Archive for the ‘ArianeSoft’ Category

Quick Look: After The Fall Puzzle for iPhone

Friday, September 30th, 2011

One thing I like about the collection of games under the ArianeSoft label is that it’s hard to look at any of them and say “this is clearly a clone of xxx”.  After The Fall Puzzle is no exception to this rule.  One might argue that it feels like Dungeon Raid with a Fallout setting, but one on one combat gives it a different feel than even that game.  The combination of simple game play and the ability for the flow of the game to turn on a dime make for an intense, exciting experience.

All Bones, No Skin

All Bones, No Skin

You play a lone soldier in a post-apocalyptic world just trying to survive.  In order to do so you’ll have to go up against and defeat one adversary after another.  Each opponent gets tougher, and each time you start with a level playing field.  You each have the same amount of health to start off, and you both have 0 attack modifier and 0 defense modifier.  The match 3 board is where you get your supplies by matching 3 or more of the same item.  This is one of those games where instead of sliding tiles back and forth you draw a line through all the tiles you want to match (they must be adjacent).  When you’ve made your selection you’ll reap the benefit of whatever tile type you chose, and then it will be your opponent’s turn.  If you fall below zero health, the game is over.  If your opponent loses you move on to fight another villain with more health.

Items on the board do one of 4 things.  Weapons like grenades and axes do direct damage to the opponent’s health.  If you have an attack modifier, that value is added to the total damage done by the weapons.  Any defense the opponent has goes away first before health is reduced.  Things like helmets and camouflage pants increase your defense.  Objects like target signs and multiple bullets boost your attack modifier.  Finally, food, drink and medical supplies help you regain health.  The values of each object can be found in the help screen, and if one of the items in your chain has a x2 modifier the point total for that haul is doubled.  Each round has a different set of objects, and in fact if the board needs to be reset because there are no moves, the variety of objects will most likely change.

Is Your Mascara Running?

Is Your Mascara Running?

Even though there are “stats”, you’ll be disappointed if you’re looking for a deep RPG experience.  I sometimes forget that myself as I think “boy it would be nice if the game did this or that”.  In reality, though, the game has a nice balance of matching and basic combat mechanics that keep it simple without it getting old.  The one thing I am a bit disappointed with is the fact that it has OpenFeint integration but no achievements.  Leaderboards are nice, but only effective as more people get and play the game consistently.  At least achievements give you something to earn on your own.

The visuals in ATF are pretty decent.  The creatures and your soldier look really cool, and the objects are all easily discernable, except for a couple of knives that look a bit too similar.  There aren’t a lot of effects, but there are nice little touches like blood when someone is injured or a flash of light upon being healed.  The only thing that kind of gets on my nerves is the jittering of the box for whichever player has the focus.  A nicely outlined box would have sufficed here.

I'm Not Little Miss Muffet!

I'm Not Little Miss Muffet!

I like the sound effects, but in some cases they are a bit too generic.  For instance, every creature sounds the same when it gets hit.  There’s also something really creepy about a skeleton swallowing liquids!  On the plus side, at least each of the weapons has a unique sound to it.  The music in ATF is really good.  I’m not sure it fits the post-apocalyptic mood so much (at least not the in-game music), but it’s easy to listen to and doesn’t get overbearing.

After The Fall Puzzle is a great example of how a game doesn’t have to be revolutionary to still be fun.  It’s the matching concept we know and love with a couple of twists, and it doesn’t try to be any game’s clone.  The non-fantasy setting is a nice touch, and random boards and creatures make for a new experience every time you play.  It might not have all the bells and whistles of its contemporaries, but it’s great for spending a few minutes here and there when you feeling like matching with a little bit more.

Final Verdict: Recommended
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Quick Look: Dice Tower for iPhone

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

There have been a number of tower building games on the App Store, allowing you to build structures with everything from standard brick and mortar sections to sheep!  I think this is the first one I’ve seen that uses dice, however.  Plus, instead of being a game of reaction and timing, it’s more about planning and strategy (with a little bit of luck thrown in).  If you’ve got a craving to keep rising higher and higher, Dice Tower might be the breath of fresh air you’ve been looking for.

2 Pair

2 Pair

Dice Tower is a game about building towers.  As you might have guessed, these towers will be built from dice.  The key here is that the number on the dice makes all the difference in the world.  For the first layer you can use any dice you want except wild card dice.  For any layer after that, the die placed at a given location must either be the sum or the difference of the two dice below it.

There are two exceptions to this rule.  The first is if the two dice below the position are the same, in which case the die can have the same number as those two dice.  The second is if there is only one die below the position.  Then the die you are placing must have the same value, twice the value or half the value of the die below it.  It’s a bit odd to describe on paper, but it works quite well in practice.  Also, don’t worry if your math skills aren’t the best.  As long as you can add and subtract between the numbers 1 through 6 you’ll do just fine.

To help you along the way you might roll a wild card die, which can be used for any number.  In addition you might get an extra roll, more time (on the timed mode), or a treasure that gives you a random value of up to 1000 points.  On the flip side, you could get a die for less time, one that randomly removes dice from the top layer, and one that destroys everything in your hand.  If you get the bomb and lose the contents of your hand, that could be game over if that was your last roll.

Everything is executed via drag ‘n drop.  The control is quite responsive, but sometimes it’s hard to tell where you’re placing a die.  This is especially true if you’re trying to store one in the chest, which is an area that lets you keep a couple dice from your hand as spares before you re-roll.  Rolling is a simple matter of tapping the cup in the bottom right corner of the screen.  Everything else is handled automatically, and power ups (or downs) are used as soon as you get them, with the exception of the wild card die and the free roll.

Almost There

Almost There

There are three game play modes in Dice Tower: Casual, Time Attack and Endless.  In Casual and Time Attack you must build each tower to a certain number of floors starting with 6 rolls per tower.  The main difference between the two modes is that on Time Attack each tower is timed.  In Endless mode you start with 10 rolls and keep on building until you run out of rolls and dice to place.  Endless mode requires the most strategy early on, because if you’re not careful about placing your dice you might use up your rolls a lot sooner than you’d like.  I’m not normally a fan of endless scenarios, but I like the heightened strategic element in this one.

The game isn’t overly flashy, but it looks really nice.  The playing field has a clean layout, everything is easy to read and it’s perfectly clear what’s what.  I like how a little platform slides out for you to roll the dice on.  It’s also pretty sharp when a special die zooms in off the rolling area and then the symbol stays for a second while the actual die fades away.  The little effects like that which are scattered throughout the game give it a nice touch.

The sound effects are decent enough.  A die roll sounds like a die roll and so forth.  The audio is actually a bit more subdued than the graphics even.  The music is nice except for the fact that every song sounds like it’s just a few bars constantly being repeated.  As a result it kind of gets monotonous after a while.

If you’re looking for the splash of games like Digital Chocolate’s Bloxx series, you won’t find it here.  Instead what you get is a stylish yet humble presentation over a unique take on the tower building genre.  If you need some twitch reflex action, you probably want to look elsewhere.  If you’d like to exercise your brain a bit (while still relying on the occasional bit of luck) then Dice Tower is a good choice for you.

Final Verdict: Recommended
App Store Link
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