Injustice 2 Review

Injustice 2 Review

May 31, 2017

Injustice 2 is here.

It starts ominously enough, right from where the Injustice plot leaves off: Superman is a deposed tyrant, chained and powerless. Batman is our new champion, and looks to restore what’s left of humanity. There’s yet another crew — there’s always another crew — looking to create mayhem.

The story weaves on and on, generating a PC-storyline that involves alternate realities, strange alliances and heroes acting un-heroically. For fans of the mobile companion adventure, we get a whole new set of 3v3 battles.

One need not be addicted to the original to enjoy this one; the game leads the player gently through a hands on tutorial, allowing one to get acquainted with the control mechanics with regards to fighting: mostly gestures, and taps for effect. Controlling characters is all about attack and defense, and feels mostly intuitive; there are special attack meters that regenerate over the time.

The main idea is to fight with three superheroes, and overcome three enemy folks. There is a dual lifebar system (depleted twice = loss), and you can tap in a crew member to keep the fight going. The opposition starts easy enough, but quickly get harder, victories earn game currencies, which can be used to do stuff like unlock more hero fighters. This is importnat, as different heroes have different abilities and powers, and might be better suited for a mission.

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The game has achievements, different game modes (including Story) and allows for real money to expedite action.

Injustice 2 has plenty of fine qualities. It brings some of the most interesting DC Universe characters to mobile life, allowing folks to see different heroes in different lights. It is a great companion game, but manages to stand on its own; similarly, it is a viable sequel because it isn’t just another clone of the original.

The main story is not a prerequisite to enjoyment, and it can be played, albeit a bit slower, without spending wads of real cash. All in all, it is a better than decent follow-up to the original, and maybe even a potential gateway for new fans of the Injustice franchise.


Justice League Action Run Review

Justice League Action Run Review

Apr 24, 2017

As DC looks to close the mindshare gap between it and the other guys, consumers have been blessed with all sorts of content, especially movies. With those movies (and the burgeoning DC/Justice League Universe), ge get the almost ubiquitous movie tie-in mobile games.

Like Justice League Action Run, based off of the team and Cartoon Network show Justice League Action.

No mystery here… it’s a three-laned runner, yes, but looks to step beyond that simple descriptor with a bunch of enjoyable gimmicks.jlar3

At the beginning, the game leads you on a learning journey. Pick your noble champions from a stable that includes the Man of Steel, the Dark Knight, Wonder Woman, Cyborg and Firestorm. But wait… you get to pick three stars for each run? Interesting. Yes, each hero has cool abilities, and it’s possible to “switch” during a run.

The runs themselves are fun to get into, and the missions help spice up the familiar fare. One mission might be to collect items with a time trial, another to “follow” a baddie fir a set distance without getting tripped up. As hinted at, there are special powers that can be triggered, and there are several times it pays to be aware of a changing perspective.

Sometimes, the hunter becomes the hunted…

New characters can be unlocked, there are boosts, leveling and challenges. The game even tosses in boss fights for good measure.

Visually, the game does a good job of bringing Metropolis, Gotham City and Darkseid’s fiery Apokolips to life, with the characterizations being

Now, the game mostly manages to avoid the trap that most three-laned runners seem to fall in: swiping around, over and beneath obstacles has been done so frequently and so well that it’s stuff to set a game apart from the crowd. The elements in Justice League Action Run aren’t necessarily genre-defining, or unique, but they are placed well together, and feel almost natural in the DC Universe that the game is immersed in.

Justice League Action Run gets an update

Justice League Action Run gets an update

Apr 23, 2017

Warner Bros’ Justice League Action Run is picking up some new goodies and tweaks via an update.

Details:

WHAT’S NEW

We’ve made improvements in gameplay performance and load times, and added some new content!
Expand your team with new heroes including:
• Hawkman
• Swamp Thing
Upgrade, equip, and assemble your team with new outfits, and gear for the following heroes:
• Superman
• Wonder Woman
• Firestorm

The game remains free (with in-app purchases) on Google Play.

LEGO Star Wars: TFA Review

LEGO Star Wars: TFA Review

Aug 18, 2016

Two things I hold dear: Star Wars and LEGOs. The former opened a world of imagination, and the latter gave me the tools to physically build it.

The continual amalgam of virtual LEGO characters and major franchises is almost always welcome, as is the new LEGO Star Wars: TFA, based off the latest Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens.

As with most LEGO-themed games, this one relies somewhat on the relevant source material to cobble together an adventure that encompasses more than one movie period. The imagery is quite LEGO-ey, with adjusted looks and interesting constructions. The animations are quite smooth, and the game does an engaging job of creating several different type of playing environments with the same template. It looks fun, relives the movies and pops visually.

Controls-wise, a simple gesture system makes things happen; a big part of the game is exploration and interaction. There are a lot of things to research, and this allows the game to take on a bit of an adventure path. Beyond the crafting aspect, one sees opportunities to battle enemies.

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If getting involved with movie characters is one’s thing, this game shouldn’t disappoint; starting with Poe, there are quite a few to invest in. I found the different type of fighting enjoyable. Dogfighting, gun battles and the like. Interestingly, there are new fighting mechanics included that further set this iteration apart from early stablemates.

All content isn’t available for free though; a paid All Season Pass unlocks everything, plus feature additions. The game is Family Library-eligible.

All in all, it should be a visual feast — even for folks who are used to LEGO entries. It doesn’t try to match the movie plot point for plot point, and I think that serves it well. It stands on its own, and that’s all someone can ask for.

Suicide Squad: Special Ops Review

Suicide Squad: Special Ops Review

Aug 9, 2016

Summer is the season of the major motion blockbuster and — as an increasing norm — the major motion blockbuster companion mobile game. DC Hero spawns the anti-hero flick Suicide Squad, and from that, we get Suicide Squad: Special Ops.

Yes… the joy of living.

It action comes in first-person style, and landscape is how it is taken. The game is decidedly dark, with visual tools that give it a bit of an ominous look. Our three characters are easily identifiable: the keen-eyed Deadshot, the incendiary El Diablo, and the spooky Harley Quinn. Overall, the artwork and animations work well.

Each of our heroes has a representation of their telltale powers, and via use of cutscenes and an interactive tutorial, one gets to understand the basic idea which gets us here: the city is overrun by, uh, creatures, and the players job is to survive the wave of attackers and make progress.

The controls are pretty liberal: one side to swing the targeting module, and the other side moves the character. Shooting/attacking is done when the target has the movable sights on it and is close enough, so all one needs to do is be nimble enough to keep the baddies in front. The baddies do attack if they close enough, so it makes sense to keep them at arm’s length. One can select which hero to use every so often, and there is an opportunity cost associated with such a choice.

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There are checkpoints and ammo depots and health packs to pick up; at certain junctures, one might be invited to upgrade an attribute which makes battling easier. There is plenty of city space to check out as well.

It’s all about survival.

It’s a simple, energetic romp, one which boils down to a first-person wave shooter; it has the benefit of having relevant characters, easy-to-understand gameplay, and the current movie tie-in definitely doesn’t hurt. It manages to squeeze in a usable task, a replenishment system, RPG elements… and more.

In some aspects though, it might be short of fulfilling. While it has the benefit of diving right into it, folks looking for a bit of a tangible backstory might be a bit miffed. The targeting system feels a bit rudimentary at times, and the controls could be a bit more reactive in the combat scenes.

The timing is great, and in the end, that’s the biggest asset; it looks to be a veritable companion game, and we won’t — can’t — complain about that.

Injustice: Gods Among Us Adds Suicide Squad Content: Video of the Day

Injustice: Gods Among Us Adds Suicide Squad Content: Video of the Day

Aug 4, 2016

Warner Bros’ DC Superhero-laden Injustice: Gods Among Us is adding in some new content — notably, Suicide Squad peeps — just in time for the major motion picture based on the antihero group.

The new goodies (including characters, in-game events, etc.) are coming to the game via an update which is rolling out currently.

The latest update is the largest to hit the game in over a year, bringing fresh content for both new and returning players. A variety of Suicide Squad-themed playable content are featured in the new update including a new character and skins, special in-game events, rewards and more.

Players can now assemble an all-star team of Super-Villains with the first playable debut of the assassin Deadshot and Suicide Squad skins of fan-favorites The Joker and Harley Quinn. Challenge, Multiplayer and Survivor mode have also been updated with exclusive Suicide Squad rewards including new companion cards.

The game remains free (with in-app purchasing opportunities) on Google Play.

Checkout the updates art and video below:

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LEGO Jurassic World Review

LEGO Jurassic World Review

Apr 8, 2016

Jurassic World lives on… via LEGO Jurassic World.

The graphics will be familiar to anyone who has played a LEGO-based game on mobile or console: blocky, lego-ey characters superimposed on imaginative and rich backgrounds, plus smooth animations and popping sounds. There are a lot of cutscenes that tie the action together, and the visual attributes of this game underscore its specific franchise roots. Jurassic World comes to life, with the block-inspired amalgam of jungle and high technology, and it all comes together in a very engaging way. Toss in the iconic score, and it’s a party.

The control set is adjustable, as one can use touch controls or floating/fixed virtual joystick to get the characters do what they are supposed to do. There are other actions buttons, which allow the character to jump, use a weapon/melee attack, and to act on objects.

The game starts with a bang — almost literally; the player takes on the persona of a protagonist in a section called “Raptor Transfer”. This section allows one to get comfortable with the controls as described, and is great to get the lay of the game. A lot of the action involves exploring and, in essence, solving puzzles to complete tasks. Secondary to that, one can collect studs — easily dispensed by breaking up stuff — and use this procure other stuff.

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In short order, one gets another character with complementary ability and tools, and it becomes necessary to switch out to get things accomplished. In the end, by trial and error (and a keen eye for visual cues), it becomes possible to initiate the sequence that leads to the sections end… and then it is on to another section in another area, with a new batch of characters.

The game manages to keep one’s attention; though the core concepts don’t change, the specific tasks and locales do. There are dinosaurs, and even poop to sift through. Pig rodeo, Jimmy Fallon’s voice etc…

It’s yet another fine LEGO game, and this one does an admirable job of being great for fans of the franchise and ALSO being capable of having its own standalone following.

Batman v Superman Who Will Win Review

Batman v Superman Who Will Win Review

Mar 23, 2016

We noted it before: with regards to major motion picture movies, the somewhat simultaneous release of a companion mobile game — or two — isn’t much of a novelty anymore; in fact, it’s all but expected. It is simple, and it’s smart… leveraging handheld gaming to build and maintain mindshare that can help propel a movie from “popular” to “must-see” makes a lot of sense on many levels.

DC is definitely trying to sew together its superhero offerings like its main competitor has been, and the merging of two of its latest franchises, Batman and Superman, has been a foregone conclusion for quite some time. In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (which opens this week), we get to see the Dark Knight take on the Man of Steel in movie form.

And we also get Batman v Superman Who Will Win.bvs3

No, not a lot of battling here; we should get that out now. It’s a simple three-laned runner set in a city environment that allows one to run as either iconic character.

Still, the game features rich graphics, even within the, uh, tried and true game paradigm, and is especially easy on the eyes. it features two gameplay sides that correspond to each hero, and each reflects an indentifiable color scheme. The visual pieces pop when they need to, complement the action at other times and even help serve as a conduit for the somewhat chaotic music.

The game plays in portrait, and one runs through the aforementioned cityscapes, looking to avoid stationary obstacles (like barriers) and the numerous moving ones (like vehicles). The vehicles move towards the running hero, so a bit of timing is needed to avoid those.

Avoiding the obstacles is performed by gestures: swiping to either side makes the hero dart to the corresponding side, while swiping up causes him to jump. There are gold pieces (fashioned to look like either hero’s crest) that line the runway and can be collected; there are also boosts. The goodies almost always create opportunity costs situations, and the efficacy of the boosts can be improved by collected gold.

One notable element is the ability to create a continue opportunity by quick tapping to beat a clock; ultimately, success is a measure of distance traveled and gold collected. Real cash can be used, but doesn’t feel necessary.

If one is able to get beyond the perceived disappointment of what the game could have been, they’d most likely find this one to be a decent running game that is easy to get into.

And it is Batman and Superman, after all.

Edge of Tomorrow Review

Edge of Tomorrow Review

Jan 28, 2016

All hail the continued extended experience that major motion picture companion games bring.

Looks like they’re here to stay for the foreseeable future, and we sure as heck are not complaining; what’s not to love in games that are based off of movies and animated shows that we are going to see anyway? It makes sense for all parties involved, plus we get to see new games that are mostly commissioned by studios that have loads of cash to throw at mobile development.

Games like Edge of Tomorrow, based on an interesting movie that came out a while back featuring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt.

The opening cutscene is a direct cut from the movie, which should be a boon to fans of the movie, as it does a great job of the mimicking (see what I did) the opening battle scene, with plenty of explosions, crashing ships. landing troops and enemy creatures. The artwork is pretty engaging; one practically can feel the kicked up sand in one’s mouth, and feel the fear.

The method here is fairly easy to understand; it comes in FPS/portrait, and swiping across the screen swings one’s view and the gun sights. A generous virtual joystick is provided on the left side, and the main idea is to avoid hazards (especially the blighted Mimics) and make it to a waypoint. When the sights land on a Mimic, the gun auto-shoots till it is out of ammunition, at which point one generally uses another weapon, or is killed by the eventual Mimic.

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There are goodies to be picked up, yes, so the game is able to feel a bit like an arcade title.

There are several enjoyable elements that make the game stand out. For one, the shooting mechanism is fairly easy to get with and use. The auto-fire makes it easier to wield, and the system works very well with the first person view. Then, the way the game incorporates the reincarnation aspect from the source movie is fairly seamless — not exact, but close enough to be noted.

On the other hand, the gameplay’s innate action creates quite the chaotic experience, and sometimes, it feels overly busy… almost as if the game is being forcibly restrained by the source material.

All in all, it comes across as a pretty great companion game, and is strong enough to survive as a standalone FPS adventure.

Johnny Cage Arrives on WWE Immortals

Johnny Cage Arrives on WWE Immortals

Oct 16, 2015

For a limited time, fans of WWE Immortals have another reason to get stoked: Johhny Cage.

The character from the Mortal Kombat universe is available as an unlockable character for a limited time; he also appears in Mortal Kombat X.

But alas! This is only for a limited time:

Now through Oct. 29, players will be able to unlock the crossover character in a Challenge Mode by completing a series of laddered fights with Johnny Cage himself as the final boss. For those who want to immediately add Johnny Cage to their roster, the Johnny Cage Early Access Pack is also available now through Oct. 22, for players to purchase from the in-game store.

WWE Immortals continually adds new characters to its roster.

We had a ball reviewing WWE Immortal; it remains free with (in-app purchases) on Google Play.

[Our WWE Immortals Review]

WWE Immortals Adds New Characters and More via Update

WWE Immortals Adds New Characters and More via Update

Aug 21, 2015

There’s a new update to WWE Immortals.

This one, amongst other elements, adds two WWE superstars: Batista and Seth Rollins. Additionally, it is adding new in-game Bonus Events and is updating its Multi-player Rewards system.

According to the press release, WWE Immortals has, since its January 2015 launch, doubled its roster of WWE superstars to 50.

Some excerpts from the presser:

In advance of SummerSlam airing this Sunday at 7 pm ET on WWE Network, the game’s Multiplayer Rewards system has been updated to provide players with new, exclusive rewards for competing online, such as DX Legendary Gear and exclusive characters like Voodoo Bray Wyatt. WWE fans can also enter the WWE Immortals SummerSlam Sweepstakes for an opportunity to win a number of exciting in-game rewards and SummerSlam merchandise.*

WWE Immortals continues to add new playable characters to its existing roster with the unveiling of additional WWE Superstars every month.

We had an opportunity to review WWE Immortals not that long ago; it remains free to play on Google Play, and the update is live now.

Check out the update art and the original trailer below:

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[Our WWE Immortals Review]

Mission: Berlin Review

Mission: Berlin Review

Aug 10, 2015

If cloak and dagger escapades are your thing, Mission: Berlin just might be an option.

For inspiration, one need not too much further than the upcoming Warner Brothers flick Man from U.N.C.L.E. which is due out soon; the movie itself is based on the iconic TV series from the ’60s.

The game starts quietly, almost surreptitiously; one gets to pick from two agents from rival agencies with different character traits and backgrounds. After selecting the preferred character, one gets right into the game proper.

The first “mission” serves as a tutorial of sorts, leading players through the virtual controls and giving an idea of how the action unfolds. The perspective is an adjustable third person, and the dual controls manage swinging the protagonist view, as well as movement and attack. Movement involves being able to run, crouch and walk.

The game, as hinted at, is mission-based, and the content is decidedly Cold War-ish: taking out targets, collecting information, dead drops and such. Different tasks require different skills, and the game even hints at when stealth might be good to use.

And yes, there are enemy folks, and these do not seem to be reluctant about shooting when spooked. One can select weapons to use, or use hands in a melee-style approach when possible; the idea is to finish quickly and efficiently and move on.

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If a mission is completed successfully, the player gets points based on criteria like use of weapons, time used and enemies defeated. Skill points are also awarded, and these can be used to improve the agent’s skills. If a misson is not completed, one gets to restart from a checkpoint.

It comes together nicely, if a bit haphazardly; the graphics are expressive, but there are some visual aspects that feel like they could be a bit sharper; sometimes objects pop up right n front. Literally. The car sequences are a glorious touch, but I do feel the steering mechanism could be a bit tighter. It allows for a degree of choice with regards to allowing the player to figure out how to complete a mission, but doesn’t allow for too much rope which could cause confusion.

Put together, it is hard to dislike. Espionage is almost always in, and the action sequences make this one right at home.