SideSwype Review

SideSwype Review

Apr 10, 2014

Nice to meet you, SideSwype.

The playing area is a 5×5 grid, with space for 25 squares of different colors. if filled all the way. The sparse white background is a great counterpoint that highlights the coloring of the squares, and the smooth animations are just what we’d expect from a game that uses gestures as the main form of movement and problem-solving.

The game is fairly easy to understand: match 3 or more squares and strive to keep the board as empty as possible. In other words, the run ends when the grid is full of squares. To prevent this from happening, it is possible to slide the boxes present in either of the four cardinal directions (or, relative to the grid, to the right or left and up or down). The unique thing is that the squares all move in unison but obey physical logic. Squares that are plush against immovable squares or the walls of the grid will not move, but others will move until one of those side1conditions are met.

Any sets of three or more that are formed as a result of a gesture action will cause a mostly welcome reaction of dissolving the squares (according to rules of the gameplay), thereby opening up space and keeping the run alive. Countering the smashing of blocks is the replenishment system; like Tetris, there is an indicator telling the player which blocks are coming next, and after every swipe, the new ones are added; thus, constant removal is necessary for success. Points are awarded for smashes, and high scores are recorded.

There are special blocks with special powers that require just a bit more strategy. The game also allows for some customization with regards to sound and looks.

All in, it’s a fun, consuming game, priced to move ($1.99) and no extra purchases needed.


Lost Yeti Review

Lost Yeti Review

Apr 1, 2014

Lost Yeti is an fun retro-ish game that is really, really easy to digest.

It’s an interesting title with regards to gameplay; getting started is easy enough once the playing area is understood. It appears in abbreviated, somewhat pixelated 3D form. There is a grid with cubes placed in a good portion of the space. Our protagonist yeti is stuck in this created maze, while really wanting to make it to the checkered square that marks the level-solving destination. The playing area is decidedly stark and utilitarian in feel, with a preponderance of soft colors used to create the background imagery.

When there is space, our yeti is continually moving; when restricted to a single square, it remains in a state of lost1sleep. The cubes have different attributes. Some are stationary, and some can be slid via gestures in tandem, line by line. The key it to take advantage of the yeti natural, default clockwise movement and the slideable line of cubes to guide the yeti to whenre it needs to be to solve the level. Oh yeah, and speed of solution is important, because the number of steps the yeti takes to get to the end point is recorded; less steps is always better.

So, with this template, the leveled gameplay comes together. As progress is made, the puzzles get notably harder, with valuable ice cones that can be collecetd at the risk of peril. There are also dangerous predators afoot, from relatively simple beings that move in a similar manner to the yeti that must be avoided to active creatures that leap over cubes to empty spots and kill our dear yeti by contact. Fortunately, there are collectibles that help with solutions, and all levels can be redone to break “step” records.

The game boasts 60 levels and three worlds, with retro music and appropriately stilted animations. because of its nature, it feels best on bigger screens in smaller chunks.

It’s hard to beat free, and that’s why this is one reason the game is easy to enjoy.

Cubot Review

Cubot Review

Feb 20, 2014

Cubot is a fun little tile from Nicoplv.

It’s a cute sliding cube puzzler that uses color to highlight the gameplay. The basic premise is to move colored cubes to colored tiles on the playing grid within a specific set of movement rules. The rules are basically based on the color of the blocks/cubes in the specific level.

An example of the gameplay is shown in the early levels, and there are tutorial animations to help folks through. The playing area is rendered in mostly stark wihite, with a 3D grid made up of square blocks, and it begins with a blue block which has to be moved to a blue square on the playing grid. The general control mechanism is via swipes; at this base level, a swipe in any direction moves the blue block one step in that direction. The overall idea is to get the blue cube to the blue resting place in as few moves as possible.cubot1

After the first, perfunctory go, it starts getting a bit craftier, with multiple blue cubes and a directly proportional number of blue tiles. The kicker is that a swipe moves ALL the cubes in said direction. This makes for some tricky gameplay. The playing area is usually irregular enough and has restricting that can be manipulated to control movement of cubes.

Then, the engine adds in cliffs, which means that errant swipes can cause a cube to fall off the grid, causing failure. And then the game introduces stacked levels, where the blocks can be used as bridges to get a remote tile. The best part is the addition of different colored cubes; it tosses in red ones, but red ones have different rules. One swipe moves blue cubes one step, but red ones move two. Again, this forces a bit of strategy to be utilized. it goes on with more colors and more intricate grids. Stuff like color switching and teleporting come into play.

The game is simple in concept, which adds to its charm. It isn’t the first game to employ this type of gameplay, but the sharp graphics somewhat set it apart. It helps that there is a demo version in Google Play.

It’s a nice diversionary game, and is quite the puzzler, and worth trying out at the very least.

Block Rogue Review

Block Rogue Review

Jun 27, 2011

Smartphones are getting more and more powerful. Even now, as I type this, there’ll be scientists and engineers working out how to fit more powerful chips into smaller spaces, and working out the possibility of our phones becoming sentient and taking over the world in a terrifying robotic coup.

But all of that power is useless if it’s used incorrectly. Polygons and frame rates and anti-aliasing are just jargon-y words if the game they’re wrapped around is a bit rubbish. Just because a device can emulate N64 games, it doesn’t mean that it should all of the time. Take Block Rogue, for example.

It’s a beautifully simple puzzle game, presented with hardly any visual pizzazz, and yet it still manages to be more endearing than a bucket full of manly 3D shooters. You play as the eponymous rogue, and your job is to slide a number of blocks into the right squares in order to unlock the dungeon room you’re in and move onto the next.

There are hundreds of rooms to work your way through, though in story mode you’ll only go through 25 of them in one game. The controls are slick and original, with slow finger swipes in the desired direction moving your little rogue around the level.

The game finds just the right balance between cuteness, great gameplay and humor. There’s a magic mirror on hand to relay the story to you via short, jokey snippets and short levels means the game fits perfectly into those quick-snatch gaming sessions that smartphones do so well.

Block Rogue is the sort of game that you start playing of an evening, then don’t stop. It’s brilliantly addictive, weaving a charming spell that entangles itself with your brain and your heart. The twee stylings may not be for everyone, and the controls do take a little bit of getting used to, but those are minor hurdles in the way of Block Rogue’s triumphant sprint to classic-app status.

Office Rush Review

Office Rush Review

May 10, 2011

Working in an office is, more often than not, a dreary experience, punctuated only by the brief moments of excitement when someone breaks the photocopier or spills scalding hot coffee on themselves. Then again, maybe I’ve just worked in the wrong offices, because if Office Rush, from XIMAD, is to be believed, offices are actually the setting for platform and puzzling fun.

The game sets you the task of rising up the corporate ladder, starting off as a lowly security guard and working your way to the top via an intoxicating mixture of 2D platforming and sliding block puzzles. It’s a lovely twist on the genre, and one that makes Office Rush really stand out from the crowd.

Take the secretary levels, for example. Here, you have to fetch your boss some water – simple enough, you might think. However, the level is mixed up, meaning your path to the water and your boss is far from clear. That’s where the sliding block puzzle comes in. You can move the different sections of the level around, clearing yourself a path to wherever it is you want to go.

As the game goes on, the puzzle elements become more and more difficult, to the point where it’s as fiendish as any other brain bender available on the Android Market. Office Rush eases you in to its web with tutorial levels and a comfortable opening section, but once you’re caught it ramps up the difficulty, as though punishing you for ever thinking that getting through was going to be a doddle.

Some might find the difficulty spikes a little too spiky, and it’s a fair complaint to make. Office Rush fools you into thinking it’s one thing, then pulls the rug out from under you and reveals its true self – an infuriatingly difficult, compulsively playable puzzle game.

Office Rush is a perfect example of how to build a mobile game. It’s easy to pick up and play, presented in bite-size chunks and, in the end, painfully addictive. Whilst there are better looking games out there, you’ll be hard pushed to find one as original or entertaining as this.