Mineshaft Review

Mineshaft Review

Dec 8, 2014

Mineshaft is one of those games that takes a simple idea and turns it into a game that is hard to put down and can be played by just about anyone.

Players control a miner on a frightfully unreliable elevator. If this deathtrap slams into anything at more than a very slow speed it explodes, ending the game. The elevator automatically moves downwards and the only player control is a brake to slow it down or stop it. When the elevator comes to a stop, a stick of dynamite is laid and the idea is to get the dynamite as close to the bottom of the mineshaft as possible to dig deeper. The force of the explosion sends the elevator hurtling upwards afterwards threatening to smash it against the top of the mineshaft. As the shaft gets deeper the fuse of the dynamite also comes into play as there is only about 5 seconds to plant the dynamite before it goes off, blowing the flimsy elevator up again!

Screenshot_2014-12-06-16-49-35The game thus becomes a balancing act of getting to the bottom of the shaft quickly with the dynamite before it blows the halpless miner into chunks, but not so fast that the elevator breaks apart like a piece of wet tissue paper. This is great fun and incredibly addictive. Mineshaft is very difficult which just adds to the appeal since every screwup in the game is the player’s own fault as there are no nasty freemium features or paywalls. The one finger controls also make it easy for even the most casual gamers to play. The game also keeps track of how far you dig, how many bombs you plant and how many miners have been “retired”.

Mineshaft does feature ads, but they are only on the screen after the game ends, so they do not detract from gameplay. Both a banner ad and the occasional popup are present, but never any super annoying video ads. The pop up ads only appear every five games or so which is not too often and the game has no in app purchases at all. There is no “shafting” here.

Mineshaft looks nice. A clean, simple pixel style makes the game easy to play on any device and doesn’t distract from the important business of not getting blown apart. The animation for the miner being smashed apart is a hilarious as well as bits and pieces of elevator and miner go every which way and ragdoll all over the place which is always funny to watch.

The sound is simple yet effective. There is the frenetic sound of the elevator hurtling towards its doom that gets louder and higher pitched as it moves faster and faster, the nice BOOM of dynamite and when the game is over a really catchy piece of music plays. There is no music during the actual game. The screaming of the elevator cable really drives the game’s atmosphere home.

Mineshaft is fun stuff and can be played for any length of time. The super simple controls, clever gameplay and fierce addictiveness make it a winner. Pick it.

Nightbird Trigger X Review

Nightbird Trigger X Review

Nov 25, 2013

Nightbird Trigger X is the sequel to the game the similar name from Colopl Inc.

It’s a fairly easy game to understand, and is cloaked in a basic backstory: the Man is after us, and shooting successfully to destroy the gems diminishes The Man’s power and reach.

The game graphics are somewhat otherworldly, from the ephemeral embodiment of the protagonist character to the look of the moving pieces. The animations play tricks in the senses, but in a good, competitive fashion. The movements translate well, and create a fluid, continuous story on a 2D canvas.

The gameplay itself is mostly time and shoot action. Our hero has a weapon, and had to blast jewels across gaping space that trigger bridges for him to travel across. In between the protagonist abd the target is a moving obstacle.fight1 To make the shot in the least number of tries, it is necessary to get the timing just right, as there us usually a moment when everything is aligned perfectly enough to make the shot. As soon as the target shatters, said bridge is deployed and the prices repeats with a new set of obstacles. As the game and levels progress, the obstacle get way more intricate, and quite the challenge. Different shapes and a mix of movements play havoc on the senses; even rotary elements are present. And then there is the timer. That’s right; it’s a race against the clock in addition to using the least amount ammunition in the drive to get three stars in each level.

The game feels repetitive at times; most of the variation has to do with how intricate the middle obstacle can be. Then, there are times I feel the difficulty fluctuates somewhat wildly, from pretty easy to write difficult… do much so that the in-app store feels indispensable at times.

Nevertheless, it’s a fun sequel, and a decent time waster. Free to play makes it that much better.

Space is Key Review

Space is Key Review

Jul 5, 2013

The best games, for me, are ones that are simple, easy to control and, more or less mildly infuriating. It’s why I pulled my hair, shedding years while playing Super Hexagon.

It’s probably why I find Space is Key so intriguing. It mocks me. To my face. It’s evil.

Space is Key is about as simple as they come. Looks-wise, it uses switching primary colors with opposing hues to highlight obstacles. The color changes do an interesting job of creating a psychedelic atmosphere reminiscent of Super Hexagon that doesn’t internet with the gameplay.

The play area is generally 2D in nature. A box moves at speed from left to right, towards a star. There are also obstacles that prevent them from getting to said star; with tapping to jump being the solitary control, the job is to avoid the obstacles as a hurdler would. Touching any obstacle, even slightly, ends the run.

But this is where the game gets really fun. The obstacles began to get way more interesting. They increase in number, and funky things start to happen, like falling bricks from the ceiling and ones that pop up from the ground. As the game progresses from earlier levels, space and timing become extremely key elements that govern success. The timing has to be close to perfect to get through. The game spits out blocks until a stage is completed, and that actually adds to the challenge, as a missed go can throw the timing off enough to miss a few of the repeat blocks. At certain levels, attributes (like jumping and speed) are increased for effect, and it all comes together seamlessly.

With the levels in the triple figures and different levels of difficulty, this game shows that “simple” and “exciting” can be worthy housemates with “engrossing” and “challenging.”

NinjSmash Review

NinjSmash Review

Oct 24, 2012

Ninjas are pretty stealthy from what I hear. Being that sneaky takes a lot of training and practicing ninja skills is what this game is all about. NinjSmash is a game that’s all about timing. The little ninja is off to the side of his sensei on a rope. The rope is moving the ninja up and down in a rhythmic motion. The goal of the ninja is to knock the blocks out from underneath his sensei.

The first few levels of the game are pretty easy. The key to the game is to time the swings just right. Different sized bricks are set underneath him. If a block gets hit incorrectly or the master is his, the sensei could fall off. The bricks are laid out in a way that some are hard to hit, this indicates a need for the stones to be taken out in a specific order.

Once few levels are played it’s not hard to figure out the timing and where on the bricks to have to be struck to knock them out cleanly. Some levels can be more difficult than others. Because of this, there’s different potions to be purchased. These potions can help to make the level easier in different situations. All of the potions can be purchased with the points earned by playing the levels. It takes a little bit to build up some points. After the points are earned, just head off to the store. Some of the potions are: a potion to help straighten the bricks again and another lets the difficult bricks be swept away with a finger instead of having to time and hit with a hammer.

The overall difficulty of the game comes from the timing of the swing. The levels need to be completed pretty fast so taking time isn’t really an option. Taking random swings is also not an option because knocking the sensei often breaks one way or another when the game.