Unpossible Review

Unpossible Review

Aug 21, 2014

I’m an emotional mess, and it’s all because of Unpossible.

On paper, it’s a racing game, but it goes a bit beyond the basic paradigm. It starts from the intro screen, with the dazzling blue interspersed with dark undertones. The background cityscape is bathed in moonlight, and the electric feel is almost tangible in the way it invokes the night. The raceway is a blue-lined dark, tubular affair that extends in seemingly unending fashion over barren land.

Starting the game hints at the play style; it’s possible to control the motion by tilting or touch controls. The view is first person, and we have no idea of what is being raced, and frankly, it doesn’t really matter in this un1action affair. As soon as a run is started, the hosting device “becomes” the screen, and the device starts down the raceway at high speed. Now, it’s silly to expect no obstacles, and this is far from a silly game; different pieces appear in the path, and it is necessary to guide oneself around the lane to avoid them, as hitting one of them ends the run.

The measuring stick is the time one remains alive; easier said than done though, because this is where the delightful insanity of the gameplay becomes apparent. The longer one survives, the more frenetic the pace becomes. The developer uses simple but logical tools to force players to test reflexes. For instance, when the raceway arcs, one has a tougher time seeing ahead, and quicker moves are necessary to stay alive. There are different levels, but to unlock them, there are thresholds; for instance, the first level, Simplicity, is the default, unless one can make it 60 seconds to unlock the next level, and so on.

The latent strength of the game is its ability to draw out such a range of emotions: rage, joy, peace, disappointment… all wrapped up in addiction. It’s that good.

Someday, we’ll find out games like this are bad for us. I mean, who needs this type of crazy jolt on a daily basis? Till then, strap yourself in. It’s a crazy ride.

Turbo FAST Review

Turbo FAST Review

Feb 25, 2014

PIK POK usually spawns interesting games, and as such, having a look at Turbo FAST could hardly be looked upon as an imposition. Loosely based upon DreamWorks movie and television series, it highlights the tale of snails who dare to dream to live a life of speed.

It’s a racing game, and a good portion of the ambiance is based upon the creative prowess of the developer. The snail raceways are quite intricate, and rendered with three lanes of windy, challenging “road.” There are natural slow-down areas, and also boost sections built in. These boost sections are reminiscent of the speed boosts in Mario Kart in placement and functionality. It’s a colorful explosion of color, with fairly believable physics and animations that will have players mentally skidding.

It incorporates different choices with regards to controls: tilting, tapping, virtual joysticks and touch; I like this attention to detail.turbo1

Another key element are the tomatoes that line the raceway. These tomatoes can be collected by contact, and are valuable as they serve in-game cash. The placement of the tomatoes makes for collecting them a bit harder, as more risks need to be taken.

Racing proper is all about beating other jet-pack toting snails while competing in leveled “cups” so as to graduate to higher licenses which allow one to race against tougher competition. This career mode type of gameplay just works, as it allows one to race in chunks. Tomatoes are key, as upgrading equipment and attributes are important with regards to being competitive. There are pre-game boosts that can be bought (like extra speed or opponent inhibitors) and then it’s off to race. The races are quite enjoyable, and some actually end in photo-finishes. Tomatoes earned and accrued benefits are tallied at the end, and winning always provides the best payout.

I like that the game isn’t miserly with the tomatoes; it doesn’t feel necessary to shell out real cash, and the ads show other means of accumulating tomatoes (the game is compatible with Tapjoy). I think the menu is a bit busy, but hey.

All in all, it a solid entry, and has that rare ability to be companion game that encourage folks to watch the movie/show that inspired it.

Good job, PIK POK. Well played.

Finger Wars Review

Finger Wars Review

May 19, 2011

The whole of the human race is locked in a never ending struggle for power. Men and women alike clamour after supremacy, after the right to call themselves the greatest human being who has ever lived. In the old days, such titles were decided on the battlefield, the winner crowned by the amount of blood they had shed or lands they had conquered. Thankfully though, we’re a far less brutal sort nowadays, and we have apps like Finger Wars to decide who’s top of the shop.

Finger Wars is a game of speed and, well, that’s about it really. At the start of play, the screen is split evenly, pink and blue, and you and a human opponent have to tap your side as quickly as you possibly can. And that’s it. Perhaps Tapping Wars might have been a more apt name.

There’s no single player campaign, because that wouldn’t work. There’s no alternate modes or online multiplayer, because they wouldn’t work. Finger Wars is the same thing, over and over and over and over and over again, until someone gets bored, breaks a finger or pushes a digit through the touch screen on your phone.

In the end though, that doesn’t really matter. Finger Wars shouldn’t work, it shouldn’t be any fun, but it somehow manages to draw from within itself a bizarre, almost ethereal playability. As casual games are to mainstream, so called core titles – a distillation of contemporary and archetypal videogame tropes into a simplified, delicious liquor – so Finger Wars is a further refinement. This is a single, concentrated drop of bare bones, multiplayer gaming, and it just works.

Finger Wars may be as shallow as an empty paddling pool, but what it offers shouldn’t be considered in terms of content, but in terms of experience. It’s a party game, and with the right atmosphere and situation, it’s as much fun, albeit for a briefer period, as anything the world of console gaming has to offer.