Lara Croft GO Goes on Sale

Lara Croft GO Goes on Sale

Feb 12, 2016

Lara Croft GO, Square Enix’s excellent award-winning puzzle caper featuring the renown heroine, is on sale. Right now, folks can get the game for $0.99.

That’s 80% off its list price of $4.99.

Lara Croft GO is a turn based puzzle-adventure set in a long-forgotten world. Explore the ruins of an ancient civilization, discover well-kept secrets and face deadly challenges as you uncover the myth of the Queen of Venom.

• Experience lush visuals and a captivating soundtrack
• Navigate using simple swipe-to-move controls
• Fight menacing enemies, overcome dangerous obstacles and escape deadly traps
• Solve more than 101 puzzles split into 6 chapters
• Collect ancient relics and unlock new outfits for Lara

No word on how long the sale will last, so pick it up while you can; we can categorically say we loved the game when we reviewed it last year.

[via Slickdeals][Our Lara Croft GO Review]

Select Square Enix Games on Sale

Select Square Enix Games on Sale

Nov 30, 2015

There’s still time to avail oneself of the selection of Square Enix games that are discounted.

Final Fantasy III – $7.99
Final Fantasy IV – $7.99
Final Fantasy IV: After Years – $7.99
Final Fantasy V – $7.99
Final Fantasy VI – $7.99

Dragon Quest II – $2.49
Dragon Quest III – $4.99
Dragon Quest IV – $7.49
Dragon Quest VIII – $9.99

[via Slickdeals]

Lara Croft GO Review

Lara Croft GO Review

Sep 1, 2015

Lara Croft does seem to be seeing a revival of sorts on mobile, and Square Enix brings another take, this in the form of a staged puzzler called Lara Croft GO.

If this one brings Hitman GO to mind, don’t feel bad; it’s in the same vein, encouraging players to lead our main character from point A to point B, which is, in essence, the concept of the game.

Graphically, the game has a bit of an ethereal feel. Lara is decked out as usual, and the environment evokes abandoned temple, just as one would expect. The game visuals make use of virtual light well, and perspective is done pretty well, with simple sounds that frame the gameplay in an adequate manner.

With regards to gameplay, the main idea is to move. Lara can be controlled by dragging a path from her along pre-defined paths in the direction one wants her to go. Ah… but the paths are not so clear-cut; the interesting aspect is figuring out how to move on, past obstacles, natural and otherwise.

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The obstacles start off simply enough; the paths meander up walls, and then, there are gaps in the walkways that can only be manipulated by levers; the placement of the levers might require some back and forth to get through. Again, the idea is to make it to the end of a segment, and to move on. As one does move on, the challenge gets trickier: collapsing surfaces, multiple levers, diabolical serpents that can only be approached from specific angles and more. It all comes together interestingly enough, with simple progressions and well-designed mind benders that are easy to get into and enjoy in bulk. Of course, there are artifacts to collect and use along the way.

For a premium game, it does feel a bit short. This might be a testament to its addictive nature, but boy, those 75 puzzles go fast. The controls are as fluid as I would like.

On the other hand, the concept works well, and the self-contained nature is easy to like.

Hitman: Sniper Review

Hitman: Sniper Review

Jun 12, 2015

Hitman: Sniper is here. Enough said…

The game gets right into it; the tutorial is pretty much a mission of its own. It plays on first-person style such that the player takes on the persona of the sniper. He takes position from a distant perch, with the obvious weapon of choice, looking to do damage.

Using the sniper rifle, one learns to fan around using the scope, and beyond that, how to zoom in even further to get a quarry well within one’s sights. Shooting is accomplished by tapping the screen when viewing through the scope, and if everything works right, the target drops.

It’s the other aspects that add to the game’s allure. It gives the player concurrent tasks to accomplish in addition to knocking off a high level bad guy. The game engine does well to create a realistic environment, so concepts like stealth and order of operations must be taken into consideration. To explain further, a mission might require the player to take out a certain guy and dispatch four of his bodyguards. Well, our shooter probably needs to hit the main target towards the end, as that action automatically sets up an extraction (mission done). Care has to be taken with regards to dropping guards, because if a body is noticed by a guard (or, worse, a shot missed), the alarm will be raised, and the main target generally scampers to safety, causing the mission to be failed. They key element here is to do the business discretely, and get away before this get really crazy. There is a time limit too, so one can’t just tarry all day.

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Success yields awards, and every run is measured via a series of criteria, like time spent, shot difficulty and more; there are RPG elements as well, as there’s leveling up to do and weapons and attributes to improve upon. It’s simple, straightforward, and even a tad romantic in the way it makes a hero out of a killer taking out evil folks.

The animations are good, and the developer does a good job of creating some stacked scenes, but some of the views are repetitive. I think the weapon upgrade process could be simplified, and the scoring system a bit less involved.

Still, for a first-person shooter, Hitman: Sniper hits the spot in several ways, and is quite the addition to the popular franchise.

Lara Croft: Relic Run Review

Lara Croft: Relic Run Review

Jun 2, 2015

We admit it… we’ve been interested in checking out Lara Croft: Relic Run.

It’s a running game. Hold on, relax. We get the angst. We have to give it our due diligence.

The imagery is superb, with “natural” explosions of color. If Cambodian jungle is supposed to be the represented — and yes, it is — then the developer can take a bow for the simulated lush jungle, temple ruins and gapped run ways. The animations are pretty fluid, and do a great job of framing the gameplay.

The gameplay starts simply, in portrait, and anyone versed in the genre should feel right at home with Relic Run. The basics of control are similar to other three-lanes runners like Temple Run: gesture swipes to the left or right make Lara dart in that direction one lane over in the corresponding direction; swiping down usually causes a low slide (greatrelic1 for avoiding some raised obstacles), and wiping up creates a jump or an interesting parkour-based move to clear an unusual barrier. One can make Lara wall-run, and there are even shooting sequences that occur. The ubiquitous gold coins do line the runway, and runs are scored by distance traveled by our heroine. Taking a bad leap or otherwise running into an object ends the run… which can be continued by using exhaustible jewels. As one would expect, there are upgrades that can be purchased, both by game cash and the real kind.

As noted, the elements are quite familiar.

Relic Run’s potential saving grace is the implementation of said elements. First, you have the challenge; with the way the obstacles and dangers appear in a flash, the gameplay almost demands twitch reflexes. Since the runs are generated somewhat randomly, one can’t depend on memory to get far. There’s vehicles to hop on, pseudo-diving and even other- worldly creatures. Put together, the varying pieces do help the game stand out a bit from others.

But still, the familiarity that makes the game so easy to play might make folks a bit less willing to give it a long term shot. Does the game provide enough of a difference? Is Lara Croft big enough to carry yet another running game?

It’s free to try, so it’s relatively easy to find out.

Dragon Quest Review

Dragon Quest Review

Nov 14, 2014

If you’re in to old school RPGs and you haven’t played the first Dragon Quest, then you’re in for a treat.

Ah, the first Dragon Quest. Although I did not played it when I was young, I did manage to pick the game up later on. And as a RPG lover (especially turn-based ones), I loved what I saw and played. Now I that game is out on Android (for a very cheap price, I might add), I is time for everyone to relieve one of the classic and leading RPGs of all time. Well, if you’ve got the time, that is.

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Because Dragon Quest is one of those first classical Japanese role-playing games. It provided players with countless hours of fun turn-based battles in a massive world to explore, while living the story the game’s developer told through hundreds lines of text. When the game first came out on the Nintendo Entertainment System, it was a first of its kind and later on became the fundamental base for one of the most loved RPG series ever.

This Android version contains everything what made the first game in the series so great. It has that typical storytelling of some youngsters that need to save the world, it has the classic turn-based gameplay where you could put a lot of strategy into and it has that feeling of a great adventure to experience. So the fundamentals are all there; how do does standards live up to today’s standards?

Well, you need to really want to spend time in the world of Dragon Quest. Granted being one of the best RPGs of all time, doesn’t mean it won’t feel like a chore to play. Sometimes you don’t know where to go or you need to grind some levels in order to move on, so it is really a matter of choices.

Just know what you’re getting yourself into, that is the advice I want to give to the newcomers or gamers who’ve never played the first entry in Dragon Quest. But if you’re up for the task, you won’t be disappointed – not even by the choice of digital controls.

Secret of Mana Review

Secret of Mana Review

Nov 10, 2014

Square Enix re-released on if its best rpg’s on Android. But is this old title still worth your time?

If you are a rpg gamer like me, than you must have heard of the game Secret of Mana – whether you’re old or young. It is a game that influenced a lot of other rpg’s out there, with his innovative Ring Command system and real time battles. At the time this game first came out, it was the fresh juice the genre needed, because most of the role playing games were turn-based. This was completely different.

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Well, maybe not a hundred percent different, because just like any other Japanese rpg, there this one kid who needs to save the world and during his travels, his newly made friends will accompany him in his journey. It is a old, but successful formula of which Japanese developers did not stray away from and in this day and age, where there are lots of more rpg’s, it is kinda cool to go back again. Although there are many modern rpg’s that follow the same outline, but none of them has the same amount of flare Secret of Mana has, mainly due to some exaggeration.

Like I said, two of the strong pillars of the game are the Ring Command system and the real-time battles. The latter is something we see in ever day rpg’s, so that wasn’t as spectacular. I even want to address that it is a weak point this time around, because of the clunky controls. I find digital controls not responsive in general and it didn’t do anything good for Secret of Mana as well.

The Ring Command system is as welcome as it ever was, making the game, in combination with those real-time action moments, feel way more faster and action oriented than most of the rpg ports. It allows users to make quick decisions about the battle they’re currently in and it felt ever so good when the chosen strategy worked like it did in my head. So it is still one of the strong points of Secret of Mana.

But is the game still worth your time, even after playing two, maybe three decades of playing rpg’s? I say yes – yes to those whom have never played the game before and yes to those whom long for some old school rpg action (even after you’ve played the game already). It is one of the best rpg’s out there – but that doesn’t mean this is the best version. That honor goes to the original one.

Dragon Quest VIII Review

Dragon Quest VIII Review

Jun 24, 2014

Dragon Quest VIII is an enhanced version of one of the most beloved RPGs ever. Does it do the original justice?

Dragon Quest VIII is a fairly traditional western RPG. The player travels the world, visits towns, rights wrongs, chases the big bad and kills a whole lot of monsters while doing it. Battles use a familiar menu system and are random like in a lot of RPGs. Dragon Quest VIII is much like a Final Fantasy game, although the entire vibe of the game is very different.

Screenshot_2014-06-06-20-27-41Dragon Quest VIII combines a fairly traditional level up system with an interesting skill point system. When characters level up, they gain stats and more HP/MP as in most RPGs. They also gain a varying amount of skill points per level up. These points can be used to boost their skill in a variety of weapons each character can use. These range from attacks that ignore defense to basic damage boosts and even giving attack orientated character the ability to heal or buff the party. It is the player’s choice how to develop their characters and this gives a lot of flexibility with how to build your party.

Dragon Quest VIII is a nicely challenging RPG as well. Enemies are no pushovers in random battles and the game is full of enemies who put the party to sleep, poison them or just plain do a lot of damage. Lots of enemies can call for reinforcements or otherwise make battle harder compared to the more “attack, attack, attack, heal” cycle that Final Fantasy games fall into. Dragon Quest VIII makes you work for victory in most combat. The right equipment is also essential, as is allocating skill points to make use of that equipment. Dragon Quest VIII has a good learning curve and is always just hard enough without being too challenging.

<Screenshot_2014-06-20-10-08-18Dragon Quest VIII really delivers when it comes to the awesome characters in the game too. Each one of your party members is just full of life and have their own quirks and personality. The dialogue is very well written indeed and there isn’t a hint of poor translation. The way that Yargus spends the entire game talking in cockney is especially impressive; it’s lots of fun to read. The dialogue just tells the game’s story very well and there are lots of jokes and funny situations as well as emotional and touching ones. There is also a consult option in the menu; this lets the player talk to party members about a situation and is useful if the player is coming back to the game from a long absence and might be confused about where they’re going next.

In short, Dragon Quest VIII reads exactly like a high caliber RPG should. It is less serious than the typical Final Fantasy game while still being compelling and mature. This is a breath of fresh air after stuffy games like Final Fantasy 12 and 13. Instead of the umpteenth moody teen and collection of angry people, we have Jessica the feisty sorceress, Yargus the reformed bandit and Angelo the ladies’ man Templar among others. Just about everyone in a town has something interesting or funny to say. It feels a lot like the way RPGs used to be. Anyone who has played the Breath of Fire games will know what I mean.

Dragon Quest VIII really looks special. The graphics are a sight to behold. Characters are minutely detailed and just amazing to look at. The level of detail on clothing, hair and such is very impressive. Dragon Quest VIII’s world looks fantastic. The landscape is very pretty, with sun drenched grass bustling towns, leafy forests and there’s plenty of cool buildings and interesting locales to just gawk at. DQ8 really pushes the boundaries of an Android game hard.

The sound is similarly excellent. The music is amazing and some tracks in particular, like the soothing, bright tune for the Tower of Alexander are spine tingling and will get stuck in your head for hours. There isn’t a single dud track in the game, but this is hardly surprising as Square Enix is known for their musical prowess. Sound effects are a little quiet, but what’s there is excellent and there are even a few callbacks to the original Dragon Warrior, like the beeping when characters attack.

Dragon Quest VIII is a very long game and the game is so dense with places to explore and secrets to find that it will literally take months to see all there is in the game. The great characters and excellent plot will keep players hooked until the end. The lack of controller support is a bummer. Dragon Quest VIII is perfectly suited for playing on a television and an external controller would make this much easier.

Dragon Quest VIII is a practically flawless game. Its characters, plot and world fit together with its gameplay to create a level of polish and fun that is rarely seen nowadays. It is huge, compelling and clever and it is a must play for anyone who calls themselves a gamer.

Rise of Mana, a Free-To-Play RPG in the World of Secret of Mana, Coming This Summer

Rise of Mana, a Free-To-Play RPG in the World of Secret of Mana, Coming This Summer

Feb 28, 2014

Rise of Mana 3

Secret of Mana is an old-school J-RPG from Square Enix, the developers of Final Fantasy. The upcoming game is also a role-playing game, but it’s more of an action-RPG, familiar to many mobile gamers. It will feature 3-D graphics and is going to be free-to-play, as well as a compelling story and interesting characters. Here’s a quite marvelous website (in Japanese): Rise of Mana on Square Enix Website.

Deus Ex: The Fall Review

Deus Ex: The Fall Review

Feb 18, 2014

Deus Ex is one of those PC gaming franchises that defined its space. For some enthusiasts, it is to traditional big(ger) screen gaming what Angry Birds is to handheld play. And now, Square Enix brings Deus Ex: The Fall to Android OS.

For folks who like eye candy, this will be a pleasant experience. The graphics bring the action to life, and the scaled down imagery is impressive; it’s easy to get lost in the danger latent in every crouch and the adrenaline in every sleeper dart shot. The little thing, like shadows and rendering of sunlight is positively surreal. The movements, while a bit stilted in places, are fluid enough to induce random player movement.

The gameplay is a function of the cyberpunk backstory. The year is 2017, and earth, as to be expected, is quite different. Apocalyptic diseases are rampant, the rich are further separated from the poor, and a world government is nigh. Beyond ensuring that all major conspiracies are accounted for, the game introduces us to special soldiers that deus1combine humans with cybernetic body parts, thus creating super soldiers which are initially tasked with protecting the interests of the elite.

Our hero is Ben Saxon, and he gets stuff going. We learn the basics of gameplay through him: stealth attacks through brazen dispatches, and the results of such actions. One of the biggest elements is the concept of actions and consequences; a lot of the time, different options exist by way of form of attack or way to go, but each has it’s own type of resultant sequence. The basic premise is to use that, pick the right weapon for the job, avoid and or get rid of enemy combatants, and make it through to where Ben needs to be. Doing specific actions give experience points, which add up to create a valuable. “praxis” when leveling is accomplished. Credits are assigned as well, and can be used to purchase equipment and such.

It’s an exhilarating adventure, and packs in a surprisingly diverse amount of play. The built-in tutorial makes sense, and the control set is fairly logical. Some elements do stretch the imagination (beer to revive health, for example), and the sequences can be a bit dry, but the fillers work well. There is also some salty language, but the game is not too gory.

It’s not the cheapest Android game around, but it packs in enough action and mini games to make it worth it.

Final Fantasy IV Review

Final Fantasy IV Review

Jan 29, 2014

Final Fantasy IV is yet another amazing Final Fantasy game that has at last made the journey to Android.

Final Fantasy IV tells the story of Cecil a young man trained in the ways of the Dark Knight and leader of a core of elite airborne soldiers known as the Red Wings. When his king begins ordering strange missions involving stealing world bearing crystals from cities and the destruction of a helpless village Cecil begins to have doubts and rebels against his tyranny.

Screenshot_2014-01-27-13-04-14Along the way he meets a cast of deep and interesting characters and unveils a much more sinister plot. Final Fantasy 4, like most Final Fantasies is a huge, sprawling game that will take upwards of 60-80 hours to beat. It also has one of the best plots in the series and one of the most mature.

As for the actual gameplay, FFIV is an expertly executed JRPG with all the features expected. There are lots of random battles, plenty of dungeons to explore and loads of side quest and additional content just waiting to be found. FF4 is also very centered on story and there are excellent story scenes to tie the game together. Enemies are imaginative and require real strategy to defeat. FF4 has lost little of its difficulty from way back when and feels just as in-depth and satisfying as it did all those years ago. There is just always something new to explore or a new enemy to fight or some tidbit of story that changes the game. Final Fantasy 4 does a fantastic job of propelling the player through the game just to see what happens next.

The characters on offer really are interesting too. Whenever it’s Rydia, the cute little girl with the ability to summon world ending beasts or Yang, the super tough bare handed monk, FF4 provides a lot of characters you’ll care about and love using in battle.

Screenshot_2014-01-27-15-52-15This version of Final Fantasy IV includes a lot of extra story scenes that weren’t in the original game. These are closely based on the actual events of the original game, but told in a more dynamic way, thanks to the much improved graphics and sound. These are very welcome and it’s interesting to see how the original story scenes are interpreted.

Final Fantasy IV looks and sounds gorgeous. The graphics are full 3-D and they capture the feel of the original game, while also being very pretty to look at. The game’s sound is fantastic. Most cutscenes are fully voiced, a rare treat in the FF games and the classic music and battle sounds are there. Getting to see and hear the characters really adds a whole new facet to Final Fantasy IV’s story.

As mentioned above Final Fantasy IV is a massive game and there is just so much content packed into it. Players will spend weeks of their life finishing it.

Final Fantasy IV is a much enhanced version of one of the greatest games ever made and a must purchase to any RPG fan.

Deus Ex: The Fall Launches on Android

Deus Ex: The Fall, the mobile spinoff of the popular Deus Ex series on PC, has made its way to Android at last. Taking part in the same universe as Human Revolution and featuring characters from the novels connected to that game, players must do more than just shoot their way through their enemies, utilizing nanotech upgrades to become stronger. The game will be available at this link on Google Play.