Empires and Allies Review

Empires and Allies Review

Jul 16, 2015

It almost pains me to say it, but this Zynga-developed, free-to-play, unoriginal economic strategy that steals graphics from one game and mechanics from another, called Empires and Allies, is kind of fun. Now, before the sky falls right down on me, let me explain why.

To sum up its gameplay, it’s suffice to say that Empires and Allies is exactly like Clash Of Clans. It’s got all the same elements, the same battle structure and the same economics, only applied to a modern-day military setting. The player builds his base, trains units, and then attacks AI or player-controlled bases, in order to capture their resources. But, while the core of the game isn’t anything interesting, it still manages to capture attention.

There are three things that make Empires and Allies different – better, even – than Clash of Clans, and all of the titles that rip it off. First and foremost – it’s graphics. The game looks absolutely great. I am totally aware that it steals the graphics look of C&C Generals, but I think that it’s a vastly preferred option, compared to creating another generic fantasy crap. The units are all in glorious 3D, and the game looks absolutely top-notch, while still requiring relatively modest resources.

Second is the lack of energy bar. I may just be mistaken, and if so – feel free to correct me – but I haven’t noticed anything resembling that. I’ve completed a bunch of AI Empires and Allies 2missions in about five missions, and the only thing restricting me from doing more was that my army god beaten up and required new recruits.

The final part is the actual action. Most of the time, real-time parts of games like this are absolutely useless. The player chooses where to spawn his units, and from there he is basically absent. The abilities in those games might as well not be there. In Empires and Allies, though, the player is able to use his abilities at least once, and this can change the tide of battle – at least to some extent.

In the end, it’s just another free-to-play game, albeit with a nice quality to it. It’s still free-to-play, it still requires as much skill as it requires time and money if you want to get anywhere. But it succeeds in eradicating most of the irritating stuff, and it looks good. So, it definitely looks better than its competitor

Zynga Announces Closed Beta Program for Upcoming Game Empires & Allies

Zynga Announces Closed Beta Program for Upcoming Game Empires & Allies

Mar 11, 2015

Gaming icon Zynga just announced the availability of a closed beta for Empires & Allies.

The beta program looks to be a fun way for folks to try out new builds on their compatible Android devices, while allowing the development team valuable feedback with which to make the game as perfect as possible.

To gain access to the Empires & Allies closed beta program and be among the first to play Empires & Allies on Android, simply fill out the online survey form. Signups for the Android closed beta program are open for all players with an Android device. Access will be granted based on eligibility, and the closed beta will be available for a limited time.

As noted, the beta will be available for a limited period. To sign up, all one needs to do is visit the linked beta sign up form.

For those keen on getting a feel for the game, the first look trailer below should be of interest:

[Source: Zynga Blogpost]

Zynga Launches Newest Game, Wizard of Oz Slots, as Appstore Exclusive

Zynga Launches Newest Game, Wizard of Oz Slots, as Appstore Exclusive

Nov 3, 2014

Gaming behemoth Zynga is launching its newest mobile game, Wizard of Oz Slots, as an Amazon Appstore exclusive.

The game is a slots game that is based on the iconic story/movie that it borrows its name from. Emerald City influences can be seen through out.

From the Amazon Appstore page:

Play Wizard of Oz Slots, the only FREE slots game from the Emerald City! Join Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion as they journey to see the Wizard. Travel the Yellow Brick Road to relive MOVIE experiences and win HUGE PAYOUTS with FREE SPINS and MEGA WILDS in all-new slots machines.
RELIVE THE ADVENTURE AND REKINDLE THE YOUR LOVE FOR THE MOVIE
-See the story unfold as you unlock new machines. Each machine is centered around a major chapter from the movie, so the more you unlock, the more of the story you see.

THIS IS VEGAS Slots in the Emerald City
– UNBELIEVABLE Free Spins, A HUGE variety of AMAZING Mini-games, STUNNING Dual Reels, and dozens of ways to WIN BIG absolutely FREE.

PLAY YOUR JOURNEY ANYWHERE
– Play Online or Offline and have your adventure sync across all devices with Facebook Connect.

FOLLOW YOUR FRIENDS
– You have the option to follow your friends on the Yellow Brick Road as you Journey to the Emerald City, unlocking new machines and sending FREE gifts along the way.

The Amazon Appstore seems to be hitting its stride with regards to getting original, exclusive (albeit limited time) content for Android users; the game is available for free now.

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Zynga Launches Hit It Rich! Slots Game for Android

Zynga Launches Hit It Rich! Slots Game for Android

May 16, 2014

Zynga has announced its Hit It Rich slots game is now available on Android worldwide. Now players can join the iOS and web players in trying to win big in a variety of slots games with a wide variety of themes, including a Wizard of Oz themed slot machine in “Over the Rainbow.” The game is available now on Google Play](https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.zynga.hititrich).

CastleVille Legends Launches On Android

CastleVille Legends Launches On Android

Nov 5, 2013

CastleVille Legends 2

The fantasy-themed economic strategy game, CastleVille Legends, is now available for Android and iOS systems. The game makes the player a ruler of a magical kingdom that he needs to grow, expanding into the fantasy lands. Featuring animated graphics and multiplayer, CastleVille Legends is available for free from here: CastleVille Legends on Google Play.

Castleville Legends Review

Castleville Legends Review

Nov 4, 2013

Castleville Legends has the player taking charge of a huge kingdom. Too bad it’s ruined and also cursed. The crux of the game is to uncurse the kingdom piece by piece, building a thriving township along the way.

The basic cycle of gameplay begins by harvesting natural resources such as wood, water and apples. Buildings are then used to turn those resources into valuable things, such as arrows, ladders and food. Sometimes, another building can be used to add additional ingredients to create even better items Finally, the items are sold for more money so more buildings can be constructed to exploit more resources.

Unfortunately, creating items is a mind numbing experience. For every single item the player needs to drag the item onto the building, wait out the timer, tap to collect the finished item, and then drag the next one and so on in a long, boring process of making one item at a time.

Why the ability to just drag 5 or 6 bags of oats or whatever onto the player’s cow pasture at once to spare this tediousness is a mystery. In another ridiculous design choice, the town can realistically only have one of each building, unless cash is ponied up for Crowns. This means the player cannot construct multiple workshops to generate items quickly without paying a lot of money.

Castleville Legends is also rife with timers and usually very long ones at that. For example Apple Oatmeal is a decent item for making money early on. It requires 4 apples (5 seconds each), two bags of Oats (2 minutes each) and then using those items at the trail kitchen (fifteen minutes) This is all for one item that makes a decent, but not amazing amount of money. Repeat the same busywork a hundred times except with longer timers and that’s Castleville’s gameplay to the core.

Screenshot_2013-11-03-03-21-11Selling items for cash is done though a caravan run by Myra or naval trading via your port. Selling things to Myra is rather annoying as she has a random selection of what items she will accept that changes now and then. Players can tap an item to have Myra replace it with a new one but this involves yet another timer.

Fortunately produce can be sold via your port at any time, but this features a long timer.

The game also features mini quests that form part of a story, but these boil down to making a few items and dragging characters onto a location. Very dull.

Castleville Legends looks impressive. The game really looks and feels like a fairytale as just about everything is shiny and shimmering. The game’s sound is really as nondescript as it gets. All the clicks and zaps expected from a Zynga game and nothing more.

Lacking any real gameplay or fun, Castleville Legends is little more than a click and wait simulator. There are literally dozens of nearly identical games on Android. Zynga Fans will likely enjoy it, but anyone else should stay away.

Battlestone Engages Evil With A Team of Heroes, Now Available

Battlestone Engages Evil With A Team of Heroes, Now Available

Jun 6, 2013

Battlestone, an action-arcade title, is now available on Google Play, offering controls and combat that is designed to feel intuitive and responsive. Battlestone has players building and growing a team of heroes to use in a head-to-head battle against evil known as The Void. Check out the launch trailer below to get a better idea of the action that’s available.

Clay Jam Review

Stop-motion animation, usually with clay figurines, has been an age old medium in film and TV, and become instant hits when done right. It seems this holds true for mobile games as well. Clay Jam is a unique running game that probably has the best looking claymation in the gaming world. On top of its brilliant stop motion graphics, the colors are pleasantly vivid and game play is as easy as it should be.

The game requires the player to flick a small pebble down a hill, squashing clay monsters along the way with the goal of flinging the beast that awaits on the end of the hill as far as possible. The pebble can squash clay monsters that are small enough, but should avoid bigger ones until it is big enough to squash them too. The distance of a thrown beast is the main measurement of success, as this determines how well you are rewarded in the form of power ups. In each level, there is a certain distance a player must have thrown the beast before a power up is given.

The amount of clay collected are later converted into coins, which can be used to purchase clay monsters, power ups or hill upgrades. The more clay monsters in the hill, the more chances the pebble can grow and squash bigger monsters. Power ups include double-scores, shrinking clay monsters and acquiring more clay than usual. Power ups are either awarded when a certain distance is reached, or can be purchased with game currency or real money.

Game controls involve swiping left, right, forward and backward (but not too much otherwise a wave of hot, red lava will swallow the pebble). It’s a bit tricky to master, but one should get the hang of it after a few rounds.

Another thing that sets Clay Jam apart from all other games of its kind is that one does not need to complete all levels of a world before proceeding to the next one. In this game, all hills can be played at any time, as long as there are enough coins to unlock them.

Having played the game for days now, I’d say it’s addictive as it is entertaining. It’s not too hard to the point of getting frustrated, because any trip down the hill feels like a blast — win or lose. Clay Jam is Zynga’s best new game release to date, and it’s a definite must-play, must-have running game.

Rovio’s New Game is Amazing Alex. But It’s Not Exactly New.

Rovio’s New Game is Amazing Alex. But It’s Not Exactly New.

May 14, 2012

Rovio has announced their first big non-Angry Birds game – at least their first after the massive success of that franchise – and it’s something of a familiar title. The game is called Amazing Alex, and it will involve players building Rube Goldberg contraptions in order to complete objectives and collect stars.

Now, some iOS gamers may think that this sounds like a game called Casey’s Contraptions released for the iPad in 2011, especially with the similar-looking blonde-haired protagonist. They would be quite right, because it is the same game. Rovio has decided to license Casey’s Contraptions, keeping the gameplay and general character design, and turning it into Amazing Alex.

So, what does this mean for Android gamers? Well, it means that the highly-regarded game (89% on Metacritic, and was Apple’s pick for iPad game of the week when it released) will be releasing on Android. The redesigned game is still in development, so there’s no real way to know what’s going to be coming with it. Casey’s Contraptions had the ability to create custom puzzles and share them with other users; will that be making a reappearance? Could that possibly be made crossplatform as well? Will the game be paid, or free to play? What will Rovio be adding to the concept beyond the original release? Those are all still mysteries.

The original game for iPad, which had an iPhone update in testing before it never materialized, has been pulled from the App Store; it’s still there in users’ purchase history if they want to redownload it, though. The developer of the game, Snappy Touch’s Noel Llopis (along with Mystery Coconut who provided the art) commented that “Rovio is a perfect gentleman. Not a Zynga at all.” – showing how the independent development community still seems to regard Rovio with respect, despite Zynga’s many indiscretions. Interestingly, neither will have any connection to the development of Amazing Alex and will stay entirely independent. In fact, Noel Llopis has still been discussing prototyping his own projects while all the stories have come out.

This could be an interesting direction for Rovio to go in if it’s the start of their ‘publishing’ direction. Maybe there are other ideas out there, good game concepts that would be hits if they’re given that dose of Rovio magic? Maybe this is Rovio’s plan long-term: help redevelop ideas that didn’t quite pan out. While the world would love to see a true followup to Angry Birds, a new idea from Rovio, this is a good alternative.

Plus, at least they’re not just stealing it outright like Zynga’s done.

Zynga Finally Brings Hanging With Friends to Android

Zynga Finally Brings Hanging With Friends to Android

Sep 21, 2011

Zynga’s Games with Friends division has brought its newest asynchronous multiplayer word game to Android. Hanging with Friends is Zynga’s take on the game of hangman, with players playing words against their friends, and trying to solve their friends’ words. The game has two phases: the word formation phase, where players must form a word from a set of 12 letters, of a length between 4 and 8 letters, with bonus tiles available that go toward the game’s points system for getting extra coins to use on additional lifelines. Phase 2 has players then guessing their friend’s word, with a limited number of strikes depending on word length, and lifelines available to help figure out the words in question.

The Android version has the same feature set as the iOS version, and supports loading up the games from the iOS version as well, using the same Facebook authentication or Games with Friends account. The iOS version recently got a store to buy more coins to use on lifelines, though this is not yet available in the Android version. Still, this has anecdotally been one of the most requested Android ports recently, and now Android users don’t have to be left out of the fun. The game is available for free from the Android Market.

Drop 7 review

Drop 7 review

Mar 18, 2011

Developer: Zynga New York
Price: US$2.99
Version: 1.6
App Reviewed on: Motorola Droid X

At first glance, Drop 7 looks like almost every other puzzle game. You have an object at the top of the screen — a dot — that you have to drop into a grid. The dots are numbered 1 through 7, but there are also grey dots with no numbers on them. Also, you aren’t just matching the numbers up; there’s a slight twist to it.

The way you play the game is that you want to make rows and columns of certain numbers of dots. For example, if you want to clear out all the 6s in a column or row, you need to have 6 dots in that column or row. The other dots will fall down and remain until the column or row equals their number. In addition, you have grey dots that need to be “cracked open” to reveal their number by making a dot pop directly next to one. Doing this twice reveals the number, then you continue as usual.

Words With Friends Finally Hits Android

Words With Friends Finally Hits Android

Feb 15, 2011

One of iOS’s biggest games has been Words With Friends. The Scrabble-inspired word game, developed by Newtoy, has been successful enough that it has been a perennial top selling app on the iPhone App Store, including reaching back up to #5 this past week as the Verizon iPhone 4 released. Newtoy has become successful enough because of the game to have collaborated with major mobile publisher ngmoco:) on social farming game We Rule (which has become a lucrative franchise for ngmoco:) on iOS), and this past year, Newtoy was acquired by social gaming giant Zynga, of Farmville fame. A big impetus for this acquisition is to get Words With Friends outside of the confines of iOS, as Words With Friends is now available on Android.