Checkpoint Champion Review

Checkpoint Champion Review

Feb 4, 2015

Checkpoint Champion is a cool new driving game that rewards careful, skilful driving. Taking control of cute SD versions of well-known cars the player weaves their way to greatness.

Checkpoint Champion is a great fit for mobile gaming. Using a simple control system, the player must weave their way through very short ten second challenges. These involve driving into checkpoints before time runs out. Each challenge features plenty of fiendish challenges like hairpin turns; handbrake turns, obstacles that need to be avoided and plain tough driving. Checkpoint Champion rewards precision and it is very satisfying to get a level right.

Screenshot_2015-01-31-19-36-58Each level is fun in its own way. For example Tornado has its checkpoints appear in a tight circle on a dirt surface. Since the player is driving in a small circle they kick up a lot of spiraling dust, hence the level’s name. Another involves slaloming though slippery mud and another has your car driving very fast around a tree without hitting it in a level aptly called Ring A Rosy. Every level is different and the game never gets dull.

Like most games of this type each level gives the player a rating from 1-3 stars. Unlocking new cars requires a certain amount of stars and getting three stars is of course where the real game lies. Checkpoint Champion can be very difficult but this difficulty never feels unfair. Completing each level isn’t too hard, it’s getting the best rank that really provides the challenge.

A game that demands precision like Checkpoint Champion needs great controls and thankfully the game delivers on that. Holding either the left or right side half of the screen steers in that direction while holding both uses your turbo. The control system feels very sharp and well made.

The game also uses your Google+ profile to display scores from friends which is always fun and motivates you to beat them.

Screenshot_2015-01-31-20-54-09Checkpoint Champion has no IAP to speak of. All cars and their paintjobs can be unlocked by simply playing the game and there is no nasty energy meters or other restrictions. The sole piece of IAP in the game is a $1.99 purchase to remove the ads and unlock a few Prostar paintjobs. This is a great change from the freemium choked cesspit that is the Google Play store. Bravo Prostar.

Checkpoint Champion looks very good. The cars on offer are cute versions of well-known cars. The Levin/Trueno in particular is cool looking. A lot of additional paint jobs can be unlocked by completing goals in games. The sound is really good as well. Some very, very catchy music pumps away in the background and the car’s motor sound and effects for collecting checkpoints are just fine.

Checkpoint Champion is a fun and addictive game with plenty of content for $0. With no nasty freemium and excellent gameplay on offer everyone should get a lot out of Checkpoint Champion.

Stunt Star: The Hollywood Years Review

Stunt Star: The Hollywood Years Review

May 27, 2013

Stunt Star The Hollywood Years is all about reminiscing. it tells the story of a carefree stunt lover with his life flashing before his own eyes.

I enjoyed the gameplay immensely. The basic premise involves an Evel Knievel-type daredevil, a caustically uncaring director, a morbidly fascinated set of bystanders, and increasingly dangerous stunts. It is leveled gameplay at its finest; the stunts are fairly easy and the equipment is far from jazzy. I learned how to create my own taco in the special area provided; this is effected by dragging my finger to adjust the height and angle of accent. This was important, as the angle affected landing and the avoidance of obstacles, like sadistic chopper pilots.

After adjusting the ramp, figuring out the controls priced to be interesting. At the basest level, I had a gas pedal and a brake. They did the basics in the ground, but in the air, they can dip the vehicle and driver/rider up and over (or lift the vehicle up on its rear). Sticking a proper landing took some work. As I got better, I learned how to do stunt3front flips and backflips.

To add even more of a challenge, I couldn’t just land upright. I also had to stop within a set area or the try was as good as failed, and had to be repeated. Successful runs earn cash and trophies.

The physics of the game are fairly realistic. The tumbles are painful without being gruesome, and the quips from the director are well worth the price of admission. The stunts showed creative promise, and I liked fan of the upgrades and unlockable equipment. Of course, the juicy equipment can be bought with accrued game cash or with real cash.

This was another game I liked way more than I thought I would once I got down to playing. I like the easy-to-understand gameplay, and the way the developer incorporates the player’s input is superb. It is well worth an extended look.

Lane Splitter Review

Lane Splitter Review

Sep 21, 2011

Speed kills, which is a painful lesson you’re about to learn. Lane Splitter is all about the high speed thrills of riding a motorcycle through heavy traffic with reckless abandon.

In this arcade racer, you get to choose between 2 different bikers of varying style (6 bikers total if you choose to purchase the upgrade pack). Completely different in appearance and choice of machine, the one thing they each have in common is a love of speed and a ruthless distaste for the law. At the start of each game, you take off on your bike and begin picking up speed. With the throttle wide open, your bike only goes faster, increasing the difficulty once the highway begins to fill with other vehicles. The goal is to go as long as possible while passing cars for extra points.

Steering is handled through tilt controls while stunts are performed by touching the screen. Each character performs a different stunt; some even have more than one. For example, one character can pop-wheelies, gaining a huge speed boost but losing all stability and easily crashing. Another character goes full-throttle when you perform his stunt. The danger here, however, is that he loses a lot of maneuverability, reduced to making slow, shallow turns. With reduced maneuverability comes the chance of riding head first into the back of a vehicle as you fail to turn in time. Of course, the increasing bonus for passing multiple cars in a row makes the risk worth the danger.

Smacking into cars is instantly fatal, as is going off the road. Skirting along the side is ill-advised as well, as it increases the potential for hitting a nail and becoming road pizza. Crashing results in a spectacular show as your character rag dolls along the ground. It’s painful to watch! Eventually, you come along traffic so congested that the only way to ride is straight down the dotted line between two or more cars at once. This is where the game gets its name, Lane Splitter. The longer you ride, the faster you go and the harder the game becomes.

Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of the tilt controls. I appreciate the difficulty, as touch controls might have made the game too easy, but I’ve noticed they tend to lock-up. After restarting my phone and making sure nothing was wrong, it happened again, making it impossible to steer. Again, touch controls might have made the game too easy, but they would have been a welcome addition.

Lane Splitter has some terrific visuals with environments that change daily, and the recordings of real motorcycles sound great. The extra characters bring even more fun to the game through their look, design and gameplay.

Aside from my woes with the tilt controls, I found Lane Splitter to be extremely addictive. Once you get going, you don’t want to stop. After each crash, you just want to get right back on your bike and go again. Lane Splitter is one game you’ll definitely want to take on the road with you.