Sidekick Cycle Review

Sidekick Cycle Review

May 30, 2014

Sidekick Cycle is a fun simple game that adds idealism to the mix.

As far as the gameplay goes, it’s quite easy to pick up, and that is a testament to the game’s design ethic; the game is all about riding a bike, somewhat downhill, and making the time split. In addition to making time, there are gold coins that line the travel way that can be collected by contact. There are also obstacles (like boulders) that need to be avoided by jumping over them, and also some special gear pieces that also can be collected.

The controls are about as easy as it gets: tap to jump. Timing is of a premium, as jumping to early can cause collisions and even mess up the equilibrium of the bike, which, in turn, can cause a run-ending crash.

There are several worlds, which are different run environments, and each provides a unique feel. Success in one side5opens up the next, and the same applies to the individual runs that make up each environment; they are locked till a preceding one is successfully completed. As the game proceeds, other elements are added… things like bonus-laden sidekicks and such. There are plenty of upgrades that can be purchased with accumulated gold, and real cash can be used to supplement this.

The graphics do a good job of conveying the gameplay; the worlds are differentiated through layout, and there is a lot of attention paid to the little stuff like perspective and light play. The animations are a bit stilted, but they work, and even the tumbles have a good degree of realism to them, with the physics and such.; the 2D renderings are simple but effective. I think the characters kid be a bit more polished, though.

One thing that sets the game apart is the social initiatives of the developer, who is/are committed to providing bicycles to people in communities that otherwise cannot afford them when an in-app purchase is made. Such altruism is laudable and is worth mentioning.

All in all, it’s fun game with scaled difficulty that can be tough to put down. And it supports a cause; we can play and feel good doing so.

Zombie Road Trip Trials Review

Zombie Road Trip Trials Review

May 29, 2014

Zombie Road Trip Trials is a trials-based spin-off of Zombie Road Trip.

The gameplay is rendered in 2D form, with glossy graphics and usable animations. The raceway is irregular and runs from left to right, with zombies generally coming somewhere from the right of the playing area. The artwork does help to define the game, with rolling, intimidating hills and severe drops that encourage the vehicles to go airborne.

The controls are virtual in nature and placed at the bottom of the playing area: go buttons for forward and backwards movements, and flip (front and back) buttons to the left.


The game brings in several fun elements together. It is first and foremost a zombie derby, and if there is anything humanity can agree on, it is the need to use souped up trucks to dispatch the undead. The game rewards prowess in destroying these zombies, and even adds in a gun to the truck; the gun can be activated by tapping the screen. Otherwise, good old fashion running the zombies over works just fine.

The problem with ramming the creatures is that it slows down the vehicle, which is not good since the game incorporates time trials as part of the quest system. One almost always wants good momentum when going up the hills, as the game generally does a good job of applying physics to the gameplay. If one does not have enough momentum, the truck rolls backwards, and this is when the back button becomes useful to help reveres and pick up some distance. Additionally, the aforementioned quests add a lot to the game, as it adds a rolling set of challenges to each level. For the truly competitive, there is an online multiplayer version.

The driving mechanism is fun, as it takes a bit of technical expertise to keep the car upright; if the vehicle lands on its back, it explodes, ending the run unsuccessfully. There are obstacles too, and then the game tosses in power-ups too. Vehicles and weapons can be upgraded via the in-app store as well.

All together, it’s a fun, worthy spin-off that provides a lot of enjoyment.

Motoheroz Review

Motoheroz Review

Feb 14, 2014

Motoheroz has made its way to Android.

The gameplay comes in two generalized versions: One Shot, which exists to perpetuate leaderboard bragging rights, and Career, that highlights prowess over extended levels. In the latter version, finishing a level with a star (more on this later) opens up future levels. There are eleven environments (with another “coming soon”) and each environment is broken down into said levels. Social network sign-up is necessary to take part in the One Shot series.

Racing starts off in familiar 2D platform style, with vehicles going left to right in a time trial of sorts. In Career Mode, the car “races” against a blue shadow vehicle that more or less paces the “real vehicle.” Now, an interesting wrinkle in this gameplay is that, in addition to left-right racing, in some levels, it is necessary to actually double back and complete the time trial zipping along back towards where the trial started from.

The control mechanism is extremely important, and almost equally atypical. It uses a bank of virtual controls. On themoto1 right are a pair of buttons that control direction to the left or right; as such, if using the one to accelerate the vehicle in any direction, the opposite button slows it down, stops it and eventually makes it go the other way. To the left are a couple of balance buttons. The one dips the vehicle forward by raising the back wheels, and the other lifts the hood/bonnet up by dipping the back wheels. These buttons are especially useful when the vehicle is airborne. Going up a steep hill too fast, for example, launches the vehicle much it might look in real life, with the vehicle struggling to land evenly. These balance buttons help adjust the car to prevent bad landings.

At the end of the day, speed is the name of the game. performance earns coins which can be used to upgrade vehicle attributes. Gold can be collected on the track, but the best hauls occur when starts are earned. Every level is rated thus, and stars mark achievement. For example, making specific time thresholds or beating the pace car earns some nice payouts and unlock the the next level.

There is an in-app purchase system, but it is quite straightforward; for a single price, the vehicle can be completely upgraded.

All in all, it is a well done port, with slick graphics and addictive, easy-to-understand gameplay.

Trial Xtreme 2 Review

Trial Xtreme 2 Review

Aug 31, 2012

Thanks to Trials on the Xbox 360, the trial racer has become extremely popular. With the goal of trying to race through a course and reach the end very quickly, while sometimes collecting stars or other doodads as a secondary goal, this game has been oft-imitated.

Because Trials developer RedLynx still won't bring Trials or one of its sequels to mobile, and because even their mobile trial racers like MotoHeroz have bypassed Android, games like Trial Xtreme 2 from Deemedya have been popular. I like trial racers, so I was curious to see why Trial Xtreme 2 seemed to be doing so well in the charts.

I'm still not really sure.

Trial Xtreme 2 puts players on a motorbike, going through hazardous courses that look like they were stolen from a construction site and then hastily put together. Basically, the goal is simple: get to the end without falling off. Or bumping the rider's head. Or having any part of him even gently touch anything, as it means instant failure.

Trial Xtreme 2 does not mess around, as even the first level will challenge players to not screw up. There is no learning curve, just difficult levels from the word go. This is not a game for those entering the genre, this is for experts wanting to be tested.

But oh is this game trying. The controls are exceptionally difficult to deal with. It seems as if the buttons are effective only in their specific touch areas, and nowhere outside of them, which makes it doubly difficult to play this game. This game is hard enough without having to fight the controls as well. It's not optimized for 7" tablets either, as the buttons are quite tiny. In fact, it feels like the game would be a lot more fun if it were more forgiving, or at least gave the player some time to feel like they've been succeeding, instead of being frustrated at the start. I don't feel compelled to play much more when I repeatedly fail because I just slightly bumped my head; I want to rage quit, which I did many times.

So, Trial Xtreme 2 is only for one class of gamer: the masochistic. Those who like their games to feel like pulling teeth? Buy this! Otherwise, there are other trial racers out there on the many gaming platforms out there. Play them for that taste of the genre, then try this if they’re not enough. There’s also a free Winter edition of the game that’s worth trying out for those still intrigued.

Commander Pixman Review

Commander Pixman Review

Jun 8, 2012

Prepare to die. No, my name is not Inigo Montoya and you did not kill my father. Death is just a very common occurrence in Commander Pixman from One Minute Games (ported over to Android by Noodlecake Games). This is a trial-based platformer (think Super Meat Boy) where players must try to get to the end goal, represented by a blinking pit, as quickly as possible. However, there are plenty of obstacles in the way. Enemies wander around, serving as both obstacles and targets to shoot at. There’s also spikes and mines, along with just plain tricky level design, to deal with.

Getting the fastest times on a level – and the 3-star rating that comes with it – requires timing the enemies as well as the game’s floaty platforming physics, a seemingly intentional choice because of the fact that the game is in space. Very quick reaction times are often needed, and successful runs feel like they are well-choreographed like a ballet, except instead of dancing in tutus, a pixel spaceman is jumping over aliens. Of course, there’s also the rewards for just killing everything. Commander Pixman is free to play, with a sizable set of levels available for free, and some extra challenging ones available as an in-app purchase.

The controls could be better optimized for tablets; for now, they’re just massive buttons, and moving right seems to require an incredibly elongated thumb with which to hit that right directional button. When respawning after dying, buttons need to be re-pressed to start up again. This may be a good thing, but it does take a bit of adjustment to get used to. The floating physics do take a lot of practice to master, because of the fact that they’re just so different from many other games.

Commander Pixman ain’t easy, but it’s a great distraction for those who like their Android games to be extremely challenging. Have fun, and prepare to die!