Clash Royale Review

Clash Royale Review

Apr 8, 2016

In an increasingly saturated mobile app market, it is definitely hard to make a name for oneself; having a well-received big brother on the Play Store is definitely a benefit.

Clash Royale, from Supercell — yes, that Supercell — definitely has just that.

The graphics are fun to behold… deliberate, somewhat whimsical characterizations on a colorful background template. The main action is imbibed via a top-down view. The game incorporates animations that help the action along, and they do add visual pop that helps keep one engaged. From fireballs to marching duos, it comes together quite well, and even the side screens feel genially done. there’s detail in the little things — arrows look like arrows, for instance — and even the occasional dragon is easy spot and enjoy.clash3

The sounds are quite appropriate, and all connect with the eye candy component.

If the game feels somewhat familiar — as in, say, Clash of Clans — the similarities are well-intentioned, as both games share creative DNA. This one stands firmly on its own, and the seven-part hands on tutorial helps one understand the flow of the action.

The main idea is to win PVP battles; at the base level, there are three enemy towers, and three home towers. Intuitively, one wants to take out the opponent towers before that person returns the favor.

Like any tower defense game worth its salt, this one has troops (cards) of different abilities, and one has a limited, rechargeable amount of “elixir” which is used to deploy these different pieces. Deployment does two things; they can generally attack enemy installations, and may even be able to take on enemy troops that are attacking one’s home towers. Since each piece has its own attributes, and also because one has to wait for recharging (plus different pieces have different costs), one has to deploy with a semblance of strategy. Each side gets a king’s tower and two sentry towers, and protecting the king is paramount. The cards run the gamut, bringing fantastical fighting personnel to the fore.

It boils down to a timed war of attrition, if time passes without a clearly winner, the game starts a sudden death overtime period.

Cool stuff, really.

There are a lot of other pieces, like chests of goodies, the upgradeability of the cards, the ability to collect other cards and create battle sets, achievements and more. Gems and gold coins make things happen, and can be supplemented by real cash if one wants to expedite processes. Players can level up, and some things (like selecting clans) are based on one’s level.

The game does slow down, creading a faux energy requirement, but it is possible to go rounds and rounds if one is willing to forego some payouts.

Altogether, it’s an engaging caper, if a bit overwhelming; simply put, it has great appeal.

LandGrabbers Review

LandGrabbers Review

Jul 5, 2013

Nevosoft’s LandGrabbers is a fun hybrid game that is surprisingly dependent on strategy and quick thinking.

The land that makes up this game is ably represented by effective graphics the encompass several mythical environments. In the first stage, the 3D graphics do a good job of giving life to the structures, and further down the line, the scenery becomes even more intricate; rolling hills, stone bridges and shrubbery all add up to cushion the action in a reasonable looking shell.

As for the action, this game gets right into it. After selecting the sundries, the gameplay gets underway with some incorporated graphical tutorials. The basic premise is to guide my soldiers to annex all enemy lands by sheer force. The home team was red by default, and on the initial board, I went against a blue team. Each team had color-coded property. Additionally, there are neutral, gray units as well. These great units are not aggressive in that they don’tland1 attack the other colors, but they usually occupy strategic spots, and they defend their territories with vigor.

Survival means to go out on the attack. Using taps and drags, it is possible to lead a set of attackers from one’s home turf to an area controlled by an opposing color, and then, it is basically a war of attrition, with numbers denoting how the mini-battles are going. To overrun an encampment, their defensive numbers had to be beaten down to zero. The kicker is that no one has an unlimited supply of infantry; regeneration time is a factor to consider. Team homes can be upgraded to house more units, but upgrades can only occur when a structure is half full of its capacity of soldiers, and then it is reduced to zero.

Down the line, multiple colored foes appear. For example, at one point, I (red) was taking on green and blue teams on two different fronts in a glorious free-for-all. The gameplay keeps players on their toes, and is leveled, which each level having ranks to work towards. Higher ranks have faster time requirements to attain the rank and win the gold payout; gold is required to open up more levels and to upgrade attributes. In-app purchasing can be used to expedite the acquisition of gold.

It’s a surprisingly challenging game that I enjoyed immensely. The balance of continual attack and defense while working against a clock is exhilarating, and it is easy to understand and get into.

Anomaly Korea Review

Anomaly Korea Review

Dec 31, 2012

To make it in the Android app game, being able to stand out is the name of the game. This is especially true of tower defense type of games. To call this segment saturated is being somewhat generous.

I did find Anomaly Korea to be a needed breath of fresh air.

Why? We all know the elements of tower defense: destroy moving enemies before they make it from point A to point B. Well, how about switching the paradigm a bit… how about making my units the ones needing to make it to a safe point, with the enemy in fixed positions? No, not as great as inventing the wheel, but good enough to get this game a good look in my book.

The storyline will be familiar to fans of the prequel (Anomaly Warzone Earth): alien invasion, with mechanized machines at street level. With top-down visuals, I had to direct my convoy on a number of missions through hostile streets and pathways, using resources wisely to achieve success. Using a planning tool, I had to design a path to wherever we had to get to (airplane, safe zone, etc). The shortest route wasn’t always the safest, as the driveways were lined with enemy gunners. Additionally, I had to watch damage — I had the ability to change the positioning of my vehicles, hiding damaged ones and protecting my big weaponry. My job was to destroy the enemy before they destroyed us and/or prevented us from getting to the mission point. Power-ups and loot appeared on screen, and I was able to accumulate game cash.

I thought is was more than sufficient graphically. The developer did a good job of rendering a conceptual, futuristic war-torn city, and the planning overlays helped to isolate the goodness of the actual fight screen.

“Tower Offense” isn’t a new concept, but really, Anomaly Korea is well worth checking out. It is a fun game, with well-thought out ideas.

Anomaly: Warzone Earth HD Review

Anomaly: Warzone Earth HD Review

Feb 14, 2012

Anomaly: Warzone Earth is tower offense. Originally released on PC and Mac, adapted for touchscreens on iOS, Android gamers can now enjoy tower offense on their tablets. Players control the invading armies traveling along paths with fixed defenses. The basic goal is to take out defenses, collecting money along paths, and deploying counter-measures to divert fire and to heal the units. Players create paths for the units to travel on, though these can be adjusted mid-game to create looping paths, or to change strategy. Levels generally involve reaching the end unscathed, though some involve destroying a certain number of units, or ensuring the safety of escorted units.

Visually, the game is impressive. It’s chock-full of detail, and the game lost no visual fidelity in the transition. For a game that takes place in the Middle East, it is surprisingly colorful – it would have been easy for the game to just use many shades of brown, but there are plenty of splashes of color sprinkled throughout. The game is still refreshing to play, because there are just so many tower defense games out there; having this reversal of it is great to have.

The game is still rather busy visually; it can be very easy to lose track of units’ health, and letting them not die can be a challenge. Path creation is still rather tricky; it can be difficult to figure out where an inadvertent loop begins; perhaps a red arrow where loops begin and end would help?

The impressive thing is, this port feels just like the iPad version did – the game is incredibly smooth and has no gameplay differences with its iOS original. The original port was done in 2 weeks; it would be hard to tell just by playing this. This is a definite must-have for tablets, though phones are also supported. Anomaly: Warzone Earth is a must-have strategy game.

Anomaly: Warzone Earth Ported to Android in 2 Weeks, Now Available for Tablets

Anomaly: Warzone Earth Ported to Android in 2 Weeks, Now Available for Tablets

Dec 26, 2011

When porting games to Android is discussed, there’s always the discussion that it takes a lot of work and time to do it. So much work, that for many developers, Android has become a curse oath they mutter under their breaths. Android haunts their dreams at night. Well, for lesser developers, this is true. For 11 bit studios’ Bartosz Brzostek, Android porting is nothing he can’t handle. This man ported over the PC/Mac and then iOS tower offense title Anomaly: Warzone Earth to Android in 2 weeks.

By himself.

Ported over from the touchscreen-friendly iOS version, this tower offense title has players forming squadrons of units to navigate mazes full of encamped enemy defenses. It’s tower defense in reverse – tower offense. The game features a variety of challenging levels in its campaign mode, as they try to advance deeper into the enemy bases. As well, it features the bonus Squad Assault mode. Bartosz Brzostek was not satisfied just bringing the game to Android – he added two new Squad Assault modes for this version of the game.

While it seems silly to suggest that this game should force other developers to pick it up on their Android port jobs, it is still rather impressive that one developer was able to port this game from iOS to Android in a span of two weeks. All code is different, and it appears as if the code for this game was set up in a way that bringing it to the different architecture of Android was possible. Still, it is remarkably impressive!

The game is currently available as an Amazon Appstore exclusive. The game is only playable on tablet devices for now, optimized for the Kindle Fire, but devices like the Motorola Xoom are able to run it as well. Check out the video below detailing the process of bringing the game to Android; Mr. Brzostek, I raise a glass of vodka to you, sir! Well done!

Age of Defenders Review

Age of Defenders Review

Nov 2, 2011

Age of Defenders is a tower defense game for Android tablets with far more than what most games in the genre have. This game features two types of gameplay: first is the tower defense part, where players erect towers in an open field to protect against oncoming enemy units. There are standard turrets, anti-air units, and units for increasing resource collection. The side that mixes things up is the offense side. See, the heart of the game is that actually the goal is not to survive a predetermined number of waves, but to try to take out the enemy base. To do this, resources can be allocated to attack units, which can then be sent out through one of four spots in the center of the map toward the enemy base. Choosing the righ lanes is important, in order to try and exploit weak spots in the opponent’s defense.

It’s wonderful to get a glimpse of the future with Age of Defenders. The cross-platform multiplayer works between iPad, Android, and web browser versions of the game. The game is the same across all platforms, and there’s no discernible difference in gameplay between platforms. As well, the fact that the game works in a web browser means that the player base is theoretically unlimited, and getting a player to play the game with is not difficult at all because of the lower barrier to entry. User accounts work no matter what device is logged in to, which is an added bonus.

The game’s kind of lacking for non-multiplayer content, as it only has 5 single-player “training” missions after the tutorial. As well, the missions are extremely challenging, so learning is definitely a trial by fire. More singleplayer levels, including some easier content early on, would be huge for getting players into the game before throwing them into the cross-platform multiplayer. While the game is designed for high-resolution screens, it’s a shame that most phones are left out of the fun because of the design, and only the latest Honeycomb tablets can support the game.

Age of Defenders is not only a novel twist on gameplay, doing tower offense well, but it is technically impressive as well. More cross-platform games for all of us!