ll get frustrated and stop playing.

Sometimes, Asteroid 2012 feels more like a tech demo than a complete game. It’s fun in small doses, but after too brief a time, it becomes a bit of a chore. There’s obviously a lot of talent and time gone into making the game, but not enough of that time has gone into making it fun. With a few tweaks and a clearer objective, Asteroid 2012 could be a very impressive little app. As it is, it’s just a little too lacking in those key areas.