Archive for the ‘BulkyPix’ Category

Quick Look: Save Yammi for iPhone

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

What do you get when you combine a cute creature with an insatiable hunger for sweets, some rope, and the ability to play with physics?  No, this isn’t another Cut The Rope sequel.  This is Save Yammi, the latest puzzle game offering from BulkyPix.  I was worried this would simply turn out to be a Cut The Rope clone, and I still see shades of Om Nom ever time Yammi chomps on a cookie, but this is certainly a fun puzzle game in it’s own right.  Best of all, the game play is actually different than Cut The Rope.

It's Shocking

It's Shocking

Okay, so enough about that other game… let’s discuss Save Yammi.  You are trying to help a little octopus named Yammi find his way home to the Gulf of Mexico while avoiding a nasty shark.  Of course, you won’t know this without checking out the iTunes description, since there isn’t any sort of intro in the game itself.  Too bad, because given the graphics quality I bet an intro would be really cool.  Anyway, to get poor Yammi through each level, for some reason you have to feed him a cookie.  As luck would have it, though, this is one stubborn octopus, and he won’t eat the cookie until you’ve collected the 3 yellow stars floating around the level.  There are also red stars, but those are just for bonus.

So how do you help Yammi?  You start the ball (or cookie, as it were) rolling by tapping the cookie.  At any point, as long as you have rope left you can draw a piece of rope on the screen to help guide the cookie.  This helps in both giving it a path to roll along and in blocking it from going places you don’t want it to.  Keep in mind that rope segments will fade away after a certain length of time.  As the levels get trickier you get items like teleports and bubbles that help keep the cookie moving.  The game currently has 100 levels spread across 10 cities, and so far every city has introduced at least one new concept.

Bubbly Personality

Bubbly Personality

Your final score for each level is based on three factors: the three yellow stars (which you must get), the two red stars and how much rope you have left.  You only need the yellow stars to progress to the next level, but you can always go back and replay levels where you didn’t get all the red stars.  Save Yammi is also Game Center enabled, with a total of 16 achievements to earn and leaderboards to compete in.  Most achievements are built on doing a certain activity many times, so it should take you a while to collect them all.

The graphics are certainly one of the highlights of Save Yammi.  Not the backgrounds so much, mind you, as they are relatively plain compared to everything else.  However, all the objects look good, whether it’s a simple star or the grumbling thunder cloud.  Of course Yammi himself is awesome, with his big eyes and wonderful expressions.  If you leave the cookie rolling around him too long without having all the stars, he’ll even hold up a little sign to let you know that you need three stars.

Teleports

Teleports

The sound effects are actually pretty decent.  However, the one thing that troubles me just a bit is how much Yammi sounds like a certain other adorable critter.  In fact, if you closed your eyes you’d be hard pressed not to think you were hearing Om Nom when Yammi crunches a cookie.  Sorry, that’s the last time I’ll bring that up.  The music is pleasant enough, but it seems there are only two tunes – one for the menu and one for actual game play.  Even if each city didn’t have its own theme, a couple more scores would be nice.

I lied – I’m going to mention it once more.  For those of you that feel like you’ve gotten your fill with Cut The Rope or think that this is going to be too similar in game play, please give it a chance.  The rest of you that don’t have those fears should have already bought it.  This game is extremely fun, and really not quite like the other games of its ilk.  I just hope it manages to break the top 10 for a while, because it deserves all the accolades its brethren have received.

Final Verdict: Highly Recommended
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Quick Look: Burn It All for iPhone

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Cut The Rope, Burn The Rope, Burn It All – iPhone gamers seem to have a slight obsession with puzzle games that involve destroying ropes.  The way I figure it, as long as the games are fun, that’s perfectly okay.  It’s even better when you throw in the element of fire – that way I can play with flames without burning my house down!  Of course my biggest fear with Burn It All was that it was going to feel too much like Burn The Rope, but thankfully they are completely different games, aside from the whole burning thing.  I don’t even have to worry about my headphones getting tangled with Burn It All either.

Peace... Or Not

Peace... Or Not

The premise behind each level is simple: burn everything that will catch on fire.  You have a certain amount of time with which to accomplish this task or you fail the level.  You can also earn up to three gems per level depending on how quickly you finish the level, though it is possible to complete a level without earning any gems.  When you beat a level a new one is unlocked, and when you complete all the levels in a world the next world is opened up for you.  There are currently 4 worlds with a total of 100 levels, and there’s a spot for a fifth world in the menu system, so hopefully we’ll see that one day.

To start a fire you drag a flame from its starting point to whatever you want to set on fire.  There are three different types of flames, each with their own abilities.  The yellow is the weakest, and can only burn ropes starting from the end of the rope.  The blue flame can burn a rope starting from anywhere and can also burn wood.  The green flame can burn anything and can set multiple things on fire before needing to be refueled, but it takes the longest to recharge.  In addition to simply running out of time, you’ll also get obstacles like stone (which can’t be burnt), drops of water that will put your flame out, and jets of gas that can be both good and bad.  My biggest obstacle, unfortunately, is that sometimes my finger gets in the way and I can’t tell what’s going on.  You don’t have to be directly on the flame to control it, but in my opinion the screen really isn’t big enough for relative control.

The Lost Ark

The Lost Ark

This is a bit of a spoiler, but I want to mention it because it’s probably the coolest mechanic of the game.  Once you get into the third and fourth worlds you get the benefit of the “time loop”, which actually lets you play a level twice with two different flames!  This is usually necessary because there are parts that can’t be destroyed by the first flame you get, but can be taken care of with the second flame.  The trick is figuring out how to maximize the use of your first flame so that you can make the most of your second flame when the time comes.  These levels are some of the most interesting but also the most challenging.  I have quite a few that I skated by with nothing more than a “win” (I had no gems) just because I wanted to see what came next.

The visuals in Burn It All are quite nice.  The board layouts look good, with a nice mix of rock, rope and wood.  And of course everything looks nifty when it’s on fire.  There are also some cool special effects like when a drop of water hits your flame or a gas jet accelerates your lighting ability.  The sound effects are decent as well, especially when it comes to the little noises and occasional words like “fire” that the flames utter.  The music is well written and there are enough tunes (at least from what I can tell) that you shouldn’t get bored with the soundtrack.

I Hate Bats

I Hate Bats

Burn It All is another extremely entertaining puzzle game, with enough differences from the pack to make it worth delving into.  Just a tad bit more variety on non-rope items that can burn would be nice, but at least there was something besides ropes to begin with.  The difficulty level gets somewhat extreme in the end, so don’t expect this to be a walk in the park, but it should keep the hardcore gamers happy.  Between trying to achieve 3 gems on 100 levels and attempting to earn all the achievements, you won’t run out of game to play for quite a while.  I think the base mechanic of Burn The Rope was a bit more novel, but in the end I found Burn It All to more accessible.

Final Verdict: Highly Recommended
App Store Link
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Quick Look: Hysteria Project for iPhone

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

In light of the imminent arrival of Hysteria Project 2, I thought I’d take a few moments to talk about the game that started the series.  When I first got the game I left it sitting on my device for quite a while because I wasn’t sure what kind of time commitment would be required to play the game.  Once I finally launched the icon and started playing, I’m pretty sure I didn’t stop until I had finished the game.  Part one is currently available for free, so I thought I’d download it and revisit the Hysteria Project before I dove into the sequel.  Turns out that even when you basically know what’s coming, it’s still quite compelling the second time around.

Duct Tape IS Good For Everything

The first thing you’ll note is that there aren’t any 2D pixel art graphics or 3D rendered images to be found.  These are videos of real people.  This was a fad in the mid 90’s called Full Motion Video (FMV), and it’s too bad these guys weren’t around to guide the pioneers of this type of visual display along.  We might have seen a lot more quality FMV projects back then.  The video is quite well done, and does a wonderful job of capturing the feel of a B-movie horror / slasher flick.  Some of the camera angles in particular make things that wouldn’t normally be so scary quite intense.

The sound is also remarkable.  The beating of your heart, the screeches when you see the stalker or have flashbacks: they all lend a great sense of foreboding to the game.  I’d comment on the music as well, but to be perfectly honest I don’t really recall what the music was like, or if there even was any.  What’s so amazing about that is I literally finished the game again just 10 minutes or so before writing this review.  That’s how engrossed I was in the game itself.

What To Do?

As far as your interaction with the game, it kind of plays like a cross between a Choose Your Own Adventure game and Dragon’s Lair.  You’ll often be presented with simple options like “turn left” or “turn right”.  In a couple of spots you’ll need to “move the action along” by tapping certain spots on the screen whenever a hand appears.  As these sequences get more intense the hands show up more frequently, and one missed tap will send you back to the beginning of the sequence.  That’s the one down side to the game – certain decisions sets are bundled up into longer sequences, which means one wrong answer might have you revisiting several decisions.

There’s no dialog in the game, and in the first chapter the story is a bit vague.  However, all that really does is add to the mystery of what’s going on, which is how a good horror story should play out.  I know I was pretty stoked for part 2 by the time I finished the first one.  The game is not all that long when played straight through, but chances are good you won’t make all the right decisions the first time around.  Either way it’s worth the investment.

What Is "Project H"?

It’s games like this that make the phrase “short but sweet” ring true.  The video is well shot, the story (what little you get of it) is intriguing, and there’s just enough action and decision points to make you feel like part of the “movie”.  If you can snag this for free it’s a no-brainer, but even when it returns to 99 cents it’s totally worth giving up a soda or cup of coffee for.

Final Verdict: Highly Recommended
App Store Link
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Quick Looks link: [All About Quick Looks]

Related Links: Hysteria Project 2 Teaser Trailer


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