NBA 2K17 Review

NBA 2K17 Review

Oct 26, 2016

I cut my gaming teeth playing basketball games on consoles; I really loved my original Playstation. As mobile games take root, it only makes sense that we’d start to see better versions come to smartdevices. Scaling concerns aside, more powerful devices mean more games.

NBA 2K burst on the scene a while ago, and has a pretty good rep with basketball gamers. NBA 2K17, its latest mobile offering, looks to bring the best of NBA simulation to a mobile device near you.

The very first step is to create a character — MYPLAYER — using the built-in template. It is interestingly complex, allowing one to pick from various minutiae, from “lip protrusion” to nose shape.

Then, one learns the basics of attack and defense via the help of an interactive tutorial. Shooting, stealing, blocking, setting picks and the like are all shown.

After all the cosmetics are done, there are a few modes one can get into: Blacktop (for streetball feens), Season (which allows one to go through a singular NBA campaign of adjustable length), Career (take on the game over several seasons), or one can just pick a team to play as and another to play against in Quick Game.

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In action, the graphics are not bad. Specifically, the animations look great, and the NBA players we know and love are reflected really well, down to their unique mannerisms. KD’s lanky fall away jumper, for instance, looks like, well, the real KD’s jumper.

It is a rich presentation, bringing the best of a vaunted franchise to mobile — again. It is easy to get into, and the various modes allow it to really be as close to console modes as size would allow. The intro customization element is quite becoming, and the control mechanism is simple enough to become second nature.

Now, the in-game transitions can be somewhat monotonous, and I personally would prefer a more “natural” switch-off system defensively, but when it’s all said and done, it is hard to find a better basketball/NBA simulation game on mobile.

Hockey Stars Review

Hockey Stars Review

May 31, 2016

NHL Playoffs are reaching their zenith, and in the down time, Hockey Stars might be the perfect time-waster.

For folks who grew up playing bottle top soccer, the game should bring back memories right from the get-go. The game plays in landscape orientation, and uses a playing area etched out in the general form of a hockey ice rink. The players look like the aforementioned bottle tops, being round in nature, and each team gets six play pieces.

The puck is smaller still, and comes in the familiar black. The artwork is better than utilitarian, and does the job of hs3underscoring the gameplay, with the top-down view and bright team coloration. The template is easy to understand, and comes to life intuitively.

The gameplay is equally easy to get into. The control mechanism is gesture based, and involves dragging and directing a player piece to hit the puck — hopefully into opponents net, or with that in goal. The brief tutorial is all one really needs… pull to “build” momentum, release. Rinse and repeat.

And then it’s off to play. One can try out the mini-games, play with friends, practice offline or go 1 on 1 online (tourney play is noted as being on the way). We cut our teeth in the 1v1 mode.

This is an online battler for goodies, with different locations that have varying “entry” fees. The game is timed turn-based, so both players have a chance to do damage one after the other. With a bit of experience, strategic options do begin to show themselves. Protecting one’s goal is obviously very important, and one can use rebounding and deflections advantageously. The physics aspect is well-done, as the objects usually act like one would expect similar pieces to do in real life. At the base level, two goals wins, so being able to score quickly is key.

There is an entry fee, and winner takes all. Goodies can be used to improve attributes, and there is a leveling component. Doing well allows one to eventually unlock stuff like new formations and even whole teams and countries which can be useful against better opponents.

It is a surprisingly fleshed out experience despite the simplistic cover. It did have a hiccup here and there, but for the most part, the positives heavily outweigh any perceived negatives, and the free-to-play aspect makes it easy to try. The little add-ons (like mini-games) are a plus as well.

Bike Unchained gets new content via Red Bull Rampage update

Bike Unchained gets new content via Red Bull Rampage update

Apr 20, 2016

Bike Unchained, Red Bull’s adrenaline-filled mountain biking adventure, is getting some cool new stuff courtesy of an update that is available now.

The game is adding in new riders, tracks and events.

Per Google Play:

WHAT’S NEW

RED BULL RAMPAGE is here! Our biggest update yet! Get ready to ride your Specialized bike in the most epic mountain bike race in the world. Set against the backdrop of southern Utah, new tracks are ready for you to make a run filled with flips and gnarly lines.
– 9 brand new tracks filled with death defying drops
– 2 new pro riders to unlock and shred with – Jill Kintner & Darren Barrecloth
– Introducing Limited time events & Team Praedor Challenges
– Huge performance updates

As noted, the new goodies are available now.

Bike Unchained is available for free (with in-app purchases) on Google Play; check out the red Bull Rampage update trailer below:

Skeet Shooting 3D Review

Skeet Shooting 3D Review

Apr 8, 2016

Non-lethal shooting games do have a certain charm to them, and that’s one reason Skeet Shooting 3D feels like a game one can get to like a lot.

The graphics are quite earthy, with great outdoor scenes that look great in the landscape orientation the game plays in. The sounds and animations tie together well, and the game is enjoyable from a visual point of view. Nighttime scenery? Check. Snowy environment? Yes sir.

The firing mechanism all but defines the entire game. It’s fairly easy to understand: one finger to hold and shift the gun barrel, another finger taps to shoot; it works reasonably well in practice.

The action is derived in several locales; in this one, Rio De Janeiro is are jump off point, and one starts with a basic, stationary bullseye target. Using the aforementioned shooting/sighing mechanism, the intuitive idea is hit dead center, and he game is scored accordingly. Additionally, there is a three-star system based on hitting related thresholds, like points scored, shots missed and and getting rings.

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Finishing a level successfully opens up the next.

The game progresses in a reasonable fashion, allowing the player to get better acquainted with the controls. As one goes on, one gets more challenging scenarios, like a moving target, and then pop-up targets on the like. Down the line, one gets a skeet shooting simulation proper, with clay pigeons flying through the air; one needs to track these down and blast the requisite amount of pigeons to advance.

Success breeds game cash.

The developer tosses in bonus rounds, which are good for the continuous honing of skills, plus they help with goodies and, frankly are fun. As one goes on, the challenges get a bit harder, and stuff like stability become major aspects of success. Here, the game cash becomes quite important, as it can be used to get better weapons, ammunition and goggles. Levels can be repeated, and getting game cash can be a slow toil, but real cash can be used to expedite the process.

It contains a lot of play, and is fairly enjoyable, in that it does what it intends to do well.

Basketball Stars Review

Basketball Stars Review

Apr 7, 2016

It’s hard not to like a game like Basketball Stars.

It’s a fun ride with regards to looks; it packs in tight hues and serious graphics that help underscore the gameplay. It sorta feels gritty, just like we’d expect from a street ball game, and the artwork subtly hints at the swagger that gives the game an engaging identity. The animations add some flair, and the developer does a good job of using color to enhance the action.

The sound matches up well, and with the eye-candy, it makes for a relatively well done sensory experience.

With regards to the gameplay, one can get wet via a few modes; first up is Practice, which is offline bs3and allows one to understand the mechanics with regards to shooting. This portion is a must-do when it comes to being successful. Additionally, there are two main gameplay modes, Attacker-Defender and Shooting Race.

The former allows the player to go into multiplayer mode against an online opponent Iv1 to a basket; it’s mainly a jump-shooting exercise, with a few moves the player can perform. Offensively, one can sidestep and shoot, while defensively, one can jump to block or swipe to steal. The game goes to the traditional 11, and winner gets cash and XP.

In Shooting Race, the player again goes against an online opponent, but both are shooting for points in the same basket. It is indeed a race, so speed of action is key; continued accuracy earns multipliers, and there are bonus balls and trick shot extras that come into play. Again, winning earns cash and XP.

For both modes, playing costs cash. The game allows for oher ways to earn cash and gold

When it’s all said and played, Basketball Stars manages to entertain in a continuous manner in a few different ways. The multiplayer component is evergreen, in that it pits the player against any number of like-skilled players in 1V1 battles for game cash. The game themselves are exciting to play in in real time, and a bit of skill is actually needed to do well.

Fishdom: Deep Dive Review

Fishdom: Deep Dive Review

Mar 10, 2016

Fishdom: Deep Dive (from Playrix Games) is a bit deceptive.

Right from the get-go.

It comes out the gate masquerading as a cute little aquarium sim. The graphics underscore this, with gorgeous animations and friendly-faced, self-aware sea animals. It looks great, sounds well and almost works in and of itself for folks who are solely into virtual environments.fish3

But Fishdom has a trick up it’s sleeve, and it’s a gimmick that should appeal to folks who may not be satisfied with barebones aquariums: one can garner game coin to acquire more fish and better equipment, but it takes the conquering of the games match-3 gameplay to make one’s personal sea world rock.

It’s about bragging rights, and matching prowess is the in-game currency.

Now we’re talking…

The looks on the main play side are just as glossy as the pet maintenance side, with several pieces laid out on a grid, just as one would expect. The pieces themselves reflect an aquatic environment, showing up as pearls, shells, starfish and the like. Thee core idea is to dissolve pieces by creating sets of three or more, and this is accomplished by swapping adjacent pieces. Matches can be bade up and down, but not diagonally, and once made and dissolved, they are replaced by random pieces that drop from the top of the grid, in a fairly “logical” manner.

The game is leveled, and one is expected to finish the tasks required within a set number of moves; the key is that the tasks start to get more complex, including things like dissolving materials, or picking up embedded gold, working around columns, or dealing with chained pieces and more. There are achievements to be garnered too.

In the end, success yields gold coins. Which brings us back to the aquarium. As noted earlier, one can use these gains to make the sea house spiffier. Real money can be used, but is not mandatorily needed.

It all come together nicely, actually; a game with two interconnected facets.

Yes, Fishdom is sneaky. Delightfully so.

Snowboarding The Fourth Phase Review

Snowboarding The Fourth Phase Review

Feb 23, 2016

So… to give this review some context, I should mention how hard it was to procure the app itself.

Now usually, when we test games, it is a fairly seamless affair, but for some reason, Snowboarding The Fourth Phase did its best to elude our grasp. It took a bit of working with the developer, and we finally got it.

We’re happy we did.

It’s a snowboarding sim, blessed with glossy graphics and groovy sounds. It plays out in landscape, which is the perfect setting to highlight aforementioned graphics, which include life-like movements, visual treats and multiple play views. The different snow-laden sites render well, and the developer does a good job of spending time on the little things.

The gameplay is varied, but decently portioned; there are three modes one can get into: one can do a “Contest” for a limited time, do a “Quick Run” for, well, quick rewards or go all in in “Career.” The game has a built-in tutorial that walks one through the game, including controls and how to be successful.

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The controls are fairly easy to manipulate, allowing one to perform point-garnering tricks. Regardless of mode, a run typically involves a set of tasks one must complete while going downhill… stuff like doing a specific trick, or collecting flags and the like. In career mode, one has to complete a given set of tasks in sequence to open subsequent missions/levels, and doing well yields coins, which can be used to procure better equipment. Better equipment is important, because it’s the easiest way to increase one’s score multiplier quickly, and some levels have multiplier requirements.

The contest mode is especially interesting, as it allows one to compete against other racers for prizes. The game has a trading element too; real cash can be used to expedite stuff, but isn’t mandatory.

All the elements tie in to each other in a mostly seamless manner, and in such a way that pieces rely on each other and te game is self contained. It brings in a lot of complexity and encourages creativity, but avoids complicated menus and overly intricate controls. Due to this, the game should appeal to snowboarding vets and newbies alike.

Proof that great things do come to those that have patience.

Rapala Fishing – Daily Catch Review

Rapala Fishing – Daily Catch Review

Feb 11, 2016

Rapala Fishing – Daily Catch is an interesting-looking fishing sim from cross-platform powerhouse Concrete Software.

To start, the game is played in portrait; it packs in a lot of mature graphics that make use of well-blended colors. As with most fishing games, a lot of the visual output is defined by the virtual underwater experience, and in this one, the water scenes are well done, from the graceful movement of the inhabitants to the sustained murkiness all the way to the engulfing bubbles. It’s very creative, and melds looks with sound to effectively underscore the experience.rapala3

The fishing itself involves cool locations, and after selecting one, one can select a Solo Trip, Tournaments or peruse the Record books, like any serious angler would. Selecting “Solo” allows one to get to go through fishing challenges for a set period of time. Challenges include catching a number of species present, and this mode serves as an excellent beginners proving grounds.

After selecting a challenge, one is presented with a screen that has the equipment to be used, and it’s off to to the sport.

One casts by gesture swiping the lure into a hotspot, and as soon as the lure breaks the surface, the game view shifts to underwater, and one gets to shake the lure to get the fish to bite. As soon as one does, one needs to use the game mechanism to reel it in; said mechanism includes sliding the reel, knowing when to pull hard or relieve tension (using green/yellow/red imagery) and such. Success earns game currency.

The thing is, there are several different fish, and one needs to have the right equipment, and even use the right lure sequences to get the right one. As such, the game cash (and real cash, if one so desires) can be an important factor with regards to moving on.

Competition mode requires Facebook access.

The game works because the controls are fairly easy to understand and manipulate, with intuitive color-coding that denotes active occurrences that require attention. Also, the gameplay mechanism isn’t too complicated, and still manages to avoid being too illogical. It does require a tiny bit of skill with regards to being successful over time, but is simple enough to be enjoyed across generations.

Well worth the free look, in our opinion. Go ahead. Check it out.

Rapala Fishing – Daily Catch Arrives on Google Play

Rapala Fishing – Daily Catch Arrives on Google Play

Feb 4, 2016

There’s a new fishing game in town — Rapala Fishing – Daily Catch — courtesy of veteran mobile developer and distributor Concrete Software.

Get hooked with Rapala® Fishing – Daily Catch! Experience the thrill of catching a variety of freshwater fish while immersing yourself in beautiful 3D locations across North America. Fill your tackle box with authentic Rapala gear to lure in the big ones. Improve your skills by finding the right combination of tackle, retrieval motion, and lake locations to catch bigger fish each outing. Compete against your friends and other anglers from around the world in daily challenges and online tournaments. It’s not just real fishing it’s Rapala real.
• Realistic 3D freshwater fishing with dozens of real Rapala® Lures
• Simple and intuitive interface and controls
• Unlimited fishing! Fish all day without timers or energy to restrict your gameplay
• Compete in daily fishing tournaments against anglers from all over the world
• Return each day to sell your catch and collect your rewards
• Seamless above & below water gameplay
• Show off your best catches with the world with EveryPlay

We’ve always loved Concrete offerings, so we’ll be looking forward to check this out.

The app is free (with in-app purchasing) on the Play Store.

Country Friends Arrives on Google Play

Country Friends Arrives on Google Play

Dec 13, 2015

Country Friends has finally dropped on Google Play, courtesy of Gameloft.

Get ready for a fresh farming adventure in the wacky world of Country Friends – a friendly farm simulation where your animals dance and friends from all over the world come together to help each other in the super-social Community Farm!
Pack your bags, because the country’s the perfect place to cast off your Big City Blues and relax with the funniest, friendliest goats, sheep, pigs, chickens and cows you’ll ever meet!

CREATE YOUR OWN SLICE OF HEAVEN!
• Plant, grow, harvest, and trade organic corn and more with your friends – the farm of your dreams is about to get made… BY YOU!
• Fall in love with the hilarious, lively 3D animals. Your chicken will chill, your sheep will sing and your pig will party.
• Customize your land to create the perfect farm paradise for you and your animals to enjoy!
• Grow the freshest products and fight back against the industrial corporation, SMOG Inc.! Show them that organic produce is the only way to grow!

SOW THE SEEDS OF FRIENDSHIP!
• For the FIRST TIME EVER in a farming simulation, grow delicious fruits at the Community Farm from the awesome apple to the outrageous orange, craft exclusive products together with your friends, send them around the world with Bradley the Whale and share the rewards!
• Work with friends in a super social Community Farm where you form a clan to harvest and water each other’s delicious, organic crops. Help your friends and grow together!
• Create your own social farming clan with your friends!
• Compete with other social Communities in the weekly events and help your farm become the cream of the crop!

THE ANIMALS ARE HERE TO HELP!
• Mischievous moles help you harvest faster!
• Playful pigs help you at the market!
• Beautiful birds fly your orders all over the world!
• Munch, your gregarious goat, is always there to offer you fun, helpful advice (when he’s not chowing down on one of your delicious apples…)!
• Each animal, from the chickens to the sheep, plays a specific role within your farm to make it the greatest and freshest it can be!

Now go grow some fun!

The game is available for free (with in-app purchases) on Google Play.

Core Archery Review

Core Archery Review

Dec 4, 2015

Core Archery is a simple game that brings shooting arrows to life on the mobile screen.

The artwork is fairly straight-to-the-point in this one; it uses color judiciously, and the animations are fairly smooth, if a bit too tame. The game is played in portrait in first person.

The gameplay mechanics are fairly easy to grasp. Using the aforementioned first person view, one gets to figure out how to work the virtual view with the help of the full-fledged tutorial that accompanies the first level.ca1

This first level utilizes a circular guide that one has to trace with one’s finger along; this action primes and raises the bow into shooting position. At this point, with the same finger kept on the screen, one can drag to get the virtual sight is lined up with the target. Releasing it fires the arrow.

Now, there is an element of skill mixed in with timing required to get of a good shot. First, the “truer” the circle, the better the shooting prep; ovals really kill the vibe. Then, to get the arrow lined up, one needs to combat the floating that occurs while dragging the sights. One gets a set number of shots per level, with each shot accounting for a core, and each leveled is scored with a three-star ranking system; one needs at least one to open a subsequent level. As one progresses, the target invariably gets tougher to hit, and the scenery changes as well.

It’s relatively engaging, but is a lot of the same; its biggest attributes are its simplicity and replayability, which allow one to pick it up easily and to aim for eventual perfection. By way of IAPs, it has a singular one to remove ads, so it is relatively self-contained.

It is a calming adventure, and works as a decent time waster.

New Game ‘Core Archery’ Launches on Google Play

New Game ‘Core Archery’ Launches on Google Play

Nov 30, 2015

Core Archery is now bow and arrow sim that recently dropped on Google Play; it comes from the developer of Clay Hunt.

Core Archery introduces an intuitive single touch gesture to simulate the drawing, aiming and anchoring of the drawing arm. It appears as easy and simple at first, but the depth is revealed as you progress to longer distances.

For consistent good scores you need to practice your drawing, aiming and release technique. Precision and focus is the key to success in this game. Failed technique will lead to unaligned posture and you’ll be surprised where the arrow flies after the release!

Key features:
——————
-Unique single touch controls
-Realistic archery experience
-9 levels with lots of challenge
-Smooth 3D graphics
-Ad Sponsored: completely free to play

The gme is free with in-app purchases.