Lumigon Review

Lumigon Review

Dec 14, 2012

Games with dragons in them always seem to be a little more fantastic than games without. Lumigon is a game following a little girl names Pina and her light dragon Purumi. They are trapped in a land called Vanster. Vanster is on cute overload.

The controls to move the duo are pretty sensitive. The main way of moving Pina and Purumi is by tilting the device. Sometimes it feels like the characters are wondering across the screen, but it’s simply because the device has a slight tilt to it. Something I found to help combat the sensitivity when moving is to start the level with the device completely flat. I found that if the device is vertical when the level starts, it’s much harder to navigate the duo around the screen. I think the game senses the starting position of the device and tries to calibrate for the game.

During the course of the different levels, Purumi eats up little moon rocks called Lunas. Accumulating these Lunas are what give Purumi his special abilities. The most powerful ability is the Purumi Blitz! The Purumi Blitz! pretty much destroys everything on the screen and brings in all of the Lunas and other orbs on the screen; not the power ups though.

While going after the various orbs, there are enemies in the way. Running into one of the little moles will end the level. Running into one of the turtles will separate Purumi from Pina. Pina also has her own special powers. Look for the little pink Dragon. When he appears on the screen, tap on him then tap on Pina. She will blast out a ray neutralizing everything on the screen.

The item shop puts good use to all of those Lunas collected throughout the game. For example, a power magnet for 3000 Lunas. A Purumi Blitz is 950 Lunas. It’s probably a good idea to have a few of these. The in game purchasing system lets Lunas be purchased with real world money.

Playing the survival mode requires a login to Facebook. This compares scores between Facebook friends. So there’s a large group of people playing, it’s easy to see who the best is out of the group. Otherwise story mode is where all the fun happens.

GREE Launches First Android-Exclusive Game From Their US Studio: Dino-Life

GREE Launches First Android-Exclusive Game From Their US Studio: Dino-Life

May 1, 2012

GREE, the Japanese gaming behemoth, has been making their push into the US with a San-Francisco-based studio that has been cranking out original titles. So far, their efforts have focused on iOS primarily with Alien Family and Zombie Jombie, games which aren’t current available on Android. However, GREE’s about to twist turn people’s worlds upside down, with the release of their first Android title: Dino-Life.

This social game has players trying to breed that most elusive of creature, whose skeletons line our museums to this day: the dinosaur. There’s a total of 60 dinosaurs in the game, with the ability to crossbreed their dinosaurs in order to create new ones. With their cavemen characters, players can go on quests in order to help them on their quest of creating new dinosaurs.

The game’s art style is designed to be whimsical, colorful, and friendly, making it perfect for a younger audience. This is their first US-developed Android title, and will be an Android exclusive, at least for a certain period of time. According to Eiji Araki, SVP of Social Games, GREE International, Inc., “GREE is excited about the recent advancements in Google Play and its potential to expand the free-to-play ecosystem on Android. Dino Life is our first Android title and exemplifies our commitment to offer unique gameplay mechanics, great social features and highly-stylized art in each game. This game is another step towards creating an ecosystem of games free from geographic or operating system restrictions and is limited only by the imagination of the gamer and the developer.”

It remains to be seen how the game will perform, but given GREE’s international experience, it may just do well on a platform craving original content. Right now on iOS, GREE US isn’t quite up with Zynga’s ranks – their highest ranking game is at #103 in Top Grossing – but given the initiative that GREE has been putting forth to launch new titles, it’s quite possible Dino-Life – available now from Google Play – could be their next big hit.

Ragdoll Blaster Review

Ragdoll Blaster Review

Oct 24, 2011

Physics-based games on the Android Market are a dime a dozen. There, I said it. And yet, despite their ubiquity, I still enjoy them for a brief time. They offer a simple, proven gameplay mechanic that you can’t help but get into with very little effort. However, when you come across a game that isn’t too novel when compared to similar games, you have to ask for a little more originality. If nothing else, polish and presentation is of the utmost importance. While not a terrible game, Ragdoll Blaster finds itself lacking just such qualities.

From the beginning, Ragdoll Blaster requires you to log into your Mobage account, if you have one. If not, you are simply locked-out of the game until you create one. The social gaming network gives you the ability to connect with friends and compare scores, but the lack of option to use the network seems arrogant. It also requires an internet connection, making this game even less attractive to those who don’t have or don’t want to use their 3G connections while away from a WiFi router. Of course, the game also takes the liberty of installing a shortcut to Mobage right on your home screen. It’s excessive and invasive, but it’s required if you want to play this game. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if that’s fair, considering that this is a free game, but it doesn’t sit well with me, at all.

Beyond the odd requirements, the game is a fun, but standard, physics-based game. Your goal is to fire as few ragdolls as possible from a canon in the attempt to hit a target set somewhere on the screen. It’s a slightly different gameplay mechanic, as opposed to knocking over obstacles or crashing structures for points. Sometimes, you have to hit a moving target while other times you have to act quickly, setting up moving set pieces that open a gap or move the target to a place where you can hit it. Ragdoll Blaster shifts back and forth from being all about precision aiming to patient timing and skills.

Aiming and controlling your shots couldn’t be easier. Simply touch the screen to aim, set velocity and fire a ragdoll, all at the same time. The game even marks your last shot, making it easier to make minor adjustments in case you miss the first time. However, the mark remains, even after you reset the level. This means that you can easily get the lowest score on a level just by restarting and firing again. With just over 100 levels, you might find yourself burning through the game in an hour or two, assuming you don’t come up against a level you simply can’t figure out.

Ragdoll Blaster has little to offer fans of this style of gameplay that they haven’t seen elsewhere. The simplistic visuals might be easier on older Android devices, but it doesn’t help the game compete with better games in the same genre. Given the odd requirements and lack of polish, this is a free game you can afford to miss.


EA Announces New Social Gaming Service “Origin” and Free Version of Scrabble for Android

EA Announces New Social Gaming Service “Origin” and Free Version of Scrabble for Android

Jul 11, 2011

EA has announced recently that they are launching a service called “Origin,” named after a defunct developer that they used to own. The facets of this service are slowly being revealed, as EA has announced that they will sell PC games through the service; now they have revealed that it will also serve as a social gaming service for EA games. This feature will be coming to not just PC, but it will also hit Android along with iOS.

Most exciting for Android users is the news that Scrabble will be releasing for Android this week with Origin support. As well, it will come with cross-platform multiplayer support between iPhone/iPod touch, iPad, and Facebook versions of the game. It will be a free download on Android, as well. Shift 2, a spinoff of the Need for Speed series, will support Origin as well when it launches soon on iOS, and will offer in-game rewards for players who use Origin. There’s no word if the game will launch on Android as well, though the first Shift game was released on Android, so it could be reasonably expected that at some point the game will be seen on Android as well.

The benefits of another social gaming service on iOS are seemingly limited because of Game Center providing similar friends/leaderboards/achievements/matchmaking functionality, and EA games do not use Game Center on iOS at all. On Android these social gaming features are all provided As well, the crossplatform benefits are quite obvious, especially if this is something where users could conceivably play their games wherever they want to, whenever they want to. Hypothetically, someone could play their Scrabble games on their Android phone while on the go, on their computer while they work, and on their iPad when sitting on their couch. Game saves will seemingly work in the same way, and hopefully this should also lead to shared achievements, and the ability to compete against players on other platforms on leaderboards.

Origin should launch soon, with Scrabble for Android launching this week. For more details on Origin and what it entails, watch the live stream of EA’s Summer Showcase.

Source: Joystiq

OpenFeint Announces GameFeed

OpenFeint Announces GameFeed

Jun 8, 2011

While OS manufacturers make moves to centralize their social gaming services, with Apple increasing the feature set of Game Center, and RIM purchasing Scoreloop recently, OpenFeint is continuing to try to find ways to survive and remain relevant. OpenFeint’s goal has been to stress cross-platform compatibility as part of their business model; this is evident both when I spoke to CEO Jason Citron on The Portable Podcast about OpenFeint, and looking at their lineup of features. OpenFeint has focused on filling in the gaps between platforms, and to augment services like Game Center on iOS. Their newest feature is GameFeed, which is a news feed of OpenFeint games, no matter what platform they are being played on, that users can track and follow. As users’ friends complete challenges, unlock achievements, and set new high scores, users can keep track of this through GameFeed, and can use this as motivation to play the games their friends play more frequently. As well, this serves as a discovery service for new games as their friends start playing them as well. GameFeed will also suggest new friends to OpenFeint users, and suggest new games for them.

Jason Citron, CEO of OpenFeint says that “We believe mobile games should connect people, whether they’re living in distant corners of the planet or using completely different mobile operating systems. GameFeed connects people by taking a simple act, like finishing a level or posting a high score, and turning it into a meaningful, cross platform shared experience. GameFeed will help form and strengthen relationships on the network – connecting Android and iOS gamers in ways that make playing games far more engaging.” OpenFeint claims that with just one line of code, games can become enabled for GameFeed. The service is currently in private beta to developers, and will launch later this year.

RIM Buys Scoreloop

RIM Buys Scoreloop

Jun 8, 2011

When it comes to social gaming services, BlackBerry has been traditionally left out of the picture. These platforms have launched on iOS, on Android, even on Windows Phone 7, leaving out one of the biggest players in the smartphone market, and a burgeoning competitor in the tablet market. Research In Motion (creators and manufacturers of BlackBerry) are hoping to make social gaming a reality on their platform, by buying Scoreloop.

Scoreloop have been traditionally known for their social gaming features on iOS, and especially Android, where a variety of games have used their leaderboards, achievements, and friendship connection features. As well, Scoreloop has offered mechanisms for in-app purchases through Scoreloop Coins, that users can use to wager in challenges against other Scoreloop users. With RIM purchasing Scoreloop, this should promise to bring all of Scoreloop’s features to BlackBerry OS, and could bring it in as an integrated system feature, much like Game Center on iOS. maskable speculates that the goal is to bring Scoreloop in as part of the “[BlackBerry Messenger] social platform,” so BBM users could easily connect in their games with each other, and could easily compete against each other’s high scores, and issue challenges to each other, based on their BBM PINs.

For the record, Scoreloop is claiming that they will continue to support cross-platform play, but that their support for BlackBerry will be “unparalleled.” This could serve as a long-term trojan horse for RIM, if the BlackBerry hardware line ever peters out, RIM could use this as a way to launch on an OS like Android at some point in the future. Of course, it will be interesting to see just how much of a cross-platform presence a RIM-owned Scoreloop will continue to truly have. With RIM paying the bills, there may be more pressure to focus on the BlackBerry side of Scoreloop. Still, an integrated social gaming service has done wonders for iOS, as Game Center is very user-friendly, although there are some concerns on the developer side with the way scores work, and with device support. For example, Game Center’s asynchronous multiplayer support may not be adopted in a widespread way right away, even by developers with games in development, due to its iOS 5 requirement. It will be up to RIM to make sure that they can minimize the integration and fragmentation hassles when Scoreloop launches on their OS.

Between this and the PlayBook’s limited Android support, RIM is really trying to take a bite out of Android. I have reached out for comment to Scoreloop about the future of their service on Android, and will update when word hits. We have reached out to Scoreloop for comment on the future of the service on Android and will update when if/when we hear back.

Source: Mashable

The Hills Are Greener: A Game Center That Android Can Call Its Own?

The Hills Are Greener: A Game Center That Android Can Call Its Own?

Apr 11, 2011

What Game Center has done really well on iOS is bringing a more unified leaderboard experience. Since its introduction in iOS 4.1, it’s started to be the de facto social gaming service for Apple’s OS, providing leaderboards, achievements, and even matchmaking for online games. So, theoretically, should Google implement their own kind of service on Android to match what Game Center does? I don’t necessarily think that’s a smart option right now.

I don’t know if launching a unified service at this time would be good for the development economy around Android right now. The potential for growth on iOS for services like OpenFeint and Android has pretty much been stunted by Game Center. OpenFeint continues to introduce services outside of the standard leaderboard and achievement fare, like asynchronous multiplayer services provided by games like Kalimat, as well as OpenFeint PlayTime, although these features haven’t been widely adopted yet. OpenFeint is still regularly used by developers, especially as it provides Game Center implementation alongside OpenFeint’s features, but more and more games are eschewing their service and other similar ones, and going with direct Game Center implementation.

If an Android Game Center equivalent existed, would OpenFeint have any reason to continue to develop multiplatform tools? If Scoreloop didn’t have room to get a foothold in the Android social gaming market, we likely wouldn’t see things like the “Go Android” program to help spur on Android development. It seems counterintuitive, yes, to say that not having an official social gaming service is beneficial to gamers, but the advantage is that by allowing alternative services to propagate and grow, they can bring other benefits to the platform that an official service might not necessarily provide at this point.

As well, the question of implementation has to be considered as well – developers might not be able to get a deep system integration like with Game Center in part due to the fact that OS updates are pushed out in large part by the phone manufacturers, not by Google. If an official Android social gaming service had to be a major part of a firmware update, it could take years for it to propagate to most users. As well, unlike iOS where you could go out and buy a new device that would work with Game Center guaranteed, there would be plenty of Android phones sitting out there with incompatibility issues. Of course, the solution that would be accessible to the most Android users. would be to release an app for the service on the Android Market, that would then have an SDK that developers would then implement in their games – it likely wouldn’t be as clean an implementation as Game Center is on iOS, but it would be a solution. But getting back to the earlier problem, what would be the point? All Google would be doing would be shutting out developers from services like OpenFeint and Scoreloop who are interested in developing for their platform.

So, while the social gaming quagmire persists on Android, it’s ultimately good for the platform, even if it’s not the best situation for users right now. However, I feel that in the long-run, having gaming services promoting development on the OS will help spur along the gaming community until an official service would be feasible for the OS. So until then, Android gamers will have to rely on the wide variety of services that exist on the OS.