Pauli’s Adventure Island Review

Pauli’s Adventure Island Review

Nov 2, 2015

Pauli’s Adventure Island is an ode to familiarity and simplicity.

It’s a mission of freedom, as our heroes are looking to free there home from invaders.

It’s a colorful game; it is straightforward visually, with deliberate splashes of color: blues, greens, grays and more, working together, but not interfering with each other too much. The shapes are close to utilitarian, and the landscapes do the job of helping along the gameplay effectively. The animations are smooth, and the backgrounds change with progress, so it does not get too monotonous over extended periods of play. Overall, it reminds one of established console games of the same type, and that isn’t a bad thing.

It’s platformer merged with side-scrolling. Action moves from left to right, and the main idea is to get from Point A to Point B. But of course… there are several obstacles which are in the way, and as such, one needs to be able to navigate around these to move on. The configurable control set incorporates left and right virtual buttons to the bottom left, and a jump virtual button along with a virtual barrel roll button to the bottom right in its stock alignment. A lot of the baddies move, which adds an additional wrinkle. Jumping over is effective, but rolling into them generally gets rid of them. There are also gaps in the walkway, and areas that entail getting to a higher platform; for these, jumping is an adept way to get around.


And of course, there are collectibles that line the travel area. In-run life, starts and more can be collected, but one does have to weigh the risk against the reward: go the extra mile and get them, or speed up and get to the end of the stage?

Decisions, decisions…

The going gets tougher as one goes on, with heavier demands on reflexes and non-linear thinking. The travel way becomes more complex, making one have to double back and move relatively quickly, and then slow down, and back and forth. It even has a time trial element

The game is really easy to get into, and is fairly intuitive. For a free game, it’s pretty fun to play.

Amazing Ninja Review

Amazing Ninja Review

Jan 9, 2015

Ninja. Running. Swords. Enter Amazing Ninja.

Side-scrolling action is the name of the game. Our protagonist martial artist runs aggressively from left to right, looking to avoid or confront different obstacles that emanate from the right. The ninja is stick-figurish in appearance, is armed with a sword and has enviable ups at speed; jumping and slashing are his only means of recourse. Tapping on the left side of the screen invokes jumping; on the right causes a slashing motion.ninja2

The first type of obstacle are the blue-colored “deserters” that are seemingly fleeing the very conflagration that our hero is eager to get to. These terrified soldiers can be dangerous in their haste, and can end a run by making contact. Slashing the deserters has dire consequences, and as such, our boy has to jump over the blues.

The second type of obstacles are the enemy ninja. They are clad in red, and are quite adept with the swords they carry. They don’t respond well to our hero avoiding the issue by jumping over them; when they jumped over, they jump and deal a lethal blow, ending the run. The only way they can be dealt with is to slash at them while running.

So, these sequences define the gameplay. Jump over the friendlies and attack the enemy. The challenge is in the mix Red-Red-Blue-Red-Blue and so on creates quite the twitchy environment. Then, you have the gappy platforms,and timing of the jumps (and double jumps) becomes crucial. Timing is also a factor with regards to slashing at the enemy; slashing too quickly or too late can be fatal, ending he run.

Success is a function of how many baddies are cleared. Straightforward and easy to understand.

I liked the simplicity of Amazing Ninja, obviously. I also think the developer does a great job with the clean graphics. It melds a few elements into a fluid concept quite easily, and is a fine time waster. Fears of monotony aside, it is easy to get lost in it, which is its greatest strength.

Rakoo’s Adventure Review

Rakoo’s Adventure Review

Feb 25, 2014

Rakoo is a critter in love that doesn’t understand that love can be dangerous. Rakoo’s Adventure tells his romantic story.

It is a colorful environment; the game developer does an equitable job of making it outdoorsy. The animations work within the context of the game, and the playing area is ever-moving.

The gameplay evolves at a modest pace. To begin, our lovestruck hero runs from right to left, avoiding fairly sedate obstacles and opponents while collecting flowers for the object of his affections. Once he’s started moving, movement is continuous, and swiping is used to shift him out of the way of stationary or oncoming objects and/or into the path of the flowers. The running path is unlined, but it feels and plays like a multi-laned runner. As one progresses through levels, there is a distinct increase in the difficulty level; animal dangers become faster and consequently more lethal. Some work together to force quick decisions to stay alive via back-and-forth darting. Too rak1many touches of these obstacles usually spells the end of the run.

Eventually, the opposing critters get really crafty, like doubling back from the left side of the screen; this forces the player to not hug the left side as might feel natural, and also encourages faster reaction times.

The game incorporates some arcade elements like power-ups. These usually appear in what seems to be random fashion, and include things like extra lives and flower magnets. They are helpful, and sometimes almost necessary. The helpers start getting more creative; there is one that fires on obstacles and obliterates them. One unique feature is the somewhat fluid nature the running direction; it is possible to go back to get a missed object that been passed as long it is still on the screen. It’s leveled gameplay, with bosses and achievements; the gameplay is altogether fun without being too silly, and this is part of its charm.

It’s a great free-to-play game that has plenty of levels, and well worth a look.

Loot Hero Review

Loot Hero Review

Feb 21, 2014

Loot Hero is a simple game from VaragtP that matches simple sidescrolling fun to delightfully retro graphics.

It’s all about being a hero and defeating dragons. It uses a purposefully grainy 2D motif to highlight the action.

The gameplay is your basic side running fare: left to right running action — with a twist — facilitated by touching the right side of the screen. The goal is to dispatch the goons by depleting their life bars, all while keeping that of our protagonist runner up. Dispatching baddies and collecting goodies yields gold coins and action points that help leveling up. The twist is that it is also possible to run from right to left, which is great, since it allows for the player to go back and dispatch the baddies that regenerate after being destroyed. This yields even more rewards, and is a great way of doubling up on benefits.loot1

The bad guys start off being simple enough, but increase in ferocity as progress is made. At frequent junctions, and upgrade shack appears, which allows the player to upgrade attributes so as to combat these fighters more effectively. Things like attack power, defense and speed can be up upped via accumulated gold, and gives the player a bit of control with regards to how resources should be expended. At the end of stages, there is a boss of sorts, and these generally culminate in dragon which is usually (and expectedly) especially hard to defeat; this is where being able to go back becomes useful. For the truly competitive and/or impatient, real money can be utilized via in-app purchase.

My biggest gripe is that despite the continual changing of enemies, the game starts to feel a bit monotonous after the first few level-ups. No, we don’t expect runners to be overly complex in structure, but I think this one could use some more elements.

It’s fair game, well worth a free-to-play try.

Dragon Season Review

Dragon Season Review

Dec 16, 2013

Dragon Season is a fun little arcade-like side-scroller from Right Pedal Studios.

Looks-wise, it’s a bit understated. It uses pastels well, and the playing area is simply conceived. For backstory, Nook the Dragon has to rescue kidnapped friends from the unfriendly King Jellyboo.

Controlling Nook is a wild ride. It moves by default from left to right on the screen, and a tap on the right side pops it into the air. Once in the air though, our friendly dragon is susceptible to gravity, and as such, is always pulled towards the ground when not manipulated. The trick to keeping the dragon airborne is to get just the right sequence of taps going, such that the creature is more-or-less jerking upwards to counteract the gravitational forces forcing it to the ground.

Going up is good; it allows the dragon to collect the gold coins and special treats that line the airspace. These drag1items follow non-linear trajectories, so dropping down in a controlled matter is all so important. When the obstacles start appearing, it is also key to be able to maneuver up and down in a proficient and timely manner. These obstacles look like castles emanating from the top (roof) of the living room and up from the bottom, and so with the natural movement of the dragon, it is quite the challenge to navigate through the obstacles collect coins and goodies and staying alive, as contact reduces the game life expectancy. Using a convenient (but exhaustible) blast button helps as well.

The overall goals are to collect as much gold as possible and travel the longest distance. Gold can be used to upgrade stuff like outfits, weaponry, shields and timed boosts, and while real cash can be used to speed stuff up, I didn’t find this mandatory.

All in all, it’s a whimsical game, with plenty of fun play available.

Burt Destruction Review

Burt Destruction Review

Oct 8, 2013

Burt Destruction rocks. A yeti intent on world domination doesn’t.

I have to salute the makers for the cutscenes and in-game hints. That, along with the sounds and graphics, really lends itself to an excellent media experience. The use of color is highlighted in the different levels, and such use ensures that the game feels new with every successful step.

For a platform runner, the action in Burt Destruction is constant. In the very first level, there were tons of obstacles to avoid and/or disable: stationary objects like walls, menacing yeti, some weird jumping fairy beings and even trickily placed stacks of TNT. Jumping over the “live” beings helped, but jumping on them destroys them. Thus, a good strategy of timing and controlled jumps is useful.bd1

On the other hand, running into these objects drained Burt’s life source; again, timing the jumps is key. Contact with these items drains Burt’s life, and with enough hits, Burt dies.

Fortunately, there are plenty of power-ups and arcade-y upgrades to match the expected increases in complexity that advanced levels bring. A lot of the power-ups have to be unlocked, and upgrades can be effected by collecting the coins that line the playing area. In-app purchases are available, but don’t feel necessary. The “big” Burt is fun to invoke, as is the replenishable ally Big Foot.

With regards to the playing area, the developer does well to create an expansive area that feels different each time it is played. To use the first level of the game as an example of the game, there is more than just the ground level. it is quite possible to vault Burt onto roofs, verandas and raised platforms and travel “above” the ground. The same dangers lurk at higher platforms, so the same success precepts apply. Different levels vary, though; in one level, for example, errant jump actually causes an endless (fatal) fall. Again, the artwork helps keep the gameplay fairly engaging, with stuff like cannons and even snapping sharks making appearances.

Yes, platform games are, well, platform games. Still, it’s hard not to like the eye candy. For a game that has significantly more positives than negatives, this is well worth a look.

LavaCat Review

LavaCat Review

Oct 4, 2013

Fast Cats and lava. Welcome to LavaCat from PocketCake.

The basic premise is what one expects in a side-scrolling adventure: moving from the left of the screen to the right, the main objective is to get as far as possible without getting fried by any of the heat-related dangers that lined the playing area. In the interest of fair disclosure, it should be noted that the playing area is molten lava travelway with falling spikes and steam geysers that can do lethal damage to a poor little puddy cat.

The controls are minimalist. One bank has a direction button set that controls “forward” and “backward” movement. There is also a jump button. An hourglass button rounds out the core controls. The cat remains stationary on the lava1bottom surface unless a button is being held; not a lot of momentum is retained when movement in either direction is not engaged.

Distance, of course, is the name if the game; the platform had huge gaps and raised landing areas, and it is clear from the get-go that timing is probably the most important skill with regards to sustained success. Being able to stop on a dime definitely helps, but jumping to early — or late — has dire consequences, but the double jump feature is helpful. The COOLEST tool is clearly the ability to rewind time via the hourglass.

The ability to rewind time is an earned attribute, in that it can be depleted by use and replenished over time. When the cat, say, over-jumps into lava, it’s possible to revive the cat by going back in time. The game “tape” literally goes backward to happier times… or when the rewind serum runs out, whichever occurs sooner. This unique ability definitely makes the game more compelling, in parts a safety net, in parts an encouragement towards recklessness.

The graphics could use a little bit of pop, and the collectibles and atributes could use a bit more definition, but it’s still a great free game (ads can be killed via in-app purchase).