Monument Valley is Free Courtesy of Amazon’s FAOTD

Monument Valley is Free Courtesy of Amazon’s FAOTD

Nov 19, 2014

Monument Valley, the excepttionaly fun leveled puzzler from ustwo Studios, is free today courtesy of Amazon Appstore’s Free App Of The Day Offering.

Launching tomorrow and available exclusively in the Amazon Appstore, Android customers will be able to download the “Forgotten Shores” app update to Monument Valley, which adds eight new chapters, which are more complex, but just as beautiful as the original. Previously only available on iOS, Android customers can now continue on their journey through Monument Valley.

By offering Monument Valley as part of the popular Free App of the Day program, Android customers pay only $1.99 for “Forgotten Shores,” and can download Monument Valley for free, for one day only.

We had an opportunity to review Monument Valley earlier this year, and can tell you it is a great game to own.

Monument Valley Review

Monument Valley Review

May 20, 2014

For folks who love puzzles and creative geometry and puzzle solving, I have two words: Monument Valley.

The creativity sets the game apart. It’s an architectural puzzler that involves zany stuff like impossible shapes and the like to convey the gameplay.

At the core, the idea is to get from Point A to Point B. Generally, for each level, there is a curiously sculpted structure between both points. The structure is invariably castle-like, with several elements and a few latent moving parts that can be be manipulated to create a bridge or a temporary elevator to lift Ida to where she needsmv1 to be to complete the quest. Controlling ida is a matter of tapping where one wants her to be; she only moves to said place if there is a clear path or ladder. Tapping and sliding/rotating effects manipulation of buildings when possible.

As the game goes on, the gameplay further teeters — admirably — on the edge of reality, with gravity being defied and collapsing pieces that make easy parts automatically get tougher to traverse. Some levels are staged, and it is great to see one part solved and a new portion revealed. Completing a level opens up a subsequent one, and failed or stalled levels can be replayed.

Players might be forgiven if they tarry a bit on the structures. Finding the movable pieces is fun, and finding out what geometrical changes can be changed in defiance of the laws of true physics is pretty interesting. The games visual representations are chock full of eye benders that are cool even in their collective incredulity. It is a battle of angling and animations, and the artwork lays down the perfect foundation for the overall gameplay.

Overall, it’s a simple concept and a satisfying game that is harder to put down once one gets into it.

Monument Valley from Ustwo Now Available on Android

Monument Valley from Ustwo Now Available on Android

May 14, 2014

Ustwo’s mind-bending Escherian puzzle game Monument Valley is now on Android. For $3.99 (no IAP), players must rotate the environment and the objects within to navigate this mysterious, confusing world, while helping the protagonist Ida along, and discovering more about this world. The game was popular and beloved on iOS with its recent release, and now Android players will get a chance to enjoy it starting today on Google Play.

Blip Blup Review

Blip Blup Review

May 28, 2013

Blip Blup is an interesting puzzle game from ustwo that manages to be infuriating and calming in an interchangeable manner.

The gameplay looks deceptively easy, but the proof is almost only to be had in the playing. In each level, there is set of squares laid out in 2D grids (think of ubiquitous kitchen tiles on a floor). Tapping on a grey one caused “pulses” of color to emanate, affecting tiles beside and around the original square by making them imbibe the color. Getting every eligible square to take up the color with a minimum of taps (“blips”) is the recurring goal.

The first set of puzzles, or “packs” in game parlance specific to Blip Blup, serves as a working tutorial. This is always a good thing, and even though I think the verbiage could be less sparse, it does give good pointers with regards to playing the game successfully. It also hints at the variations and increased difficulty to come; blip1progression into advanced packs reveals harder boards with less and less symmetry and different obstacles. Tapping and holding a square highlights the immediate impact of setting of a pulse, so it is possible to estimate the reach of each play… to a degree.

What sets Blip Blup apart from the pack for me is its deliberate minimalism. The developer manages to create a bright, engaging interface by keeping the colors segregated. This really makes the pulsing squares illuminate against the mostly white backdrop, making the animations come to life in (hopefully) in a cascade of level-clearing color. Different packs usually have their own colors — bright pastels and primary colors — and this helps to induce a feeling of advancement. Yes, I’m biased in favor of clean and/or conservative demand when it works, and here, it simply worked.

The developer does get some props for simplicity of controls. It’s mostly about taps, longpressing and dragging.

Simplicity is the biggest feature. It allows the game to be simple without being foolish, and challenging with out invoking the theory of relativity. It is one game that did have been scrambling to unlock; I do refuse to complain about developers using legitimate means to fund their hard work.

The hard work does show in this game.

Rondo Lets Users Secretly Exchange Photography

Rondo Lets Users Secretly Exchange Photography

Apr 15, 2013

Are you interested in a mysterious photography exchange app? Well, Rondo is an app that allows you to send and receive random photos without ever knowing who sent or received them. The only information the receiver gets is the general location of where the photo was taken.

Whale Trail Review

Whale Trail Review

Jan 18, 2012

Whale Trail has succesfully taken the trail to Android. This is British developer ustwo’s take on the endless runner, as part of their experiment to see if premium games (i.e. games that sell for a set price) can still be viable, and it was developed at a high budget, with high sales expectations. While the game has sold well on iOS, it has only recouped a fraction of its budget. So, here we are: Whale Trail is on Android to help make back its budget and to try and prove that premium is still viable.

The game has players controlling Willow the Whale, who flies through the skies, trying to collect blubbles to stay airborne, while avoiding the clouds that drain the whale trail meter. Willow is controlled simply by tapping and holding on the screen to fly upward, eventually looping around. There are two game modes: an endless mode where the game keeps going until Willow falls, and a level-based challenge mode where the goal is to try and score as many points as possible before reaching the end, collecting stars to unlock more levels.

Whale Trail is still as beautiful as ever; the animations are fantastic, the backgrounds detailed, and everything just is extremely colorful. The controls work perfectly, as well. The endless mode’s multiplier dynamic, which rewards avoiding taking damage from the clouds, makes it unique, as it’s not just about trying to last as long as possible; it’s about performing well too. The challenge mode levels are just that – a challenge. They’re not inordinately difficult, but they do require practice, and skill at the game in order to do well.

The game was ported to Android in partnership with Jakyl, who have become known for their iOS to Android conversions. Like their other games, the port is very well-done; it’s actually feature-identical with the iOS version right now. Unlike their other games, however, there is no display stretching at all on widescreen devices, which makes the game really shine. It looks amazing on tablets, and is perfect for TV output gaming (though some tablets like the Xoom may cut off the top of the screen on the TV, but this just obscures the score) because of the one-touch controls.

Whale Trail was a blast when it was released on iOS, and the Android port is perfect. It’s identical to the iOS version, optimized for the Android devices; even Scoreloop is perfectly integrated in to the game in a way that few other Android games have done. It’s a fantastic package, and is a must-have on Android, just as it was on iOS.

Multiplayer Gaming Comes to Sony Internet TVs with ustwo’s Dot

Multiplayer Gaming Comes to Sony Internet TVs with ustwo’s Dot

Jan 11, 2012

While ustwo puts the final touches on the Android version of Whale Trail, they’ve released something else for Android; well, Google TV specifically. In partnership with Sony, their game Dot is now available for Sony Internet TVs on the Android Market. The game has players controlling a dot, trying to collect other dots, and avoiding triangles. This version is playable with the remote that comes with Sony TVs, and has one particular feature: multiplayer! Up to four players, using their Android phones, can play the game on the TV, competing to collect the most dots and survive the longest. The game is available for free from the Android Market for Sony Internet TV owners; the free Sony Media Remote application is required for gameplay, and is available for both phones and tablets. Those who want to get into the dotty action but lack the Sony Internet TV can play Dot on their Android phone for free. As well, Whale Trail is soon to hit the Android Market, they’re just polishing off the final bugs for a release very soon.

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Whale Trail to Fly Onto Android

Whale Trail to Fly Onto Android

Nov 7, 2011

British design firm and developer ustwo recently launched the high-budget endless flyer game, Whale Trail, to critical acclaim in the iOS App Store, scoring an 8.5 Quality Index, and earning the iPhone/iPod touch Game of the Week on the App Store. The game has racked up over 75,000 downloads on the App Store, but the game needs about 300,000 downloads to break even on its budget of nearly $250,000 USD. In order to help expand the game’s reach, Whale Trail will soon be available on Android, according to Pocket Gamer, in order to help it reach the biggest market. ustwo already has several games and apps available on Android, including their most popular app MouthOff, so this is not a new platform for them. We’ll have more on this fun game’s arrival on Android soon. Until then, for more info on Whale Trail, read the review on 148Apps, this preview including quotes on the game’s philosophy from ustwo’s charismatic “CHIEF WONKA” mills, and listen to his appearance on The Portable Podcast.