Tank Riders 2 Review

Tank Riders 2 Review

Jan 23, 2014

Polarbit comes right back at us with a tank-fighting sequel in Tank Riders 2. Coming off the first iteration, this one has some living up to do.

I noticed the game does provide some customizable options with regards to the controls; it’s possible to have the d-pad for movement along with tap input to fire, or another d-pad can be utilized to shoot.

The gameplay starts easy enough. It’s a solo war of attrition, in that it is necessary to destroy the enemy tanks before they destroy the player tank by completely draining the life bar. It’s also leveled, so successfully competing one level is the prerequisite to moving on to the next. In the first skirmish, it was 1v1 in confined space. The ammunition is basic, and the only issue was blasting through the the flimsy obstacles that prevent direct assault on the lone opponent. As it progress, the enemy tanks become more plentiful, smarter and better armed, with stuff like t21ricocheting rounds. Thankfully, it’s possible to upgrade ammunition and shields arcade-style to keep up. There are also gold coins to collect, teleporting devices and even triggered traps.

Puzzle-solving becomes even more of an needed skill to advance levels. Gates that are toggled by shooting the switch, and getting to a rally point become part the gameplay. There is an energy requirement, so running out of lives induces a refractory period. No need for gnashed teeth, though. It seems shockingly short at twenty minutes per. Impatience can be soothed with real cash via in-app purchase.

The game is well rendered, with nice graphics and expressive animations that are not overdone. The tanks themselves retain the fun look from the original title. The origin map and game scenery look good, with the variation in the latter taking center stage: dusty, sandy beaches transforming into nighttime locales full of foreboding. There are different backgrounds to work through to along with the chunky graphics.

It’s a familiar game, easy to figure out, and fun to engage with. It won’t feel like the most sophisticated game, but it’s charm lays in the fact that it isn’t trying to.

SnowJinks Review

SnowJinks Review

Sep 5, 2013

SNOW FIGHT! In the summer? Yes, thanks to SnowJinks from Uppercut Games.

My first instinct is that the developer does a good job with perspective in increasing the visual depth of the game. The snow-laden play area makes use of angles and animations to stimulate things like distance and lateral movement. Obviously, white makes up a lot of the coloring, but a lot of other hues make an appearance, with especially bright explosions and flying objects.

If one find similarities between this game and Epoch, they’d be valid. It it’s basically a snow ball fight, snow1with our protagonist set up in the foreground, like the front fence of a two-story and a continual stream well armed combatants popping up in the background. The bullies lined up in different areas, on top of houses to, the side and other vantage points. At the base level, the game involves pelting the enemy with projectiles, while avoiding snow balls, ice cubes, skew streams and all the other atypical skew weapons the opposition can come up with.

Our thrower starts in a defensive position in every level, which is nice; it lets one survey the area. The enemy lob snow balls continuously; tapping the bullies makes my snowball go at them. Hitting each enemy with enough shot knocks them out, at which point, they are generally replaced with new opponents, or, if the entire swarm has been beaten, the round is successfully passed. All the while, specials and coinage pop up. Some can be tapped to be redeemed, but others have to be targeted b the weaponry in my possession.

What is interesting is the progression of the opposing weaponry. Snow balls morph into more unique weapons, and it becomes more important to avoid the incoming shots. Thankfully, our snowballer is very athletic; swiping to the side invokes an evasive leap and tumble. In later levels, a lot of the gameplay involves continuous dodging and attacking. The collected coins allow for upgrading attributes, like recovery, and weapons. The specials collected in-game also facilitate the gameplay. In-app purchasing is available, but I did not find it necessary.

Yes, the game might feel a bit repetitive. I thought the graphic environments could have been more varied, too. Still, it’s a fun game that is simple to understand, natural-feeling and full of surprises.

Zombie Frontier Review

Zombie Frontier Review

Dec 20, 2012

I know, I know. Zombie shooters are very plentiful, and it’s not even Halloween anymore.

Still Zombie Frontier, a first-person shooter from FT Games, is a zombie game that might still make it on to one’s device — to stay — on its own merits.

The storyline is basic zombie fare: it’s 2020, and a virus has run amok, causing people afflicted with it to turn into flesh-craving marauders. As a survivor, I basically looked to stay alive by destroying as many undead that crossed my path as possible.

The gameplay was simple: waves and waves (and waves) of undead came at me. I had a firearm, and I shot and shot. I had a basic sighting system that helped me to aim, and all I had to do was tap to shoot and reload. I also had an abbreviated virtual direction joystick which allowed me some movement. I learned very quickly that taking the enemy out from distance was the way to go, as the swarm formations definitely helped the zombies closer up. The game was split into missions that I could find on the map; usually, it had to do with rescuing humans from converging zombies.

Different zombies had different attributes; one type for instance was quick but not as physically dangerous. Different weapons had different attributes as well, and the developer did a good job of mixing and matching these. Head shots did the most most damage, and every successful mission yielded game cash and gold, as well as stats.

The game is monetized via in-app purchasing, but I though it was quite possible to upgrade equipment via performance, albeit at a slower pace. The initial weapon, for instance, all but begged to be upgraded, and finishing the original missions helped me accomplish that.

My biggest gripe was that I found the menus a bit convoluted. Some parts could have been a bit more intuitive. It was not an undecipherable menu, just a bit busy for my tastes.

Zombie Frontier is definitely worth a look, and the price is right for just that.

Venerable Leaderboards and Achievements Service OpenFeint to Shut Down in December

Venerable Leaderboards and Achievements Service OpenFeint to Shut Down in December

Nov 21, 2012

One of the biggest names of the early days of touchscreen mobile gaming is about to finally fade away: parent company GREE is shutting down OpenFeint, effective in December.

OpenFeint may not be as fondly remembered on Android as it is on iOS. It was the first real service to provide leaderboards and achievements, a much-desired feature. However, the platform failed to expand upon that core functionality once Game Center kicked in and became ubiquitous; while features like cloud saves were implemented by OpenFeint (and seen in games like INC which provided cross-platform saves) they never took off with developers or the public. However, the service was still purchased by GREE, and has been languishing recently as it transitions in to the GREE Platform.

However, Android has not seen the same kind of love for OpenFeint, though the service may have been one of the biggest to actually operate on the platform. But with OpenFeint going away, there’s not a comparable standard on Android that compares. GREE are pushing their service as an OpenFeint replacement, but many developers, already miffed by the fact that OpenFeint has been shut down, are loath to toss their support to GREE. Swarm, a service offering many of the same features as OpenFeint that is Android-exclusive, is making a push to be the next service in line. That other alternatives like Scoreloop are floundering or otherwise non-notable leaves these two pretty much as the only competitors in the battlefield.

This would be an opportunity for Google to launch their own kind of standardized service, but the problem would be adoption, as considering how slow rollouts of new Android versions are, it could take several years before such a service became ubiquitous if implemented as an OS-wide feature. Otherwise, it’d have to be implemented as a third-party plugin much like these other services are.

The lack of a good service on Android has turned away developers like Terry Cavanagh who wanted to release Super Hexagon but didn’t find a good equivalent service to Game Center on Android. The title is now basically in limbo as he ports the title to C++, and as he waits to hire a coder to port the game to Android, instead of releasing the game compiled in Adobe AIR.

While the service may have been a redundancy in its final days, and extremely clunky on Android, as someone who’s been covering mobile games since early 2009, I remember that OpenFeint was a huge deal, and it should not be forgotten because it served an important role in the history of mobile gaming.